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Archive for May, 2013

Writing Wednesday: Stormy Row

About 8 O’clock last night, it started storming and over the scanner we heard that a tornado had been spotted in a town to the north of us. It looted like it could come into town and my husband headed in to the fire station. We have no basement in or house, so these times always make me nervous, but it didn’t hit us here. In town (we’re south of town) us another story apparently. Some people are still without power, including the school which is why it was compelled today and all ready on two hour delay for tomorrow (which means no school for the girl since she only goes in the morning). We still have no internet here(the reason I’m writing this post on my phone), but that’s the worst we got, for which I am thankful.
As for last week’s goals:

Stained Snow: Finish 1st draft – DONE! Finished this on Thursday. At about 49413 words. So will have to do some cutting if I want to keep it as a novella.

Flames of Redemption: Finish last 11 scenes – DONE! Just this afternoon. This one went from about 55500 words to over 66700 words. Still a little on the short side but not quite as short as it was.

Demons Rising: Finish novel notebook – DONE!
                            Start scene cards – DONE!

Read: Shadow and Bone, Miss Me Not, & Touched. – Done, done, and done. Just finished Touched earlier today and haven’t stayed anything new yet.

Knit: Finish Fledgling Gloves – finished the first one. The fingers turned out all weird. Didn’t bother starting the second one.

Crochet: Hairpin Lacy Skinny Scarf – this is the first time I’ve used this hairpin fork tool. So, it took a little getting used to at first. Then, it turned out to be pretty simple. Still working on it though. The scarf is supposed to be 70 inches long. It’s about twenty right now.
Now, for next week’s goals(which will mostly be finishing up the month’s goals):
Slow Revenge – start reading through
Demons Rising: Set up in Scrivener
Knit: Shimmer by Night bag
          Broken Rib Toque
Crochet: Hairpin Lace Skinny Scarf

Writing Wednesday: Summer Row

Even though my daughter keeps reminding me it’s not summer yet(she is very literal about pretty much everything), it has certainly felt like it for about the last week. I know I had just been complaining that it was cold, and even snowing, but it went from about 40 degrees to 70s & 80s. 70s is fine with me. But, get much hotter than that, and I have trouble dealing with it. The heat will actually sometimes make me feel sick to my stomach. But, the kids have wanted to play outside, so outside we go. Supposed to have storms through tomorrow afternoon though. Except so far it’s just rained a bit this morning, now the sun is out again. We’ll see if it stays that way.

  • Stained Snow: Finish first draft: Not quite there. I have a scene to finish and then one more to write. Have trouble finishing this one. I’ve written just over 3000 words on it over the last week. I was doing good last week, but didn’t work on it at all over the weekend or Monday. Still hope to have it finished by the end of this week.
  • Flames of Redemption: Get through Chapter 12(8 scenes):  Didn’t meet this goal. I still have one more scene to go in chapter 11. One of the scenes from this chapter I split into two and added quite a bit to what became the first of these scenes. I’ve added just over 1700 words to this.
  • Demons Rising: Finish blueprint & novel notebook: I finished the blueprint, but have not finished the notebook yet. Still have to finish character worksheets and 4 more sections. 
  • Read: Finish A Hint of Frost, Across a Moonlit Sea, and Love to the Rescue: Yes, yes, and yes. I enjoyed A Hint of Frost and Across a Moonlit Sea. I really didn’t care too much for Love to the Rescue. I don’t know why, I just felt that I couldn’t connect with the characters and the dialogue sometimes felt weird. I did finish reading it though. And then I started Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I started it while eating breakfast yesterday morning and had finished the first quarter of it by the time I went to bed. Wanted to read some more, but knew I needed to get to bed.
  • Knit: Finish Cables & Lace Hat & start Fledgling Gloves: finished the hat. I have the first of the gloves started, but haven’t finished it yet. Just getting ready to start knitting the fingers.
  • Crochet: Ruffled Skinny Scarf: I probably would have finished this except for the fact that I ran out of yarn. When I was about halfway through the last row. I thought I was going to have enough, but it turned out I was wrong(so not the first time that’s happened). So, it will have to wait until I can get some more of this yarn.

I fell a little short of some of my goals, but still made progress. I can’t be too upset about that.

  • Stained Snow: Finish first draft
  • Flames of Redemption: Finish last 11 scenes
  • Demons Rising: finish novel notebook.
  • Demons Rising: Start scene cards
  • Read: Finish Shadow and Bone, Read Miss Me Not by Tiffany King and Touched by A.J. Aalto
  • Knit: Finish Fledgling Gloves
  • Crochet: Hairpin lace skinny scarf

Fictional Vs Real Towns

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while: whether to use real towns/cities in my writing or if it’s better to create a fictional one. Or maybe does it depend on the story I’m writing? I have done both and have run into problems with both ways. So, I tried coming up with a list of pros and cons for both.

I used a fictional city for my WiP, Flames of Redemption(that I refer to as my fire WiP). I wanted to have it set around the area where I grew up and where I still live(two different towns but not too far apart). But, I didn’t want to commit to an actual town. I figured with making it up, I’d have some leeway on the details. But, would still have to keep it accurate for the area. But, I could still structure the city the way I wanted to.  Of course, on the other side of this, it means everything is pretty much up to me to create. While this can be a good thing, it also meant I couldn’t just research some of the details.

I’ve also used some real towns/cities. In the western novella I’m writing now, I’ve used towns that are actually on maps from that time. But, very little of that story has actually taken place in either of the towns. But, in the first of my connected series, Slow Revenge, I had planned to set it in Pueblo, Colorado. Not sure why I chose that particular city. I actually started writing this story about eight years ago. This was just a year or two after I’d gone out there with my best friend for a graduation present(from my dad) and fallen just a little in love with the place. That was also when I just loved to write, but didn’t know so much about the writing craft. The story itself changed a bit when I wrote it this time, but I still planned to set it in Pueblo. Except I didn’t do too much research before I started writing. And I had the police department organized completely different than how it really is. Once I realized that, I knew I would have to make some changes. It would take a complete overhaul, and some of the conflict would no longer make sense, to keep it there. But, I wanted to keep it in Colorado. So, I considered moving it to Colorado Springs, which would still take some changing, but not nearly as much, or I may end up making up a city as well. Or I might even end up moving it somewhere else. And I think that’s really the biggest disadvantage of basing a story in a real town or city. There’s always the chance someone will call you out on any thing that’s not true for that place, especially if they know it better than you do. Although, one of the positives is that it’s all ready structured. Although I suppose that could be a hindrance as well.

So, what do you choose to use in your writing? Do you like using real places? Or would you prefer to have more room to make up the details? And the more I think about it, and as I wrote this, I’m thinking I may prefer to use fictional ones.

Fitness Friday: Joining In

When I first heard about other people posting for Fitness Friday, I wasn’t going to bother joining in. I figured I was still doing good, wasn’t too far over where I wanted to be. I’m really not sure what happened, but I’m certainly not there any more.

When I had my son, a little more than 2.5 years ago, I told myself I wasn’t going to get back to where I was when I got pregnant with him. I wasn’t overly heavy, really just about at the high end of normal according to BMI. But, I wasn’t happy with myself when I was there. During that pregnancy, I had gestational diabetes so I had to watch what I ate during that last trimester. And I didn’t even gain a total of 10 pounds by the time he was born(and apparently I’m not much of a gainer during pregnancy. I didn’t even gain 20 with my daughter and didn’t have to restrict what I ate). So, right after he was born, I was actually a little more than 10 pounds under what I’d been at the start. Like, I said I was determined not to get back to that. And wanted to lose even another 10 pounds. Well, I did managed that. Got down to about 25 pounds less than what I weighed when I got pregnant with him(both of them actually, because I weighed the same at the beginning of both pregnancies then lost after daughter was born, but gained it back).

At the end of last summer, when my son turned 2, I was down to 142 pounds. And I was happy there. Was just trying to maintain that. But, I got lazy. That’s really the only way to put it. I stopped tracking what I was eating. Stopped working out regularly. Just stopped doing pretty much anything. And slowly the weight has crept back up. And I’m not happy about it. And I only have myself to not be happy with. I’ve gone from 142 pounds at the end of last August to 166 last week. It’s unacceptable. So, I’m getting back on track now.

I’ve been doing good the last week. Have been keeping track of what I eat on My Fitness Pal, and for the most part have stayed within my calories. My biggest problem seems to be snacking. So, I’ve been trying to get control over that again. And for the most part, I have. Try to stick with 1 snack between each bigger meal. And I’ve worked out every day this week. I did something to my foot on Monday, I think. Not exactly sure what, but it felt like I pulled something on the inside/bottom of my left foot. I worked out to my Gold’s Gym Sculpt & Burn DVD on Wednesday when it was feeling better and it started to hurt again. So, I’ve stuck with walking on the treadmill the last couple of days.


Starting weight: 165.2

Goal: 145


Writing Wednesday

Last week, I reported that we’d been spending pretty much every day outside. Well, the next day, that changed. Started getting rainy, then over the weekend, the temperature took a dip. Like from the 70s-80s down into the 40s. We actually had to turn our pellet stove back on. I think that’s the first time we’ve run it during May. But, temperature has gone back up as of today. Hoping it stays that way. Although I’m not looking forward to temperatures in the 90s(I’m sure it will be coming in a couple months though if not sooner), but 70s is a lot better than 40s, especially in May.

  • Stained Snow: 5000 words. Hoping this will get me through at least the climax scene(3 planned scenes away from where I am now). I’m finding that the words are coming harder the closer to the end I get though. Like I have to fight for every single word. And this seems to happen with every project, not just this one. Does anyone else find this to be true for them? Or am I just weird(and if the answer to that is yes, well, it won’t be the first time).

I added 5484 words to this. I was determined to finish the climax scene last night and racked up 1481 words. I still have 3 scenes to finish, so hoping to have it done by the end of the week.

  • Flames of Redemption: Get through Chapter 10. I have at least 1 scene I want to add in here, most of the rest is smaller changes.

I have 1 more scene to go through in chapter 10, so I came close to meeting this goal. Decided that scene I was going to add didn’t really fit in there. Ended up only adding a total of 87 words.

  • Demons Rising: finish blueprint

Another one I got close to. I have one more section of this to fill in.

Done, done, and done. And I read one more too. And almost through a fifth. I’ve all ready finished all the books I bought at the beginning of the month. I may have a problem. At least I have some books I’ve downloaded for free to get me through until next month.

I finished the cowl last week. Am nearly finished with the hat. Have another repeat of the cable pattern to go then shape the crown and it will be done.

I finished this yesterday, added a flower I crocheted as well.

So, overall, I did pretty good with this week’s goals. Still have some things to finish though. So, for next week’s goals:

Definition of a Small Town

I started thinking about writing this post last month when I read Tin God by Stacy Green. There was one line in it that threw me. I loved the book, but when I read this line, “Stupid small towns. Less than thirty-thousand people…” I stopped. I remember looking up, then reading it again and the thought went through my head, “That’s a small town? More like a small city.” But, I’ve started to think maybe my idea of what a small town is is a bit skewed. And that all has to do with where I grew up, and really, where I live now(the two aren’t too far apart in distance or population).

My home town, and the one I live in now, are actually considered “boroughs”, not officially a town. Now, according to Wikipedia, “A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely.” I looked a little farther and saw that in Pennsylvania(where I live), it is “a type of municipality comparable to a town”.

My home town, as of 2011 had a population of 996. A 7% decline since 2000. Like I said, small. The land area is 1.44 square miles. The only notable location listed on city-data.com was out local volunteer fire department. Although the last time I was in town, there was a Subway and a Dollar General there now. Also, we have 1 bank, 1 stoplight, and about 5 churches in one block. Also, a library and 2 gas stations. There’s also a hardware store run by my uncle where I worked a couple summers. Maybe I should mention, I’m related to about half the town one way or another. Both sides of my mom’s family are rather large. The biggest city near us is Erie, in the 50,000+ range, then Pittsburgh with over 300,000.

Now my current town(or borough) is a little larger than the one I grew up in. It has a population of  3322 as of 2011, a decline of -4.1% since 2000. It’s a little larger in terms of size as well as population with a land area of 1.87 square miles. City-data.com has the public library(that my daughter’s k-4 class goes to once a month) and this town’s volunteer fire department. There’s 1 bank, with 2 different branches and several churches. We actually don’t live in town, but right outside of it. Our address still puts us there even though we’re actually right across the county line. It’s labeled as a “census-designated place” with a population of 516 in 2010. That increases during the summer when people, mostly from Pittsburgh, come up to “summer cottages”.

One of the closest cities to my hometown is even smaller than that quoted small town from the book with a population of 13645 and land area of 4.35 square miles. Some of the notable locations are: Baldwin Reynolds House Museum and the Meadville Mall. There’s also  Allegheny College, a manufacturing institute, a practical nursing program, 6 public elem/middle school, and 2 public high schools. In both my home town and current town, there’s only 1 grade school & 1 high school.

This is where we always did our shopping and went out to eat. The mall is practically non-existent now, I think. K-mart being most of what’s still open there.

Now, where I went to college, Clarion, Pa, I always thought was pretty large. And I would laugh when I heard people, mostly from around Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia areas, refer to it as a small town. There were several restaurants, a mall, a Wal-Mart, the university itself. Didn’t seem small at all to me. Well, as I was doing the research for this article, I found that it has a population of just 5271 and is considered a borough as well. So maybe it’s not quite as large as I thought.

As well as the university, one of the local attractions is Cook Forest State Park, a place I remember camping at when I was growing up.
There’s also 7 different banks and 9 hotels/motels in the town.

As I said, one of the closest bigger cities to us is Erie. This is now where we do most of our shopping and eating out. It has a population of over 100,000 and encompasses 22 square miles. Certainly big enough for me. Some notable locations are the Erie Maritime Museum, Erie Zoo, Millcreek Mall, Presque Isle State Park, Splash Lagoon(indoor water park) and Waldameer Park(an amusement park). There are 10 colleges/universities, 10 public high schools, 10+ public elementary/middle schools, 45 branches of 9 different banks, and 27 hotels/motels.

So, looking over this I can see why my view of a small town may be different than that of someone else. And that in different areas, a small town may be defined differently.

What about you? What do you consider a small town? Is your view different because of where you grew up?

Writing Wednesday: Making Progress

I realized I never made my list of weekly goals in my post for last week. Not a big deal, as I kept working toward what I wanted to get done. Although we’ve spent pretty much every day outside this week. Even spent a few hours at a park in town on Saturday. Loved watching my 2.5 year old pass by the smaller slides and go to the bigger ones with his sister. I’m not sure that boy has much fear at all. And I did take a lot of pictures. I may try to get them from my phone to the computer sometime and put them in another post.

As for how I’ve done over the last week:

  • Stained Snow: 4555 words added to this. Today is the only day I’ve passed 1000 words on it. But, I’m making my way toward the climax. I just passed 40,000 words on it this afternoon. Not sure it will be under 45000 by the time I’m finished.
  • Flames of Redemption: I’ve added 3172 new words to this one after being down by 15 last Wednesday. I don’t keep track of what I actually write when I’m just changing a few things here or there, or adding in a sentence. But, when it’s paragraphs or whole scenes, I like tracking the words.

*Between these two projects, I’ve written over 7600 words. Almost 2500 on Monday alone. And here I thought I couldn’t write two different stories at once.

  • Demons Rising: I finished the last step(that I do) of the snowflake method on Thursday. Still working my way through the blueprint. Probably won’t be finishing the outlining this week. I’m still hoping to get to the drafting stage before the end of the month though.
  • Reading: I’ve read Defying Fate, A Bucket of Ashes, Dreamstealer, and am 2 stories away from finishing the Orange Karen anthology. So, have already surpassed my reading goal for this month. More than halfway to this year’s goal.
  • Knitting: I’ve made progress on the cowl I’ve been knitting since the beginning of April. Have about 9 rounds left to go to finish it.
  • Crochet: I finished my first project of the month yesterday. It was a really quick one too. A headband. Only took me about an hour and a half to finish it and the flower I attached to it.

Goals for next week:

  • Stained Snow: 5000 words. Hoping this will get me through at least the climax scene(3 planned scenes away from where I am now).
  • Flames of Redemption: Get through Chapter 10. I have at least 1 scene I want to add in here, most of the rest is smaller changes.
  • Demons Rising: finish blueprint
  • Reading: Finish Orange Karen, Read Date Me(Jillian Dodd) and Composing Myself(Elena Aitken)
  • Knitting: Finish GAPtastic Cowl & Cables & Lace Hat
  • Crochet: Shell Stitch Beanie

Writing Wednesday: New Month

It’s been a really nice week, both for weather and my writing. Hoping this means Spring is here to stay this time. Saturday we had a birthday party to go to then a wedding for one of my oldest friend’s back in my hometown. After church on Sunday, we spent most of the day outside, getting some yard work done. I made at least 8 or 9 trips with the wheelbarrow full of leaves and then wood(from a tree that got knocked down). This week my husband’s grandparents came home from Florida and the weather has been so nice we’ve been spending quite a bit of time outside. But, I’ve still been getting things done.

  • Stained Snow: Write 6279 words(to finish Camp NaNo) – I’ve written 6835 words over the past week. Finished my Camp NaNo goal yesterday morning with 869 words. I still have probably another 5-10k to add before it is finished. Hopefully by the middle of the month, if not sooner.
  • Flames of Redemption: Finish Rewrites through Chapter 6 – not quite there yet. I’ve got one more scene in chapter 5 and then the four in chapter 6. I did add another scene to chapter 4 the other day which ended up being a little more than 1600 words. I’ve added a little over 2200 words to this in the last 2 weeks.
  • Demons Rising: Finish last back story & get through step 3 of snowflake method – I did finish the last back story. And I just started the last step of the snowflake method last night. I’m hoping to finish that today.
  • Read 2 books –I finished the book I was reading last week. Not one of my favorites of this year, but it was an ok read. I’ve finished 3 more since then and just started reading Defying Fate by S.M. Reine this morning.

Since it the end/beginning of the month, I’m going to evaluate my first month’s goals here too. That will help me decide on what this month’s goals are.

  • 30000 words on Stained Snow – Achieved! Surpassed!
  • Send Slow Revenge to Beta Readers – Didn’t happen. When I’m finished with Flames of Redemption, I think I’m going to read through it again and rewrite
  • Finish edits on Healing the Heart – Finished this on Arpil 10. Going to sit until I get Slow Revenge figured out.
  • Read through Flames of Redemption and decide what to do with it. – read through. In the process of rewrites
  • Finish plotting Demons Rising – Not yet. hope to have it done by the end of next week though.

As for my reading/crafting goals:

  • I’ve read 16/17 books for this round. 5 of those were novella length or shorter. The other 11 were full-length novels. I don’t see me having any problem meeting this goal.
  • I’ve finished 1/10 knitting projects. This time of year may not have been the best for adding this goal. My knitting tends to slow down when it warms up and we get busier.
  • Finished 2/3 crochet projects

Now for my goals for May:

  • Finish first draft of Stained Snow
  • Finish Flames of Redemption rewrites
  • Finish plotting Demons Rising
  • Read Through Slow Revenge
  • Write 10,000 words for Demons Rising

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