Writers Group!

I went to my first meeting with a writing group and it was neat.

I think I was too nice? I didn’t rip people’s stories apart as much as others did. In truth, I only got everything yesterday and it being my first time, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do.

Some styles of writing are harder to wade through, also, so I occasionally had difficulty following what other writers had written. One story was thick with military acronyms. Other stories had such interesting styles that I was hooked on the first chapter. At some point over the summer, I will send them some of mine to read and see what they have to say. It will be great to have people that aren’t afraid to read it, tear it apart, and tell me where they see holes.

I may have also felt a little intimidated critiquing the work of published authors!

It was fun talking about other’s stories and helping each other generate ideas.

I liked that I wasn’t the only unpublished author in the group who is working through a first novel. An interesting tip I got for writer’s block on TTAJ is to start another novel. I do have some ideas for other stories rattling around in my head, so I may do that at some point. Currently, I often deal with writer’s block by editing TTAJ and it usually leads me into getting an idea. I will also go back and work on the parts I have marked that I know I need to expand on, but didn’t feel like doing the research for at the time.

We talked about Scrivener too. I think I’ll use it instead of MS Word for other novels, but I don’t see the point of changing what TTAJ is in now as it’s working fine for me at this time.

Something ultra exciting in the Ottawa writing world might be happening this summer in late August. It’s in the early planning stages and I can’t say anything more about it right now, but if it gets off of the ground, I’ll surely be spreading the word!

Ciao,
R~

Baby I’m back!

So my writing on this blog has been extremely sporadic. In the beginning I didn’t like to blog, so it seemed like a chore. In fact, with this blog in particular, I felt like I should be writing my novel instead of writing a silly blog about writing my novel. I think occasionally writing this blog helped me stay on track with my novel though, so it isn’t silly, but a tool to help me finish it. Since I’ve copied all of the old posts from an old location, I’m glad I didn’t write too much previously. Recently, I’ve come to enjoy blogging.

LIFE

Life has been pretty crazy. In November 2011, I suffered a loss that was very difficult to bounce back from. It was something that only another woman could truly understand. There are few things in this world that I would say that about.

After the divorce, I continued to live in the same house with my ex for about a month and that had it’s own unique stresses. Despite how everything turned out, I don’t hate him and I don’t think he hates me either. We grew up together and part of that growth included discovering that we couldn’t be what each other needed in a partner and staying together any longer would have destroyed any chance of a future friendship. I’m not meaning to speak on his behalf, but just stating how I see things.

I moved out of the house eventually into a condo in my home town, which was hard to fit half of a house into. I downsized my belongings. During that time, my workplace was being divested, and I was reacting to nearly everything I ate. Food had become the scariest thing to me. I was starving often because it got so difficult to find anything to eat. Because I was reacting to so much and I’m a fairly logical and analytical type, I was looking at the things they had in common. I wrongly supposed that I was reacting to one thing rather than a combination of several. The one thing that just about everything has in common is corn. So I avoided corn for quite some time. I’d still have wicked reactions involving me writhing in full body pain wanting to scream from simply having something like a soda. There were days where I would go to the grocery store and leave empty-handed because I was terrified.

The thing that helped me get through those times was watching hockey. I became a Montreal Canadiens fan in 2013. I chose the Canadians for many reasons. My dad grew up watching Jacques Plante, so I could talk to him about hockey a little. We didn’t talk hockey too much because my dad grew to hate it since it was the only thing that was on TV when he was a kid because of the limited channels. Yeah, my dad is getting old. I also like the Canadiens because they’re not the tallest players in the league and they love to scrap. Scrappy underdogs. I also had a crush on someone who’s favourite team is the Canadiens. I’m human, sorry if that fact shocks anyone.

One of my friends asked me what I was sticking around my home town for? I was single, my job was being divested, and a bigger city would have more help for my food issues. The girl I was in high school would have already have thought of that on her own, but I was a broken shell of myself. I started considering leaving, but where would I go? I didn’t like the idea of Toronto at all. Every time I visit that city I nearly get attacked. I’m also not big on sky scrapers as I like looking at the sky. I contemplated Waterloo, but I felt like there wasn’t enough lifestyle there for me. I wanted a place that was small yet big and that led me to Ottawa.

I managed to find a job in my field that didn’t require the ability to speak French. My first out of town move was hard. I still had too much stuff and early on I had to move in stages. I moved close to work into a place with roommates. I lived at home during college, so it was my first roommate experience. It wasn’t horrible until the land lady started going crazy. Part of me feels like I could have done without this experience as I was still reeling from the divorce, food issues, and I was pretty sick in May. It was an interesting learning experience that I am thankful is done with.

I started looking for a place I could afford to buy with the assets I had, which wasn’t much for the Ottawa real estate market. I briefly contemplated moving to Rockland, ON as the houses are quite affordable, but it felt too far away to be working in Ottawa. I briefly thought about Gatineau, QC as it’s also affordable, but I felt it was far and strange. It’s also confusing to work in one province and live in another come tax time and with the divorce I wasn’t sure how taxes would be.

I made one last temporary move to get away from crazy lady and thankfully those roomies were cool people. Prior to leaving the house of crazy, I joined roller derby because though most of May was crappy, attending Comiccon lead to me braving the bar alone and I met AxxiDent’s sister. It was an interesting experience as I had never been to a burlesque show before. Browncoat’s is a fun troupe. I dig how they make the ultra nerdy sexy. At any rate, my new friend told me that she thought I should join roller derby as it would help me meet more people in Ottawa and she thought I may make a good jammer someday. My response was, “There’s roller derby in Ottawa?!”

So, I went to a bout at Barbara Ann Scott arena. Slaughter Daughters were playing. I found the info for fresh meat on the wall and I’ve been doing derby ever since.

NOVEL:

On the book front, I was stuck for quite some time. I had two versions of the start of my second half and had trouble deciding where to go from here. I’m still working through that. 

The thing with writing a novel is that each decision you make creates new challenges and closes doors potentially. Extra complications come in when you intend to write a series as is my intention because there are many more things to be mindful of. Consistency is a big thing with a series. Some might say, “just write”, but there’s more to it than that. Today’s publishing world is big on having work pre-edited, especially by new authors. If I don’t want to spend a fortune on an editor, I need to get it as polished as can be before getting an agent and having them get me a publisher.

I say all that, but there is some value to, “just write”. Recently, this part of my book has been difficult because I had been trying to get too detailed in an area that doesn’t matter. A hurricane or tropical storm hits on the open water and makes things bad for my characters, but I was trying to pick which storm and it really doesn’t matter because so many were in that area over several months that I can leave that bit to Hollywood if it ever gets there. The readers won’t care whether it’s Hurricane Florence or Hurricane Sandy. What’s important is what the characters do, how they feel and experience the storm, and what happens after it. I’m still working on what happens after it, but hopefully it’ll be something awesome.

Given all of the life stuff and moves, I haven’t gotten a whole lot farther if you go by number count, but I’ve had a lot of experiences that can only improve my writing.

So what’s my novel about? It’s a soft sci-fi tale about a boy who’s alien and yet not. He has to leave his home in order to stay alive because he’s a pretty big deal.

Sorry for the essay. I had a lot to say. Geez, if I could write this much on my book every day, I’d be done by the end of February. It’d be nice, but highly unlikely. I’ll update soon with a word count and the like.

Ciao
R~

Progress!

I have made great strides in the last while. Today alone has been full of progress. I realized a large issue was that I was writing from no point of view. It was difficult because the story is about a particular character, but currently he is a baby and unlikely to know or understand what is happening around him. So I decided to pass the puck and whoever has the puck gets the point of view.

It’s National Novel Writing Month, so I hope to get as much written as possible.

In order for it to be considered a novel, it must have at least 50,000 words. I am at 9,242/50,000, so only about 18 percent complete to hit the minimum. I know I shouldn’t focus on that, but it can be helpful to have a target.

I stumbled onto a blog post by author Justine Larbelestier about how to write a novel and well much of it I am going my own way for, the spreadsheet tip and discussion around balance between action and inaction, was very helpful. If not for this I probably would have continued not knowing what exactly was giving me issues.

http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2006/09/06/how-to-write-a-novel/

Since I am a project manager in my day job, my spreadsheet looks a little different, but it was a value-add for sure. Yes I could use something crazy like MS Project, but that’s a little extreme when Excel does the trick and I already have the license…

I haven’t read one of her novels, but I will try to squeeze it in 😉

Lots of excitement lately with buying a new car, assisting in teaching karate, and working. Still have to get that certification to keep the money coming in while I dream about and work on getting this novel out.

Ciao
R~