Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May writing challenge summary

Blooming in my yard today: Sweet William 
So what did I get out of this crazy A Story A Day In May challenge? Aside from the stress of realizing there was no way in hell I could work long days AND come up with a story idea AND write it to completion every day, I managed to birth five short stories I'm pretty darn happy with, one so-so story and five starts that either I ran out of time to work on this month or didn't go anywhere. My percolator also got quite a workout.

Was it worth trying? Yes. I wrote more than I would have if I hadn't roped myself into participating because I felt I had to write because I said I would no matter how darn busy I was.

Would I do it again? Perhaps. But only if I went into it prepared with my own prompts/ideas for each day I planned to write (you don't have to write every day and I had at least intended to take Sundays off). The provided prompts didn't work for me / didn't inspire me / sounded like things I would normally avoid writing or complain about in a critique. I'd hoped to work with at least a couple of the provided prompts but not a single one lit a creative spark. Perhaps my spark is just fickle - it was certainly lacking in fuel even on a good day.

So what did I end up using for prompts?
Tickle and A Little Thing Like Death came from upcoming magazine prompts.
Sunset Cruise was inspired by my recent reading of Friedman's Fables.
Taking a Breather was inspired by a 100 word story I wrote a year ago. Though, it completely twisted from what I set out to write. I love when that happens.
Found came straight from the percolator. I sat down. Words came out. And as a bonus, they made sense! It's pretty awesome when that happens too.

Tune in during June to follow my trials and triumphs of participating in Camp NaNo. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May Writing Challenge: Week 4

Before we get to the weekly update of shame, I'd like to take a moment to thank Ian over at Views From The Bald Patch for the Kreativ Blogger award. The discarded gang thanks you too (and Blue promises not to eat you).

According to the Kreativ Blogger rules, I need to:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated me for the award, and provide a link back to their blog.
2. List 7 things about myself that the readers might find interesting.
3. Tag 7 other bloggers, providing links to their blogs, and letting them know.

Seven things about me that you may find interesting:

1. My favorite flower is the Iris. They smell soooo good. Here are some of my favorites from my yard.

2. I got married in my garage. On Halloween. Our big costume party reception (also in the garage with a huge tent attached) was a riot. As a bonus, one forgets our anniversary.

3. My favorite hair color is blue. The problem is that it stains everything that it touches so I've not been blue for a while now. There's just to much cleaning involved after the dyeing takes place.

4. I can't watch other people brush their teeth. No sir. It grosses me out to no end. When there are teeth brushing scenes in movies or on tv, I'll look away until it's over. Like people who get all squeamish shots or gore, that's me with foaming toothpaste.

5. As a kid, I grew up processing deer. Hey, I live in Michigan. Deer season is holy around here. Not being a hunter, I took care of the other end - the skinning, sawing, cutting, grinding. I spent most of my elementary through high school years hoping that I'd washed all the blood off my hands and arms before I went to school. In fourth grade, I took a brain to school in a cool whip container for show and tell. No one would touch it. Wusses.

6. I have OCD-like issues with necklace clasps and tags. It gets worse when I'm drinking because that cancels out my introverted tendencies and propels me across the bar to fix any stranger's offending tag or clasp I spot. Not fixing it and knowing it's there makes me so damn uncomfortable and distracted that its just easier to go take care of it. However, after my friends caught on to my 'I'm just going to go talk to that person over there for a minute' issue, they started flipping their tags out and wearing their necklaces backwards just to bug me. Since then, I've gotten better about controlling my urges-mostly just to spite them.

7. My favorite color is grey. It used to be black but as I grew older, my favoritism faded. As a side note, spelling it gray drives me nuts. Yes, I know that's the proper way to spell it in the US, but I work with color all day and in everything I do, it's spelled grey, so darn it, that's how I spell it. Don't correct me.

Rather than specifically tagging people, I offer up a free invitation to my regular blog readers. Consider yourself tagged. No go forth and share seven interesting bits about yourself!

And now, onto the topic of shame:
A Story A Day In May update:

May 21: Didn't get any writing of note done at all.

May 22: Wavered on quitting this crazy challenge all together and worked on finishing up the first round of edits on A Broken Race. Damn that feels good to have it all sitting pretty on its second draft.

May 23: Ripped the lid off the percolator and pulled out a story idea from last week. Wrote and finished: Found - a 2,800 word short story about a little boy and hiding.

As much as I'm not fulfilling this challenge very well, I do love the feeling of writing a complete story and calling it done in a day--not counting percolating time, of course. At least I'm coming out of it with more written than I otherwise would have made time for during this insanely busy month.

May 27: Oh hey, surprise, thanks to working long hours, I haven't written anything in days. Unless an awesome idea hits me, I'm now going to devote my scattered energy and precious few minutes of writing time toward preparing for Camp NaNo which begins in four days.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May Writing Challenge - Week 3

A Story A Day In May update:
(a daily log of  victory and shame)

May 14: Took a break from writing today (or trying to write) and finally read Hunger Games. All of it. Today. Because that's how I read (devour) books. I was very disappointed in the ending. I hate 'buy the next book to continue the story' endings. A story should end, leaving me the choice to continue on with what happens next or not.

I don't usually read YA, but I'm percolating my June Camp NaNo project--which is to revise (and write in the last half and ending of) an attempt at a YA fantasy. I figured getting in the YA mode of thought might help get the ideas flowing. Overall, I liked Hunger Games. It was an easy, enjoyable read and had some touching moments. However, I kept waiting for something really drastic or unexpected to happen but it never did. Maybe this says something about me when twenty-two kids dying horrible deaths inflicted by one another just isn't drastic enough to wow me.

May 15: Yanked last week's failed story from the percolator. Got the first couple hundred words down and realized it still has no goal. It is slightly more funny though so hey, that's something. I shoved it back in the percolator. Worked on catching up on crits and revising A Broken Race instead.

May 16: Got a good idea for a story but beyond the opening line, didn't get time to write it down. Maybe tomorrow. On the other hand, I did get some more revisions of A Broken race completed.

May 17: Wrote opening scene for as of yet untitled story and have the rest all laid out in my head. I'm liking this one--it's inspired by a failed short I wrote during NaNo two years ago. Spent the rest of the day prepping for annual garage sale.

May 18: Ran annual garage sale singlehandedly AND worked then volunteered for four hours at night at school for PTO event. No writing.

May 19: Garage sale all day AGAIN and cleanup. Worked on the ending of story from the 17th in my head, though I didn't get a chance to write any more of it down on account of crashing, exhausted and with a migraine into bed at 8:30pm.

May 20: With the garage sale done I was really looking forward to a day of writing after my busy week. I curled up with my laptop, got yet another idea for a short that brought together several ideas I'd had floating around for quite some time and started writing. Damn that felt good! That is, until my husband reminded me that we had agreed to spend the day at our property picking up the thousands of sticks from over the winter. (insert excessive amounts of internal swearing.)

In summary: This week sucked for writing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May Writing Challenge: Week 2

A Story A Day In May update:
(a daily log of  victory and shame)

May 10: Too damn busy.

May 11: Total percolator fail. Planted flowers outside instead.

May 12: Tickle - a 1230 word story about a stalker alien. I rather like this one.

May 13: Sunday is my day off of writing - but I did percolate a little so we'll see what Monday brings.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May Writing Challenge - Update 2

A Story A Day In May update:
(a daily log of  victory and shame)

May 7: Taking a Breather - 1850 words - A very dark attempt at a mermaid story. This one was loosely inspired by a 100 word sentence story I wrote a year ago. It needs some work, but I'm fairly happy with how the story turned out.

May 8: Here's a short story about why I didn't get time to write: I woke up at 4am with an allergy attack and got back to sleep at 6:30, half an hour before I had to get up. After seeing the kids off, I worked like a maniac. At noon, I ran to pick up one child from school for both of our dentist appointments. Then brought said child home to eat lunch while I worked, then dropped child back at school. I finally had time to eat lunch. Then more work, but I ran out of time to drop off orders for shipping. Dropped off Girl Scout snacks at school, then dropped off shipments. Ran back to school. Loaded up car with Girl Scouts and went on a field trip. Came back to school. (Noticing a central school theme for the day?) Got rid of all kids but mine. Dropped that kid off at home and drove to other kid's track meet. Met other Girl Scout leader there to exchange paperwork and watched the half of the track meet I hadn't missed because I was late thanks to the field trip. Ran home with track kid. Made dinner and shoveled food in my face. Drove to a Girl Scout leader meeting. Sat through an hour of women blathering to get my needed paperwork exchanged / picked up / stuff for the girls. Drove home. Talked on the phone for an hour with the other Girl Scout leader who couldn't make the meeting. Then I dealt with Boy Scout emails from people who had three weeks to order shirts for their boys, but didn't and now want to know if they can have them tomorrow. (Um no.) And now my zombie ass is sitting on the couch staring off into space. Not the kind of staring that means plotting, but the drool from the corner of the mouth kind. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

May 9: Document 9: The percolater coughed up a little something. I put in sci-fi, it came out fantasy. I asked for comedy, it came out depressing. I wiped it up with a tissue and put it back in the percolator. Moving on.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May writing challenge: Week 1

A Story A Day In May update:
(a daily log of  victory and shame)

May 1: Mary's Garden - 870 words of literary something I'm rating just above 'Meh'. I blame my hurried and lackluster effort an a hectic day topped with horrible allergies. But hey, it's got a beginning, middle and end so I'm calling it a success on that front.

May 2: Total  fail. There's something about two volunteer projects and an eleven hour workday that isn't conducive to writing a darn thing. Though I did find a prompt I'd meant to work on a month ago and put it in the percolator.

May 3: Total fail. See above.

May 4: A Little Thing Like Death - 1,840 word futuristic love story. The percolator paid off! The ending came to me last night. Loving it (as of finishing it five minutes ago).

May 5: Document 7 (untitled as of yet): 500 word beginning of sci-fi humor that just isn't clicking. It's been in the percolator for weeks but it's coming out strained. I'm going to let this one percolate for a few more hours and see if it goes somewhere in my head rather than wasting my morning with banging my head on the keyboard.

Sadly this means I'm pulling in my pre-May story, Sunset Cruise to bring my first week total to:
2 good stories
2 meh
2 fail
I'm taking Sunday off. I have a hangover on my calendar for May 6 (and a volunteer obligation later in the day), so unless the percolator hits me hard, there will be no writing.