Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Filling the Void with TV

Since I was young, I needed noise to get work done. It's a funny balance, though. I can and did finish many hours of homework with the tv on. Around 4th grade I'd sit on the floor and use my bed as a desk, so I had the sound of afternoon cartoons behind me. (I also went to bed with the TV on, not purposely at first, and my dad would come in after I'd fallen asleep and turn it off, then one day he figured out how to set the timer.)

The trick to being productive hinged on having the right program. In the early to mid-90s, that meant X-Men cartoon reruns. A few years ago, it was The Wedding Singer and Music and Lyrics. The past few days I've discovered a new filler, something to keep me focused (something about absolute silence usually makes it hard for me to focus) without being so consuming that I ignore my work: Community.

My sister had season 1 and I'd missed some episodes, but even though I really enjoy this show and find Abed to be a great metafictional figure (in the picture below, he is doing a matrix-like run and leap in a Mad Max-esque game of paintball), I was able to watch it and still get my work done.

I even stayed up until 1 last night finishing some work and watching the Valentine's Day episode (extended version). Not everyone is a fan of Chevy Chase (I like him in Three Amigos), but the ensemble works really well together.

It's interesting how different people have different movies and shows that fulfill this role. Usually tv on dvd doesn't work for me. And some people can only work with music playing and not television--the visual aspect is distracting (and I've seen that happen far too often with myself). Others do need the silence.

So how about the rest of you? How do you work and write? What movies, shows, or music help keep you focused, if any?

[My playlists when I write are a whole 'nother post. ;) Maybe later.]

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Edition: Giving thanks

Just taking a moment to say Happy Holidays to everyone out there. I know it's Christmas tomorrow, but I hope everyone, regardless of religion or preferred holiday merriment, is taking some time during these winter months to relax, reflect and enjoy the company of friends and family.

Happy Holidays.
Happy New Year.
Happy Writing.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

If Only I Had the Time...

I try not to utter these words. I tend to think, at least for me, they're a bit of a cop out, so I catch myself whenever I start thinking them.

Instead, I will mention all the ideas I have had lately for editing one of my stories. I better beginning, a way to make the beginning first chapters more succinct and less rambling.

Hanukkuah is over, Christmas and Kwanzaa are coming, and then there's the new year. To wrap up 2010 I am trying to finishing my grading today, then I am organizing my recipes (for next week when I'll be baking), reorganizing my room, as much as I can in this limited space, and trying to get a head start on next quarter. I'll have a week after January 5, but the more I can get done now, the better I think.

With all of that, I hope to rewrite those early chapters, maybe reach a point where I'm happy enough with the story to send it out again.

That is my hope and wish for 2011, to send out queries for a story I am absolutely proud of. May your ideas be fruitful and your writing come with the ease of inspiration.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve already?

I have written. A few days after that previous post (okay, around the 13th), I got out another couple thousand words written, from 2,000 and something to 4,423. And I'm proud of that even though I haven't nearly reached the goal I would have liked to reach, and haven't fully gotten back in the writing habit. Even now I am only taking a few quick minutes to update here, but then I have grades to update.

And tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the history of which I have great issues with--I know I've been raised in a privileged home, even if we were never more than middle-middle class (lower-middle class even, though I didn't think of life in those terms and never felt deprived), and I try my hardest to learn all I can about history and other cultures and traditions, while trying to get rid of any prejudices I may have (I won't claim to have none, but I don't like it, so I try to recognize it and reverse it). Thanksgiving is steeped like a dark, bitter tea in twisted symbolism and skewed events.

But I can't help but like the (more modern?) idea behind it, of taking time in a busy world to show gratitude for what you have and to say thank you for the wonderful people who stand beside you--both literally for those near at hand, and figuratively, for friends and family who live in the colder places, but whose warmth still reaches across the distance.

On a stressful day when my timecard was giving me trouble, a small thanks to the IT guy for walking me through the fix. And thanks to a fellow writer for encouraging the writer in me who just wants to curl up and sleep all too often these days (for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which has been a cold and chillier nights), and a thank you to the people who thank me, because something as small as that makes my day, knowing my words however few and faint, reached someone and meant something to them.

So thank you to my readers here, to my friends, to my fellow writers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 1 of my Word Counting

524 words. Which were actually written this morning, but I am counting as yesterday's word count.

I like these words, too, even though I am rushing because I have to water the plants and get dressed (not in that order) before heading out for the day. It's a good start, and even though I still have a lot of other work to do, I am going to try and get in another short writing session tonight.

Happy writing everyone,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Own Personal NaNo

So I -have- to get more writing time in. Today has not been a good example of that, but considering the number of novel drafts I've completed, I know I cna do it, which means I have no excuse.

[Note how much I have to bully myself, though?]

So I have the sorta-steampunk ghost story, "Clockwork Seams," about a girl who knows how to sew, but wants to follow in her inventor-mother's footsteps, and the ghost who follows her around, making quips and acting as guinea pig for her ghost-geared inventions.

Together they stumble upon plans to turn the ghosts of Charleton into the fuel for...something. The guy has plans centered on power and greed (don't they all? It's that or revenge). They also learn the girl's father, long thought dead, might be alive and fighting behind the scenes to stop Mr. Villain. Miriam and Ambrose are determined to stop him and find her father, the task which led to her mother's death. [You can see where my idea for the plot flounders a tad.]

As of right now, I have 2,267 words typed. I also have some pages hand-written but not transcribed. So my goal, even though I am starting six days late, is to end up with 50,000 words by December 1. When I transcribed a portion I'll mention they aren't "new" words, but I'll count them towards the total anyway. The underlying goal is to get back in the habit of writing every day. [And if I write on another story, like the YA pirate fantasy or something short for my writer's group, I'll post those numbers, too, but they won't count towards the total.]

It'll also get me back on my laptop more regularly (no more "I'm tired" as an excuse there, either!), and blogging more often; so every night, or the next morning, I'll post my word count. Beginning tonight. Expect a new post, either before I go to bed or before I leave the house tomorrow morning, with an updated word count on "Clockwork Seams." And if that number is the same, well, feel free to call me on it.

Wish me luck, and to everyone out there working on their WIPs or doing NaNo, good luck and happy writing!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three weeks, really Sabrina!?

I scold myself, I really do. I feel like I've hardly been on my computer in this time, let alone thought about blogging. Even now this must be short because there is other work glaring at me and tapping its foot impatiently.

Long story short, work is eating my brain.

But I was thinking about NaNo (National Novel Writing Month--and why does my hand stay on shift key with I type the abbreviation, so it comes out NaNO?), and although I haven't signed up on the official website, and don't intend to, I was thinking of using it as a chance to write again.

I've been distracted and busy and have plenty of excuses that can get more obscure, entertaining and convoluted if I had the time, but I figured I'd drop in really quick and ask my readers:

What do you do when you're so busy, it feels like there's no time to write, and in the free time you do have, you're so tired even watching t.v. is too much effort?

This is what I've been asking myself lately without an answer to grab onto floating by (along with "Why don't recovering perfectionists have support groups or well known methods of changing both the behavior and the thinking?"). Any ideas?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Separated by Half an Ocean

Maybe it's appropriate that I mistyped the first word as "seaparated."

Nights like tonight--when it's edging towards 11 p.m. and I am tired from working all day, but have vowed not to go to sleep until my work is done--that I am occasionally struck by my distance to other writers whom I know online. Most of the friends that I connect with via the internet are four or five or six hours ahead of me (I'm never a hundred percent sure because I horrible with time zones, you crazy mainlanders and your daylight savings). In those wee hours of the morning, most of them are asleep, some might even be starting their days in a couple of hours.

It makes me feel terribly behind.

I live in a place still described as "paradise," where images like the above are probably pretty pervasive on the mainland (they certainly are here, tourism is still where we hang out economy) as the norm. How many movies, wherein a character travels to Hawai'i, is greeted by a grass-clad hula dancer with a lei?

Not here. I don't think there was anything like that when my family first arrived in 1990, though at the time, if you were meeting someone at the airport, chances are they'd have a lei with them. Nowadays you can't even meet people at the gate.

But I'm getting off-track. I do like Hawaii, kinda hard to think of leaving forever (all my books are here), but nights like tonight, when it would be nice to chat about writing, or work, or my proscrastination in regards to either of those topics, no one is around. The internet is empty, I can hear my text echoing -ing -ing.

And when everyone else is reading blogs in the morning, jumping into their day, I'll still be sleeping for a couple more hours. And I wait up thinking everyone else is gone again, lost in their own work, and I've come in late again.

Upside? I get verbose, and usually, if no blog post distracts me, I can get a lot done. That's how I completed my master's thesis--2,000 to 3,000 a night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. when I was most awake and eager to interact with someone. Barring that, I interacted with my characters.

Oh well. I still have syllabi to complete. :)

Happy Thursday writing, everyone, even though my Thursday is in 50 minutes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Interlude: A Vacation that's Not

On Friday, I submitted my final grades. By Friday afternoon, I was home and my first quarter as a teacher was over. I gave myself the weekend to not worry--I worried, but not enough to waste the weekend with work--and yesterday began a week of work before my second quarter begins on the 11th.

Also on the 11th, my family has a friend coming to visit. So this week is preparing two new syllabi for a different English class and an intro to psych (yes, I am squeeing even as I type that), and tweaking my syllabus for Eng. 105. (There's some stuff I want to keep but change a bit, other stuff I might cut down.) On top of that is cleaning the house. Those of you who have known me for a while might know just how little room there is in my house, so cleaning involves a lot of dusting of tiny tchotchkes, hiding excess stuff that takes up space, and rearranging things. We just have too many belongings for a house this small. Also we are cooking a lot. My mother insists on having homemade sauce and pasta ready for whenever her friend wants it. [And I gardened on Saturday and did -not- rip my hand open dealing with the roses. Go me!]

What it boils down to is a lot of work during a single week when I would rather write. I'm also preparing for Christmas and the winter holidays. I love Halloween, but I never seem to have anything to do that night. We never throw parties and I don't seem to have friends that throw Halloween parties, and I'm not one who's super big on wandering the bars. And then, judging form the one craft project I was going to do two months ago, it's clear that during the quarter I won't get a lot of time to craft, so I'm taking some time now to figure out what I'm going to make versus buy, and be ready for it, So if I have an easy weekend work-wise, I can get crafty.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. How about all of you?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back from the Grave

I know, it's almost the end of September. Where have I been?

The short answer is work.

The long answer is...well, no work about sums it up. It is good and fulfiling, especially when I connect with a student, but it is time-consuming as all get out.

The quarter is over in two weeks, but this week is just a smidge hellish, because I'm grading three classes' worth of essays, and every other activity they turned in this week, and a few from last week, for four classes. It adds up. I also want to make my exams, I need two, and along with that the exam review game (modified jeopardy). I should probably also fix my watch, which over the last three years has slowed down to the point of being about ten minutes behind, and it'd be good to give students an accurate account of their time during presentations, which start the second half of this week.

So tomorrow will be busy, and though I considered updating here earlier today, I'd put it aside because I was working. But then I jumped back on the computer to email a student, and figured I could spare a few minutes. I have five more essays I want to grade tonight, and then churchy time tomorrow will actually be 'grading in a dark corner of the santuary, hope the different space will help me focus.'

Today I had a very hard time focusing, you see. I am ashamed of myself. I want to accomplish so much, and that seems to be the impetus for my brain, "Oh no no no, you want to finish the last four volumes of the 18-volume manga series you're rereading (D. Gray-man for the curious, very good). That too is an accomplishment." And I say, "Oh brain," and shake my head at its silly suggestion, look at the giant stack of essays, then read two volumes of manga.

I probably shouldn't mention thta on a public blog, huh? But, I am getting work done. I took a break with the manga, and that refreshed me enough to get back to work, despite the heat of the day, which is also quite the deterrent. (And the library isn't open for long on Saturday, and not at all Sunday. How sad.)

So my weekdays are chock-full of work, as are the weekends, and I occasionally remember to eat and sleep, mostly because people yell at me and say, "Sabrina, don't make come over there and beat you with a breadloaf until you have to eat your way free." Or something to that effect. Not that I want to skip meals, but I am not a breakast person, so half the time I forget, and I never have time for lunch. I am trying, though. I usually have a granola bar handy.

Lastly, I am a doofus, and I fell off the bus yesterday. I was laden down with new textbooks for next quarter, and was a bit lopsided, do as I was stepping down the last step of the bus onto the ground (hand gripped on the door handle), my left ankle turned and my leg buckled (or the other way around, I'm not sure), and I kinda went straight down. I did have a moment to think, "I am falling, how I avoid falling flat on my face?" so sacrificed my right knee and landed hard on it. A bit scrapped up, but I didn't drop my books, or take a header into the concrete and gravel.

So all in all, that was a good day. I also got to pass along the 'Tim Gunn takes on superhero costumes' YouTube interview, which Jennifer Ambrose first posted about.

Well, I've given you all plenty to read, and it's 11 p.m., and I still have a few essays to get through. I hope everyone else is doing well. Goodnight.

Happy writing,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blog Recommendation

A friend of mine recently created a blogger for some of his flash fiction. The Goblin Monologues. (I really want to know where the name from, I'll have to ask him later today.) The stories are intriguing and curious, and I recommend them for anyone who loves a short piece of fiction with a magical twist.

[Disclaimer: I amd oing this of my own accord. XD I hope he doesn't mind.]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sharing a Contest

Writtenwyrdd is having another contest on her blog, which is generally an informative and fun place to be, so a contest is just pomegranate molasses in your chocoloate chip cookie (trust me, it's delicious).

Anyway...(tangent, where? Me? nah.) Here is the link to the contest. Last time, her prizes included aplush Cthulhu. This time she's offering a Bobble Head Buddy Jesus (yep, from Dogma), a Nunzilla, "Steampunk" an anthology (which I am enthused about), and possibly some art from writtenwyrdd herself.

Note: The deadline is the 22nd of August. [Sso I am not terribly behind in missing this, you have until Sunday.]

Go forth and write my minions!...Uh, I mean, readers. Happy writing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Great book find!

Is it bad my reference when I hear "Dulac" is to jump to the scene in Shrek when the puppets sing that "It's a Small World" spoof?

Yeah, that's bad.

But besides my mind singing that every time I think of this name, I went to Borders a few weeks back while in the mood to spend money, and I had picked up a couple of manga. They'd been out for a while, but I hadn't felt compelled to get them. I was mostly picking them up that day because of the urge to go home with something.

Well, I was in a bit of a bad mood for some other reason, so I was walking through the store and talking with my sister. As we turn to head back towards the table where our writer's group meets, I saw the fairy tale section. Jack Zipes and a dozen editions of Grimm's Fairy Tales. And on the top shelf, with a slightly bent corner, all by its lonesome: Dulac's Fairy Tale Illustrations.

Now, I told you that story to tell you this one. [Not really, that's a line from a Ron White special.] At the week-long McKinley booksale, I came across a collection of the Golden Age children's books illustrations, which included Dulac. Information and most of the authors had at least one reprint of their work. So when I saw the Dulac collection, I recognized the work and very quickly made the decision to put back one of the manga and grab it instead.

One of the neat things is, shortly after buying that, wherein an illustration from The Snow Queen includes a carrot-like creature with three goblins (one with a distinctly owlish face), the friend that supplies me in loaned Fables graphic novels, handed me the newest Jack of Fables. Who should be on the cover but Jack Frost, with three goblins and a carroty-looking creature.

I really need to reread The Snow Queen. I want to see what those guys are all about. Honestly, I don't think I've ever read the original/earliest written version.

Is it wrong to be so squeeful about this? 'Cause I am. XD

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tired, but feeling good

Not a writing post, but I just finished my first official day of work. From my side of things, despite my being a bit nervous and worrying about time, the class seemed to go well.

It looked like, once we were done with the syllabus, they got into the ice breaker activity--I wanted them to have a conversation with someone they didn't know. Find out a few things, but converse instead of just asking X, Y, and Z and doing the bare minimum. I shared, too, and we laughed (with me, not at me, lol). That is a key determinant, in my view. If they're comfortable enough to joke around without being disruptive of the lesson, then I think they're more likely to pay attention.

I'm hoping that I can keep that sort of momentum going, even with "duller" topics like grammar and sentence structure.

But I made it through the day. Tomorrow I have two classes, and Wednesday is this one again. I am tired, but overall, happy. There were no rebellions, and I didn't even need to bringout The Gradebook of Doooooom! so yeah, that was cool.


In other news, as I've been cleaning to make room for the work stuff and give it its own space, I have been organizing my craft supplies. I have been feeling the craft bug lo these many many past nights. I just don't know what I want to make yet. And I am tired and getting silly (getting? I am already there), so I'm done now. How are all of you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Job Hunt is Over!

Just a quick update. I was hesitant to say anything until I was absolutely sure, but I got the call that my background cleared and my new instructor orientation is on Monday. I am employed.

~does the happywiggle dance of happiness~

I'll be Heald's newest English instructor, with a pretty full course load for an adjunct (part-time newbie, basically) instructor. I've been reviewing the course plan and have until the 19th, when the new quarter starts, to build my syllabus from there.

I did the interview, then a mini-lesson teaching Program Directors and higher-ups about the usage of the semi-colon. It was a topic I didn't understand so well and I figured it would be good to learn something myself while teching others. And then, hee, I heard through the grapevine that after the mini-lesson, someone called me brilliant. Which blows my mind. All I can do is smile like a goofball and go, "Really?" But that's awesome, and gives me more confidence for this.

Wish me luck!

[And hope my posting doesn't drop off even more. >_<]

Monday, June 28, 2010

Maybe there's a Reason I haven't been Productive

I don't like excuses. [I amend that, I think people do like excuses, generally, when they need to use one, but no one is much of a fan when given them by others.] I try not to use excuses to explain away my behavior or lack thereof.

That said, I wrote a post last night for my personal blog and it got me thinking this morning. see, I had another idea for a new story. Specifically a new story that could be combined with the idea from an old story to create something that I find really interesting. It plays with the idea of who is the villain when it comes to vampires versus vampire hunters. Many of the UFs that contain vamps have at least one who good and sexy if not always nice (or nice and sexy, if not always good...Aaaand now I'm having an "Into the Woods" moment--"You're not good, you're not bad, you're just nice. I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right." Much love for Bernadette Peters.)

Many vamp-UFs have vampires that align themselves with the protagonist, with a lot of sexiness thrown in. At the same time, there are a good number of UFs out there with hunters as their protagonists (LKH's Anita Blake; Buffy to take it into other mediums), so there is a lot of space to play with who is the villain, who thinks who's the villain, and switch between my fairly young, but mature vampire and a seasoned hunter stuck with a new apprentice. But end up having to examine their own behaviors, and existence, and may end up working together (haven't decided the last bit yet).

Anyway, it's one more novel that has tightened its hold on my brain, which makes it about the fourth right now. But none of the other three has kept my attention long enough for me to reach the end of a complete first draft.

Excuses time: Is it just that I've been lazy in my self-control and scheduling, or was there some unconscious part that was waiting for the right story--not that the others are bad, but there's one just ready to be written and I just need to find it?

Honestly, put that way, it's probably just me not making better use of my time. Because in every story I reach a point where I get stuck (halfway to three-quarters in), and I don't use this sort of excuse for those times. Here, it's probably a matter of not knowing where some/most of these are going, so instead of plowing through and forcing a plot to take form, my mind skips on to the next shiny object

Of course, I am going to give this new story some of my attention. But I think making this realization--that I was trying to make excuses for myself and really just need to figure out the full arcs of the stories--has helped me, refocusing my attention. I need to make a trip into town today, which is an hour's bus ride each way. I think I'll take my notebook and use that time to jot down notes are all the major events of at least two of these novels.

Maybe in a few days I can return to tell you all that I've settled on one story to write to its end.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two Pieces of Good Advice: Do Research and Wear Sunscreen

"Wear Sunscreen" is a song/rap/spoken word poem set to music, which I heartedly enjoyed when it came out. In college, a friend made me a cd of awesome songs, mostly from the 90s, and included this one.

Today, there is a new version out, courtesy of author Seanan McGuire: Do Research.

For the writers out there, it is an adaptation filled with advice, both concrete ("Get plenty of sleep. Be kind to your wrists, you'll miss them when they're gone," and "Stretch") and more abstract or hard-to-quantify ("Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to correct your spelling through interpretive dance," and "Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to spend your life writing").

It's a great way to start the day (my opinion, but I'm not the only one who thinks so, according to the comment stream). It's just great fun, and I suggest anyone who needs a smile clikcing over there and giving it a read. It has the same feel to the original, plucking at my emotions when she writes "Do not read Amazon reviews, they will only make you feel ugly," even though I haven't published anything yet for this to be an issue.

Still. It's good advice. Go. Read. Enjoy.

Seanan McGuire is the author of "Rosemary and Rue," and "A Local Habitation" (urban fantasy, starring a changeling who has lost everything). Under her pseudonym, Mira Grant, she has a political zombie apocalyse, "Feed," in stores now.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Beginning of a Plot

Still doing the job hunt thing. Because of that, I've been turning on my phone during the day when I used to keep it on only when I was out of the house. My cell is the number on my resume, and even though I have a landline, this is the direct link to me. I don't want to miss a potential interview.

Well, today I didn't get around to turning my phone on right away. In fact, it's 1:30 and I only just did it a few minutes ago. ~sheepish grin~ But there was already a voicemail (apparently missed the actual phone call by just a few minutes). She sounded like someone's little Asian grandma--we have a lot of those here in Hawaii :)--looking for a guy [R]. She even left a phone number. I don't know if she is a relative or just older, but seriously, am I the only person tempted to call and say, "I got your message, unfortunately I have no idea who this person is and you have the wrong number?"

It makes sense to do that if you get the call directly, phone rings you pick it up and the conversation happens in real-time, but it seems weird to do so in response to a voicemail.

I posed the question to my facebook people, and as I hit post, I wondered what a story would be like if someone did that. You call this number left by someone's obasan--does the lady answer? Is she friendly, annoyed, does she go into a furious old lady rant ("why don't you ever call me? I have to call you all the time and you never pick up your phone. Your mother had to give me this number...") before you have a chance to say you aren't this guy? What if someone else answers, and doesn't know this woman (she also left her name, or a contact name) or R? What if it's a different person and they do know everyone involved, including you? How far down the rabbit hole could you fall just for trying to be polite and do a small good deed?

Since I seem wired for the fantasical, my mind spun off on a Matrix-like thread. Some Morpheus character answers and directs you to go somewhere, gives you a piece of information that compels you to comply. And from that meeting/errand, the world you knew is no more or you're somehow separated from it, and the rest of the story is you trying to find your way home, or pushing deeper and deeper through the forest to see what's on the other side.

Just wanted to share that.

Happy writing everyone,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Making the Spontaneous Inevitable

It's a cool day today, if I open the back door and let the breeze in, otherwise my room gets stuffy and stays that way. It's a hassle to open the door, though. Years of not being used, and the screen and parts of the sliding glass door had rusted, plus there isn't much floor space to get any good leverage. But the breeze is nice when I put in the effort, and outside, a tree that had looked dead for weeks, is in bloom, seemingly dried out twigs suddenly sprouting delicate lavender blooms.

[You can see the branches as a background, like a tangle of graying yarn.
I took this photo just before typing this post.]

I like to stare out the glass door and seeing the flowers open and close over the day, waxbills and doves and bulbuls flitting in and out of frame. Before I got a digital camera, some of those moments might warrant a quick line or two of description scribbled on the nearest Post-it or note pad, now it's a click away.

I memorialize these moments, thinking one day this line or that might make it into a story. It's such a striking image to me, I want to share it with others.

I couldn't tell you how many such scribbled lines fill notepads and journals, still catching my eye as I flip through to a clean page, but never finding their way into a story. For one thing, I never remember to look for these written down moments of setting and mood.

For another, I don't know whether the moments would be the same. Partly because I'm still growing as a writer, one of my "always trying to improve" issues is the balance between description and action, and when it comes to setting, right now I tend to err on the side of "keep it in my head." I get caught up trying to keep the flow of action, I don't naturally slip in these sorts of lines. I worry that doing so might sound forced, or come across as purple prose. I'm working on it.

I guess, then, this post is just a reminder to myself not to forget these moments in a story and to share a little of my world with you readers.

Enjoy. Happy writing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fairy Tales and how much fun they are to twist

Playing around with ideas for a new story (old premise, fairy tales in the modern world), I was pondering protagonists. Jack (of Beanstalk fame) seems to be pretty popular, and is usually lumped together with those Jacks of hill-falling and candlestick-jumping renown. Likewise every story with a nameless Prince Charming turns into one single womanizing Prince.

These are not bad things. I like their portrayal in The Sisters Grimm and Fables series, but, as fairy tales often do, they make me wander about the gender roles and amalgamation of characters. What if all the Jacks were separate people, what if there was just one Prince per princess/maiden/heroine? What if "Jack" was a girl, either a female version of the smushed together version, or one girl out of a slew of fellas?

One of the nice things about where my brain is going with this is that it lends itself well to short stories. If you've followed this blog for any length of time, I doubt it's a surprise that short stories are not my forte. I like novels. But the idea of a female Jackie amongst half a dozen other male Jacks is intriguing. I don't know if this thread will make it into the novel that's forming, but I want to write a short story and see how I can play with the gender stereotypes. Not just Jacqueline and Jill went up the hill, or Jackie nimbly jumping over things, but perhaps the most popular Jack finding that beanstalk the next morning, climbing, finding treasures to bring back to her mother, and the subsequent task of killing giants that are trying to kill her.

But for now, like with most of my recent stories, I'm just waiting for a plot to catch up with the characters and premise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Middle of National Library Week

Does this picture not fill you with bubbling delight?

I wish every library was like this. This week is National Library Week, so I thought it only right to take a bit of time and gush about my local library.

I've lived in this town for many years now, and our library isn't the biggest around, but I can usually find something to read that I haven't before. In more recent years, I haven't gone as often as I want--not the least of which is because I own plenty of books that I haven't read yet, and I really shouldn't add to that TBR pile with more books--but the past few months I started up again, every three weeks or so (the length of time we can borrow books here).

Library-related tangent: Before moving to this town, we were in military housing for four years, and there was a small library there as well. I think in some ways, I was too young to know what I wanted and the shelves, which seemed so tall and full, were overwhelming. I didn't know what to pick in the children's section and thought the best thing to do would be to wander over to the adult books. I ended up in non-fiction, pulling out a book on spiders. It became the book I grabbed whenever I didn't know what else to get. I might have read a few pages here and there, but mostly I looked at the pictures. That library was also a part of a community center, but my siblings and I were apparently too young to play pool. :(

It happens with enough frequency to be a pleasant surprise that isn't entirely surprising, that my local library gets new releases shortly after their release.

That right there is what I think libraries have the most to offer--I am a bookwhore, a bookhoarder, and a packrat in general. Sure, I find new series in the library, and am compelled to buy the rest because they don't have the other books, but more times than not, books I want to read, but dread spending the hardcover price (may YA fantasy titles fall into this category), suddenly appear in the new fiction shelf. Then I do my little happy dance in my head, throw in a ~happy wiggle~ and a cheesy grin when I head to the circulation desk.

These are the days when I love love LOVE the invention of libraries.

Hug a book, people,

Monday, April 12, 2010

More about being a Reader versus a Writer

But first, briefly: The week I took off leading up to Easter--I didn't make the (probably unreasonable) goals I wanted to reach, but I got a lot more done in those seven days than I had for most of the previous 33, in terms of editing. It is clear I still find it much easier to write (and edit to a smaller extent) when there's an external time-pressure, be it having less time because of a job or school, or deadlines when a professor of beta-reader is expecting to have the pages in hand.

If I know someone is waiting, I stay on the ball better. Left to my own devices, with essentially nothing but my own intentions to structure my day, I flail a bit.

But I did make progress, so that improves my frame of mind.

On to today's topic: Am I the Only One This Applies to?

I know there are some people that can reads multiple books simultaneously, while others need to start and finish one book, then start the next. I, on the other hand, do some sort of combination of the two. I start a couple of books at relatively the same time. Usually read a couple pages to a chapter or two, and then my attention hones in on one specific book, and I will read that one until it's done, then go back to the others, read pages here and there, until another book grabs my whole attention. [Another issue related to this is when I have a bunch in my TBR pile, and I want to read them all first, but this tends to devolve into the above.]

Here's the thing, it isn't that I like the other books any less than the first one that really grabs me. And there can be some writers or books that I love, but I can put it down for some reason, and it'll be weeks before I pick it up again. Most people might say that means I don't like the book, but I do. I just, lose the thread of it. Ex/A book my sister borrowed from the library about writing and psychology. I started to read it, then it was time to turn in, so I went and borrowed it on my own card. Even reborrowed it on my card, but I have just not been able to pick it back up. It's incredibly interesting, and appeals to two of my favorite subjects, but I put it down to finish up something else that was due back at the library, and couldn't pick up the thread of it.

Am I just weird?

~shrugs~ Just a thought I had yesterday, because this psych/writing book is due back at the library again and I haven't finished it. I'll turn it in today, and maybe borrow it some time down the road, and hopefully I "be ready" to read it again. Just one of the strange things my head does that I don't necessarily agree with.

Happy writing everyone,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Doing Something for Myself as a Writer

It's probably no surprise that I like surfing the internet. Actually, it's more like a game of "The Floor is Lava," because I start in the usual spots (my homepage) and jump around from link to the next on my favorites list, occasionally trying a new route (when I Google something or follow a link).

But almost invariably, I start my day with a cup of coffee and the intention of checking email, LJ, facebook, and a few blogs, then glance up occasionally to see the hours whittling away. Ultimately, the day is gone and I have no writing or editing to show for it.

I was rasied Catholic, and still follow some of the traditions. Right now, it's Lent, and usually you give something up for those forty days before Easter. Religion-wise, you do so to bring you closer to that experience of sacrifice. Practicality-wise, it's a good chance to start a new, healthy habit. Usually I give up a certain food, or soda, or do extra exercise (which could be argued is a sacrifice of time and napping). Since it centers on sacrifice of self, sometimes you can squidge it a little towards 'doing more for others.'

This year, I really squidged it, and running with the intention of setting up a better habit, I had planned to write 1,000 words a day, because I'd been having a hard time getting words on a page. That quickly devolved to "well, as long as I have 40,000 words written by Easter." And honestly, that isn't looking very likely right now. I'd also wanted to get a big ol' chunk of editing done on one or two stories, and I haven't made much progress there, either.

Now, I know these aren't impossible goals--I wrote about 50,000 words over the three weeks of winter break when I was writing my Master's thesis--and I know I can have that kind of self-discipline, but I've been lazy and easy on myself. Part of that has been saying I'll get off the computer to write or edit (both by pen and paper right now), then wandering the streets and side alleys of the internet and its World O' Blogs.

So here's my decision/plan: It's a little over a week until Easter, and except for a couple of days, I don't have much to do. Therefore, I will be off the computer from now until, probably, Monday April 5. And if I do go on, it'll be to check my email, little things, but only after I accomplish a significant amount of writing and editing for the day. Maybe say, no computer until after 10 pm, too, so I might just decide it's too late in the day and stay off, get a few more sentences in.

If there's anything people desperately want me to know, I'll check blogs and such after the next week+ for sure.

See you homies on the other side.

Happy Writing,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Short Admin-y Post, and then some

Just to let readers, particularly those who grace me with comments now and again, that I've added word verification to the comment page.

I didn't want to throw in a bunch of additional requirements for people who wanted to leave their opinions, but I don't like seeing "1 comment" and getting my hopes up, only to have them dashed by a completely nonsensical piece of spam.

Although there was one a few posts down that had some funny lines.


To give you something fun to read, there is an interview with new-ish author, Seanan McGuire, over at Bitten by Books. I received her first book, Rosemary and Rue, for my birthday last month, and will soon be buying its recently released sequel, A Local Habitation.

[Actually, having not read the books yet, the few mentions of its plot make Writer-Me paranoid, because I've been working on my own UF 'Hounds' for years, but I keep seeing little details in descriptions of her protagonist that seem similar.

I keep thinking two things: 1. What if the books -are- too similar, and I can't get mine published because there's already one like it on the shelves, and 2. I can't read it until I've edited mine as far as I think it can go, so as to avoid inadvertently drawing from her book. The novel is written, but needs more editing, so I keep vacillating between -reeeaally- wanting to read McGuire's books, and wanting to hold off, so I can say this is my story without a too-close influence from hers.

...Of course, since I -have- the first book now, it is in the cue to be read, and the blue and orange cover entices me, saying "I'm sure once you read it, you'll see they're vastly different books, nothing to worry about. Read it. Reeeaaddd it. You know you want to." And I do, so I will, Writer Paranoia be damned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Help a Book-Lover Help Others

I've just heard about this today, but I was eager to share: someone I do not know, is looking to spread the love of reading and create a space for readers, writers' groups, local authors as well as new and small publisher authors. Michelle Witte is opening a bookstore for children and young adult lit, and is looking for help in raising funds to accomplish that goal.

Details can be found on the blog for Fire Petal Books, about who she is and why she's doing this, especially with the economy still hurting. Also, the big fundraising method right now seems to be an auction of books by various children and YA authors, including Neil Gaiman, Maureen Johnson and a host of authors I personally haven't heard of until now, but whose work I am intrigued by, like Steve Ouch ("SteamPotVille," hmm).

I'd encouraged everyone to at least check out her blog, and if they feel so inclined, maybe even participate in the auction. The auction runs until this Saturday, March 20, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

I'm actually going to head back there and read the blog archives for a bit, but I wanted to put it out there for others who may not have heard about it. (Because sometimes, if I wait too long, I end up not posting, and I felt this was important to share. Yay for more independent bookstores!)

Today, I wish you all happy reading.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crosspost-it from my LJ: Epiphany! Albeit a little one

Thank you to those who read that very long post below, reviewing The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer, and The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley--I enjoyed both and I don't always realize how much I'm writing until I'm scrolling through it after it's posted. But if you like mid-grade, fantasy, time travel, or fairy tales (especially fairy tales in the modern world), then please read the review, because I think these two series could appeal to you.

Moving on, I posted the following to my lj the other day, and realized it would connect very well to the purpose of CoffeeQuill, i.e. sharing my process on the road to and through publication. So here it is, with a few additional thoughts afterwards.


Okay, so, as in geometry, there is a given. Every writer works differently. Given that, I do think it behooves writers to read a lot. Not necessarily the same genre they write, hopefully not just research, but in soem form or another, ingesting the words, the stories of others.

Last night, I was getting ready for bed, and reading a few pages in a fantasy novel by James Owen (lj coppervale), "Here, There Be Dragons." I only read about 2-4 pages, closed it at page 24 to finish getting ready for bed, and I took a moment to think about how much had happened in those first two dozen pages. In my head, I started to list the big pieces of action and after just the first, had an idea on how to improve Hounds, my faerie UF.

I've known it needed work, much like its query I could see something wasn't right,, but didn't have a firm idea on how to fix it. Now I have at least one part. Get to the park faster, and see Din's death. It won't fix everything, but the risk will be more evident right off the bat, the reader will see the danger rather than just being told it's dangerous.

Like I said, not a magic bullet, but it's a start, and it'll make the first chapter or so stronger. Already I can feel the story whittling down into a sharper, clearer form in my head. Too much is going on in it that's unnecessary, I just need to go through a hard copy and start slicing.

[This is something I knew I had to do, and was going to do it after I did the same for Harry's Skin, but now I feel like I'm in the right place mentally to view the story more objectively. I was too close to it before.] <-- The one positive point about being unpublished is that I can allow myself the time to do this, and to wait for when I'm ready to work on something.

Also, I am toying with two new story/world ideas. Well, new to me. I'm going to try and let them percolate for a while, though.


After I wrote and posted this, I was listening to volume 1 of the Glee albums. A line in one of the songs hit me, and though it didn't seem at all related, made me reexamine another issue I was having. I tend to populate my novels with large casts, and in this particular story, I think it's too much and at least one character, a private detective, can go. Even after mulling it over, I still haven't decided whether to keep 'Det. L' or not, but more and more I think his actions that need to be there can be attributed to someone else, and the rest can be dropped. But it's just sort of funny how part of a song can trigger an idea for a story about a completely different subject matter.

Happy writing everyone,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Reviews, yay! And a bit about "my process"

I am back, utterly unscathed by the "tsunami" of inches. I've been continuing the job hunt, writing some (not as much as I want to be, but making progress), and reading a lot.

So at a minimum, I usually go to a bookstore a week, on occasion I go less often, more likely I go to multiple bookstores. On one weekend trip, I was with a friend and we wandered around manga, through YA fantasy, and ended up staring at the mid-grade novels. My eyes caught the cover of "The Time Travelers" by Linda Buckley-Archer, about two kids who have just met, who end up hurtled to the year 1763 by an experiment gone awry. There they meet Gideon, gentleman and [former] cutpurse (the original print was titled Gideon the Cutpurse, making the new title an interesting change, to me, to analyze for fun), who basically looks after them, and helps them find the device that will get them home. Unfortunately, the Tar Man (unpleasant fellow to say the least) has stolen the device and isn't going to give it back without a fight.

I really enjoyed this book. It's about the size of an early Harry Potter (maybe Prisoner of Azkaban), but the story really pulled me in. Peter and Katie, the kids, are about 11/12, and generally enjoyable. I felt like their reactions were genuine, though not always agreeable. They react more emotionally to little, or jump into action without thinking when I'm like, "But you just promised not to do that!" But they're kids, and children do that sometimes. I teach first graders, that's how they act sometimes, so rather than be a point of frustration--where I think "If that were me, I'd do it this way--it just adds another layer of detail to fall into.

It also doesn't hurt that the cover, which first drew my attention, was illustrated by James Jean, who creates the covers for the Fables graphic novels (fairy tale people come from their own worlds to modern-day New York), and has done pieces for Entertainment Weekly (and Rolling Stone if I recall correctly).

Now, after reading "The Time Travelers," I was ready for the second book in the series, and the third, if it was out (alas, it's hardcover, so that one must wait), but this was a period of time when I couldn't seem to get to the bookstore very much, and when I did, they didn't have book two, "The Time Thief."

Here's the thing, and the reason why (proceeesss!) I can't read a lot while I'm in the writing groove: because I get into a reading groove, which eats my brain, so I don't want to write or edit or draw, or do anything other than find an entire series and read it to the end. When I get in the groove and one series runs out, I jump to another. Which is what I did this time.

Speaking of James Jean, and thus Fables, back in May I received a graduation present of a gift card for the university bookstore. It's expensive and other than textbooks I didn't shop there much, but I looked through, found a couple of giant cookies (cappuccino and a pumpkin spice, I believe), then veered, as I am wont to do in any store with books, towards the book section. They had books 4 and 5 of The Sisters Grimm series, by Michael Buckley.

The main reason I picked up number 4 is because I love books the retell or play around with fairy tales, myths, and nursery rhymes. Sisters Grimm is like Fables for middle grade readers.

But I also love to (read: have to, almost obsessively) read books in order, so a few months ago I found book 1, then when I couldn't find a copy of "The Time Thief," read "The Fairy-Tale Detectives," then hunted down the rest of the books in the series. (Now that I've read all six of those, and have hunted down TTT, I'm switching back to Buckley-Archer.)

The second smaller reason I grabbed TSG 4, is because one of the sisters is named Sabrina. I know, it's a silly reason to pick up a book, and if it had been a genre I didn't read or if the description didn't appeal to me, seeing my name in print wouldn't make a difference. But I've only met/known of a few other Sabrinas in my life, and fictionally, only my namesake, Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina.

So anyway, I am a big, honking dork.

To the review: I've read all six books now, only number 3 out of order, because I really had a hard time finding it, so this is about the series in general.

Perhaps the worst part about it was the data-dump backstory in the first few pages of books 2 through 6. But it din't hinder my enjoyment, because I figure it's a little more acceptable for a younger audience, and I know it's difficult to explain everything that's happened in the past two or four or five books. Once again, there are young protagonists: Sabrina, 11, turning 12, her sister Daphne, 7, and Puck, who's thousands of years old, but acts like a 12-year-old. Again, it was interesting to look at the way they interacted with each other, and tugged on my emotions, especially when the older sister acts with the intention of protecting her sister and family, but ends up just making everybody mad. It's hard to try to do what you think is right, and end the day with your sister not speaking to you, turning her back on you, and having to face your grandmother's quiet disappointment.

The books are definitely set up for readers to empathize with Sabrina, and I found myself tearing up quite a bit when those sort of scenes ocurred, because even if I'd act differently, it was still hard to imagine being in that position with that kind of harsh fall-out. ('Cause remember, I am a big, honking dork. =P )

The series premise centers on the girls and their grandma trying to find their parents, and then releasing the sleeping spell upon them. In the process, they meet various fairy tales characters, some of whom act much like their story counterparts, others of whom are rather different from the ways they're portrayed in stories. They're handled well, a balance between these two degrees, and none feeling like two-dimensionl caricatures. Mayor (formerly Prince) Charming is a great example of this, and I liked how Buckley played with the Big Bad Wolf, usually seen as a thin, old man with watery grey eyes called Mr. Canis. Canis goes through a lot of transformations--the sort of character you just want to hug.

Perhaps one of the best things I can say for the series, besides I'm a big ol' softy, is that I'm never quite sure where things are going, whether from the beginning of a book to its end, or from one book to the next.

Warning to readers, though, there are a few books (2 to 3 to 4) that should be read in order at the same time. They have those "To Be Continued" sort of endings. Although the main events of the book are wrapped up, the last chapter or so will lead into a new thread that is picked up whole-heartedly in the next book.

[Weird feeling of deja vu, but I know I've never blogged about these books, or the TBC-ness of this series. ~Twilight Zone theme~]

If you don't mind a younger protagonist, these were two fun series, and I definitely recommend them to fans of fairy tales or time travel stories.

Happy reading,

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami Warning

Short and sweet...well, actually it's a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth, and I haven't even had coffee yet. I was woken up at 6 a.m. this mornign by Hawai'i's state emergency system, a whomping big siren. The earthquake in Chile yesterday has generated a tsunami, which they seem pretty concerned with hit the state, starting with the Big Island (i.e. the island of Hawai'i, and the biggest and southernmost island of this state).

(* Map taken from the NOAA website: )

It's expected to hit around 11 a.m. I'm hoping to update as often as information changes, so that I don't disappear from the internet, leaving readers and friends in the dark.

I think I may be too worried right now to make a mafia 'sleeping with the fishies' joke. I am not, on the other hand, too worried to wonder if this is some sort of not-funny joke by a greater power, kicking me in the kidneys and saying, "How's that for a birthday weekend?" Then laughing and running away.

Right then. I'm off to get coffee and see if there any more preparation we can do (we do stay pretty well-stocked in food), and will update this post if they sound the all-clear, or if I'm looking at the big-honking wave from my back door.

In the meantime, if there's nothing else I can do, why not still submit my query letter to this contest? It starts in 15 minutes, and ends in an hour and 15 minutes. Type quickly.

ETA, 10 am: There was a 6.3 earthquake in Argentina. Things are pretty chill in my town, but people are heading for higher ground or waiting in long lines for gas and supplies. I am jumping off the computer for a while. I'll be on again at some point later today. No worries.

ETA 2, 5 pm: The all-clear was sounded a couple of hours, when I was off the computer and out of the house. It was pretty anti-climactic, but better that than serious damage to the islands. Thank you for the well wishes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What Happens When You Put Two Authors Together on IM

Justine Larbalestier posted an IM conversation the other day, with "The Demon's Lexicon" author, Sarah Rees Brennan.

I'd advise writers to go read the conversation. One, it's funny and entertaining. Two, it's interesting to see how two YA authors' processes differ. I am one of those people always quick to point out that what works for one writer may not for another, because we are different people with different ways of thinking, and thus different ways of writing and planning out a book. [Different, different, different. :P] Larbalestier's post is a nice way of depicting these variations, because the pair seem to be on almost opposite sides of the issue when it comes to talking about one's book in its earliest stages. Whether to talk about your story in its zero draft, opening yourself to brainstorming and to critique, or to keep it to yourself until that first draft is complete.

I think some of my own problems lately may be because I fall on Larbalestier's end of the spectrum, but don't necessarily act in the best way for that process. I especially like this metaphor of Larbalestier's:

"JL: But someone criticising a zero draft is kind of like someone criticising a souffle on the basis of a few of the ingredients laid out on a table, but not yet made into a, you know, souffle.
I can’t stand people weighing in before I know what it is I’m doing. Before I can see the souffle. Because then they’ll try and make it into a cheesecake or, I don’t know, an aardvark or something."

The whole thing is fun to read, but it really jived with me after that point (as well as taking a strange-humorous turn).

I don't want to post all the great quotes and ideas in there, because there are a lot of nice lines, so anyone intrigued should read it in its entirety.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Steampunk and Linkage

I've been calling my newest idea a steampunk (well, clockwork) ghost story. I have never written steampunk before, have (hanging my head in shame) not read much, but I see the images and watch the shows and films, and fall in love every time. So I wanted to try my hand at it.

First off, I wanted to try a different approach compared to my write-by-the-seats-of-my-pants leanings. I wanted to be more organized before I started writing the story itself (as I've mentioned in recent blogs). Some writers, like me, start with a single image or idea and just fly as far as they can. Eventually we (read: I) have to take a bit of time to figure where the story should actually end up, but the detailing pre-thought of specific scenes, not so much. Other writers outline a lot before writing a word, some to the point of detailing every scene.

Every new story I begin, I try to move forward, learn something new, try a new technique or method. And every writer works differently, but I'm a believer in playing around with what you think works for you. Sometimes you find a habit that works even better.

For this clockwork story, I wanted to know where I was going in a more structured way. I knew I'd have to do a lot of resarch into the Victorian Era and the steampunk genre. But then the story just grabbed me and refused to let go. So I started writing, rambling a bit as I'm wont to do. Long story short(ish), the past few days I've been a bit discouraged after receiving some very early critiques. They were right, but it was too much, too early--I'm still finding the story.

It was a really nice then to stubble onto this post of Writtenwyrdd's, reposted today (originally from 2006): "The Inner Critic as Muse." It starts off talking about writers falling prey to their own self-doubts, not only the unpubbed noobs like myself, but even the pre-publication jitters of authors like Lillith Saint Crow--"Ah, the Scylla of insecurity and the Charybdis of self-hatred. Iwish I could lash myself to the mast and sail throughthese rocks." Writtenwyrrd goes to offer the advice that whenever the fear looms, turn it around. Stretch as far out into the realm of the fantasic as it will go, and you may find yourself wondering about this person who is no longer, being dragged through a mysterious doorway, a hand clamped over your mouth.

The whole post is really interesting, and I found it helpful. I was already clawing my way out of the gaping hole of discouragement, but this gave me that last boost to propel me out and back into the story. With a few more steampunk images to inspire me, and some Abney Park playing near at hand, I'm ready to get back to work.

Happy writing everyone,

*The photo is from Jim Mullan, genked from Google Images. I just love the details and color. Looks like he's made a whole series of them, and the crows were originally hunting decoys. Lovely.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First post of the 2010, and it only took 13 days

Sorry for the silence. Mostly, I've been job-hunting and writing, or rather, job-hunting and figuring out this story, interspersed with writing.

With each story I begin, I try to do a little more work before I put pen to paper, try to research more, try to plot out more. When I was younger, I just opened a new word doc, or slipped paper into my typewriter, and just whoosh. An image or a character comes to mind and I just ramble on, seeing where they take me. About fifty or eighty pages in, I hit a snag because I can't seem to go further without knowing where the story should end up. Two of those are still waiting for me to give them another look, another, the latest of the three, was completed as my undergraduate Honors project.

As I went along, I tried to wait. Just that spark, but don't write anything just yet, force it to percolate.

Now, I tend to jot down some notes, or speak them into a tape recorder by my bed, but for this newest story, well, I tried to hold off because it's steampunk and I knew it needed more research into clockwork, steam engines and the Victorian era, all things I know something about, but not enough. So I held off on writing the story itself, but finally the characters were clamouring so much I had to begin writing. I'm now trying to catch up in research to the story as it's progressing.

In fact, I'm off to write some more now. Tonight is my writer's group (sometime this fall/winter, my sister and I started going back, ut we skipped last week because it was La Befana), and I want to bring some good pages, strong, descriptive, active. No rambling first draft. Which means I have a lot to do.

Happy writing, everyone,