Weekend Writing Warriors – The Aurigae Express 7

June 23, 2013

Greetings from Odyssey! Sorry I missed WeWriWa last week, but I’m going back to  my Camp Nanowrimo project “The Aurigae Express.” Alan and Diane are police partners who’ve volunteered to visit an alien planet where very few Earthlings have gone, to track down a fugitive and retrieve her ill-gotten millions. They’ve boarded an alien ship that takes Earthling passengers through hyperspace, and the ship’s made its first Jump. Neither of them are reacting very well to the experience.


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A frightening vision popped into view, curling brown tendrils and two piercing eyes at the bottom of a face. Alan yelped again before realizing that the face was upside down and Diane was peering over the edge of her bunk. The upper levels of his brain resented her for having recovered so well that she felt comfortable moving about.

“We should probably think about going to meet our fellow passengers.”

Alan whimpered again. Fear of strangers was something that he couldn’t even put into words at this point, but he definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable around them yet.

“Okay, okay, no big hurry.” Diane’s upside-down face withdrew, leaving only a few trailing ends of hair to taunt him.

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/.

Signposts from Odyssey

June 14, 2013

Hey there! I know I haven’t blogged since before I left for Odyssey. It’s been a crazy week. But I said soon after I got here that I was going to tell my blog followers some of what I’ve learned about the weaknesses in my writing, and how I plan to work on those weaknesses. Since the first weekend is starting, and I’m starting a new story to be critiqued next week, this seems like a good place to start.

I’ve learned that I have room to improve in: conveying the emotion of my characters.

How I plan to improve:

  • Before writing each scene, note each character involved in the scene, where they start emotionally before the scene, and where they are emotionally after the scene is over.
  • Review after writing the scene to check that I’ve conveyed those as strongly as I could, as well as any other transitory emotions they passed through along the way.
  • Review that all of these emotional arcs seem consistent when the first draft is done.

I’ve learned that I have room to improve in: showing the important stuff to readers (not telling.)

How I plan to improve:

  • Make a list of important things to show before writing every scene.
  • Review after writing, that I’ve shown and not told those things, and if there was anything else important that I’ve told instead of showing.

I’ve got lots more room to improve, but this seems good for a start. Have a great weekend!

Weekend Writing Warriors – The Aurigae Express 6

June 9, 2013

Good morning! This may be my last Weekend Writing Warriors entry for a while; I’m off to Odyssey today, and not sure if I’m going to keep up with sharing eight sentences a week while I’m there. But for now, I’m still in  my Camp Nanowrimo project “The Aurigae Express.” Alan and Diane are police partners who’ve volunteered to visit an alien planet where very few Earthlings have gone, to track down a fugitive and retrieve her ill-gotten millions. They’ve boarded an alien ship that takes Earthling passengers through hyperspace, and the ship’s just made its first Jump.


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“Are you…” Those were both letters, weren’t they? R and U… what had he been trying to spell–R U N for run? No, he wasn’t in any shape to run anywhere, and it would be impossible in zero gravity anyway.

“That was fucked up.” For a few seconds, Alan was impressed that he’d managed such a coherent thought, and then realized that he hadn’t. He hadn’t moved his lips, or formed that thought before he heard it.


“Kick your ass…”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/.

The Post of Packing

June 8, 2013

Okay, let’s see. Walked up to the mall with Canadian money today to turn it into American money. Spent most of the rest of the day running around getting things ready to pack, packing suitcases and rubbermaid totes, and fooling around with files on laptops so I bring everything I think I need or want to New Hampshire with me.

I think I’m doing pretty well, with just a few last minute things to sort out in the morning. I ended up loading up a lot of the car this evening, which I hadn’t planned on, but I was feeling nervous about if I could fit in everything that I’d packed and how many more small bags I could set up, so I went ahead and started the load. I think I’m glad I did. A few people might notice that the car is sitting there in my parking lot, ready for a trip, but I really don’t think anybody’s going to break into it – or wait until I go and try to break into my apartment for whatever I’ve left behind. 😉

But I’m not telling you friends and followers where I live. Just in case…

Quick Odyssey prep update

June 7, 2013

Less than 36 hours until I leave now! Tomorrow will be the big day of marathon preparations, including packing many suitcases, getting money, and mostly clearing out the fridge.

Today I got some important stuff taken care of. It was my last day at work until July, and that went over pretty well. I also finally got my new glasses and clip-on shades, and I had dinner with my mom and went over a few things like her picking up my mail and turning on the air conditioner before I get back.

It’s getting so close, whoohoo!

It’s Thankful Thursday!

June 6, 2013

I came across this little weekly blogfest recently, run by Just the Stuff Ya Know, and felt I had to join in. So, what am I thankful for this week?

I’m thankful for the great opportunities I have in my life and my writing, like going away to Odyssey in… 3 days, actually more like 2 and a half now.

I’m thankful for a job where I’m treated well and get paid doing things that I enjoy.

I’m thankful for the rain, even though I’m not a big fan of singing in it, and for the sunny days when they come back again.

I’m thankful for air conditioning when it gets too hot, not that I’ve needed them this week.

I’m thankful for my family, and I know that I’ll miss them this summer.

I’m thankful for all the amazing books available on audible.com; I spent a little while this evening trying to pick some new ones for the trip, and ended up with eight novels in my shopping cart checkout! 😉

I’m thankful for bacon! I haven’t been having much bacon lately with my diet, but I did pick up a pack a while back and froze most of it, and then realized that I needed to use it up before I left town. So I made a bacon tomato sauce last weekend, and I’ve been enjoying that with my pasta. It’s almost done, though there’s one helping that I can take into the office for lunch.

Let’s see… I’m grateful for smartphone GPS apps even when they don’t quite work perfectly, and for old-fashioned print maps that come free from the nice people at CAA.

I’m thankful for all the music that I love, and for tools that let me write my own ways to organize it all.

What are you thankful for today?

IWSG – Chase dreams and you just might catch one!

June 5, 2013

It’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group time again, and I feel like I don’t have any new insecurities to bring to the table. Sure, I’m still nervous about leaving for Odyssey in just a few days, but I think I covered that pretty well last month.

But I’ve still got plenty of excitement and inspiration to share, I think. And it’s occurred to me that a lot of writers from all over the world applied for this. If I looked strictly at the numbers, I might have thought that it wasn’t worth the effort to put together my application and mail it off. I certainly wasn’t feeling too hot about my chances after three other workshops rejected me in March.

Still, I got in! That’s made me think about other things that I thought I wasn’t ready to try for yet. I’ve submitted some stories to magazines, but I gave it up after getting a half-dozen rejections or so. Maybe I should be more like Elizabeth, pushing the race points month after month, looking for new places where I can submit my writing, and I can build up a few nice little publication credits. And there are other dreams that I’ve let slip away, that I’m still scared of typing into this blog where everyone can see them.

But I’m not going to let them stay one step ahead of me forever. Those dreams can still run, but sooner or later, I’ll give them the best chase I can manage. (Hmm, considering how lousy my knees are, maybe I’ll need some sort of hovercraft to hunt my dreams in.)

Playing around with song ratings

June 3, 2013

With less than a week now until I leave for Odyssey, I’ve been spending some time working on something… well, it was on my ‘get ready for Odyssey’ list, but it probably isn’t as critical as a few other items on that list. I’ve spent quite a few hours over the past few days playing around with my MP3 collection and tweaking the filing of my songs. 🙂

I generally keep my MP3 files in a two level folder hierarchy. The first level is the basic rating, from 1 to 12, or ‘stage’ if I haven’t rated the song yet. The second level has to do with where I got the MP3, so ‘homerip’ if I ripped it from a CD, ‘record’ if I captured it on the MP3 boombox, (from a cassette tape or vinyl album, say,) or the name of the online music service I bought it from, like napster, emusic, or itunes. I switched from puretracks code to trackspure code when puretracks.com started selling DRM-free MP3 music, and I have a catch-all code of ‘purloin’ for… well, for music that I picked up here and there online without paying for it. (And that accounts for a small slice of the collection by now.)

So, what I’ve been doing with this has been tweaking the rating of individual songs up and down, to help me figure out what music I’m taking to New Hampshire and how. Among other tweaks, I’m looking at any songs that I have multiple versions of and trying to pick which cut I like best. As a general rule, anything other than the best copy can’t expect to get a higher rating than a seven.

On one level, spending a lot of time on this feels foolish, but we all need some foolishness in our lives. I know I do.

Weekend Writing Warriors – The Aurigae Express 5

June 2, 2013

Good morning! It’s time for the next eight sentences from my Camp Nanowrimo project “The Aurigae Express.” To briefly set the scene, Alan and Diane are police partners who’ve volunteered to visit an alien planet where very few Earthlings have gone, to track down a fugitive and retrieve her ill-gotten millions. They’ve boarded an alien ship that takes Earthling passengers through hyperspace, and the ship’s just made its first Jump.


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His body no longer seemed to be some hideously unfamiliar monstrosity, and the sights and sounds of the chamber were becoming more bearable as he got used to them.


“Ummmmmmmmm…” The humming sound that Alan could make was so immediately soothing that he kept it up for a long time before remembering why he had started in a first place. The sound was a word, wasn’t it? Well, not really a word, but a sound that held a meaning like a word in some ways, except that he’d stretched it out for so long that even that sense of it was lost. He forced himself to stop the humming, and some inner child he hadn’t known about made a disappointed sob. “Die…” That wasn’t so pleasant to think about. No, he still didn’t have the right word, the right name. He forced himself to try again.


Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/.

Odyssey prep catch-up

June 1, 2013

Well, I’ve been getting some things crossed off on my Odyssey to-do list, anyway. 🙂 I sent my estimated window of arrival at the College to Jeanne and RA Brad, and sent Jeanne a question about the story I want to get critiqued in the first week of the workshop. I got my hair cut this morning so I won’t be making a very shaggy first impression, I got the car checked out at a local dealer this week, and I postponed my dentist appointment this afternoon. I got my ‘favorite short story’ scanned earlier this week, though getting it printed legibly is proving a little difficult, as even when I turn the ‘picture contrast’ up the text is still very faint, like a pale gray on white. Hmmph.

Oh, and I’ve started installing the important security updates and virus definition updates for the laptops I’ll be taking with me. Even installed clamAV on the Xubuntu side of the Toshiba, so if they need me to show them the antivirus, I can show them the antivirus.

I’m still behind on my essays from the textbook, though, and I need to get started on summarizing the first few scenes of ‘The Storm Mirror’ into a synopsis so that the whole story is under 6000 words for reading. So I’ll stop rambling here and get back to work!

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