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I have been slaving away on my novel for over a year. I finished the first draft in November. I am currently slogging through my first rewrite. I’m exhausted. I have been having members of my various writing groups read some of it here and there just to see if I have something that is worth continuing with. Some days I love it and some days I do not.

So, to motivate me to keep me focused on my very first novel rewrite ever, I allowed myself to create a mini logo of sorts. Well, I guess I didn’t really create it. I bought a stock image that I thought looked cool, I paid a teeny bit extra to get the raw data file, and I asked a friend of mine who does graphic design to help me out. He would not have helped me if I sent him a .jpeg.

AvA3

He also made some business cards for me as well. I am including those samples in this blog post. He created the cards with the white lettering. I tried to create the logo orange lettering.

The logo I created did not really shrink well to fit on the top of this page. I tried and it cuts off the wings. My graphic design friend is working on a logo that will fit at the top of this blog that I can use here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

We also decided the white letting is better because it really stands out.  I did a quick straw poll among a few friends. They all agreed the orange was nice, but the white popped. Also he’s a bit of a typography nut, he created the letter A’s with the cool little back and forth swishes for me.

So, now I have business cards with the title of my book and a cool image on it. And I will have a new logo for this website soon.

The re-write has been a lot of work. I also came up with a different ending. I did not like my original ending and figured I would just rewrite it when I got to it. But then I hit on an idea. I wrote up some notes about it and put it in a file. I use Scrivener, so it was easy to create a folder for it.  I also hit on another idea today when I was working on it. I re-wrote an entire scene with a new twist and thought to myself, “Wow, this conversation great! And what a twist! They don’t belong in this part of the story, though. Ugh!”

My characters really must have this conversation BEFORE the events that led to this scene.  Crap. So, I had to create a folder for that conversation. It is a good scene though. It builds the mystery and really fills out the plot, so I’m going to have to use it. I just need to work the conversation into an earlier scene. And now I still need to re-write the current scene.

I’d say I’m about 2/3 of the way through the re-write. I am approaching the apex of the story, so it is getting more difficult to finish because I need to focus on it.

Once I’ve completed the rewrite, I should have everything in order. Then I can do it all again! Wish me luck!

AVA

Logo I created

AvA

Square Business Card

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NaNo-2018-Winner-Certificate

Well, I did it! I forced myself to stay up last night and finish, and about 1:00am EST I crested the 50,000 word mark.

So, I am officially done!

But here’s the thing, I’m not really done. Not by a long shot. I completed NaNoWriMo, yes. But the novel itself is not quite completely written. I still have a couple-three chapters to write somewhere in the middle. And then I have to start re-writes and corrections.

I also did stupid things like when I would get lost in a scene and not really know how to fix it, I just made some notes at the end of the scene of what I should probably fix and then I moved on to another scene.

I wrote things like:

“I hate this scene. This person cannot be here now. Find a way to fix it later.”

Or

“Dialogue too cheery! These people hate each other. Fix later or delete scene?”

Or

“Video of this person’s death released. This is how he died…describe in detail later.”

Then I would just hop to another scene or chapter.

Some of it I wrote sequentially. Some of it I did not. A lot of it I did not, actually. One great feature of Scrivener is that you can jump from scene to scene or chapter to chapter pretty easily which made bouncing around easier.

There is something to be said for just pushing yourself through to just write as much as you can of your story without really stopping. It is not perfect, but no first draft ever is. I feel like I have a solid 125,000-ish outline of a story. It is more than that, I know. I have the bones of a good story in there…somewhere. I have to find it, re-write it, refine it, polish it, then polish it again.

Bottom line, I have a lot more work to do before it is an actual novel. But as far as NaNoWriMo is concerned…I am DONE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dialogue way too cheery! These people hate each other. Fix later, change scene or delete?”

 

 

 

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When will this month be over??

By the end of today, I will be 2/3 of the day done with NaNoWriMo! I will have over 33,500 new words written in my novel! 

This is by far the largest project I have ever worked on. Before NaNoWriMo, I had well over 74,000 words written. And I wanted to use this month to finish writing my book. I can’t believe I’m about to write this next sentence, but I just realized I have written over 100,000 words!

Wow.

Just Wow.

I am almost done. And I will have the rough draft complete by the end of November. I’ve written some pretty fun scenes.  I’ve written myself into holes and had to find a way to write myself back out.  And sometimes I didn’t write myself out. I just skipped it and went to another section. I’m not too worried right now about fixing things. That’s what the re-write phase is for. 

My cat might need some therapy after this is month is over. She is decidedly unhappy with the amount of time I have spent on my laptop.  She has been finding ever more creative ways to keep me from writing and refocus my attention on her.  Poor thing. I’ll let her have the final word on this post!

OK, that’s enough computer time. Now pet me dammit!

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fullsizeoutput_19a4

Naomi plotting world domination.

I have been working on a novel called Avenging Angels for about a year. In that time, I have written just over 74k words. One would think I am nearly done, but I feel like I am nowhere close.

I need to finish up the first draft of this novel. I know it will still need a lot of work once the first draft is complete, but I need to just finish putting the idea down on paper.

I have had a lot of setbacks including my computer completely dying on me two days after I downloaded Scrivener. My MacBook just died. I thought it was the battery, but when I took it to the Apple Genius, they told me the hard drive was caput. It would cost $475 to fix. I just moved and spent all my money moving and did not really have $500 to throw at fixing my MacBook. Furthermore, the Apple Genius said that since my computer is a 2014, it was probably best just to buy a new laptop. Well, if I don’t have $500 to throw at a laptop…do I really need to finish that thought?

So, I saved up my pennies for a month and cashed in some work bennies to get some gift cards and scraped up enough to fix my laptop. I took it back to Apple, plugged it and bing! It booted up.

WTF, seriously?

I could not get logged in using my password and the system would not let me use my Apple ID to change my password. FFS.

The Apple Genius tried everything to circumvent the password problem, but finally after two hours, we just had to wipe the whole computer and reload it.

AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, after I freaked out inside my head, I calmed down as I had very wisely listened to my brother who had told me a year previous to back-up everything on the cloud, including, thank heavens, my novel.

So, I held my breath and let him wipe my computer. Miraculously, it still works. I do not know how long I have, but a friend of mine has offered to help me replace the SSD card which should give me some more time on this laptop.

See how easy it was for me to get distracted from my novel? I am writing this post to tell you about my novel and Nanowrimo and instead I fell into the laptop hell I experienced.

So, here it is. I am going to use Nano to finish up my first draft. I may not reach the 50K mark on Nano as I am not going to include any of the stuff I have already written. I probably have 25k-30k left to write. But who knows, I may just go ahead and keep on writing and get started on the 2nd installment of the novel just to get me up to 50k. I have already decided the story is going to be a trilogy.

If you are on the Nanowrimo site and participating in National Novel Writing Month, my user name is morgaine84. Add me to your buddy list and follow my progress. I’ll follow you back and maybe we can encourage each other to keep on going through the month.

Good luck and see you in November!

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Hello Blogosphere!  It sure has been a while since I’ve written on this blog.  A couple of quick updates…

  • I have been doing a ton of writing this year.  Several essays, a couple of short stories, and of course, my middle grade novel.  I may not reach my yearly goal of 12 personal essays, but I’m not too far off.
  • I am finish up my children’s novel for Nanowrimothis year and I am almost done!  I will finish Nano successfully for the first time this year.
  • My weight loss blog is doing very well.  I have lost 127 pounds with only 46 more to go.
  • My overall health is great.

Now, onto what I really wanted to write about today…

catching fire

I saw the new Hunger Games movie last night.  I am a huge fan of the books, which I re-read in preparation to see this movie.  Anyone who has read my blog in the past knows that I am definitely an advocate of reading the book before seeing the movie.

That said, let me start my review.

Any time a book is adapted for the screen, there will be changes in how the story is told.  Film is a completely different medium, after all.  Events that can take pages or chapters to describe in a book can be done more effectively with imagery and music in film.  Conversely, a character’s inner dialogue, which can be so revealing in a book, can often be lost in film. Some film makers often use voice-overs to fill that gap, but done poorly, voice-overs can ruin an otherwise good movie.  Francis Lawrence did not use voice-overs, thankfully.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  I thought it was a good adaptation from book to screen.  There were changes, of course, but I thought they were very true to the source material.  I think anyone who is a fan of the books will love it.  Anyone who hasn’t read the books but liked the first movie, I think will like it as well.  But be prepared, this is not your typical feel-good, holiday movie.  This movie is very emotional and has a very mixed ending.  Some good, some bad, a lot of heart-break, and a cliffhanger. Overall, I give the movie 4 out of 5 stars.

*******SPOILER ALERT BELOW!!**********

Some things that I thought were lost in this retelling:

  • Katniss’s inner dialogue and the way she analyzes each situation or thinks through the problem at hand.  Don’t get me wrong, Jennifer Lawrence does a fantastic job, but it’s hard to translate that inner struggle sometimes.
  • A sense of time.  The film sometimes felt a little rushed.  There was no sense of the time that had passed between events.  In the book there were 6 months between the 74th Hunger Games and the victory tour, A couple more months between the tour and the announcement of 75th HG, the Quarter Quell.   Then a few more months until the actual games themselves.  In total, between the 74th HG and the 75th, there was a full year.
  •  We lost the wedding dress montage.  Thankfully.  In the book, a lot of prep goes into Katniss & Peeta’s engagement and wedding.  The citizens of Panem have the chance to vote on her wedding dress and there is an entire episode where she is filmed trying on dress after dress.  Thankfully, unlike the citizens of Panem, we were spared that spectacle.
  • We lost the preparation Peeta, Haymitch, and Katniss did before the games.  We also lost learning more about the other tributes through the research Peeta & Katniss did ahead of time.

That said, I do not think any of this distracted from the quality of the movie, particularly if you have not read the books.

What I loved about the movie:

  • Nothing was sugar-coated. Katniss is clearly suffering from PTSD from the last games throughout the movie.
  • The emotional connection she feels towards her family, Gale, Peeta, the other tributes, Cinna, and other people she cares about is palatable.   This keeps the movie from being just an action film.
  • I love the inclusion of showing events from Snow’s p.o.v. and Heavensbee’s p.o.v.  I think that adds a real depth to the film and ratchets up the tension.
  • Conversations with her sister.  They are few and far between in the movie, but when they do happen, you can see the connection they share.  You also know that her sister is quite clearly becoming her own person and does not need Katniss to protect her any more.
  • The friendships she begins to form with the other tributes during the games.  They work together and save each other over and over.  At one point she turns to Peeta and asks, “How are we ever going to be able to kill these people.”
  • The scene in District 11 when Peeta & Katniss speak about Thresh & Rue.  Very emotional.

I really enjoyed the movie.  That said, I was not jazzed with the ending.  I know that it was pretty true to the book, and it was a hook to get you into the 4th movie, whenever that is released, but I still found it unsettling.  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy had cliff hanger endings as well, but they always ended on a somewhat hopeful note.  Francis Lawrence could take a page out of Peter Jackson’s playbook and give us a little more to hold onto.  I’m not saying have a happy ending, but this is the start of the revolution.  Ending the Capitol’s stranglehold on the districts, while complicated emotionally, is a good thing.

Yes, the movie ends with Katniss, Finnick, and Beetee being rescued from the arena, while Peeta & Johanna are captured by the Capitol.  District 12 is in ashes.  Thousands are dead.  Everything is in disarray.  But the revolution has begun and there are hints that the citizens of Panem can really hope they are able turn the tide and take control of their own fates. That, at least, is something to hold onto.

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What a horrible blogger I am!  I feel like it has been months since I have written on this blog.  I have spent all of my time writing on my self-absorbed weight loss blog talking about myself and my gastric by-pass surgery.  I have completely neglected this blog and my other writing obligations.  Just a quick note, the surgery went well.  I have lost 71 pounds.  I have been writing quite a bit.

I owe my friend Jeff Miller a review of his book, The Bubble Gum Thief.  I need to post my 2013 writing goals.  I also want to talk about some of the other non-diet-blog writing I have been doing.

In this post, I am going to talk about my 2013 writing goals and about some of my other writing.  You see, my writer’s group asks each of us to create goals for the new year and to be specific.  We cannot just say, “write more,”  we have to set specific goals to show what “writing more” looks like.  The only thing I did not finish last year was to finish my children’s novel.  I am giving myself to Chinese New Year’s though, so I could still make it.  (see what I did there?)

Writing Goals for 2013:

  • Submit writing, short stories, essays, etc to four contests or other publications.
  • Finish children’s novel, which is almost done and hanging in limbo.
  • Write, finish, edit 12 personal essays.
  • Blog on both writing blog and weight loss blog 4 or more times a week.
  • Begin editing children’s novel and submit to my writer’s group for review and revision.
  • Join SCBWI and attend one of their conferences.

Lofty, I know, but I have to set lofty goals to guilt myself into doing something about it.

Current Writing Projects

A couple of the girls in my writer’s group formed a separate group that is dedicated to personal essays and/or creative nonfiction.  I have been attending that group as well.  Because the group is small, about seven of us I think, we are much more demanding about making each other submit their work.  As a result, I have written several personal essays and semi-true short stories.  I also have many more ideas on future personal essays.  I would like to put together a collection of essays.  I am not sure if I will turn it into a book or not, but I first want to get them together and see what I have.

I plan to dedicate my next post to the book review of The Bubble Gum Thief.  I will also post my review on Amazon.

That is pretty much what I have been up to.  I hope to spend more time on this blog and sharing all of my writing ups and downs throughout the year!  Happy writing in 2013!

 

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A few months ago, I submitted a short story to Glimmer Train for their “Family Issues” contest.  For this contest, I took an actual family event from my own life and I created fictional characters, changed a couple of things, and wrote a short story.  I never heard from Glimmer Train and I apparently did not win.  I was disappointed, of course, but rejection is part of the writing process.

I had my memoir writing group look at the story, but not before I had a chance to submit it to the contest.  They gave me great feedback.  They loved the dialogue, enjoyed the interaction between the two kids in the story, but they thought the emotion at the end of the story needed to have a bigger punch.  There were a couple of other comments, but pretty good feedback overall.

I then submitted it to the Arlington Writer’s Group.  I have been with AWG for a couple of  years now.  AWG is a very large writers group.  Almost 200 members, and we can get 30 people plus at any given meeting.  Receiving feedback can sometimes be overwhelming and the conversations can very easily veer off course.

We have worked very hard over the years too keep the feedback process focused and make sure people give a useful critique.  That can be a daunting task for whomever is leading the group when you have 30 or so people giving their opinions. 

I have to say, I’m very lucky with both of my writers groups.  Wonderfully thoughtful people in both groups.

So, last night I had my story critiqued by AWG.  I don’t want to describe it too much as I want to try to get te story published.  Basically, it is a story about one girl’s broken dreams.

Just like my other writers group, AWGers liked the dialogue, the interaction, between the sisters, and the story overall.  But they did pick out some major holes in my plot and made great suggestions.  I have a lot of work to do, but I think the story will be a lot better once I’m done. Then I can enter it into a couple more contests.

On another note, this is what my day has been like.  Everything I do seems to run into some kind of complication.  It’s really too bad too because I would have enjoyed discovering alternate uses for lederhosen while I wait for train schedules to appear on my screen.

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