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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Wibbles

At last, I sit down on Wednesday night to catch up on things. As usual, let’s start with greetings to the new observers at the free-range insane asylum:
  • Cherie Reich — a fellow #FridayFlash’er, and reviews books on her blog as well. (I hope she gets to White Pickups when the time comes.)
  • Craig WF Smith — Craig’s fantasy novels, The Red Stone and Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar, are in print. Zoolin Vale is also available on Kindle (Craig doesn’t know why the publisher released his second book first either). Craig also writes some #FridayFlash.
  • Tony Cowin — he writes horror! He reviews movies!
We went to the resort Sunday afternoon, along with M.A.E. and her new boyfriend as guests. I was surprised that Mason was reluctant to get in the pool, but maybe it was all the other people around. It took him about 20 minutes to decide he wanted to be in there, and that’s where he stayed until he was too cold to stay in. We did slather him up pretty well with sunscreen, so he didn’t burn.

I mostly had him through the afternoon, but Daughter Dearest and Mrs. Fetched did pitch in. I brought my Kindle, but never got a chance to do any reading.

On the writing end of things, my two #FridayFlash pieces Kate’s Wings and the follow-up Freak of Nature, gathered a lot of comments along the lines of “this would be a great YA novel.” That came as a surprise, as I never really set out to write YA. There are plenty of very good writers out there either publishing YA or trying to get published (some of whom commented on the two stories), and frankly the market feels a little crowded.

But… I did say a while ago that I felt like Something Big was brewing, and this could have been it. Almost against my will, I started thinking about how a story would develop — and things started click click click falling in place. But I’m committed to finishing Pickups and Pestilence, so it has to wait a while.

I remembered I’d downloaded a copy of a mindmap template called StoryMap a while ago, and decided to get the details organized so I could come back to it later (after getting the current project conquered and reading a couple YA novels to see how they go). The above is a screen capture of what I have so far — left side is world-building, right side is plot. You can tell what I’ve mostly focused on. ;-) I couldn’t remember where I’d found it, only that it was a guest post on someone’s blog. But when I posted on Google+, Trevor Mcpherson sent me the link, not realizing it was his template I was working from! By the way, StoryMap is a FreeMind map — FreeMind is free and cross-platform (a Java app) so you don’t have to worry about money or having the wrong OS.

Now if I could only find a way to download all this into Scrivener, with all the pieces in their proper pigeonholes. Scrivener has great organizational tools, but I prefer mind-mapping for initial staging. It just works better for me.

For those who think writing a story isn’t all that difficult, I refer you to John Wiswell’s How I Wrote My Novel, True Story of John 11 that he posted today. Even if you do understand what’s involved, it’s an interesting read and a great look behind the curtain as he wrote a 105,000 word first draft in five months. As he progressed, he talked about designating a day off from writing and sticking to it. I think that’s a pretty good idea, especially since I have a grandson (and a great-nephew) who are highly attached to me and a huge “to read” pile. So I’m going to designate an arbitrary day “Reading Day” and maybe another day “Me and the Toddlers Day.”

Speaking of toddlers, Skylar has the Screech of Toddler Rage™ down pat. If anything, he’s hit the Terrible Twos earlier (age-wise) than Mason. It won’t be long before they’re both bellowing, “MINE!!!

Work… is work. Looks like I’ll be flying out to the west coast for training in late September. This will be my first flight post-bin Laden’s demise, but I doubt the TSA will act accordingly. Weather permitting, I’ll travel in shorts, a tight T-shirt, and sandals. Even with nowhere to hide anything, I’ll still get yanked out of line and probed. I may try to embarrass them, although I’m not sure they have that capacity.


  1. I like it at the free-range insane asylum. They treat me nicely, and I'm free to let my imagination go wild.

    Thanks so much for mentioning my book! I must get a straight answer from the publisher about it. I'm sure people would like to buy the first one first. Maybe even both together.

    Glad you're considering writing the YA novel. I think it has the potential to do great. And I like the approach of getting the story elements down in the StoryMap. I must try it out.

    And you're right, writing a novel isn't easy. Been stuck midway with my current one for awhile, but I think I finally have it figured out.

    Also thanks for reading my latest #fridayflash. I think you've got what I was trying to do with the story spot on. Will be fixing that typo now too.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Hi Craig! You might want to tell your pub that at least one person isn't keen on reading books out of order. ;-)

    Let me know how the mindmap works. It might take a couple tries to get used to, like any other software.

    Glad to help with the typo… such a pain they are!

  3. I've tried other mapping programs; I'll take a look at StoryMap. I also downloaded this week a program called Storybook that looks promising.

  4. I loved reading this - is that you in the pool with the little boy and the lady?

    I found the whole piece so interesting. I hope you do develop those flashes into a YA I think them very worthy of it. I know what you mean about reading - btw how are you coping with my manuscript ^__^

    I think you must be very clever to want to integrate that mind map into scrivener - you know what I'm like using the programme tee-hee

    Thanks for sharing a slice of your life with us, I feel I know you just a tiny bit more.


  5. Welcome to the new folks! Love that photo, Far!

  6. Evening all!

    Tim, StoryMap is a template that can be used with FreeMind. I've used it in the past for work and blogging projects; this is the first time I used it for fiction.

    Helen, that's no lady, that's Daughter Dearest! And yes, that's me in the pic too. I think Mrs. Fetched took that one. As for your MSS, I got off to a slow start with the first six chapters then didn't get to it for a while. So I re-started again yesterday and got about a third of the way through it as of today. I'll try to finish it up this week. I might be really clever if I *could* get all that automatically imported into Scrivener… but I doubt I'm that clever. :-)

    Hi Boran! Thanks much… need to go check out your new painting project too.


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