Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Report Card - 2010-05-30

Sunday, May 30

Hello, nothing much to report other than I am working items other than my goals. I guess I could change my goals around to fit what I have been working on but that would be cheating.

Of everything on my May goals list, the only thing I have really worked on is my novel. As soon as I finish this post, I plan to write at least 2000 words toward it today.

As for my weight control efforts, I do not know if I am going forward or backwards. My exercising has helped but I still do not see a difference in my girth. I refuse to let myself get down over this and will, or should I say, SHALL make strives toward achieving my goals. I know the exercising has helped because I am able to stay on my feet longer without my back muscles causing pain. I still have to sit down to rest them but I have been able to go longer between my rest periods.

This week, I will start doing some of my exercises earlier in the morning. I just need to plan out my strategy a little. Tempted to ride my father’s bike in the morning, but this is the time period many people start their journey toward work. I’m afraid that I might end up as someone’s hood ornament if I do not watch out.

Now, I wish to thank a reader who pointed out a few errors on my web site that I did not know about. They were basically simple errors but they snuck by me. Thank you Gale for pointing them out to me. Why don’t you visit her blog at http://galestanley.blogspot.com.

By the way, she has a contest for a pendant and a copy of her ebook Call of the Wilds. Go check out her site and sign up for the contest. I tried but discovered that I was already signed up as a friend. Oh, well. Good luck.

Now, back to my web page. I hope to have those errors cleaned up by the end of the day. That would give me a few items toward my web page goals wouldn’t it? (Shameless, I know. But, I will take it any way I can. Big Grin)

One other goal I wish to enforce is to get at least five blog posts a week. This past week I succeeded in getting three. This will be my first one for this week. Four more to go.

All-in-all, I have not had a bad week per se. I feel good about myself, even though I feel like a balloon sometimes. I am happy and enjoying working on various projects. Live if fun and I plan to keep it that way. If I miss a few goals, I won’t worry as long as I have something I can look forward to and enjoy doing.

Yes, I still plan to complete those goals. My problem is just when I will get around to do them. (Was going to say a ‘roundtoit’ but I’m afraid someone might send me one of those wooden 'roundtoits’ in the mail – BG.)

Have a nice week and have a fun summer. I plan to.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-05-26

Wednesday, May 26

One way I try to spice up my writing is to use events that I have observed around my neighborhood or even around my own home.

In this case, the lightning bugs have come out during the evenings over the last three or four weeks. The other night, their green lights flashed all around our front yard and in the garden area as well. I thought popped to mind that allowed me to use them in a fashion in my sci fi novel.

Another observation that I had (and I may be repeating myself) is that of my cat years ago. I wanted a nickname for the bio-engineered henchmen that the antagonists created and used. They are of a bluish-green color but cover themselves with dark colored robes with hoods.

This is where my cat came into play. You see, she is black and at night, I could not see her. Walk by the truck and hear a meow from the hood. The only way I could keep from stepping on her on a dark night is to look for a “black hole” moving through the darkness.

Thus, my creatures got the nickname “Black Holes.” Unless their eyes reflect light in some fashion, the only way the protagonist can spot them are to watch for black holes moving around in the darkness.

These are a few examples how I use things I observe around my house in my stories. I am quite sure others do it too. What have you come across in your life that helped make your story better?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Weather and Exercise

Tuesday, May 25

Today starts out like most other days – warm and humid. This morning, I managed to get out and walk before breakfast. The air is much cooler; though, by the time I get my fourth lap done, sweat still pours out. The cool air helps cool me down quicker.

I cannot tell if I have lost any weight at this point. That does not mean that I have not noticed some benefits from my morning walks. The muscles in my lower back are getting stronger and I do feel better. The distance I can continuously walk without having to rest my arguing back muscles has increased.

As for my pushups, I have managed to increase it from 30 reps to 40 reps. Yes, I am still doing it from my knees. Until I lose a couple hundred pounds, I will continue to do it from my knees. At least I am doing something, right!

The only thing I wished I could do is bottle some of the cold air from winter and be able to bring it out on those hot days. Then bottle some summer hot air to release during some of those cold days during winter.

Though, I can handle the heat a little better than the cold. I just do not like being cold and would do anything to avoid it which means I usually do not do my exercises during the winter.

Well, I have droned on long enough about the weather and my exercise routine. I hope everyone around you (including you) is healthy and happy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Progress Report 100523

Sunday, May 23

Hello, sorry for being silent on my goals progress. I am getting closer to finishing up my first draft. This week, I completed building the individual outlines for scenes 58 through 115. My fingers will be pounding away at filling out these scenes, and I hope to have it finished by the end of next month if not sooner. Then I will go into full-blown edit mode and see about tightening it up.

Then I will be ready to let a few friends look at it. But, I have to make sure I find most of my mistakes before I get to that point. I have made a short list of things I need to make sure I fix. There are others I know that need to be fixed but have not gotten around to writing them down. Then there is the list of questions I started to write down at the beginning of the book. I have to make sure I answer them before I finish the book.

As for my other goals for this month, they may have to roll over into next month as well. I have not done much toward them at the present time.

My project that coincides with the book The Weekend Novelist (TWN) is coming along nicely. We are at weekend 5. The chapter for weekend 5 & 6 is something I can use. In a way, I have been doing some of that, but somehow, I made mine a bit more complicated than it needed to be.

I have written one article in rough draft and will finish it up sometime this week. That leaves three others I need to be working on. This means I will force myself to spend at least an hour a day on the first draft of them. I might even use the TWN for this week to work the basics out. I will let you know how it comes out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mummy Legs


Saturday, May 22

Hello. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be wrapped up like a mummy? Being slightly claustrophobic, I never had the desire to find out. But after a doctor’s visit, I got the impression I definitely do not care for being wrapped up like a mummy.

My problem is edema in my legs, or swelling in my legs due to water retention. To push the water out, the doctor wrapped my legs. The first layer was a soft cotton type material. Then came the Ace bandage second layer. I do not remember what the third layer was but a Coban wrap became the fourth and final layer. Each layer was wrapped tighter than the previous one.

At first, the compression wrap around my legs just felt tight. As the day went on, my legs got warmer and warmer. I had to put a fan directly on my legs to cool them down. Then came the muscle cramps. That turned out to be a lot of fun.

I eventually got the cramps under control, but the itching drove me crazy last night. I finally got relief by pressing my fingers against the areas that itched.

The one aspect that I am not looking forward to is the no bath or shower for the next week. The doctor told me I am not allowed to get the wraps wet. I guess I will keep clean by giving myself a so-called sponge bath but that does not cover my feet since they are partially wrapped as well.

I am able to get my shoes. This is handy because my feet feel so much better when walking across a concrete parking lot with them on. Needless to say that in my adult years, I allowed myself to become tenderfooted (if there is such a term).

With the doctor encouraging me to continue walking, this means my feet aren’t going to be very fresh next week. In other words, my feet may be declared either a biological weapon or chemical weapon by the time I get back to the doctor’s office.

Next week, I am to have these cut off and replaced with a pair of compression socks. Until then, I will be a partial mummy for the next six days including today. Oh, what fun. Just don’t mention the word itch - the new four-letter word in my vocabulary.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-05-19

Wednesday, May 19

I do not know why I missed so may days of my blog but I am not going to make excuses for it. Oh, okay one excuse then. Man, time sure flies. I plan to do something and before I know it, darkness falls and my bed calls for me.

I did get some writing in this week. On Monday, the words flowed like they have not done in weeks. I managed to write over 4,000 words that day. Those are the types of days I like to have.

Ideas keep popping up and I keep writing them down. I just need to get off my duff and start building on them. I know I am capable, but sometimes, there are those days that I do not want to look at my computer.

My goals for today will be to see if I can make that 4000-word limit again on my writing. I have gotten a good head start. I wrote about 700 words earlier. They all will not be toward the same project. I hope to get 2500 words toward my book and then I might work more on another project.

Yesterday, my day did not come out too productive. I had to go in for a checkup. I did manage to write a little while I waited for the doctor. My AlphaSmart provided me with the ability to do some work. Also, had to visit the vampire people – give blood for testing.

This leads up to one of my pet peeves. Why do the blood-letters want to take it out of the back of the hand? I show them a spot at the crease that is at the bend of the elbow that they can draw it from. The spot has a little brown spot. About a half-inch from to my left (their right) from that mole is the only spot they have consistently found a blood vessel. Every time they stick me in the back of the hand, they always find a nerve and my hand would be useless for the rest of the day.

I do not have much else to say this morning but that I hope to restart writing my daily blog. Even if it means that I need to make up things to do so. Big Grin.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writers’ Wednesday 100512

Wednesday, May 12

This past Monday a story idea came up and slapped me on the head. For some reason, I thought back to a photo I took around 1980 of a girl sunbathing.

In college, I belonged to a fraternity at Northwestern State University. Our house sat at the end of what was called Greek Hill. She tossed out a towel behind the fraternity house and got on it to tan. Another feature of this house is that if you looked out the back door, you watch planes take off and land on one of the Natchitoches Parish Airport runways.

Now, toss in a fictitious fraternity brother who has premonitions. The various ideas flooded my mind and began to develop into a story. One idea fed another and that one spawned another. Before I knew it, I had the basis of a story. Granted, it will probably be a short story.

Then came the argument of whose point of view that the story should be in. At first, I wanted it to be in his point of view. But, I did not want to have him thinking about what is going to happen all the way through the story. In his POV, the story would be much longer than I wanted it to be.

In her POV, I can lay down hints but not reveal the true problem until the end of the story. That way I can have my surprise ending. The reader knows something is going to happen, but what, they do not know.

An exercise to help you develop a story idea: Look through an old family album for photos that grab your interest. Whether it a person, place, or thing, let your imagination fly about the circumstances behind the photo. Even if you do not know the particulars about the photo, use the “What if …” question to expand on the ideas. Then let the ideas feed off of each other.

Example: A photo of a someone taken in the late 80s – 1880s. Look at the photo carefully for items in the background. What if you recognize this person? He is a neighbor that disappeared two weeks before. How could this be? What if this neighbor claimed that he could travel to the past? At the time, everyone just laughed at his ridiculous notion. What if he succeeded in traveling to the past? What if his house exploded two weeks earlier and his body was not found? What if a strange van has been spotted in the neighborhood? What if the neighbor gave your main character a jumpdrive with notes on it for the character to keep safe? What if the character’s grandfather told him stories about this strange man that visited his grandfather’s home? What if …?

Now, have fun.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Catch Me If You Can - Not Me

Tuesday, May 11

A tail of sorts. One always sees things on the television news involving crime and police chases. Even though I do not want to be involved in one or to really observe one up close, I did get to witness part of a police chase this past weekend.

Boy did it trigger a flood of story ideas. Once a month, I get to go to my area RWA writers’ meeting. This past weekend was the weekend that Nola Stars met at the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

One the way home, I decided that I wanted to get a cup of coffee. Not having the funds to stop at Starbucks, which would have saved me a half mile trip, I stopped at a McDonald’s and got me a small cup of coffee.

Me, being one of those guys who likes a little coffee with his cream, pulled into a parking spot to empty the four packages of cream into my cup. As I did so, I heard sirens approaching. The first thought in my mind, “Uh oh, someone’s in trouble. As long as it was not me, it's okay.” I looked around anyway to make sure.

Then this black car shot past the entrance going down the road. It looked like a weird game of ‘follow the leader.’ As soon as he past, I saw at least 10 marked cars pass along with two unmarked ones. That is some game of ‘follow the leader.’ I sure do not want to be the leader when the police catch up to tag him/her.

Once they disappeared down the road, I thought that I would never hear about them again. To get home, I had to get back onto Interstate 49 south and travel 60 miles south to Natchitoches.

I got about 7 miles down the interstate when I saw this black car again. This time he was heading north on the interstate and he had 12 marked police cars and one unmarked one chasing after him/her.

At this time, I figured that this would probably end up on the 10:00 news that night. Sure enough, the second story on the channel I watch was about a man stealing a cash register from a Dollar General Store in Shreveport. A customer followed the car until the police caught up. Then the police chased him.

The report said that the Shreveport Police, Caddo and Desoto Parish Deputies got involved in the chase. As for the game of ‘follow the leader,’ the leader got tagged out just south of Shreveport when he drove into a bayou.

According to the news report, he attempted to escape by swimming into the bayou but that police dog the authorities sent in after him convinced him to surrender.

I got to witness part of a chase that appeared on the news. This spurred me into writing down several ideas that I might be able to use in one of my stories. When I will get to use it, I do not know.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 2010 Goals

Sunday, May 9

It looks as if I did not make my goals for April the way I wanted. I did work on some of them but have not gotten through them in the way I wanted. I plan to keep some of them for this month’s goals.

Since I finished plotting out my current sci-fi novel scenes, I will continue building my first draft of my novel. That will be my first goal for today.
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. Determine three areas on my web page that needs adjusting and adjust them
6. Repair the floor to my closet and add shelves – have to clean out closet first
7. Clean up room – throw away unneeded material and store other material.
8. Repair floor in bathroom
9. Repair floor in my room.
10. Organize and catalog a file box filled with research material
11. Prepare my writing magazines (including RWR) for donation to Northwestern State University
12. Write four articles
* 1) Two on backups
* 2) One about index cards
* 3) One yet to be determined
Now this is my list of items I want to complete for this month. I am constantly working on my diet, exercise and health. So, that will be an ongoing goal for every month.

Will keep you updated on my progress. I also hope to keep up with my blogging duties. I am sorry for letting it slide over the last week and a half. One solution is that I plan to write my blog the day before. I also plan to dedicate a blog entry containing fictional news reports. This is mainly done as an exercise and for humor. I will try not to be mean spirited toward any living person but the fictional character may end up in a lot of trouble.

Until later – Clark Stone