Thursday, March 26, 2015

5 Things I Shouldn't Have to Learn but Did Anyway

I found this post (or what looked like the start of a post) in my drafts, and since I'm desperate to squeeze in an entry before the next WIP Report (I swear my blog is hanging on that one last flimsy thread for its very survival), I'm going to copy/paste it below:

Five Things I Learned in Teaching this Week

  1. If you period-sub for a moderate-to-severe special ed. class, be prepared to have your hair petted for 47 minutes by kids who regard you like you're an exotic unicorn.
  2. If a student says "I think I'm going to die" after running the monster mile in P.E., responding with "We have a lot to cover today...can you hold off dying until you get to Mr. C's class?" is probably not the most compassionate response.
  3. ALWAYS expect your iPad to be on the wrong Pandora playlist. If you think you're getting ready to play soft, tranquil mood music during Silent Sustained Reading, fully expect Wiggle by Snoop Dog to blast instead.
  4. Telling your writing enrichment class about your idea for a character who is a sadistic empath might leave them frozen, wide-eyed, and a little terrified of you.
  5. If a student asks "Mrs. P., what is the definition of the word arousal?" do not attempt to answer. You will fail miserably. Let Webster handle that discussion.

~ ~ ~

I'm sure this post was going somewhere, but since it was from about six months ago, that's all I've got.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

#WIP Marathon Report (Or Lack Thereof) - February

Yeah, that pretty much sums up my month. But for prosperity's sake, I'll still do my report. Here goes:

Last report count + chapter/count/scene count: 2,354

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 2,367

Woo hoo I've added thirteen words! That's, like, one word every three days. I'm going to invent a writing challenge opposite of NaNoWriMo and then I'll officially be winning.

WIP issues this month: No issues. It would actually take WRITING in order to have some issues.

Four things I learned this month in writing: 
  1. Magic needs rules: I recently struggled with a book in which the MC was struck with extraordinary powers (healing, invisibility, turbo-speed) with no clear explanations offered as to why she suddenly had these powers. This made me realize that even within the realm of fantasy, magic needs to work within the parameters of established rules in order to be believable. I think many authors use the "fantasy" genre as an excuse for lazy writing, and I want to be really careful to avoid this dynamic myself.
  2. Books in a series should stand alone: At least, to a degree. Spinning from #1, I think some authors also use SEQUELS as an excuse for lazy writing (and far too many people accept this!). Just because a book is part of a series, this shouldn't give the author leeway to be overly vague/obscure about what is happening in the story. There's a difference between being purposely mysterious because you want to keep your readers in suspense versus being overly vague because you yourself have no clue what direction your tale is going, or why your MC is suddenly a paranormal being from another realm. Falling back on your sequel to resolve these problems seems like a cop out, especially given that more often than not, the sequel doesn't end up accomplishing this. 
  3. Color thesaurus: It seems like such a small thing, but I swear when I was writing Chasing Echoes, I kept running into problems with Stryder's eye color. His eyes are gray, but not wanting to keep describing them as "gray," I found myself running out of options (Steel? Charcoal? Chrome?). Well....this awesome writer created a Color Thesaurus to help other writers choose the exact shade they're looking for. Check it out--it's pretty handy!
  4. 10 ways to cover up a murder: I found this awesome infographic* on Pinterest, perfect for the writer of mystery/suspense whose WIP features a diabolical sociopath! Black Lilies features a minor character who happens to be a serial killer, but sadly I don't think this infographic will help me much given that my murderer lives in 1876 (i.e. DNA was an unknown back then, and fingerprinting didn't start until 1892). *If you're a serial killer please don't click on this infographic.
What distracted me this month while writing: Ugh. I don't even have a good answer to this. Just my own writer's block and laziness. It doesn't always take the fantasy genre or the promise of a sequel to be a lazy writer...sometimes it just takes a lazy person to be a lazy writer (aka: Me). The second edition of Chasing Echoes was just released (for eBooks only, paperback is still in progress), which took me away from writing. I also did more research into 1876, and with Clint's help I brainstormed the backstory for Kade (my MCs love interest), so I'm feeling like I'm almost at the point where I can write this damn thing.

Goal for next month: Same goal as last month--I want to start, and finish, chapter 2 of Black Lilies. 

Last 200 words (I tried to make it big so my 13 words would seem like 200):

I turned to face it. It was slinking its way toward me again.