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Saturday, November 17, 2018 Anne Arundel Mills Mall 3:00pm

Yesterday was the half-way mark of the month. I have over 25,000 new words to finish up my novel written. I marked 25,000 on my NaNoWriMo page, but I know I have more than that done. I was just up late last night making sure I met my half-way goal, so I kind of lost track of my words. But I figure whether they are counted towards my total or not, they are still words written.

I’m kind of writing different parts of the novel and not really proceeding chronologically. I am using Scrivener, so I’ll just move and reassemble later. I know I have a lot of editing and rewriting to do once I’m done with this draft, so I am not so concerned with making sure everything is perfect right now. I am just concerned with getting the story written. I’ll prettify it later.

On another note…this Saturday I am going to Books With A Past Anne Arundel Mills mall to see one of my favorite podcasters. I listen I Should Be Writing by Mur Lafferty. She has written a number of books including the novelization of Solo.

I am very excited about this event.  I love going to see fellow writers who are successful. I have a lot to learn from them and I will take all they have to teach me. Plus, we will have the opportunity to do more writing!

Just wanted to give a quick update! I’ll continue to keep you posted throughout the month!

Just keep writing…

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Are you done yet?

I announced a few weeks ago that I am going to be doing NaNoWriMo this year to finish my novel which I have been working on for just over a year. I just wanted to give a quick update as to my progress.

Before NaNoWriMo I had about 74,000 words written and had reached some pretty crucial parts of the story, but just could not focus to really write them. I had a few setbacks, like when my laptop died a week after I bought Scrivener. September and October were busy times at work this year, which kept me very busy. But really, while some of my setbacks were legit, most of them were really just excuses to justify not writing.

I think the idea of finishing this book kind of scares me. I’ve never written anything this big. Or more to the point, finished anything this big. It is a daunting thought to think I’ve written a book. I am friends with a lot of writers who write many, many books. They write articles, short stories, novels, novellas…I could go on. I’ve written short stories and essays. I have blogged. I have started novels. I’ve gotten over 25,000 words into novels and then just stopped writing them. Finishing a novel? I never have.

Novels are big and scary things to write. I said it was a daunting task. It feels like an insurmountable goal. Improbable even that I could write one. An unattainable goal.

But once I had my story firmly in mind and I made some basic notes on it. I slogged away at it several times a week until I had written 74,000 words, suddenly finishing it felt…possible. And that is an exciting feeling.

Over the course of this past year, I have been listening to podcasts about writing. I listen to Grammar Girl, The Writer Files, The Moth, and my current favorite, I Should Be Writing. I have read books about writing and listened to a couple on Audible about writing. My favorite is of course the classic On Writing by Stephen King. And I’ve made attending my writer’s groups a priority. My work schedule makes going to them difficult sometimes, but I change my schedule or do a shift trade so that I can make it more often than I had in the past. I have even joined another writer’s group that meets once a month to discuss long-form writing. That group is really just me and one or two other friends, but it helps keep me motivated.

Basically, I have fully immersed myself into this project by thinking about writing, talking about writing, strategizing about writing, and finally sitting down and doing the actual work of writing.

So, the promised update on my NaNo progress…

We are 11 days in. Just over the 1/3 mark. My current word count is 17,828. I still have a little over 500 words to write today, but I will get that done. I began the first week of November a little bit in the hole. But I wrote my way out of it and caught up. I try to stay a little bit ahead of 1,667 daily word count. I have the day off today, so I am going to try to get a day ahead so that I do not lose my momentum.

By the time I finish the 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, I will have written right around 125,000 words. My goal is that the first draft of my novel will be done by then.

Then the fun begins…rewriting!

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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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Anyone who knows me or has ever read anything on my blog, knows that I am a fan of books made into movies. I love books. I love movies. Combining those two loves for me is everything.

I long ago gave up the idea that the movie needs to march through every plot point the way the book does. And I am OK with substantial changes as long as the main storyline, story arc, plot, and resolution are honored in the movie version of the story.

For me, the best book to movie adaptation in faithfully following the book is Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, which is based on Edith Wharton’s book of the same name. And my favorite book-to-movie adaptation that follow’s the spirit of the book while making major changes to the story is Peter Jackson’s telling of The Lord of the Rings.

That said, I am so ready to see Ready Player One.

I really loved the book. I thought the ending of chapter one of the book was the best chapter ending I’ve ever read and truly set up the excitement for the rest of the book.

“This message had been embedded in the log-in sequence by James Halliday himself, when he’d first programmed the OASIS, as an homage to the simulation’s direct ancestors, the coin-operated video games of his youth. These three words were always the last thing an OASIS user saw before leaving the real world and entering the virtual one:

READY PLAYER ONE”

Bam!

That right there. Those three little words. I couldn’t wait to turn the next page to fall into Ernest Cline’s world that was the OASIS. I had the same feeling of excitement as I had playing arcade games as a child. Those three little words were what every video gamer in the 80s saw before they started playing their favorite arcade game. They waited for those words. They were excited by them. They could not wait to read them so their gaming experience could begin. This time, they would make the next level in Pac-Man. This time their frog would beat the traffic. This time…

I took the leap and turned the page.

I thought it was a fun read and a bit of a modern-day telling of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The author also captured the culture of the 1980s, the era of my youth, in a magical way. The arcade video games, groundbreaking movies, the music, the rise of early home computers, and gaming were on display in their full glory and being experienced by someone who was a true fan. Parzival, (Wade Watts), was as obsessed with the era as he was with his idol, James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS.

Steven Spielberg’s movies played a pretty big role in the book. And I am absolutely thrilled he has decided to take on this project.

I have been reading some of the reviews online. People are already complaining that the movie is substantially different from the book. I am OK with that. As long as the Spielberg’s rendition is true to the spirit of the book, I am sure it is a movie that I will enjoy seeing again and again.

I’ll report back after the movie.

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Quick confession: In addition to writing, reading, biking, weight loss blogging, I am also a bit of a game nerd. Well, OK, I’m a huge game nerd.

I played D&D in college and for several years thereafter. I’ve played Call of Cthulu and several other RPGs, (that’s role-playing games for the non gamers among you). I even gamed pretty heavily in World of Warcraft for several years. I have tried many other MMORPGs, (massively, multiplayer online role playing games…aka many men online role playing girls), as well, but WoW was pretty much my mainstay.

I have not really gamed in a long, long time. I have many gamer friends who have tried to get me back into gaming, but with all else I do, I have not really been that interested, nor do I have a lot of time to devote to gaming.

One of the things I like best about role-playing games is that at the end of the day, they are just one big interactive story-telling/creating event. I love that. Yes, we use dice, and math, and stats, and fight about rules, (OMG do we ever fight about rules!), but my favorite part of the game is the story we create together, even if that story is all about our interactions with each other and the crazy ideas we come up with.

This past weekend, I did one thing all game nerds eventually do, I went to a gaming convention. This one is PrinceCon. It is run by Princeton alumni & students, of course, but certainly not limited to them.

A friend of mine from high school went to Princeton and was a member of their student gaming group. He is now one of the organizers and leads some of the games, (DM or GM in game-speak). He invited me to attend. My first instinct was to say no, but I went. And I’m glad I did.

Because this was the 42nd year of the Princecon event, and being huge uber-nerds, of course they named their event PrinceCon42: Life, The Multiverse, & Everything. (Please see Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

Their game is run differently than any game I’ve played in the past. They have their own con rules, which is not unusual. Their DMs run individual games, but they are all nominally connected by one overarching plot. So, as you are resolving plot lines in your individual game, you are also collecting clues to the “meta-game.” The last day of the con was basically spent resolving the meta-game plot lines to save the Multiverse.

Basically, they drew together several of the worlds they ran games for in previous years and created the “multiverse.” DMs ran players through games in each world. We resolved plot lines within each of those worlds, collected clues that led us to believe someone was trying to destroy the multiverse, and then used those clues to stop him. The clues we collected created the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” and gave us code words to make travel to/from each world easier so we could go collect the items we needed to stop the top bad guy.

I think the organizers are going to write a summation of all of the events on their website soon…and by soon I mean sometime between now and next year’s con. I do not have all of the details of all of the games, mainly the ones I was involved in and what other players told me happened in theirs. So, for me to do a complete write-up here would not do the event justice.

It was a lot of fun. Probably the most fun I’ve had gaming in a long time. I really enjoyed the layered nature of their game. I’ve never experienced another game like it. I had a really good gaming group for many years and we definitely had a lot of great games and storylines, but nothing as complex as the PrinceCon event.

I want to try to go next year. I may not get into gaming too much in between now and then. Or I could. Who knows. But it was nice to explore the gaming world again, even if for just one weekend.

Thanks, PrinceCon for a great weekend and Thanks for all the Fish!

 

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It’s been a while since I have blogged or written anything of substance. I did write a short story towards the end of last year, but I’ve been dragging my feet on the edits. And boy does it need editing.

I’ve also not written on my weight loss blog for a long time. When I went back to do so, I found that the domain expired. I’ve been trying to work with WordPress to get it back up and running, but it may take a few more days.

I’ve had a pretty rough year and a half. A lot of which centered around a terrible job that I had. I do not usually like to write about my full-time employment online. But that job consumed me. I was working pretty much nonstop in a thankless job with people who had no idea what I did or the work it took to do my job. Plus, my boss was a screamer. I spent much of my time simply trying to avoid confrontation with her. I retreated into myself in order to protect myself, and I was very unhappy. I worked all of the time, pretty much around the clock, for no additional pay.

This took a huge toll on my mental well being and my health overall. I did manage, after searching for about a year and a half, to find a new job. It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but there is a lot of potential there. And it is so much better than my other job. I still work a lot, but the atmosphere is a complete 180.

Nonetheless, it has taken me a while to mentally pick up the pieces and try to reassemble my life. It is amazing how one negative situation can affect every area of your life. I knew that I was stressed and unhappy, but I didn’t realize how much I had let it affect me until I let it go.

So, new things with me…

I have a new cat. Her name is Naomi. I’ve been tweeting about her. I bought a new flat screen tv and she is completely enamored with it. She must think it is a new window, or the people are somehow real, but it’s hilarious to watch her swat at the tv.

Obviously, I have a new job. I really do enjoy it quite a bit. The office is 24/7, so my work schedule can be kind of weird, but for now, its OK.

Nothing too new on the relationship front. I ended a relationship back in November/December with a guy I had been seeing for a little over a year. That relationship had run its course and there was no hope it was every going to turn into anything more, so I broke it off. It was a friendly break-up. We still talk, but there’s no chance I’ll restart that relationship.

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And spring has sprung here in DC. It’s almost 80 today and I took a walk in my neighborhood to get a late lunch. I went to a new restaurant, which was just wonderful. It’s called Palette22. They serve what they call “world street food” on small plates. Kind of like tapas, but better. This is kind of perfect for me. I had gastric by-pass surgery 3 years ago, and going to a normal restaurant where everything is so huge is very stressful for me. I often overeat and end up not feeling well after. Or I take home a ton of food that I never end up eating.

I had the vegan ceviche, which was OMG wonderful. And I had some kind of beef tacos. They were also delicious.

 

They also serve these plantain chips. I’m not a big fan of plantains. And I only tolerate bananas a little. But the plantain chips were fantastic and were a nice side with the vegan ceviche.

Tonight is writer’s group. My attendance over the last year has not been anything even close to regular. I’m trying to resolve that. Because my current work schedule is somewhat erratic, I will not be able to go every week, but I’m definitely going to make more of an effort when I can.

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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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