Category Archives: News

NaNo 17: Final Thoughts

Technically, I could write till I’m brain dead tonight and try to make 50,000 words. However, I have some final thoughts on NaNoWriMo that I want to write instead. (Plus, I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for the last week and lost miserably.) So, there’s the “official” goal of NaNoWriMo, which is…a lot more complex than it sounds, and then there are personal goals that you might have within the context of the challenge. Here’s my stance on this year.

The official goal is to write a complete, original book of at least 50,000 words. Well, this has always been problematic for me. Why? Because I am, as Professor Davis put it, a put-er-in-er. What he means is I get my basic framework out of the way in a rough draft, and then I spend the next couple of drafts adding to it to flesh out characters and scenes that might need it, fix my stimulus and response, and if there are any “blank spots” in terms of background or character descriptions, fill those in. Even then, my original books tend to run around around 40,000 for the first draft, and how much it gains varies considerably. I’m not a door-stopper writer, probably because I hate reading those. (Exception being Ginny’s stuff, which I get in nice bite-sized snippets for the actual story, and then when I’m editing the big book, I couldn’t care less.)

The second problem with this goal is that… I already know I can do it if pushed. If I absolutely have to, I will almost kill myself to turn out 50,000 words. But I will then suffer through three months or so of burnout trying to recover my health and motivation to write anything other than RP posts and the occasional fanfic. Not good, especially when I have an agent interested in Sun’s Guard: Ten, and I might be working on future books for that series soon… *crosses fingers*

This is where personal goals come into play. I realized that I was still in the same sort of “brain” as I had in college/grad school. Short bursts of turning out a ton of work, and then long breaks. The problem is without a set deadline, it’s harder to get the bursts going. I also work full time now, I am stepping up in my medieval group, I have a house to keep up with and no spouse to help, plus all my RPs (most of which I paused this year) and other things I do for fun. Add in the neglect I’ve been showing Ginny’s and my MMO concept, putting far too much work on her shoulders, and my crappy health lately? Yeah, writing hasn’t been happening.

Which just makes me more exhausted. Writing is my outlet. I enjoy it, it lets me create a world and people who have an important part to play. But God, it is exhausting to the old brain pan as much as it’s refreshing. And I have forgotten (if I ever knew) how to pace myself when I don’t have anything other than self-applied deadlines, and now that I’m out of school, I don’t know what is considered reasonable for me to do without causing burnout.

So my personal goal for NaNo was, while not to write every day because I knew that was impossible, but to write more and when I got tired, stop. If my head was hurting, or I had an anxiety attack, I was allowed to take the day off. Since it was Thanksgiving during this month, I made time for my family. And at the end of the month, evaluate what I learned.

The end results are pretty satisfying. In a rehearsal month (because yes, I have medieval fair rehearsal in November) when there is a major holiday where I am expected to see my family, and with not only a major anxiety attack one weekend and fighting a sinus infection, I turned out 33,000 words. That is at least half if not more of a novel. I also averaged anywhere from 1700 to 2500 a day on days where I could write, though the 2500 I could tell was me pushing a little harder than I should have. That’s about one chapter for me. It’s definitely a blog post, as you all can tell.

Right now, Heir to the Sky is at a good stopping place, so I’m going to call this the end of “arc 1,” even though I only gained one badge. Next year, unless I’m stupid behind on a deadline for a publisher, I’ll pick it up again for November 2018 and see if I can get us to the Mega Evolution. I’m still going to play the game (once I buy a new charger for the DS, Kari wrecked my only one) and get all my notes done so all I have to do is write… I might even do super-prep and get all my art graphics done instead of doing it as I go, just to save time.

While I may not have met the official goal of NaNoWriMo, I definitely met my personal goal. I know my pacing now, and I have a plan for the next few months. December is gift writing, January is working on Ginny’s and my game and querying Ten some more, since the agent hasn’t given me yes or no yet and isn’t exclusive yet either. February is actually going to be dedicated to some first-arc plotting for both Bree’s first book, Truth of Justice: Touched and Caley’s second book, Sun’s Guard: Page, and then I might start writing Touched if there’s time. March is going to be a “rest month” where I focus on fanfiction and catching up any RPs I’ve let slide, giving my brain a break, mostly because it’s the last month before medieval fair and that’s going to be eating me alive.

And of course, you can return here for your expected blog post once a week. ^_^ I’m not sure what next week’s is going to be, I have a couple half-started, so we’ll see!

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News: Queries, Kitty Weight Problems, and a Wedding

…prefacing this, the wedding was not mine.

So, Ten has gone out to a bunch of agencies now. I had one nibble for more, but I haven’t heard back so I think it might be a bust. They only wanted three chapters, and its been a couple months now, even factoring in August dead month. Between blog posts and dance seminars this weekend, I may try to get some fresh ones sent out. The agents left on my list require a synopsis, and converting my Excel books into a coherent document was a hassle I was trying to avoid.

…Yes, books. Sun’s Guard and the rest of its intended universe requires extensive notes, plus one to keep the big picture sorted out.

Tsuki rather dramatically lost a lot of weight. Not gonna lie, she has been my biggest concern lately (she’s my baby, damn it). Her blood work came back excellent at the vet, and a month and a half later, I think I finally have her diet adjusted. The next few weeks will tell. She’s such a picky eater and has a sensitive stomach and grain allergy, it has been a nightmare.

And the wedding! It was my brother’s, I officially have a sister, a niece, and a nephew. I was technically a bridesmaid, but I mostly kept out of trouble and helped when I could. Now I am prepping for fair season, and you know, being a hermit for a little while.

Part of prep will show up here! I am doing a Nuzlocke run of Pokemon X, and intend to write it for NaNoWriMo. The writing will go up in a weekly post through November, with cute little insert charts of the Pokemon I catch. I should have at least four badges before I start, which I hope will be enough headway. You’ll meet the player analogue and rival before hand, in a Character Study, so look out for it and more posts starting soon!

Update: I WAS WRONG, TECHNOLOGY BIT ME, AGENT WANTED THE FULL MANUSCRIPT!!! Hoping for good news in six weeks.


AN EPILOGUE AND TEN IS DONE!

…or rather, the first complete draft of the book is done, I have I think three or four partials where I realized my plot was wrong for whatever reason and had to restart. Now I’m putting it away for a month, focusing on other projects that need my attention in some manner or other and take my mind off of it.

Then begins the wonderous process of going back and doing ANOTHER draft to fix problems I find in scenes (my plot feels solid?). Then I submit myself to Ginny for punishment and hope she doesn’t find any giant logic gaps/plot holes/ boring spots, because sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees and there are a lot of details, a.k.a. trees, for me to keep in my head. (Yes, she’s reading mostly for entertainment value check, but she’s the kind of reader that if you have massive plot problems, it kills her enjoyment. She’s HANDY like that.) Then I fix any problems she DOES find, so there’s another draft.

Then I print the WHOLE THING out, go through and check the stimulus/response order, the reaction-order (it should go feeling, thought, action, dialogue. And if it can’t and still make sense, your stimulus/response order is wrong), fix all of THAT…. then print it off AGAIN and do a grammar/typo check.

I don’t expect my s/r or r-o to be perfect, I just want it to be at a level that Deborah Chester, my grad school committee head, won’t read it and bow her head in shame.

And with all that work… Still should be writing query letters by the end of January. (I hope.)


News: Act II Complete and Moving!

Hey folks, this is  going to be real quick this week. I’m trying to get back in the habit of there being a weekly post, and I meant for there to be an actual review this week and just pull off two with a News post… Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Why? Well, I am moving! I have bought a house, we close on Tuesday, and I have to be out of the apartment by Halloween. So things are going to be a little crazy around here this weekend, and possibly the next two, but I will still try to get something out at least one of those weeks.

On even more exciting news, Act II of Ten is complete! I will need to update all my statuses around this website after I finish this post, and I’m hoping to finish Act III also by Halloween.

Why? Because I am going to write a Nuzlocke run of Pokemon X for NaNoWriMo this year. It is going to take the place of most of the SSO stuff here on the site, sort of a freebie read to see if you like my writing style before you buy anything. I won’t be taking it down, so if you have favorited the link to it or go hunting in tags you’ll be able to find it, but I am going to be taking it off the top bar. Ginny is going to blog and go more in depth about it, and I will post the link when that happens.

With that, I am off to try and get at least to someone getting poisoned in the book. 😛 Wish me luck!


News: Kidnapped by Medieval Fair

Yeahhh… My partner hasn’t been present at our medieval fair rehearsals for the last month and a half (ish). Meaning my lines in the human chessboard this year have doubled at this point. Meaning about one third to one half of the half-hour long board is me speaking. In rhyme. And iambic pentameter. And my costume was being a four letter word, or at least one part of it was.

See you on the other side of April Fool’s Day, I promise. I just need to get past fair, recover from it on the Monday after (I even took off work that day) and I will get something out that week.


2016 Goals

I refuse to call them resolutions. I’m not changing, I’m just setting goals for myself.

  1. Finish the video game pitch. We’re so close, I can feel it, I just have to buckle down.
  2. Get Ten ready for querying. Again, so close, so very close…
  3. Finish two of my fanfics–White Heather, which is the last in a stand-alone trilogy I started years ago and it would be nice to put the final cap on it, and then the first series in my Sly Cooper insanity, Sly Cooper: Lost in Time and Space.
  4. Socialize more. I got into the habit of staying home like a sloth while I lived up in OKC, and now that I’m back here in Norman, I’d really like to get out with my friends a little bit more. (…A wee little.)
  5. Save for my trip to Disney World! That’s right, I’m fully intending on spending my 27th birthday Bounding around Disney World with at least one, if not two, of my closest friends for a full week. (Okay, we might make a side trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for one day.) I won’t be able to blog the entire trip, but I do plan to post pictures from it here on the site. 🙂

News: Recovering from NaNo

I sort of crashed, creatively, after my failed attempt at NaNoWriMo. Well, I say failed, if only because I didn’t finish the novel or reach 50k words. But what I did get done is some major progress. I got the first bit that I’d written redone (minus some added fluff that needs added to the first chapter), and can finally start plotting the last bit that needs it.

Why haven’t I been on it? Why didn’t I finish? Well, I started a new job at the end of October, and it’s been taking me time to adjust to it. There’s a lot of elements to it that I’m familiar with, there’s a lot of it I’m not. I’ve gotten to where I’m at least quasi-comfortable with the new computer system, but figuring everything else out…yeah, it’s still hard on my poor brain. And we’re supposed to be getting a new system here in the next year or so, wee.

In addition, Ginny and I are working on and off on a video game pitch together, and I sort of want to focus on getting my half of it done for good, which is getting the documents all put together and shiny, and being the liaison with our trailer artist (I finished the character side of it, mostly, got a few more left to do).

Overall, there is a plan. I’m probably going to sit down at lunches with a notepad and try to get the third act (which is commonly referred to as the second half of the second act) plotted. I’m not going to try writing it until February anyway, I need the extra time to get used to my job at this point. But we’re in the heart of medfair season, so I’ve got plenty of projects to tackle. Pitch, medfair costume, my Sly Cooper fanfics that have been dying for attention… I’ll update you all in February if I’m ready to start writing again.

I leave you with this today, and then reviews will start next weekish. I’ve been in the Ginny-Box plus watching some movies, so I’ve got material! 🙂


News: NaNo, But Still Posting!

Hey everyone!

So, fun fact. I got horribly, horribly stuck in Act 2 of this draft of Ten. Not for your usual reasons of hitting writer’s block, I knew what was coming next, I was just having difficult slogging through a fight scene to get to my mid-point. And once I get stuck like that, I start thinking about the earlier parts of the book, which as I think I mentioned in an earlier post, I was having to revamp part of the first part of Act 2 to remove a character and bring the problem more the focus. And that made me think of the beginning, which wasn’t very actiony at all.

This revelation happened so conveniently close to NaNoWriMo. So yep. I’m scrapping what I have and starting over…sort of. I’m going to pull bits and pieces from the first draft, because I like them and see no need to rewrite them, but for the most part, I’m starting from scratch, revamping my old plot a little to fix the front… I still need to plot the second half of Act 2, but I’ll get there! So hopefully by the end of NaNoWriMo, I’ll have a complete second draft (which is the first complete draft), which will need a few edits around Christmas time once it’s had a chance to set, and it’ll be ready for an agent (and I’ll be much happier for it).

Now, with me doing NaNo, my free time is shot. But never fear! If you venture to the Star Stable Diaries landing page (or hover over it on the menu and click on the Diary Entries), you’ll see we’ve started breaking those up into smaller bite-sized sections (usually four or so) about the same size of our normal blog posts. So while there won’t be any reviews or random thinking, there will be part of the next diary entry every day, starting Monday next week. (Yes, I finally finished it.) So enjoy those, and I will be back with reviews and such in December.

Just in time for Christmas reviews, wee! (Because until after Turkey Day, don’t talk Christmas with me.)


News: *blows off dust*

Whew. It’s been a crazy few weeks.

So, I guess this counts as a personal life update…? I don’t advertise too much on here about that, but I kinda wanted to blog about this, so… Sorry if you came for a review, come back sometime between now and Friday?

For one thing, I’m back in my college town of Norman. I decided I am not a major city person. I’ll travel there for work, sure, but not ideally and I am not living up there again. Nope. So back I went. I’m in a great place, so I think I’ll be staying here until I get enough saved for a real house. I’m a creature of habit, so having my safe place back is nice. (Now just comes the unpacking, lovely…)

On a much more serious note, my health has taken some bad turns the last year. I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS and possible Vitamin D deficiency, which is why my energy levels have been almost non-existent. All of that should be wrapped up this upcoming week or early next, with me on all my lovely new medications and while some will take up to a year for me to see their affects, others should give me an immediate boost. Then things got scary. The doctor has discovered some growths on my thyroid that are large enough to require a biopsy, just to be safe. That’s in a couple weeks, and trust me, I’m scared on multiple levels. It’s more than likely benign and just genetics being…genetics, since my mother has had similar issues recently (and in my brother’s and my words when I told him, I don’t have to do everything Mom does, it just happens!). I’ll try to keep you all updated at least on that score.

I didn’t find out about my PCOS as early as I could have. Really, I could have been diagnosed with this back when I was still in undergrad, and my health wouldn’t have been as badly compromised. (I almost was diagnosed with it back in high school when it first started, but we never followed up on it, soooo….) So I have this public service announcement for my followers.

Girls, find out if you can get a yearly physical via your parents’ health insurance, your own (if you are grown and off on your own), or via a clinic. And actually go. Talk to your doctor about what’s going on with your body, and be honest. Find out what’s considered normal and what’s concerning. This is going to be hard to talk about, especially if you are like me. I get extremely uncomfortable and just want to disappear into the floor, and this is better than it was when I was younger! But even as a teenager, you need to let your voice be heard instead of just letting your parents handle it. It’ll make it that much easier.

Parents, for the love of God, do not jump to bad conclusions about some of these symptoms or pick on them about them, even under the guise of wanting to help. This disease is hard enough, we need support in the form of reassurance that it doesn’t make us ugly or that everyone notices the physical flaws we’ve got. Trust me, I prefer it if the thick hair growth is not commented on if at all possible, even by my mother. I know it’s there, there’s nothing I can do about it, please do not break my mental bubble where I pretend it isn’t that noticeable. Just being there does worlds of good.

There, I’m done. Stepping off the soap box now.

Now, what the goobly gook does this mean for the blog? Well, I have a little alert now on my phone, so if you don’t follow me on twitter, you should. I’m going to start tweeting at least once a day, not sure what about yet… Probably just random thoughts I have on fantasy or scifi genre tropes, writing, RPGs, movies, books, Star Stable…anything I would normally blog about, but is just too small to require a post. Some of these things will no doubt be inspired by Ginny and I both, since we share a brain and rarely go a day without talking for at least an hour or two if not more. I’m still going to aim for a review or post a week, we’ll see what I can pull off until the meds kick in.

As for the book, well, obviously we know why my Act II is being particular difficult. Writing is work and energy, and I’m using up a limited supply too quickly with this deficiency. It doesn’t help that I’ve realized I need to go back and fix the first third or so of it, which makes going forward that much trickier. I thought I’d be able to at least get to my midpoint, but I’m about at the point where I go, “Nope, not working, back track and fix first so the brain will quit stalling.” Finding your own way of writing is always difficult, mine is just being worse because what worked for me as a student isn’t working for me as a professional.

Thanks everyone for being so patient with me through all of this.


News: Star Stables Latest Update and Menu Reorganized

Hey ya’ll. So, I got the menu re-arranged at last! (I know, second thing first, trust me, you want it that way.) Hopefully it still makes sense and is easy enough to navigate, while still being one line rather than the double one. I know my eyes had issues with knowing what was important and what was extra, but now it’s all good.

So, Star Stable launched their updated Moorland. And let me say that the background looks great. I love the new textures, and it looks very bright and warm. I even like the new NPCs walking around who authenticate that the Bobcat Girl is more than just Tan and Loretta. But the characters themselves…. Okay, let me rephrase. The picture-when-talking-to-them art for Loretta, Tan, and Jenna are great. Their vectors, the thing you see when you ride past them, look like the ReDead from Legend of Zelda: Windwaker because their faces look grey and just ugh.

And Josh. Admittedly, I have a little bit of personal investment in Josh now. I’ve got a story going with him as the love interest. But really, SSO? Why the grey hair? Why the duck lips? Why the old man sweater, trousers, and loafers? That last question is legit, btw. Because he is supposed to be a cowboy. And that…that is not Western/cowboy wear at ALL.

I refuse to acknowledge this. Enough said.