Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Time Between playlist

I've been much more active on Twitter than the blog these days, but I thought I'd pop over, just to share some of the playlist I have going for my current WIP. It's a bit of a cross-over playlist, I also used a lot of the same songs for a short story retelling of Romeo and Juliet in space.

Without further ado, here is (some of) my The Time Between/Star Crossed playlist:

- Across the Universe by Fiona Apple
- Call it Off by Tegan and Sara with CHVRCHES
- Missing by The XX
- Roads by Portishead
- Blindness by Metric
- Do I Wanna Know CHVRCHES cover
- Our Song by The XX
- Cosmic Love by Florence + The Machine
- Starlight by Muse

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

NaNoWriMo? Or NoNoWriMo?


November can make us feel imprisoned by not only our
own writing goals, but sometimes someone else's

Happy November, everyone! I'm sure a good portion of you are out there sitting at your desks, coffee in one hand, plot outlines in the other, plugging away dutifully at your WIP. I am there with you guys, I can tell you that! *sips coffee*

I haven't participated in a NaNoWriMo in almost a decade, as I temporarily stepped out of the writing world. But this year I decided to this month it as a catalyst to jump back into the craft and work on my writing practice. Because my goals differ from those of the typical NaNoWri-er, my plan is looking a bit different than you might expect. The typical goal of November is to exit the month with a novel draft, or at least most of it, completed and ready to edit. My goal, as I mentioned above, is to jumpstart myself back into the writing world and re-learn how to write excellent prose that keeps my readers engaged. It's alright if I don't end up with a novel. In fact, I'd be pretty damned surprised if I ended up with a novel because I've decided to focus on short fiction this year.

Yep, you heard me right. For me November is NOT novel writing month (NoNoWriMo!), but rather National Short Fiction Writing Month...NaNoShoFiMo anyone? 

As you may have noticed from this blog, brevity is not my strong suit. My first novel manuscript started as a 120,000 word draft. It's now a hair above 90,000, but it took a lot of work to get it there! In my high school and college days, I used to write short fiction for fun, only for myself. I had almost forgotten until my mom was cleaning out her storage and came across a lot of my old writing. She scanned and sent them to me and lo and behold, some were quite captivating! It got me thinking that maybe I need to step out of my comfort zone to hone my craft. I need to challenge myself to write, not more, but better. 

That's not to say there's anything wrong with taking this month to focus on your novel. But for those who want to do something else, it is okay to step out of the box, and maybe out of your comfort zone, and write your own November goals.

So, let's hear it, what are you all working on this month?

And send me some of your favourite short fiction recommendations as well! I recently read this flash fiction piece and was completely in awe. 

Happy writing!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Back in the Saddle

Well, it has certainly been awhile. But I am back! And I promise I wasn't doing *nothing* in that time. Yes, I left the writing world for almost a decade. I didn't open my main work in progress for at least five years. And the few times I did open it, I floundered, not knowing what to do. For awhile I thought I'd never be back.

It wasn't because writing had faded from my hobbies list or because I'd grown discouraged. It wasn't because I thought my works weren't worth my time. It's just that now there are lots of other things vying for my time. If you saw my last entry (which I have no memory of writing by the way. Eep!) you know that I had a New Years Eve baby back in 2012. Well, I also had a Midsummer's Eve baby in 2015. And these two girls, one a firey redhead who loves to read even more than I do and the other an energetic blonde that sprints everywhere, take up a LOT of my time. But they're not the only things I've birthed. I've also created a business where I get to help other kids experience the joy of communication and language. I'm so passionate about helping kids learn to talk and communicate more effectively. You can check out that side of my personality here

My two main time sinks counting tree rings

So, if I have so much going on, you might be asking why I'm back now, all of a sudden. As with so many things, a good editor friend of mine helped get me back on my path. She took my WIP and told me to whip it back into shape. And I did! And it has revitalized the writing drive in me. DROWNING is now fully edited and ready to go.

A note to the agents (if there are any of you reading this), I want to emphasize that, though I left the writing world for awhile, I am absolutely committed and reliable as a person. If I have a project, I will finish it. If you send me edits, I will get them back to you on time. Though I had shifted my focal point and energies for awhile, I am 100% back now. Well, still running my business, so we'll say 100% of the half of me I've dedicated to writing is back!

Time to run off to my day job now, but stay tuned for more frequent posts here soon.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Baby!!! And New Blog. :)

Hello everyone!

Exciting news!  My little Ebba Irene arrived on New Years Eve, so to commemorate this new phase in my life, I'm splitting my blog in two.  This blog will still function as my writing blog (which, unfortunately may continue to experience a hiatus) but now I will also have a mumly blog over at Babble Fluff and Other Mumly Stuff.  Feel free to pick one or the other or stay tuned into both!

Either way, thank you for reading, and I welcome your comments!

Here is a picture to keep you coming back for more. :)

--Mamma Manda

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Belly Dance

Well, after my week-long challenge to myself (7 posts in 7 days), I thought I'd write more in the blog.  But, surprise, surprise (or maybe no surprise at all?) it just tapered off again.  My mind's been on other things, like house cleaning, cloth diapers, and due dates.

Photo Credit: Candace O'Brien

So, I decided, why not write about those things instead?  Pregnancy has been completely dominating my mind, so it should be easy to get an entry or two out of it. :)  And here we go.  Where to start.  

Today Baby has just hit her 41 week gestation mark!!  So, according to the early scan I had, I have been pregnant 41 weeks to the day.  And so far, it has been fantastic!  

Being pregnant is much different than I had expected.  I expected it to be difficult, that I'd miss my non-pregnant self and way of life.  But now, my biggest worry is that I'll miss being pregnant after baby comes!! :)  So, without further ado, I present to you what Pregnancy means to me.

Being pregnant is:

  • Feeling energized and motivated more than ever before!
  • But also taking that 2:00 pm nap without any remorse. :)
  • Being continually astounded by my own body's capabilities
  • Feeling a connection to all women throughout time everywhere.  Feeling more female than I ever had before, but also much, much stronger
  • For once, having a body that really wants to exercise and a mind and palate that really want to eat healthy
  • Knowing that I'm changing permanently, but trusting that it's all for the better.
  • Really allowing and trusting the people around me to support me 
  • Talking to strangers on the street about babies and birth and everything cute and wonderful in the world
  • Being surprisingly open to it when said strangers want to rub hands all over my belly while we talk!
  • Giggling (instead of being grossed out) when my little one pokes a foot out to one side of my belly
Of course, not all of being pregnant is sunshine and roses.  Granted, the second and third trimesters were definitely more comfortable than the first, so I've probably forgotten some of the less fun parts of it, but here are some other things it means to be pregnant.
  • Gagging mid-sentence for no apparent reason (or, more usually, because we were driving past a fast food restaurant and the odor of days-old oil)  This was more of a first-trimester worry
  • Sore boobs! - another first trimester worry
  • Having swollen, numb, sausage fingers (I wish that were my excuse for writing so little, but the swelling only started recently!)
  • Having to pee every 5 minutes.  The bladder has no concept of how difficult it is to find a bathroom in some areas of town! least one that doesn't make me want to douse myself in purel afterwards.
  • Obsessing, and I mean OBSESSING over cloth diapers.  And wanting to buy like 20 of every kind!  Though, I attribute this to the fact that I haven't been able to buy much clothing for baby because my best friend (who just had twins!) has given me ALL of her baby clothes.  So I have to go crazy over something cute and snuggly, right???
  • Pseudo-insomnia, as I call it.  Waking up at 3 am to pee and feeling wide, wide awake.  (this is when I do most of my online cloth diaper obsessing, of course.  I'm worse than Gollum and his ring.  I go to and scroll through the sale section, changing "my preciousssssss!"  I'm sure it'll end soon, right? :)
But all in all, I have loved every minute of it.  Stay tuned for more pregnancy and birth related posts -- I have a lot to say about it!  I forgot to add that to the list: Being pregnant also means learning more than you ever thought you would about pregnancy and childbirth.  So, in the comments, let me know if there's any aspects of it you'd like me to tackle first.

Thanks for reading, even though this is a vast diversion from the usual topics of the blog!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reconciling Saying No to NaNoWriMo

So, as you all know, we're almost a week into National Novel Writing Month.  Congrats to you if you've joined!  I've always wanted to participate, and I thought this would be my year, but now I sit her eyeing all of the NaNoWriMo twitter posts with envy.

YES!  I want to do a 30 minute sprint!  YES!  I want to compare wordcounts.  YES!  I want to eat half a bag of jelly beans and wash it down with Mountain Dew.  Ew, actually, not that last one.

But, the point is, I can't NaNo this year.  I thought this would be my year, with maternity leave starting and my work winding down.  But, unfortunately, even though work is winding down, I'm not officially done until Nov 30 (the LAST day of NaNo, of course.)  Who planned this!?  Oh, right, me.  And, not only that, but "work winding down," does not equal "free time," as I thought it would.  Instead of NaNo, I'm doing NaGSDMo, aka: National Get Shit Done Month.  The formula is as follows:

Less Work = Training replacement + setting up meetings for my clients to meet my replacement + readying nursery + prenatal visits, which just seem to keep increasing in frequency like nobody's business + prenatal preparation + prenatal fitness + wading through the 3-million different kinds of carseats to choose one + finding SOME time to relax before baby comes!

So, no NaNo this year.  But, there are still great things that can come out of this month, writing-wise.  I get so wrapped up in the NaNo hype, forgetting that many great novels AREN'T written in a month.  And, if they are, it's not necessarily November.  I mean, there are definitely others who can't participate in NaNo because of other life duties, like all those dudes growing huge moustaches!  I mean, it must be the same; I'm growing a baby, they're growing a moustache.

Without further ado, I'd like to share my list of NaNoNoWriMo activities.  Just writing, no pressure to finish a novel.  Consider it like auditing a course; you learn the material but don't have to take the test.  A lot of these may sound to some of you like sound practice for All The Time, and they are!  But I haven't been very good at keeping up my practice.  So, if you're like me, you can take these to heart this month.

  • Write every day.  It doesn't matter how much.  As long as you've put a line in, or even moved things around or jotted a quick note to yourself about how to change a scene, it counts.
  • You can "sprint" too.  Even though you aren't doing NaNo, and thus may not have arranged your life to accommodate 50 thirty-minute sprints every day, you can still sprint a few times.  Maybe just three times a week.  Maybe 2 times a day you can fit in.  But, the point is, take some of that shared NaNo energy and put it into your own writing. 
  • Team up with buddies.  You can team up with your NaNo buddies to do some sprints and word-wars, or you can just team up with another NaNo dropout like yourself.  Perhaps one of your crit partners wants to get online and race with you, or a friend in a writing group.  You don't have to be excluded just because you aren't in it for the marathon.
  • Arrange your writing area as though you WERE doing NaNo.  Keep snacks handy, have your computer and notes already set up at all times.  That way, when you do get those 2 or 3 or 35 minutes to get some words down, you're already halfway there.  (or, at least 10% of the way)
  • Set your own goal and share it.  You might not get 50,000 words by the end of Nov, but maybe you want to have at least 20,000.  Or even 10,000!  Or maybe your goal is to finish edits on a current project, or to outline and prep a new project.  Whatever it is, share your goals with a few writing buddies and you can keep each other accountable.  (And, maybe compete if it's motivating for you. ;) )
  • And, finally, take advantage of the fact that you AREN'T participating.  This means you can edit whenever you want, without the pressure of time and wordcounts weighing in on you.  You can leisurely read through your pages to make sure you're still going in the right direction.  You have the luxury of time, so take it!
So, are any of you guys foregoing NaNo this month too?  If so, why?  And, even though you aren't participating, what are your writing goals?  Let's check back at the end of November and see how our National Non-novel Writing Month went!

Get writing!

ps - anyone want to race? ;)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

One Paragraph Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

I think I used to do this segment about once a month back when I was blogging more regularly, but now I think I'll switch to just doing it whenever I read a book I really, really enjoy.

And, boy did I ever enjoy this book!!

I hadn't heard of Rae Carson before last week, when a (very generous and possibly delusional) friend of mine compared my writing to hers.  It was a flattering comment, but after reading (edit: devouring) The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I have to decline the comparison.  Carson's writing is genius.  It's not just her beautiful and effortless prose; her plotting is absolutely fantastic.  She manages to weave together several complete stories, allowing them to mingle and braid in such a way that draws the reader in until you can't get out again.  In addition to that, her character arcs are incredibly well-constructed (though not overly obvious).  Elisa, the main character, grows and changes in ways that both make sense but also surprise the reader.  The flow is very natural and not forced at all.  I've read so many books where the character arc is forced, as though the author thought to themselves, "Well, I want her to get from here to there by the end of the book, so we'll just make that happen."  In the Girl of Fire and Thorns, every single thing that Elisa goes through contributes to her transition across the novel in subtle ways.  These subtle changes add up to create on kick-ass arc.  And, while we're on the subject of characters, I'd like to add that the relationships between the characters were also surprisingly different from the typical YA cliches.  First off, I want to both congratulate and yell at Carson for not being afraid to "kill her darlings."  There were definitely some kleenex box moments.  And, while there is something of a love triangle (or, V maybe?), it isn't the run-of-the-mill "she likes him and he likes her but she also likes him and he also likes her; which one will she choose?"  The relationships in this book were more realistic, and along with the characters, the relationships had their own arcs, which I appreciated.  For characters you'll love, a plot that will draw you in, and writing that is exquisite, I'd totally recommend this book.  Sorry, I'm gushing. :)  Let's move onto the nitty gritty.

Front to back time: 3 days

Favourite character: I found Humberto to be the most likeable character.  However, as far as complexity and intrigue, I was very interested in watching Cosme and Alejandro's characters unfold.

Musical Accompaniment: Did a lot of reading in coffee shops, so whatever they had on. :)

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Have any of you read this?  Any thoughts?