School Days

Today was the first day back to school for me. It’s my last semester for my Bachelor’s degree, so keep your fingers crossed everything goes well!

This semester I’m taking…

Intro to Developmental Disabilities. It’s a psychology course and I took it for my English degree because I needed two non-English electives. I decided to take psychology because it’s always been an interesting subject for me. Also, I work with special education kids, so I thought it would be helpful to know. Of course, despite the title of the course, it’s not at all what I thought it would be. It’s able living among people with disabilities. How they live and how they fit in around us. I was expecting to have more knowledge on actual disabilities and that’s not what it is. However, after doing the first assignment I kind of got a taste of what the course description actually means. It might turn out to be good after all.

Spanish. Every degree, as far as I know, has a foreign language requirement. So I’m finally on my last Spanish course. It’s accelerated, so it’s only 10-weeks as opposed to my other classes that are 14-weeks. It will be a good class. I’ve had the professor before and she’s great. I enjoy Spanish and wish I was fluent in it… with enough practice, maybe I will be someday. It’s intimidating, though. Since it’s accelerated the homework load is a bit much. It’ll take up a good chunk of my time each week.

American Women Novelists. I have to take a diversity English course and this counted so… I took it. To be honest, it’s not the kind of class I would willingly take, but it seems good. We’ll be reading a lot of novels by women authors. Our first book is by Sylvia Plath. I’ve heard of her, but never read anything from her. There was only one other author I heard from and actually read one of her books and that’s Jacqueline Woodson. I read one of her books back in middle school and enjoyed it, so I’m hoping I enjoy this book as well.

Creative Writing: Non-Fiction. Last semester I took Creative Writing: Fiction I. I was hoping to take Fiction II this semester just to complete it, but it wasn’t offered for some reason. I decided to go along with Non-Fiction I, even though I wouldn’t be able to take Non-Fiction II either because this is my last semester. I’ve always been interested in Non-Fiction, so it’ll be a good class. I’m sure I’ll learn something new.

With that being said, I did a lot of homework today both before and after work. I got a good chunk done–I only have to do a bit of reading for my Novelists class and my Disabilities class. I have to do a writing prompt for my Non-Fiction class, but that won’t take too long and it will be easy. So I think I did a good job with homework today considering I don’t have much left.

Except Spanish. I didn’t touch Spanish yet.

So I didn’t get much editing done on Detective Florence 2 today. I typed up about ten pages of the next draft before my eyes started crossing from the computer screen. Aside from being at work, I’ve been staring at the computer all day long.

That’s how my day went… and how all my days will go now that school has started again. Now I’m off to go get some reading done for my classes. I always try to finish my homework by the weekend so I can relax and also spend my weekend writing. I’m off to a good start so far!

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George And Me

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how every author puts a little bit of themselves (or something from their life) into their novels. For me, there are numerous things I throw into my novels that are inspired by true things in life. I won’t spill all my secrets, so for now I’ll just explain my good friend George Florence.

20150115_170826George, my protagonist, is a 30-year-old laid-off detective trying to make a place for himself in the world while doing what he loves: helping people and fighting crime.

Being a police officer was something I wanted to do when I was very young. Even when I knew I wanted to be a teacher and writer, I still had a spot in my mind that wanted to be a cop. I wanted to be a teacher since I was six-years-old because of my first grade teacher. I wanted to be a writer since I was ten-years-old because of Kris. Where did this cop thing come from? I have no idea.

When I was little I was always fascinated with that sort of thing. I remember I had a spy kit with handcuffs, a decoder, a notepad, and–the best part–rear-view sunglasses. I was always trying to solve “mysteries” around the house. One time, Kris and I eavesdropped on my mom’s phone call because we were looking for “evidence” in our case, “Mom’s Cooking: Real or Take-Out?” I can’t remember how old we were, but I wish I did.

However despite my fascination, I never pursued it for a plethora of reasons. I’m tiny and have no upper body strength, I can’t stand loud noises, I’m squeamish, and I’m not good under pressure. I just don’t think it wouldn’t have worked out. Of course you never know until you try, but I think when I discovered teaching/writing, my heart changed its mind.

I have written a few novels. Most of them are fantasy-ish with the main characters having super powers. A couple of them are cliche high school drama stories. Each one of those manuscripts (five of them total) are still on the first draft. I congratulate myself for completing a novel, but editing them is just not something I have the motivation to do.

20150115_170900Then I created George. He was a silly character started in a yellow notebook a few years ago at Barnes and Noble when I didn’t know what else to write.

I say he was a “silly” character because that’s entirely what he was. He was originally a detective who did well at his job, but had no common sense whatsoever. He was comical. I didn’t expect to go anywhere with it, but I liked the story. I wrote 32 notebook pages before I stopped and moved onto something else.

Who knew that years later George would rise to the surface and be who he is today?

Unlike my other novels, I completed a first draft easily and then had the urge to edit it right away. I want to continue his story. I want to write more books about him. I want to publish them all. Needless to say, I think I have found my genre for writing.

Funny how it turned out to be a secret passion of mine.

It’s also funny because George was inspired by Phoenix Wright, a character from the Ace Attorney video game series. I played those games and wanted to write my own mysteries and decided to revive George as my main man.

Of course… now that I write this post I realize that George wasn’t originally based off of Phoenix Wright. He was based off of me.

Goodbye 2014!

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

I feel like I wrote Goodbye, 2013! just yesterday. I blinked and now the end of 2014 is here and 2015 is right around the corner. Time sure does fly.

Last year, I decided to go through all my blog posts for 2013 and highlight them in one post in an attempt to recap and say goodbye to 2013. I am going to do that again to say goodbye to 2014.

Let’s see what happened in 2014…

January:
-I went over my New Year’s resolutions
-I continued to write Detective Florence and completed it
-I came up with the Short Story Sunday feature on my blog
-I started writing Inspiration Station
-I had a schedule of writing 5,000 words a day and changed it to writing 5,000 words Monday-Thursday, editing Friday-Saturday, and relaxing on Sunday
-I discovered the Reading Bingo and challenged myself to it
-It was Kris’s birthday

February:
-I decided to write only 1,000 words a day when school started
-I completed two Reading Bingo squares by reading Coming Clean and The Hobbit
-I continued to post my Short Story Sunday throughout the month

March:
-I planned on editing more than writing to help prepare for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo
-I completed another Reading Bingo square by reading I, Robot
-I was nominated for the Liebster Award

April:
-Camp NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Diary of A Killer
-I discovered the website Noisli
-I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Howler Award
-Easter happened plus I was busy with work and school… I got behind on Camp NaNoWriMo
-I got 1,000 followers on Spilled Ink

May:
-I lost Camp NaNoWriMo
-I discussed what “Success” is
-I joined Critique Circle
-It was Spilled Ink’s two-year anniversary

June:

–Edited Detective Florence in preparation of Camp NaNo

July:

–Camp NaNo: wrote Detective Florence 2
Trying to balance life, writing, work, school, etc.
–I accidentally saved over my Camp NaNo novel (150 pages and 44k words) with my Short Story Sunday with five days left of Camp NaNo
–I wrote 50k in five days to beat Camp NaNo

August:

–I beat Camp NaNo in, more or less, five days
–I updated my Reading Bingo with many novels
–I discussed how my English degree is basically in nothing
–I got a new job
–Lucky Seven Challenge with Detective Florence 2
–I currently had 15 WIPs… yikes.
–I came up with a writing schedule for the rest of the year
–I went to Disney and discovered the “Writer’s Stop” store and met Peter Pan
–Reality checked back in after vacation with school starting, work, Sunday school, etc.
–I wanted to enter some contests, but missed the deadlines

September:

–I turned 21
–School started with a few creative writing classes
–Cookie the Beagle joined the family
–I tried to come up with a routine to balance homework, writing, etc.
–I discuss why I became a teacher, go to school, became a teacher/director or the Sunday school, write, etc.
–I updated everything in my life with my sister’s wedding coming up as well as November NaNo.

October:

–I decided to edit Take Over and plan to write Far Away for NaNo
–I started editing Take Over which I noticed I’ve grown as a writer in the past year or so
–I watched “Authors Anonymous” and the screenwriter contacted me. It also inspired a new potential story idea
–I watched a NaNo video on Blurb
–I decided to give myself a reward of one dollar for every 1,000 words I write for NaNo
–I changed my mind again and decided to write short stories for NaNo

November:

–I bought a new fish named Nano
–NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Short Story Collection and came up with new ideas for novels
–I did my best in balancing homework with NaNo
–I planned on finishing NaNo by Thanksgiving and did it
–I came up with a new novel idea called Fire and Ice
–I won NaNo
–Thanksgiving happened and I made a list of all I’m thankful for
–I compared NaNo 2013 to this year’s NaNo
–I edited while on vacation and discussed how that’s the best time to write

December:

–I came up with a plan for my Detective Florence series
–I finished typing the second draft of Detective Florence
–I wrapped up yet another semester of my Bachelor’s degree and made it out alive and with good grades
–I hand edited the first draft of Detective Florence 2
–I changed the title of my blog, bought the domain name from WordPress, and made some slight layout changes

So much has happened in one year. Some good, some bad, but I think it was mostly good. I’m happy to be where I am right now. I have a wonderful job, I’m going to school, and I’m on my way with my writing. There’s nothing for me to complain about.

Here’s to another great year in 2015!

Passed A Deadline

So, I made a schedule for myself for my Detective Florence series up until the end of May of next year. My first deadline was yesterday and guess what? I missed it.

School has officially ended so I don’t have that commitment anymore (yay!) and work is winding down with the holidays approaching. I have the rest of this week and Monday and Tuesday of next week and then it’s winter break. However, they’re still full days so it’s still six hours I’m missing from each day.

Speaking of the holidays, Christmas is right around the corner. I finished all my shopping and wrapping, but there’s still so much to do; clean the house, help with baking, prepare for upcoming Christmas parties, etc.

This past weekend alone I was barely home. I had work Friday morning and then a Christmas party that night. Kris and I went out Saturday morning to Barnes & Noble (so I got a little writing done then) and then we went shopping. Then we had company over the house that night. Sunday we had church in the morning and then went to my uncle’s house to celebrate his birthday. It was a busy weekend that flew by and before I knew it I had to wake up early for work again.

Yesterday I was supposed to have the second draft of Detective Florence typed up and ready to be printed for another hand-edit. I haven’t been writing the ten pages a day like I was supposed to. I have 30 pages left to go.

I plan on finishing it today. However, I won’t be able to start hand-editing the first draft of Detective Florence 2 today. So that will put me a day behind, but I’m hoping I can catch up with that tomorrow after work since I don’t have anything else going on.

In other news, I’ve been continually planning and preparing things for my blog for the new year. I’ve been writing certain posts that will be weekly or monthly. There are a few posts that will be written in advance, but most posts will be written as my day got on and I start rambling to you guys as usual. However, I need the planned posts in order to keep up a good pace with my blog and also because I have no idea what next year is going to bring. Between school, work, babysitting, and everything else under the sun, writing the posts in advance is a good choice at the moment.

So, after work I need to type up those last 30 pages of Detective Florence. Then tomorrow I’ll start on my next deadline. More on that tomorrow as well as an update of the second draft of Detective Florence and how well/not well it’s been going.

Cutting Out Extra Words… Or Pages

I typed up about 12 pages of the second draft of Detective Florence today. That puts me in a small lead since I’m supposed to do ten pages a day. I keeping thinking it would be nice to do extra pages and I probably will every once in a while, but… today is not that day.

I ended up doing two extra pages because three of the pages had the note written on them: “Simplify or take it out!”

Would you like to know what the three pages were about? Well, it was George laying out all his notes about the current case he’s working on. In other words, he summarized the entire novel from start up until that point. Um… why do we need a summary when we just read it all? There is no good answer to that question.

I wrote the first draft for NaNoWriMo 2013 so it’s obvious that I was stuck and just needed the extra words. That certainly worked at the time, but now I need to think about quality over quantity.

I ended up “simplifying” instead of taking it out completely. My mind may change in later drafts, but as of right now I think it’s a good move.

George was writing notes in am attempt to organize the events of the current cases (yes, there’s two mysteries going on). He added in a lot of extra stuff that no one needs to be reminded of, not even him. So I reworded it all so that he made a list of questions. You know, the standard who, what, where, when, why, how. He answered the ones he could and left questions blank that he didn’t know.

This definitely helped me keep everything in check. It was kind of like writing a list of plot questions that I need to remember to answer by the end of the book. I’m sure it will help keep the reader focused and organized as well. Plus, I’m sure real detectives sit at their desks and organize their thoughts like that all the time. Mysteries are a big headache.

Rewriting that bit took me from three pages to about four paragraphs which is just shy of a full page. So… yeah, I was clearly trying to boost my word count for NaNo.

I’m on page 156 in the second draft which is about 20 pages shorter than the first draft. It doesn’t seem like I cut out much, but I’m sure there will still be more cutting left; especially in later drafts. I’m sure there will even be some scenes that get cut, then brought back, then cut again.

Like I said, I reworded that scene because I think it’s a good idea now. However, when I’m on my Nth draft I may think it was a stupid idea and end up cutting it completely.

One just never knows.

NaNo 2013 Vs. NaNo 2014

I won NaNo two days ago on the 26th. I completed NaNo in 17 days last year. Just looking at the dates alone it seems as though last year was easier. But was it really?

Last year l wrote Detective Florence and l loved it. Half of it was outlined and planned. When l ran out of outlines, l outlined as l wrote keeping track of everything for my edits later. For a first draft, the novel was pretty well done (if l do say so myself).

This year l wrote a Short Story Collection. This was because l was unsure what to write. I thought about doing short stories to come up with new novel ideas and just try different varieties of characters, genres, etc. It didn’t go as well as l thought it would. A few days into NaNo l wanted to continue writing my Detective Florence series, but l needed to do some edits first and the next novel wasn’t outlined yet. With that series, l feel it better to have it outlined before writing.

Point #1: l wasn’t as enthusiastic about my story idea this year as l was last year.
Conclusion: last year was easier for NaNo.

Last year l was working at the private preschool because it didn’t close until December. I was a lead teacher position and l worked 10am-6pm. Some days l got out earlier, some days l stayed a bit later prepping. Sometimes l took things home with me to work on.

This year l have a new job. I’m an aide so l don’t have any “teacher responsibilities” like staying late, going in early, or taking things home with me. Plus, l work 8am-2:30pm. So l’m home earlier and l’m working less hours in the day.

Point #2: I was working less this year and had less responsibilities.
Conclusion: this year was easier for NaNo.

Last year l was working on my bachelor’s degree. I was taking five full-time online classes. Five is a lot; especially when you’re basically teaching yourself (and some of your teachers aren’t that good at their job…).

This year l am still working on my bachelor’s degree and again l took five full-time online classes. However, one of the classes was accelerated so it ended November 8. For the majority of the month, l only had four classes.

Point #3: school was less work this year.
Conclusion: this year was easier for NaNo.

But wait! There’s more…

Last year, even though l had five classes, l barely had any homework.

This year, even though l technically had four classes, l had a ton of homework. It was hard to balance homework, life, writing, work, etc.

New conclusion: last year was easier for NaNo.

Do you see how much has changed in one year? Some things got easier, some got harder. I don’t know which year was easier for me, but l won both years and that’s all that matters.

I wonder what NaNo 2015 will bring? Where will l be one year from now?

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

Winner

I hit 50k this morning on my NaNo!

I wrote 5,000 words this morning in order to finish before work. I am so proud of myself!

I hit 50,055 words and when I tried to validate it on NaNo, the word count came out as 49,985. So I needed to add in some more words. I don’t know how that worked out. Now Word says I have 50,100-something, but NaNo says I have 50,067. I don’t understand it, but whatever–I hit 50k!

As much as I love NaNo, I am so relieved that it is over. I did enjoy writing the short stories because I didn’t have to commit to one story and I was able to get ideas for new novels. However, I did miss writing a novel. Or, I should say, I missed writing Detective Florence. I didn’t think I would since I was begging for a break from it, but once I was away from it for the first week, I started to really miss the characters and such.

So, now that NaNo is officially over (for me, technically not for the month), I decided that I’m going to go back to working on my edits for Detective Florence 2. Then I’ll outline the third novel, write the third novel, and then it’ll be all editing all the time. I’m excited to work with George and Lilah again.

If you’ve won NaNo, congrats! If you haven’t yet, keep going! The end is near!

Fire And Ice

I wrote almost 3,000 words this morning. My NaNo word count is now 45,050. The end is near… it’s so close, but it’s so far away. I only have another 5,000 more words to write and then I’ll finally beat NaNo.

I have to say that NaNo didn’t go as well as I thought it would. My original plan was to write 1,000-word short stories so that come December I could expand and edit each story. In the end, I would have a decent collection of short stories that I thought I may or may not publish.

Some had potential to be decent short stories. Others I couldn’t see going very far. Most of them I’m keeping as back-ups for Short Story Sunday. Some of the short stories, as I’ve stated in other posts, have the potential to be something bigger than a short story.

For example, I am currently on part ten of something I called Fire and Ice. It’s a cliched title with a cliched pairing. However, it seems to be coming along quite nicely.

I don’t understand where the idea came from (or where it’s going to go for that matter), but it’s basically about two best friends who, on their 18th birthday, discover they have fire and ice powers. The girl, Joan, has the power of fire and the boy, Grant, has the power of ice.

There is a prophecy (I didn’t write this part as of yet, but the idea has been in my head since I wrote the first part) that states that both has a potential evil inside them. In order to kill this evil inside them, they must kill the other. In other words, if Grant wants to rid of the evil inside him, he needs to kill Joan or Joan would have to kill Grant. Like I said, they’re best friends so you can only imagine how devastated they are going to be when they hear this prophecy.

In the end, will Grant kill Joan? Will Joan kill Grant? Will they both decide to stay friends and allow the evil to overcome both of them? Wouldn’t that be an interesting sight… the two protagonists become the antagonists and run amok together.

I don’t know too much about this story idea, but I keep developing it in my head as I continue to write the parts for NaNo. It’s definitely an idea worth writing down to try to develop into a novel at a later time.

I am still going to start working on my Detective Florence series again once I hit 50k words and NaNo is over, so if I do work on Fire and Ice it won’t be for a long while. I’m sure I’ll be jotting down notes and ideas here and there, but what do you guys think of the potential new novel idea?

My Weekend

I hope everyone had a good weekend. It is Monday yet again. I feel as though it were just yesterday that it was the beginning of a week. However, this week should go by quickly with the holiday coming up.

Kris and I never went to Barnes and Noble on Saturday. We both woke up feeling a little under the weather so we decided it would be best to write at home. I didn’t write as much as I expected (or hoped to) on Saturday, but I did get some writing done nonetheless.

Yesterday I didn’t think I was going to get any writing in at all. I had church in the morning and my friend’s baby shower all afternoon. I came home exhausted and Kris and I decided to play video games (because… priorities). We ended up playing for a half hour, writing for a half hour, alternating the two tasks. I ended up writing over 4,000 words yesterday. I was impressed with myself.

This morning I wrote a little over 2,000 words. I have to get ready for work soon, so I decided to stop for now. I may get the chance to write some more later.

I started writing a “short story” for NaNo and I am now on part seven for it. So, that’s where I stand now on my NaNo. New novel idea? Maybe.

I’m at 42,108 words for NaNo, finally back on par and ahead of the game. I have about 8,000 more words to write and I’m hoping to finish it by Thanksgiving on Thursday. That means if I don’t write again today I need to write at the very least 4,000 tomorrow and 4,000 on Wednesday.

Of course, today I have to babysit after work. Tomorrow I have to go to the doctor after work and Wednesday after work is most likely going to be spent cleaning and preparing for Thanksgiving. The good news is I don’t have school this week, so no homework for me. That’s at least one less thing I need to worry about.

I would really like to get my Short Story Collection/NaNo finished by Thursday so I can continue editing Detective Florence 2 over the break. I need to start riding that horse again.

Slightly Ahead Again

I sat down this morning at my computer and wrote another 3,004 words for my NaNo. My current word count is 34,038 which makes me ahead of about 700 words or so.

I’m writing a collection of short stories (really short… each is about 1,000 words long). I’ve been using different prompts I find in books and on the Internet. A few prompts were really good and I can see them becoming novels. Maybe they will some day. Some of the prompts… well, you can tell I was just trying to get the words down.

This morning, instead of doing a prompt I wrote a quick scene with George and Lilah from my novel Detective Florence. This scene has nothing to do with the novel at hand. In fact, it’s an idea for an upcoming two/three-book series for the characters. I always imagined having a case in each novel that surround one larger case that takes two or three books to solve. I have a few cases in mind which means that so far George and Lilah are going to be in at least four different series (minimum eight books, maximum 12 books… and ideas are still coming).

The scene I wrote this morning is from one of those cases. By doing that, I came up with so many more ideas for that case. I planned on that being the fourth case in the series, but I may end up writing it as the second one. We’ll see how it turns out.

Because, you know… I still have to finish up the first case which will probably be two novels. I planned on a trilogy, but George and Lilah didn’t want to work on the case for that long. I have to write the third book, but it will most likely tag onto the second book, which is in the middle of the edits.

Once NaNo is over, George and Lilah are going to get my undivided attention. So I think it helped that I was able to write a quick scene with the two of them this morning.