Goin’ Campin’

As much as I’d love to renew my connectivity to nature, this blog post doesn’t refer to the tent / cabin / RV / sleeping under the stars version of camping.


I’m going to camp NaNoWriMo!


For the uninitiated: Camp NaNoWriMo is an off-season extension of sorts to National Novel Writing Month (held in November), where writers of any skill level (even people who don’t really don’t consider themselves writers) will create a novel of at least 50K words within a month’s time. Editing isn’t important. Polishing and getting it ready for submission isn’t important. That stuff comes later. For the purposes of a NaNoWriMo event, it’s all about getting that first draft COMPLETED!


Almost on par with neglecting to pack a sleeping bag and/or dry socks and/or bug repellant, I am going into this “camping trip” with absolutely no idea what kind of story I want to write. But, then again, I started last November’s NaNoWriMo exploits equally unprepared, and yet the resulting first draft exceeded my expectations by orders of magnitude. I’m expecting equal results this time.


The trip starts on April 1, and I’ll start sending out postcards shortly afterwards. For the time being, though, I should at least figure out what I’m bringing with me.



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Saw a poster with this saying at work the other day…

Are you productive, or just being busy?
Are you productive…
…or just being busy?

This is a lesson I’m still applying to my writing efforts. I’ve noticed that, with every unnecessary ‘process’ or ‘habit’ I eliminate, the more creative output I produce.

Now, if I could just get rid of the mundane distractions…!

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Ad of the Week

Not sure why I did not think of this myself…

Rock on!

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Critiquing the Critiquers

This topic comes up on writers sites from time to time: the art of critiquing and the adventures of receiving critiques.

Depending on what stage my story is at, and depending on who I pass it off to, I will ask for my critiquers to approach my manuscript from specific perspectives: “How did I do with sentence structure?” “Can you point out typos and misspellings?” “Does the story make sense?” “Did I leave any loose ends that leave you unfulfilled or otherwise scratching your head?” “How does the story flow?” That sort of thing. Then, when it is my turn to critique something of theirs, I return the favor and the courtesy by approaching the task in whatever way they specify would match their preferences or concerns. If they want me to focus on character development, that is what I do. If they want me to find every last grammatical error I can find? That is what I do. Etc.

There is one form of critique that I have never asked for (and never will), yet I still get it at least once per manuscript: the critiquer tells me how they would have written a certain passage by rewriting it!

To express my dismay and confusion as eloquently as possible…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I’ve never even had an editor do that to me, and they’re the gateways to a contract! Whatever happened to telling me that the passage in question is too convoluted or too rambling or too off the point?…then explaining why you feel that way without doing the actual revision for me? A few years ago, before I had any publishing credits to my name, I sent a 20 page manuscript to a fellow aspiring writer; the edited version she sent back was almost double in size because of how many passages she rewrote for me. Suffice it to say, I ditched that file and sought out a different critiquer.

When I critique, I might come across a passage that screams for a rewrite, and an obvious way of doing exactly that might cross my mind, but I fully understand and accept that what I have before me is their story, not mine, so I only point them in a direction with a humble “Consider having your character do / feel / express…”, and let the writer him/herself handle the heavy lifting…because, how else are they going to learn and improve if somebody else writes it for them?

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Two Clues About My Next Story

I recently decided dip my hand into my Ideas folder and pull out something new to work on. The only two things I’m going to tell you about my new selection is: (1) it will probably end up in the flash fiction range; and (2) the story will take place somewhere near here:

It’s already shaping up to be a fun project.

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Through Someone Else’s Camera Lens

I’ve been horrid about attending to items on my bucket list.

Because I’ve still got so many immediate concerns to attend to (including establishing myself at my new job), there is not enough time and/or money and/or attention span wattage to go around for the things I’d rather do; ergo, many of these items will be put on hold yet again until my annoying yet necessary tasks are dealt with.

But…I am a bit more resourceful than that. Because I spend chunks of time at a PC, I decided to take a shortcut of sorts and view some of the bands on my list through someone else’s camera lens. Yeah, it’s not the real thing, but watching the following list of videos has intensified my desire to get out there and see these sonic spectacles in person.

Opeth’s musical styles has morphed over their years of playing, to the point where, if you played their very first album, then play their most recent album, they don’t even sound like the same band. That’s why I like how they treat their fans to a wide sampling of their ‘eras.’ I just wish their sets were longer; because, as far as I’m concerned, they’ve got a lot of great music to choose from.

King Diamond
King did great work with Mercyful Fate, but his concept-driven albums under the King Diamond name are classics in my mind…especially the album “Them.” And, speaking of that album…this concert features a guest appearance from the story’s main antagonist…Grandmaaaaaaaaaaa!

…and I swear I like this band for reasons beyond the fact they’re from my home state! These guys just look like they’d be fun to see live.

I just recently discovered this band, and have now added them to my “live shows to see” Bucket List item. I have become an instant fan of their absolutely unique (and well executed) approach to their specific subject matter.

Dimmu Borgir
The band. An orchestra. And a choir! Excellent stuff! This video was filmed a few years ago, but it is still my favorite representation of their live performing. It’s done in the form of a documentary, and will probably annoy those who don’t understand Norwegian, but (to my ears, anyway) the music more than makes up for it.

I’m thinking it’s time for me to get back to taking in a live show or two.

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Life’s Investments

Not all of my ‘life’s investments’ have yielded my desired results.

Some of these ‘investments’ were expensive, and I’m coming to realize I will be paying for them until my final day in this third dimensional realm.

None of us can be guaranteed that everything we plan for will be worth the energy and the passion we pour into it. Not all of us can bear a loss that took large portions of our heart and soul with it. But, all of us need to have something else we can invest in, so that all those unjustified payments will eventually evolve into lessons and benefits that will pay us.

This new ‘investment’ should start with the person we see in the mirror.

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