Nov 1, 2017

October Numbers

Halloween is over and that means two things. #1: I don’t get to shop for home decor again for another 11 months. #2 it’s time for October’s numbers.

Words: 61,056 in 20 days
(Avg 3,053-words/day)
9 projects + Admin (16%)

I need less than 50k before January 1st to have written more this year than last. But it is safe to guess I won’t be getting the 263,107-words it would take to match 2013’s million words.

We’re at that special time of year. The one where the weather is crisp, the year is starting to roll down hill toward Christmas, and I start getting easily distracted… like a cat, with tinsel. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep plugging away at the writing like I did last year. *fingers crossed*

My day job changed on the 25th (as is pretty clear from the end of the month counts….) and I’m not sure how the writing stuff is going to shake down because of it. We shall see.

Time to go kick November’s butt.

Oct 31, 2017

Stranger Things Season 2

If you’re like me, you spent last weekend, binging Stranger Things Season 2. If you’re not like me and are taking it slow, you might want to come back later.
Having finished the show, I have opinions (when don’t I?), and I intend to share them with you (as always).

What I liked:

The friendship between Joyce and Hopper
As you’ll later see, I really love platonic friendship under drastic situations such as this. The brief glimpses at their shared past was fantastic, the way in which they support each other throughout figuring out what the heck is going on in the aftermath of Will’s return was delightful. And I hope against all hope that the series does not move toward putting them together as romantic interests.
After S1, Earl and I spoke at length about how strange it must have been for Noah Schnapp to land this role and then… not really be in the show. His character is such a huge part of the plot… and yet, he’s always in the periphery. So I was very happy to see him actually IN the show this time around. And it was lovely to see the way in which his disappearance affected both him and his mother (Jonathon less so), but also the after effects of his trauma and the manner in which the upside down followed him right back out.
The expansion of the threat
How many times have you loved a show, only to get to season two and realize that the people in the driver’s seat didn’t really know how they were going to escalate when it came to continuing on? A bigger bad isn’t always the best option, but they managed to keep things (mostly) in line with S1, without making me roll my eyes, or feeling overly repetitious. Always nice in genre shows that occasionally fall victim to the misguided whims of studios.

Steve (not as Nancy’s boyfriend, but definitely as the babysitter)
I was not a fan of Steve in season one. He was a jerk and his redemption arc was too shallow for me. But this weird big brother type friendship with Dustin in season 2 was pretty great. It says a lot about a guy who’s willing to give a kid the kind of ammo that comes in a Farrah Fawcett aerosol. It also says a lot that he (almost immediately) takes up with a kid who is not his (in limbo) girlfriend’s little brother to deal with Dart. He came into the game late, but he’s still going to do what needs to be done, when he could pull a comb through that hair and run the opposite direction.
That being said….

Dustin will ALWAYS be my favorite
Where Mike is broody, Lucas is logical, and Will is just trying to figure out WTF is going on with himself, Dustin is a little ball of sunshine. He knows exactly how dire their situation is and he’s the first to look for, find, and grab ahold of hope with both hands. It makes complete sense that he’d be the one who takes for granted the fact that Steve might not be naturally inclined to help. It makes sense that he would be the one scared out of his mind and still on top of the explanations for how their real-world situation can be explained by D&D. It makes sense that he would see a creature and not consider where it came from, just be caught up in the wonder of this new (albeit dangerous) thing. Dustin is the golden thread run through the series that drags everything else up so that it doesn’t drown in the darkness of the world that could so easily suck us in.


Now, let’s take a moment to touch on what I didn’t like.

Nancy & Jonathan
One of my favorite things in S1 was Nancy and Jonathan’s weird friendship. Even with him being a total creeper with the photos (seriously, not okay dude), I never got an actual sense either of them were romantically inclined. And I never wanted them to be*. I long for platonic friendship in situations like these, I wanted, so desperately for them to simply be friends through the whole series… but no, they had to get together because the conspiracy guy calls them out and then, nothing comes of it. There was nothing to make me believe that wasn’t thrown in on a whim…. Nothing to make me care that it happened.

WTF was up with Episode 7?
The information given in E7 was not, in itself a problem. It was that an entire episode was dedicated to only that.
So we see number Eight in the opening scene of E1, and then…. Nothing. She’s all but forgotten until she gets a whole episode.
I liked Eight. I would love to have had more of her (and I’m sure she’ll show up again in S3 or S4) but the episode was utterly disconnected when presented by itself. If they’d broken up the Chicago goings-on and spread them through other episodes, it would have been a wonderful addition. It was an opportunity to open up the effects of the upside down and the potential for the existence of 1-7, 9 &10, and how their existence effected the world at large. But the tone was so different, that, woven through it could have worked. Set apart, it felt like a plan for a spin-off.

The amount of set-up for Season 3
We know there are going to be two more seasons. It’s a thing now. But there were too many things that felt like we were being fed information that’s not going to really matter until next year when S3 dumps. And if some of those things never come around to be a bigger part of the show, I’ll have an even bigger problem with it. Max’s brother is loathsome (and not just because of that barf-worthy hair). But if all he was was a character developement device for Max… he got way too much screen time. See issues with Eight and her gang above.

Where was my Pissboy cameo?
I was REALLY hoping that there would be a moment at the Snow Ball, where you see pissboy in the background. Eleven doesn’t see him. Mike doesn’t see him. But he gets one look at her and pisses himself because he has 11-style PTSD, because there is no chance that kid made it out of his encounters with Eleven mentally unscarred.

*I don’t like Nancy and Steve either.

Oct 16, 2017

NaNo No No

As we hit the middle of October, I’m over here looking askance at NaNoWriMo.

I enjoy participating in the yearly ritual, but the book I’ve been planning to NaNo-up all year has been usurped in my schedule and while my req w/c for the new November project will more than adequately fulfill NaNo’s requirements…. The unfulfilled expectation chafes.

So I probably won’t do the thing.

Through September my average w/c per month has been just over 75k. I’ve never done NaNo as a challenge to get bulk words down. It’s only ever been about focus for me. And that’s part of the problem this year.

I’ll only need to write 2,370-words on average for the 30 days of November to finish my scheduled project. That, when I hold myself to strict deadlines… isn’t an issue. So, I’ve considered saying “screw it” and trying to pop in that 1,667-words for a NaNo run too… but my worry lies with what that will do to my focus.

The projects are different… but not different enough. The last thing I want to do is bleed them together. My first inclination is to throw caution and my pages to the wind and go for it. But that’s like carrying a birthday cake and its back-up, all at once. If you trip, you’ve ruined everything. One by one, you’ve still got the potential for salvage.

But I have 14 days to figure that out… right?

Oct 4, 2017

IWSG October

This post has been a part of the monthly IWSG blog-hop. Bounce over there, check it out and sign up if you’re ready to share you neuroses with the world.
Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I think we always put a little of ourselves into our characters, both main and secondary. It’s difficult not to. All narratives are drawn from personal experience (whether it’s something we’ve done, witnessed, or has been pieced together from a myriad of sources.)

Often, when creating characters, I try to evaluate first what I would do in the given situation, and then weigh that against what the character would do. Understanding why they’d do something differently than you would is important to keeping them true to themselves throughout the whole story. Especially important when you think of an awesome way to handle something… but it’s an action that character would never take (unless you can find a way to make them go against their predetermined nature.)

There is one book, currently in a weird draft purgatory, where its quick rough draft (a sprint-written document that’s about 50% of the end-goal word count) gave one of the main characters a backstory that was very nearly identical to part of my own past. In the process of notating what needed to change before I hunker down and write the actual draft, I’ve removed or changed that backstory in a way that it is only vaguely similar to what I experienced… because her story has a completely different “ending” than mine did.

Oct 2, 2017

September Numbers 2017

Another month down, another (low) word count in the books.

Words: 34,245-words in 17 days
(Avg 2,014-words/day)
9 projects + Admin (14%)

September came in about 9k short of January, previously my lowest recorded w/c for the year. There were many distractions, several days were I was not at a desk, and much editing was done, so I’m not upset by that number. It’s still above the totals for september in both 2015 and 2016, and still above the average for the whole of 2015. Woo.

This month also came with the realization I’ll need to alter my schedule for the end of the year to stay on top of things, on target for finishing those major tasks that just can’t wait, and still managing to stay sane.
We’re approaching the end of the year and that one month where I have zero goals (Looking at you, December). The holidays come with enough stress w/o me glaring at a spreadsheet with too low of numbers. Add to that the fact we’ve got a big trip planned around Christmas and it’s just better if I keep the month labeled as “open.” I love travel and I’m big on planning, so I’m trying to keep from being too giddy about it.