Weekly Wrap-Up 6/22-6/26

Weekly Wrap Up

 

From my June Goals list, I’ve accomplished quite a bit this week.

Reading:

Yes, I just said that I’ve accomplished a lot this week, but reading has not been apart of that. I’m almost done with Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, but reading has been pretty slow this whole month. I’ve been so preoccupied with other things.

Writing:

And when I say “other things” I mean my writing. This was my first official week off from work and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure I miss the kids, but I’m happy to finally put more time and effort into my writing.

As stated in my Routine Is Key post, I decided to schedule my time wisely now that I’m not at work six and half hours of the day. Five days a week, I want to get at least two hours of writing in. I tried for a certain time (8:30am-10:30am) and that worked for a couple of days.

The week was kind of crazy because it was the last week of school for my cousins so the time got changed a few days. Now that I don’t have to drive them to school anymore I can actually start writing earlier if I want.

Whatever the time though, I’ve been getting two hours in every day as planned. Which is great for me because I can never stick to schedules like this.

I’ve been rewriting George Florence and as stated in the update post, it’s going really well. I may have to do another update post sometime in the near future. I was talking to Kris yesterday and had a lot of realizations about my novel. There’s so much to think about… it’s nuts.

Blogging:

Included in my new schedule, I’m going to use Fridays as blog days. There are a lot of posts that I write in advance, so I’m going to take advantage of my Fridays to do that.

I’ve already been planning my July posts instead of finishing up my June posts… oops.

Next Week:

I’m going to continue rewriting George Florence. My original goal was to have it finished by the end of June so I could edit in July, but the novel is coming out a lot longer than expected. The scene I’m in the middle of writing at the moment was page 40-something in the original first draft. In the first draft of the rewrite it’s page 101. So… I have yet to decide whether this is a good sign or not.

In other words, July might be spent writing Hunter for Camp NaNoWriMo, finishing the rewrite for George Florence, and then start edits on George Florence. This should be interesting.

How did your week go?

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Update On George

Back in May I posted Problems with Protagonists. I voiced my concerns about dealing with a protagonist who just doesn’t seem to want to listen to anything I have to say.

The protagonist I’m talking about is George from my George Florence series. I mean, the series is named after him… the least he could do is cooperate, am I right?

With a little help from my writers group, I came to the conclusion that the way I was writing the novel was just not working out. I was thinking of changing it for a while, but when other people noticed the same thing I was, I realized it was time for a change.

Considering I wrote a post about my problems and so many of you gave me advice, I figured I owed it to you guys to give you an update.

I’ve been spending on the month of June rewriting–not editing, rewriting–George Florence, book one. I decided to put books two and three aside so I can focus on the first book.

When I say rewrite, I mean that I changed the POV from third person-George to third person-Lilah. I always visioned the two of them to be equal protagonists. George, the main male and Lilah, the main female. Except Lilah was pushy and started taking over. George was a pushover so he allowed her to do this.

Well, Lilah finally has the spotlight and I have to say that I’m glad I listened to my characters. Here are some reasons as to why the novel is coming out better than the first time around:

1. The novel is flowing more freely, yet slower at the same time. George Florence is a mystery and they were finding clues and evidence way too fast not giving the readers time to think about it. Since Lilah isn’t a detective she needs to stop and really think about the cases. She has to ask George if there’s anything she doesn’t understand. This gives the readers a chance to really think as well.

2. George acts more like a detective. He’s just getting back on his feet after being let go from the police department and he’s having financial woes. He’s bound to be a bit shaky on his feet. However, he’s toughened up a bit and I think that’s mostly because he’s trying to help Lilah along. He feels as though he’s responsible for her.

3. I have a better understanding of the cases George and Lilah are trying to solve. I keep a lot of notes and outlines with witnesses, statements, clues, the works. But I never understood what they meant. I just went along with it because it seemed to make sense. Now that George and Lilah are working through it day by day and George seems to have a lot more knowledge than he did before, I’m doing a lot more outside research. That was always something I was saving for the edits, but now I’ve realized that was dumb of me. Now I know what I’m talking about (sort of)!

Sure, the novel still has its problems just like every other first draft. But as first drafts go, I think this one is pretty good. It’s going much better than the other first draft (and that was the best first draft I’ve ever written!) so I think I’m making some real progress on this novel.

There will be more updates as I go along. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of June and edit it during August… along with writing for Camp NaNo. That will be fun!

Critiquing Tips

I decided to add to my post from yesterday and give you guys some critiquing guidelines.

Over the past few semesters at school I’ve collected some helpful questions to ask while editing; whether it’s your own work or someone else’s.

So, feel free to use these as you wish. They certainly help me.

Critiquing Tips:

1. Does the opening of the story hook you? Do you want to read more?

2. Do you see conflict in the story? Inner conflict happens within the characters in the story and outer conflict is when the will and longings of different people collide.

3. Is the plot clear and believable? Do you get answers to questions that come to mind as you read?

4. Is the setting vividly described? Is there a lot of detail or too many details? Does the author use all five senses (smell, touch, hearing, sight, and taste)?

5. Do you sympathize with the main character? Do you share his/her emotions and care about what happens to him/her? Is he/she believable and seems “alive”? Does the author tell us much about him, her, such as what he/she does for a living, what his/her hobbies are, whether he/she has a family or not, friends or co-workers? What he/she cares about?

6. Is there dialogue in the story? Too much or too little? Is it believable? Can you “hear” it?

7. Does the author use the same tense or does he/she roam between past tense and present tense?

8. What is the point of view (POV) in the story? Is the author consistent in the POV use or does he/she sometimes switch? Do you think the chosen POV is working out well or would the story improve with a different POV?

9. Does the author show you things instead of telling you about them?

10. Do you see any moral message in the story?

11. What’s the strongest part of the story? What’s the weakness part of the story?

12. What’s your general opinion about the story?

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

May Goals

May 2015 Goals

April has come and gone and boy, did it go by fast. Spring is officially here (let’s hope the weather stays nice) and school is officially over for me which means that I’m going to have more time on my hands. More reading, more writing, more blogging.

That being said, I decided to set monthly goals for myself to get myself into a better routine. I’ll still be spending six hours of my day at work, but that’s all scheduled so it’s easy to set goals.

Reading:

With five Saturdays in May, that means five book reviews. These books may change depending on my mood, but as of right now here’s what I’m thinking of reading:

1. TTFN by Lauren Myracle
2. L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle
3. The Sight by Erin Hunter
4. Dark River by Erin Hunter
5. Outcast by Erin Hunter

The Lauren Myracle books are books two and three of the Internet Girls series. I already read and reviewed book one, TTYL.

The three Erin Hunter novels are the first three novels of six in the third Warriors series. I haven’t read that series in a while so I decided to get back into them.

As stated, those books may change. Books may also be added depending on how quickly I can get through those five novels.

With that being said, my Reading List was updated with April’s books.

Writing:

For my writing group I need to edit parts two and three of the first George Florence novel. I need to look at part two and the critiques I get on that and then look at part three to send in by the 15. Then I have a meet with the group on the 30 so I also need to critique their pieces by then.

I have to type up the next draft of George Florence 2 and take a closer look at that and the first novel. That way my next edits can possibly be the last.

I plan to write one Short Story Sunday a day giving me 31 short stories by the end of the month.

I’m going to start querying my children’s book. I’ve been slowly gathering information on different agents over the past few weeks, so I think it’s time to get rolling on that.

I also may or may not try to find some contests and magazines to submit to depending on if I have time to write submissions or if I already have something to submit.

Kris and I are also going to start working on a big project–not a book, but it’s writing related. There will be more on that much later, though.

So, there’s a lot of editing and querying to do this month and only a little bit of writing. I have too many manuscripts written, but not edited. I may or may not leave the writing to NaNo months for the time being. We’ll see.

Blogging:

Nothing has changed on the blog. I’m just going to continue posting every day hoping each post is better than the last.

Overall, May is going to be a super busy month. Between reading, writing, blogging, and work, I have my plate full. At least I don’t have to worry about school anymore… I can’t wait for my diploma to arrive in the mail!

Writerly Weekend

Friday: Work was a normal day with the kids, but once they left we celebrated with a surprise baby shower for two of my co-workers; one is a teacher in another classroom and the other is the school’s nurse. After work, it was just me and Dad home so we went out to eat together. We ran into a couple of old friends who we haven’t seen in ages. We didn’t talk long, but it was still nice to see them and know they’re doing well.

Saturday: Kris and I decided that we were going to have a huge writing day! We went to Barnes & Noble per usual and decided to try to stay as long as possible so we could get a lot of writing done. We ended up staying for an extra… it doesn’t seem like much, but we both ended up getting a lot more done than we usually do. I wrote about 7,000 words for my CampNaNoWriMo novel.

To top off the day, we went out with our other sister and friend to see the movie “Home.” I have to say that it was a wonderful movie. Absolutely adorable. And I want my own little pet alien.

Sunday: I went to church. I only had one kid in my Sunday school class. I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up because it was the week after Easter. Instead of doing a lesson, I decided to tidy the room up a bit. I told her she could play and she got really excited and asked to organize the blocks. The blocks take up a few shelves in a corner of the room and it always looks like that corner threw up. So, I told her to go for it. She did a really nice job with it, too. It took her the entire hour and she still didn’t finish.

I didn’t get any writing done on Sunday. After writing 7k on Saturday, I needed a bit of a break from my novel. I did however get some more Sunday school things done because I’m hoping to build a new curriculum for next year as well as start a new blog for it. So, at least I can say I did something productive.

This Week: This week is going to be like any other week. I’m going to try to get my homework done as soon as I can so I can write more of my Camp NaNo novel. I also have to edit the second part of Detective Florence by Wednesday so I can send that into my writing group.

Other than doing homework and keeping up with writing/editing and blogging, not too much is going on this week.

How was your weekend?

Birthday Weekend

Friday: Friday seemed like a long day. I was anxiously awaiting to get out of work not only for the weekend, but so I could get to my friend’s house. My friend had a baby about a month ago and I was just meeting the baby for the first time. It was a good afternoon because I got to hold a baby (it’s been a long time) and I got to see my friend. I haven’t seen her since her baby shower back in November. I have school and work to thank for that.

Friday night I came home and worked on my writing group’s critiques. They were due Saturday morning, so I naturally left them until the last minute. It’s funny how deadlines creep up on you.

Saturday: I had my first writing group meeting. Technically was the second one, but Kris and I missed the first due to a prior commitment. We were nervous, but it went really well. Including the two of us, there’s seven of us total. Small, but I like it that way. It was good to have my work being read and critiqued by others than family. I got great feedback, both positive and negative. The next step is to edit that part again so I can edit the second part and send that for next month.

My cousin had a birthday party to go to so I went with my mom to drop her off and then we were food shopping. For once, we finished shopping in a timely manner and then had an hour to kill while we waited for my cousin’s party to be over. Once we got home, my mom thought it would be a good idea to go out to dinner. Kris and my dad didn’t feel like going, so Mom and I went to Panera. I was barely home on Saturday and wasn’t able to get anything done I originally planned. However, I spent the majority of the day with my mother (and we don’t get a lot of time to do that often) so it was good.

That night we gave my mom her birthday gifts early. We got her a Blu-Ray player and a new iPad. So I think she was pretty content.

Sunday: It was my mother’s birthday, plus Palm Sunday. So we went to church, which was extra long because the service was an extra half hour and then the Sunday school kids had their annual Easter egg hunt. We ended up being at church for an extra hour.

I took my Spanish quiz (that again, I left until the last minute) and then we went out to dinner. There was 11 of us for dinner and the waitress was slow and not very good, so we were there for a little while. We went to The Outback, so I can’t complain–the food is always awesome.

Then we went back to my house for cake for Mom’s birthday.

Overall, it was a great weekend. Busy, but relaxing at the same time.

This Week: I need to outline a bit more for my Camp NaNo novel. Camp starts in two days. With that being said, I need to finish my homework in a timely manner. Plus, I need to work on my Detective Florence manuscript for my writing group.

April is going to be a busy month; especially when it comes to writing. I hope I’m able to get a routine down and stick with it–even if it’s just for the month.

How was your weekend?

March: Inspiration Board

The March #YearOfHappy was to create an inspiration board. The idea was to create an actual board and hang it somewhere where you can look and admire it every day.

I’ll admit I cheated with this one.

I decided to use my virtual board, so to speak. I add things on there all the time, so why not share it with everyone here? It has everything on there that inspires me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a board for it.

That’s right… I’m talking about my Pinterest.

I currently have 93 boards. All are things that inspire me. Here are just a few:

Writing (I have writing, research, vocabulary, names, editing, characters, and blogging)
Teaching (I have a general teaching board, plus many different units in their own individual boards, plus special education)
Sunday School
Reading (I even have a board for the books I’ve read)

Considering that I have 93 boards, that’s not even a dent. I have different video game boards like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda as well as different movies (The Lord of the Rings) and TV shows (Once Upon A Time).

All 93 boards inspire me in more ways than one. If you don’t know me personally, you would just need to look at my Pinterest profile and you’ll get to know to me in an instant.

So, if you want to see the kinds of things I love then I suggest you check out my Pinterest profile.

I add to my boards all the time and I’m sure there will be more than 93 boards in time.

Thursday Blues

Every Thursday I go to work for six and half hours and then I babysit for three and half hours immediately after. I don’t get home until 6:30 in the evening at the earliest. Work is good and so is babysitting, but it does make for a long day.

Needless to say, Thursday is not my favorite day of the week.

By the time I get home I’m too tired to do anything. Even to write.

I’ve been getting some editing done here and there lately, but I haven’t done any actual writing. Most of this is because of school, but even with Spring break this week I didn’t get a lot of writing and editing done.

I did great at the beginning of the year in January because school didn’t start yet. So when school ends the beginning of May, I’ll have a lot more free time on my hands.

Of course, just because school will be over doesn’t mean I won’t have work and babysitting on Thursday. In the end, Thursdays will still be long days.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t get anything useful done today when it comes to writing.

But I did write this blog post, so I guess that counts for something.

Critiques Are Hard

We started workshops this week in my Creative Writing: Nonfiction class. This is what I’ve been looking forward to all semester and it’s finally here. I’ll be critiquing nonfiction stories by my classmates and they’ll critique one of mine.

Four people were due to post their stories this week so everyone else is due to critique these four stories.

Only read and give feedback to four stories… not bad homework, huh? Of course it can be tedious depending on how long and how well written the story is.

Hence, critiquing is hard.

I’ve never written an actual critique to anyone before. I don’t even know what I’m doing when I edit my own novels half the time.

This is my second class doing a workshop. So I’ve gotten feedback from professors and classmates before. However, there are some classmates who see it as what it is: homework. In other words, you may or may not be getting the most out of your classmates because in the end, it is homework.

With my first real life critique group coming up at the end of the month, I really want to nail my critiques for my classmates. I see it as more than homework and I’m sure some, if not all, of my classmates do as well. I want to help them by giving structured feedback and I want them to do the same for me when I share my story.

I’ve done two of the four so far and both took me at least an hour to do.

Last night I pulled Kris away from whatever she was doing and asked her to read my critique. I wanted to make sure it made sense, I didn’t sound mean, and that they were valuable points to mention.

The thing is you can’t critique a critique.

Everyone has their own preferences. Everyone reads differently and understands what they read differently. What I liked about the story, another classmate might have thought it didn’t work. What I didn’t enjoy about the story, another classmate might absolutely love.

A critique is a matter of opinion. After much consideration and looking through all the critiques, in the end the only opinion that matters is the writer’s.