lmeighmy: (D To Keep You Safe)
2016-02-09 02:55 pm

Today, I Work

I've finally updated my website's homepage. I also added a new blog entry (which links to a character journal entry with a warning for language. Just thought I'd warn you here, as well). If you're interested, go ahead and read them. I'll wait. :)






Alrighty, well, if you read the posts on my website, you know that my external hard drive recently died. I had very little warning. The guys at the computer store couldn't retrieve my files, so I downloaded a handful of programs that might be able to help me retrieve them, but only one actually came close--and by "close," I mean that it was the only one that could actually detect the external drive. It still couldn't retrieve anything.

I'm not daunted. I got most of my writing off it before it went kaput. And I'd planned to make some big changes to the novel anyway. The most important thing to me wasn't really that important. It was a minor character who I now plan to give a much larger role to. A cop who adopted a little girl (she's now a teen). This is no sissy cop. He's as tough as they come, but he's a real teddy bear when it comes to his little girl. I couldn't remember his name (and I still can't), so I came up with a new one for him.

I've also added another character by the name of Bookie. That's his nickname, and if you read the above links, you'd already know this. ;) Anyway, I was planning another story, and Bookie was going to be one of the main players. But I've discarded that story, since nothing seems to want to come of it. I really love the character, or at least the ideas I had for the character, and so I decided to bring him on over into Dakota's storyverse. He seems to fit in rather well. I'm glad to bring him in. He and Dakota get along great, but Bookie doesn't seem to like the cop I mentioned above. Maybe it's because he's had run-ins with the authorities before? Or maybe their personalities just clash. Whatever the reason (which I will be exploring at length, believe me!), they don't get along well.

To make matters worse, Dakota McCabe's adopted son, Nate, doesn't much care for Bookie, either. Nothing Bookie does (at first) impresses the teen in the least.

These should make for some interesting interactions, don't you think? :)

Anyway, the novel's official title will be McCabe Saga: Dark Horses. Dakota and Nate are considered underdogs--both in their personal lives and with regard to the larger events happening to them.

I'm planning the series around Dakota and Nate, and the police officer and Bookie will play their parts, as will other characters. I'm really excited about returning to this thriller series. (Did I mention before that these will be thrillers? Ha!)

I haven't given up on my fantasy stories, either. If you'd read the links above, you'd already know this, as well. ;) I'm working on balancing both storyverses. I think, for the time being, I'll work on planning Dakota's series and building the fantasy world of Illdirin (which will encompass several series). I can focus on both my favorite genres rather than just one at a time (and I can probably mix some horror in there, too--the creepy kind, not the gross kind). I love this idea immensely. :)

Anyway, it's late, and I need to take a shower and start dinner. If only I could forego eating and just work on my stories, all would be perfect with the world!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
2015-11-17 07:50 am

For the 10th Year In A Row, I'm A Winner!

At the last minute, I decided to write a novel. I was going to wing it. I had a hero, supporting characters, an opponent, some vague plot ideas, and on the 1st, I started writing.

By the end of the third day, I was a bit bored and frustrated with the story. I just didn't know the hero as well as I would have liked, and I kind of lost my way, storywise.

So I changed gears and picked up a story I'd recently jotted down some ideas for. A trilogy, actually. I know my main characters well, and I have a good idea of how the opponent would act and react to certain things.

Day four changed everything. I started writing a story I actually had good ideas about, and I ran with it. I'm writing one storyline at a time. First came the storyline for the hero, then for his brother, then for the opponent. Only the opponent's storyline wound up being for another character I guess I needed to explore, and boy, have I explored! In the process of writing his second chapter, I reached and surpassed 50K...on Day 16! How cool is that? :D

Read on to see what got me there... )

I'm going to keep writing. The plan is to write the rough drafts of all three books in the trilogy all at once.

I'm also shooting for 100K words by the end of November. I can do it. I'm on a roll! :D

I will say this. If it wasn't for the WANATribe writers who have been sprinting every day, lending support and encouragement, I doubt I'd have won already. I'd probably be around 25-35K right now...which wouldn't be so bad, but man! To write fast and hit the mark so early has given me an incredible feeling. :)

Anyway, that's what I've been up to.

And it's almost time to start on more writing sprints, so I'd better get to it!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Cog)
2015-10-26 01:47 pm

Change of Plans

I've been participating in Nanowrimo ever since 2006. It seemed wrong not to participate on what would be my tenth year, so I changed my mind.

I won't actually be writing a novel, though. I'll be planning out two series--one about my crew when they were privateers, then another after they go rogue and become pirates. I plan to write several novels in each series. It should be a piece of cake to reach 50K words with just the plans alone. I'm going for it! :D

That said, I'm trying to take it easy until then--well, except for today. I've done a lot of work today, but not on Nano stuff.

Tonight's the Kick-off Party down at our favorite coffee shop. Even though we won't be using computers for writing, I'll be taking mine along. I need to download some course lectures and other things anyway, so why not? ;)

I'm really looking forward to this, as I do every year, even if it will be different. This will be just the kick in the pants I need to get busy with this. I've been procrastinating. Even though I stay busy, I'm not always busy with what I should be doing. It will be good to get back to it.

And on that note, I've got a shower to take and a snack to eat (I never had lunch).

And daydreaming to do about the series. ;)


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Phoenix: Born Anew)
2015-10-22 11:20 am

First Update In Eons...Well, It Seems Like It!

A Note About This Theme: I know some people have a hard time reading light text on a darker background. If my text is hard for you to read, there are two solutions I can think of. You can either switch your Dreamwidth settings to view journals in your own theme, or you can copy and paste the text of my entries to a temporary text file in Notepad or some other text editor. In any case, I hope you find my words interesting and inspiring. :)

It's been a looooong time since I've posted. I plan to post more often from here on out, though still not as much as I used to when I was over on LiveJournal.

I've been working on worldbuilding a lot, and I've been writing rough drafts of short stories. I'll be planning and writing more soon, but I'm trying to take care of some other things first.

Research is a biggie. I'm having to research things like medieval sailing ships (mainly the cog, but others, too) and how to sail them, pirates and privateers, the yeti, currency in medieval times, etc. I'm also making up a lot of stuff about my different countries and regions, creating races for my world, etc. It's a ton of work, but a lot of fun, too!

Reading and taking courses are two other things I've been up to. I highly recommend Udemy.com. They have tons of courses, and if you sign up to get their newsletter, you'll get notices when they have awesome sales. I recently picked up two great writing courses for $10 each, and before that, I got my first course for about 70% of it's normal price. Awesome! :D

And I've been dealing with lots of tech issues. My external hard drive started dying, for one thing. I got a lot of stuff off of it, but not everything. I want to try again. Most of the maps of my fictional world are on it. I'd like to save them if I can. There have been other problems too, but nothing so nervewracking as the external hard drive situation.

I've also started playing my first "real" game, Assassin's Creed II. I'm loving it, but there's a lot I still don't know how to do. I'll get the hang of it. I'm currently on sequence 4. :)

I normally participate in Nanowrimo every November, but I'm taking this year off. I'm still dealing with some wrist pain and trigger finger, so I've been limiting how much I do on the computer. I'm also dealing with fibromyalgia, which is getting better slowly. I just don't want to put any pressure on myself and have a relapse of any kind. I should have taken some time off earlier in the year. Not participating in Camp Nanowrimo in April and July would have helped, I'm sure. :P

We've been working on changing our eating habits, too. We've been steering clear of processed foods as much as possible, though Jeff still eats bread. I've been staying away from bread, rice, and pasta for the most part (occasionally I'll have some, but it's rare and not much). I've been drinking tea, rarely having coffee of any kind. I love Yogi and Stash teas. I drink some Harney & Sons, but I'm trying to use those up. Then I'll stick to Yogi and Stash. I also love matcha tea, but I need to get a sifter and matcha bowl. Hmm...

I'll sometimes post writing I've done, but I'm going to lock it to my friends filter. They'll be first drafts with a little editing to clean them up. They won't be the finished product. The finished products will likely wind up on my Website (or in Kindle eBooks when I start publishing them).

And that's pretty much what I've been up to. :)

Keep traveling light!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Kal - serious)
2013-05-15 05:13 pm

Novel Progress:

As I said on Facebook and Twitter, my word count for today was 5,194, bringing my total for the week, so far, to 14,366. At the moment, my two main characters are 16 years of age, and already they've gone through hell — well, Kal has, at any rate. Sha is just disgusted with the human race, in general. (I'm just using the first three letters of their names. I must protect the identities of the innocent, after all. ;))

Anyway, it's been a very good writing day. I'm not sure how the edits will go when I'm done with this thing, but I know I'll need to add in more description and makes the circumstances feel more terrifying, but I will definitely be leaving out some of the gory details. Some of the stuff Kal is going through, I can see it happening, but there's no way I'm going to write it all out, even though I certainly could. I'll write enough to make it obvious what's happening, but no way am I going there.

That said, I am having a lot of fun writing this story, so far. And I'm really happy with my word count. I was starting to think it would be a struggle to reach 12K by Friday. It started out really slow, but the more I write, the better it gets, thus my happiness. And at this rate, I may end up at 20K by the time I'm done on Friday. :)

And here is a brief excerpt... )
lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Kunal Khemu)
2013-04-28 04:59 pm

Immortal Watchdogs: Kalaghata -- Hope Anew?

Some of you might remember my Immortal Watchdogs character, Kalaghata. This short takes place when he was a teen and still coming into his powers. He is an immortal, and he has never (yet) met anyone like himself. He has no mentor, no one to tell him what to expect or to teach him how to control his abilities.

Very early in his life, he suffered unimaginable cruelty, but I haven't been explicit here (don't know that I ever will be, to be honest). In this short, he meets a man, a Greek "traveler," who will have a profound impact on his young life.



On to Hope Anew? )
lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
2013-04-28 03:36 pm

Story Progress:

I haven't done any writing since Thursday. I've done a bit of brainstorming, though. And there were some tricky things about Kalaghata's storyline that I just didn't know.

First of all, I realized I needed to figure out a way that these immortals could die, some kind of vulnerability. I needed a situation that would test Kalaghata in a huge way, and through finding this vulnerability, I did that.

I also created a new element, a new substance, that causes this vulnerability. It was originally used to imprison their enemies, but it can be used against them, as well. It makes them weak to the point where wounds or poison can kill them. Not a pleasant thing, but necessary to the overall storyline.

Other than that, I worked out some tricky stuff in Kalaghata's timeline--most notably, the crisis, in which he faces a "secondary antagonist." In other words, he has a difficult encounter with a lesser enemy. Soon after this, he'll have the big showdown with the main antagonist. I have yet to figure out if he defeats this enemy in this story or whether he will face this enemy again in a later story. This is one thing I have to work out before I go back and plan the parts of the story that lead up to the crisis and the climax.

And he has a very good chance of losing two people who are very close to him, which is sad, but life will go on for him, and he'll be richer for it. In spite of the fact that it doesn't sound like it. ;)

I've also got the beginning of the "Big Picture" story--the catalyst to the series--all set. I still need to flesh out the rest of it, but the beginning is the most important part at the moment, especially since Kal's story happens first.

I wanted to focus on something in his present and have something from his past, maybe two things, parallel it, so there will be flashbacks (made obvious when I write them in italics), but they will be minimal compared to his modern story.

I also somehow figured out a way to add vampires to the story, but they will be minimal. I don't want to write vampire fiction, per se, but I don't have a problem with adding a vampire or two, especially since there was at least one character who's story would change too drastically if I made him a regular Immortal. He'll have his own story at some point.

Someone recently asked me if this was going to be anything like 50 Shades of Grey, a story I never, ever plan on reading, let alone imitating. I will not be writing steamy sex scenes. If I'd be embarrassed to read it out loud, then I won't write it. :P That said, I told her it's kind of like a cross between Highlander and Stargate with a bit of Supernatural mixed in. All in all, I consider it a dark fantasy.


lmeighmy: (Animated Harvest & Raven)
2013-04-05 12:38 pm

5 April 2013:

I've been on Twitter a ton over the last couple of days. It's been a lot of fun, and I've actually been able to keep it from being too much of a distraction while I'm working. Go me! :)

I just finished reading The Cathari Treasure, by Daniel Arthur Smith. I really loved it, and I look forward to reading the next Cameron Kincaid novel, The Somali Deception. I really love this character. He's a former legionnaire from the French Foreign Legion, and he's currently a celebrity chef of a fine restaurant. Great combo, I think. I wrote a review for The Cathari Treasure over on Amazon if you want to check it out.

I'm also going to read his previous book (I don't see the kindle version on Amazon, so I'm going to read it online here. It's called The Potter's Daughter, and it's more of a drama. It's not my usual fare, but I look forward to it. :)

Also, I managed to freewrite some fiction on my WP blog yesterday. Editing it took longer than actually writing it did, and it has some curse words, but that's just the way the characters talk. I wanted to warn anyone who doesn't like to read that kind of thing. It's just a scene, and it's about two of my favorite Immortal Watchdog characters, Damian and Cassandro Andronakis. They're brothers who were born on the island of Crete about 4,500 years ago. You can read it over on my Wordpress blog. It's not an action packed scene. It's more focused on the relationship between the brothers. I explain more about it at the beginning of the entry.

Speaking of my Wordpress blog, I think I'm going to use it more for fiction than anything. Yeah, that's what I'm going to do. I stress out over writing personal stuff, mainly because I lead a boring life. Nothing much exciting happens here, and I don't feel like always talking about what I had for lunch or whatever. I'll still jot some things down here from time to time. That's what this blog is for, after all. Just hope I don't bore everyone to tears! :P


lmeighmy: Spring 2014 (I think?) (Moi)
2013-03-30 04:59 pm
Entry tags:

30 March 2013:

Jeff and I just got home from shopping a little while ago. I got this cute little Lucky Bamboo in a brown glass pot. The thing that attracted me to it was the little fake black and blue dragonflies in it. They're so cute! I love Lucky Bamboo, but I've only gotten it for the aquariums. It's nice to have one I can sit in my window, instead. :)

I also got a six-pack of pansies in different colors. What I really wanted was calibrachoa, but we couldn't find a price and figured it would be expensive (it was a gorgeous hanging basket), so I went for the cheap pansies instead. They're cute, and I really like them, so it works.

We each got a new pair of jeans, too. It seems like he always needs them, but he doesn't buy them until they almost start falling apart. One of my pairs got worn enough that it has a little hole it it, so I needed a pair, and he decided to get a pair, too.

And I don't really know why I'm writing about our shopping trip. It's not really that interesting!

Otherwise, I'm just rocking to one of my favorite bands and catching up here and there online.

Hope you're all doing well!


lmeighmy: (D To Keep You Safe)
2012-12-05 03:57 pm

Once Again, I’m A Nanowrimo Winner:

I surpassed 50,000 words, and I’m happy about that. However, I’m not too happy about not reaching my secondary goal, which was to reach 60K. I came fairly close, however, as my final word count was 56,515. It’s still nothing to sneeze at, and my story, from what I can tell, is far from done.

I plan to finish this rough draft, then start revising it. During the revision process, I’m going to start posting it as a serial novel. I’ve never done this before. The most I usually do is write the first draft of a novel. Occasionally, I’ll read them, do some light proofreading, and then never look at them again. I’m not too confident in my editing skills. My best skill is coming up with the story and writing it as it comes to me. (This doesn’t mean I don’t plan my stories. I outline most of them beforehand. Occasionally, I don’t do any planning whatsoever. Other times, as with this story, I start out planning, then pants it for a while, then maybe start planning closer to the end (although I’m still in the middle with this one right now).

I’ve killed off a character I liked, but who was getting really dull. I’ve added a character I’d planned for a different story that’s pretty much going nowhere. And I only recently came up with the main villain, the purpose for the secondary villain, and some other small, yet important facts for the story.

In the midst of all this, I also roleplay (which is awesome fun and has resulted in a character I really love more than any other, a character who I want to explore a lot more), using blogs and email. This character is a journalist, and as I was telling my partner in the roleplay, he makes me want to change the world with my own writing. He really makes me want to improve on a lot of things within myself, and I love that. He’s opened my eyes to a world of possibilities, both personally and professionally, and that’s one of the things I love so much about writing him. He’s the kind of person I want to be, in spite of his faults and problems. It’s never too late. In fact, a person should never stop learning, should never stop trying to be more than he or she is at any given moment. I’ve got a long way to go before I can reach the point where I’ll be anything resembling satisfied, but I feel I’m on the right track.

Have you ever written a character like this–a character who, in the process of writing them, made you want to aspire to be more than you are?


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (D - To Keep You Safe)
2012-11-24 04:04 pm

*gasp* An Update (Albeit a Brief One):

I reached my Nano goal of 50K. My novel's still far from done, but at least I can take it a little easier now that I've reached the goal. :)

I've written some stuff in Dakota's blog, too. I love coming up with ideas for his story. Granted, they're non-roleplay related, but one of the things I came up with, we're actually going to work into the roleplay, even if the situation is different. I love that! :D

I've been shopping today. Some of it was Christmas gifts, and some of it was stuff I needed/ wanted anyway. I need to hold off a little bit before I buy anything else. I still need to buy the rest of Jeff's Christmas gift, too. I need to research for that, but it'll be fun research. :)

Thanksgiving was good. It was just Jeff and me, so quiet. We'd planned on going up to Joplin today, but his boss told him early this past week that he'd have to work. So we plan to go up next weekend. If he has to work again, I'll be pretty miffed!

Anyway, this is very brief, I know. Just wanted to post something so no one thinks I've died or anything. ;)


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
2012-09-11 04:00 pm

A New Writing Website, I'm A Winner, and Other Stuff:

I've been struggling for the past two weeks over what I wanted to write here. I'm resistant to the thought of going back to a "This is what I did today" format, so I'm trying to find interesting things to share on my blog. My friend, Patti, told me to write about my passion. Right now, that's writing--but not just my own, and I'll talk about that in a minute. Right now, I just want to say that things have changed a lot for me. I don't have as much free time as I did a year ago, but in many ways, that's a very good thing. It's forcing me to grow as a writer, to learn how to better manage my time, to learn discipline, to make time for what matters (even when it seems frivolous) rather than just doing whatever strikes my fancy in the moment. While that may be well and good for some people, it's very undisciplined, and one cannot be successful letting the winds take them every which way.

In an effort to earn some extra money while having fun with something I enjoy, I've become a part of a new Web site for writers. It's called Your Story Starters, and we're trying to gear it toward writers suffering from what many refer to as "writer's block," as well as teachers looking for material for their students. We offer prompts--story starters--that will get people thinking and, of course, writing. We've seen many sites on the Internet, many books, offering prompts. Most of them are very basic, or they're just plain weird or funny or--definitely not what we're offering. We try to give some tips and questions to get the writer or student thinking, to get them excited about the piece. We're not getting these prompts from other sources. We're putting a lot of time and effort into them because we want to offer the best product out there. We want to go above and beyond what everyone else is doing. We want to put out a product we can take pride in, something that people will recommend to others.

As a result of this, I'm learning a bit about social networking. I've had a Twitter account for a long time, as well as a Facebook account and a Google+ account, but I haven't used them as much as I could have. Mainly, they just seemed very overwhelming for someone who didn't really have anything to say most of the time. Now that I have something to talk about, I find I'm actually looking for things to Tweet or update about. And I'm finding I really love our hashtags (#yss and #yourstorystarters), even if we've only just begun using them. We're not making any money with this yet, but it's only a matter of time, right? The most important thing right now is that we're having fun, but we're also treating this as a real business, because that's what it is. It's work, and hard work at that, even if it is fun work. I'm glad to be a part of this, and I plan to do my part in making it the success I believe it can be.

In other news, Nanowrimo is coming up. I have no idea what I'll write. I haven't worked out any storylines. But I think I'd like to write some kind of fantasy. I have a D&D-style story I was working on, but I want to change it to fit my own fantasy world. The character names will all remain the same, but I'll have to tweak certain details. Should be interesting. I think for this year's Nanowrimo, I'll concentrate on the character's backstories. I should have plenty of information to come up with a novella length document. :)

I also have another story in the works. I'm working on the outline. It's slowgoing, and it's not for publication. It's for the roleplay. It's an interesting concept, and there's a lot to consider in this story. I want it to be complex, but interesting. Most of all, I need the characters to be real. Shouldn't be a problem. The hardest part is plotting, which is always the case, and I've got lots to go on in that regard. I'm still really loving my character, Dakota, too!

And now for the personal stuff. Eric and Chelsey have moved back up to Joplin. I won't go into detail, but Eric's already got a job, and he's also working on their new house with Chelsey's dad. It's a ton of work. Chelsey's been really busy, too. And Josiah's started pre-school. From what I've heard, he really loves it. :)

Jeff's still working at the greenhouse, and I still can't help wondering when they'll "go out of business" again or something, but I'm trying to stay positive and learn contentment where I am. Most of the time, it's relatively easy, but there are times when it's not. Just need to keep from letting those times bog me down. Easier said than done. 'Nuf said?

My mom's here. She's been here for more than two months. It's been a good visit. I feel kind of guilty spending so much time back in the studio working on this or that, but we get time to socialize in the evenings, too. And I imagine she loves the peace and quiet as much as I do.

We're hoping to go up to Joplin before my mom goes back. When the kids moved back up there, we went with them. Jeff drove the truck, and I kept him company. This was when Isaac came through, but it wasn't really that bad. It was kind of nice, actually. And as always, it was great to see Jeff's dad and step-mom. We want to go up there again within the next six weeks. We need to sit down and discuss when would be a good time. We'll also need to head to the airport at some point, when my mom has to fly back home.

Oh! One other thing on the subject of writing--sort of. I actually won a book! I follow The Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson, on Twitter and Facebook. I also subscribe to her email, since I tend to miss a lot of tweets and status updates. In one of the most recent e-mails, I saw that she was doing a mini tour on the Internet, and I could possibly win her new book, The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-By-Step Exercises To Help You Create Compelling Stories. All I had to do was comment on an entry to be eligible. I didn't expect to win anything, but I wanted to comment and let my support for The Plot Whisperer be known. I figured I'd buy the workbook after a little while, so winning wasn't really all that important to me. But I won! I actually won! :D So far, I really love it. It asks a lot of really great questions about the plot, the characters, etc. I plan to use this for my Nanowrimo book of backstories, too. It should help make my characters and their world ever more complex and realistic, as well as the main story, when I get around to creating it. :)


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
2012-07-05 01:57 pm

Story Ideas

Note: I posted this over on my main WordPress blog, but wanted to share it here, too. This is just my basic take on how to find ideas and play with them to come up with a good story that readers won't want to put down. Not everyone will agree with everything I've said, and that's fine. We're all entitled to our own opinions. :)

Where do you get them? How often? And how do you know when you've happened upon a real gem?

What makes an idea great, anyway?

You learn the answer to this question by playing around with the idea. By coming up with a setting and characters and then putting them into the situation you've cooked up. Like a new recipe, you'll have to keep tweaking your idea until it works, until all of the ingredients work together to create something you feel passionate about writing.

If it's not something you want to explore, and deeply at that, it's probably best if you file it away for later. You can always go back to it at another time. Maybe you'll get some creative spark from it when you're ready. It won't excite your readers if it doesn't excite you. And let's face it, how many times have we all had to sit and listen to boring speeches given by people who were full of head knowledge but had no passion for their subject? It's the same with stories. If you're not excited about your characters and their story, your readers will sense that, and they'll stop reading before they ever get to the bottom of page one.

So you need to be excited about your idea, and build upon it. You might start with a mood, such as a dark, rainy day. How do you turn that into a story?

First of all, you populate it. You create an antagonist and give him or her some kind of life. What kind of occupation does he have? Does she have a husband and children? What was his childhood like? What is her worst fear, and why is she so afraid of it? What makes him angry enough to kill? Keep asking yourself questions about his or her life. The answers will help you understand how he or she reacts to certain situations in your story.

Then you want to come up with the current problem, the inciting incident, the thing that changes your hero's life. Does she run into a long lost love? Has he just lost his job? Maybe a mad scientist has discovered a way to flood the earth, and he wants to blackmail its governments for his own gain.

Once you create your protagonist (yes, a villainous character can be your protagonist), you need to create his or her opponent, or antagonist. Think about what your protagonist wants most, and when you come up with two or three ideas you really like, think about who might want to keep them from attaining those goals. Once you have several of these possible antagonists, choose the one that shows the most promise, the one that most excites you. Does her best friend love her? Is he jealous of her old lover, and will he stop at nothing to get rid of her old flame? Will the jobless man's wife leave him because he can no longer support her? Or will she get a job of her own and leave him to stay home with the children--a Mr. Mom, so to speak? Will an FBI agent on the verge of quitting discover the mad scientist's plans and find a new reason to continue to serve and protect the American people? Or does he have a history with the scientist and want to assassinate him for completely different reasons, thus using the man's plans as justification to get rid of him?

And there are many other possibilities. You are only limited by your imagination. Don't dismiss any idea as too crazy or too stupid or too impossible, at least not until you gather all your ideas and start weeding through them. In the brainstorming stage, you don't want to discount any ideas that show some kind of promise.

Look everywhere for ideas. The news, magazine articles, real life. You might get the seed of an idea from one place, then get ideas from other sources to work in with it. Combine ideas until you hit upon the story you want to write, then flesh it out. Create your world, populate it, and have fun doing it. Fun is important! Passion is vital.

And if the passion wanes, don't throw it away or send it to the recycle bin. File it away for later. There might be elements—characters or settings or situations, maybe even just a few snappy lines of dialog—that you'll want to use somewhere else later. If boredom with your story overtakes you, remember that it's a natural part of the process. Not all stories keep us excited all the time. If you can't seem to revive your fire right now, file it away and move on to something else that sparks your interest.

Where do you get your story ideas? How do you go about creating the basic story idea, setting, and characters? Do you start with a mood? A character? A question?

lmeighmy: (Animated Harvest & Raven)
2012-05-28 11:44 am

Adventures in Eighmyland

Jeff's finally back to five days a week. He'd been working 6-day weeks for about 2-3 months. Now that he's off that extra day, it gives us time to do some other stuff if we want to, although we haven't yet. He spent this past Friday mowing the lawn. Fun day off! :P But it freed him up to shop on Saturday. The AC in our car smells weird when we turn it on, so we have to drive around with the windows down and the AC off. Because of this, we did our shopping early on Saturday morning. We came home, Jeff did some more mowing, then took a shower, then we went out to get some new sneakers. We both needed them. I got a pair of Ryka Devotion trainers. I love them! :D We also went to PetCo. My Betta died, so we got a new one. Black Jack (his body was very dark red and looked almost black, but his fins and tail were blood red with one streak of blue) was a Crown Tail Betta. The new one is a veil tail. He's teal and blue with a little red. I also got a cory cat to replace the one that died a while back. I got a few for the main aquarium, too--including two new Dwarf African Frogs! :D I've missed having them. They're soooo cute! :)

Anyway, that's been about the most exciting day lately. :P

We've continued going over to the kids' apartment on Tuesday nights. Last week, we had Chocolate Chip Kahlua (I used Kamora instead of Kahlua, though) cake to celebrate both of their birthdays, which are exactly one week apart. I also got a few things for Chelsey. Eric had wanted some protein shake mixes for his birthday, and we'd given those to him the week before. He was really excited about them, too. :) And we also played Apples to Apples. That's a very fun word game.

Health and fitness stuff under here... )

I've been working on backstories for the characters in a new story I plan to write. Right now, I'm working on their backstories so I can get to know them. These stories show where they're coming from, and it will help me determine where the main story will go. I'm really excited about it. It's an alternate universe story, but the alternate universe, at the beginning, is only slightly different from ours. Something will happen that will change things dramatically. I can't wait to explore all my ideas--ones I have now and ones I'll get later on. Writing is an adventure! :D

And that's about it. Now I've got to go grab my lunch and start roleplaying! :)

lmeighmy: (Animated Harvest & Raven)
2012-04-27 08:22 am

Another Update? Really??

Just checking my e-mail before I go workout, and I thought I'd update here. Things are going well. I got a new test kit for the aquariums, and I tested them all yesterday. Everything looks fairly good, but I need to get something to raise the pH level in the community tank. Monday (I think), we noticed we had two new baby guppies. Well, one of them has disappeared (likely eaten by one of the adult fish), but now we have four new teeny tiny baby guppies! :D They're so, so cute!

I've also begun buying Christmas cards. I wanted to send cards from Leanin' Tree, but they're more expensive than the ones I usually get, so I'm buying a few at a time. I love Leanin' Tree cards. :)

I've been doing a little writing. I'm working on a story for the roleplay, but I'm also writing backstories for some characters for another upcoming story idea. I also have another scene/short in mind for a story I've been thinking about for a while, but I haven't started it yet. But writing comes after homey stuff. I try to do things around the house in the mornings before I get online. This morning I just did the dishes and fed the fish. Normally, I'd be working out right now--or fixing breakfasts for the next few days, but I decided to wait a bit. I have to get some chili started in the slow cooker, and thought maybe I could work out before that, then take my shower afterward. I hope to get some writing in before my workout.

Boring enough for you? ;)

We've been hanging out at the kids' place on Tuesday nights. We switched it because Eric prefers any other weeknight to Fridays, but we can switch once in a while if we need to. Anyway, Eric's trying to get me to convince Jeff to work out with him. I'm trying, but it's not easy. I'm not hounding him or anything, but I want Jeff to be in good physical shape.

As for me, I've started doing Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim: 5 Really Big Miles. It's a lot of fun, but hard! The farthest I've gotten so far is just a little past the three mile mark. But that's okay. I'm easing into it. I want to be fit, but I don't want to kill myself doing it! :P Anyway, in spite of how hard it is--or because of it--I'm having a lot of fun. I can't wait to work out again today!

Have a good one!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Ben Hill: Casual)
2012-04-17 01:38 pm

Can Anyone Say "Update?"

I know I haven't posted anything here in a really long time, so I thought I'd tell you what's been going on here--even if it's a bit boring. ;)

I'm getting over a bout with the flu. Lots of coughing, fever and chills early on, but it's getting better. I haven't been able to work out in a while, and I've missed it. Just don't want to start up again too soon. I've done that, and I had a relapse. I want to be careful so I get over this bug.

Speaking of working out, I'd been doing some Walk Fit and Walk Strong workouts. The Walk Strong workout uses hand weights, and I loved it, but I wanted something new. I finally got a DVD I'd been eyeing for a short time: Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim: 5 Really Big Miles. I haven't had a chance to try it yet. I got sick just after. I hope to start it later this week. There's another DVD I'd like to get, as well: Leslie Sansone: Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan. And this: Leslie Sansone: Walk It Off & Tone It Up (2011). I just found out about her Walk By Faith series, a "Christian inspired workout series," too. Wow! :D Anyway, I plan to get back into the ones I have, at least. Some of the reviews for these, from actual users, are very inspirational.

I'm still writing, though not quite as much. I've hardly written anything since I first came down with the flu, but what I am working on, I'm having a lot of fun with. 10K Day is coming up next Wednesday, and I plan to put in as much time as I can in my AAU story, as that's the one I'm concentrating on right now.

We had bad storms come through this past weekend. There was a tornado in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I think that's about an hour from us, maybe 45 minutes. That was the first one I'd heard about. I lost track after that, but I know there were a ton of them--over 120 tornadoes altogether. Anyone know of any companies that are hiring in areas that rarely/never get tornadoes? ;)

Jeff and I have started going over to Eric and Chelsey's place once a week to use their bandwidth and hang out with them. We're going twice this week, though. We're going to play some Dictionary Dabble with them tonight. :) I'll be downloading some episodes of Highlander: The Series and Full Metal Jousting while I'm there, too.

And I got a new phone--a Samsung Captivate Glide! I absolutely love it, but it's so tempting to go above and beyond the 300MB data plan. Thankfully, I can use Wi-fi when we're out, too!

Other than what I've mentioned, there's not really much going on here. Still roleplaying and having a ball with Lucky Raven, but I think Dakota has taken over as king. And then there's Doc, as well. I'm still kind of feeling him out, but I'm getting a good handle on his character. As far as which character's my favorite though? I'd have to say Dakota--by a long shot. He's becoming everything I envisioned him to be, and then some. I also need to do some work with Lucky, and I look forward to it, even if it will be slow going. :)

I've also started my own private blog over on Word Press. Just a place to vent and dream and other stuff.

I'd better go. I need to start getting my stuff together for tonight.

Have a good one!

lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
2012-02-01 09:03 pm

10K In A Day

Today was Wednesday Writing Sprints over at Patti's Blog, not 10K Day. I wasn't shooting for 10K--at least I didn't start out the day with that goal in mind. But I sometimes have the habit of checking my word count frequently. Today, I checked it each time I finished working on something. And when my word count got up over 8K, I knew I had to try for 10K. I'm glad I did. That's the most writing I've done in one day in a long time! :D

So, I wrote part of a story for the roleplay, then went on to write a bunch of diary entries (notes, story ideas, shorts). By the end of the day, my word count total rose to 10,436!

And now, it's late. I need to get off here and get ready for bed!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Default)
2012-01-22 07:15 am

I'm Here! Imagine that.

I've been doing a bit of writing lately. I've got three stories going right now--sort of. I've got one in progress that goes along with the roleplay, and it's going well. It involves Dakota McCabe, from my Lucky Raven stories.

I'm also planning a fanfiction mashup story that also involves Dakota. I don't write a lot of fanfiction, but I've been watching Highlander lately, and I wondered what would happen if Dakota, an ex-Marine and former journalist, came across Duncan MacLeod--either saw him fight, win and have a quickening, or saw him die and come back to life. With his sense of curiosity, there's sure to be some kind of adventure in there.

And the third is in the character journaling stages. I've been writing character journals for Damian and Casandro, two of my Immortal Watchdogs characters. They're brothers from Crete. I have a good grasp of what Damian's story is--or at least his purpose. I've been stumped on Casandro's purpose for a while now, but I think it's finally coming together. This is what I love about character journaling. You can learn a lot about the character, but you can also learn some things about their backstory and their current and future stories. Awesome! :D

My mini is doing well. She's not as fast as she could be, since she's got a single core processor, but she's great for writing. She's my main word processor, but I've done a little writing on the biggie, too. The biggie is having some problems. That's nothing new, since he's about three or four years old now. We plan to take him to a computer repair shop at some point. If he can't be fixed, we may just get another mini laptop.

Jeff and I went down to Moka Joe's on Tuesday. We took both the mini and the biggie. Jeff used the biggie to check out some companies on Angie's List, and he loved it! I wrote a character journal entry on the mini and talked to Maria. I also got a free decaf Americano. It was a good night. :)

The pupplet and the kitty are both doing well, and we've only lost one fish recently. It was one of the neons, and it wasn't totally unexpected.

Jeff started laying carpet in our third bedroom. He also repainted the walls. He had to move everything out, of course, and he put our empty 20-gallon aquarium into the master bedroom. I want to set it up for fire-bellied toads, but I need to find out more about keeping them. And I'm not sure what to do about the crickets. If I can buy some in town instead of going eleven miles to PetCo, that would make it easier. I don't want to raise them myself, but that's a possibility, too.

My mom went back home last weekend. She had a good trip, but she was kind of annoyed with security for making her take off her coat and shoes, and I guess they had a hard time getting her off the plane at the other end. But now she's home, and all is well! :)

And my battery is starting to get low, but the nearest outlet is too loose to hold the power supply's plug in place, so I'd better wrap this up for now. I hope you're all doing great!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
2012-01-16 07:51 am

Writing Article -- Creating: Your Creative Paradigm

Getting your first draft written is a major strategic goal in writing your novel. But how do you get there? You need what I call a "creative paradigm" -- a method for doing your creative work. Creation tends to be messy and chaotic and hard. Your first draft is all about creation. Once you've got your first draft written, you'll be able to focus on editing, which is a whole other game. But you'll never have anything to edit until you've first created it, so in this article, let's worry only about the creative part.

When I was writing my book, WRITING FICTION FOR DUMMIES, my editor believed that there is one best creative paradigm to get that first draft done. She thought it was "obvious" that you should write an outline first, then write your novel sticking tightly to the outline. If that were the only possible creative paradigm, a lot of great books would never have been written. Plenty of authors simply can't write a novel from an outline. Their brains aren't wired that way.

In my book, I identified four common creative paradigms for getting to that first draft. Here they are:

* "Seat of the pants." When you write by the seat of your pants, you don't know how the story is going to end. You typically don't even know what's going to happen on the next page. You just sit down and start typing.

Stephen King writes by the seat of his pants, and he's done all right with it. So has Jerry Jenkins, author of the LEFT BEHIND series of apocalyptic novels. This is a very common road to the first draft. If you're a seat-of-the-pants writer (often called an SOTP), then don't try to change yourself. There's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with your method. However, when your first draft is done, there'll be a lot wrong with your manuscript. It'll be a big brick of paper with a wandering story that had no planning, and so it's going to need major revisions. That's the biggest problem with writing by the seat of your pants.

Most SOTP writers love the revision process, so they aren't intimidated by the fact that they're going to have to do a lot of it. Once the first draft is done, for them the real fun begins.

Sometimes the SOTP creative paradigm is called "organic" writing. In my view, this label really doesn't make any sense. Seat-of-the-pants writing is no more natural than any other creative paradigm and it doesn't produce inherently better final products.

* "Edit as you go." This creative paradigm is similar to writing by the seat of your pants except that you don't go very far before you stop and edit what you just wrote. Maybe every page. Maybe every scene. But you edit it. And edit it again. And again. Until it's perfect. Only then do you move on.

This is a fairly slow way to write a first draft, because you may revise a single page 20 times before you move on. It may seem like your progess is frozen-slug slow. But when the draft is done, the book is done. It's as perfect as you're going to make it. That's one of the nice things about the edit-as-you-go creative paradigm. You don't have a long extended phase of revisions to do after you finish the first draft. You just turn it in and move on to the next project.

Dean Koontz is a well-known edit-as-you-go writer, and his results speak for themselves. This method is fairly rare, but if it's your style, then it's your style and you probably can't imagine doing it any other way.

* "Outlining." Many writers simply can't face the idea of writing a first draft unless they know where they're going. All the way, in detail. So they first write an "outline." This is NOT the multi-level outline that you learned in fifth grade, using bullet points labeled with Roman numerals, letters and numbers. Instead, a novel "outline" is a synopsis, a narrative summary of the story, told in present tense and focusing on the plot, but possibly including some discussions of character development. Your outline may be a short synopsis of two pages, the typical length that you'd submit to an editor when trying to sell your book. It may be a twenty page synopsis with every scene sketched in. It may be a 150 page tome that functions as a very short first draft.

Robert Ludlum was famous for writing enormously long synopses for his spy novels. Many other writers over the years have found that they can't write a novel without an outline. If you're an outliner, then outline and be proud of it. Don't let anyone tell you that you're somehow more rigid and less natural than an SOTP. Write your novel the way you want to write it. If outlining works for you, then use it.

* "The Snowflake method." If I'm famous for anything, it's for inventing this creative paradigm, which I named after the famous "snowflake fractal" from pure mathematics. The main idea of the Snowflake is that you start small with one single story concept and then flesh it out in a succession of steps, each time adding more detail. You alternately work on the plot and the characters until you've got a strategic plan to guide you in writing your first draft.

In early 2003, I posted an article on my web site spelling out the Snowflake method. I had used the method to write my first published novel, and it just felt natural to me. (I used a very early version of the Snowflake to write my Ph.D. thesis in physics when I was at Berkeley back in 1986.) I've been pleased that the Snowflake has taken off massively all around the world. The Snowflake article on my web site has been viewed over 2 million times. Clearly, it struck a nerve. But I'm the first to tell you that it's not the only way to write a novel. If it works for you, then use it. Otherwise, find another road to nirvana.

How do you decide what creative paradigm you should use to write your novel?

I suspect that in reading the descriptions of the four paradigms above, one of them seemed natural to you and the others seemed unnatural. In that case, try the one that sounds natural. It's a good bet that your brain is wired to use that method. You may find that none of them seem natural. In that case, try each one for a month or so. See what works. When your book is published, nobody is going to know or care which creative paradigm you used to write your first draft. They'll care about whether your story works. Your story has the best chance of working if you write it using a creative paradigm that suits you. If you want to know more about each of the four paradigms, then feel free to consult chapter 4 of my book, WRITING FICTION FOR DUMMIES, which has much more detail than I've had room for here.


A Special Deal From Larry

My friend, Larry Brooks, just e-mailed me a few days ago to let me know that his latest e-book is now available, WARM HUGS FOR WRITERS. It includes over 30 chapters, each containing a short essay on a nugget of wisdom about writing that Larry learned the hard way.

Larry's got a special deal going right now for his book. Just do these two things:
  • Buy WARM HUGS FOR WRITERS on Larry's web site or from Amazon.
  • Send Larry an email containing the electronic receipt, with the words "Randy Sent Me" in the subject line.
If you do those two things, Larry will send you a bonus e-book -- your choice of one of several of his other e-books on the craft of fiction or one of his e-book novels.

To find out all about WARM HUGS FOR WRITERS and see the list of bonus e-books Larry's offering and get his email address, check out this page: http://storyfix.com/warm-hugs-for-writers

Larry always has good things to say about the craft of writing. He's one of my most respected teachers of fiction writing. And by the way, he's also a heck of a good novelist.

No, Larry didn't pay me to say any of that. I just like his stuff. A lot. You might too.


This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 29,000 readers, every month. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
2011-11-21 12:53 pm

Nanowrimo, Days 15-21:

It's been several days since I've posted my progress, so thought I should do that today. I've written every day this month (so far) except for the 11th, 12th, 18th, and 19th. That's 16 days' worth of writing, and only one of those was under the suggested daily amount of 1,667 words. I'm not stressing over the word count. I enjoy writing, and I write as much as I can each day. That said, looking back on what I've written, it's nice to see my stats:
Tuesday, Nov. 15 -- Daily Word Count: 4,010 | Novel's Word Count: 35,150
Wednesday, Nov. 16 -- Daily Word Count: 3,935 | Novel's Word Count: 39,085
Thursday, Nov. 17 -- Daily Word Count: 1,806 | Novel's Word Count: 47,475
Sunday, Nov. 20 -- Daily Word Count: 2,898 | Novel's Word Count: 50,373
Monday, Nov. 21 -- Daily Word Count: 1,606 | 52,044

I hope to write a little bit more. I'm about to add a new scene for Dakota. So far, the additions for his part in the storyline are going well. And now Lucky's about to meet his real dad, which really pleases me! :)

Anyway, I'm still just as excited about this story as I was when I first started planning it. I'm also looking forward to working on future stories for the series. Maybe I'll even turn them into movie scripts. Wouldn't that be something? :D