Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-12-15


Wednesday, December 15

Sorry for being absent this past week. Time just flew by before I knew it. I decided to get off my duff this morning and post something.

This week I want to talk about an idea I had that I hope would help someone I care about. You see, he did not finish school and is about to start his life in society. Without an education, his prospects are not too good at getting a decent job. He has past the written part of the GED test. If I can spur his interest in learning, I hope to get him to a point where he may be able to complete it.

Being of the ‘texting’ generation, I had this idea that I could try to give him little nuggets of wisdom over the next year. He is quite intelligent and learns quickly. Just does not have the patience to stick to something too long. Yet, he does love to text and to use his phone. Also, the phone he owns gives him the ability to keep notes and write memos in a word processor similar to Wordpad in Windows.

My idea involves me sending him tidbits of information using the texting feature of his phone. Since he has unlimited texting ability as does my mom’s phone, I can send it to him without it costing him.

The one thing I plan to do is build his vocabulary by sending him a word, its definition and several samples. With text being limited to 160 characters, I may have to send multiple texts to accomplish this.

But to enter all that information into the phone and send it would be a great hassle since the phone we have only has the normal keypad and not the keyboard version. Since mom’s phone is a Motorola Razr, I got the software to connect it to my computer. Thus I can build these lessons on my computer and then send them to my mom’s phone.

Another thought I had on this is that I may make it a tweet or even set up another blog to share what I build. If someone else can use these materials, then great.

One source of words is the daily crossword puzzle. Where else can one find one to three word definitions of words. Then again, there is the thesaurus. It is a great source for one-word definitions.

I am still mulling things over and trying to figure things out. The plan date of the start of this project is on January 1, 2011. To get a head start, I have already put together a list of words with some definitions.

Between now and the first of the year, I hope to build two lessons a day so I can be ready for interruptions in my goals. Another thing I might do is check to see if there is an Internet site that allows texts to be sent.

Granted, my nephew may start deleting the texts as soon as he gets them. But on the odd chance he may look at them at least once, he could learn something. Let me know if you think this may be a worthwhile endeavor.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-12-01


Wednesday, December 01

Hello everyone. Sorry for the silence and for today’s late start. I was having trouble trying to figure out what I wanted to write about. One thing I want to talk about is that I will be returning to the Sunday and Wednesday writing days. I know there is no way I can write something every day.

As a topic, I thought to do a recap of my NaNoWriMo results but then that would leave a small post. As for those stats, I pushed above 61k words before quitting last night. I will continue to work on my various projects and hope to complete them.

As for the other subject, it came to me today after I met a fellow writer for lunch. The word ‘networking’ came to mind. As a writer, I know I benefit from meeting with fellow writers. It gives me the ‘umpph’ to keep going. Friends may be encouraging but sometimes they do not understand what writing is about.

The looks one gets when s/he talks about the conversations with one’s characters. The eyebrows that rise when one mentions a scene being hijacked by a secondary character.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I see that they are looking around to seek out those men in white lab coats carrying a jacket with extra long sleeves that buckle in the back. This tends to stifle my enthusiasm.

Friends sometimes do not have the same enthusiasm about writing as one’s fellow writers do. That is why when I get a chance, I will meet with a fellow writer to talk because they will understand what I am talking about. I always feel pumped up after meeting them.

This is why belonging to a writers’ group can be important for writers. I hope you have someone you can call and talk to, email or chat about your writing that is a fellow writer.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nano 25 - Winner


Thursday, November 25

I am happy to say that I have surpassed that magic number of 50k words yesterday.

Stats:
Words to Date: 51919
Tuesday's Total: 2059
Wednesday's Total: 2467
I spent most of the day yesterday going through and fleshing out my story a bit more. One thing I do to help from getting overwhelmed at times is to print out the material. That way I can make notes on paper and put like parts together.

So, today while I am away from my computer and visiting relatives, I can look it over when I get a chance. I will take time to make some notes, but mainly, I will be attacking a turkey with the dressing and visiting with my cousins, aunts and uncles.

So, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nano - Day 23


Tuesday, November 23

Stats:
Total to Date: 47,393 words
Monday’s Total: 1925
Today, I plan to push myself to the point that I pop over the 50K mark. It is not all that hard to do if one thinks about it. All it would take is for two of my characters getting into a heated argument. Actually, that gives me an idea for a little conflict for my book. That will be a different story.

As I write this, the sun broke through the clouds to illuminate everything. To a little light onto the subject, so to speak. I really do not have all that much to say for today’s post. I hope everyone has a productive day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Being Overwhelmed


Monday, November 22

Welcome to Day 22 of the challenge.

Stats:
  • Total to Date: 45,468 words
Sorry for missing the last four days. That does not mean I stopped my writing. On the 17th, I had 34,277 words. Since then, I’ve added another 11,191 words to my total.

Over the last few days, I fought the strong feeling of being overwhelmed. The problem with this feeling with me is that I normally shut down and refuse to work on anything until it goes away. What happens is that I start thinking about my project as a whole. Another term for this could be ‘information overload.’

It does not help that my stories tend to get quite complicated and interconnected. If I do not force myself to concentrate on one subject and work on it, I can get distracted and pulled away from the project all together.

Yet, my determination to keep going allowed me to focus on a single item and push the other thoughts out of my mind. I muddled through it by trying my best to ignore my internal editor. Also, I force myself to remain in the chair even when I want to get up and do anything except writing on my novel.

Granted, some of the material I am entering into my computer may get tossed, but if I don’t put it down, I will not have the idea behind what I wrote. I can always pull the idea out of the bad grammar and misspelled words and fashion it so that it reads well.

But, that is why they call it the first draft. I keep telling myself that. This helps break that overwhelming feeling I get at times. I will make my 50k words ahead of time. Whether I will get to the 75k word level or not is still up in the air.

Well, until later. Happy writing – Clark Stone

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-11-17

Wednesday, November 17

Welcome to day 17 of the challenge. Stats:
Total to Date: 34,277
Monday's Total : 1,350
Tuesday's Total: 474.
It looks as if I have been slacking of on the last two days. Actually, yesterday, I got more than the paltry 474 words, because I took over three pages of notes while away from my computer. Those notes have yet to be entered into the computer so I should have a super large number for today’s total.

I played with a technique that I picked up from a writer’s book in which I write down my thoughts in short sentences and phrases. Whatever idea pops to mind, I wrote it down. The surprise came when I discovered how much I pumped out. It helped me flesh out my scenes and clear up some story points. At the present time, I still have gaps in my story.

Yet, this technique helped fill in some of the gaps. So, when you feel like you need to fill in a gap in your story, this is the time to play the “What if?” game. I would suggest playing it by putting down your answers to the questions in short sentences or phrases. Do not worry with punctuation. Just get the idea down on paper or computer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNo Day 15

Monday, November 15

Stats:
Total to Date: 32, 443
Saturday's Total : 1, 079
Sunday's Total: 3,341
Hello and welcome to NaNoWriMo on day 15. This is the halfway point in my journey across the 50,000-word abyss.

I'm not quite halfway through to my 75,000-word goal that I have set for myself. In order to reach that goal, I need to make another 4000 or more words. I'm not sure if I'll make it today. But if I have other days like Sunday, I do not have to worry.

The story is starting to come together for me though there are some blank spots that I wish to fill. The question of the day would be "all we having fun yet?"

I don't know about you, but I sure am enjoying myself. I have come to realize that I am more of a grouch if I skipped my writing than if I don't. I hope your project is going on well. I still have a few items that are going to interfere with my NaNoWriMo but hope to have them out of the way by the end of the week.

So I guess it is time that I get back to work. See you tomorrow.

PS -- sorry I missed yesterday; it seemed to get away from me before I knew it. As Kermit the Frog has been known to say, "Time's fun when you're having flies."


Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaNo Day 13


Saturday, November 13

Stats:
Total to Date: 28,023
Friday’s Total 2,320
My goal today will be 1700. I’ll be going to a Nola Stars meeting this morning and I will not be back until this afternoon.

This message will be short today. All I have to say is keep going. We still have 17 more days to be creative and pump out the story.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaNo Day 12


Friday, November 12

Stats:
Total to Date: 25,703
Wednesday’s Total: 1,122
Thursday’s Total: 1,689
First, I wish to celebrate reaching the halfway mark. I had planned to make this mark earlier this week. That is where prior obligations get into the way. I’ve passed the halfway mark on the contest entries I have to judge and critique. That leaves three more to go. Yet, other things are popping up. I hope to get 2500 more today.

Now, I had been contemplating what else I might write about this morning. Then a topic dropped write into my lap. As I write this, our cat is fussing at my mother because she wants more cat food. The cat continued to talk to my mom as mom carried it to the front door and tossed it outside. This has become a daily occurrence.

Now, it makes me wonder what that cat is saying as we placed her out the front door. Then again, we may not want to know what she is saying. Since cats seemed to be very domineering at times, I guess she was giving commands to let her down and give her cat food among other choice words.

This brings back memory of a cat I had years ago. My father would talk to this cat and it, at times, sounded like it talked back. All I know is that when my father told this cat he could not come into the house, he would not enter when we opened the door for him. He did come in when my dad told him that he could come in.

Sounds like a good start of a sci fi novel. The thing about cats is that I suspect they would resort to blackmail to get their way. If they could communicate with us, there may be fewer cats as pets. At least, I suspect it would be that way. (Big Grin)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Writer's Wednesday - 2010-11-10


Wednesday, November 10

Stats:
Total to Date: 22,792
Tuesday’s Total: 2120
Have you ever overhear someone talking and an idea popped to mind. Even if it is just a short snippet. Let me give you an example. The other night at a NaNoWriMo write-in several college students passed the table in which the group sat. Their target turned out to be the vending machine. This is the snippet I heard.
Person 1: I do not know what to get.
Person 2: I like to get those. I like to bite the heads off of them then eat the rest.
Now, I do not know about you, but I thought that sounded hilarious. It also brought up ideas from others around the table when I retold the story that night. Most everyone thought about a possible Zombie book. I did too. But there are so many ways that one can take the idea.

What ideas have you gotten from eavesdropping on a short conversation?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nano - Day 9


Tuesday, November 09

Stats:
Total to Date: 20,672
Monday’s Total: 1,546

It looks as if my writing suffered a little yesterday. I did not quite make my minimum. Will look into doing it today. May be rough. I have so much I need to get done.

I did not get all I wanted done yesterday. The newsletter is finished but not printed. One more contest entry judged and critiqued. On those contest entries, all have been interesting even though not perfect. I try to leave an encouraging word to the author.

That’s all I have for now. I hope your venture into NaNoWriMo is going well. This is week two and the spot where most people drop out from what I read. Keep going. This is just a first draft. It is meant to be rough. Don’t worry if you have the beginning showing up after the middle and the ending starting at the beginning. That is what editing is for.

Look forward to greeting you at the finish line.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Blues - 2010-11-08


Monday, November 08

Hello and good Monday to ya. Yes, I know it is too early for some of you. Oh, well. Here’s my stats on Day 8 of NaNoWriMo:
Total to Date: 19,126
Sunday’s Total: 5,206
Weekend Total: 8,939
As you can see, I managed to surpass my weekend goal by 2,939 words. I wanted to get 6,000 words this weekend and surprised myself with yesterday’s total. Working on one project before breakfast helped a little. But what really put me over the top was the 3500-plus words I wrote during the 2.5 hours write-in at Northwestern State University’s Watson Library last night.

As for the other goals I set for myself yesterday, I managed to complete some of them:
the three newsletter pages
the contest judging
my blog post.
I did not manage to clean any on my room nor transcribe any of those minutes from a meeting.

I did get registered for the chat room on NaNoWriMo and participated in a short chat in the afternoon. Might log on this afternoon to see what is going on around my area of Louisiana.

Today's Goals:
to write 2,000 words
build last three pages to newsletter
print and label newsletters
judge and critique a contest entry
transcribe the business meeting minutes
write my blog post.
I hope you are having fun with your NaNoWriMo challenge. One tip, allow your characters to take over every once in a while. You will be surprised where you will find yourself.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Reflections - 2010-11-07


Sunday, November 07
Total So Far: 13920
Saturday’s Word Count: 3733
This is NaNoWriMo Day 7 and I am enjoying myself. My problem is that I am spending too much time on it at times. The time has come that other obligations have stepped in and refused to be ignored. I still plan on adding another 3,000 words to my baby (or babies since it is multiple projects.)

My other goals for today are
  1. writing my blog post
  2. building three newsletter pages
  3. transcribing the minutes to a meeting
  4. judging and critiquing a contest entry
  5. cleaning on my room.
Now, if you are reading this, it means I have met my first goal. My next goal to work on will be the judging and critiquing of a contest entry. The deadline for getting them judged approaches, and my visit to the Nation of Procrasti has placed an urgency to this task.

As for my writing goal, I shall join some fellow NaNo’s at Watson Library on Northwestern State University this evening for three hours of writing. If I get the other four goal done, I will spend some time on my writing before going.

Yesterday, I stated that I planned to put 6,000 words down for this weekend. Since I got 3,733 yesterday, I only have to make 2,267 to make my weekend goal. I want to make more than that. What can I say? I am a little greedy when it comes to my word count. Big Grin.

So, I guess I need to get away from this blog and onto my other goals for today. So far, I have been able to keep up this daily thing. I will let you know how well I did tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNo Day 6


Saturday, November 06

This will be short and sweet.
Total So Far: 10187
Friday’s Word Count: 1158
I did not expect to get much written yesterday and I didn’t. I spent the day visiting with a cousin in north Louisiana. We played a game of Rook which I have not played in over 35 years.

As for my writing, one of the items I got from the kick off party is a toy soldier. Actually, I got two of them. Right now, I have the one that holds the bazooka on the top of my laptop pointing his weapon right at me. He will be my inspiration for today. If I do not work, he may fire that thing. (Big Grin)

Like I said, I plan on getting over 6,000 words this weekend. I will start on those words after breakfast this morning. I hope you are making satisfactory progress toward your work. Let me know.

Friday, November 5, 2010

TGIF - NaNo 5


Friday, November 05

Hello, welcome to Day Five of the 50K-word challenge.
Thursday’s Word Count: 1402
Total So Far: 9029
As the numbers show, I did not make yesterday’s minimum - at least, not on the computer. I managed to write three pages of notes into my composition notebook. How many words that translates into is anybody’s guess.

Then again, I expected that to be my result. Today’s result may be the same since I will be away from my computer for most of the day. This is why I wanted to make sure I got off to a good start.

Now, this weekend, all bets will be off. I will get over 6,000 this weekend. That will be my two day challenge. A time to let my mind run free. With that being said, there is no telling what kind of chaos will ensue. (Big Grin) Whatever happens, I plan on having fun with my characters.

This brings up a discussion I had with some fellow writers I had at the kickoff party. Where else can one go out and kill, maim and/or torture those who pissed you off and not get arrested over it. One person I know stated that she kills off one of her former bosses in a very gruesome manner in every crime novel she writes.

No names are mentioned when doing this other than the fictitious ones. But I also like to see my protagonist get ahead as well. When I let my imagination run wild, I find that my protagonists can do all kinds of fantastic feats. They are fun to create even though I know I will have to edit it later.

The question of the day is “Are you having fun?” I know I am. Though at times, I do have my doubts. Yet, the best cure for those doubts seemed to be me sitting at my computer and writing. So, here goes…

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 4


Thursday, November 04

I’mmm baaack! Here is another progress report for my NaNoWriMo projects. It seems that I am destined to work on multiple projects. If I can’t separate them, I might as well embrace them.

Not only am I working on my second book, I seemed to be working on my third book and some type of space station short story series. Also, when I say second and third books, I mean that I plan to complete these two books of my series next.

As for yesterday’s goal of 3,000 words, I do not think I made it. I did make 1949 words yesterday as well as some more written into my composition notebook. I will spend today entering those notes into the computer. Right now, my total sits at 7,627 words.

As for my progress, I am happy. I am ahead on my word count like I want to be. Still, I could put my butt in the chair and hands on my keyboard a bit more than I do.

Now, the reason why I try to get ahead on my word count. Today’s output might not meet minimum due to the fact that other things will take precedence. I will be away from my computer for two events. I may have time to work on my composition notebook, but I can’t count the words written there until I get them entered into the computer.

These ventures will be treated as research in that there is something new to observe when one leaves home to go shopping or to assist a friend - at least I do. It never fails that I learn something new or observe something I think is funny when I go out. I will try to make note of these events for future use in my books.

Well, I guess it is time to see if I can get some writing done toward my book. I hope your adventure is going well. Having fun yet? If not, then try not to think of it as a job but as an adventure. Mainly, think ‘fun.’

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - Day 3


Wednesday, November 03

Well, I do not have any special pearls of wisdom to discuss today. I managed to pump out 2147 words toward my projects yesterday.

In past posts of my Writer’s Wednesday, I noted that when visit various places that I take something to take notes with. Last night, my composition notebook accompanied me to various places. Also, at times yesterday, I wrote notes into my composition notebook about other projects. I am quite sure that I have another 600 plus words that needs to be entered into the computer and added to my total.

This year’s adventure seems to be taking me down the same road as the previous years. I tend to jump around in my story. One moment, an idea about the beginning pops to mind. Then the next moment, an idea pertaining to the ending forces itself to the forefront. At any one time, I can be working on the middle, the end or the beginning of my novel.

Then there are times when I find myself writing on ideas that have nothing to do with the novel I am working on. Yet, I refuse to let an idea get by. I know that I will not be able to work on or complete all of these project ideas. But, I will have fun trying.

Now, for today’s goal, I want to write at least 3,000 words. Will find out this evening what I will accomplish.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 2


Tuesday, November 02

Well, yesterday went well. I did not get my 5,000 words like I wanted but I did get more than double the minimum. Yesterday’s total came to 3,531 words.

I also got to participate in a kickoff party held on Northwestern State University campus last night. Meeting and speaking to other writers has always inspired me to get back to my keyboard and write.

One event that spurred me on was the 15-minute sprint. We had three sprints in which I managed to type out more than a 1,000 words. Between sprints, we would discuss our genres and something about what we were working on.

All in all, I enjoyed my first day of this year’s challenge. I do not know if I will be as ambitious in my writing today. Sometime this morning, I will be going out to vote and there are things I want to vote for and some that I want to vote against.

My goal for today will be 2,500 words. I think this is doable. Now, as for my story, I may have come up with an ending last night for it. Also, this may be more of a novella than a book. That means that I may have to work on that second project in order for me to get my goal of 75k words this month.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello NaNoWriMo - Day 1


Monday, November 01

Hello everyone. As part of my enthusiasm for this month’s ordeal, I plan on writing something every day this month. Most of it will be on writing but some may not.

As I stated yesterday, I plan to work on a new story for this month’s project. Now that I look at my notes, I found out that I may be working on two books. They will be set in the same era of my fictitious world in a far away galaxy. But they can have some parallels but need to be developed together. One may be my main work but I will interject things into the other.

Whether I will get 50k words for each one will be something to look into. Usually, I am not this ambitious. I would like to get 100K words in. That being said, I have too many irons in the fire for me to be able to dedicate that much time to doing this.

I will tell you this, I plan to be active in the write-ins for my area which is the USA :: Louisiana :: Elsewhere. Though, I have this feeling that I may not be able to attend them all.

One kickoff party will start at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches at 5:00 this afternoon. The plan is to get together for 2.5 hours. In the past, we usually just write but I have never made it to a kick-off party before so I do not know what to expect.

My goal for today is to start off with 5,000 words toward my goals. Whether or not I achieve that goal will depend on how many interruptions I run into. I plan to keep my fingers moving all day. I hope to finish up the 5,000 words at the kick-off party this evening.

Stay tuned. I will see about adding something to my blog to let you know how I am doing toward this goal. There is an added calendar to this blog that will show if I have gotten my daily minimum of 1,667. I will be noting how many words I wrote the previous day in the first paragraph of this blog every day.

So, time to roll up my sleeves - wait, I’m wearing short sleeves (Big Grin) - and get to writing. See ya tomorrow.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo minus 1


Sunday, October 31

Today, I find myself anticipating Monday morning. Though I have not done as much preplanning that I had hoped for in this venture, I eagerly want to jump into my NaNoWriMo project.

Like I said on Thursday, I plan on writing more than the minimum. My goal is to get 17,500 a week or 2,500 a day. There will be days that I get more than the minimum. Yet, Mr. Murphy and his laws usually step in somewhere and bite me on my backside.

I have made some headway into some preplanning but not that much. When I start a story, I have the beginning and an ending and an idea how to get from one to another. Now, that does not mean that they are set in stone. I have added material to the beginning of one book because the characters demanded it.

Yet, this attempt will be different in that I do not really have an ending to shoot for. The beginning is still fluid as well. I do have an idea about it but it seemed to change several times over the last few days.

To flesh this out, I will begin to interview my characters. Why not, they are the ones who usually hijack my fingers and take over the story in the first place. This is an unusual feeling to me. I know they take over at times, because when I finally regain control of my body, I find anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 words in my file and 4 to 6 hours had passed.

It is an exhilarating feeling to have that happen. Still, I have to watch these characters though. I have had a secondary character hijack my muse. On one occasion, I had to promise the character his own story in order to get the story back on track.

So, tomorrow will start a challenge and I will begin working on it as soon as I get up. I hope you will join me in this challenge. My moniker is clark-stone. Contact me.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Writer’s Thursday - 2010-10-28


Thursday, October 28

Sorry, this was supposed to been yesterday’s topic. Today, I wish to discuss NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where one challenges her/himself to write 50,000 words during the month.

To me, it forces me to practice BICHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. I get quite a bit written though most of it may require editing. Just think of this as your very first rough draft and cut loose so that you can get your ideas written.

Now, 50,000 words in a month can be intimidating. That boils down to 1667 words a day. I know some people capable of writing 2000 words in an hour. (I can only do that if I use my voice to text program. Otherwise, I can write about 1200 to 1600 words in an hour if I am uninterrupted.) Putting that way, then 50K words should not be hard to do.

Some advice to those who take the challenge. When you sit in that chair and start writing, do not let that internal editor stop you. Do what in the writing world refers to as 'freestyle' writing (journalism refers to this as 'power' writing). This is where one sits and records the ideas and thoughts about one’s novel. This is done by not worrying with capitalization, grammar and other aspects of writing. You can come back and edit later.

Another piece of advice: I would recommend that you do more so that you can have a buffer in case of a disruption (Thanksgiving visitors). One will not know what will pop up during the month.

I usually try for 2500 words a day with an occasional 5000-word day. That way I could take a day off every once in a while. Then there are those unexpected events that can get into the way. Last year, I had 49,483 words with nine days left. Then appendicitis hit. I spent a week in the hospital without access to my computer or story material. I just did get out with a day or two to spare and wrote another 1000 words to break the 50K barrier.

Make sure you join some of the group forums on the site. The feeling I have when I break that 50k barrier is worth the whole challenge. I broke that barrier six of the last seven attempts.

Currently, I have several ideas of what I want to work on for my project. It seems that every year I plan to prepare for the event, but ended up just writing when November 1 came around. It looks like that may be the way I do it this year.

Are you going to participate this year? If so, you can find me under my pseudonym of
Clark-Stone .

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things Happen - Where’s the Water


Tuesday, October 26

Last week, I climbed into the shower to prepare for a good scrubbing. The water pressure did not feel right. Its flow seemed to be weak but sufficient. I did not think anything about it.

I managed to get my hair soaped up and rinsed. From there, I proceeded to lather up the rest of me. As I happily covered myself with soap, I had not noticed the water had stopped flowing.

After a few moments, the silence became deafening. I normally point the showerhead away from me while I soap up. When I looked over, I found that no water came out of it. Soon, I heard this strange gurgling sound followed by a sucking sound of the water being pulled back into the pipe.

Now, here I am standing in my shower with no way to rinse this soap off. The only water we have in the house is in the refrigerator. On top of this, I do not have time to heat it up. Brrrrrrr. BG.

No, I did not use that water. I ended up toweling off the soap the best I could and hoped I did not smell like soap when I went to my karate class. At least, I had managed to have my hair rinsed out before the water died on me.

This sounds like something I could make one of my characters go through. Though, I could make it worse in several ways. What if the character had his/her hair soaped up? What if someone yelled fire after the water went off? What if it was a prank? What if?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Musings - 2010-10-24

Sunday, October 24

Hello, another week has slipped by. I managed to get a few of my goals worked out and done. Yet, it seems that I neglected my duty to my blog. I keep telling myself that I will do three posts a week. It is doable. I just let the time slip by. Today’s post almost slipped by as well.

Earlier this week, I managed to get ‘off and on.’ ‘Off’ my duff and ‘on’ the goal of placing boards over some holes in the floor in the back room. They are a temporary fix, but now I do not have to walk along the joists to keep from falling through the floor. In this model of trailer, they used particleboard for the floor. If they get wet in any way, they will disintegrate. The high humidity of Louisiana finally caught up to that part of the floor.

Another goal was to pick a bucket of crabapples and turn them into some applesauce. I picked that five-gallon bucket this morning. Now, half of that bucket now sits in a pot on my stove along with one cup of sugar and two cups of Splenda boiling down. I did this two years ago and it makes a coarse apple sauce. To me, it tastes good and seems to keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

I need to discuss these particular crabapples in a later post. What I will tell you about them is that they are not typical crabapples. These are larger than most crabapples. I spent almost two hours peeling and coring the apples for this purpose. I might have done better if I just got some apples from the store. That would make a better quality apple sauce, but since these are growing in my garden, I could not pass them up.

The next step with these crabapples will be to make a wine out of them. I have an overabundant amount of them and I hate to see them go to waste. I have not made up my mind on how much I will make though. I am leaning toward making about 10 gallons of the stuff.

My last batch of crabapple wine came out fairly well. It tastes great mixed with cola. As for other soft drinks, I have not tried them just yet. I will talk about this a little later.

My major goal for this week is to write a post for every day of the week. This post will be completed the night before and I will post it the next morning. That being said, I hope your week has turned out well. Have a fun day and keep smiling.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Reflections - 2010-10-17


Sunday, October 17

Hello everyone. Welcome to the start of a new week. I have several thoughts that came to me over the last few weeks.

It seems that I am constantly reassessing my goals and what I need to be doing. If I do not watch out, I can find myself wasting away my time by constantly reassessing. I plan to sit down and start working on the goals instead of thinking about them. But not all the thoughts today are about my goals.

Now, one of my goals is to see if my new boom box can be used as an external speaker set for my television set. Until a couple of weeks ago, the sound on our television set would vary depending on which channel we watched. It turned out that the cable box did not have a strong signal. He said something about being 16 dB low and that’s quite low. After the technician left, we no longer had problems with the sound.

Yet, there is one aspect of living in a small town that I do not care for is the lack of a good radio station. The ones I like to listen to are either 70 miles north of here or 55 miles south of Natchitoches. They have one station in Natchitoches that plays decent music but they do have interruptions that I do not care for.

This morning I connected a cable to the audio out connectors to the cable box. My boom box has an ‘Auxiliary Input’ in the back of it. Now, I can listen to the music channels that the cable provides without having the television turned on. Another plus is that there are no commercials. It is working perfect. I am listening to a 70’s station as I type this. Now, to find batteries for the boom box’s remote.

Now, toward my goals, I wrote out these goals on individual sheets and have arranged them in order of importance. The 4 x 6 inch photo album that I am using helps keep them organized. I will cut back on reassessing my goals to Sundays. The rest of this week will be working toward completing my goals.

I know I normally write three blog posts a week and last week I missed the Friday one. I may make up for that by doing an extra post tomorrow. I should do this every day because I like to do it. Yet, I find myself trying to avoid doing it as well. It is like a non-important internal conflict fighting within me.

Well, those are the two thoughts I wish to cover for today. There are more but I feel that long posts would not be received well. I like them short, so I should follow my own tenet. Have a productive week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-10-13

Wednesday, October 13

Sorry for the absence over the last week. I have intended to work on my blog and even started working on it several times. Just that the time passes so fast that before I knew it, I had missed posting to my blog.

Today, two stories appeared on television that I plan to use in my stories. One is a happier occasion and the other is more tragic. The first is based on the Chilean rescue of the trapped miners. The effort they took to reach them and to bring them to the surface has to be commended. This is a tragic story that has a good outcome.

As I write this, they are pulled the 10th person out of the ground. So far so good. I am happy that this story came out with a good ending.

Now, the other story has gone from bad to worse. A couple weeks ago some Mexican drug bandits attacked an American couple on Falcon Reservoir. This reservoir is on the Texan-Mexican border and they have warnings for not crossing the border on the lake. The American couple rode a set of jet skis on the lake, and the husband was shot by a group of men. She managed to escape.

Now, in the news this morning, ABC Good Morning America reported that the Mexican police commander investigating the incident had been killed. His head had been delivered to the authorities in a suitcase.

I do not know why but both stories hit a cord with me and I wish to write about them. Like I said in an earlier post, I usually find stories on the Internet, newspapers or even television that I like to base some of my stories on. Actually, I get my inspiration from everywhere I look.

One of my favorite T-shirts has something similar to this written on it: What you say today may end up in my book tomorrow.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Musings - 2010-10-03

Sunday, October 03

Welcome to the start of a new week. Today, I am going through my goals reassessing them and trying to prioritize the more important ones. I have allowed myself to be bogged down with too much of the trivial stuff around my life and have not worked on the important parts of my life.

So, today, I am looking over a list of items that I wrote down on a pad earlier this week. The list is quite long, and I know there are more items that need to be placed on this list. The top two things on my list are ‘my spiritual/mental health’ and ‘my physical health.’ The third thing on my list is ‘my book.’

In a way, all three are interconnected in that I need to work on all of them to feel happy and healthy. The problem is that I got a good look at myself in a mirror and realized that I have not taken good care of my physical health. This affected my mental health in that I felt depressed afterward. Also, not working on my love, which is writing, has gotten me down as well.

So, today, I shall go over my to do lists and begin working on prioritizing my goals. Also, I shall take out a sheet of paper and expand on what I can do to advance my spiritual/mental health, my physical health, and my novel/writing.

The main thing I have to work on is bringing myself around to the single-minded drive of not allowing anything to knock me off of achieving my goals. This means that I need to corral my self-doubt and toss it into a closet. Also, wrapping up the fear of failure and other fears in duct tape so thick that they cannot find their way back to the surface. Then bury them under heavy rocks.

I have ideas on how I can work myself into a position to build on these goals. One is to meditate in order to set my mind and body on the right course for the day. In some ways, I can compare it to self-hypnosis in that I will be using combination of affirmation cards and prayer lists to work my mind and controlled breathing to empty all stresses in my body. I have done this before and it seems to work. My problem is that I allow other things to interrupt my meditation time.

So, I can tell you that sometime this week, I will re-implement my meditation time. I may start off with 15 minutes and then increase that time every couple weeks. I have some meditation music. I may even build a script to listen to as the music plays. I do have a text to voice program that could read it to me. (I hate to hear my own voice.)

I do not know how this will turn out but I am aiming to better myself. One major goal is to remain happy and healthy. Do you have any ideas on this subject? Let me know.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-29


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hello, again. I do apologize for missing the last three posts. I went on a mini-vacation to a martial arts event in Des Moines, Iowa. I will cover this in a later blog post.

But I am back. Today is Writer’s Wednesday. Topics for today are my note cards and my quarter sheets of paper. I covered these topics a little in the September 15 Writer’s Wednesday. In this post, I will expand on my uses of these items.

The reasons I use note cards and quarter sheets of paper because they fit in my shirt pocket and easy to use. When I need to take notes, I pull out a note card or piece of paper and start writing my thoughts down. The cards are easier because I do not need a hard surface to steady the writing surface like I do the paper.

The one thing I do is to put the date at the top of each card or sheet of paper I use along with the page number. I restart the numbering of the pages for each date. This is because I try to enter the information into my computer as soon as possible. At the least, I will place them near my computer or in a folder for later entry.

The date and number scheme comes in handy when I drop my cards and they get jumbled up. I first arrange them by the date and then by page number. I have found cards from the past that somehow got misplaced that I could enter into the computer in the proper locations because I used this scheme.

Lately, I have been using a glue strip device that uses a temporary adhesive to place these cards or papers in my steno book. When I get to enter the information, I just remove the note and dispose of it.

I know you have read this before but I hate losing ideas because I did not write it down or record it on my digital voice recorder. So, I suggest that one keep multiple resources available to record those fantastic thoughts that pop into one’s mind.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lost Conveniences


Monday, September 20

Sorry for missing yesterday’s post. Have you ever started to work on something and then get distracted. It seems to happen a lot with me these days. But I digress. Let me get to the true topic of this post: Lost Conveniences.

I do not know what luxuries and conveniences I have got until I no longer have access to it. What brought is thought about is on Saturday we had an electrical storm pass through. We lost power for about 30 minutes which turned our trailer into an oven.

That was cured quickly enough when mom and I went outside to sit on the porch. The air outside felt cool especially when the wind blew. I could have used my laptop since I had a full battery charge but decided not to.

The one convenience I missed was the Internet. The power came back on about 40 minutes later, but the Internet did not. I did not worry with Saturday night, because in the past, it took a while for the Internet to restart.

Yesterday morning, I reset the modem, my router and my computer communications program. The computer indicated that it had access to my router, the router’s lights flashed in a normal fashion and the modem showed proper activity. Yet, my net browser kept giving me that stupid look. You know; the one that says, “What page? No one is talking to me?” or “Yes, what do you want?”

This definitely interrupted my need to search out answers to a few questions that demanded to be answered. The next question I had to answer is what is the phone number to my Internet Service.

Finally, I had to break down and open up the phone book. After giving the technician a call, I saw more activity over my modem. Actually, after I called them, my cable modem locked up. I guess they tried to access it. So, I reset it. After modem came back up, I had Internet. Now, I was happy.

I believe that they had to reset some of the repeaters that may have been locked up due to the static electricity in the air. I have seen printers and other items lock up due to excessive static electricity. So, I know it can happen at times.

All of this makes me appreciate all of my conveniences that we have now. I know the one thing that would be the perfect punishment for someone who has access to all of the modern amenities. This sounds like a perfect time for a time travel. Have someone who is used to cell phones, mp3 players, CD players, television and the like and have them travel back to the old west.

With this scenario, how would s/he react to this situation? A hunter carrying a modern rifle and packing a 9 mm handgun with limited amount of ammunition for both. How does he prepare himself when he realizes that he is no longer in the future? Go ahead, have fun with this thread.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Laughter 2010-09-17


Friday, September 17

I do not have much to talk about today. I love humor and I think we are better off with a good sense of one. All I know is that laughter makes me feel good. Whether I am laughing or it is someone else who’s laughing, I get the same great feeling.

With that being said, I wish to share this video that someone sent me. I found it on You Tube and have embedded here for you to watch. Please enjoy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-15

Wednesday, September 15

Today, I wish to expand on note taking. Past topics of voice recorders and composition notebooks are just the tip of the iceberg.

The rest are note cards, steno pads, reporter’s notebooks and spiral notebooks. Included in this are the loose pieces of paper that I recycle from my printer. With the exception of note cards, I use the rest as temporary storage locations of my ideas that pop in my mind. I currently use note cards, steno pads and loose pieces of paper most of the time.

The paper is the one I use most often in that I cut it into quarter sheets and then fold them so that I can stick them in my shirt pocket. I write small so I usually can fill these quarter sheets with quite a few notes. They are real handy in that I can get to them at any time. The disadvantages to the quarter sheets are that I can easily misplace them when I get home and that I usually have to be near a hard surface in order to write on them.

My note cards offer some of the same advantages and disadvantages as the quarter sheets of loose paper. One exception is that the cards are rigid enough to take notes on without placing them on a hard surface for support. The same feature that gives the rigid-ness of the card also can be a disadvantage. The thickness of the card means I half to carry fewer cards.

When using both the loose quarter-sheet pieces of paper and note cards, I prefer them to not have lines on them. I know I do not write straight but I can cram in more lines of data. Again, this is because I write so small at times.

When I carry my book bag, I tend to use my steno pad for my notes. It is easier to keep up with and I can use it without having a hard surface because of its hard cardboard backing. The chances of losing the notes drop as well. I used a reporter’s notebook on occasion for the same reason.

Mainly, I use anything and everything I can get my hands on to keep from losing an idea. I hate the idea of losing a great idea. Yea, sometimes those ideas seem great at the time, but when I look at them later, I wonder why I thought that. More often, I would come up with a solution to a writing problem, and if I write it down, it fit my needs for that part of the project.

Yes, I do have more ideas than I can really use. But I can’t afford to let one slip away just because I may or may not need it. The ideas I do not use, I place in an idea file so that I can possibly use it in a later work. I can’t guarantee that the idea will ever be used. Yet, I will have it available if I do happen to need it.

How do you keep up with those ideas that pop into your mind while waiting for an appointment or watching that Little League game?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Thoughts - 2010-09-12


Sunday, September 12

Today my thoughts will be on times we have dreams and what they can do. The reason I picked this particular subject is because I just woke from a nap in which I had an almost nightmarish dream. Usually after breakfast and before lunch, I take a short nap.

Today for some reason, this nap brought with it dream that I was to move out of my home of over 30 years. I was to move back to a location we stayed in the past that was absolutely horrible. This should have been the first clue to this being a dream. I would have never chosen to move back this location.

As for the location, I will not disparage it. Because I did not like it there does not mean other people don’t like it. I am quite sure that there are many people who love living in this town and vicinity.

In this dream, I found that I had a hard time waking up. When I did wake up, I finally realized that I was not living in the trailer that was supposed to had been moved up there. All my stuff was still in Natchitoches. To tell the truth, that was where I wanted to be.

The only thing I managed to bring with me was my camera. But at this point, I was not in the mood for taking photos. One thing led to another that led to even other events.

In short, this dream made me realize that I am happy with what I have now and I do not want to change. That, I don’t care what other people have. Though I do not have loads of money in the bank, I do have my riches around me. My main one being my mother followed by my two brothers.

I have my camera and computer. Then there are the roof over my head, the floor under my feet as well as the walls about me to protect me from the weather. Indeed, I am rich in that I do have access to amenities of water and electricity as well.

But, I feel that if I had been deprived of my toys and my shelter, that I will be able to make it through life. In the dream, I refused to give up my hopes and desires. In my awaken state, I feel the same. I will survive. I see no other choice but to survive. There are too many things out there that I want to do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-08


Wednesday, September 8

Hello, today’s topic will expand some my topic from the last Writer’s Wednesday, which was on voice recorders and taking notes.

Today, I wish to concentrate on the subject of composition notebooks. The ones that have thick cardboard covers and are actually stitched together instead of using a piece of spiral wire to hold it together. To me, they are a bit more durable than the spiral notebooks.

I take one with me wherever I go, so I can write notes. Thought that was what the voice recorder is for. Yes and no. The main purpose for the voice recorder is to capture my thoughts while driving.

Now, there are times when ideas pop into my mind and I am not driving. Places that require me to take notes using a notebook and pen. Places that have people walking around that would probably call for those guys with the white lab coats requesting that I put on a jacket with these extra long sleeves. Especially, if I get into one of my ‘What if?’ sessions.

One reason I use composition notebooks in public is that I am too self-conscious of speaking into my voice recorder around others. The composition notebook fits these situations perfectly in that I can let my imagination bust loose on paper.

At times like this, I would like to pull out my computer. Maybe if it were one of those small netbooks, I would have, but mine is a 17-inch laptop. Though portable, I do not want to lug that thing around.

I usually go through two or three a year. Sometimes, when I am in a location where I am bored, I try to challenge myself to build scenes involving those around me and their antics. Sometimes, story ideas may already inhabit my mind and I need to unload them before I explode. Whatever the reason, I usually carry this notebook with me.

Again, I hate losing good ideas because I did not stop to record or write it down. Once an idea escapes my grasp, I rarely am able to recapture it. All I remember is that I had a good idea and feel frustrated.

Do you carry around paper and pen? What other devices or implements do you use to keep up with your ideas?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Thoughts - 2010-09-05

Sunday, September 5

Last Sunday, I said that I would think over and make a decision. Well, I thought about my conundrum on my Alien Journal, and I have decided that there are other projects I want to complete first. I still may work on it some.

I have made it through another year of life and looking forward to see what my 51st year will bring me. I am getting close to complete my first book but I still have times that I run away from it. I just have to force myself into work mode to get it done.

Now, in a couple weeks, I will be going to Des Moines, Iowa with a friend. This is a shindig that involves my martial arts that happens every four years. Plans are to enjoy myself and learn what I can. The networking is similar to that of writer’s groups. One comes away fired up for the marital arts.

There are other events I would like to get into that are coming up. I have a Nola Stars meeting that I will attending. I hope to come away fired up about my writing. That way, I hope I can get this first novel completed.

One other event I would like to attend is one involving my alma mater: Bossier High School. They are going to have a Fall Flashback in about two weeks. This is where the alumni from the years 1970 through 1990 get together to socialize. I only heard about it two days ago.

Well, I have things I want to do this year and plan to enjoy it the best I can.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Exercising


Saturday, September 04

Today, I wish to discuss my venture into exercise. Someone asked in their blog if we writers have superstitions. I really do not believe in them but I do avoid doing certain things because I’m afraid I would jinx it.

How does that relate to exercise? Well, in the past, when I announced that I was going to do exercises, I find that soon thereafter I stopped. The only reason I am venturing out on it today is because I believe that I have started something that I find that I can continue doing.

It is a simple exercise in that four weeks ago or more I started doing 15 squats but without weights. Since I am overweight, I figure that I am lifting enough weights for the time being. Though there are times that I do hold a 25-pound dumbbell in my hands while doing the exercise.

I use a chair under me in part as a gage of how far to go down and in part to keep me from falling if I happen to lose my balance. So far, I have not lost my balance. (knock on wood - BG) I also do multiple sets of them throughout the day. My goal is to do a minimum of four, but I have made five and six sets a day more often.

After two weeks, I added doing some multiple sets of 10 simple curls using that 25-pound dumbbell. My arms are feeling much better as well.

I know that these exercises are doing some good. For one thing, the legs on my shorts are starting to get tight around my thighs. Plus, I feel stronger and my blood pressure has dropped even though it was not high in the first place.

My blood pressure being lower has caused some drowsiness between 2:30 and 5:00. I found my blood pressure sat at 115/55 during that time period. It has allowed me to decrease the use of one of my medicines bringing the lower pressure up to 60-65. At those levels, I can function with being drowsy.

This past week I found myself increasing those squats to 20 reps per set. I have also started doing 25 pushups. Yea, I know; doing them from the knees is cheating but I am unable to do them at all from my toes - at least not yet.

So, with that being said, I hope to keep this up and slowly add more exercises to the mix. At least, I am getting some exercise in that I had not been doing before.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-01


Wednesday, September 1

Well it is that time of the week for me to express some thoughts on writing.

This week I wish to expound on the virtues of a voice recorder. I got my Panasonic digital voice recorder when I ordered the software Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred Version 9. It has literally taken the place of my tape recorder. I still have my tape recorder but don’t have any need to use it as of late.

The digital voice recorder came with a program that converted the compressed audio file to a .wav file that my computer can play using Windows Media Player. Also, Dragon NaturallySpeaking can convert it to text if I happen to record my notes in a non-noisy location.

Its sensitive microphone can pick up almost anything which in turn drives the Dragon NaturallySpeaking program nuts. I will talk about that in another post.

The reason I bring this particular item up is that there are times when an idea pops to mind and I am unable to write down that idea. My handy voice recorder usually sits in my shirt pocket along with a couple of ink pens. When I am driving, I can’t just pull over to find a notebook and write the thought down. Well, I could but by the time I pull over and get the notebook out, I would have forgotten what I wanted to write down.

There are times when I see something on the road that triggers an idea. I hate losing ideas because they can come in handy at times. This is when I pull out the voice recorder, turn it on, and record my thoughts.

Sometimes when I go on a road trip, I make three to five general notes on index cards about a story. Then before I start the car, I look over the notes and start playing the ‘What if…?’ game as I drive. I usually can’t talk the whole trip but I usually can come up with a good many questions and answers along the way.

I sometimes include observations of the types of vehicles that pass me, follow me or lead me on the interstate. Then I observe conditions along either side of the road. On one occasion, I passed a spot where someone lost one of those 750 pound bails of hay that broke apart on the shoulder of the interstate. On another occasion, I passed a spot that looked as if a vehicle caught fire.

Now, before you accuse me of not paying attention to what is going on outside while I am dictating, I always keep my eyes open for obstacles ahead of me and trouble coming up from behind me. That is probably why the recording does not sound smooth.

But the main reason I love my digital voice recorder is because it is small and easy to use. Most of the time I have to transcribe my notes due to excessive background noise. I do hate the sound of my own voice as well.

The car is not the only place I use the thing. I have taken a handful of notes and the recorder and go someplace quiet. As long as there is no one around, I can look at my notes and start dictating my story. I have done this a half-a-dozen times. When I do this, I just allow my speech-to-text program to transcribe my notes. When errors pop up, then I go through and correct them.

I do use other forms of items to keep notes when I am out. But that is a subject for another post. Do you use any type of voice recording to keep notes? What do you do to keep from forgetting an idea that sounded good?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday’s Thoughts - 2010-08-29


Sunday, August 29

Hello, again. Here we are at the start of another week. That last one went by so fast. These thoughts keep popping up in my mind.

One thought that kept popping up goes back to my Alien Journal project I started on six or seven different occasions. I just can’t seem to get myself to a point where I can stay ahead of this project. Right now, I have placed it on a spot one my storage shelf called ‘limbo.’ When I can get it out, I will probably try again.

The problem I come across in this venture is not being able to shut up the internal editor between my ears. Also, I start looking too far ahead and not letting the story flow. Looking too far ahead gets me to a point where I feel overwhelmed in working on the project. This causes me to avoid what I should be working on.

My assignment this week (besides editing my novel) is to reassess whether or not I should do this project. The other problem I may have stumbled across was that I wanted to make the Alien Journal an action adventure/comedy combination story. I can get the action adventure part, but the comedy does not come too easily. I may need to stick it in only when it fits and try not to force it.

This week will be dedicated to trying to figure out how I wish to proceed with this project. I have several ideas but I do not know how this will come out.

The main thing will be that I plan to have fun doing it. If it is going to feel like work, then, there is no way I want to spend time on the project. Sometime, my fun ends after I finish creating the characters, plot, and basic story line among other things. I have also found that it can be fun to finish the story. I will endeavor to make the editing and formatting of the journals more interesting as well.

Well, here goes. I hope to let you know my decision next Sunday. What projects are you struggling with and what do you do to help yourself through them?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-08-25


Wednesday, August 25

Hello, it is time for another pearl of wisdom (cough, cough) from the mind of Clark Stone. Just kidding. I just hope someone gets something out of what I write. (Big Grin)

Today’s topic will be “My Grandmothers Soup” or how we can weave our memories and experiences into our stories. I think I may have covered the use of one’s memories and experiences in the past. So, here it is one more time.

Over the years, I’ve heard many times that the truth is more fascinating than fiction. I also believe that it can be funnier than fiction. There is bound to be something in one’s past that is funny and can be used one’s fiction to spice things up.

The example I will used in today’s post will be about the time my mom’s mom decided to cook some soup for my older brother. She knew he would arrive sometime around lunch coming in from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. Soup is my older brother’s favorite food. Not to mention that I like it too.

She had a good sized pot on the stove when we arrived. The funny part is what came next. She reached into the freezer and pulled out a package of what she thought was okra. It turned out to be sliced jalapenos. As soon as she realized her misstep, she fished out as much of the pepper that she could find.

Needless to say, she wanted to scrap that pot of soup and start over, but I talked her into keeping it. Knowing my older brother, he would have been upset if she tossed out soup. Not only did I have to convince her not to throw it out once but three times.

On the fourth time, my older brother had came in the door and he stopped her. By this time, the soup was ready. David (older brother) got a bowl and filled it with soup as did I. Not to be outdone, if we could eat it, my grandma was not going to let us eat it alone.

She placed three large glasses of ice on the table along with a gallon of cold water out of the refrigerator. All three of us sat at the kitchen table and ate that soup. Though it tasted great, it was very hot. By the time we finished our first bowl, the water in that jug had dropped to the halfway point.

To this day, I wished I had a video of it because it would have shown three people around a table with sweat pouring out, crying, eating soup and drinking water. Several other people came in but they refused to eat any of the soup. We ended up polishing off that pot of soup before we left the table.

What if one of the characters in my story mistakenly put in some sliced jalapenos? What if she did not catch it until she served up? What happens when her guests start eating it and the soup gets hotter with each spoonful? What if her boyfriend really loves spicy food? Then again, what if he does not?

As you can see, the one misstep could lead to a whole bunch of “What If?” questions. Could you build a scene about an event in your past? Do you think it would make a better, more believable scene? I do.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Reflections - 2010-08-22


Sunday, August 22

Hello everyone. Sorry for the big gap in my posts. I am re-evaluating the way I work my blog. I know that I am not going to be able to dedicate time every day to this project. I would like to but it seems to evade me.

Thus, this is a time to reflect on my goals for this blog. What I would like to do is to be informative and maybe post items that would interest others. I also would like to continue contributing to my writer’s ideas.

I want everything placed in my blog to be useful in the arena of writing. I hope that some of my ideas would benefit someone down the road. For instance, re-evaluating one’s goals is something every writer needs to do. I wished I had some pearls of wisdom on this subject, but alas, I do not.

At a resent program at a local writer’s program, the speaker said that it is good for someone to sit down and review past goals and then re-evaluate them as well as update them. To me, that means that I need to mark the goals I have completed and pick out more goals to work on.

Don’t forget to break down those large goals into manageable bites. Something I started last month that helped me keep my spirits up was to start writing down what I accomplished during the day. When I feel like I have not done anything, I look at this list and it tells me how much I have done. Granted, on some days, that particular list is small, but on most days, it turns out to be quite long.

It feels great to chip away at those goals even though it is one bite at a time. I know I wrote about it in an earlier post, but I met one goal that took me 25 years to complete. That goal was completing a first draft to my novel.

Once that was complete, I looked over the manuscript and started writing down what editing I need to do. The book was written in separate scenes. So, in my month to do list, I built a list of “to do’s” for doing the second draft. Since I have 111 scenes in this novel, I have 111 to do items – one for each scene. Yes, I may complete anywhere from one to eight scenes a day.

When I complete a goal, I change the goal’s text color to blue and add the date I completed the goal. So, when I look at that particular list I can see the progress I made. This seems to give me the inspiration to keep moving.

Now, I can tell you that my to do list is quite long because I have other things on it besides my book “to do’s.” How long? You say. Let me see; as of this morning, 768 items listed on my to do list for this month. How many have I completed? 71 of them so far.

As for my goal for this blog, I believe I can keep up with three posts a week. If I run into a topic that I need to expound on, then I may add an extra post every now and then.

How do you plan out your goals? Let me know. Have a nice day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, The 13th


Friday, August 13

Hello, this is one of those days that everyone usually takes extra care when they do things. It is supposed to be an unlucky day. I sometimes think it may be and other times think it may not be.

Then someone called to borrow money. I guess I became unlucky today. Really do not like to loan money but sometimes I feel I have to help some people. I do not know how this will turn out, but I can just hope I get paid back.

Then again, my father always said that Friday the 13th had always been lucky for him. He said that he got hired for the two major jobs of his life on that day. One he worked for over 12 years and the other over 17 years before he retired.

Actually, we celebrated today with a grilled steak. The thing was huge and will be used for several meals. So, mom likes this kind of luck because the meals are already cooked.

So, it is up to you whether or not today is one of those unlucky days or not. To me, I am still breathing and driving mom nuts at times, so, I have to say today is another lucky day for living.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday – 2010-08-11


Wednesday, August 11

Hello again. Today, I wish to jump into the subject of editing one’s work. This all-too-important part of the writing process for the most part is not my favorite. Yet, if I do not do it, no one would be interested in reading my novel.

My first true foray into in-depth editing of a novel started yesterday. I managed to edit 8 scenes in about 4 hours. While I am editing, I take notes of material that I need to be looking for. One thing I look for is sentence structure. If the sentence sounds stilted, I will rewrite it. I try to take out the unnecessary words and phrases in order to get to the point or action.

Here is an example of a sentence that I would changed:

“He started walking toward the exit.”

I would cut that back to

“He walked toward the exit.”

Yes, the word “started” denotes time. Yet, when I look at my manuscript, I have a “began,” a “started,” or some other verb followed by a gerund (a verb converted into a noun by adding “-ing”: adding, walking) or by and infinitive (placing a verb behind the word “to”: to go, to get) scattered all through my scenes.

I may let a few slide by, but most of the time, I will convert the gerund or infinitive into the appropriate verb thus making the sentence more active. In the course of my editing, I found that I can cut some adjectives and adverbs. But sometimes, I feel that some have to stay or the meaning does not come through the way I want it to.

Next, I start looking for words that I overuse. One of those was the word “felt.” I managed to reword or restructure the sentence to get the main meaning and get rid of the word “felt.” Now, that does not mean I got rid of all of them.

One other thing I discover doing was using the character’s name or pronouns for the character in the scene in every sentence. I should be able to describe the scene and let the reader know whose point of view is the scene is in.

I also added material that foreshadows events that occur later on in the book. The only reason this is hard is that I now have to go through the book to collect notes that I made. It really isn’t that hard but just time consuming.

Now, I think it is time for me to shut up and get to work. I hope this helps you in some way.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Thoughts - 2010-08-08


Sunday, August 08

After thinking on it off and on over the last week, I have decided to change my Sunday format. It seemed that I have been getting bogged down in my lists. I still will have them but I will no longer put them up.

Now, that does not mean that I will not expound on what I managed to accomplish over the week. I will still discuss that part of my life but I do not know if I will do it all in today’s post.

At times, I feel that my wheels are just spinning and I am not making progress. I know that is not true because I look at the list of things I write down in my daily journal as accomplishing during the day. Yes, there are days I get more accomplished than others. I still have to make out a list of items I need to do during the day and make sure I keep that list in front of me. If it gets put out of sight, then I will forget what I planned for the day.

I have started my first book of this month. This I feel is something I need to do to help me in my writing. Seeing how other stories are written can help me in that regard.

As for my room, I have spent time in there looking through two file boxes of material. I still need to go through each of the folders and arrange them in the order I wish to keep them. For years, I have tried to keep up with a scrapbook or build pages to a scrapbook. That is one thing I found in this file box. I had about folders containing material for my scrapbook. It will be one of the items I will look through at a later date.

Other subjects in the files are my photos, printed journals, three folders of recipes (cut out of newspapers and magazines), writing materials, various magazines, cartoon and humorous stories, and hundreds of newspaper clippings. All of which I need to go through. I do not know how this will turn out, but if I try to think about all of it at once, I know my head will explode.

My first stop was with the recipes. I pulled the three folders I have on them and started looking through them. I got rid of many of the recipes that I felt that I would never attempt. That still leaves quite a few. I found some that I think I want to try.

I will spend the upcoming week working on these recipe files. I may enter them into the computer. Many will probably go into a improvised cookbook where I mount the clip onto a sheet of paper and place in a plastic protector sheet and then into a binder.

I continue to work on a karate Kata or form that I want to be able to perform in a karate gathering in Des Moines, Iowa in September. I managed to practice it over a dozen times. That is nowhere near the number of times I need to practice it to get proficient in it. I am getting closer but I need to do more. I have something in the works that I want to try so I will let you know how that turns out.

Sorry for spilling out so much non-important stuff but I felt that I needed to get it off my mind. I still want to do something every day and I am thinking about it. It is not that hard to build these posts and I do not know why I try to keep from doing it. But, I do not know why I do half the things I do anyway and don’t even try to figure out why. I just think I like doing it so I do it.

Have a nice day and smile - Clark Stone

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Writers’ Wednesday - 2010-08-04

Wednesday, August 04

Today, I wish to cover the topic of book reading. Every since I joined Nola Stars and RWA, I have heard authors say that one should read what they write. One reason is so that the person can learn what the publishers are looking for. But I also have heard some say that one should read period.

To me, this means that if one reads both good and bad novels, one could pick up the nuances of the work and learn from them. Mainly, how to write what would sell and avoid what could get your work rejected.

How one uses a sentence, paragraph, description, dialog, etc., can either grab the reader or repel her/him. I know I have material in my work that needs editing. This means that I need to polish each sentence and make sure the words flow.

Recently, I have found myself doubting my writing structure. By reading, I am finding my way back to what I need to do. The problem with me is that I really do not read enough. Though, I just tried to read an e-book I downloaded and could not read too much of it. The story seemed to be interesting but the writing seemed to be a bit stilted. After reading about five pages, I stopped. I will go back and try to read more.

As for reading material, I have plenty to choose from. Mom has a collection of at least 50 or more books to choose from. My problem is that I do not read very fast and I can find that I’ve run out of time to work on other material. Yet, I have decided to set aside at least two hours a day to read.

Reading books will help me through this task. I have some books that I might even read again just so that I can pick up the methodology of the author’s writing. I like these books and I know they were successful. I will not know that about a new book I picked up.

I like to write science fiction. But reading other genres can help if only in providing examples of good writing structure and storytelling techniques. In high school, I did not want to read, but if the story got interesting, I would read through it.

What do you take away from a good book? Does the book give ideas on how to write your book? Let me know.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Report Card - 2010-08-01

Sunday, August 1

Hello, another week has squeaked by and I find myself short on my goals. Yet, I am happy with what I have accomplished.

This week, my 10,000-word goal (Goal 1) got 2,952 words. Then this amazing thing happened. I got to the end of my novel. Though it is the first draft, I have never made it to this point in novel length. Now, time for editing the thing has come. I still plan to write some as well. I will probably lower my word count until I get the book completely edited.

I only got four addresses and phone numbers for this week’s Goal Four. Still need to go through my address book and confirm numbers I have not called in a long time.

Goal Six has me looking through my storage boxes and crates. I looked through two of them and found myself unable to part with much of what they contain. What I found that I need to separate the material and store like material together.

In the process of looking through the boxes, I found some material I can part with but I need to gather other items that go with it. I found some Romance Writers Reports that I plan to donate to Northwestern State University.

Goal Seven covered the Nola Stars Extra edition of the Nola News. I have four pages left before I can post the electronic newsletter supplement to the Nola Stars listserve.

In my search of web pages, Goal Eight, I found several of them that gave me ideas on how to fix mine. I will play around with the ideas this next week to see where I go.

I have gone through 20 of the Miller Reunion photos and adjusted them so that the subject took up more of the photo’s space (Goal 12). I haven’t gotten around to naming them yet (Goal 13).

Goal 14 had me contact a friend that had not made it to the reunion. We talked for 20 minutes last week. Next step would be to send an email.

This week’s goals are
  1. Write 5,000 words toward all stories
  2. Go through novel and check the story timeline
  3. Edit 40 scenes to novel
  4. Build 8 scrapbook pages for Nola Stars
  5. Catalog 70 articles I have collected
  6. Update my personal telephone directory (confirm or add 10 numbers)
  7. Start repair work on floor around air vent in bathroom
  8. Build last 4 pages to the Nola News Extra
  9. Write two reviews for books read
  10. Start reading August’s first book
  11. Write an article
  12. Look through 50 Miller Reunion photos and adjust for content
  13. Start naming people in the photos.
  14. Gather writing material together that I wish to donate to NSU.

What are your goals for this week? Did you accomplish your goals last week?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday’s Thoughts - 2010-07-29

Thursday’s Thoughts - 2010-07-29

Thursday, July 29

On my method of working on my novel, I wish to discuss how I finally made it to the end of the first draft. Right now, the manuscript is a bit ragged and disjointed.

In order to get to this point, I started with writing three to five sentence paragraph descriptions for each scene. Taking these descriptions, I expanded them into outlines. This means that for this book, I built 115 scene descriptions which became 115 outlines.

Once I got all the outlines built, the process of writing the book became much easier. Needless to say, I did not stick to the outlines. When an idea popped to mind, I put it into the scene. Like I said earlier this month, I put a note along with the idea telling me to go back and foreshadow the event.

Now that I made it to the end of my novel, I can go back and pull those notes and answer some questions that I may have asked. I will go back through all of my scenes to see if I can fill in the gaps and insert some names. You see; I substituted numbers for unknown names of people and places in my sci-fi book. With the main characters and places, I have no problem remembering names. It’s some of the secondary characters and out-of-the-way places that I can’t seem to remember at times.

I am sure that I have one or two scenes that I need to move around. Plus, I may even add a few scenes since my 100K book sits at 91K. I may need to add another 9,000 words to get it up to where I want it to be.

The thing is that I now need to go through and edit which I hope will be easier. I will find out soon whether or not it will be. I know that if given a chance, I probably could edit the piece to death over a period of years and never get it finished.

Once I get my first major edit out of the way, I may enlist the help of some friends to see if they can point out how perfect my work is.

PAUSE.

Okay, you can stop laughing now. Seriously, stop laughing, please. (Big Grin).

I know as the author of the piece that I can be too close to it to see mistakes that would normally jump out and bite me on my protruding proboscis. Once I get to the final draft, I will finally force myself to send it off.

So, those are my thoughts for today. How is your work progressing?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-07-28

Wednesday, July 28

Hello everyone. Today being Writer’s Wednesday, I decided to talk a little about my writing.

Flash! Bang! Boom! Bang! Pop! Boom! Kapow! Whizzzttt, bang!

Now that the fireworks have been fired off, I can now tell you why I am celebrating. Yesterday, I reached a milestone that took over 25 years in the making - the first draft completion of my book titled Book 3-20011101. Actually that is just the filename I have it stored under. The title is still in the wind.

In 25 years of writing, I started many novels but never completed an actual first draft. In 2004, I did write 72,000 words to a book during the NaNoWriMo, which I expanded to 100,000 words during the next month. The problem with that work was that I never went back and put all of the scenes in the proper sequence. The last time I looked at that project, I discovered that I had two books in one and it needed to be split.

The book that I finished the first draft on goes from start to finish with most scenes in the proper order. There may be one or two scenes that may need to be adjusted but that’s it.

Back in January 21st blog post titled “Hesitation,” I told how I broke down my book in scenes instead of chapters. Doing this helped me push my progress in writing this novel beyond where I ever had managed to get before.

I am happy and am glad to say ‘Yahooooo!’ in that I completed a first draft of any of my books. Now, with it done, I will begin working on another first - a polished manuscript.

Also, in writing this post, I celebrate another milestone: My 100th Blog Post. I knew I would eventually make it but at times I really wanted to abandon this blog. Yet, I’m glad I did not. I enjoy writing them (at times).

So, how is your day doing? Mine, I'm still doing cartwheels. Clark Stone

Monday, July 26, 2010

Volunteered for What?


Monday, July 26

Have you ever promised someone that you would do something and then later realized how much trouble and inconvenience doing that particular favor will cause? I had that epiphany this morning about some photos someone from the Miller Reunion requested.

The request was that they wanted a copy of all of the photos I took from the reunions starting from 1999 going back to 1979. The problem is not that I can give them an electronic copy. I have most of them on the computer already. The problem is that they wished that I email them to them.

Once I got to thinking about that, I realized that would become a giant undertaking. Although, I did not go to every reunion during that period; I did attend many of them. The number of photos can reach over a thousand. That will make an awfully large number of emails that I have to build with attachments. It could literally take me weeks to do it even attaching three and four photos per email.

This morning, I came up with an easier way to take care of the problem. I shall inquire about her snail mail address and send her a CD containing all the photos. It may cost me the price of a couple stamps, an envelope, a CD and a couple hours to assemble the package. At least I would not be tied up trying to send all of those photos. Even if it took several CDs to accomplish the task.

Now, I feel so much better since I figured out how to get out of that much work. I would like to spend it in other endeavors like writing, photography or just conversing with friends.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Report Card – 2010-07-25


Sunday, July 25

Another week zipped on by. Still did not get things I wanted to done but I am still chugging along. I will eventually get to them and remove them from my lists.

On Goal One, I managed to get 10988 words written this week. I am happy to say that I am within 5 scenes of completing the first draft of my first book. So, that will be my priority for this week.

Next, Goal Seven did not take too long to complete. I should have the electronic newsletter completed by the end of this week and sent out to members.

On Goal Eight, I searched through 18 web pages earlier this week and found some that I like the layout to. I will look at least 15 more this week and then start looking for ways to put mind together.

As for Goals 11 and 12, I need to start working on gathering family stories for next year’s Reunion. With only one person answering my request for stories, I decided not to build a newsletter for this reunion. This also taught me a lesson in that I need to start working on it back in March or April. I will be contacting people over the next few weeks to see if anyone might be interested in a newsletter for Christmas.

As for the pipe under the sink, Goal 13, it has not gotten worse. A few drops every 30 seconds or so isn’t causing any problems. Will look into fixing it soon thought. Don’t like the idea of wasting water.

Now, for this week’s goals:
  1. Write 10,000 words toward all stories
  2. Build 8 scrapbook pages for Nola Stars
  3. Catalog 70 articles I have collected
  4. Update my personal telephone directory (confirm or add 10 numbers)
  5. Start repair work on floor around air vent in bathroom
  6. Sort through 3 of my storage crates
  7. Build last 10 pages to the Nola News Extra
  8. Search through and look at 15 web sites for ideas on my web site
  9. Write two reviews for books read
  10. Start reading July’s first book
  11. Write an article
  12. Look through Miller Reunion photos and adjust for content
  13. Start naming people in the photos.
  14. Contact friends who could not make it to the reunion
I hope to have many of these goals done and removed from my ‘to do’ list. Only thing, others will replace them. Oh, well. Until later – Clark Stone