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.

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?

Take Over And Far Away

Today is October first which means… one more month until NaNoWriMo! Yeah, it’s already that time of year again. Scary, huh?

So, despite homework, work, babysitting, whatever else I have going on in real life, I need to buckle down and get myself back into a writing/editing routine so that I can work hard on NaNo.

Before I begin, let me explain this: I was planning on writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNo because I was going to outline that novel as well as finish editing Detective Florence 2 this month. Well, I never even finished typing up the second draft to the first novel. Thus, I never started editing the second novel.

I don’t even know if I’m doing it right, but writing a mystery series is pretty tough. There’s so much information and there are so many plot holes that need to be filled (just like any other genre, but I feel like mystery is worse). There are so many characters to keep track of: bad guys, witnesses, victims, and so on. I do have a good handle on it, but since I’ve gotten far behind from what my schedule originally was (thanks a lot, school) I decided to take a break from it. I might pick it back up in December, but I make no promises to myself at this time.

With that being said… usually the month before a NaNo session I outline (well, try to) whatever I’m going to write for the month. Except now that I decided not to continue on with Detective Florence for the time being, I had no idea what to write.

I looked through my extremely long list of novel ideas and nothing really jumped out at me. I didn’t even know what genre to write. So, I looked through my flash drive and decided to be a “NaNo Rebel” this year and finish something that was already started. Thus, I came across Far Away again.

I thought it might be nice to work on a stand-alone novel for a change so I clicked on it to see where I was. Now, I don’t remember this, but apparently back in January I wrote about 20,500 words of this story. It was about 64 pages long. So, I’m pretty far along in the novel. I just need to read through it to make sure I remember what is going on. Thus, the outline. I’m going to outline Far Away this month so I can finish it for NaNo. Since I’m already 20k words in and my goal for NaNo is 50k, I’m going to have to have Far Away be at least 70k words, which I think won’t be too hard. The good news is, since I’ve already started it, I should be able to finish the manuscript if I meet my goals during November.

Speaking of stand-alone novels… about a month back I decided to work on two projects. One being the Detective Florence series (which since then has changed because I’m going to take a break from it) and the other would be Take Over. Does anyone remember that one?

I wrote it back in April 2013 for Camp NaNo. I decided to work on this because it is a stand-alone novel. I would like to get something worthy of publication soon, and I figured a stand-alone would be the best way to do it. I would like to have it ready by this time next year. So, in addition to outlining Far Away, I’ll be editing Take Over. In order to finish that by the end of the month, I need to edit about eight pages a day. I think that’s reasonable on account I have work and school on top of everything else. If I don’t finish it by the end of the month, it’s no big deal, but at least I’m going to try to have it done by then.

I hope everyone else is going to start getting ready for NaNo. 30 more days! Plus, the first day of November is on a Saturday. I can finish my homework early that week and of course I don’t have work on Saturday, so I’m hoping to make the first day really count!

Writing Schedule

I am happy to announce that I have finally come up with a plan for myself for my writing! Well… at least until the end of 2014.

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out Detective Florence. There are a lot of things I need to work on for both the first novel and the second, plus I need to write the third. Of course, I think the third novel is going to end up being the ending of the second novel, but for the sake of being more confused than I all ready am, I’m going to write it as though the story is it’s own novel.

As much as I don’t like editing, I figured I need to spend between now and November to edit. November will be used to write the third novel. In other words, I gave myself a deadline of November first.

I all ready edited Detective Florence during the month of June so I could write the sequel for Camp NaNo in July. With that being said, for the rest of August I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence. I’m giving myself a whole month to do this because it’s all ready the ninth and in a week I’m going on vacation for a week (I’ll explain more about that on a later date).

For September, I’m going to edit the first draft of Detective Florence 2. Both school and work will start up again so this will be interesting to see.

In October, I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence 2 and outline Detective Florence 3. I’m hoping to have the entire outline done as well as have all the questions answered. I also hope the novel (and the whole trilogy) will make enough sense so editing won’t be that bad.

November, of course will be spent writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNoWriMo. I think it’s funny that it’s been almost a year since I started the series.

I came up with the idea for Detective Florence a long time ago and started writing it in a notebook. All the characters were different except for Detective Florence himself, but he had a completely different personality. I can’t remember when I wrote it because I didn’t date it (I’m kicking myself for that one), but there’s about 31 pages written before I stopped. Maybe someday I’ll post a bit of it on here so we can all get a good laugh.

Of course, I may use that case and characters in another Detective Florence novel. Who knows? I have way too many ideas for these characters all ready.

I finally got it in my head again and I wrote it for November 2013’s NaNoWriMo. I’m pretty sure I hit 50k words on day 17, but I didn’t finish the whole novel until the end of December (or early January). Now a year later I’m going to be writing the third book.

Anyway, for this upcoming December, I’m not sure yet, but I might be editing the first Detective Florence again to give myself a break from writing the third one. Then I’ll either rotate editing through the series or I’ll edit one book at a time. It depends on if the outlines for all three novels makes sense and are in order with each other. So, December is up in the air for now, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now, I have plenty to do before November first.

Lucky Seven Challenge

Via Skye Hegyes
Via Skye Hegyes

While I was looking through the WordPress Reader this morning, I came across a post titled “Lucky Seven Challenge” from Skye Hegyes’s blog. I saw the word “challenge” and it intrigued me to see what it was all about.

Apparently, you’re supposed to go to page seven of your work in progress, count down seven lines, and then copy and paste the following seven lines to share with people. Make sense?

So, here’s mine. I took it from my most recent accomplishment, Detective Florence 2.

            I growled at her, but she pretended that she didn’t hear me. I knew she wasn’t going to listen to me if I told her to get back into the other room. She stayed behind me as we were just about to reach the bathroom.

“Didn’t you lock the front door when we left earlier?” I grumbled. I knew I should have been the last one to exit the house.

“Of course I did!” Lilah defended herself in a harsh undertone. She glared at me for only a moment and then she turned her attention back on the bathroom door anticipating the moment when someone came out into the hallway.

Now, I’ll admit that I cheated a bit…this is eight lines, not seven. The seventh line ended in the middle of a sentence.

I have to say that I’m kind of glad where the lines fell. Seven lines isn’t a lot, but you can still tell what is going on the story; or you can at least assume. From this alone, you guys can probably use it as a writing prompt and make up your own ending. 😉

Make sure you go to Skye Hegyes’s blog and check out her Lucky Seven Challenge! Also, feel free to do it yourself and post it your own blog. I’d love to see what others come up with!

11 Out Of 50 Squares Complete

It’s been a long time, but I have actually been keeping up with my reading! I usually don’t, so this is a pretty big accomplishment for myself.

I don’t know if any of you remember, but at the beginning of 2014 I found two Reading Bingo charts. I completely forgot about it for a while, but when I found the charts the other day I looked through my “Read” shelf on GoodReads and filled in a few of the boxes.

Three of the boxes you all ready know about… I read Coming Clean and The Hobbit, and I, Robot. I’m going to explain the other seven books I’ve read whether you’re interested or not. These are all the books I read on the general bingo card:

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

For the square “a book with more than 500 pages” I read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I had to read this book for my Science Fiction & Fantasy class last semester. I know people rave about this series and the TV show, but…it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I was very glad I was able to get through it. I will admit that it was interesting and I liked it to some certain extent, but it wasn’t good enough for me to run to Barnes & Noble and buy the rest of the series.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

I read Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read by William Rabkin for the square “a funny book.” I’ve watched and re-watched the TV show and absolutely love it! When I saw there were books based off of the show, I had to give it a shot. I must say, the author did it justice. The books are just as good as the show and I could hear the characters’ voices in my head as I read. It was written exactly like the show. Plus, it made for a good laugh.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

For the square “a book published this year” I read The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel. I was at Barnes & Noble one day and while waiting for my parents, I picked up the book and started reading it. I got through the first 50 pages and then decided I might as well buy it. The reviews rave about how funny the book is, but I didn’t find too many “hilarious” moments. Overall, it was a good book and a quick read.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

I downloaded A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton onto my Kindle for the square “a book with a mystery.” This is the first book of an “alphabet series.” The second book is called B is for Burglar and so on. I have yet to read the next book, even though I have it downloaded on my Kindle all ready. I read it because I started writing my own mystery series (Detective Florence) and wanted to read a bit in that genre. I look forward to finishing the series as the first book was very good. However, while the ending was satisfying, it was a bit abrupt which caused me to be a bit disappointed. I hope the other books don’t end like that.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

For the young adult bingo card, I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman for the square “a book with music.” It was an interesting story line and the book is short, so it should have been a quick read. Yet, it took me a while to get into it. It made me cry, so there’s a plus for the book. As weird as it sounds, I love it when a good makes me cry–it shows the author did their job and I feel for the characters. I look forward to reading the sequel, but at the same time, I’m in no rush to go out and buy it anytime soon.

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I began reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I read The Socerer’s Stone for the square “the first book in a series,” The Chamber of Secrets for “a book that became a movie,” and just yesterday I finished reading Prisoner of Azkaban for “a book with magic.” Starting in September I’m taking a class called Selected Authors: Tolkien & Rowling. I’m going to have to read books one, three, and seven of the Harry Potter series and since I’ve never read the books before I didn’t want to read them out of order, so I’m reading the entire series now. I don’t think I have to say much more to say on the matter… I’ve always loved Harry Potter and I know most of the rest of the world does, too.

And that’s that! I’m going to continue working through through the young adult bingo card as I’m currently reading through the whole Harry Potter series. I’m hoping I can finish the series in the next month. It took me about two weeks to get through the first three books, so here’s to hoping!

Happy August!

Camp NaNoWriMo has officially ended as of…well, many hours ago. I have to admit that I have never been so happy in my life that a session of NaNo has ended.

Losing 44,619 words of my manuscript five days before Camp ended was probably the worst experience in my life. Dramatic, but true. I was determined to win Camp so I pledged to myself that I was going to write 45k words in four days. 45k because Kris was able to get the first 5k words back for me and I say four days because there was no way I was going to be able to write anything as soon as I lost my entire novel. I needed a brand new day to start fresh.

Monday July 28, I wrote 15,029 words. Tuesday July 29, I wrote 10,019 words. Wednesday July 30, I wrote 5,016 words. Yesterday, July 31, I nearly died, but I wrote the last 15,036 words bringing my novel to a total of 50,112 words. Of course, Kris told me to validate my novel twice because I technically wrote 90k in one month. I just didn’t have all the physical words to prove it. So, I did and my NaNo stats look really weird because I had 44,619 for July 30 and then on July 31 the bar shoots way up and says I have 94,731.

Let’s keep in mind that these last four days I was constantly screaming in my head:

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

It was true. It was fairly “easy” to rewrite the novel because I wrote notes of all the scenes in order as I wrote them the first time around. Of course, before I lost the novel I realized the story was taking a different direction and I was getting lost. I took this rewrite as an opportunity to get my novel back on track and I spent a lot of my time moving the scenes around (I wrote them on sticky notes inside a notebook) trying to make some sense of it all.

It worked. To be honest, I think this version of the novel turned out better than the first. There was just one problem… I had finished the novel before I hit 50k.

I have many ideas for my Detective Florence series and I always pictured the entire series to be in a set of trilogies. Of course, now I’m wondering if the books need to be in sets of twos or many they don’t need sequels to each other at all. However, the first novel is fairly big with about 92k words and about 291 pages, but I’ve only edited the first draft, so it will most likely be less. Now the second novel is about 50k with less than 200 pages.

I think I’m going to write the third book pretending it’s going to stay a trilogy and see where that plot takes me. In other words, editing these novels is going to be just grand! (<—Please note the sarcasm.)

So, now I have another novel written, my third NaNoWriMo certificate, and a very sore wrist. I love writing and wish I could do it all day every day. The binge writing was fun and interesting to say the least, but… I am never going to do that again.

However, if you want to look on the bright side, at least I realized I can hit a deadline if I really set my mind to it.

But… Let’s be real now. Why did I want to win Camp so bad? Well, to complete another manuscript, of course. Yes, but also because Kris and I told ourselves that if we BOTH won (and we did — go us!) we could buy Mario Kart 8. Now I’m just waiting for her to get out of work so we can play it together.

Congrats to everyone who got through yet another month of NaNo! 🙂

So Far So Good

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Here’s a quick blurb/update on my progress after losing my entire manuscript:

I wrote 10,019 words today on my new draft of my Camp NaNoWriMo novel Detective Florence (Book 2). It’s only a little after 2 PM in the afternoon and I have to say that I am proud to have written that much in such a short amount of time.

I am now 30,060 words into the novel.

I have 20k words left and two more days.

I wish I always had this energy to write so much in so many days. Honestly, if school didn’t end this past weekend and if I had homework this week…I think I would have been screwed.

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2014

“I’m playing Mario Kart 8… Don’t bug me.” –Lilah Williams

It’s that time of year again and we’re all ready three days in! As you all know, I edited my novel Detective Florence last month in preparation for NaNo so I could write the sequel: Detective Florence 2. Yes, it was July 1 when I realized I don’t have any decent titles for these novels. Which is strange because I usually come up with a title and then base a plot off of that. These novels are different for some reason. But…that’s something to think about later. As of right now I need to worry about hitting 50,000 words.

I haven’t written yet today, but I made it up to 5,012 words in the past two days. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I had a late start on day one. I was babysitting my cousins and Kris opened at her work. I wanted to wait for Kris so we could have a writing session together. She hasn’t written yet today either, but I think she only needs to write another 200 words or something in order to be on par for today. She wrote extra yesterday.

For day two we went to Barnes & Noble to write. We had Starbucks which was fabulous as always. That’s when I hit 5,012 words and Kris…I forget her word count, but I think she’s around 2800–something. Her word count goal is 25,000, so she’s actually ahead of the game.

Kris is still sleeping (she did the over-night at her work last night), but when she wakes up we’re probably going to have another writing session in the blue room, as some people call it. Kris and I sometimes call it our office because it makes us sound important.

I also got our friend Nickie into doing Camp this session, as well. She had never heard of NaNo before this. So hopefully I had a good idea in asking her to join in on the fun!

I hope everyone else is doing just as well in NaNo so far–remember, keep writing every day even if you’re ahead. The more words, the better.