Preptober

Less Than One Day to Go!

Are you ready?

Of course you’re not ready – is anyone truly ready for this monster?

I have a few tricks up my sleeve. As mentioned, I will be working on my novel as well as blogging and/or writing short stories to keep the creative juices flowing. I know me, and I know I will get bored out of my skull if I’m ONLY working on one thing at a time. So. I have my handy-dandy index cards close by so when an idea strikes, I can add it to my stack. Ideas usually pop into my head when I’m reading something, or writing something unrelated. (This is how I prep for my podcasts, too. I’ll be watching a video, or reading an article and suddenly, I have an idea to talk about and I write it in my podcast journal. Yes, I have a podcast journal because I’m TRYING to be organized here).

Some last minute tips:

I’m using SmartEdit Writer software for my novel. It’s similar to Scrivener but it’s FREE. I’m loving it so far. Try it out!

Here’s someplace you can host writing sprints – for either you or for a group! Writing sprints really work well if you need a concentrated time period of just writing. I will be trying the Pomodoro Technique – I think that will work well for me. (Remember the short attention span when it comes to writing … but only when it comes to writing – not sure why that is).

Here are some writing prompts if you’re still looking for an idea …

Sixty things for your characters to do

Character flaws … because let’s face it, our darling characters MUST be flawed. Who wants to read about someone perfect??

Don’t have a story theme? Here are some ideas

These are just a few of my resources. I hope they’re helpful to you. Maybe they will spark an idea … or two. Don’t feel like you HAVE to work on just one project – maybe you have several ideas in your head – write them all. It’s perfectly fine to be a NaNoWriMo rebel. Don’t fight your writing process. Embrace it. The important thing is to continue writing, no matter what that looks like.

My plan? *sigh* Who knows. My next writing project is to post Maya’s PRE story. I think it will help me understand what makes her tick if I write THE moment that shaped her personality and her beliefs. I have quite a few scenes written out in my index outline and maybe I’ll get a few more if I write her PRE story.

I still want to blog and I know I simply won’t if I put all of my eggs into my novel basket. I think it’s important, for me at least, to step back and take a breath of fresh air from my novel and shift gears a bit on to something else. Kevin and I are still participating in our podcast every week and I’m working on recording my own podcast each week, not to mention, still trying to read books though now I don’t think I’m going to make my 100 book goal since I will be lucky to read one book a week, let alone two plus a week like I’ve been doing up to this point. (I changed my goal to 90 books – because I’m a wimp).

Oh well.

Anyway. Don’t get too stressed about NaNoWriMo. The project is what you make of it and for me, I simply want to develop a habit of writing on a daily basis again – however that looks for me.

Good luck, Blogfam!

NaNoWriMo2020

Interview with Maya

Hello Blogfam and welcome,

I’d like to introduce Maya Cooper. She’s the main character of my NaNoWriMo project and she has graciously consented to being interviewed for my blog. Please give her a warm welcome.

Me: Hello Maya. *warm smile* Thanks for hanging out with me today.

Maya: Hi. Thanks for having me. *shy smile*

Me: So. You have a starring role in my upcoming story, how do you feel about that?

Maya: Well, *soft laugh*, if you had asked me how I felt before I lived this story, I would have been tongue tied and terrified. But now.. *shrug – pause* let’s just say I’m no longer terrified.

Me: Oh wow. That’s quite a loaded statement. Can you elaborate?

Maya: And spoil the story? Of course not. *chuckle*

Me: Well now I’m intrigued. What happens that changes your perspective?

Maya: What happens? A lot. In fact, I have a bone to pick with you, did you have to put me through so much agony? It was touch and go there for a while. Actually, several times. *she frowns*

Me: *embarrassed chuckle* Well. I couldn’t make it too easy, it wouldn’t have been as interesting to read.

Maya: I suppose.

Me: Okay, well. I’m sorry?

Maya: *chuckles*

Me: By the way, I LOVE your hair. It’s gorgeous.

Maya: Thank you.

Me: I wish my hair was long and thick like yours. Did you French braid it yourself? And I love how you left the pigtails loose at the bottom. Very pretty.

Maya: Thanks. Yeah. I did it myself. When you have waist-length hair, you think of creative ways to get it out of your face. My friend, Ava, taught me how to French braid. In fact, most of the styles you see me wear in the story was created by my friend. The color is growing out though. I need to go back in and touch up my highlights. *self-consciously touches her hair*

Me: And what a gorgeous sweater dress. That dark green looks amazing on you, it really highlights your light green eyes.

Maya: *blushes* Well, thank you.

Me: Where did you get those boots?

Maya: *chuckles* Now you’re just buttering me up.

Me: Is it working? *grin*

Maya: *laughs* Maybe.

Me: So tell us a little something about you.

Maya: *sighs* I’m not sure where to start so I guess I’ll start at the beginning.

Me: Always a good place to start.

Maya: *narrows her eyes* Are you making fun of me?

Me: No, no! Sorry. I guess I’m feeling a little embarrassed because I didn’t realize I was so hard on you.

Maya: I nearly died a few times, Karen. Not to mention, what happened to …

Me: Go on.

Maya: *shakes head* No. You’re not going to trick me into telling your audience what happens. That would spoil everything and make my story less “interesting to read,” as you put it.

Me: *blush* Okay. Fair enough. Start at the beginning.

Maya: *takes a breath and looks off into the distance* I was a happy child, for the most part. Mom and dad are still married though after the adventure you put me and my friends through, I don’t know if they will stay married.

Me: Wow. Sounds serious.

Maya: It was. You pretty much destroyed my family … in some ways, but in other ways, you healed it.

Me. Sounds cryptic. Care to elaborate?

Maya: Not at this time, no.

Me: *chuckles* You sound like a politician.

Maya: *shrugs* I’ve learned a lot about being careful what I say and to whom. *smirks*

Me: Sounds like you don’t trust me.

Maya: I don’t. *pointed look*

Me: Ouch. And touché. *nods head* Please continue.

Maya: I had a normal childhood … at least as normal as you can get when your dad is a secret service officer hired to protect the president.

Me: *blinks* As in, the President of the United States?

Maya: That would be the one.

Me: How long did he do that?

Maya: Oh gosh, years. I don’t even know how long. He has protected five presidents over the past 25 years.

Me: Was he ever hurt on the job?

Maya: That’s classified information.

Me: Really?

Maya: *chuckles* No. But it sounds cool.

Me: *grins* What about your mom?

Maya: She’s great. My mom and I are close.

Me: Are you close to your dad?

Maya: *pauses and chews her lip* Not exactly. We sort of had a falling out.

Me: Care to elaborate?

Maya: I’d rather not.  You’ll have to read my story to find out what happened.

Me: Wow. That sounds mysterious. Not to mention, that puts pressure on me to deliver.

Maya: *shrugs* You’re the writer.

Me: Or at least, I like to pretend I’m a writer.

Maya: Are you looking for a compliment?

Me: *grins and shrugs off her comment* Any siblings?

Maya: *long pause* No.

Me: Did you have to think about that? Do you not want to claim a sibling? *laughs*

Maya: *quietly* It’s complicated.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry. Did … something happen to your siblings? Continue reading “Interview with Maya”

Preptober

Outline Your Novel Using Index Cards

It’s a puzzle, LITERALLY.

Outlining your novel with index cards is a lot of work, but it also makes a lot of sense. When I watched Sarra’s video, a light bulb went off over my head. I went out and bought a pack of index cards with four colors.

Act I is pink, Act II, part one, is light blue, Act II, part two is yellow, and Act III is baby green.

And side note: breaking up Act II into two parts makes a lot of sense to me, as well. As I heard someone describe the middle of your novel once – it’s the creamy, gooey filling of a delicious éclair. That’s certainly a better description than what I typically ascribe to it. *ahem*

Are all of my index cards filled out? Nope. Not even close. But laying the cards out and then writing in my beginning scenes and my ending scenes, at least, my ending as it plays in my head now, that could, and likely will, change as I get closer to the end, and then sticking scenes that pop into my head into the puzzle as they come to me, REALLY helped me. It doesn’t give me an exact view of my story, but it definitely gives me enough to start writing. I will add and change scenes as I write because I don’t like to outline fully, I like my characters to “speak” to me as I write, but I think using this method of outlining will REALLY help me as I go through the process and will likely help me not get AS stuck.

Because I’m not going to pretend I won’t get stuck. I will. And my plan when I get stuck is to move on to another writing project. Whether that’s blogging, journaling, writing short stories, or writing anything, really, and then I can get back to my novel with fresh eyes.

I understand my writing self more now. I get bored. I like to flit from project-to-project. I’m used to never finishing something completely as my day job is never ending and I’m NEVER caught up, it’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak. I am a medical assistant and when you juggle 40+ patients a week, scheduling them for testing, appointments, preparing a short synapsis of why they are coming in and comorbidities for my doctor and mid-level, answering phone calls and returning phone calls, addressing messages from my co-workers about patients, covering for other medical assistants when they’re out and all the miscellaneous work, I’m never caught up. All I can do is stay about 24-hours ahead of the “old” stuff. So I’m used to juggling several things at once and I think that’s why I get bored with one project. I like having several irons in the fire, it’s what I’m used to and I thrive on multi-tasking.

Anyway, I’m excited about this “puzzle” approach to outlining and I’m very thankful to Sarra Cannon for sharing her knowledge with us. This is the first time I’ve approached NaNoWriMo feeling comfortable with my “plan.” Which is what, you ask? I’m going to reach my 50,000 word count working on a variety of projects. I will be a NaNoWriMo Rebel because why not? That’s pretty much how I approach life, I bend rules. I don’t necessarily break the rules, but I definitely bend the rules.

I hope this was as helpful to you as it was to me.

And I hope you’re as ready as you can be for NaNoWriMo because, Blogfam, it’s nearly here!

(Pst – you can find me on the NaNoWriMo website under the username: take2max!)

 

Preptober

Plotting Pitfalls

Found another writing YouTuber: Diane Callahan – Quotidian Writer – this was really interesting to watch and it sparked several ideas for my NaNoWriMo project.

I hope it does the same for you.

Also – found something else that would be a useful tool next month: Word Sprints

I mean, you could easily just time yourself for word sprints but I like that you can set up a group sprint for and your friends.

Anyway, just a passing thought.

Podcast

Podcast: Distracted by Confirmation Hearings

Ugh. I didn’t get any prepping done for my NaNoWriMo project this week. Why? Because I spent a large part of my week watching Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing. But it was an eye-opening experience, listen why. I also review “Scorned” and “Bring Up the Bodies.” Lastly, I update you on my personal life – bad teeth anyone? Visit Writefromkaren.com for podcast details!

Take me on the go! You can hear my podcast on the following platforms:

Anchor.fm

Apple Podcast

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Overcast

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I upload a new podcast every week. Thanks for listening!

*TALK” to you soon!

Podcast

Podcast: Can Joe Biden Complete a Sentence?

 

Episode description:

You’re having a nice, romantic, quiet dinner out with your spouse when you’re suddenly accosted by radial left-wing fascists who demand that you lift your fist in the air in solidarity – what do you do? Also, what is up with Job Biden’s inability to form a coherent sentence? He is clearly having mental difficulties. Do we really want someone with diminished mental clarity running the most powerful country on planet Earth? Listen for our thoughts on the latest madness ….

______________________________________

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We upload a new podcast every Sunday. Thanks for listening!

NaNoWriMo

What If – Electricity and Water Were Suddenly Shut Off?

 

This is the video I referenced in my podcast this week. I thought I would post it in case you’re looking for a story idea for NaNoWriMo. I might incorporate this concept in my story as well.

I thought the video had an interesting take on the situation. I’m sure, at some point, people would learn to adapt and overcome not having electricity or water, but I think more realistically, people would panic, become animals, kill each other, loot every store they came across and basically become like Mad Max characters – the survival of the strongest.

I do sometimes wonder how our world would transform if we had an Electronic attack (EA), meaning, some terrorist group disabled our satellites and we no longer had Internet or cell phones. My gut tells me our world would become a free-for-all and owning guns would come in handy.

Let’s hope that never happens.

Anyway. I thought I would post this in case you were looking for a story idea.

By the way: WordPress has been putting ads on my blog – I guess that’s a good thing in one respect because it means it’s getting more traffic, but I realize how utterly ANNOYING that is when you visit. At some point, I plan on upgrading my plan and getting rid of the ads but I’m waiting on a sale so it’s not quite so expensive. So in the meantime, please install Ad Block (not sponsored). This will help cut out those annoying ads. I realize that some people may not like me suggesting this, after all, creators get paid by ads, but if you want to support a creator then turn Ad Block off for that site so you can support your favorite creator. In the meantime, use Ad Block to weed out the annoying pop-ups and other ads. (It also helps cut down on potential viruses that come with ads, too).

Politics

Judge Barrett’s Confirmation Hearing

I’ve been distracted lately….

Have you been watching the confirmation hearings?

If not, why not? I know it’s terribly time consuming. I watched the second day of hearings, (I’d like to make time to watch the first day), and it took me three days to get through it all – it was an eleven-hour YouTube video after all. And I know it’s terribly boring for a lot of people out there  – all of questions, exaggerations, speeches, pleas, disappointment and most of all, legalese that most people don’t understand – myself included. 

And yet, I couldn’t look away. I was transfixed to the hearings. It was utterly fascinating to me. And when I asked myself why I thought it was so interesting, I think it came down to a few things: 1. I’ve always been interested in the law – I think my ideal career would have been a law clerk or a paralegal. I love research, I love language and I love to write. So listening to Judge Amy Barrett speak with precision, confidence and watching her exude utter confidence was fascinating to me. 2. Watching and listening to the various senators ask questions or opine on their hot button topics was eye opening. Watching the two sides alternate speaking and confronting Judge Barrett was an excellent example of how the two sides think and approach their beliefs. 

The right was methodical, kind and understanding that the Judge could not offer a hypothetical opinion on a “what if” scenario. It would have violated an oath that active judges must take when they occupy a bench. They focused more on the laws and asked her to explain the laws, in layman terms, so that the rest of us poor saps could attempt to follow along. They highlighted what a judge’s responsibilities are and the steps she would take to dissect and opine on a case. They wanted to show viewers that the role of judges is not to make or break policies, but to interpret and enforce laws that Congress make. If we want laws changed, then we must appeal to our elected officials – yet another reason it’s important for people to be engaged in politics and/or at least be aware of what is happening with our country. 

The challenge, of course, is to wade through the rhetoric and the muck in order to FIND the core of the issue being debated. 

The left tried, repeatedly, to trick the judge into being inconsistent with her answers and they were terribly frustrated because she wouldn’t commit to being pro-life/choice, to expressing an interest in overturning the American Care Act (Obamacare), or repeal same-sex marriage. They kept emphasizing, “but laws effect people and people are important. Don’t you care that this gay couple could lose their marital benefits? Or what about a woman’s right to do as she wishes with her body? Or what about the MILLIONS of Americans that will lose their health insurance if you take the ACA away? [They won’t, by the way] Don’t you CARE what happens to these individuals? Don’t you CARE about these posters we have presented to you in an attempt to evoke empathy and appeal to your pathos? Are you that cold blooded that you would make these poor people suffer?”

Though I understand where the left is coming from, the laws do affect millions of people, in all walks of life, and when the laws are made, they should absolutely be considered and helped in any way they can, people should also be allowed to live their life however they choose to live it, God granted us free will after all, but, that is NOT the role of a supreme court justice. The role of a supreme court justice is to UPHOLD THE LAW. And let’s not forget, CONGRESS makes those laws. So if CONGRESS wants to change those laws, then CONGRESS will have to make those changes. 

The supreme court justice simply dissects those laws and makes rulings on the expressed meaning of those laws in cases of a dispute. Either the left doesn’t understand that concept and/or, more likely, they understand they just don’t care enough to follow those guidelines and instead, used their uninterrupted time to make an impassioned speech to the American people to try and further push their own agendas. 

It’s not really about the law with the left, it’s about ensuring their agendas are massaged and allowed to grow allowing them the opportunity to control large groups of people to make sure they vote for them the next go around so they can push more agendas and continue manipulating even more groups of people who have neither taken the time, nor have been educated enough, to see through their lies. 

I’m not saying there are not people on the right who do the same thing, but it’s the exception, not the rule, with the right. 

Senators on the committee were allowed thirty minutes to either grandstand their agendas (i.e. the left – because when you watch the Liberal senator sessions they didn’t actually ask Judge Barrett very many questions but spent most of their time quoting the nasty Republicans and putting up posters of gay people), or ask questions. Senator Ted Cruz had one of the more impressive speeches of the bunch. 

Granted, he is not asking Judge Barrett very many questions here, he spends most of his time responding to the idiocy of the Democrat Senators’ claims, and that was par for the course throughout most of the hearings. One senator would make his/her speech, and then the senator on the other side of the aisle would dispute and or “fact check” what previous senators claimed. It was interesting to see them debate THROUGH the hearings. 

At any rate, I was moved by his speech and thought I would share it. 

As far as Judge Barrett herself. I can not imagine the patience and control it must have taken to endure these hearings. She remained completely poised and steadfast in her beliefs and answers. She was impressive to watch. She is clearly highly intelligent and intimately knows the law. She was clearly an excellent law professor as she was very thorough in her explanations of what the law is and how it’s intended to be applied. 

I think Judge Barrett should be what little girls aspire to be when they grow up as opposed to wanting to be Beyonce or Kim K. THIS is an example of feminism at it’s best. 

Podcast

Podcast: Dear Character – Share Your Story

This episode, I talk about encouraging my main character for my NaNoWriMo project to share her tragedy. I dip my toe in politics talking about President Trump’s positive COVID testing and Pelosi’s determination to use the 25th amendment to further her dangerous agenda. I read an excerpt from this week’s book review, “Stories We Never Told” and offer my opinion and rating. Thanks for listening!

Links talked about in the podcast: “Stories We Never Told” and Abbie Emmons

Take me on the go! You can hear my podcast on the following platforms:

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Apple Podcast

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I upload a new podcast every week. Thanks for listening!

*TALK” to you soon!