Thoughtful Thursday – Another week already?

thoughtfulWell, here we are at Thursday once again. Things are looking up. I hope I’m not jinxing myself when I say that.

I’ve nearly finished editing my novel for its next submission attempt. I’m checking through the grammar before submitting it. I expect I’ll include a synopsis in the email to them.

I continue to apply for jobs, but having gone to a workshop I learned that Networking is how most jobs are acquired, not applying for them. As such, I’ve been switching tactics. The hidden job market is accessed through who you know and accounts for most of the job market, apparently. Through a friend¬†I’ve gotten a meeting set up with a recruiter. The meeting is later today. I hope it goes well.

My severance was more than I expected. I’m hoping I won’t have to use all of it to survive and can dump some into RRSPs. We’ll see how this all goes. One day at a time.

I’m meeting with my job coach tomorrow morning. We’ll see what the thoughts are for me in the coming week with respect to job applications.

Once I’ve submitted my novel, I will take a day or two off to clean my house and then delve into the next short story as I have another deadline. Oh, I should probably let them know I intend to submit a story for that anthology ūüėČ

Alright, it’s time to shower and have lunch. Meeting is at 1pm.

Ciao,
R~

 

Wonder Wednesday: Extreme Editing

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

Prescheduling this one as I think I might be incapable of much on Wednesday.

The day before I submitted my manuscript to the Half the World competition, I signed up for Grammarly Premium. Grammarly found nearly 2000 issues. This was bad, yet good. Bad because time was so short and good because there was time to fix things before sending it out.

It was submitted on the morning of Tuesday, June 7th.

What I learned:

  1. I had messy battle scenes that I was convinced I needed to print out in order to cut up and move the pieces around. Well, my printer was out of ink. I was about to head out and buy a better printer¬†because I actually hate inkjets. Then I said, “Don’t be stupid. All you need are your brain and fingers.” I hunkered down and it was way easier than I thought. I’m still going to replace my printer with a laser printer but it’s not pressing.
  2. I used to have excellent grammar skills. I used to tutor others. Somewhere along the way, I forgot proper comma usage. Indeed, nearly half of the 2000 errors were related to commas.
  3. I like the word though quite a lot.
  4. It seemed my manuscript had a lot of repetitive words but they were all located near each other. Like my brain locked onto a word for the day or week and it was going anywhere it could.
  5. Editing both battle scenes on the same day helped me fix both of them even though they were very different from each other.
  6. Somehow I can function on very little sleep without caffeine. I have had about 3 hours of sleep. I edited for the bulk of one day before going to sleep then the novel beckoned me to wake at 2AM after closing my eyes at 11:30PM. I continued to edit for about 2 hours. Then I tried to sleep but I doubt I fell asleep. I rose with the alarm and continued to edit. Then I submitted and hastily showered before going to work. I am now wondering if I am really human.
  7. I learned how to write a synopsis while driving in my car. “Oh god! I have to write a synopsis. I hate those things! Whatever shall I put in it?” I asked myself. “Just run through the story, include the main plot points and the ending.” My brain is wonderful sometimes. Other times I wonder how I managed to put my laceless shoes on my feet.
  8. I write rather lazily because I know there’s no point in making it perfect before I’m sure I have the right words. I get the idea down and it might be in simple language. “Josy was hungry. Josy ate food.” Later that may turn into, “The hunger pangs disrupted Josy’s ability to concentrate. She retrieved a yogurt from her little fridge and mixed it with some granola.”
  9. I’m neither a pantser nor a plotter. I’m a weird hybrid.
  10. My book is currently as good as I can make it on my own. After the contest is done, I’ll search out an agent and try to get it published. The winners are supposed to be announced about a month from now.
  11. I’d like to try a relaxed writing pace of about 350-500 words a day or about 1 page. After 1 year of that, there is a complete manuscript.
  12. Don’t bother with the free version of Grammarly for MS Word. What happened? I used it first and it created more advanced problems. If you just use the premium one, you avoid that issue. Sign up for a month then cancel before renewal.
  13. Work on my grammar, writing skills, and vocabulary. These will make editing less painful. Especially learn to use the damn comma properly.
  14. Grammarly premium gave me pretty good editing advice. I got shown my issues one at a time, almost like find and replace. It was slow at times, though. There were some suggestions I ignored as they were just wrong for my fantasy novel. For example, it would suggest plant should become building when I was literally talking about a green leafy thing. It suggested best word pairings. It informed me I was using the same words too often and I could work with one problem sentence at a time. It usually suggested words that were helpful or I would realize there was a problem, but I had a better idea of how to fix it. I often chose to rewrite a sentence and eliminate the issue entirely. I imagine this to be part of an editor’s job. Now, when I get a professional edit done, it can be focused on story rather than grammar and spelling.

I’m now on a writing break for at least a month. After that, I’ll probably work on the roller derby one unless the alien conspiracy takes hold of me first.

For now, I’m catching up on sleep amongst gardening, cleaning, guitar, and video games.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Brief Update

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Image created using Bit Strips.

Hi, readers!

The weekend was packed. Saw the Rideau Valley Roller Girl travel teams take on those from Tampa Bay Florida on Friday. Ottawa, unfortunately, got crushed but I think they learned a lot. They should be proud anyway. When you’re ranked 60 and you go up against a team that is ranked 17… Well, you have to have some gumption to even try that. Tampa had many phenomenally skilled skaters. Seriously, some of their jammers looked like ballerinas because they were tiny and extremely light on their feet. Perhaps we’ll see the Vixens catch up in the future. Watching Roller Derby on a Friday messed with my brain as it’s usually on a Saturday. When I realized I still had tons of weekend left, well that felt pretty awesome.

Saturday had me at Prose in the Park. The weather was excellent. I should have drunk more water as I felt a little awful at the end of the day after running around in the heat all day. I bought three books. Two are award winning and I’m looking forward to seeing how an award-winning book differs from the rest of the stuff I read. I capped Saturday off with work on my novel.

Sunday was filled with novel writing and a break for Iaido. Partner practice in Iaido was fun though I didn’t really want to be there. It helped with my writing to take the break and get in the right frame of mind for writing battle scenes. It dawned on me while editing that I should change the title and luckily a natural title came to me.

As of this morning, I have two chapters left to edit.They are both of the battles because these are the messiest things to write. I¬†can’t really stick to just one character as they all have to come together at some point. If I stick on one character too long, it gives away part of the rest of the battle. I’m going to print these out and cut each sentence out so I can literally move each sentence around. Sounds silly, but I feel this is the only way to work with these two chapters.

Oh, my word count is currently 66, 594.

This start of this week will be finishing the book and submitting it. Then I get to chill and play video games as a reward. Also, clean my place.

Ciao,
R~

Funky Friday: Long Weekend Recovery

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Image created using Bit Strips.

I’m completely oblivious to what has been going on this week outside of my own world.

Personal

  1. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were seminar days that involved a lot of hard training and partying. I did well at the auction and came home with an entire outfit for $50, which normally costs around $200 at least.
  2. I was reunited with Scarlet (my guitar).
  3. Trying to finish the edits on The Page & The Magician before June 8th, so I can submit it to a contest.

Ciao,
R~

Wonder Wednesday: Deadlines

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Image created using Bit Strips.

The only thing I’m wondering this Wednesday is whether or not I can make my deadline. I need to finish editing this novel as I found a place to submit to. The catch? The submission date is by June 8th. I have to haul ass in other words.

It’s going to be quite the challenge as I have paint nite tonight, an Ottawa Independent Writers meeting tomorrow, Iaido on Sunday, and movie club on Sunday.

So I’m wondering if deadlines are good for us? Sure, they push us to complete something, but do they ensure quality or just speed?

NaNoWriMo gets you to write the bulk of a novel in 30 days, but it needs a lot of work to turn into a worthwhile story. Most first drafts are awful anyway and affectionately known as vomit drafts.

And deadlines give a target to focus one’s effort on.

I feel like I’m going to start rambling. My brain is still recovering from the weekend though I managed some words last night and at lunchtime today.

What do you think about deadlines? Do you like them? Hate them? Think they’re useless?

Ciao,
R~

2016 Ad Astra – Day Three

The final day began with packing my car and checking out. The person ahead of me decided to talk the hotel guy’s ear off, so that was slower than expected. Luckily, I had already packed up my car and just had to hand him the keys. Yay for pre-booking and paying online!

I was still slightly late to panel one, which was “When to Listen to Your Editor and When Not To”. Tips included:

  1. Don’t change your whole book if say they don’t like it. It means they’re not the right editor for you. It’s a relationship you’re looking to start. Would you be with someone who only wanted you if you weren’t you?
  2. If it’s not on the page it didn’t happen. You shouldn’t have to explain anything. They should understand everything from reading the thing. If they don’t, it’s because you missed communicating something to the readers.
  3. Check out the Terms from the Editor’s Association of Canada to know what type of editing you’re looking for.
  4. Some offer free 5-10K word edits, so you can see if they are right for you.
  5. Get references. Who have they edited in your genre?
  6. You NEED beta readers before editing.
  7. Which English language? If set in Canada, Canadian. If set in London, British. Etc.
  8. DON’T RUSH! There is often no reason beyond your own eagerness to get the book published. Take your time and make it the best it can possibly be before it’s out in the world.

Next, I attended “How to Go Beyond Getting Started and Get Something Finished”. I’ve been stuck on some things in The Page & The Magician and I figured any tips at all could help me find my way out of the tunnel. We talked about:

  1. Outlines and the beat sheet.
  2. Writing it without any pressure. It doesn’t have to be awesome. It just has to be something. And some days you might not get passed the word “the”, but at least you put more than nothing down.
  3. Telling the inner critic to STFU!
  4. Some writing can just be practice.
  5. The process is whatever works for you. If you aren’t finishing anything, there is something wrong with your process. Change it up.
  6. Find ways to restore the joy. You love this thing or why do it?
  7. Be gentle with yourself. You might not make your word count, but that doesn’t make you a failure.
  8. Have mini goals.
  9. Schedule everything in your life. Free time, family time, writing time, work time, exercise, etc. This will help with work-life balance.
  10. Epic music.
  11. Read a few pages before where you are if you’re stuck.
  12. Have your character do/say that one thing they said they’d never do/say.
  13. Lots of little things can be decided later if they don’t affect the story. Things like hair colour, what kind of chair, etc.

I had a blast listening to people talk and debate at “Star Wars: The Fandom Awakens”.

Then I listened to a “Conversation with Chizine Publications”. It helped me decide some things with my own publishing plans.

After that was a discussion with a man from Tor about “Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy”. He was interesting and had lots of neat stories.

I took a last look around the vendor’s room before heading to Oshawa to briefly visit a friend as I had forgotten some personal items the weekend before. The drive home involved rain and was fairly cold and miserable, but my heated seats kept me going ūüôā

And that’s it for my first Ad Astra. I came out of it with tons of ideas on how to fix my novel. I learned techniques to identify the problem areas. Some were very obvious, but I’m not going to feel bad about not seeing them before. I learned and I grew. I also got that boost of motivation I sorely needed to finish my book.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: A Challenging Day

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Image created using Bit Strips.

It’s one of those Mondays where I’m having trouble being positive.

I took today off after Ad Astra to recover from the last two weekends of heavy socialization, a head cold, and a lot of learning. I was doing OK and might have stayed so had I got out of bed before 10AM. You see, I lounged about and let my schedule get all wonky. Normally I do this on weekends, but I remember to get my medication into me.

Oops.

I didn’t realize I hadn’t taken my morning dose until I was in¬†line at Walmart, which I was only there because I was looking for an Xbox 360 breakaway cable. Mine went missing and I can’t play Rocksmith without it as the guitar cable needs that piece to plug into the USB port. I was hoping to play it today. Instead, I got pain and fatigue.

At least I got pho today since I had just missed out on it last night when I arrived back in town.

I can’t seem to get the mall security to email me back despite sending them a copy of my receipt as proof that I was shopping there and not parking and riding. Where I could’ve gone in an hour on OC Transpo¬†and actually come back, I have no idea. I wonder if there’s any hope in getting it canceled.

As I’m editing my book, I feel like it’s never going to be as awesome as I want it to be. I read the first bit of Ed Greenwood’s¬†Hellmaw: Your World is Doomed and was astounded by the immediate transportation into another place. I want to be able to do that! I know I should definitely not compare myself to such a prolific writer, but damn it’s solid and wonderful. I should find his first novel and see how that one compares to what he is writing now. Everyone starts somewhere after all.

I’m still coughing. Been doing so since around the 22nd. I’m wondering if that will ever end as well.

I had planned to get so much more like laundry and dishes done today also. All I managed was getting a few things from the store and editing a chapter and a half.

So I don’t really know if I have a point here. The week has started off pretty crappily. I suppose that means it should get better from here?

It’s 9PM and I have yet to eat supper. I should probably fix that. Maybe I’ll have something light given the time.

Do I have enough clothes to get me to Wednesday night? I play this game way too often… Maybe someday I’ll be on top of that. I might edit some more while I snack and watch something on Netflix. Or I’ll play some guitar. I was really hoping to play Rocksmith. The cable is going to take a couple of weeks to get here.

Oh, hey I have dairy free chocolate pudding. The day is looking up ūüôā

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Busy, But Happy

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Image created using Bit Strips.

The Weekend

Health

This weekend started off with me feeling pretty terrible. My parotid salivary glands were hurting and I felt generally unwell on Friday.¬†Saturday was better. I got blood work done in the morning as the rheumatologist wants to recheck the numbers to see if they’ve changed at all.

Writing

While in the waiting room, I wrote furiously, which continued when I got home. I have a list of ideas to build upon. I did some baking. I took a cinnamon roll recipe and made it into GF cinnamon muffins.

Geocaching

Then I went geocaching. I found two on my own and met a nice old man by the third. It was lucky I did as my app wasn’t getting me close enough and I had lost my pencil during the hunt. I walked with him back to the caches I had already found and he told me of his caching adventures with his son. Apparently, there is a gondola in the Caribbean where you get a free drink for finding the cache. The bar is high up and the view is tremendous. The gondola owner owns the geocache. I think he said it was a multi. I’m up to 14 now, which is barely anything.

Guitar

I also watched some movies and played guitar. I played around with syncopation and palm muting. It was fun. I’m looking forward to my Squier Mini Strat in Torino Red. My acoustic has a bit of a buzz. It’s a vintage cheapie Brantwood K-100. It’s probably due for new strings. I strung it wrong when I first did it. Maybe I’ll get a set when the electric comes in. They’re probably about a year old now…

Martial Arts

Sunday my wonderful Sensei and Sempai helped curb some of my nerves by running me through a mock Taikai (tournament) in preparation for this upcoming weekend. My first attempt was horrible. Then it was the monthly B-Movie night where we watched an Easter-themed movie, Night of the Lepus.

The Week Ahead

Work

I have a challenging week ahead, which started with an early morning today. I normally begin work around 10 AM, but today I had to be there for 8 AM. I got there at 7:30 and the company I was to hand over our backups to couldn’t take them because their processes are a mess. We’ll see if it gets resolved tomorrow. They have messed things up more than once in the last couple of weeks, so I’m not holding my breath.¬†I have another early day on Thursday. At least I’m mostly focusing on QA this week, which isn’t strenuous, but some parts of it are very tedious.

I have another early day on Thursday and many back-to-back meetings. At least I’m mostly focusing on QA this week, which isn’t strenuous, but some parts of it are very tedious.

Health

A month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to get up in time for sure. Seems like the B12 has probably straightened out. At least I’m not frequently dizzy, completely exhausted, or so moody.

Martial Arts

The weekend ushers in a trip to the GTA for an Iaido seminar and taikai. Lunches are taken care of in the fee, so that makes things a little easier. Plans for dinner are arranged with good friends and I’m looking forward to a weekend filled with swinging my sword around and being with others who love this thing like I do.

Ciao,
R~

Funky Friday: Progress, Protests, and Politics

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Image created using Bit Strips.

This week in the news in my life, Ottawa, Canada, and the world.

  1. Accomplished: I figured out some major story revisions for The Page & The Magician and I’m looking forward to writing them into the current version. I’m on chapter 12 of 24¬†but need to go back and add some words to 11.
  2. Pleased: I finally got to a paint nite and painted a cherry blossom painting for my bedroom.image
  3. Ecstatic: I finally ordered the electric guitar I’ve been wanting for several years. I’m a 3/4 size player and the selection is small. It’s hard to find one that is decent. I read reviews and chose the mini strat based on things like musical style versatility and its dependability as an instrument for serious playing or in my case, Rocksmith. There wasn’t one in stock at Long & McQuade’s, but it should be here by May 1.
  4. Upset: I missed a neighbourhood rally about the violent deaths that have been occurring too close to my home.
  5. Confused: An Ottawa man was put in isolation for 18 months and had a psychotic break as a result. I’m not surprised, but I am confused as to why they isolate people if they know it causes problems like this. They’re supposed to go to prison to be rehabilitated, not to come out worse.
  6. Surprised: Apparently, there was a cock-fighting ring in Cornwall. I hate when cocks fight. It makes such a mess.
  7. Relieved: The city has green-lit Uber. Given how the taxi drivers have behaved in recent months, it’s no surprise to me. Besides, innovation was necessary. There are rules, though. At least we can probably stop talking about it now.
  8. Impressed: They’re actually trying to fix the overcrowding issue at the jail. Grammarly is telling me that should be gaol, which I’m aware is another spelling, but I don’t think that is Canadian English… Unfortunately, this has not helped some of the inmates as one committed suicide rather than moving to a different jail.
  9. Interested: Montfort is getting an advanced heart scanner . Sounds like something Cristina Yang would be excited about.
  10. Unsure: The Supreme Court of Canada has extended rights to Métis and non-status Indians. Is this a good thing? It seems the Métis are happy about it. Will it do anything to solve the major issues like what is happening in Attawapiskat?
  11. Happy: NDP finally voted out Mulcair. Maybe now they will get a candidate that has a chance?
  12. Funny: It appears spring has finally arrived for the raccoons.
  13. Indifferent: Vaping seems to have become a hot-button issue. I can see both sides. The vapour hasn’t been around long enough to know what its health effects are.
  14. Glad: A¬†door-to-door energy company is finally getting charged. It’s nice when the scam artists are exposed, though often comes far too late for the victims. I hear energy costs are rising again next month in Ontario. We have so much potential to be a great province, but our premier keeps making it hard to afford to live here. Can we vote her out, please?
  15. Excited: It’s Emma Watson’s birthday! That’s Hermione from Harry Potter, in case you somehow missed that. It’s also Emma Thompson’s birthday! That’s Sybil Trelawney, the Divination teacher, also from Harry Potter.
  16. Unimpressed: Justin Bieber is trying to ride the adult colouring book wave…
  17. Shocked: A fire caused by fireworks killed over 100 people in India. We normally don’t think of them as safe, but this is the first time I’ve heard of deaths that weren’t drunken idiots in their backyards.

Well, I’m off to relax. It’s been a busy week while covering for a co-worker.

Ciao,
R~

Funky Friday: April 2nd – 8th

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Image created using Bit Strips.

It has either been a quiet week, or my writing has made me oblivious. Most of this I was completely unaware of without Google.

Personal News:

  1. Happy: I’m doing OK for NaNoWriMo. I’ve finished editing chapter 10 of 24 and there are 22 days left. My word count is not rising substantially, but I figure a smaller book that is (hopefully) well written is better than a crappy book that meets word count.
  2. Strong: I rearranged my bedroom and could lift things I couldn’t before. Martial arts is paying off! But, oh, am I sore today…

News around Ottawa:

  1. Annoyed: They’re still trying to figure out this taxi “issue”. Apparently, there may have been a plan to blockade city buses. Of course, the taxi union is saying there was never a plan to block buses. Personally, I think they should just innovate already. If Apple attacked Android phone users every time an Android phone had a neat idea, they wouldn’t have the customer base they do. It’s called competition. Get over yourselves and think about the customers! Paying ridiculous fees to go for a short ride in a cab is not acceptable.
  2. Blaz√©: Apparently, Garth Brooks was here. I’m not a country fan, so I don’t keep track of those things.
  3. Fed Up: A snowstorm hit the Capitol region as many headed home. I would be one of those that had to navigate without winter tires as my dad changed them over Easter. We got about 14cm that day and broke a record. The next day, the rain took much of it away.
  4. Helpless: There was another shooting. Why are there so many of these happening lately?
  5. Exasperated: The idea of supervised injection sites is stirring up controversy. I hate when people in power chime in on something they know nothing about and are unwilling to do actual research before making a decision.
  6. Intrigued: There’s an insidious mineral destroying the foundations of homes in Quebec. It’s such a big deal, the federal government is getting involved.
  7. Shocked*: It seems like the weather people have little clue about what April will bring to the Capitol region this month.
    *That was sarcasm in case you mistook that for actual shock.
  8. Amazed: Nintendo will have a new Zelda with a female actor doing Link’s voice.

News in Canada and the Wider World:

  1. Indifferent:¬†Merle Haggard has left this world. Again, I’m not a country fan, but I know many loved his music and are upset.
  2. Yay: The unemployment rate is improving.
  3. Sad: An RCMP officer was killed in the line of duty. She was a young mother.

Well, I hope everyone has a great weekend. There is much to do this weekend for me. Much writing and martial arts ahead intermingled with mundane things like laundry.

Ciao,
R~