Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving = forgotten descriptions and couponing

Well, I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving.

We had a Thanksgiving lunch due to the fact my husband had to work at 3am, which was fine. I drove him because i knew he would be dying when I picked him up later that day. It was just depressing to see people not able to spend times with their families so they could buy "stuff". Nice to see that junk is more important than family in the modern world.

The only thing my mom and I purchased in tandem was a set of earrings for my sister's birthday, which I ended up buying later in the day (the sale was still going on) and a sweater.

The best part of my Thanksgiving was getting a call from my sister to tell me that she was able to find cheaper turkeys in Germany - 3 kilos for 12 euros. and that she used our family recipe and attempted a homemade sweet potato pie. :)

She did tell me that she had the week off so she finally read my 1/3. She pointed out some things that I failed to realize, one being that i neglected to describe a character completely. She told me, "yeah, Fred is obviously a very unlikable character and a jerk but I have no idea what he looks like. Did you do that on purpose?"

I didn't, it just never occurred to me to describe him. In my mind I see him clearly.  But luckily, i found a perfect spot to add a little description, an observation made by my heroine.

I finally got my 2/3 refined. I took out all of the stupid redundancies, repeated motions, words and the hundreds of "suddenly" that just paused the story. It was not necessary. I also moved some things around. I resent it to my writing friend, telling her to just delete the older version. My sister also got the 2/3, she was interested in reading more.

Now the best part of my weekend, COUPONING!
My husband bought Perry Ellis Portfolio slacks (we went to 4 stores to find his length! I married a giant!!), $70, after reduction + sale + coupon = $4.99. Oh yeah, baby! Saved 65% at Target on toothpaste, tooth brushes and batteries. My husband and I have mouthcare for 2 years AND we did not need to compromise on our needs - for me Sensodyne, and for him, Crest non-minty toothpaste! After sale + target coupons + manufacturer coupons, this was what we got free: 1/2 a tube of Sensodyne, 1 tube of Crest toothpaste, 3 Crest Pro Health toothbrushes and Energizer Lithium batteries. All for the cost of sale priced 1 1/2 "tubes" of Sensodyne + 1 tube of sale priced Crest toothpaste. And at CVS; CVS rewards bucks + coupon + sale on Mucinex, the savings covered the cost of my dad's medicine.

My husband and I were high-fiving all afternoon. It's the best high ever, knowing that you are saving money!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Titles, beasts and laundry

Pretty much explains my week, especially my day.

I played with working titles in my mind this week after foregoing the original title. It was the title from 15 years ago and now that the story has grossly developed into a universe of its own, the old title has became moot. A year ago, there has been no title, then I suddenly had one pop into my mind, "Letters to Samantha" ....only to look through Amazon and find that another book has been named that. Lame.

It's aggravating because the title does encompass the mindset of the heroine. She writes letters to her only biological sister whom she has not seen since she was removed from her aunt's home. Knowing that her sister is alive keeps her going. She has no other family.

Now I need to think of something else. Bah. But I still have plenty of time.

My poor husband, unable to process anything in English that is not related to technology or computers or programming, cannot understand English fiction. He cannot comprehend anything I or anyone writes unless it in his native tongue. So I felt bad cornering him blabbing over something in my plot that has been a thorn in my side. but I had no one else to talk it out-loud to. He's a good listener. :)

15 years is a long time to have a group of people lay around and eat your food and use your electricity. So i have thought about every scenario numerous times, had my characters dictate to me where they want to go and what they want to do. I have no control over them. I can just throw things in their path and they can shake their fists and cuss me out.

As I was developing my universe and the creatures' mythos, I was sitting at a sushi bar in Houston, Texas drawing on table napkins - developing my governmental system and politics along with my ex. You have to realize that we took a break from visiting post-Katrina Louisiana, with me taking photos of what a post-apocalyptic world would look like. Honestly, it felt like the world has ended there. Every single thing that we take for granted; phones, internet, feminine products, clean water - was gone. There were not even birds in the skies. It was an eerie experience but one that I will cherish forever.  

As I was saying, I was developing their politics when I realized that I needed to develop more, who these creatures were. They only go by what the humans call them, a horrible mis-reference but they could care less. They're are over dealing with petty bickering with the humans. In fact, they kinda like the mis-reference, because when a human sees their true form, its a hundred times worse than what they can ever dream of.

That thought seemed to had disappeared over the years, maybe I touched on it every once and a while, and suddenly as i was coming up with an outline for B2 after making a timeline, I suddenly realize that my heroine, who is booksmart, catches irregularities in the translations of their ancient texts that had been translated into English. And begins to wonder, what did she give her life away to?

Then I was like, "dummy, she would have found this out in B1 when she began doing her research with Bill and especially when she gets Peter's old library."

Now I get to go back and expand these findings. Now I have to hope that she will be too busy to care about it right now. *crosses fingers* In fact I need her to not care about it right now.....

Note to self: "brush up on French grammar tomorrow."

My sister informed me that she recicved my 1/3 and will be reading it this week since she has the time off for Thanksgiving. I look forward to hearing her viewpoint. My sister and I have been major opposites in just about everything. Like me, she knows what she likes to read and has an opinion about everything.

Aww! She's thinking of going to Austria in February to a retreat with the kids. I hate snow and could care less about the skiing part but how awesome would it be to sit by the fire and write with a hot cup of tea, writing,  surrounded by snow covered beauty in the mountains!!! Why don't I have money? I don't shop for anything or go anywhere! I have enough time to change my last name in my passport... February is cheap to fly to Switzerland..... ;_;

Anyways, before I start moping, I am thinking of biting my nails and going to a writer's group for critiquing purposes. I'm just really freaking shy. But I am realizing that it has major purpose. To help me get better.

It's late and I'm tired. Luckily I work at the library in the evening on Mondays.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rat Kisses, Plot and Couponing

My ritual for Sunday mornings are usually as follows:
1. Sleep in until 9am
2. Breakfast
3. Pickup my Sunday papers
4. Fire up the big laptop
6. Sparkpeople
7. Clean the critters' cages.

I had no idea how couponing changed my life until my husband suddenly said to me, “Honey, why are food and house products so expensive?”

And it was soon after that that I became very very ill and dumped all of our savings, $1400 into medical services. I have no health insurance. With my husband and I working PT jobs, we realized that we have to save every penny. And we do. My Sunday newspaper subscriptions are all purchased with coupon codes or Living Social discounts. which averages out to $0.56 per Sunday newspaper. We make that up easily by the coupons. We buy our own ink and OEM cartridges and save hundreds of dollars a year on ink. And we print, cut and use a calculator when figuring out our savings. We proudly coupon. It's my high now. I average about 30% savings on everything. An awesome day is 70%. My biggest thrill was my 93% savings on feminine care products, I am set for two years!

Now it was a sad morning as I realized that my Reepicheep, now going to be 4 years old has a small tumor. She had become lethargic and eating less over the last week. I gave her cage a good scrubbing and held her for a long time. Her time will be coming soon.

Last night, as I was editing my 3/3 I realized that my heroine is missing something, the final bit of oomph to prove her value and worthiness. My mind wandered for hours as I suddenly was like:
“Maybe I should move all of this to the 2nd book – well that makes no sense, it has to begin with a mirrored scene of torture and biscuits – My readers need it to be established in the first book that she is suffering. Because in the 2-2/3, the territory is going to be taken away – maybe I can end the book at the trial? - no that seems like a piss poor ending, talk about leaving people in the dark. You yourself hates books that just END – But I could do it. We end with the Captain and begin with the Captain. - No, we need to see her branded. My readers want to know if she makes it or not – I need to do more research into wolves.”

My husband thought I was probably watching TV. I was actually staring at my small Buddha statue – the emphasis of 2-1/2. And it was then that it came to me; a criticism of the 1/3, “I wanted to see her duke it out. Earn that position.” You know what Manda-chan? Your wish is my command.

And finally, the tiles fell into place.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Job. Farewell Gremlins.

New jobs are always a good thing. Didn't get anything full-time (oh, how I miss benefits) but I ended up just "transferring" to a different department for the city I work for. Its really kinda funny, I volunteered most summers at a library but never wanted to work at one, never thought I would get one completely by accident.

I can remember being introduced to the library, I was at least five years old. Ever since then, I spent numerous hours in there. My book has some semblance of my real life and one of it was, during lunch time at school, I would sneak into the library to be alone. The librarians never minded because I was not destructive or noisy. My folks would drop me off super early in the morning and I would sit in the library until it was time to go to class.

Good memories indeed. But I had been in training for a few days and so far enjoy it. It's a small municipal library and it's quiet. Not like the large county ones where its as bustling and noisy as a coffee shop. The gals are nice and very knowledgeable at what they do. The one thing I do love that on the end caps of the aisles, if there is not a dewy decimal system chart, there is a "End banned books. Celebrate awareness!" poster of some sorts. These are my kind of people.

Don't really have anything book related to share. My sister flew in from Switzerland for three weeks and now has gone. ;_; But it was nice to see my gremlins and her. I will have to post some pics eventually. I had promised myself NOT to write while she was here and now that she is gone, I have not turned on my normal laptop to do anything with my camera. I only use my netbook for writing. Blog included.

But the best part was that I had found another person who would be honored to give me some good critique of my writings. My sister of all people. Now some may be like, "She's only going to tell you what you want to hear." My sister is the kind of person that will tell you what she thinks, whether you want to hear it or not. She is a thriller and mystery kind of reader with good romance thrown in the mix. Familiar with fantasy but not a super huge fan of it. I figure that she will bring in a good point of view since I am writing a dark fantasy with an urban setting. She knows nothing of the story (and I refused to tell her).

Now I just have to send the same 1/3 (unedited from being read by my writing buddy) so that I get fresh thoughts. Then i will combine their notes.

Again, scary.