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Archive for April, 2012

Random Thursday: Where in the World?

About a month or so ago, I noticed this new feature on the stats page for my blog. It now tells you where the people viewing your page are from. I find this interesting and check it out every once in a while. As I would assume, most of my views come from the United States.

At the time of writing this, I had one view today(Wednesday) and it was from Russian Federation. On Tuesday, I had 12 views. 9 of these came from the United States, 2 were once again from the Russian Federation, and 1 from the Czech Republic.

Visitors to my blog from Tuesday.

In the last week, my blog has been viewed 44 times. Once again the majority of those views, 36, have come from the United States. 4 were from the Russian Federation, and one each from the Czech Republic, Brazil, Malaysia, and Canada.

From the last week

There have been 257 visitors here in the last month. 198 of those were from the United States. 26 were from the United Kingdom and 7 were from Canada. I think it would be a good assumption that the majority of my regular visitors are from these locations. Those same 4 from the Russian Federation and another 4 from Italy. I had 3 visits from Brazil and 2 each from the Czech Republic and Belgium. People from Puerto Rico, Finland, Malaysia, Thailand, Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, Ireland, Argentina, Australia, Indonesia, and Peru visited the blog once in the last month.

Visitors in a month

Since February 25(when this feature must have been implemented), I have had over 300 views just from the United States. 43 have come from the United Kingdom and 2o from Canada. Most of the other ones are from more recent although there are a few that visited once more than a month ago, like Turkey and Iceland.

Since the start of this feature

Writing Wednesday: Rowing Along

I fell into a bit of a funk last week and did not get much done during the second half. I’m not sure what was up with me, but I think it has passed now. I have all ready gotten more done this week than I did all last week I think. And taking off the Sunday check-in has helped, I think. I found checking in twice a week to be a bit overwhelming for me. So, I think I will continue with just once a week.

  • Read through at least Chapter 5, marking sections that need to be added to or cut/change

I got through Chapter 3 on Friday. Was going to work on this some more on Monday, then decided to move it from yWriter over to Scrivener. I’ve used both programs and am still trying to decide which one I like better. Used Scrivener when it was in Beta, but went back to yWriter. Think I may go back to using Scrivener though. During the Row80 sprint on Tuesday though, I did meet this goal. Plus I read through the first scene of Chapter 6.

  • Be through step 4 of the snowflake method for this new WiP.

Did the character summaries Thursday and Monday and expanded the paragraph summary into its own page on Tuesday. I still need to write a one page description of the major characters(which I usually write their back stories from their point of view for that), expand each of the paragraphs from the page summary into their own page, and figure out the timeline & plot out the scenes. I may be done with this before my deadline of 4/30.

  • Have 1 more flash fiction piece written

Wrote 1 Monday morning and had it posted for Tuesday.

  • Keep my blog up to date

As I said, I was in a bit of a funk last week, and I never did posts for Thursday or Friday. Not sure exactly what was up with me, but I’m getting back on track this week. I got posts up on Monday and Tuesday, so with this check-in, I’m on track for this week. And I have the drafts for Thursday and Friday started.

  • Have at least one more chapter finished, including the exercises.

Read Chapter 12 in Plot & Structure, Plot Patterns, on Tuesday. Finished the exercises this morning.

  • Start reading the next novel on my list.

I started reading Committed by John W. Mefford on Thursday. As of this morning, I am 30% through it.

So, I’ve been doing pretty well with hitting my goals even if I fell off the tracks a bit last week. I’m back on track now though and hopefully will stay that way.

Goals for next week:

  • Read through Chapter 10 of Guarding the Heart, marking sections to be added/cut/changed.
  • Be through step 6 of the snowflake method for Slow Revenge
  • Write at least 1 more flash fiction piece
  • Keep up to date with my blog
  • Reply to comments on the blog
  • Read and finish exercises for Chapter 13 of Plot & Structure
  • Be at least 75% through Committed.

Short Tuesday: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

I was going to do another closing line challenge for this week, but couldn’t think of anything for the prompt. So, I went back to my usual opening line prompt. Wasn’t sure where I was going to take this one, but wrote it in less than thirty minutes.

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He should have never been there in the first place. Why had he come again? He couldn’t even remember now. He was supposed to be at work. He had just stepped out for a few minutes. He was due a quick break anyway. So, he was just running down to the corner store for a drink and snack. That was it. He should have just stayed at work though.

He pressed his forehead against the hard floor, his body tense as the footsteps came closer. His fingers touched something sticky, a spilled drink probably. At least he hoped that’s all it was. With his nose right against the floor, he could smell all the people who had passed through here. Could smell the sticky sweetness of iced drinks that hadn’t been completely cleaned up with a mop. There were other smells mixed in with that, but he did not dare put a name to them for his own sanity.

His heart raced as he watched the pair of feet stop right beside him. He could hear the other man still yelling at the cashier even though she was cooperating. He did not dare raise his eyes, afraid he might look at the men the wrong way. They had all ready taken care of the one person who had tried to stop their rampage in the store. He had dropped to the ground when ordered though and stayed there. He wasn’t willing to do anything that would get him killed and keep him from going home when this was over.

He felt the boot to his ribs and bit back a moan. “Get up.”

He didn’t want to do it, but was afraid disobedience would undermine his goal of getting home again. Of seeing his wife and baby girl again. He pushed himself up from the floor and looked into the face of the man who might hold his own fate in his hands. And what he saw had dread forming a heavy ball in the pit of his stomach.

“Go stand against that wall,” the man ordered.

He headed to where the other customers, now prisoners, stood. With his back against the wall, he closed his eyes and let his thoughts drift to the woman he loved and the little girl they had brought into the world. The two people he was sure he would never see again. No, he did not think he would ever leave this place. He should have never been here in the first place.

Knitting Monday: Baby Shower Gifts

I have a cousin who is due with her first baby, a girl, in May. This will be the first baby in our family that is not from me or one of my sisters. And this is the first baby shower I’ve been to since I started knitting. So, I decided to make a few things to give her.

The first was a hat that I made a couple months back but always intended to give her as a gift. It was different than the other hats I have done. First of all, it was knit from the top down instead of starting with the brim. That made it a little difficult at first. But, it turned out really nice. Now, hopefully her kid won’t be like mine and have a bigger head, since it’s made to fit a newborn, and I know my kids had like 3-6 month heads at birth.

I didn’t work on any more gifts until the end of March since I had been trying to get some Easter items done. But, the next one I worked on was a little headband. This was the first headband I had ever knit. And I made a little flower to attach to it. The one I ended up going with was actually the second one I made. The first attempt was a rose, but as I was trying to knit it together to look like a rose, it all fell apart. So, I decided to go with a different flower design instead. I may try to do another rose sometime and hopefully it will work better.

I still wanted to make something else to give to her, so I made a little square blanket. Not big enough to cover up with, but something her little girl could cuddle with a little later.

And I still wanted a little something else to put in with the gift, but we were only two days away from the shower. So, I looked through my list of patterns I’ve collected and found one for a bib with a cabled edge and strap that I didn’t think would take me too long to finish. I was a little worried though because I haven’t really done much cabling before. It turned out to not be too difficult though and actually ended up looking really nice. I had that finished on Friday, so still had plenty of time to get it all put together for the shower.

I’d had a couple of other items that I had planned to give her as well, but neither of them turned out as well as I had hoped so decided against including them.

Writing Wednesday: Second Round, First Check-In

There’s never too much to report for the first check-in of a round, but I like to get into the routine of doing the check-ins each week. And I didn’t post anything on Monday, so I really don’t want to skip another day this week.

Editing:
Spend at least 1 hour a day editing Guarding the Heart
Find beta readers for Guarding the Heart
Send it out to beta readers by 5/11

I spent about half an hour on Guarding the Heart on Monday. Read through the first chapter and highlighted a couple sections to either change or cut completely. Didn’t spend any time at all on this on Tuesday. I wanted to get a knitting project finished before this weekend and sacrificed my editing time to work on that.
Still looking for beta readers.

Plotting:
Decide on the next WiP
Once chosen, apply snowflake method to the story idea
Have story fully plotted and outlined by 4/30

I decided on my next WiP over the weekend. It’s going to be one I wrote back in 2004. I looked at it again recently and it’s not even 50000 words when I finished it back then. Didn’t really have a grasp on the craft of writing back then. Just sat down and wrote without any thought to structure. Hopefully now I can do it some justice.

Applied the idea to the LOCK method(from James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure) on Monday and figured out the basic premise. Started step 1 of the snowflake method on Tuesday, so now have a one line summary of it. Finished step 2 of the snowflake method on Wednesday, so I turned the one sentence summary into one paragraph. Not sure that I’m really happy with it. I seem to be having trouble getting this idea from my head onto the screen. But, I can tweak it as I expand on it some more.

Writing:
Write 1 piece of flash fiction/week
By 5/1 start working on next WiP

I wrote a short piece for L.S. Engler’s closing line challenge on Monday and posted it on Tuesday. Haven’t worked on any more flash fiction this week. There is another closing line challenge posted, so I may work on that sometime this week if I can come up with something.

Social Media:
Keep up with my blog schedule
Have posts done at least 1 day in advance

All ready falling behind here. Couldn’t think of anything to post for my Knitting Monday post, so skipped that day. I had Tuesday’s post done and scheduled Monday. Today’s wasn’t finished until this morning though, which isn’t a problem. I did keep adding to it through the week, so I only had to add the last day’s progress to it before I posted. Don’t have any more ready for this week yet though. I like getting them done ahead of time as then I don’t feel rushed to think of something to talk about.

Reading:
Finish reading Plot & Structure and complete the exercises for remaining chapter
Read 2 novels a month or one every 2 weeks.

I’ve read one more chapter in Plot & Structure. Still have 3 more to finish.

The first book I’m reading for this month is Megan’s Way by Melissa Foster. I was 21% into it at the beginning of this round. After Monday, I was at 33%. As of this morning, I was at 77%, so I got quite a bit of reading done yesterday. I may even be able to finish it today.

I am tossing around the idea of only checking in once a week. Checking in twice can be a bit overwhelming, and it seems that I don’t have too much to report twice a week. I think doing a weekly update will be a little easier. So, I think that is what I’m going to go with for right now.

So my goals for next week are:
Read through at least Chapter 5, marking sections that need to be added to or cut/changed.
Be through step 4 of the snowflake method for this new WiP.
Have 1 more flash fiction piece written
Keep my blog up to date
Have at least one more chapter finished, including the exercises.
Start reading the next novel on my list.

How is everyone else doing so far for this round?

Short Tuesday: Closing Line Challenge

Last week, L.S. Engler posted a challenge on her blog. The prompt was a little different than what I’m used to, a closing line instead of an opening line. I was finishing up the draft of my novella, so I wasn’t sure if I would get to it. But, I finished that on Friday. I tossed around some ideas in my head on Sunday and with a couple different possibilities bouncing around, sat down to write Monday morning. I wrote this in about twenty minutes.

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“I don’t want you to go.”

The whine in his voice would usually have made her cringe and want to snap back. But now it just clogged her throat with tears. She knelt down in front of him and put her hand on his shoulder. “I know, Buddy. It’s not forever though. You’ll be fine with your Daddy. You two will have fun.” She knew the smile she plastered on her face was shaky and her son would see right through it.

“But, I want to stay with you,” the boy insisted. “Why can’t I just stay with you?”

She saw her husband’s, she would never get used to the ex in front of that word, hand clench on the boy’s shoulder, and gritted her teeth. “You need to come with me, Alex.” The man’s voice was deep and hard, but she could hear no emotion in it. Not toward her or their son. “Your mom has to go now.” He focused his gaze back on her. “You really need to go now, Monica.”

She nodded but did not get back to her feet yet. “I’m sorry for this, Buddy,” she said, wrapping the young boy in a hug. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. And I promise I’ll make it up to you when I get back.” She clung to him, not wanting to let her little buddy go. But, she finally released him and held him at arm’s length, her eyes scanning his face as if she was trying to memorize exactly what he looked like.

“You be good for your daddy,” she said and took a step back from him. Then, she turned from him and let the prison guards lead her toward her new home for the next two to five years. She heard her son calling her name and though she knew she shouldn’t, she turned her head and looked back.

 

Any thoughts/feedback is always welcome. So, what do you think? Did anyone else take on this challenge?

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