Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Finishing Off 2017 Right (Sorta)

Sorry for the delay, Christmas being on a Monday threw me off a bit. I forgot that I was working on a Tuesday, and I was so into the whole "spending time with family on Christmas" thing that it didn't even occur to me to pre-write something.

Still, I am determined to have this be the first year that I have 52 posts - one for every week! This will be my 52nd post of the year; this will be my year when I FINALLY manage to get that "once a week, every week" schedule down! My writing IS important, and being dedicated to this blog at the very least is my way of telling the world that.

Such a big step for me. Such a small but important victory. Especially since, unlike previous years, each of the 52 posts has been for the week it is intended for, instead of having to do "catch-up" weeks where I post twice a week to get my final count up. In fact, this is only the third post this WHOLE YEAR that I didn't publish on Tuesday. Back in March I was two days late, posting on the 9th instead of the 7th. Then I missed posting on Independence Day and updated on July 5th instead. Now today instead of yesterday. This is a BIG DEAL for me. Are you excited too?
Hacker Girl Facebook Sticker
by Birdman Inc.
Okay, so what if this is a big deal that I'm keeping up with this blog and making my few hours to write an update each week a priority? I mean, it's cool beans and all, but what does that do for you, the reader? Not really much of anything, sadly. However, now that I'm getting into a proper rhythm, and I typically recall to at least pre-write a post if I can't do so Tuesday morning, that means I can start getting a bit more serious about the CONTENT.

More importantly, I can work more on my overall writing routine so that I have something of more value for you to read each week. I failed with this year's goal to have something new each week, and I most likely won't be able to get that steady for 2018 either. Especially now that I'm taking the time to slow down and really focus on bigger projects like "Peeping Tomcat." However, I could still try to aim on having something new to post at least once a month. That could be fun and exciting.

Maybe one day I'll even be able to transition this into a more professional looking blog with updates more along the lines of what professional authors write. Even if it's a couple paragraphs long to give you an update on my narrative writing, and then get back to it, instead of dedicating three hours or so writing a blog update.

We'll see what the future holds.

As for this week? Well, the last two weeks of the year are always about as shot as the last week of November. Darn holidays. Actually, pretty much all of December is shot. Between Hubby's birthday, recovering from Thanksgiving and/or NaNo, prepping for Christmas with things such as decorating and getting gifts ready, trying to keep the house clean and inevitably failing, and prepping for my mom and sister to visit.... well, December gets a bit hectic with very little extra time to write or read. I barely have the time to watch the multitude of holiday movies I generally attempt to cram into December. I also tend to get a nasty head cold right around Christmas, and, right on schedule, I'm battling through a doozy of a head cold right now. FUN!

Long and short? I added to my reading this past week, but didn't touch my writing.
Challenge by Reading Books Like a Boss
Hubby chose "Ender's Shadow" for me to read for my "set in the future" book. Sadly, I'm not even half-way through it, so I doubt I'll finish before the end of the year, let alone re-reading a book. I also didn't check off "Ready. Set. Novel!" or "Atlas Shrugged"; two books that I'll try again next year.

I don't think I'm going to attempt an official challenge for 2018, though. I've gotten back into the want to read, which was the whole point of challenges in the first place. However, all they seem to do is make me freak out that I'm not reading the "correct" books or not reading fast enough. I also spend most of the year either figuring out how to manipulate what I want to read so it fits into the challenge, or I avoid reading that particular book altogether. Not really what I was going for.

The challenges were fun and have broadened my horizons, but I think I'm moving on from them, at least for a year.

As of right now, my game plan for 2018 is to try one more time to read "Atlas Shrugged" and get that back to my father-in-law. I also want to re-read "Lycopolis" before reading Ali Luke's second novel "Oblivion." By the time I'm done with that I should be all set to buy and read Ali's latest book "Dominion," which just came out this month! As of right now it's only an e-book, but by the time I'm ready for my read she'll probably have the paperback option.

The more I read "Ender's Shadow," and the more the book eludes to "Ender's Game," the more I want to re-read "Ender's Game" in order to be fully reminded of the events being referenced in "Ender's Shadow." Plus, now that I have more backstory for Bean, perhaps the little jerk will be a more sympathetic character when I re-read EG. I can even finish it up by re-watching the movie adaptation of "Ender's Game" and/or re-reading the graphic novelizations of the book. Then lament how "off" it is compared to the source material. Basically, January may start off with me going back to EG before taking another crack at "Atlas Shrugged."

The end of March also brings about the movie adaptation of "Ready Player One" finally, so I'll probably get a re-read of that book as well. I just don't know if I want to re-read before the movie to remind me of everything, or if I want to purposely wait until AFTER watching the movie so I don't get disappointed by how different the adaptation is. Then again, the author of the novel wrote the script basically at the same time. He sold the script pretty much at the same time as the novel! I'd like to have faith that in THIS situation the movie will be pretty faithful to the book.

See? I have such a nice reading game plan already, and I don't know if I'd be able to read any of the above novels if I tried to fit them into a reading challenge. I'd also feel so overwhelmed and behind if I tried to get in the twelve books for the challenge - as seems to be the basic structure of these things - as well as the six books listed above, especially since I KNOW I'll have to take two months or so to make it through "Atlas Shrugged" properly. And those books don't even include informative books such as "Ready. Set. Novel!" or "Writer's Book of Days" or "No Plot? No Problem!"

Since I'm avoiding official reading challenges next month, I do encourage you fine folks to throw some suggestions my way. Got a book you thought was amazing? Let me know about it in the comments. Did you publish something yourself and want me to give it a read? Sure thing! Let me know below!

Well, I've rambled for long enough about reading, I think. Normally this is where I'd try to reflect on the year and do my "year in review" post, but I don't think I even have time for that!

So, for this year, I think I'll just leave it as a simple thank you to everyone who has followed me during this journey, and everyone who stuck by me this year. For any of those who bumped me up past 200 hits per post - I now have a slew that's over 900 hits! - especially if you decided to stick around, because I know you probably came here looking for Miraculous info and found bupkis. Especially for everyone who encouraged me when I was running on fumes at the beginning of the year, and when I was about to wave the white flag in November.
Hacker Girl Facebook Sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
Also, since I celebrated all the other holidays I knew of last week, it's time to give out two last shout-outs.

To any celebrating their African heritage:
Sorry I couldn't find something more
celebratory. Sometimes Google sucks.
And to everyone; every last one of you, my beautiful, amazing readers:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Wait, Christmas is HOW Close?

Goodness is it nice outside. Like, "I kinda want to go sit on the porch to write this post" nice. Well, it is a bit overcast and dreary, but temperature wise for December, it's nice. Actually, even though it's flurried almost daily for a week or so, which would normally TOTALLY put me in the Christmas mood, the actual temperature has been fairly mild. Probably why I still feel like I have a full month before Christmas, instead of just a handful of days.

Anyone ready for the holidays this year? Because I certainly am not.

The month kind of flew by for my writing as well. I went from writing daily to barely writing at all. It could still be NaNo Fatigue, or mild depression from my computer problems, or just generic Holiday Funk that's making me kind of apathetic this month.

Either way, the year is almost out, and I'm trying to prep myself to kick even more writing butt in 2018. I do think my writing productivity and focus increased this year, and I hope to increase both again next year. I may not have turned out quite as much this year as I did last, or even as much as I would have liked to have published. However, I think that's because I learned Quality over Quantity. I want to make sure my stories are more polished and complete. I was kind of happy with the September incarnation of "Peeping Tomcat" and could have posted as I wrote, as I used to do. But it grew, it expanded, it evolved, and it's evolving still. The story I want to tell in the mode I want to tell it isn't quite there yet, but it will be if I keep working it. Past Me wouldn't have given the story enough time. I think this decision shows my growth in a nutshell.

Speaking of evolving PT, I realized the reason why I'm stunted is because I'm writing a novella while thinking in show form. I could do what I did with "Hey, Arnold!" and just write my novel. I'll write everyone in-character and have the same basic feel and tone of the show; call it a day. Nearly every review I receive for my HA fanfictions say basically the same thing: "I feel like I just watched an unaired episode." For me, that's the highest praise for a fanfiction writer. If it feels like it could be canon - not that it's so good that the reader WANTS it to be canon, but the reader feels like the creator actually was involved - then I did my job perfectly.

I feel like I'm in that right spot for PT. I feel like I have the characters pretty spot-on, and I feel the over-arcing plot has the same tone as the show would. Still, for me it doesn't read like it's canon. It doesn't feel like it could be like an hour-long special or something. There are so many "Miraculous Ladybug" stories out there, especially since it's basically aired globally within weeks of each other. I have a LOT more competition for readers' attention. I want to make sure my story stands out somehow. Having it flow like the novelization of an unaired episode is how I want to put my stamp on the Miraculous fandom. I just can't get the rhythm down, and creating akumas is WAY harder than I gave it credit.

So, I'm trying a different tactic. This week I started sorta rewriting PT one more time. This time in Celtx. For those who don't recall or don't know, Celtx is mostly a script-writing program. One that I used back when Script Frenzy was still a thing.

I figured I could shift things around better in script form. I know that the general rule of thumb is that it takes a minute to act through a page of dialogue. It also takes nearly as long to read through the description of an action as it is to perform it, give or take. Which leads to the timing rule of roughly "one minute per page of script." This is basically how the industry figures out in the scripting process if they need to add on or cut in order to get the finished product within the desired run-time.

Anyway, using this rule, and knowing that the typical episode of Miraculous - minus the opening and end credits - is either twenty or twenty-one minutes long, I can try to get a better rhythm for my story.

True, I will never get my story to fit into the equivalent of a 20-min episode. In truth, it never should, given the in-depth problem I'm working on within it. However, as I mentioned, I could maybe get it to feel like it's an hour-long special or a multi-episode story arc. I have at least two akumas plotted to be in the story: one per "half hour" of the tale.

I know that my story should take longer than twenty-some pages per half in script form, but I know now what I'm aiming for. I want each half to feel like it's even pacing. I don't want to go overboard with the story either. If I only have two akumas but the script version of PT is over 100 pages long then I either need to cut or I should add in more akumas. This is an everyday - or nearly everyday - challenge that Ladybug and Chat Noir have to face, and I don't want that to be forgotten just because the focus is on the Will They; Won't They of their relationship. No offense to the beautiful and brilliant fanfics I've already read in this fandom that do skim over akumas - I believe it's because they really are SUPER hard to convincingly create - but, as I mentioned, I want my signature in this fandom to be how "true to form" I am. That means having the proper allotment of time dedicated to LB and CN fighting akumas.

I also realized, as to be expected with this story given how introspective the plot is, that there isn't that much actual action or dialogue. The majority of the story is "Marinette does a thing, Adrien secretly watches her do the thing, he reflects on how cute she is doing the thing and how she reminds him of Ladybug, and then Adrien freaks out about comparing Marinette to Ladybug."

That's it. That's the plot. Fun, right?

In script form I can physically see where the dialogue/action dips off. The beauty of film/TV/stage performances is that the audience typically can't get inside the head of the characters. They have to rely on communication clues. This character is huddled in the corner, arms crossed, foot resting against the wall, head turned to not look exactly at anyone, and grumbles anything he says. You don't really need me to dive into his head to let you know what he's thinking, right? Add in more info like the girl we saw him crushing on earlier chatting up another guy, and Corner Dude flinching every time he hears her giggling in her conversation. You've got a better picture, right?

Well, I need to remember that I don't need visual media for you to know what's going on inside a character's head simply from context clues. The more involved bits, like Adrien's confusion on his feelings for LB vs Mari, or even his realization of how similar Mari and LB are, can probably still be inner monologue, but his "OMG OMG OMG, do I like Marinette!?" freakouts can be shown instead of told. I'm usually really good at that, but I relied too much on inner monologue this go.

I think I was trying to sort out Adrien's feelings myself first, and so I need to reign myself back in now that I think I have it figured out.

So.... script form should help me out with remembering to Show not Tell so much. Once I have it all figured out it will be time to switch BACK into novel form, and filling it out more with descriptions. Script form, I can just add in the wryly for my own notation, and then fully express it within the prose of the novelled version.

For example:
My aching body. I can't move a muscle.
can then become
Plagg floated onto my bed and sprawled out on my pillow. "My aching body," he whined, "I can't move a muscle." I ignored the fact that he said it while dramatically resting a paw across his forehead and rocking side to side like a fainting Southern Bell.
Wrylies, or Parentheticals as they are technically called, are a bit frowned upon in professional scripts because it's a case of "tell; not show" in order to sort of "direct from the page" instead of having those wrylies implied by the surrounding content. However, as notations and cues to myself, I think they are the perfect move.

We'll see how this tactic works. In the meantime, I'm still going strong on my reading challenge. I finished off "The Ship of the Dead" yesterday, and I'm off to find a book set in the future for my next slot to check off.
Challenge by Reading Books Like a Boss
My dad used to be really into sci-fi, and since I now own most of his books, I figured it would be kind of easy to find something set in the future. Problem is, most of his sci-fi is from the '80s. In other words, they WERE set in the future, but we've passed the year the books were set in.

For example, I could skip over finally reading "2001: A Space Odyssey," and even the sequel "2010: Odyssey Two," in order to read the third in the series "2061: Odyssey Three." I'm sure it's fine to start with the third book in the series.... right?

Hubby has wanted me to read the Shadow series of the Ender's Game universe, but they focus on the character Bean, and I HATED that kid when I read "Ender's Game." Hubby assures me that his characterization is redeemed in the books focused on him because you learn his motivation and whatnot. Perhaps I'll cave and give it a try. I did end up loving "Speaker for the Dead" the most out of the Ender books thus far, and Hubby told me that one was his favorite too. I should probably trust the spouse, huh?

Alternatively, I still have all of Zebey's books from when she moved and attempted to donate them to the library. There are TONS of books based on the game series Halo. Hubby suggested I try grabbing one of those. My thing there, though, is that I never got into the fandom outside of watching Red vs. Blue, and so I don't know how lost I'd be. I also don't know what order I should read them in, or if that matters.

I'll give it today to find something to bring into work with me tomorrow to start my home stretch. I'll let you know what I picked.

In the meantime, for those of you who are just finishing up your celebrations:
For those of you who will be celebrating in a couple of days:
I apologize, I couldn't find anything nice that wished a happy Saturnalia.

And for those, like me, who will be celebrating on Monday:
I'm sorry if I missed your holiday. These are the main ones I know of. Please let me know what you celebrate in the comments below so I can include it next year.

Happy holidays, everyone! May your season be bright and joyful!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Reading Recap

Aaaand, I'm back in business. Sorta. Last Wednesday I got the new charger for my netbook, so I again have a computer! A slow, super laggy, but only online, which totally isn't helpful, computer. Still! It's a computer, and it IS only laggy online.... for the most part.... which means I can get back to writing offline. Which is really the only truly important part of having a computer.

I mean, sure, I'm still addicted to Facebook, and not being as active as I normally am because my netbook can't handle it sucks. Still, WRITING! Huzzah!

Also, reading.

Because, that's what I've ACTUALLY been doing this week. Well... a bit of both, actually. Let me slow down here... I'm getting a bit overly excited.

Let's start with my reading, since that was the majority of my week.

I know, it's been a while since I talked about reading. I've really been neglecting that. My reading momentum was killed with "Atlas Shrugged" and it didn't get revived by "I Link Therefore I Am." On top of that, I was so focused on prepping for NaNo in October, and then participating in NaNo last month. I just haven't taken the time to read. Not really.

So, since it's been a while, let's get back to that Reading Challenge check list and see how I'm doing.
Challenge by Reading Books Like a Boss
There are a couple of categories that are filled in but not checked off. That's because I haven't completed the books.

I've been kind of riding high on my own plot bunnies the second half of the year, so I haven't really needed to find my story via "Ready. Set. Novel!" therefore, I haven't completed my delve into a new Jolene story via that book. I've mentioned before that I had to abandon "Atlas Shrugged" because it was just taking too long to get through it. I'm going to give it a second go - complete with a notebook to help me keep track of things/characters - at the start of next year. Finally, "The Ship of the Dead" is what I'm reading right now.

It's a fun read, but I'll get back to that in a moment. Let's stick with the check list right now.

"Half Bad" has red font and what looks like blood dripping through water on the cover, so it could replace "RSN" if I can find a different "UK" book. I could also move "Half Bad" to "Suggested" if I wanted to replace "AS" and read a second book that took place in the UK. I still have two categories I haven't touched yet, though, so I might have to leave those incomplete books where they are.

I still can't recall what I read in 2015, so finding a book I would have given a "5-star review" to is pretty impossible for me. However, I did recently buy "Oblivion" by Ali Luke finally. Only kept me shy of two years to buy....

Anyway, my point is that I did read Lycopolis back in the fall of 2012, and so I'll want to re-read before going into Oblivion. Perhaps, if I can re-read Lycopolis this month I can use that as my "re-read" book and knock out another category. I'll just need to find a book set in the future to "complete" this challenge. Not sure if I can manage in the short time left in the year, but I can try.

Even if I don't "complete" this challenge, I have read a few things that don't fall into the categories. I started off the year by going through the "Writer's Book of Days" by Judy Reeves. I didn't do any prompts past January, but I have read the monthly chapters up to September....

I also read a 375-pg manga adaptation of Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. Finally, ever since I got suckered into the Miraculous Ladybug fandom I have read three different fanfictions. One was short enough to read in one sitting, but the other two I had to slowly consume over the course of a week or so.

All three were found on Archive of Our Own:

"Under Lock and Key" by EdenDaphne and Maerynn
I believe the two authors co-write the story, with Maerynn taking on the majority of the physical writing, but the jewel is that EdenDaphne illustrated scenes in the story. It's a quick read with some really nice artwork throughout. It's also still going, with long pauses between updates because the two women are busy moms.
"Smoulder" by midnightstarlightwrites
This story really jumpstarted my desire to write "Peeping Tomcat" because seeing Adrien and Marinette wiggle as they realize they have a crush on each other was so much fun. I feel like the OCs and the characterization of Chat Noir were a bit off, but the overall story is still great, and my need to "fix" the characterization was the other drive for me to take my time to write PT properly instead of just dumping chapters after I'm done writing them, which is how I used to do it.
"Curiosity and Satisfaction" by imthepunchlord
I just finished this one yesterday. Such a fun story based on the "Enemy AU" genre. Meaning, a re-imagining of Miraculous Ladybug if Chat Noir were a villain working with Hawk Moth instead of a hero as Ladybug's partner. The author has dyslexia, so there's some tense/grammar/typo issues, but all-in-all it was really enjoyable and greatly paced.

While "Under Lock and Key" was less than 10,000 words long, "Curiosity and Satisfaction" was just over 54,000 words, which, according to NaNo, is a novel. On top of that, "Smoulder" was over 163,000 words long!!!! Can I count those for my reading challenge, even though none of them count towards any of those categories? "Under Lock and Key" was published online in 2017, between May and September, but it isn't completed yet so......
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by Birdman Inc
Anyway, I HAVE been reading, even if I'm not going to complete the 12 categories on the Reading Books Like a Boss challenge. I still have a chance, though, since I'm over half-way done with "The Ship of the Dead" already, in less than a week of reading. I'm just devouring this book! So good! I get why Ronoxym has been so antsy to talk to ANYONE about this story. About half-way through, my heart was ripped out of my chest. So sad. So good. I need to slow down and really study Riordan's writing in order to improve my own skills. That's the main point of a writer being an avid reader as well, after all.

Speaking of, how is my writing going? I started this post all excited about my netbook revival because it meant I was writing again.

Well, as I mentioned, I have and I haven't been writing.

I haven't advanced Peeping Tomcat to make up for everything I've lost over the course of November. I've wanted to, but I also wanted to finish off "Curiosity and Satisfaction" first, and I still had to use time outside of work to catch up on cleaning.

I have been jotting down some more notes on potential akumas, and how to improve upon what I wrote thus far for PT. I've also done some more research to help with the last half of the story. On top of all that, I sat with my wheel of Camembert and Miraculous Ladybug's second season on YouTube in order to again study the characters and the episode structure.

That's been my biggest inspiration this week, because yet ANOTHER one of season two's episodes has been fan-subbed. Out of the initial 13 episodes of this season, I've now watched the first 8, and I'm loving it. I'm a bad, bad girl for watching them on YouTube instead of waiting for them to officially air in the US on Netflix. However, to be fair, should Nickelodeon have picked up the show again, it probably would have aired by now. Netflix is just waiting for the full season, as it does, and the Miraculous crew is working hard to provide the highest quality show they can, so the production is running behind. No Season 2 for Netflix until the spring....

I'm sliding off topic.

Anyway, episode 8 had a key moment that is a huge "squee" moment, much like the slow dance scene from episode 2 that I squee'd about a couple weeks ago.

In case you want to avoid spoilers, I contained what I wanted to say in the below spoiler box. If you don't care about spoilers, and/or want more detail about the plot bunny I've been working on this week, go ahead to click on the button to expand it.

For those who didn't expand the spoiler box, the long-and-short of what I've been working on is a small Tikki and Plagg centric story, and their potential to bring Adrien and Marinette closer together.

I'm definitely still feeling the writing bug pretty hard, which is surprising to me after the devastation I suffered in November. I also normally suffer writer's fatigue after the effort put into NaNo, but I'm not feeling that this go. Then again, my computer crash has forced me to "relax" for about two weeks, so I guess that's my fatigue recovery?

Maybe I'll have some advancement in my writing to talk about next week. Or maybe I'll be able to check off "Ship of the Dead" and be able to start yet another book... Guess we'll see next week!
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by Birdman Inc

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I Did It... Sorta

I did it! I won NaNo! Granted, I don't FEEL like I won, but, hey, why not get the credit for my effort? Right?

I tried. I really did. I was on vacation last week so I could visit my mom and her family for Thanksgiving, and then spend the rest of the week with Hubby to celebrate his birthday. Which reminds me.
Belated birthday at this point, but I still wanted
to gush over how wonderful he is. <3
Anyway, I was on vacation. I could write more-or-less all I wanted. As I mentioned last week, I stole away a little to punch some words out last Saturday and Sunday while visiting my family. Even cranked some more out on Monday. But, for me, Tuesday was going to be the big day. I wrote my blog and I was going to hide away the rest of the day - since I didn't need to do the normal "errand day" things like laundry and grocery shopping - and just write. Hubby had eight other days alone with me, we could sacrifice Tuesday.

It started off well enough. I had my blog done, and Hubby made the meals that day as I worked so I didn't need to stop for long. I didn't think I was going to make up the last 20,000 words, but I thought I could put a good dent in them. Maybe close to half if I put in as much effort and time as I did for my Varekai recap.

Then it was about 5pm and time to go to writing group for three hours of writing sprints; we added an extra hour each week for NaNo.

First, Hubby helped me lug two garbage bags and one wine box full of books to the library for donation.... only to find out that they don't accept donations outside of August.

So I left my lunch-boxed dinner and laptop with the librarian as Hubby and I lugged the books back home for storage. I then made it back to the library about 10min later and headed up to writing group.

That's when it all went downhill.

I had the NaNo site up to periodically update the word count whenever I saved the file. I had my file open to just jump right back into it when I got settled, and I may have had a music player open or something since I write best when listening to music.

I settled in, plugged in my earbuds, and waited for my computer to acknowledge that I was typing. The lag was killing me. It wasn't registering at all. I then tried to close down the music player and NaNo site so I JUST had the word document up. I thought that maybe since my laptop wasn't properly connecting to the library wifi - which always lags my computer anyway - that it was slowing my whole system down.

After waiting a few minutes for my computer to "catch up" nothing happened. The programs were still open and weren't closing. I then tried good old CTRL+ALT+DELETE to try to bring up the program manager application so I could shut down the programs that way. After four attempts to bring up Program Manager, waiting about 3 minutes between each try, and the darn thing STILL wouldn't open up, I gave up and angrily closed my laptop. I felt guilty about making such a loud slamming sound with my fellow writers trying to concentrate, but no one seemed to skip a beat.

I then huffed over to the center of the room to grab a pencil and started writing in my red notebook dedicated to "Miraculous Ladybug" fanfiction. I jotted down some notes I had on a potential Akuma Villain, as well as notes on what I know I want to improve upon when I go back to revise the NaNo version of Peeping Tomcat.

The first twenty minute sprint was up and I hadn't added a single word. I had the vague startings of a new villain, and some notes on how to improve the first chapter of PT.

Everyone else chatted during the down time, but I again fought with my computer, hoping being in sleep mode for about ten minutes would be enough to kill the lag. It wasn't. I also didn't have a full twenty minutes before everyone ran out of things to talk about and we went back to writing. I continued to fight with my computer, which all but froze at this point, for another five or ten minutes before again giving up and snapping it closed; a bit softer, this time to not irritate everyone.

I scribbled down a few more ideas to kill the second twenty minute sprint. More people talked about their projects, and we welcomed a new member during our down time, and I again tried not to be too disconnected and distracted by my fussing with my laptop.

Once more we went back to writing before the twenty minute down time was up, which meant that within an hour, instead of three sprints and three down-times, we were looking at four twenty minute sprints with barely ten minutes in between.


One of the women in the group likes to tell us how much she wrote in the twenty minute sprints, and each time she averaged about 150 words or so. I don't know if she mentally slows down to collect her thoughts before writing, or if I'm a faster typist, but I average about 500 words per sprint, so each time she called out how many she wrote I could only think of how many I COULD have written. I feel a bit guilty about that, but it is what it is.

After being at writing group for about ninety minutes and not getting ANYTHING accomplished because my laptop STILL wouldn't work, I gave up. At this point I had hard-pressed my laptop to turn it off before rebooting it. Only for it to give me some sort of "Auto Repair" program alert and then freeze during the initiation of it. My computer screen would just go blank with the mouse arrow just kind of.... there. The arrow followed my mouse movements, so that was fine, but the rest of the screen was just black. Four attempts to reboot my computer, and I got the same result each time.

Which means everything I wrote on Tuesday was gone! Over 1000 words gone.... AGAIN!

My thumbdrive wasn't staying in the USB port well enough to perpetually keep it in so I could save to both the laptop and thumbdrive each time I saved. So I had gotten into the habit of save CONSTANTLY while on the laptop, but only save to the thumbdrive at the end of the day and/or when I completed a chapter. I would then update my Google Docs file at the end of the night as well - since that's even more tedious to keep updating each time I save on my laptop - and at the end of the week I would save to a second thumbdrive.

After losing the whole novel once before, this was my new routine. I never expected my laptop - which I've only had for about 18months - was going to just DIE on me out of nowhere!

So everything I had done on Tuesday was just gone. GONE! YET AGAIN! I still had the nearly-30,000 words I wrote by the end of Monday, but nothing else. All that catching up I did, and all the catching up I could have done during writing group, was killed.

I tried to be as calm and discrete as possible as I quietly packed up my laptop and notebook, and returned the pencil to the center of the room. I was apparently very noticeable anyway, though. I had to stop my voice from shaking out of pure frustration as I told the group what was going on, how I was about to drop-kick my laptop out of the window, and that I just needed to go home before I punched a wall. They all understood my frustration, and wished me luck as I left.

My intention was to just steal Hubby's laptop to finish my story from where I left off on Monday.

Then HIS computer started acting up. Apparently HP and/or Windows 10 is all sorts of done with letting people use Chrome, because any time he tried to bring up the internet via Chrome, our preferred server, it would lag or randomly freeze the computer.

We have yet to see if the computer will behave itself if we cave and just used Window Edge....

So, my attempt to continue writing via Hubby's computer was also a bust. I couldn't even get online to post my story, Varekai recap, and November blog posts to the NaNo site to verify the word count.

I had to run to the library computers for that, but the library only allows 1hr stints at the computers, so I couldn't really use them for all the writing catch-up I needed to do.

I did manage to verify the word count of the story, and my recap, and all of the blog posts, in order to surpass the 50,000 words. yay.....
I feel a little cheap about how I ended up "winning," but, as I mentioned last week, I feel like persevering and still trying to finish the month even with all the technical difficulties I've had is a valid "win." For the rest of my life I think I'll look at that Winner badge with a bit of bittersweetness, but I think I'd be more upset with myself if I DIDN'T get that win for this year....

Anyway, I spent the rest of the week trying to check in on things online periodically via our smartphone - which has Hubby logged into FB, so it's not the best for me to use for that - and my 3DS; once I found it.

Not the best resources to do much with, and I can't really bring up videos, ad-intense websites, or anything like that. But it was enough to not be completely off the grid this past week.

While we did have some fun times celebrating Hubby's birthday this week, it was definitely one of those vacations you need a vacation from by the time you're done. If I was at work I could at least feel better at not being able to write or do much online.
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
But, hey, at least I got this glorious alert on the NaNo website:
Once I figure out what I'm doing, computer wise, I'll definitely have to check out the link for the "Now What?" months. I did tell people that I wanted to get at least the first chapter of the polished Peeping Tomcat story up by end of March/beginning of April. So I'm hoping I can find something I can use for more than an hour at a time so I can work on that.

I'm also hoping that the second season of Miraculous Ladybug premieres on Netflix soon. I've already watched the first half of the season thanks to YouTube and fan-subs, but I can't wait to binge the whole thing. It might help me get excited about this doomed project again, as well as better get a feel for how I should write it.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for FedEx to deliver a replacement power cable for my netbook so I can use that again. Then maybe I'll be able to take a step back and figure out what to do next for my main laptop.

As of right now, it seems that the hard drive may have gotten screwed up somehow between me writing at home on Tuesday and starting it up again in the writing group. Now I have to figure out if I just survive with my netbook until Tax Refund season again, travel back to Best Buy during the Holiday Season in order to try to get 18month financing for a good computer, just drop a little over $300 on another simple "netbook-sized" laptop, or try buying a replacement hard drive and seeing if that works.....


The other thing to think about is if I should bother going to writing group tonight. The next one will be December 19th. Which means if I don't go tonight I will have walked out last week, and then gone two weeks without going to a meeting.

At the same time, though, I don't have anything to read..... but I could still hear what others have written and comment.... Gah, I don't know.

I'm running out of time at the library, though, so I guess I'll spend the next six hours or so debating what to do next. At least I still have my notebooks and pencils, right?