October Arrives!

October is a pretty busy month for me, but I’m hoping to get back on the schedule I had for myself for this blog with three weekly posts on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  Since I wasn’t sure what to write about first to kick off the month, I decided to doa  general post about what is coming up.

This month is going to have a couple Halloween/Dia de Muertos themed posts, as well as the normal book reviews, movie reviews, and hopefully at least 2 new Women of History posts. It is also Nano Prep Month, so it might be shorter posts as I focus on doing the prep work for Nano (for those who aren’t familar, visit the Nano Website).  That will be the focus next month, so I’m also going to try and get ahead on posts so that I have them pre-scheduled rather then writing them as I go since I’ll be working (for once) on an original novel next month.

As for the Bookit-reviews, I’ve made the decision to reduce my goal to 30 books.  I think the original goal of 52 is not achievable at this point.  Hopefully I can achieve the new goal.  I’m also starting to write down a list of books I’ve bought and haven’t read yet to start 2019 off (and finish off this year a bit too).  If you have any recommendations for books I should read, please let me know.

Hope you are all having a lovely Fall so far.

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Camp Nano Mid-way Update

The halfway mark for Camp Nano: July 2018 edition has arrived.  Word count wise I’m doing good, with an expected (according to them) end date of the 26th.  However, in actually accomplished projects I’m not doing as well.  I’ve been writing my blog posts which accounts for much of my word count, as well as some shorter stories that have come to mind.  However I had two projects I wanted to complete this month that have yet to be completed.

One is a multi-chapter fanfiction that I’ve been working on several years now (2012) and its starting to get a little ridiculous that I haven’t finished it yet.  Especially as I have several chapters mostly written.    However on the other hand its been one of my more popular works in fanfiction so perhaps the long time working on it paid off.

I also had a project from April where I had 30 songs that I was going to translate into writing prompts.  I have yet to work on this at all.

Mostly I think it’s an issue of time management, which I’m apparently bad at, but also inspiration.  There are some days where just nothing will come out (which ends up being the days I get more work done on my essay series for this blog.

I’m hoping that when I give my end of month update I’ll have a lot better news to share.  I plan on trying to manage my time a little bit better and getting the stories done I wanted to get done.  I also plan on finishing some of the essays that I have that are left incomplete – including one WOH essay that was meant to be posted over a week ago.

I’ll be posting the end-of-Nano post on the 30th.  Not actually the last day (as July has 31 days) but it’s the last posting day for this blog for July.

Camp Nano Roundup & May Looking Forward

So its May, which means Camp Nano is over at least for a little bit.  The next camp Nano is in July.  I started the month with a goal  30,000 words. Unfortunately I ended up taking my goal down to 15,000 after I spent half the month sick or otherwise unable to write.

On the bright side, I did in fact meet that goal. I got a little over 17,000 words for the month and a couple of chapters finished and waiting for posting which was part of my goal.  I did not finish any of my stories or the song drabble prompt series but that’s okay.  Camp Nano is just about trying, so I don’t feel quite so bad about not meeting all of my goals.

I plan on using May to try to finish the WIPS I listed for my April goal, but I have no word count goals or anything like that.  Also I will be starting to plan my November project, getting the research/pre-writing done before the month begins.  It will make Nano a lot smoother.

There is no theme for my May posts, and I’m still planning out the month.  I do know that friday I will be posting the Women of History series, focused on Mexican women of history since its Cinco de Mayo this month.  In the US it’s a day celebrating Mexican-American culture, although in Mexico its a military observance day celebrating the battle of Puebla that occurred on May 5, 1862.

There will also be some book reviews, although I haven’t finished any recently so it will be as I read them rather than a back log of reviews.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Spring.

Camp Nano Update

Author’s Note:  This was written on time, but then not posted till 2 days after it was supposed to be, so the dates are off in this.  

This post was a bit late in being posted.  I usually try and post around noon ET/EST but it doesn’t always work that way.  Part of it will be explained later in this post.

Today is the 18th, which means we are a bit past the halfway mark for April’s Camp Nano event.  For those of you just turning in, Camp Nano is a twice a year event in which writers gather to attempt to reach writing goals.  Its a spin off of the larger event, NanoWrimo that is held every November.  Unlike the Full Nano, Camp Nano is more personizable.  You can choose your word count, make cabins withyour friends who are also partispating and in general just have a good time.  Nano is a bit more focused, though just as fun.

This year, my goal was to write 30,000 words.  Not that hard for me usually, but it seems that life has other plans.  This month I have been continuously sick with a cold-slash-sinus infection which not only makes me an unhappy camper, it also makes my ability to write go down.  I just don’t feel like doing much of anything other then lay down and watch a show where people screw up cakes.  Most of my writing this month has been posts for this blog, and an email to my mother.

I’m still endeavouring to met my goal. I have a few days off in a row in the near future where I plan on resting (to get better) and writing (to get ot my goal).  Hopefully at the end of the month I can tell you I actually made it.  I’m probably about 15,000 words behind at this point, but I shall conquer the writer’s block!

I do think however that my goal of finishing two of my long-awaiting to be finished stories will not happen.  I’m almost finished with them, so hopefully within the next month I will finish.  I just don’t think it will happen this month at the rate I am going.  However, I will be finishing the pre-planned posts for this month.  Including Friday’s Women of History post, this time featuring astronaut Sally K. Ride, and Monday’s post which will be a list of writing resources.  If you have any favorites of your own, feel free to tell me.  I always welcome new suggestions to try out.

Hope your month is going well for you, and that this spring-in-winter’s-clothing ends soon so the germs will lay off.

Fandom Writing: Writing the Opposition Badly

One of my pet peeves when reading fan fiction is when a character, usually someone who is the other possible love interest, is villanized to make another character look good or to make a ship seem more plausible.  Not only does it often come with out of character writing for said character, it makes me feel like the person who is writing is not all that sure in the ship they are writing.

You do not have to villainize a character to make your main character, or main ship, look better.  If the character is a villain already, then at least there is canon backing to your character being a villain.

My most recent example of this was in the Arrow fandom.  I am a big fan of Felicity and Laurel, and of Olicity.  However I found way too many fics that villainize Laurel.  Laurel has her own character set-backs, but she is no way a good choice for a villian in an Olicity fic.  And I’ve seen it likewise when people decide that Laurel/Oliver should happen, and make Felicity into a villain or an unhealthily clinging person.  None of it makes sense with the characters we see on-screen, who are in fact friends and strong women.

Another example is found in Doctor Who.  Martha and Rose are alternative villainized depending on the ship choice of the writer.  Honestly if you don’t like a ship, don’t write it.  I’ve found most of the time the ships resolve themselves around each other and you can avoid the other alternative fairly easy without villainizing a character. If you must deal with a ship that you dislike, resolve it between the characters and move on. Most of those reading are most likely already fans of your ship, and you don’t have to prove to them why your choice is better than the alternative.  That is best left to fandom meta essays.

I’ve also seen this with just characters.  Most often female characters, but occasionally male characters.  They will exaggerate bad qualities to the point of OOCness or completely villainize a character to make their favorite look better.  Your favorite character can be awesome all on their own.  That is why they are your favorite.  You don’t have to miswrite a character to make your fave look better. Again, most of your readership most likely already thinks your main character is awesome.

For a good example of how to deal with a love triangle, there is The Hunger Games.  The love triangle in that series is between Katniss, Peeta and Gale.  Peeta and Gale don’t fight each other over her, and both characters are allowed to have flaws and good things about them without comparing to each other.  In the end there is a little comparing when she finally makes a decision, but for the most part all three characters are allowed to exist on the same side.  Neither is completely villainized either.

My suggestion is if you really don’t like a character, have them take a trip, or be otherwise out of the picture of the story you are writing.  If you feel you can write the character well, and not villainize for the sake of making them look bad, go ahead and write them.  Take a look at canon.  Be honest with yourself as to why you are writing the character the way you are.

If you are just writing angry fic about a character you hate, label it as such so fans of the character know to avoid it.  And people who may hate the character but prefer to stick to canon can know that going in. For example, bringing back the Arrow fandom, I have seen people post “Anti-Felicity” or “Anti-Laurel” as a tag, letting me know that their story is not favorable to that character.  So I can avoid those stories.

Even in original writing, take a moment and think about the different features of the character.  Are you writing a well-rounded character or are you just focusing on bad parts so its clear they are the wrong choice?  Are you trying to make a compelling villain or just make your other characters look better?

Consider your characters and your readers before writing a character simply to be the anti-choice.

Spring & Camp Nano

Hope everyone is having a fantastic April.  Spring seems to be a little sluggish in waking up and arriving.  I’m writing this while looking out a window at snow.  Had a brilliantly sunny day yesterday, today is snow.   But that is what I get for living in the Northeast.

This month is Camp Nano, so there is going to be some writing posts.  A while back I did a series of essays on starting to write fanfic, so I won’t be redoing those right now.  But there are some other topics suggested to be that I’ll be covering.  It’s mostly to do with fanfic writing,  but some of it has original fiction writing connections too.  These include using triggers, why it’s a bad idea to villianize a character to make your character look good, and its good policy to ship and let ship.

I also have two bookit reviews coming and every Friday remains my Women of History series.

For those of you who don’t know what Camp Nano is, its a month-long writing challenge.  Every November is National Novel Writing month, where in people try to write a 50,000 word story.  It’s not quite a full novel, but it’s getting there and allows you the pleasure of knowing you wrote something.  In April and June they run Camp Nano, where you can work towards any writing goal.  Some use it to help them prepare for Nano, others for finishing up outstanding WIPs they have (I am one of those people).  But it’s basically up to you whether you write 1000 words or 100,000.  You get to set the goal.  My goal this year is started at 30,000 and I want to complete two chapter fics and a series of drabble challenges I haven’t finished yet.  It’s possible to adjust your word count so I may raise it later on.  On the 18th I have planned an update post, so I’ll talk more about my goals for Camp Nano then.

If you feel interested and or want to learn more, you can visit the Camp Nano Website.

Hope you all have a great month, and that spring finally arrives – and sticks around!