Friday, August 31, 2012

Lethargy & LOTR

The lethargy and apathy kicked in on Wednesday morning, a result have having finished this last round of revisions. I mean, great, those revisions are done (almost...) but I was left with a bored sort of, "what next?" feeling.

Luckily, I already had a cure for the lethargy lined up: Lord of the Rings marathon. Because I'm cool like that. By nine yesterday morning I was set up with a pair of sweats, lots of pop and junk food, and all six discs of the three extended edition films.

And nothing cures lethargy like a day of sitting on the couch watching movies. It could have been a Harry Potter, Star Wars or Terminator marathon (don't roll your eyes, I already told you how cool I am...) the result is the same: Today, I feel like getting shit done.

Not sure yet exactly what I'm going to get done, but something. I still have some clean up and notes to make before that last round of revisions is really done. Then I can put that down until my beta reader finishes her notes. Maybe I'll do that. I've got another piece that's partially written that I'd like to jump back into, or I might start another ms right from scratch, because I've got an idea that's been rolling around in my head that I should probably get on paper.

Ah well, it's a beautiful day out there already and it's wide open for whatever I feel like doing. Can't go wrong with that.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: She Wants Revenge

My brother introduced me to She Want Revenge's music about four years ago. I like almost their entire library, especially when I'm writing a scene where the character is pissed and is going to make some serious changes—or do some serious ass-kicking. Must be the beat.

So that's the tune for today. Yesterday went as planned (mostly) and didn't have that typical Monday shit (mostly) just as I'd hoped. I ran through two chapters of edits (although, honestly, they might need a bit more polish) as well as two chapters of critique. Which isn't too bad, considering both of my chapters were long ones (over 5K words each) and that I had to work in a dog walk, a trip to the airport to pick up some friends, and a short visit with family as they passed through Calgary.

Oh, and dinner was on the table promptly at six. Let me just apologize to all the women's lib folk out there right now, for the fact that by the time Idiot #1 made it home from work I had the house clean, the yard clean, and dinner on the table. Sick.

So for Staycation Real Day #2, I've got big plans. I'm hoping to cruise through three or four chapters of edits (which would pretty much finish this round of revisions), finish another few chapters of critique, get a plan together for my halloween costume (yes, I know it's still August) and figure out which trophies and medals I need to order for the derby I host every Christmas. See, I'm kind of a plan-ahead type gal.

That's quite a bit to get done, so until next time,

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Real Day 1

Normally, I loathe Mondays. However, I have high hopes for today!

I'm on the first weekday of my staycation. Right at this moment I would normally be settling in at my desk for the workday. Instead, as the temperature begins its climb from 7° overnight to the 29° forecasted for this afternoon (yes!!) I'm going go take my friend's dog for a walk and then start writing. Right after I cook up an iced coffee, naturally.

*Sun peaks from behind a cloud, illuminating my writing desk*

No, today just doesn't have that typical F-U feel that a Monday usually entails.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Right Where it Belongs

I've been busy. Writing is on hold for a few days because we've got a friend staying with us for a few days, which was a very last minute thing. But he's the kinda guy who likes to be always doing something, or always discussing something. Not in annoying way, he's just very conversant. So that's a distraction, and I'm not going to be a shitty host and tune him out while I write. Ah well, I've got all of next week off to write to my heart's content.

I've started getting back into NIN again, after about a year and half's hiatus. I'd over-listened to my NIN playlist for a while, but I think the familiarity has worn off again. And come on, it's NIN. Some of Trent's songs just grab my attention and won't let go. Like this one:

That's all for now,

Sunday, August 19, 2012


My head is pounding.

I've got crappy neck muscles. I suffered for years with tension headaches that would last for days, no matter how many Advil 400s I popped.

It wasn't until this year, when the headaches started getting bad again, that I decided to try a chiropractor for the pain. And lo and behold, it worked. Headaches started becoming less frequent, less intense, and not as long-lasting. In fact, a few weeks ago I had a headache start around 4:30, just as I was leaving the office. I took three different painkillers between when the headache started, and when I got to work the next morning. Nothing worked. I called and re-scheduled my next appointment for that morning and was getting my neck adjusted within hours.

An hour after getting my neck adjusted, the headache was completely gone. It was awesome.

The reason I'm regaling you with this story? Well, I'm angry. Today I woke up with one of these headaches. It's supposed to be a beautiful day, I was supposed to start writing nice and early with a large iced coffee at my side, enjoying the sunshine, and instead, my body decided to start jackhammering inside my skull. Stupid body.

And sadly, the chiropractors's office isn't open on Sundays. Damn.

At least I know if I'm still in pain tomorrow morning I can go get it fixed. I'm just pissed in general that I'm not going to enjoy the day to its fullest.

Rant over.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

It's been a slow week. Not only did it seem to drag (Friday took forever to get here!) but every day was kinda the same thing, over and over. Work was the same old hat, I managed to squeeze dinner and at least an hour of writing in most evenings, and then an hour of reading before bed.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

But the weekend is here! I might manage an hour of writing here right away, though I don't expect to achieve much more. I mean, come on, look at this forecast:

So, yeah, rafting today for sure. Hope to hit the Bow around noon with three or four buddies, and then we're having a walleye fish fry afterwards for a friend's birthday. The day is going to be lost to shenanigans.

Not that I mind. Summer was made for shenanigans. Plus, I only have five days left at the office and then I'm on holidays for ten days! Hope this amazing weather holds for that long, because I am really, really looking forward to a week of iced coffees and margaritas in the sunshade with my writing...!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More Scrivener Love

I love organizing. And making lists. And being neurotic like that in general. Some people don't take the organizational approach to writing, and that works great for them. For me, organizing background information is one of my favourite parts of the process. It's also a great way to procrastinate if I'm dreading a section, or if I'm just not feeling the writing mojo.

Scrivener is an incredible tool for the kind of organization I love. And of course, its creators have videos for all this kind of stuff if you need a tutorial, but if you want to see some more Scrivener action, I've got the goods.

In the MS I'm currently working on the world has magic. A few different types, with different classes and levels. My characters don't delve too deep into this stuff in the first book, but it'll come into play in book two onwards. So I needed a way to organize the types of spells and what my characters know about them. I'm just going to jump right in and show you how that's going…

Creating a new folder (see the Folder+ button in the bottom left?) and calling it Grimoire.

Just for fun, giving it a Red Book icon. As you can see in my binder (left side
of the screen shot) I love all the different icons to choose from!

Laying out how I want each "page" of my grimoire to look.
I really went to town on the formatting.
You can blame my graphic design instincts.

Moving that layout to the Template Sheets folder makes it a template.
Renaming it something appropriate, like Grimoire Page.

Creating a new text page in the Grimoire folder, from Grimoire Page template.

Referencing the spell (highlighted) from the MS text (on the left split screen) and filling in
the details in the Grimoire Page (on the right split screen).

Because I want to organize the Grimoire by the three classes of magic, I create three
subfolders under the Grimoire, changing their names and icons.

Dragging and dropping different spells under the correct class of magic, and adjusting
the page order so the lower level spells come first.

And that, ladies and gents, is how I'm going to keep track of the different types of magic in Deyl's world, the different spells, and what she knows or has seen about them. Whenever I'm unsure, I can just flip open the grimoire and find the answers I need. With the split screen view turned on, I can even reference them next to the text I'm working on. It's pretty sweet.

If you're a Scrivener user—or thinking about becoming one—I hope this helped!   :D 

Bye for now,

Monday, August 13, 2012


I'm working on another nice little Scrivener post for you guys, but in the meantime, here's a shot of the hail that hit us in Calgary last night:

The light show that accompanied it was something else, and went on for hours. The hail was kinda crazy when it hit, because it started before the rain with these huge, random pieces of ice falling through the neighbourhood. After a few minutes of that it tapered off into smaller (though still golf ball sized) chunks coming down rapidly, and those lasted for at least ten minutes. The wind picked up, the rain started falling, and some crazy neighbours ran out to try to save their vehicles and, oddly enough, gardens. I mean, one of those chunks in the side of the head would knock you on your ass. Are your petunias really worth that?

Anyway, a few dents in the top of my car this morning, plus I had to pull a huge tree branch out of the driveway before I could leave for work. Idiot#1 isn't very happy about the four big dents in the hood of his truck, either.

Until next time,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Dining or Writing Room

My house has a dining room. Idiot#1 and I don't actually "dine" in this dining room. Plate on lap works just fine for us, whether its outside, in front of the tv, or with a book in hand.

Thus, my dining room is actually the writing room.

@BA_Matthews said last week that she can't write at a desk—uncomfortable and uncreative. I imagine that's the same for a lot of other writers out there (and other creative types, whatever their media may be), but for myself the opposite is true.

I'm a graphic designer. For eight hours, five days a week, I sit at a desk and have to turn on the creative gears. Doesn't matter if I'm in the design zone or not (like writers block, but with graphics and pictures and copy), I just gotta do my job: sit down at desk, be creative, coffee, design some stuff, lunch break, be creative some more, yell at the staff, design some more, go home.

After so many years my brain is wired like sit at desk = imagine + create + drink coffee.

So at home I find my best environment for writing is actually—wait for it—at a desk!

The desk.

The bookcase.

The Vietnamese iced coffee.

The new chair. May the old one burn in hell.

The Jade plant.
And that, folks, is the writing room. My favourite part is, of course, that I'm in front of the patio door looking outside. When it's too chilly to actually sit outside at least I can pretend I'm out there.

Until next time,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Character File: Alicia Bowmyn

Yesterday evening I puttered around on a Manga-Avatar site, building sketches of all my characters from I Had To Fall. As a graphic designer, I like visual things. I thought it would be most excellent if I could draw out my characters and always have them as references, helping to make them more real when I'm writing about them. (By the way, if you're thinking, "you're a graphic designer, just illustrate them yourself!" then you should know that I'm not a graphic artist, but designer. I'm a strictly stick-figure kinda illustrator.)

So I avatar'd all my characters. Then I thought, wouldn't it be cool to do a blog post tomorrow as a character study, and show off one of the new avatars, along with a description?

Things just snowballed from there.

I didn't post this morning because I thought, hey, instead of just slapping the avatar image in with a description, what if I made like a faux case-study sort of thing? That would be cool. But for that I needed some of my design software, which I don't have at home. So I packed up my lunch an hour early and headed into the office, where I promptly started designing a folder to build the character content into.

By the time I was supposed to start work I'd decided it would be best to make the character study like a sort of police report / case file, complete with the Hunter's emblem at the top and a hand-written-in report on what the Hunter's might know about the character. Plus maybe they'd found a scrap of paper (like an excerpt from a book about said character...?) to put in the case file too.

So I spent my lunch hour finishing everything up. It's not my best work (this isn't really my kind of design anyway) but with a little more tweaking I think I'll be happy. So without further ado, here's the character study for Alicia:

So, thoughts anyone? Improvements I could make? Because I'm going to do these studies for all the characters, plus some studies on each race specifically. I have to kill time on my lunch break anyway, right?



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Status of the Writing

The weather has been most excellent in Calgary this week, but last night as I was sitting at the writing desk I noticed all the trees suddenly whipping all crazy like. Within moments these clouds—which a friend of mine called Harry Potter clouds—rolled over our nice blue skies:

Obviously Voldemort was out and about, causing some kind of ruckus...
The rewrite of chapter eleven that I mentioned in my last post is done. I finished the dialogue and prose last night, with a final weigh in of just over 3K words. It feels better than the original version did. I was never really happy with the original: the characters acted strangely, Deyl performed some magic she shouldn't have been able to, and it was kind of dull.

The new version has a lot more action. The location is the same, much of the dialogue is the same (at least, the same message and key points are there) but it's got more interest and impact, and makes their entire road trip seem more challenging—like it should be!

Anyway, I'm happy enough to leave it at that for now. If I can stick to my schedule I'll be reviewing my edits of chapters one through fifteen on the weekend. Hopefully I'll have some perspective on the changes I've made and see if I need to make any last adjustments.

Tonight I'm hoping to finish the edits for chapter twelve. It shouldn't be too much of a challenge: it's a shorter chapter, and at a glance it doesn't look like it needs much work.

Until tomorrow then,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Let it Die

After a week and a half long bender, yesterday went pretty well. I managed to dialogue and then prose a new chapter (called "9B" for now) though it ended up being shorter than most of my chapters, at about 2K where I'm usually around 5K. I'm not really sure what to do about it at this point. I think the content justifies its own chapter, so for now I'll leave it alone. Once I get this revision done I'll skim back through chapters 9 - 11 and see how 9B best fits in.

So I finished 9B, which was my goal for yesterday. Then I also managed to jump ahead and pretty much finish off the edits to chapter 10, which put me ahead a day. Which is great, because I'm sure some kinda nonsense will come up during the week, or next weekend, that puts me behind a day. Then I'll be right back on track ;)

Tonight's goal is to dialogue chapter 11. This scene used to be fairly simple and low-key: Deyl had abandoned her friends (for reasons discussed in 9 & 9B) and now she finds them and rejoins them. They're pissed with her at first, but they quickly reconcile and get back on the road. I've decided to rewrite it with more action and more emotion. Instead of Deyl just explaining to her friends why she left, and why they should take her back, she shows them why they need her. They're in trouble now, providing the reader with another view of the Hunters, and Deyl's going to have to rescue them. Whatever their feelings were about her abandoning them, this rescue should prove where her loyalties really lie. Well, we'll see how it goes tonight.

And part of dialoguing an action scene means I'll be listening to my aptly-named "Action" playlist. So for today's Tuesday Tune here is the Foo Fighter's Let it Die, one of the songs from that list:


Monday, August 6, 2012


You've heard of a bender, right? A week or a month of constant binge drinking—or drug use, whatever your pleasure.

I was on a bender for the past week and a half. Not drugs or liquor. Books. I was on a reading bender.

I may have mentioned before, when I start a book I like I literally can't put it down. For example, Friday before last I started a new book (new author I'd never heard of before) around 8:00 in the evening. I then proceed to read, non-stop, until I finished the book at 4:30 in the morning. Then I finally went to sleep.

The real problem is this: I wanted more. Same author, same genre, whatever. Like an addict, I sought out more to read as soon as I got up the next day. I found a different series of two or three books by the same author, and devoured those over the weekend. And I kept going. Every minute I wasn't at the office last week (and even a few sneak-reads when I should have been working!) I was reading.

I read about fifteen books since that first one last Friday. Great—except I didn't get anything else done!

So I'm swearing off reading for two weeks. Hopefully. All of you other Obsessive Readers Anonymous members out there, keep your fingers crossed for me!