Thursday, October 02, 2014

September Pins

Just a quick one today. Remember the weekly pins? Well I've got a whole months worth on a board.
Check out some fun things like:

A good LEGO joke, a link to some beautiful photography work, a few Halloween inspirations, fall pumpkiny things, "Han Burgundy" - you gotta see this one, some book love, some textile love, and of course things to geek out over. It has pretty much something for everyone. Come on, click the picture and go gaze, you know you want to.

That was fun right?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What's That Book?

Crowdsourcing time! I have been trying to remember the name of a story or book that I read when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure it was a book. Here's the description, maybe you or someone you know remembers it?

The main character is a man. He lands on an alien planet and cannot leave. He lives with the natives for a long time. Near the end of the book a spaceship lands on the planet and he describes the aliens that come off of the ship. We later learn that they are actually humans but he has been living with the natives of the planet so long that he has begun to see things from their viewpoint and has forgotten what he actually looks like to them. He sees the humans and they look strange to him. I remember when he describes the humans he talks about how fleshy or puffy they look. I'm not positive but I think the natives he's been living with are ghost-like. 

Does any of this ring a bell with anyone?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Here's what I think: Chores and Allowances

I love when you find some kind of parenting meme concerning chores or allowances and in the comments (I know, I'm not supposed to read those) you find a bunch of 'people' saying, "Chores are cruel. Kids should be able to play". These 'people' are most likely under the age of 18 and attempting to avoid the sweatshop of chores their parents have heaped upon them (yeah right). Then you have the comments that eschew the allowance end of the concept because "Children should help the family without being paid! That is life!"

Here's what I think:

1. Chores are for teaching independence.

In this house we have two kinds of work. One is chores. Our kids have had chores since they were two. Of course at two, they didn't load a dishwasher or fold clothes. They carried their plates to the counter after meals. That was their chore. They were proud of that. It built a sense of confidence in them that they could do something on their own. For a child of that age, it felt extremely grown up. The other kind of work the kids do is the helping out the family kind and that is on the fly work. They understand they have scheduled chores that they are expected to take care of and they understand that when I or my husband ask them to do something not on their scheduled list of chores, they do it because they are contributing to family life.

Chores are based on age and ability. They teach children how to take care of themselves. As they get older they learn things they will need to know in order to maintain a house or apartment, to live independently and healthily.

For a long time I used something I had made which I called the bonhomme board. Bonhomme here in Quebec is used to describe a character, like from a cartoon show. On the bonhomme board, each kid had a magnet character and three strings of images representing the chores for morning, after school and after dinner. As they finished a chore they moved their character to the next image and worked on that, once all the images for a given time of day were finished they were free to play. Those worked great when they were younger but now they have more chores and it became too difficult to make a board big enough.

But guess what? There's an app for that. Yep. There's an app for tracking chores, it's called ChoreMonster. I discovered it this year and love it. It's extremely visual which is a must for my daughter who has a language disability and relates better to imagery. I was able to set up their chores, give each chore an image icon, a scheduled time and frequency and a point value. When they earn a specified amount of points, they earn rewards, one of which is their allowance.

*I am not affiliated with or paid by ChoreMonster, just really like them

That brings me to

2. Allowances are for teaching healthy relationships with money.

photo from www.SeniorLiving.Org 

Allowances are not payment for a job done. They are a reward, yes, but the real goal of an allowance is to teach the kids how to handle money. Here's how we do it. When the kids earn a certain number of points for the week, they earn their allowance. They are allowed to earn more than their allowance by offering to do extra jobs and negotiating the payment with us. When I say negotiate I mean I want them to analyse the value of their work and offer a price, then I counter with the actual price I will pay and give them my reasons why it is different, if it is different than what they have offered.
This particular idea we are using to encourage entrepreneurship - taking their money making into their own hands and being creative/proactive about their work.

Once a week I sit with them and let them know how much they've earned. Then we discuss how much they want to put in their wallet for immediate use, and how much they want to save. I require them to save at least 50% of their earnings each week. The wallet money is for little treats at the grocery store and so forth. Their savings go in their piggy bank and I keep a ledger so they know exactly how much they have at any given time. I have my ledger and money pouch in a 3 ring binder. Also in the binder is an image of something each kid wants to save their money for. A LEGO set, a camera, things that are more costly and require long term savings. We put the price plus tax on the printed page so they know exactly how much they need. As they save, they can see how close they are to their goal. When they have enough we discuss whether they want to go buy their item right away or save a little more so they don't completely deplete their savings.

Waiting to earn enough and waiting to save a little more teaches patience and not letting money burn holes in their pockets. This method has worked quite well for us so far. My daughter once saved $135 for a particularly large LEGO set she wanted. It took her nearly six months to save for it. At the age of 9, that's pretty diligent. I'm hoping this will help them as adults feel comfortable with money and confident in their ability to save and buy without credit. This system, by the way, also alleviates those frustrating trips to the store with kids asking for everything under the sun. They know that if they want something, they need to pay for it themselves with their wallet money. This has taught them the value of things as well. They now pay attention to what things actually cost and they have an idea of how long it takes to save for something. This way they can begin to question for themselves if it is worth the price and their hard earned money.

Those are my thoughts on kids, chores and allowances.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Viral Shmiral

I'm going to weigh in on something.

Marketing gimmicks are nothing new. Fatal or horrific diseases are not rare as a whole. Doing something silly because it's a viral thing is anything but uncommon.

HOWEVER, what could possibly be wrong with throwing ice water on your head if

1) it gets attention for a disease that rarely gets attention and begins to open discussion about what it is?

I for one knew about ALS before the viral bucket challenge, but really didn't know what it actually was. Then I saw this video:

Now I know.

2) it gets people to donate? Everything about money is a numbers game. This is why call centers work. You know that irritating call you get right when you sit down to dinner in which the local newspaper tries to get you to subscribe? Or the vacation time-share condo lady claims you've won a free trip? Sure YOU hung up, but she doesn't care. Do you know why? Because the more people she calls, the more likely she will snare a sale and that's the whole point. So what if not everyone donates? At least it's on the minds of many and guess what? Some people are donating which could never really be a bad thing. I mean do you want to be the one to look an ALS patient in the eye and tell them the money donated to research about their disease is a waste? I wouldn't ever call any money donated to a good cause as a waste.

I've seen articles saying there are other diseases killing more people that need more attention than this one. Yup, you're right. But does that mean we should be upset that this one is getting attention and money? The guy in that video certainly wouldn't feel that way.

A much beloved family member of mine had a disease that is most often extremely fatal and quickly so. He was lucky enough to be brought onto a trial treatment and it so far, has worked for him. He's been given a second chance and I for one, am grateful he did. I am happy that the treatment center he received the trial treatment at had the money for the research they did.

So when the temptation to be negative arises, maybe you could ask yourself, if someone in my family had this disease, would I be happy about this silly viral thing? If you can answer yes, then maybe you could just smile and watch the funny videos and be happy that sick people are getting research money that might someday help them.

In a time when negativity has found a giant incubator called the internet,  I like to lean into positivity and hope.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Unpredictability of Certain Changes and the Magic of Existence

found at: by Ashley Percival


Is the line between contentment and complacency indiscernibly fine?

I have tried and failed at so many things, and yet I'm happy that at least I tried.

As I mature, my ideology has changed for certain little things. For instance, I enjoy reading a book more than once, whereas when I was younger, that was an unpardonable waste of time that could be spent exploring something new.

Not believing in a natural law of science doesn't excuse you from the validity of it. I've tried. You see, I don't believe in aging.

When we are young we daydream of a time when we will be adults making all the decisions so that we can leave behind those unfair days of powerlessness. When we are adults, we cling to the nostalgia of our youth as though we spent it entirely carefree. Perhaps the problem lies in our definitions of freedom.

What most people don't realize, is that magic, like most things in life, is unpredictable.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On the Move

It is amazing how three or four nights of truly restful sleep can change my outlook on life. I have energy. I feel engaged in life. I don't dread my responsibilities. Interestingly, I don't need a lot of sleep at night, I'm one of those that chugs along on 6 hours of sleep. But those 6 hours need to be good, restful sleep. I haven't had that kind of sleep in almost a year. But this week, oh the glory of great sleep.

Life is like a giant machine, rolling along. It can amble extremely slowly, or it can get stopped by potholes in the road. But when things align, it zips down a path and through obstacles like a tank. A nice tank. Sherlock may have his 'mind palace', but I think of my life like a big giant truck, but full of all kinds of oddities akin to Howl's Moving Castle.

My truck is on the move.

Monday, May 05, 2014

What .336986301 Means to Me

Somewhere in the Middle Year Resolutions.

It has come to my attention that I have certain egregious issues which need addressing. I will now do that. I have decided to make half year resolutions to eradicate these problems from my life. Given the fact that this is not June and therefore not the half year mark, this would technically really be the .41666667 resolutions. Actually, according to the precise date of this post, which is May 3rd, this would be the .336986301 mark. Man, when you think about it, that's a big difference, which makes sense since months are whole chunks of 30 or 31 days, sometimes 28 but who really cares about February, I mean honestly it can't even make up its mind. It's 28 this year, it's 29, it's 28, come on.


These are my .336986301 Year resolutions:

1. Stop rambling. Does this really require explanation? In fact, if I did give explanation that would just lead to rambling and then I'd have broken my first .336986301 resolution right away.

2. Use fewer adverbs. Stephen King abhors adverbs and I tend to agree with him. Whole-heartedly.

3. Drink more coffee.

4. Here's the most important one. Never, ever, ever read comments under news articles on the internet again. Ever. They are the car crash on the side of the road, drawing my gaze, sucking me toward their vortex of horror. I look, I peer deeper and I argue with my screen about the sheer lack of brain weight behind each one. I even try to philosophize rationally, but hey, rational went out the door when I decided to even read the comments of the perennially inflammatory. Internet news articles need serious doses of internet antibiotics.

5. Damn I seriously need to work on this adverb thing.

6. And maybe, you know, write another book.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Trouble with the Curve

I've been contemplating character a lot lately. I've noticed in movies and books the way characters affect me and how that transforms my opinion of the story being told. I'd like to compare House of Cards with Toy Story. Seems like apples and oranges I know, but bear with me.

Woody starts out as a character we can like, he's a leader, shows a level of compassion and intelligence that immediately draws us in. However, it does not take long before he starts acting like a jerk. When he does this, we cringe but we sympathise with his plight. The poor guy lost his standing. This push pull on our emotions works to solidify our need to cheer for the guy in spite of ourselves and it makes for interesting story. I think underneath it all, we're hoping that he will stop being a jerk and things will work out. Which is exactly what happens and thus we have character curve - the path a character takes to become a different person, or toy in this instance. We are rewarded for our emotional investment.

In House of Cards we meet Francis Underwood and right away we get the feeling he's not such a great guy. We are nevertheless, drawn into his character because he's smart, calculating and we think there's so much more going on with this guy. Plus, he talks directly to us, making us his accomplices, which makes us feel 'in the know'. As the story progresses, we find ourselves hoping he will have a curve toward being a better person. We think he could be doing all this chess playing for something better, to become better. I have not finished watching the series because his character plummets so far into darkness I just couldn't like him or hope for him anymore, especially since that darkness seems to be where he intended to go in the first place. In other words, he doesn't seem to have a curve, he started evil, he remains evil. I'm not saying I want Pollyana characters. However, if the characters I care about either die too early or become unbearably evil, I lose interest. My emotional investment didn't pay off and it drains me of my will to watch.

In these two examples, the path of the characters appear to be paths thought out from the beginning. What I find worse than drawing me into a character that I'm going to hate, is drawing me into a character, making me love that character and then without warning changing who that character is, making him unwatchable. Cue West Wing. I started watching West Wing. I love this show - for the first three seasons. These were smart, savvy characters with a desire to do good things. They faltered at times, they fought difficult odds, but they always rallied around each other and sought what means they could to do the right thing. Then season four comes along and suddenly, there are no good resolutions. Every fight ends in disaster or a turning away from doing what's right. By season five, they begin turning against each other. Now my emotional investment doesn't just become a loss, it has turned on me. I am now practically feeling complicit in the demise of these characters and disgusted with the show. But I kept watching thinking this will turn around. By the end of season five, I gave up. These were not characters I could get behind or hope for and without that, screw it.

There are characters we love to hate. Take Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He's despicable and always wreaking the worst kind of havoc, and yet we love his misbehaving because there's something about it that is so compelling, as though he were doing all the wrong things for a good reason even if we can't decipher it right away. This is great writing when you can do that and hold me in that state. However, it is rare. I watch entertainment for fun. If I wanted to be down or mad or frustrated I'd watch the news. If I wanted to see politicians being ruthless and political without regard for decency or trying to make this place a better world, I'd only have to turn to real politicians. So, if you want my investment in something that is difficult to root for, you'd have to convince me by some factor, characters I can love, a story so important or riveting I feel compelled to stay. But you set me up to love a character and then make that character a despicable person without any redemption or any draw to see what he'll do, I'm going to leave.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gamers Gateway

For years I've been a bystander when it came to video games. For years I shied away from board games. All of that has changed.

Board games were a frightening place of competitiveness and self-doubt which laid a landscape of rising tempers and misguided beliefs about fairness. I spent years refusing to play because when I did play, I quickly devolved into 'you no play fair' cavewoman. I have this habit in life which seems to bubble forth like a geyser when I play board games. It is this way of dealing with people. I treat them the way I want to be treated and in doing so, fall into the naive idea that I will get that type of treatment back. It rarely happens that way though. I'm not talking about the people I love, I'm talking about strangers. Having expectations of a stranger noticing that you've been exceptionally nice to them and then returning the favor is like smiling at the sun and expecting it to appreciate you and shine for you. It's silly. In any case, when playing board games I would often defer my own chances to win because I hadn't the heart to beat down another player. This is hardly constructive when playing a game, as you can imagine. When the other players subsequently beat me down, I would get my feelings hurt, then I would get mad and then I would decide I'll never play board games again. Add to that the fact that my idea of board games consisted mainly of Monopoly and Pictionary. I had no idea that there were so many fascinating games out there to play. Several years ago I read an article about playing to win and having fun while doing it. I thought I'd try it and see. It started with Settlers of Catan. I was hooked. Suddenly playing was fun, competitive and even cut throat, and best of all I could handle it.

Queue in video games. Where competitiveness is not an issue in video games, frustration is. Anytime I played video games I hated the construct of playing a character who has to perform certain actions in a particular sequence, just right, to achieve a goal. It requires the player, especially those of us who are not avidly honing skills in this, to play a scenario over and over and over. That gets monotonous and frustrating. So I gave up on video games because it seemed pointless. I certainly wasn't enjoying it. I did however enjoy watching other people play, especially if the game had exceptional graphics. Then my children started playing Minecraft. They begged my husband and I to try it. We dragged our feet for many months because it seemed like a 'kids' game. Boy were we wrong. As soon as we entered the world of Minecraft we had a dickens of a time finding our way out. And then my friend, Elyse introduced me to World of Warcraft. I fell down that rabbit hole and still haven't come out and don't plan on re-emerging anytime. It's just too much fun.

Why? Why are these video games more fun than any I previously played? I think they draw me in and hold me because they are free-will games. Minecraft is a giant sandbox in which you can build pretty much anything you want. Dream it, build it. I love that. I love gathering the supplies to build, laying out a design to build, building and then tweaking the details and building more and when a project is done, you can just find a new spot and build something else. World of Warcraft has a bit more direction to it, sending you on quests. However, no quest requires you to approach it by learning a complicated series of movements which need to be repeated multiple times before you can perfect it. You go, you often have to figure out the puzzle of the quest, as in where you need to go, who you are looking for. Sometimes it's hardly worth calling it a puzzle and other times it can take some deduction work. Then you execute the quest and here, you can decide how you want to do it with the exception of a few mechanics in the game. Add into that mix that World of Warcraft actually doesn't require you to do quests at all.  You could wander around in the world fishing and cooking if you want. You could plant yourself in a city and stay there forever. You could do things just about any way you want. You might die if you get yourself in an area where the game characters (NPC's) are too strong for you, but other than that, you get to be the arbiter of your adventure. That's why I love World of Warcraft.
That's me!

The take away from all of this in the end is: Settlers of Catan is the gateway drug to World of Warcraft.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Taco Cat

Hi. I'm Lynnea Taylor and I'm a taco fiend. The way I know I'm a fiend as opposed to a fan, a lover of tacos or merely a taco 'gourmet', is because I'm not just willing to eat them for breakfast, I love them for breakfast. And when I say breakfast, I'm not talking about those detestable things called 'breakfast tacos' which contain eggs and who knows what other horrifying ingredients in them. NO.

As a service to you and the community at large I will now expound the rules of tacos. (Disclaimer: I am no Mexican cuisine expert and would venture to say that these are not anywhere near anything authentic to real Mexican food.) I may also include some interesting facts that will come in handy for intellectual foodie conversations.

1. Tacos should always be eaten with soft shells. Hard shells crumble and break, losing the majority of your ingredients. This is an egregious act perpetrated by some unknown criminal with dastardly designs.

2. On shells: corn are preferable. If you live in a place where corn shells are not available, first start campaigning letters to your local lawmaker and take petitions now to correct this issue. Then, because it is impossible to go without tacos, believe me it's simply not healthy, you will need to settle for flour. Make sure they are soft, see #1.

3. People have different ideas about the proper order of ingredients in the taco for various reasons. I will not argue against these except to say that cheese always always always comes after meat. The heat from the meat will melt the cheese properly, otherwise you will be eating an abomination of nature.

4. Basic ingredients for proper tacos include seasoned ground beef. Here I would say that for those that do not eat meat, you are missing out, however refried beans (pinto or black) are acceptable substitutes. Cheese, cheddar or marbled are best. Lettuce, iceberg preferable. Tomatoes and onions. Avocados may be used one of two ways, either chopped up, or smashed into guacamole. Sour cream. Salsa, green or red. There are those that like black olives on their tacos. Here I draw the line. The olives have far too much flavor that will overshadow the gentle deliciousness of all the other essential ingredients.

5. Taco Cat is a palindrome.

6. Taco is the perfect writing food. Except for Crazy Core Skittles, which have been discontinued, thus forever damaging the world of literature.

7. "A life lived without tacos, is no life at all" - Leonardo da Vinci, or maybe it was Leonardo DiCaprio who said it. I'm pretty sure it was a Leonardo though.

And finally, this:

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Announcing the Winner

And we have a winner!

Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby.

Thank you all who voted. Now wasn't that fun?

So I'm trying a little something new. I'm writing the settings of the book before writing the book. I've started with the immediate world around Ruby, where she lives, her grandmother's little house behind Ruby's family home and Ruby's room. I will expand outward to where she goes to school, the small town she lives in and then the places she will discover throughout the story. It is possible that none of this will actually be in the book. I'm writing it to get to know my characters and to have a world to set them free in. Normally I build images of this in my head and then write the story giving detail where it seems natural to. But I wanted to try this as a way of setting up the story and characters in my thoughts. To solidify them. So far, I'm loving what it is creating. Just as a character can reveal herself to the author, the setting seems to be revealing a great deal about my characters to me. I am seeing them more clearly and I'm enthralled with the idea that now, when I write the story, every detail of their world is truly flushed out and I can clearly see my characters interacting with their world.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Words without thoughts never to heaven go

...perchance to dream

Sometimes it's as simple as a picture. A video. A song. Something leaps out at you and your brain latches on to it, churns it over and over letting it tumble through your head, sometimes without you even being aware of what's going on. Later, it will explode. It will come flying out of your mouth, or your hands and there will be birth, creation.

It happened the other day. I was glibly cruising the internet when my husband started watching a video. My chair inadvertently slid over to his side of the room and there I was leaning in to his shoulder watching it with him.

I went back to my computer and that was that. I thought. Then for some reason it reminded me how I'd been reading Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling, which I referenced in my last post. It took about two hours before the two elements smashed together and I could swear there was even a big bang inside my head. I ran in to my husband from doing the dishes, as is the perfect time to have inspiration wash over you, and said, "Ooh ooh, I know what I'm going to do about my book!"

As I told him one thought, 12 more seemed to just hop right out of me in succession and then my brain jumped to my previous manuscript, waiting to be edited, and went nuts on that one too. Crucial problems I had been mulling over for a few months now. That coupled with my ideas that would have improved my first novel (you can buy it!), and I had suddenly become infused with a shock of ideas. As an aside, I believe 'shock' is the official word for many ideas gathered together. I believe it, that doesn't make it true, just true enough for me.

Which brings me to this. I have noticed that many people ask a certain question when you tell them you are a writer: Do you write every day? I am always befuddled by this question. My inner guilt monster needles me and wants me to answer definitively, 'Yes! Yes I do.' Which isn't true. So I often lamely proclaim, "I try". Which is silly. The truth is, I do not live in a bubble. I have this whole life thing going on and there are times when I sit down to write and have nothing to say or too many issues to solve that forcing myself to write one sentence or ten or whatever the magic number in anyone's head might be, is insanely unproductive. A lot of times I read. I feed the beast so to speak. Other times I prefer to busy myself with that life around me while thinking. I mull over minutia, I question intent and direction, I daydream my worlds into life, I ask myself what would my character do and work at not answering what I would do.

You know how reading a book can possess you? Pull you into its world and hold you there? Make you believe it is real? It's magical. To make something that will draw the reader into that state, there first must be a dream. I go through the world around me with my head in the clouds. I've done that all my life. So, either I could continue to be half of something else while dreaming, or I could be a writer and let the dreams live.

I wish I wrote every day. I wish I could say I'm a dedicated, disciplined super-star writer. But I'm not so sure that writing every day is criteria for that anyhow. I am realizing that creating a fully flushed out story is not just about clacking away at the keyboard. That is one small element to the whole process. From beginning to end there is so much more. Even on levels unrealized, writing can happen while doing the dishes.

From now on I will answer this question with one sentence: I dream every day.

If you have not voted for my character's name, please go to the sidebar and vote. If you have already voted, please go tell someone else to come here and vote. I only have 8 votes so far. We need a larger sampling of opinion folks!  Let's go.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Eagles and Transporters

Transporters, though an awesome idea for technological advance, were killers. In the Star Trek universe, the story of a ship traversing space saving lives and planets and fighting evil could not sustain the constant eagle element of the transporter and in the end for almost every episode they had to find excuses why the transporters couldn't do what they should have done.

What is an eagle element? Many readers of Lord of the Rings will understand this reference. In short, the story of the Lord of the Rings goes like this: there was a ring belonging to the ultimate evil bad guy. The only way to stop the evil bad guy would be to destroy the ring. The only way to destroy the ring was to travel through said evil bad guy's land, climb a mountain, walk into the mountain where molten lava pooled and flowed, and throw that thing straight into the molten lava. In the book a hobbit, a not-so-heroic character becomes the ultimate hero against the ultimate evil guy by taking the ring on that journey. When the journey ends the main character and his companion are stuck on an exploding volcano. To rescue them, giant eagles fly in and carry them out. A convenient escape, however picturesque. And herein lies the difficulty. Had it been that easy, then the eagles could have simply flown the ring in themselves and done the task quicker, safer and easier than anyone else. I've seen some deeply thought out arguments why the eagles could not do this smattered across the internet. The main one being that the operation had to be covert and eagles would not be covert. I seriously question that argument but to waylay long drawn out posts and debates, I'll talk about that some other time. Tolkein's answer? He blithely allows the eagles to excuse themselves from tasks such as these because 'they don't get involved in the affairs' of Middle Earth humanoids.
by Toby Carr on DeviantArt:

Please don't zap me through the computer and blow my screen up because I deride the great Tolkein. I love the books. But I hate the eagles. I hate the convenience of them, they kill so much tension and conflict and leave a giant gaping hole through the entire storyline.

Star Trek's eagles are their transporters. Every time they are in trouble, every time someone is about to die the transporters can't cut through the static, or they can't take them out without disturbing some field, or they just aren't working. A technology like that, which would be crucial for saving lives and they don't make sure it works at all times? Makes no sense. Transporters kill tension. Transporters kill storylines and in the end they become lousy pieces of technology because of it.

Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling as compiled by storyboard artist Emma Coats has this rule:

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

In the same line of reasoning, a major tool such as the transporters conveniently being out of commission in time of need (not once but repeatedly) feels like a cheat.

Speaking of storylines...don't forget to vote on my next protagonist's name. The survey is in the sidebar to the right. I need more votes. Go. Vote.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And Ever Onwards

I am finally revving into writing my next manuscript.  If you were wondering how I do things, here is my macro:

Write a manuscript.
Leave it alone.
Begin editing previous manuscript.
Edit till your eyes bleed or you have done a minimum of five passes. (I'll elucidate that in another post.)
Format. Format. Fret. Fret. Organize. Publish.
Repeat from step 1.

So, the actual straight writing of a story takes up only a fraction of the time spent creating a book. For me, anyways. That is sad because the fluid, frantic, buried-head days of writing a story till it's messily done is my favorite part. On top of that, that macro up there does not include the 1a step which is, name your character or stare at that computer till drool and unwashed hair seep in, because I have this horrid inability to continue writing without a proper character name.

Which is where you come in.

You see, I'm at step 1 again. I have a manuscript waiting to be edited and a story bursting in my brain to get out. Truthfully, I have several but this one called shotgun. My current protagonist has suffered through three names so far and I'm still unsatisfied. She can't be real without a name.

And that means, I currently look something like this:

So, I've come up with a plan. The collective you are going to be my Penny Escher.

I'd like you to name the protagonist for me. I've made a survey of my top four names. You'll find it in my sidebar over there to your right. Pick one and save me so I can get the flow going again. The survey will be open until noon on January 31st. I will announce the winner shortly after. This won't do properly if only four people use the survey. I won't bore you by being self-deprecating about my number of visitors. Instead I simply want to ask you to forward this to as many people as you can so that we can get a nice boatload of votes in. I'd tell you it's your civic duty, but I doubt I have enough authority to enforce that.