Goalapalooza

It’s the beginning of a new month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of…Goal Post Monday.

First up, a recap at last month’s goals…

March Goals

Work out the timeline for Part Two of Full Circle

Welp. At the start of March, I thought I’d have to do another major word purge in my manuscript because despite all my careful plotting and planning, the characters were all, “Yeah…we’re not going to do that” and went and did their own thing because of course they did. I mean, the story will ultimately be better for it, but it has left me feeling a little like…

So, I only managed to work out about half the timeline. Not terrible, certainly, but also not the progress I had been hoping to make.

Work on another round of edits/revisions on the Terrible Romance Novel

I did this, actually. (I know. It surprised me, too). What’s more is there were parts of it I didn’t totally hate. (I know. It surprised me, too.) I finished the read-through part and made my notes and corrections (none of them too overly difficult to fix, I don’t think…she said, jinxing herself horribly). So yeah. Move this goal into the “completed” category!

Log at least 93 miles and try to throw in some yoga once a week

Okay, so once again, I did the miles part of the goal. I walked 137 miles last month. But I did no yoga whatsoever.

Read two books

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah…I didn’t do this. Y’all, I just have no interest in reading. Like, anything. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

April Goals

Win Camp NaNoWriMo

As you may have seen on various forms of social media and, you know, the big-ass picture at the top of this post, I am participating in this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo session. My project is Full Circle, and my goal is set for 30,000 words. Thus far, I have managed to stay on or just above par. May that trend continue.

Apply revisions to the Terrible Romance Novel and maybe start researching potential proofreading-type people, if time allows

This goal will be the thing I work on when I get stuck on my Camp project. Which will NEVER happen, so…Yeah. This goal will probably be finished by the end of this post.

Prep for and run video conferencing thingamajig for local writers group

So, as has been mentioned a couple of times on this blog, I somehow ended up running four writers groups in the area. All meetings have been postponed indefinitely, but whiskey I came up with the brilliant idea of doing a video conferencing thingamajig. It’s scheduled for Saturday the 11th. I’ll be giving a presentation on some writing-related topic (as soon as I come up with one) and yeah…So there’s that. This has filled me with such dread. I can barely get through a presentation without the added pressure of having to remember how to use technology. Look for me to possibly become the latest internet sensation with whatever video conferencing gaff I make.

Log at least 100 miles

This will not be a problem. Since the whole quarantine thing started, I’ve been walking a lot more. Fortunately, my neighborhood is good for walking and spacious enough that even if the neighbors are also out walking, we’re well spaced apart.

Read a book

Seriously, M.J., I cannot make this goal any easier for you. It’s getting super pathetic now. I beg you…just read a damn book. Any book.

On that note, I’m outta here. Hope everyone is healthy and well. Take care!

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

(I’m assuming that anyone reading is post is already well-versed in the IWSG, but if you’re on the prowl for additional information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.)

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard.

This month’s (optional) question asks, “In this time, when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, how are things in your world?”

So, yeah. It turns out that my lifestyle is best described as ‘social distancing self-quarantine’ because nothing’s really changed all that much. (I am very fortunate to be able to say that, I know, and I am grateful for it.) I’m still an anxiety-ridden introvert who has decided to take on too many projects in an attempt to keep from worrying about things over which she has absolutely no control.

For example, I’m working on putting together a video conferencing thingamajig (probably not the proper terminology) for one of the writers groups that I run. (Yes. I run four writers groups in my area. I don’t know how it happened, either.) I’m planning to do some trial runs before the actual meeting date so I can attempt to become slightly more comfortable with the technology. I remain optimistic, however, that no matter how much practice I do, I will completely forget how to do everything on the actual day. (I apologize in advance, group!)

I signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo session because I figured if I was going to be staying home and avoiding people even more than I already do, I might as well attempt to use that time to finish up the first draft of Full Circle. The goal is set for 30,000 because I’m honestly not sure if there’s 50,000-words worth of story left to tell. I could be wrong, though. It’s hard to be sure. I think I’ve traumatized my characters to the breaking point. Seriously, one of them has just been sitting at a table, staring into the abyss, for, like, a month now, and I can’t get him to do anything else. I would tell him that things were going to get better, but he’s gone through two and a half books with me so far. He knows exactly how much of a lie that would be.

I’m working on a manuscript critique for a writer acquaintance (a post-apocalyptic novel, actually, which feels a little too timely these days…). He also asked me to review a short story he had written for a contest.

And last, but not least, I’m also working on a read-through of the Terrible Romance Novel in the hopes of getting it to a proofreader-type person in the possibly-not-so-distant future. I had pretty much decided to stick that story in a drawer, but my niece texted me over the weekend to ask how much longer it would be before that book was published because she really wants a copy, and in doing so managed to shame me into pulling the manuscript back out of the drawer because I love my nieces and nephews and would do anything for them. Even write a terrible romance novel.

So yeah. I now have entirely too much to do, but at least that’s a pressure/anxiety I kind of sort of know how to deal with a little bit. Maybe. In theory.

On a slightly more serious note, I hope everyone’s doing all right out there. Please, please, please take care of yourselves. Love to all.

Sherbet Story (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

For more information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month’s super cool co-hosts are Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence.

This month’s (optional) question asks, “Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?”

The short answer is yes.

Growing up, whenever we had a party-type gathering at our house (i.e., Christmas, graduation, baby/bridal showers, etc.), my mother would make punch out of…whatever was in it. It’s not like it’s a secret family recipe I’m unwilling to share with you, it’s just that I honestly don’t know what went into it. Ginger ale and some other (non-alcoholic) stuff.

The final touches on that punch would be a few scoops of rainbow sherbet, added for…again, I don’t really know. Color, decoration, maybe. Whatever. The important thing is, that’s what was always done, and continues to be done to this day.

So, when writing a family party-type gathering scene in the Terrible Romance Novel, I included a bowl of punch into which my main character added scoops of rainbow sherbet.

Which inspired one of my critique partners to respond with, “Eww! Gross! Why would anyone do that?!?”

And I was all, “I dunno. We just do that in my family.”

There’s another wink to some family history in that book, but telling you about it is kind of a spoiler, so I’m keeping my mouth shut about it for now. I know after the riveting sherbet story you’re on the edge of your seat in anticipation and asking you to wait is super unfair, but you’re just going to have to power through.

Have you ever included any personal/family traditions/customs in your work?

Thanks for stopping by, y’all. Have a great Wednesday and, as this will probably be my last post of March, hope you have a great month and a fantastic start to Spring.

March Madness

It’s Goal Post Monday, which means it’s time for a look back at last month’s goals and a brand new list of goals for the current month. Sure, those goals may end up looking completely identical to last month’s goals, but the important thing is that at least I’m…consistent?

February Goals

Write a first draft of a blurb for the Terrible Romance Novel

I actually did this. I don’t know if it’s any good, but fortunately, that wasn’t the goal.

Work out the timeline for Part Two of Full Circle

I did not make nearly as much progress on this goal as I had hoped I would. I only managed to write 7500 words last month and only worked out the first few chapters of Part Two. I have one character who’s being a stubborn pain in the ass (and that’s coming from me, the original stubborn pain in the ass…) and one characters who’s probably one scene away from just going completely catatonic and lying on the floor in the fetal position until I go away. (Joke’s on him because if he thinks things are bad now, just wait until I get to Part Three.)

Anyway, there’s been a bit of a hold-up. The plot just isn’t doing what I had thought it would, which will lead to one thing: a major word purge to start off the month.

Yipee.

But if it’s gotta go, then it’s gotta go.

Log at least 87 miles for the month and complete at least one 15-minute yoga session each week.

I did the walking part. I logged 93 miles last month. But the yoga part fell by the wayside. Again. I don’t recall doing any yoga in February. Oops.

Read four books

Yeah…about that. I didn’t do this. I read two books, though, which I suppose isn’t terrible. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me these days. Reading never used to be a chore. It never used to be something I had to force myself to do.

March Goals

Work out the timeline for Part Two of Full Circle

I’m hoping the aforementioned word purge may help get those creative juices flowing.

—Work on another round of edits/revisions on the Terrible Romance Novel

I printed out a copy last month and never got any further with it. May March be the month I at least break out a highlighter and take another micro-step toward publishing this book.

Log at least 93 miles and try to throw in some yoga once a week

Read two books

That’s all from me today. Have you set any goals for March?

Tune in Wednesday for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group…unless I forget. If I do, then I’ll see y’all next month.

Until next time…

A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

If you’re looking for more information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month’s co-hosts are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, Tyrean Martinson.

This month’s (optional) question asks, “Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it, and did you finish it?”

If you’re talking about something like Tracy Chevalier’s novel Girl With A Pearl Earring, then the answer is no.

But that is not to say that I have never been inspired by photos and/or artwork that embodies whatever mood I’m trying to get across for a certain character or scene. Because I certainly have.

I like creating aesthetic boards for my projects. There’s usually one on my storyboard, plus a few on Pinterest, and I add to them any time I come across an image that strikes my fancy. Below is an older photo of the aesthetic board for my fantasy series. (It’s since been altered to make room for other things.)

But there is a piece of artwork that did help inspire certain storylines early on in Effigy’s creation. It’s called Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton. Painted in 1864, it’s said to represent a medieval Danish ballad about a pair of ill-fated lovers.

I didn’t know the backstory when I first came across the image printed on a card in a stationary store in Montréal. I was just walking by when it caught my eye. Approximately five second later, the creative juices were flowing.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I guess one never knows when or where inspiration will find us or where it will lead. Always good to be open to it, though.

Have you been inspired by artwork? Do you have a propensity for creating aesthetic boards? Addicted to Pinterest? Tell me below…

(One last thing…I ranted about calmly discussed updates in my last post, and they’re continuing to irritate me. Even though I centered all of the images used in today’s post, the whatever has decided it doesn’t care. Sigh.)