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.


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

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting Ready for Family Reunion

Saturday, July 24

That time of the year has arrived for my mom’s side of the family to hold their family reunion. This Miller Reunion got started back in the 1910’s when my grandfather and his siblings got together for the first one. They usually met on the fourth Sunday of July.

I have not missed too many of them over the last 30 years and have the photos to prove it. The one thing I have not done over the last four years has been to print the photos I took. So, when I made the decision to do so, I did not realize what a job it would become.

I believed I had to print only the last three years. Wrong! After looking through my scrapbooks, I found that I had not printed the last four years.

Okay, my next step - look them up and see if I could burn them over to my USB drive. The 2009 photos had not been edited. Oh man, and the reunion is almost here. I spent an hour editing and formatting those 2009 photos. Found some of them had gotten corrupt. This was the first time this happened to me. I will check my backups to see if they are as well. If so, then I lost about 15 photos.

Then I checked out the 2006 set. Luckily, all 200 photos had been edited. Before I knew it, I had over 387 photos that needed to be printed. No problem there. My local Wal-Mart offers one-hour photo service. While they printed them up, I could look around for the photo pages, binders, and a hair cut.

After getting the hair cut, I found the binders since they were on sale. But my Wal-Mart is in the middle of a major renovation. I mean the only two things in their original spots are the jewelry department and the deli. So, I spent the next 45 minutes trying to track down the photo page inserts. A Wal-Mart Associate found them.

To make a long story short, I know have all of my photos sorted, sleeved and in binders. I am all ready for the reunion. Now, I just need to make sure the rechargeable batteries are ready to go when we leave for the reunion. Would be shameful to pop out the digital camera and it not work because the operator forgot to charge the batteries.

Though, I know some people who would love to hide my camera as soon as I walked in the door. Yes, I do make a pest out of myself at times. Oh, well. See ya later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Report Card - 2010-07-18

Sunday, July 18

Man, time sure does fly. The number one question I wish to answer is ‘Did I enjoy this past week?” and the answer would have to be “Yes.” No, I did not complete everything on my list of things to do. I am satisfied with the ones I have completed.

The biggy on my list is Goal 5 - build shelves in my closet. That I did complete this week. I now have one more thing to do for the closet and I will finished with the construction. I need to hang the bar across to hang my clothes on.

As for Goal 1, I wrote over 5,000 words this time. I am that much closer to the end. Scene 91 is written and I am working on scene 92. In total, I completed over 8 scenes this week.

Goal 2 did not fair as well. I got two pages done. The thing is that the way I build them is a bit cumbersome. I do have a new program that I need to install that is supposed to be good at building scrapbook pages. Time to put that little buddy to work. Which means, I will need to learn how to use another program. Oh, well. Big Grin.

Goals 6 has gotten off to a good start. I have gone through several crates and will be getting rid of some magazines. The Natchitoches area has a FreeCycle group that people can post things that they wish to get rid of. If someone out there wants it, then this keeps the item from filling the landfill. I have over two dozen Popular Mechanics magazines that I will offer up sometime this week.

Goal 11 was not that hard to do. Sending out requests via email is not that hard to do. What is hard will be waiting to see if I get a response from anyone. So far, I have not. That will weigh heavy on goal 12. If I do not get any input, I will not build a newsletter.

Here are this week’s goals. They will look familiar since most of them appeared on last week’s list.

  1. Write 10,000 words
  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 10 more pages to the Nola News Extra
  8. Search through and look at 30 web sites for ideas on my web site
  9. Write two reviews for books read
  10. Start reading July’s first book
  11. Send out another request for family stories for a family newsletter
  12. Begin assembling family newsletter
  13. Replace pipe under the kitchen sink
  14. Write an article
  15. Find family photo albums
  16. Print up reunion photos for last three years

This is what I have planned for my week. As usual, my list sitting beside my computer is much longer. I plan to work on all of my goals but you know what happens to the best made plans. See ya later, Clark Stone.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Web Page Rant

Saturday, July 17

Spent the good part of this morning looking over my web pages. I believe it is time for a redesign. What I liked about it at first is no longer keeping my attention. They look bland.

That means I will be spending the next couple of weeks looking around at other web pages to see what is out there. As for web page design programs, I found one a couple years ago that I somewhat like. But after I got the basic design down, I started coding the pages myself.

The program is supposed to allow the programmer look at the code, but the one problem I found with it was that it jammed everything together almost like one giant sentence. I try separating the sections and the next time I look at it, they are jammed back together.

I guess I could look at what it has again and build the basic page. Once it is complete, then I can go in and format the source in a format that makes it easier to read and find something. There are other programs out there but I am not sure of them. One sounds too good to be true and two others are out of my price range.

Right now, I am at a crossroads on making my decision of what to do. I will do something and have made some changes to my web page, but I have not uploaded those changes just yet. I will contemplate my actions over the next few weeks. If you have had any luck with web building software, let me know how you like it. The one I purchased last year is called Coffee Cup.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 20100714

Wednesday, July 14

Hello everyone. Sitting here at my keyboard, I am trying to figure out something inspirational to say about writing to would be a help to others. I guess I could talk about the way I kick-start my writing.

First, I sit down in front of my computer and open all of my files pertaining to my book. In this area, some of the things I do can be seen as detrimental to my writing. Normally, I have about five or six files open. But I usually work in one. My file categories are Main, Working, Outline, Paragraph Description, Notes and Encyclopedia.

Now, most of these files should be self-explanatory, but I will tell you what I use them for and the frequency of use.

The most used file I have is my Working document. I build the scenes to my novel in this file. I can build anywhere from two to five scenes in it and have gotten up to 14 scenes. But this is just my working file. I do not let it get too long because it will impede my access to my work if I allow it to keep growing.

For instance, I have over 82 scenes to my current book. If I opened that file to add more scenes to the end, I could spend some time getting to that point of the file. Even if I use the “Goto Page” option in the word processor, the size of the file can be cumbersome.

This is where the Main file comes into play. I use it to hold my book or novel in. When I get to the end of the day, I go through the Working document and pull all but the last two scenes written out of the file. I then place them at the end of the Main file.

The outline file is a crude outline of all of the scenes for my book. I have 115 scenes slated for this book. Whether or not I use them all is a different story. When I get ready to work, I make sure I copy the outlines for five scenes from the Outline file and put it in the Working document. From there, I start writing my scenes based on those outlines.

The Paragraph Description file is where I have paragraph description for each file. I have come across a series of scenes that seemed out of place. Then I compare the outline to the Paragraph Description. This one is not used very often.

The Notes file is where I keep up with my notes pertaining to the book. When I enter a note in the scene to go back and adjust some part of the story, I will copy that note to the note file at the end of the day.

Now, the Encyclopedia file is what some writers refer to as a “book bible.” I usually use one or the other at times. I only use this file if and when I really want to recall a fact about a location or a person.

This is how I deal with my writing. I have seen some of this being used in some of those writing programs that I can’t seem to afford. These programs may make it easier, but right now, I would be satisfied with just finishing this book.

Do you have a system that you use? Do you think I may be making my life more complicated than it should be? Let me know. Clark Stone.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Report Card – 2010-07-11

Sunday, July 11

Hello, it is that time of the week. Feels like I did not get much done this week. But the plumbing problem forced me to think of solutions. When one thing would not work, I would sit and think about the problem. Before too long, a light bulb would go off and an idea finds its way through the frustration.

So, I will start with goal number 14 this week. Working in a tight place is not my idea of having fun. My stubbornness prevented me from giving up and calling the plumber. I knew I could fix the problem and I refused to let it beat me. I succeeded on Thursday. The original problem has been repaired.

Now, for the other problem that popped up. A smaller pipe connected to the kitchen sink had some corrosion on it, and in the process of repairing the first problem, I apparently hit this corrosion. The resulting leak is a drop of water every few seconds. So, this week’s home project will be to replace that piece of pipe. I have the material to do it and the time. I just need to get my butt into gear and work on it.

Now for goal 2, I built two of the 8-pages but I still need to work on the others. What I plan to do this week is to work on one or two pages a day. Then I can complete my goals.

Goal 8 did not take too long to complete. I now need to finish printing out the last 20 copies and mail them to those who they are targeted.

I finished reading the third book for June. That brings up to six or seven books I need to write reviews for. That will be a major item for this week.

As for this week’s goals, here it is

  1. Write 10,000 words
  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. Build shelves in Closet
  6. Start sorting through my storage crates
  7. Build 10 pages to the Nola News Extra
  8. Make adjustments to Web Pages
  9. Write six reviews for books read
  10. Start reading July’s first book
  11. Send out requests for family stories for a family newsletter
  12. Begin assembling family newsletter
  13. Replace pipe under the kitchen sink
  14. Write an article

I added number 14 to this list because I feel that I need to start working on my articles. I also need to light a fire under my writing of the book reviews. I hope to have many of these items on my list done before my next report card.

Especially writing 10,000 words toward my book. I will plant my but in the chair and begin writing every day. I need to get 1430 words a day to reach this goal. I can do that. Well, until later, I hope you have a nice week. Clark Stone

Friday, July 9, 2010

Amateur Plumber Week

Friday, July 9

For the last few days, I worked on my amateur plumbing skills. Last week, mom discovered that a pipe under the sink was leaking. I took it upon myself to search the leak out. This involved removing some items from under the cabinet.

I found a pinhole leak in a piece of copper pipe that delivers the cold water to the sink. The part that leaked was a connector that allowed the water to go to the front of the trailer.

Needless to say, I managed to fix the leak after a few missteps and several days with the water turned off. (We collected drinking water in gallon water jugs we saved for when the water system shuts off the water.) I was so happy that my solution worked and that leak is no longer plaguing us.

Yet, (as the story goes) I found another leak on a 3/8-inch pipe going to the cold water connector of the kitchen sink. I did have to pull on that pipe in the repair process. Apparently, some corrosion came off allowing another leak to appear. The water is coming out at the rate of a drop every five or six seconds.

It will be replaced next week but for now, it is not leaking enough to keep me from working on other items that desperately need my attention. I used some of that JB WaterWeld to cover the leak but some is still slipping out. Next week, I will cut a new piece of pipe to replace the piece that is leaking.

Dad bought some copper pipe to run a water line to the icemaker on the refrigerator. He never did get around to using it so I have something to replace the old pipe under the sink with. So, I have the material. I just don’t have the time right now.

I do apologize for missing Writer’s Wednesday. I had planned to do it plus several others but this plumbing gig got into the way. My writing has suffered as well. This I plan to remedy some today. Until next time, have a fun and happy Friday – Clark Stone.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July's Monthly Goals

Monday, July 05

I would say, “Oh, my aching head.” But I did not go out and celebrate the Fourth with a Fifth, so no hangover. Really did not do much of anything yesterday but veg out watching the boob tube.

As for June’s goals, I succeeded in some and fail on others. My main problem is the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ meaning that if I do not keep reminding myself of my goals, I will forget to do them. I will strive to keep my goals in view so that I will work on them as the month goes on.

Now, for goal one, I am closer to getting my current novel completed. I added 17,995 words according to my word processor’s word counter. I am about 30,000 words sky of completion. If I force myself to write at least a 1000 words a day, I will have it finished by the end of the month. Though, I want to do more.

Goal four, I finished reading the third book last night. The three books I read this month are from members of my Nola Stars group. All three books came out last month. I will look into posting more information about this later this week.

Goal six pertaining to repairing closet floor and building shelves. The floor has been repaired and part of the shelf structure has been assembled. I plan to complete the project this week.

Goal ten got off to a rocky start. I did build a fictitious news report a week and a half ago but the project has fell to one side. More thought is needed on whether I want to dedicate time to the project. It intrigues me but it also saps time away from other goals.

As for my laptop, I wish to announce success to goal thirteen. Though miserable for a ten days, I got my computer back in number one shape. I hope it is good to go for another three and a half years or more.

Goal 14 goes toward my “The Weekend Novelist” project. I have caught up some but I am still a little behind. I will catch up to where I need to be this month.

As for goal 15, I got two pages completed toward it. This is one goal I have to complete this week. So it will remain on my list.

My goals for this month are
  1. Finish the first draft of my current sci-fi novel
  2. Go through manuscript for questions and make sure they are answered
  3. Plan out and write five short stories
  4. Read three books and write reviews for them
  5. Write reviews for six books I have already read
  6. Determine three areas on my web page that needs adjusting and adjust them
  7. Complete building the shelves in that closet
  8. Repair floor in bathroom
  9. Repair floor in my room
  10. Build a family newsletter for the Miller Reunion (Mom’s side of the family from Minden, La.)
  11. Catch up and maintain my ‘The Weekend Novelist’ project
  12. To complete the Nola News newsletter for July/August
  13. Work on my Martial Art skills – to practice every day.
  14. Write four articles
Most of my goals listed above are fairly self-explanatory. But goal 13 is not very clear. A goal I have for September is to be able to perform a Kata in my style called Warriors. It is done to the main cut from the soundtrack of the movie called The Warriors. The problem is that I have not done this Kata correctly in almost 20 years. I have to get my timing back. That is what I plan to work for this goal.

I plan to go out and work for two hours in the evening. I know I will not be able to work out continuously for those two hours but I hope to get a combined total of about an hour of exercise in.

How has your month been going?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Report Card - 2010-07-04

Sunday, July 04

Time to report last week’s progress. As for number one, I got over 4,000 words this past week. But I allowed time to slip by again.

Next up is the fourth goal for the week. I added a little more than ten phone numbers to my list of contacts. One thing I wanted to do is to collect the non-emergency phone numbers to the local police and sheriff’s offices. There are times when I need to contact the police and it not be an emergency. I will talk about this topic later in the week.

Goal number 9 deals with a newsletter. I got two pages completed – Pages 3 and 6. I will be working on it this week and hope to get it in the mail by Tuesday.

One thing not on my list was changing the oil in my car. While I waited for my car, I completed goal 11 by completing book number two. As for goal number 12, I am half way through book number three for June.

My monthly goals will be covered in tomorrow’s post. In it, I will report what I completed for last month and what I plan to do this month.

As for this week’s goals, here it is
  1. Write 10,000 words
  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. Build at least two humorous fictitious news stories for Friday
  6. Build shelves in Closet
  7. Start sorting through my storage crates
  8. Build the Nola Stars newsletter - pages 1, 2, 4 , & 5
  9. Make adjustments to Web Pages
  10. Finish reading third book of June
  11. Start reading July’s first book
  12. Send out requests for family stories for a family newsletter
  13. Begin assembling family newsletter
  14. Repair the leak under the kitchen sink (This should be number one)

There are other items on my notepad but I will not bore you with the whole list. As you can see, I have some of the same goals up every week. This week, I hope to eliminate some of them. So, what do you have planned for the week?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day of Repairs

Saturday, July 3

It’s Saturday again. My day will be filled with activities that deal with repair of the trailer. I still need to finish up my shelves which I took one step closer in completing last night.

Mom told me last night that we have a leak under the sink. She discovered the floor wet in several places. This will require me to tear out a small section of wall under the sink to seek out the leak. This will temporarily divert my attention away from my shelves but I hope it won’t be a big interruption. Will find out soon enough.

Time to dig out that rubber suit, goggles and swimming fins. Big Grin. As if I really owned any of those items. Though, I do love swimming. I just hope I don’t turn our kitchen into a pool.

I guess I should keep this thought to myself but it reminds me of a joke that was told by a comedian which I can’t remember the name of. He said, “I don’t want to hear that if the plane has to go down in water that the seat cushions become floatation devices. I want to hear that if the plane lands on water, it turns into a boat.” I don’t know if that is the exact quote, but I like it.

So, I will spend the rest of today trying to figure this thing out. Hope you have a fun and happy day.