Quarterly Update 2015 (Spring)

Back in January I had a list of goals I wanted to accomplish. Here’s where I’m at right now.

1) Read 13 books. I have finished Gone Girl, Cocaine Blues, Transylvanian Fairy Tales, and The Raven Boys. (9 more to go!) I’m currently reading The Dream Thieves. 🙂

2) Clean my house. Still a trash heap. It may actually be worse than it was at the beginning of the year. Oi.

3) Paint six things. I have… 3 painting started and nothing finished yet. >< But I have 3 started! I should probably go ahead and make an effort to at least finish one of them. (I did, however, get a tentative quote on how much it would be to get them professionally photographed so I can upload the images to some kind of art sale site, like Society6.)

4) Draw the Rival Neighbors comic. I haven’t started drawing it, but I’m almost done editing the script. It needed some major revisions, but I think I’m getting the flow of it where I want it. 🙂

5) Write/Finish two long projects. I have…. done barely anything to this. Oi.

6) Write/Finish/Post seven shorter projects. OKAY. So I’ve finished 2 short things: Operation Smite Scott McCall’s Stupid Haters and FAILBOAT HOOKER STILES. I am working on another thing for the BiteTime contest right now, which is due on May 25 (personal goal: first draft done by April 20). I’m behind, but not like, impossibly behind on my writing schedule. Oh, and I have ideas/plot notes for 2 more shorts that I’m hoping to finish up mid-June.

7) Drink more water. I was doing really really well for the first couple of months, then these last two weeks I’ve been terrible. And I feel terrible for it. I’m trying to be better. ><

8) Cook more. I am getting a hell of a lot better at this. I am down to about going out once a week. I am most pleased with this. 🙂

9) Exercise more. And I’ve been doing great at this one! I am going to the gym twice a week pretty easily. I’m trying to work in a third session a week.

10) Pay off large credit card. Ugh, so it turns out that yes, I owe this large bill, but no, it is no longer an active credit card. >< It’s basically just a bill. They did some kind of restructuring earlier this year and because my credit score was below where it ought to have been, they canceled my account. And now I just owe them money. >< So I’m basically working off this large bill with no expectation of being able to use it in the future as a credit card. Which is disheartening. (And, as an update, I am under $2300 left to pay, which doesn’t seem like much, sure. But that’s pretty huge for me. Especially for someone who doesn’t like owing $60 to anyone.)

The Coffeepot Experiment

I have an experiment I’m conducting.

I’m going to get a coffeepot and bring it to work.

I know it doesn’t sound like much of an experiment, but hear me out. You know what weird little sub-clause in Murphy’s Law where if you plan for X, Y is nearly certain to happen? (Like, if you wash your car because tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, it will rain. That sub-clause.) I feel like I live my life in that little sub-clause.

And as a few of you may know, I am… not exactly thrilled at my job. So not thrilled, in fact, that I am slowly working on easing my way out of the office 9-to-5 life entirely. (I have a business plan and goals and everything! And wonders of wonders I’m actually achieving them! Slowly but surely!) It’s too early to tell when the final cut-off date is (I have my fingers crossed for early 2016) but yes. I am making progress and that light at the end of the tunnel is a pinprick but visible and I glory in it.

Anyway yes. So. Experiment. I am going to get a coffeepot and bring it to work. I am hoping that in doing so, I will invoke that little bastard of a sub-clause, what with the “bringing in an investment in the office 9-to-5 lifestyle” and thereby speed up my process of getting out sooner. Murphy’s Law is a bitch but goddamnit I am going to make it bend to my will.

So, we’ll see. 🙂 And hey, at least I’ll have coffee, right?

– Eris

Dialogue Tags: version 2.0

So, today I have a post over on the RRFS blog about dialogue tags which is probably pretty similar to the one I did last year here on this blog. I’ve learned a couple of things since then, (and not just about dialogue tags), and I’m going to be doing a series of posts over there about tips and tricks to editing your own work, especially if you’re a new-ish writer.

Feel free to take a look at the original post using the link above for a more detailed post. For now, here’s a really short and sweet version of it.

Read your work out loud and ask yourself these questions about your dialogue tags:

1) Is it clear who’s speaking what line?

2) Does each separate speaker have their own paragraph?

3) Am I using a word too repetitiously? (e.g.: does “said” appear on the page more than five times? Is it noticeable when I read the page out loud?)

4) Am I using the correct word? Does reading the page out loud make it sound like I am auditioning for a villain’s role in a melodrama?

Remember that dialogue tags don’t have to be a variant of he said or she said. You can use pieces of action to identify speakers just as well, like “Carolyn waved. ‘Hey girl!'” Not only is “Carolyn waved” not a variant of he said/she said but also adds variety and character movement when there otherwise wouldn’t be any. In most cases, it’s more interesting to read.

Next time I’ll be talking about tenses, so be sure to check it out.

– Eris

Science Fiction Films

So, I have a question for everyone.

A couple of weeks ago I saw Jupiter Ascending and I fucking loved it. I’ve been flailing about it a lot on Tumblr, and will probably get a post together about why I loved it and what it did right (and a bit that it did wrong–looking at you, terrible Russian stereotypes), but that is not what I am asking right now. There have been some talk online about how Jupiter Ascending is not a sci fi, but a fairy tale wrapped in the cloak of a sci fi film.

Which, okay, when I read that, that makes sense. But I pose this question, then: what makes a sci fi film, then? Bear in mind, I am by no means and expert in sci fi or film. I like sci fi, and I like movies, but I’ve never really been super excited about either in that kind of no-holds-barred sort of way that fans tend to experience.

So if Jupiter Ascending, a movie very heavily based on the idea of futuristic aliens being able to grow humans and harvest their genetic material and turn it into a fountain of youth, a movie filled with aliens and space ships and cool pew-pew guns, if that’s not a sci fi film, then what is a science fiction film? Because I honestly do not seem much of a difference between Jupiter Ascending and Star Wars, a movie that is mostly a soap opera but with cool space ships and weird, yodeling dog aliens and laser beam swords.

Jupiter Ascending may be a retelling of a fairy tale–it certainly has lots of fairy tale elements and a Trial of Three plot structure–but I’m not sure if that disqualifies it from being a sci fi. And if it does, then what is a sci fi? What are a sci fi film’s qualifications? What makes a movie a sci fi?

My To-Be-Read List

I finished Gone Girl over the weekend. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised at it. Not to suggest that the book was at all pleasant–in fact, I think I enjoyed it mostly because it was so… terrifying? I guess terrifying is a good word for it. I’ll do a more coherent review about it later, but for now, let’s just leave it at that.

Anyway, with one official book marked off my list (my goal was to read 13 books in 2015, remember?) I was a bit at a loss at what to read next. A friend of mine told me that she’s reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and told me that I would probably like it. Which is nice, because I already own the book–had owned it for years–and yet had never read it before.

Going through my bookshelves, I realized that I owned a lot of books I hadn’t read yet.

Anyway, since Northanger Abbey is pretty short (my version, which is in a collection of Austen’s works, is only about 110 pages long) it’s not going to take me long to read it, even with the kind of learning curve for the writing style. So, I’m going to post a list of all the books I already have. Let me know if you’ve read/heard about any of these, and let me know which one you think I ought to read next. 🙂

Ready?

Continue reading “My To-Be-Read List”

Ranty-pants post on my weekend

Feel free to skip over this post, as it will mostly be me whining about the wretched weekend I just had. (So, really, you’re not missing much.)

I’d like to start by saying I’m not exactly a clean person. I’d like to say that I’m just cluttered, just actually like, a filthy slob, but honestly I spend much of my time avoiding dishes and taking out the trash, and I have on occasion tripped over pizza boxes because I was too lazy to bring them to the kitchen, never mind actually put them in the trash. On top of this, I am a cluttered person–I accumulate and horde paper like Smaug hordes gold. I have stacks of books and movies and video games everywhere. Things are dusty, because I never dust. I have about 8 unpacked boxes of junk (and I use “junk” because I don’t even know what’s in the boxes) in my living room alone, never mind the boxes of storage I have just left about willy-nilly in my bedroom.

So yeah, here’s basically where I’m starting from.

Continue reading “Ranty-pants post on my weekend”

Holy Crap, It’s 2015

Well, I took a longer break than anticipated. Six months may have gone by without a peep from me, but I was able to get quite a few things done. I have successfully completed NaNoWriMo this November, wrote several new stories which I have posted on AO3, and finished a script for a fan comic. Also the normal (and some days quite abnormal) amount of regular work and other such daily dreck to keep myself living under a roof with actual food.

But it’s 2015 now, and it’s time to make some goals for myself.

1) Read more books. Specifically at least 13 books. This last year I have read reams and reams of fanfiction, but not original works. And that really needs to change. (Not that there’s anything wrong with fanfiction, and I still highly encourage it as a practice and an art form.) I need to read more widely–nonfiction, literary works, poetry–and stop reading obsessively in my comfort zone. First up on the list is the thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I’ve already started reading it, and it’s good in ways I wasn’t really expecting. I am planning on posting a review of it when I’m finished.

2) Clean my house. My house is a mess. The less said about this, the better. Moving on…

3) Paint six things. Canvases, actually. I got back into painting this late summer/fall, and got an easel for Christmas. I’m really enjoying it, and learning/relearning things is supposed to be good for me, or something. It certainly has been eye-opening for my own particular artistic style. When I finish a few pieces, I will showcase them here. 🙂

4) Draw the Rival Neighbors comic. Remember that script I said I finished? This is it. It’s a book-length graphic novel. I’d really, really like to get the thing finished before 2016. Since the script is finished, I need to cement the character designs and the “set” locations, then start paneling. A fellow fan and fast internet friend has already volunteered to ink the thing for me, as I am terrible at inking and he is actually quite, quite good at it. 🙂 Hopefully that means that the comic will be done and ready to post faster. Huzzah!

5) Write/Finish two long projects. Right now, by “projects” I mean novels–but that is subject to change. I am very much looking forward to rewriting Cloudy with a Chance of Satan and editing Monsters and Ghosts. Maybe by the end of the year I will have two manuscripts I can start sending to people to beta-read. 😀 I am very excited about these prospects.

6) Write/Finish/Post seven shorter projects. I’ve got a To-Write List approximately 50 stories deep, and I really, really need to mark some of them off. Hopefully by the time I weed out the unviable ideas, I will have at least seven completed stories of which to post/query/what-have-you. (I’m sure I won’t get through all my list this year, but I’m hoping to make a large dent in it. However, I know that some stories are just not going to take shape or aren’t quite ready to be written yet, so that’s why I’m only holding myself to seven finished ones.)

7) Drink more water. I’m pretty sure I can achieve this one. I just need to stay on it and stop thinking “I’ll get a glass of water when I am done with [x]” and actually get up when I realize that I am thirsty. 🙂

8) Cook more. Mostly because I want to stop spending so much money on take out.

9) Exercise more. Ah, the ever present “Exercise more” or “Lose weight” goal of every person’s New Year Resolutions list. We’ll see if I can manage this.

10) Pay off large credit card. 😛 Kind of personal, I know, but it’s a goal of mine. I’m working it down by bits and chunks.

Well, that’s it for me. How is your 2015 so far? Got any goals you’d like to share?

-Eris