Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lessons Learned: Really Important Opinions™


http://www.freeimages.com/photo/no-dumping-sign-1548797
Good morning, everyone! I hope you've had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. I'm about 2k away from reaching the NaNoWriMo 50k finish line, and I just wanted to stop and share a little nugget of wisdom with you (recently learned by my own trial and error method of living life, of course). Tin foil hat recommended, but not required.

The lesson I've recently learned is...people will argue with you, or at least attemp to draw you into an argument, over the most ridiculous, juvenile shit you would never have thought, not in a million years, was important enough to get anyone's panties in a twist over.

Sometimes a topic of disagreement is so out there, just so completely wtf, you have to stop and wonder if the other person is high or mentally unstable. Or maybe that's just how I process it. I don't know. What I do know is that this sort of thing isn't locked into one geographical location. Oh, no. This isn't just an American thing. It's a worldwide, shared epidemic of insanity, and when it happens to you, it's about as much fun as a case of surprise diarrhea.

However, the inherent value in this kind of scratch-pop argument is that if you have ever, even for a moment, believed that your voice - your opinion - doesn't really matter, woo hoo little sister, do I have news for you!  Words have atomic weight. They matter. If you care to test this theory, I challenge you to say something risque or even controversial on the internet. Say it wrong, land it without proper padding to spare everyone's delicate feelings, and it will go nuclear.

But wait! You don't even have to dance into controversial territory. Be playful and friendly. Start out small. Misquote some song lyrics. On purpose. Throw some hashtags in for seasoning. That's what I did. Ka-boom! Or, you could talk about a book you read and liked, the last movie you watched and hated, or go for broke and tell the world what your favorite flavor of coffee is...and yes, you're allowed to read it off the menu at Starbucks, because who the heck bothers to memorize a menu, anyway? (Personally, I'm too lazy for that. Sorry, not sorry.)

It doesn't really matter what topic you decide to talk about. If you're passionate enough about it, or even if you're only briefly Heylook! sparkly-shiny! kind of passionate about it, some rat bastard you don't know, who you've never heard of, and who you wouldn't bother to get to know if you met them face to face, is guaranteed to crawl off their garbage heap of Really Important Opinions™ to let you know just how wrong you are...and inadvertently, just how powerful your benign little voice really is.

Never take that for granted. Your voice matters. Your story matters. The way you tell it matters. Since the dawn of time, people have fought and died on the garbage heaps of other people's Really Important Opinions ™. Think about that for a while.

Marriages, lives, and careers have been made and destroyed on numerous battlefields built from incompatible opinions. There are people out there who are so apt at this kind of warfare, they can scent the blood of someone who doesn't agree with them from half a world away, and they will rush in like berzerkers armed for the kill, completely drunk on the power of their own opinion...the option of minding their own fucking business be damned.

If you ever felt unimportant, or like no one is listening and that what you say matters to no one, think again. You probably just haven't shared a passionate opinion, yet. Oh, but you will, darling. You will. And when you inevitably get good at it, you'll begin to amass your own garbage heap of Really Important Opinions™  to share with others...to which I say, bravo, and also, guard it wisely.

Just one more important thing to know. When you're about to share a particularly special opinion, you know, one of those that stink a whole lot more than all the others because they have a much heavier atomic weight than most opinions, be very careful. Those opinions are known to cause dangerous chain reactions if combined with incompatible opinions.

Politics, current news events, religion; race, gender and social issues; oh, and the sharing of misquoted song lyrics, can cause a nuclear winter scenario with irrevocable damage to your reputation, career, peaceful living environment, the quality of your drinking water, and can even lead to death threats. So word to the wise on that: know before you blow.

In general when it comes to any opinion, it's a really good idea to do your research and thoroughly vet your opinion with facts from credible sources before you crawl off of your personal garbage heap to wage battle shove it down the throat of others offer it politely to someone else.

I know...I know... [hands up]. While sharing is the kind and neighborly thing to do, the fact remains that not everyone wants to hear what you think. They like their garbage heap just the way it is, thank you very much. A few people out there may genuinely not care, or they may welcome your opinion, but it's a good rule of thumb to think before you speak. Or type. Or email.  Because no matter how wrong you know the other person is, not every greasy garbage heap is worth dying on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

NaNo-ing Character Arcs...and a Pep Talk

To read the full Stephanie Perkins pep talk at NaNoWriMo's website, go here.

Since today is Veterans Day, I've decided to kick off this post by saying "Thank You" to all the veterans out there. There are no classes today, so MiniBeast is home with me. I rolled out of bed a little early to get a head start on motherly and household things, as well as writing, so here it goes.

I crossed the 13k threshold on my NaNoWriMo project last night. Or was it this morning? It depends on which side of midnight it was before I hit the bed. I can't remember exactly. While writing last night, I got to a stuck point, didn't know how to proceed, and thereafter in the flurry of post-it note that followed, I lost track of time. 

To break out of the stuck point, and to generate some usable words, I took out some sticky notes in different colors and began breaking down the story in my head by mapping everyone's character arc. 

Lemme just say that I didn't realize at first how many characters are in the book. Another thing I didn't realize was just how many words this would generate. About 2k so far, just for the arcs once I transferred all of it to my story file. 

I still need to map two more main characters, which I plan to do today. I'm going to get those out of the way first thing since those characters are the main reason I'm stuck.

In the process of jotting down all the character arcs, I managed to come up with a suitable ending for the novel, and there are a lot of other little detail oriented bits I was able to elaborate on and connect to other characters arcs. It was a little like playing connect the dots, I guess, only with multiple character scenarios. 

Another thing while breaking the book down by individual arcs, I was also able to look at every character's core purpose for being in the story, both the main players and the tertiary folks, to better justify why each person is being included in the book. If someone's reason for being there is/was looking kind of thin, I could easily beef it up and knit in more connections to the other characters. I've beefed up two characters so far, and both times, doing so added another layer of complexity to the story. Cool beans. I'll take it. 

So that's what cooking over here. Today's meme blog graphic thing comes from yesterday's NaNoWriMo pep talk. I loved it so much I had to share the good news. To read the Stephanie Perkins pep talk in full, you can find it right here on the NaNoWriMo website.

That's all for now. I'll post again when things get interesting. In the meantime, keep writing...and happy wishes! ♥ 

Monday, November 09, 2015

Everyday I'm NaNo-ing...

I'm around the 10k mark on my NaNo project, and I'm pretty happy with it so far. I'm pantsing the hell out of this story, no apologies, there, but I can honestly say I'm not sure where I'm going with it. At some point I'm going to need to figure out a possible ending, otherwise I won't know when it's finished.

For the overall gist of NaNo, I'm about 8k behind schedule. I told myself when I signed up, I wasn't going to worry about it, so I won't. Twice since I've started this story, the program I'm using for writing has tossed my words. Big chunks of words. Ouch.

As much as I love this program when it works, I've already started looking for different software. I hate the spyware keylogging crap Microsoft Office has brought on board since their subscription service, so I no longer use it. Straight up, I don't feel safe using Word for writing now. I realize how paranoid that sounds, but last year when I was trying to wrap up my vampire novel, I started getting Facebook and Google ads relative to what I'd been writing about. Too creepy for me. There has to be an alternative.

I have a computer running an older, paid-for (non subscription) version of Word, and I've considered hauling that computer to Dr. Bulldog for an overhaul and a new keyboard (it has keys missing) and just start using that computer offline for my writing. When I finish a piece, I can simply transfer my data to the laptop that has comp access in order to make submissions.

But that's a worry for another day. Right now I'm choosing not to worry about anything. The bottle of Merlot helps.

If you're NaNo-ing this year, I hope it's going well. I'll update again when something interesting happens. Until next time, keep writing...and happy wishes. ♥