Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pinterest for Writing?

Yesterday Lindsay Buroker (author of the Emporer's Edge series) posted a blog discussing Pinterest and how it can be used for writing.

If you don't know what Pinterest is... well, first off, I'm sorry. I'm very very sorry. Because after reading this you'll probably go and check it out and get sucked in and loose all track of time. Basically Pinterest is a social networking site where you can look up ANYTHING. There are pins for DIY projects, how to paint a room, beauty tips and tricks, weight loss, recipes, etc etc etc. If you can think of it, there is probably a pin for it. When you come across a pin you really like, you can either re-pin it and sort it onto a board that you've built, or you can like it.

I'm a big Pinterest addict and I have several boards devoted to recipes, costume ideas, useful things for the home, and DIY projects among other things. A couple of months ago, I saw that Sarah J Maas (author of Throne of Glass) had created boards full of images that reminded her of her books and other stories. I thought it was a swell idea and promptly copied it. I have three boards currently dedicated to writing: one board is specifically for images that remind me of TUO, another is for actors or models that I've cast as characters in other books, and a final one is for images that may inspire future stories. It had never occurred to me that you could use Pinterest to advertise your book though (which is silly, because I have a board dedicated to books I enjoy). Lindsay's blog gives some really great suggestions on how published authors can do that.

On writing fronts, I was able to get the fanfic updated. Now that that is out of the way (it was an idea that just would not leave me alone!) I can focus on the adult story and on TUO again.

Last week I figured out that my problem with the adult story was that I didn't really have the characters nailed down. I had hinted in the one scene that the female lead had a very sheltered life as a kid (though she is not so sheltered anymore!) The male character was harder to nail down - in that same scene he comes off as a playboy, but when I was trying to go back and introduce him he was coming off as suffering a severe case of ennui and just did not care about anything except hockey. Also, I think I was introducing the antagonist a little too early.

I went back and cut the introductory scenes out (I made sure to save them this time) and started writing from the female character's prospective. She had quite a few things to say about her history, and how it led up to this point in time, and it was very revealing.

Progress on TUO has been much much slower. Currently the heroine is running around the castle trying to figure out a mystery without getting in to too much trouble or drawing very much attention to herself. As a result there is a lot of scenes where it's all description and inner thoughts and no dialogue. I worry that it may become too boring, but her run in with the King will be happening soon, so that should spice things up a bit.

No knitting progress this week, however it is getting closer to Renaissance Faire Time so I forsee a bit of sewing in my future  My husband and I are discussing driving out to Arizona to see their Fair in March, and then the Southern California Renaissance Faire begins in April. We both need new shirts, and I want to lower the neckline on the bodice I made last year a little. I've never seen this done (usually people just make a new bodice when they want to make changes to their current one) but I've heard it is possible. In addition to all that, I need new bloomers, and there's a skirt that's been sitting in my faire box for a couple of years now that just needs a bit of elastic to be finished. I will get it finished before this year's faire season ends!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday the Seventy First

I have finished another blue stripe on the scarf and I've started on a new orange stripe. I believe there's twelve more stripes to go before the scarf is finished - though that could change. Even though the pattern for the Harry Potter scarf knits up pretty long, when they're done they almost look as if they should be longer. The one I made for my husband almost looks like it's too short. I like nice long thick scarves, so I'll be adjusting mine accordingly - and possibly making a new one for the husband eventually.

If it seems like all I ever knit is scarves, I apologize. I do have other patterns I want to try, but I never really have the time to work on them, or there may be something going on in the background that's distracting - like hockey. I know I could turn it off, or go upstairs away from the TV, but I don't want to miss any game in this season since it'll be such a short one. Though, in all honesty, the Kings haven't been doing so great so far. The season is only just beginning, so hopefully they can get their act together quickly.

I made a little progress on TUO. I just finished another flashback scene, and I hope I'm not being too obvious about who a certain character really is. Now the main character gets to do a bit of sleuthing around the castle before I finally let her run into the King - which was originally going to happen later in the book, so I forsee some cutting and pasting in my future. 

The other story I'm working on is being stubborn. I think it's because I just don't know the characters well enough yet and they're being elusive. I believe once I finally hammer them and their back stories out, everything else will fall into place. I also think I may be trying to move the story along a little too fast so that the leads can bump into each other as quickly as possible and get down to business as quickly as possible, because, honestly, that's when the fun begins. 

The update for the long forgotten fanfic is coming along quite nicely though. I've managed to write 3000 words since Monday, however it feels like I'm just repeating myself in some of the scenes, and the male lead is beginning to sound a bit like a combination of Thorin from The Hobbit film, and John Thorton from North and South (I'm a bit infatuated with Richard Armitage at the moment). It's not a bad thing as the character in the fanfic is a bit stiff and easy to anger (he doesn't put up with idiots) just like Thorin and Thorton, but it's interesting to see how other media influences our writing sometimes. 

The husband and I are going for another adventure on Saturday! This time we'll be heading up to the Malibu Creek State Park. In another life it used to be the old Fox Movie Ranch, and there's a trail that takes you to the old MASH set. Sadly there isn't as much left as there was out at Paramount Ranch, but there's a sign post like the one they had in the TV Show, and a couple of old trucks, and it'll be really good exercise. So, be sure to check back for pictures on Sunday!

Until later!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ideas, Reading, and Writing...

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”— Stephen King, On Writing

I saw this quote on Tumblr the other day and it really stuck with me because it's just so true. Good ideas really do come out of nowhere and they're often inspired by the most random things. Just look at the one I had about a week and a half ago; I saw a picture of Benedict Cumberbatch's character in the new Star Trek, then later I was listening to Radioactive and boom, there's an idea. The very first original story idea I ever had was inspired by a trip to Medieval Times, and TUO was inspired by my time working at Halloween Haunt. Pictures, music, a TV show... anything can give you an idea. 

So, since reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened at the gym is not a good idea, I've started reading Austenland again. It's about a girl who is sent to a resort where you can pretend to be a part of a Jane Austen novel and be romanced by a regency gentleman. After that I plan on reading Beneath the Surface by Lindsay Buroker. It's a part of her Emperor's Edge series and I'm eager to see where it will pick up after Blood and Betrayal

Since Wednesday I've worked a little on TUO - but it's been a lot of editing and rewriting, so the word count is still staying around 30500. I've also added a little to another side project I've been working on. I'm less than thrilled about the opening though - it just seems off compared to the rest of the book. I had one opening, which I deleted because it felt so contrived, and then instantly regretted deleting it. I may have to delete what I have now (or move it to a different part of the story) and then try to recapture the magic I had with that first opening with some tweaking so it doesn't feel like such a set up. 

And that is all the news that's fit to print! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some Progress...

I apologize for this post being so short today - it's been a busy couple of days here in my neck of the wood and I am exhausted as a result.

No knitting update since I haven't knitted at all since last Wednesday! If my scarf and yarn had eyes it would probably glare at me.

However, I was able to get some writing done... though very little of it has been TUO. The majority of my writing since Monday has been on a fanfic that has been on hiatus for over a year and a half now (yikes). Of course this doesn't put me any closer to my goal, but a new update to that story ought to make the few readers who still follow it very very happy.

And that's all the news that's fit to print!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Running a Little Late...

ROW 80 updates are supposed to be posted on Sundays and Wednesdays. Even though it's not mandatory that you update on these days, I still try to stick to that schedule because I like a little structure. Unfortunately I was a bit late in updating this week for no other reason than I was completely and totally sucked into watching the Golden Globes. I didn't mean to. I'm actually not a big award show person (aside from the Oscars) but for some reason the husband turned them on last night and we proceeded to sit there and watch them, and then watch the replay, and huddle under our respective blankets on the couch.

I was able to get a little writing done here and there. TUO is now clocking in at 30568 words due to a bit I went back and added to my first chapter. I also played with one of my stories that's been sitting on the back burner ever since I decided to rewrite TUO and get it published. I've noticed that I've been doing this more and more often recently; I will keep two documents open while I write. One is the project that I SRSLY working on while the other is something fun or mindless. When I get stuck on a scene or a sentence in the serious project, I'll move over to the fun one for a moment or two and let my subconscious stew over the problem. By the time I'm done with my self imposed time out, my subconscious has worked it's magic and I know what I need to do and where to go.

On reading fronts I have finished City of Bones - which is the first in the Mortal Instruments series. Like many popular books out there, I avoided reading it due to various reasons and instantly regretted doing so as soon as I broke down and started to read it. Overall it was a very good novel, though it did have your typical young adult love triangle, and at times it reminded me of a cross between Harry Potter and Star Wars. It also felt a bit predictable - but this could be because it's been out for awhile, so I've read a few reviews and was familiar with the plot before I began to read it.

As soon as I finished City of Bones I jumped into reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jennifer Lawson. It's amazing. Go out and buy it. Go read her blog as well - because it's pretty awesome too! I do have one bit of advice for when you start to read this book though; I do not recommend reading it while you're at the gym, working out. I was seriously laughing so hard at some of these stories from her childhood (specifically the one about the squirrels and then the one about the turkeys) that I had to stop the elliptical I was using and take a moment to catch my breath. Apparently laughing at the gym is a no go because I was also the recipient of quite a few glares from my fellow gym goers. Lesson learned; in the future I will only read where the only person who will be disturbed by my laughter is my husband and the cats.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WIP Wednesday the Seventieth!

Or... of Knitting and Writing.

Despite running around Paramount Ranch on Saturday, I still had time to knit a bit.

I'm getting close to the end of the blue stripe though, so soon it'll be time to start an orange stripe. I seem to go faster on the orange and slower on the blue... Maybe because blue is more soothing and orange is more exciting? Hmmm.

Writing is going. I'm slowly finishing up the editing/rewriting that I needed to do on TUO, and eventually I'll be able to move on to rewriting other chapters. Exciting, huh? The story is still clocking in at the 30,000 word mark, so unfortunately I have not made the 500 a day goal that I have set for myself - not even on the fun little side project I started. Thankfully, ROW 80 is forgiving. It gets that we have lives outside of our writing. I, however, am my own worst critic - however I think that's normal for writers, so it's nice to know I'm not alone.

I do have yet another idea fermenting in my mind (plot bunnies are prolific as real bunnies) that is set in a semi dystopian future where the world has been taken over by zombies. I blame this entirely on watching the trailer for The Host and listening to Radioactive by Imagine Dragons far too often. Seeing pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch as the new baddie for Star Trek didn't help matters either.  

Now to get back to catching up on Castle!

Check out Tami's Amis for more Work's in Progress, and be sure to check out a Round of Words in 80 days as well!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Adventure Time: Paramount Ranch

The husband and I have a resolution this year to go on more adventures. Things like exploring new places, getting out of town for a night away more often, go on more hikes, etc etc etc. So far we have plans to visit Cambria, San Francisco, and in July we'll be going to Hawaii for a friend's wedding!

But first we decided to visit someplace a bit closer to home. About an hour away from Anaheim is the Agoura Hills, birthplace of the first Renaissance Faire and home to a number of old movie ranches were Hollywood would film westerns and other things. Most of these were sold off to developers, but one has been preserved as a park and still has some of the sets available; Paramount Ranch.

If the town looks familiar, it's because it served as Colorado Springs for the popular show Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman. I won't deny that this is a big part of why I wanted to go see it - I loved Dr Quinn as a kid. 

(This was the train station, and Horace's office)

(Looking down the street at what I am pretty sure is the house that Grace and Robert E moved in to)

(Hank's Hotel)

(Bray's Mercantile)

(Jake's Barber shop and the Bank)

(And the Clinic of course!)

(Right through that door was where Dr Mike saw her patients)

My husband was amazed at how much I remembered from the show. At one point he, jokingly, refused to acknowledge that we were together saying that 'I was getting my nerd all over him'.

Of course he'll be just as bad when we go to visit the MASH set in a week or two. 

There are also a number of trails in the area. Most of them are very clear, so it's hard to get lost unless you go off the trail. However, not all the trails are labeled - we started off on Coyote Canyon Trail, which begins behind the train station. It takes you on a loop, up a hill behind the town, and then drops you off a little ways away from the town on the old race track.

(The view of the Western Town from the trail)

(A creek that runs around the town)

From there you can follow the racetrack down to other trails, but none of these are clearly labeled. I assumed that the larger trail we took was Medicine Woman Trail, which takes you up by where Dr Quinn's Homestead was (though that's long gone) and the Witches Wood where the fortune tellers tents were located when the Renaissance Faire used to be held out here. 

However all we encountered was some cement blocks on the top of a hill that didn't look anything like Dr Mike's place, or the cabin that Sully built for her after they married. The husband and I assumed that we had trekked up Marco Polo hill instead, which is where an old movie about Marco Polo was filmed in the 30's.

(Random cabin - believe it or not, some of those logs are fiberglass)

(The field where the church and the school would have been)

Unfortunately, the park closes at dusk, and, since the sun was setting, we couldn't stick around to check out the other trails so we headed back to the car. Overall it was a very good adventure, but next time we'll head out earlier in the day. I'd like to try to find the Medicine Woman Trail, and maybe even take a shot at the backdrop trail.

Next up: Malibu Creek State Park and the MASH set!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Road Goes Ever On And On...

One of my resolutions this year is to finish TUO. I don't think that will happen this round, but my goal is to write 500 words, Monday through Friday. Weekends are reserved for the other resolution my Husband and I have made; to go on more adventures and hikes.

Currently the story is still hanging in there at 30,000 words as I go through and make the changes my beta readers suggested. I also have to tweak one or two things regarding where the castle and town are situated, and throw in an abandoned village in between the two.

I hope your writing is going well too!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WIP Wednesday the Sixty Ninth

The great thing about knitting is that even if you're working on a huge project, you can see some sort of progress. Right now I'm currently on stripe 7 of 19. I'm having issues with tension, but overall I really like how it's coming along.

The husband was teasing me that at this rate I'll be done by the time winter is over. I replied with 'well, at least it'll be done by the time we go on our next big trip' and 'this is why the moment I finish this I'll get started on the knitting and crocheting for Christmas.'. I'm planning to make scarfs for some of my cousins (green and white, or red and white, so it's Christmas-y but can be used year round) and I also want to make a blanket for my Mom and possibly my Aunts.

Unlike knitting, or sewing, or crocheting, there really isn't a measure of progress with writing unless you're working on a term paper. Sure you can see how far you've come, but you have no idea how much longer you have to go until you've reached the point where it's done - which can be 5 words from now, 15, 100, or 20,000. It all depends on the story.

This is probably why I get depressed about my writing sometimes and opt to knit instead: yes, I have an outline and so I have a better idea of where I am in the story, but sometimes it feels like it'll never get done.

You can probably tell by this little rant that I haven't made as much progress on TUO this week as I would have liked. I did get a bit written for another story, but as that's a fan fic, it doesn't really count. I also had plenty of ideas for my fun on the side story... which makes me think I should focus on that for now since it seems to be flowing better. I hate to flip flop between stories, but, thankfully, I'm not the only writer who does it - Neil Gaiman and a few others are guilty too! - so I don't feel as bad when I do.

How are your WIPs going?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Blog...

Once upon a time I had two blogs. One for writing and one for knitting. This lasted for a few months until work got busy, and then I was loaned over to IT. Slowly both blogs became neglected, the posts coming fewer and farther apart. As a result, I have decided to close one of the blogs and do all my posting (writing, knitting, sewing, music and meatlocker Mondays) on the other one. As this blog has been around longer, has more posts, and more readers, it has won out over the other blog and gets to stay.

To reflect the fact that this now a writing and a craft blog I have changed the title and the url, added some gadgets to the side, and imported some posts from my writing blog - so now everything is in one place!

Here's to more posts and adventures in 2013!