mellymell: (Default)
I wrote this up raw on 750words this morning (my first visit there all month, which is just sad). I'm not sure if I might edit it and put it up on my writer's blog as well. It does contain somewhat pertinent information to my identity as a writer.

Oh, right. I have a writer's blog now and a pen name M.L. Hamilton (a combination of my first two initials and my mother's maiden name). I certainly hope I don't discover anymore hidden interests that might turn into major personal ventures, because I'm stretched pretty thin as far as alternate identities go.

Anyway, without further ado, if you ever wondered about my ponderings on what it means to me to be "well read" or what sort of English student I was as a 17-year-old...

(*spoiler!* A terrible one.) )
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
I have to say, I enjoyed Catching Fire and Mockingjay a lot more than The Hunger Games.

Also, in light of my discussion with [livejournal.com profile] padawansguide last time, I paid special mind not to spoil myself too much before reading these two. I didn't go off reading lengthy summaries of the books or looking for who dies in advance. I left it to my own guesses (which were right in most cases) and just jumped in and devoured them.

My thoughts and like last time, there will be spoilers and way too many words. )

Also, I chopped off about half the length of my hair on Friday. It's now at about mid-back rather than waist length and I like it a lot!
mellymell: (Default)
I've been reading a lot of writer's blogs lately, thanks to YA Highway's Field Trip Fridays. Yesterday, they had an article listed that, at first, I was only mildly intrigued by. But it was in list form and so I guess for me it was a little extra eye-catching. Write It Sideways put out a list of 6 tips for busy people to clear their heads of noise so they can sit down and write in those precious moments they can find in a day to actually sit down. The very first tip threw out a suggestion to dump all those random thoughts that tend to dominate our minds in the mornings and that a great place to do it was 750words.com.

At first I thought, "do I really need yet another site to update and/or fail at updating" and thought I might use LJ for my daily brain dump. But, the explanation on the homepage of the site is very convincing that I might rather throw all that stuff there instead of on a blog or social networking site where I might want to remember to lock those posts and that I wouldn't need the same features and stuff that LJ has. I thought I'd give it a try and 15 minutes later, I had reached my 750 words of stream of consciousness bull shit that no one, including me, ever wants to read. I felt a little refreshed and a little less foggy headed like I could get up and carry on with my day without that noise bumping around inside my head distracting me.

They've got a nifty little score card as a mild incentive to continue everyday and they even have monthly challenges you can sign up for with rewards (name on the Wall of Awesomeness) and consequences (name on the Wall of Shame) if you succeed or fail to spit out your 750 words everyday for a month.

But perhaps the coolest feature of the site is the analyzing they do of your entries once you're done. They analyze the time it took you to reach 750, how many times you got distracted (breaks of 3 minutes or more), how many words per minute, how many minutes you were actually typing, etc. Then, they've got stuff that shows the rating of your entry (G, PG, etc.), the weather while you were writing, a whole series of pie charts that analyze the mood of your writing based on words you use and how they're used and a frequently used words list. Even though the site, from a user standpoint, is very stripped down and simple, the tool itself is pretty impressive.

So, I'm using it to try to get all the pointless drivel out of my head that no one wants to read and perhaps get back to posting decent entries here. I've deleted so many half finished, rambling entries in the past couple of months it's not even funny. I'm having a lot of trouble focusing and getting motivated lately, so I'm hoping this will help. Also, I've been working on my fiction again lately and I need every little bit of help I can get to make the most of the moments I can steal away each day to get something decent on the page.
mellymell: (Default)
A lengthy, photo heavy entry on our trip to Asheville is festering in the browser on my laptop, but there's other stuff going on... mostly gardening.

Today, we had to bid farewell to our largest tree. I noticed while I was out in the yard with Jonah on Monday that it was leaning considerably. We've been keeping an eye on it for a couple of seasons; watching it lose large branches & develop holes between the roots & the soil. A guy came out to look at it yesterday morning & suggested we get it cut out as soon as possible. The tree had three leads that met on about a 2 or 3 foot tall trunk. The lead that aimed directly at our neighbours' house had developed a crack all the way through the trunk to the ground. I'm honestly not sure what was still holding it up. Once we accepted his bid, he called up his climber to come out & help him tie it off to one of the other two leads, which were still sturdy & healthy, so it wouldn't fall on our neighbours' house overnight before they could get back out this morning. Now there's a huge hole in the yard & I don't just mean the one in the ground. The whole yard is changed it seems. We're going to go out this weekend & find the biggest maple we can get to replace it.

On the plus side, while they were out here, we had them cut out the burning bush which was way too big of a shrub to be where it was (I had to severely prune it twice each spring), as well as the two holly stumps that WILL NOT DIE! Both of those had been cut out before we bought the house. Both stumps kept sprouting up from the roots. One was in the front garden where I wrestled with its roots every spring & fall as I was planting. I'm very glad to have those all gone! I also just realized that was the last of the landscaping that was done before we got our hands on this place. All prior foundation plantings are now gone. I can now finish putting in the rest of the 8 flats of pansies I started planting last weekend, unobstructed by stupid holly roots.

Also, we just now have the first tomatillos on our plant. Lots of them! Hope they finish before frost.

Other than that:
I'm wrestling with fabric options for my bridesmaid dress (wants vs budget vs fabric snobbery) as I begin putting together my mockup.

Jonah's potty tra ining is still going well with slow but frequent improvement.

We've got one more "free" weekend before we pretty much have stuff every weekend until the end of the year.

We finally have another soccer game this weekend. We missed 2 weeks ago & last weekend was a bye. I'm sure Jonah has missed it.

Jonah's teacher asked me about my jewelry yesterday which sent me scrambling to renew expired listings after handing her a business card. I'm utterly embarrassed by how much I've neglected that stuff. I've got a ton of stuff that needs to be photographed & listed. A ton of stuff that I made almost a year ago & never listed. Yes, it's despicable. My last entry on my jewelry blog was freaking lamp pulls! Maybe I can squeak out an hour or two per week to devote to this. Agggh! Too much stuff, no time!

I'm just not even going to think about writing again until after the new year. Okay, one quick thing: it's important that my romance is just something to get readers emotionally invested in the characters & that it doesn't become the focus of the story. A romance is not a plot! I refuse to even open my document for fear of getting sucked in (or seeing how bad it is after some distance). After talking to some people about it at Dragon*Con, I realize just how many questions are still unanswered. I've only scratched the surface here. Huge project is ENORMOUS! I think my next big question to answer will be "why is there a war & how does that all fit in?" I've got to stop filing these away under "answer eventually" & start picking them off one by one until the blanks are filled.

I suppose I'll stop rambling & relax some tonight. The weather is absolutely gorgeous lately, if not a little chilly for my tastes at night. Having the windows open during the day has been nice, except for today when I was inundated by the smell of two stroke engines. Maybe I'll get the Asheville post fished up tomorrow.

Posted via LjBeetle
mellymell: (Default)
I want to see a Family Guy style tangent where they parody Blue's Clues. When he asks Blue a question in the beginning and Blue puts a big blue paw print on the screen to indicate they have to spend 20 minutes playing Blue's Clues for him to find the answer, I want him to go off on her about, "JUST FUCKING TELL ME, I'M TIRED OF YOUR GAMES!"

I can totally see it.
mellymell: (Default)
A little nugget of brilliance and hilarity from [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda on the theory of developing plot.

See? My life is NOT 100% flood engrossed this week. No, really, it's not!

Nice.

Mar. 16th, 2010 07:51 pm
mellymell: (Default)
As snagged from [livejournal.com profile] saraphina_marie's journal:

William Shakespeare

He that sleeps feels not the mellymell

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:




It sounds dirty and that makes me giggle. Kind of like a Shakespearean version of adding "in bed" to a cookie fortune.

I had this whole "woe is me, our kitty was lost on the Ides of March" post written. But the ol' el-jay magic seems to work even if you don't click "post". I left the entry in progress up to run to the grocery for the things I had forgotten earlier. While I was gone, Chris called to tell me Mogwai had returned. I had just put a sign up at the front of the neighborhood less than an hour prior. He had been missing since I let him out yesterday morning. We were quite worried, since he's usually within earshot. I was concerned, now that we've finished the fence and filled in Sunflower's hole, that he couldn't get back into the yard anymore. I think I'll keep him inside for a while.

In other news, Jonah and I had a fun "not school" day today. He's on spring break, and on the days he'd normally go to school, I'm trying to do fun stuff with him. We met Chris at Gabby's Burgers and Fries (mmm, sweet potato fries) for lunch and then we went just around the corner to the Adventure Science Center. The last time we went, Jonah was probably less than 2 and coming down with a bug, so he didn't get much out of it. He had a lot more fun this time! We might consider a membership there later on. Seems like a great place to spend a few hours on days when the weather is not zoo compatible. After that, we went by Sonic to get a milkshake to split (should have remembered that Bobbie's Dairy Dip is open again). Fun day. Nice distraction from worrying about the cat. We're making pizza for dinner and Jonah will probably get the last bowl of ice cream (since he missed out last night).

I'll probably have more insomnia tonight. It's not missing cat induced, I'm sure, but I've barely slept for the past three nights even though I'm exhausted. Kind of sick of this cycle, actually. I'd like to get reliable sleep. I don't have an infant anymore. I should be able to sleep, damn it! Going to bed earlier only seems to exacerbate the problem. So, I might try staying up late tonight... and writing. If I'm going to be awake, I might as well be productive, right. Plus, I'm pretty sure part of what kept me awake last night was plot bunnies anyway. I put in over 1500 words yesterday, despite my best efforts to get distracted. Just couldn't' focus on anything yesterday for some reason.
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
Yesterday, I:
1. Cleaned up our construction site a bit.
2. Finished prepping for paint (I swear, white plaster on white walls with basically spot lighting, I kept finding spots I missed while sanding).
3. Painted (2 coats back-to-back, looks fantastic, very warm and dramatic, something about the color of coffee with cream).
4. Cleaned up from painting (removing tape and what not).
5. Put a coat of sealant on the floor and vanity top.
6. Inhaled more than my fair share of noxious fumes. If I had tried to smoke a cigar at that point, I might have combusted.

During all of that, which admittedly started much later in the day than I wished for it to, I was drinking coffee, finishing my final cup around 7pm.

I am an idiot.

So, I awoke to, faintly bouncing 'round the room, the echo of whomever spoke. )

Also, writing advice from Kerouac )
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
I hadn't really thought about writing lately. But I guess it's when your mind is occupied by other things that these ideas pop in, uninvited but welcome. Thusly, something popped in my head at the beginning of the week that flung me into a brainstorm.

One of the biggest things that bugged me about the Twilight series (yes, this again) is that in the end, after what was supposed to be a series of epic struggles, they sustained no loss of life. SPOILERS ) I want to avoid that. I wanted a bittersweet ending that looks to the future with hope and to the past with grief. I think those are much more realistic and I actually feel more fulfilled by them. It better matches the gravity of the rest of the story, I think.

So, in an effort to be the anti-Twilight, I looked critically at what I've got going on so far. I haven't even gotten into outlining the third book, really, because it's mostly strategizing, battle, battle, battle, end. Notes to describe that are short right now and I don't really see a need to elaborate yet. I did have a vague notion that a certain couple would get together and kind of live happily ever after. But then I realized that I was falling into exactly what I detest.

So, I looked at all my main characters and thought, "who can I kill?" The answer was obvious, but I didn't want to admit it at first. I like this guy a lot. He's funny, he's edgy, at times he's even abrasive. But he's also someone you can really count on to have your back and he's a pretty ruthless warrior in an all sorts of awesome kind of way (as opposed to Aedan who is more strategical in the way he fights, this guy just tears through people). But, he's got to die. There's nothing for it. I mulled it over for two days before I opened my outline to add in the note.

My thought process on why I chose him, includes vague SPOILERS. )

But anyway, that's not what I've been writing about for the past two days. Something about deciding to kill off one character created another one. This character creates a segue to the third book and a whole new landscape of characters to introduce there. In fact, I'm pretty sure what I very quickly put down in the past two days equals the second to last chapter in the second book. I've never been this prolific this quickly before (we're talking 2-3 total hours of work here). But there are lots of characters talking in this scene so lots of dialog which eats up lots of words quickly (lots, one more time, lots). There are five heads being put together on what's next after the biggest attack in book two. Three more characters come in at the end of the chapter to see what's going on which gives me a segue to the final chapter (which contains some gushy lovey stuff that I don't feel like writing out right now and also, I need to develop the characters involved a little more or else their dialog won't come naturally). I basically just laid out the plot to the third book, or at least the plot as it's planned right now, from my characters' points of view. Of course, some unforeseen things will come up to make it all exciting (like the aforementioned death and things that I haven't even foreseen yet and I'm god here).

That said, how about some stats:
Outline - 26565 words (1177 written yesterday and 1607 today) and 35 pages.
Draft (unchanged) - 6540 words and 23 pages.

Why am I basically drafting in my outline? Because sometimes, I have no idea where these pieces are going to wind up but I have to get them out when they come. Even if it reads like a draft, it's just easier to organize in an outline format until I get to that point in the draft. I'm beginning to truly believe there's no right and wrong way to go about this (despite the various lists of advice I've been reading from authors and even readers of fiction lately). So, I'm not worrying so much about my process anymore. Whatever works, that's what's right and this is definitely working.

I'll probably put it aside now for who knows how long until the next piece grabs me and I just have pick it up again. That's how I roll and the rolling is good.
mellymell: (Default)
I meant to post this yesterday, but I got a little busy with... stuff and live-tweeting the Olympic Opening Ceremonies (until Chris told me to stop, but then I started again when he passed out on the couch). More on that later. For now...

Wherein I attempt to find a silver lining, because gold is kind of garish. )
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
I'm kind of hung up on this music and writing thing. I'm rediscovering music after a period of a few years where it hasn't been as big of a part of my life. I forget sometimes just how connected I am and how much better things work when I've got a melody streaming into my ears from somewhere. Silence is indeed golden and I appreciate it when I'm able to snag some. But the wheels of the machine turn in time to a tune.

I just read this article and brief interview with Neil Gaiman and apparently he writes with music if he's in a place where he's able. So, if one of the most prolific and talented writers of our time does it, there must be something to it, right?

Slow progress this week. )

Boring statistics. )
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
I haz a plot (I think)! I came up with the end of the story today. . . or rather the end of a story. I still don't know where I'll draw the lines as far as "the end". I'm just going to write it all out and then figure it out later. I think it would be a really great place to end the first segment though, if I can manage it. Me being in a kind of dark place mentally right now might have a lot to do with it, but the end is rather devastating. But there is an open ended, "we're picking up the pieces and going to move on" feel to it, but still, pretty devastating. Right now it's just notes because I don't have the mental capacity to go there yet. It made me tear up today just to write the notes. That's either a really good sign or a sign I need to work on something else for a while.

So, kind of working backwards from the end, I hashed out very rough notes on 5 more chapters (working from the last chapter forward). Then, I added notes to a new first chapter that will set the stage for the main plot (and perhaps even has some basis for future plots). The main plot, which incidentally doesn't really have anything to do with the end conflict, is pretty freakin' horrendous on my poor characters as well. You know that vampire police society thing I had dangling out there? Well, they've found their purpose (vampire civil war, anyone?).

I also added more detailed notes on another new chapter making a total of 7 chapters that were "born" today for a grand total of 17. My outline is only 2 pages and about 2000 words longer though.

Just thought I'd throw that out there because I'm pretty excited that I've got a plot now. Lack of title doesn't bother me much, but the lack of a plot is a bit of a concern.
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
. . . and to those I've been neglecting, I've been writing this week and it's going swimmingly! At times, it almost feels like it's out of my hands. My characters are kind of saying, "uhm, about what you had in mind, yeah, that's not going to work for us" and doing their own thing. It's Weird.

Writing rambling. )
mellymell: (Default)
  • Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."

  • I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity

  • Update your journal with the answers to the questions

  • Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions


Q&A from belluthien )
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
So, I'm going to actually start going back and talking about October for a bit, since I sort of missed it here. Maybe these can count as writing exercises. Whatever. It's cold and dark there's a constant mist in the air and I'm solar powered and require temps above 70 to function properly. This day has me wanting to curl up in a ball and do nothing, so I might as well write something. I'm afraid to work on my novel for fear I might snowball it again. I'm kind of at a stopping point at the moment and I'd like to keep it that way to get some obligations out of the way before picking it up again.

Remember that butterfly that I saved for like 18 hours from the bitter cold before Mogwai decided to make it a mid-morning snack? (p.s. I have still not made butterfly wing pendants) Well, the very next day. . .

Cut for those sensitive about cute furry creatures. I promise I'll keep it from being too graphic, but can't promise it's not a little sad. )
mellymell: (Default)
I've decided to just spit it out since waiting around while I try to figure out a way to justify it is only going to build anticipation that it's something great and wonderful and clever that I have brewing. . . which it is so NOT. DON'T JUDGE ME!

I've already been through any 'You're writing WHAT?' scenerios you can throw at me so just don't even. )
mellymell: (Default)
I go to close a pop up ad when suddenly my attention is caught by the fact that they have Halloween costumes representing various degrees you can get with them. Batman as a Criminal Investigator was what first caught my eye, but then I started looking at the rest of them.

Random or planned? )

My all time favorite, the Grim Reaper as a Pharmacy Technician. I think I'd hire a pirate accountant if I could. I'm not so sure about a zombie psychologist, though. I guess his primary interest would be in braaaaaiiinnnsss, but not in a productive way. And for all you developers out there, how authentic is a clown for a project manager? Am I right or am I right or am I right?

Hey look, J-9, Snow White as an author! Freaky!

Now back to writing. Yes writing, for the rare few moments I'm able to steal away in the day to do so. I've got to get the very few bits and pieces out of my head now so that I can focus on something else (and also sleep at night). Once they're out of the way, I'll worry about piecing together other bits later as they come. I assure you, I am NOT writing The Great American Novel here. It's going to be crap. In fact, my rough draft/outline/brainstorming documents already read like a snarky parody. I figure that's a step in the right direction. . . or an indication that I've been reading too much of [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda.

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