28 October 2009

It's the little things that make me smile

Listening to the kids belly laughing, relaxing at an empty beach in January with a warm bowl of clam chowder as the roaring waves massage the beach, getting lost in a fictional world that seems as real as the one where we live, hitting the dancefloor with my husband ... It these things that leave happy and content in life.

I also smile, if not get a little bit giddy, when I make contact with fellow writers and story lovers. I embarked on this writerly journey in a very non-conventional way and don't have a writing/crit group. So the encouraging and friendly comments from others are very welcome.

For instance ...

On Facebook I posted something about NaNoWriMo and I learned a friend from high school is also participating this year; we've Buddy'd up already and shared story overviews. From that discussion thread another high school friend, who shares a love of books, has volunteered to be a beta reader of sorts, and I've taken her up on her offer. Then I commented over at Learn to Write Fiction, Cheryl Corbin's blog, and now I have another NaNoWriMo Buddy and a new way to get some cool writing tips via her Tweets.

So despite not get much story writing accomplished today, I'm still smiling.

25 October 2009

Seven More Days

Only seven more days until
  • NaNoWriMo
  • a new story
  • a pause in editing first NaNoWriMo WIP
  • working with the kids on their NaNoWriMo
  • holiday planning (both Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house this year)
  • birthday collisions (10 birthdays just in the immediate family in November)
Gonna be a busy month, but I'm prepared for NaNoWriMo. My outline is made, character profiles are done, music playlist ready, Scrivener file waiting and the Muse has been tossing little details at me already.

If any of you are gonna play this year, my NaNoWriMo handle is AnneV, add me as your Buddy. And for those of you on Twitter, use the hash tag #NaNoWriMo to search and connect with NaNoWriMo's.

21 October 2009

I don't need no stinkin' backup. Wait, yeah I do.

This past weekend while cooking meatballs for the little one's 3rd birthday I was revising my WIP and had gotten some good stuff. I incorporated more of the love interest's issues, which will create more tension when my main character meets her mother-in-law. And I realized that there maybe something medically wrong with the mother-in-law causing her to be difficult; I'll see how that plays out.

Anyways, I was actually pleased with what I had gotten down. So imagine my distress when I finally get back to  my WIP this week and the computer is locked up with all the edits gone. Yep, gone. And when I restarted the computer, the recovered files had nothing of my edits. Nothing.

Fortunately I was able to recreate most of it, and I think it came out stronger than before. So maybe it was a good thing. All that extra work done before I remembered my Time Capsule backup, which I remembered as I was write this entry. So ...

Hold on while I enter my Time Capsule ... just a little bit longer ... Yay! The backup contains my edits, so now I can pick and chose for the betterment of the story. (My Muse is doing a jig, but is still upset with me.)

But back to this post --

This experience has me rethinking my backup strategy. Here are a few of my take-aways ...
  • I need to remember that I have the dang backup system and should check it before making extra work for myself. Another Duh moment!!
  • It's time to use the cloud more. I was lucky and only lost a few scenes worth of work. But who knows about next time. I've already had two backup drives die on me. I'll be using my Dropbox and iDisk more often now. Just got to make it automatic; maybe more SuperDuper is in order.
  • I really want a Drobo.
Hopefully this can serve as a warning to those of you who don't have a good strategy. Set yourself up before you lose something important.

As for me, here's to learning a lesson the hard way.

15 October 2009

The Precariousness of Writing Time - Fall Break '09

The kids are on Fall Break so my writing schedule dwindles.

See, having the kids at home instead of at school means that I have less time to write. It doesn't make sense, the two older ones are old enough that I could still sneak off to my office during my normal time when the little one goes to nap. I should still have my two hours in the afternoon to march along with my small army. But somehow, I find myself relegating that time to getting other things done.

Today, we picnic'd at a local park. By the time we came back, got the photos downloaded and tagged in the computer, dishwasher unloaded then loaded, telephone calls returned, parsnips grated, leeks rinsed and cut ... well you get the idea.

I didn't start commanding my army until after the hubby and I finished watching our time-shifted TV shows from the night before. That part routine at least.

And then, today I downloaded a new writing tool - a ebook/clinic on plot by Holly Lisle. Instead of writing in the snippets of time between tasks, I've been reading about plot. I'm very interested to see how my self-taught idea of plot stands up to Holly Lisle's wisdom, particularly since I'm revising process the first novel and prepping for NaNoWriMo. (Will let you know how I fared, after I've figured that out.)

So, I put writing in the backseat. See, I'm all for learning more about this craft called writing. And I wouldn't have traded the time listening to the little one say "Hi Duckie" to each duck she saw, kicking the soccer ball with the family, or picnicking in the shade of eucalyptus trees for one written word.

Who knows ... maybe some of the words I add to the WIP tonight will have been formed this afternoon in the sun. And if not tonight, then when the kids get back to school next week.

Besides, who knew precariousness could be a good thing?

11 October 2009

Thank Goodness for the Digital Dictionary/Thesaurus

I really don't know how they did it, those authors that had to look up thousands of words in paper thesauruses and dictionaries. You know ...  those big, chunky things that sit on a bookshelf.

What do I use if not those? My computer has a built-in dictionary and thesaurus. I keep the application window open non-stop on my primary writing machine. Always.

Not that I need to do so. Apple integrates the dictionary program into the OS so all I have to do is type my word into the computer search box, and voila, the search function finds the word in the dictionary. When I click on the search result, the Dictionary application shows me the definitions, word origin, thesaurus entries and even Wikipedia information. All in one place. And if I want to check another word, it's just a click away, making it fast and easy to pick the right word. Another plus: the paper version sits on the bookshelf not taking up valuable desk space, and is just an arm's reach away in case I do need it.

I've thought of using other thesaurus versions, like Visual Thesaurus with it's cool visual word family trees. But I can't justify the cost when I already have a pretty useful tool already built-in.

Visual Thesaurus is available on online, via subscription, as well as a desktop version. And of course there are several good online dictionaries and thesauruses to use out on the interwebs. Personally, I like the application to sit on my computer, just in case I have no internet access. But that's me.

So for those of you still thumbing through the paper copy, give the digital version a try. Maybe you'll see the benefits too. And a writer takes all the useful help he or she can find.

07 October 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

Last year was my first foray into NaNoWriMo. As I've mentioned in other posts, I'm still revising the story I created last November. And even though I have a long slog ahead of me to complete a 1st revision, I'm geared to participate in NaNoWriMo 2009, which starts on 1 November.

A month of no editing, just putting words down on piece of paper, (or onto a computer screen). I think it'll be very enjoyable. 50,000 new words in 30 days. Fun and challenging. (Can you tell I'm not much into editing just now?)

And this year will be extra special. My two older children have signed up via the Young Writer's Program. The 8 year has signed up for 5,000 words, and the 6 year old for 300 words.

So come December, the Velosa Household 2009 Wordcount will be 55,300 + ! Here's to some some awesome writing to come.

If anyone is interested learning more or participating, just follow the links included in the post. I may be lurking on the Forums, look for me, AnneV.

02 October 2009

Battling the Beast

My army of 78 march along side me. The staccatto of the march drives me forward.

Progress has been slow but methodical. The yields of my efforts  barely discernable; leaving only small knicks on the beast's hide. I am wary and unsure, but determined to continue.

My army and I slash at everything in our path, searching for my elusive prey. Each stroke reshapes the landscape as we dodge and cut, cut and dodge. The fallout flies to the ground, cast aside by my savage hands, landing somewhere beyond my vision. The irregular rhythm pulses through my blood.

Turning the corner I spy the beast. Its horrendous face looms over me as it stalks me. The knowledge that I created this monster tears at my heart. Must I destroy it to redeem myself?

Before I can continue my charge and summon mercy it races away. And bound as I am, I follow. Thus the chase continue.

Slashing away, I move forward slowly. No matter my efforts, the beast is always a step ahead, always beyond my reach.

As I pursue my terrible creation, I am confronted by altogether different foes who steal me from my path, forcing me to wage a separate battle. Engaged in this other struggle, I am diverted from my purpose.

No matter; I clench my dire hope to my breast. The hope that I will continue my pursuit of the beast and I will be triumphant.

Yes, one day I will conquer this beast. The beast I call Revision of the First Novel.

Thanks to Tamlyn Leigh for the inspiration that led to this post.