Good Luck!

Today is the last day of October…Happy Halloween everyone! 

Halloween is also the last day before I lose my mind writing an insane number of words while drinking an insane amount of caffeine. 

I have a few loose ends to tie up before I start talking about NaNo.

My binder!  I have this binder full of stuff related to my various novels.  I have characters, plot bunnies with varying degrees of planning and notes, potential character names, and random notes.  It’s helpful and I love handwriting my notes.  I like spreading out my notes and my characters, and it’s much easier to refer to them when I need to.  It’s nice having notes that are organized.

I’ll be writing at home, at the library and the Living Room.  It’s one of my favorite places, and I love writing there.  The library is great too, since it’s generally quiet and I can go look things up when I need to.  Plus, I can stay as long as I need without worrying about hogging a table or needing to buy something every couple of hours so I don’t feel bad about buying one thing and staying for a few hours.  And at home, I can write in my pajamas with the t.v. on in the background and walk back and forth to the kitchen as much as I want. 

I don’t have a handwritten sheet of how much I need to write each day, but I do have a spreadsheet ready.  I need some way to keep track of all these words I’m writing and a spreadsheet worked really well last year, so I’m keeping up with tradition!

I don’t know what time of day I’ll be writing, but I figure it’ll be afternoon or the middle of the night…if it’s anything like last year!  But I won’t know until I start writing, and I may find that I’m most productive at a completely different time than I was last year. 

It’ll be a great month, and I’m looking foward to everything that happens next month!

The Official Survival Kit For NaNo

I’m really becoming a big fan of the NaNo Survival Kit.  It’s different for everyone, but I like having an assortment of things that help me get through the month. 

  • Something to listen to: Whether it’s t.v., music or podcasts, I need to have something to listen to when I’m writing.  It provides inspiration, and sometimes distracting when I feel the need to sing along. 
  • My binder!  I believe this is the first time I’ve mentioned my binder in preparation for NaNo…and I may talk about that on Halloween.  But for me, it has all my characters and plot ideas, plus other useful stuff like names I like.  It has everything I need, complete with index cards, post-its, and pens and sharpies in various colors.  If I need to refer to something, it’s probably in that binder.
  • Food: I’ve going to gloss over food, since I talked about that yesterday.  It’s there and it’s important.  Writing when hungry is not good.
  • I have a writing hat!  It’s this green headpiece kinda thing.  I think I’ll have to post a picture of it…it’s green ribbon, in a circle, with more green ribbon that hangs down from it.  Something a fairie would wear.  I have worn faerie wings in the past, and I think I may need to start wearing them again.  But not in public, because that might look weird.  But then again, who cares about looking weird?
  • A computer wins the obvious award.
  • A flash drive, and any possible way to back up your work.  I’ll be using a combination of my flash drive, dropbox and email to save my work.  And a text file plus Word.  I might be working on multiple computers, and weird things sometimes happen when I save stuff on my flash drive.  At least in Word.  I am not taking any chances, and I will back up obsessively if I have to. 
  • Random things like Pandora, Spotify, Q10 and Write or Die also help me get through NaNo.  Stuff to listen to, and writing software that minimizes distractions and keeps me writing?  That’s pretty cool in my book!
  • Write-ins and the NaNo website: There are some pretty supportive people in NaNo-land, and knowing there are people who will mock me for not finishing my novels is a big help.  Write-ins are helpful too, and I’ll be at a lot of write-ins this year!

Well, that’s all I can think of for now, but I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about my back-up plot!

Guess Who Has A Menu Planned?

I finally planned a menu for NaNo!  I guess this goal of cooking new things every month actually came in handy in that I put some thought into what I wanted to cook next month.

I’ve decided I’ll my using my Crock-Pot next month!  It’ll be easy: just prep everything the night before, put everything in according to the recipe, and a few hours later, I’ll have food!  I have a few recipes for tofu bookmarked, and a few soup recipes that are also bookmarked.

I decided to abandon my idea of cooking everything this month, freezing it, and then thawing it out as needed in November.  I came across this blog a while ago where the blogger used her slow cooker everyday for a year, and figured that NaNo would be a really good time to actually use my slow cooker.  And the less time I have to worry about food and cooking, the more time I have to procrastinate!

I still have no idea about snacks, especially since I ate some of the snacks I got at the grocery store.  But it’ll be the typical snack stuff: pretzels, maybe some cookies or fruit snacks, popcorn and those fruit cereal bar things.  Some sort of snack-y dessert, like cookies or brownies.  Or other bars.  Cake balls!  Or cake pops.

As for drinks…water.  Hot chocolate and apple cider!  Any drink I can make in the slow-cooker.  And no NaNo is complete without my beloved COFFEE!  Well, caffeine in general…but it’s pretty hard to compete with coffee.

I definitely want to make pumpkin pie…completely from scratch!  It’ll be a good way to procrastinate on my writing.  It’ll be a good break from writing, like when I’m switching from one novel to the other.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll be procastinating like it’s going out of style.  Back to food, though, I have nothing else to add!

Have a great day, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about my NaNo Survival Kit.

This Year’s Music, Part 2

Since I mentioned most of the other things I’ll be listening to this year, I’m going to focus more on the music I have set for my 2nd novel. 

I did want to mention Spotify since I forgot to talk about it when I did my last music post.  It’s fairly similar to Pandora, and while I haven’t used it very much, I think I’ll definitely try to use it next month.

I had a lot of trouble coming up with a playlist for it, because most of what I have doesn’t seem to fit.  I ended up putting a lot of random songs on my playlist, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to add to it as I figure out what’s going on. 

So here’s a sample of what I’ll be listening to next month:

1- The Big Lie by Sara Haze

2- Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton

5- Snape To Malfoy Manor from the HP And The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Sountrack

10- Summer Overture from the Requiem For A Dream soundtrack

16- Criminal by Fiona Apple

17- Flight Of The Order Of The Phoenix from the Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix soundtrack

21- How We Operate by Gomez

22- Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai

33- I Believe In Nargles by The Whomping Willows

34- Caught In The Lie by Michelle Chamuel (From the Little White Lie soundtrack)

I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about food!

Libraries Are Awesome

I’ve been to the library several times over the last week, and got so much done!  I finished a few books I was reading, I worked on my blog a little, and I did most of my writing for the week!  Oh, and I looked at a consanguinity chart too, and managed to make sense of it.

It’s nice and quiet, there are comfy chairs, tables, free wi-fi and outlets!  The outlet part is especially important because the battery in my laptop is pretty much dead, and I can’t afford a new one, which means that I am attached to the power cord at all times.  It tends to be inconvenient when I want to work on something at a place that is not called my house, since I need an outlet, and most places don’t seem to have a lot of outlets.  If they have any at all, that is.  I mean, I can write out some notes or an outline or brainstorm…but if I want to actually work on one of my novels, I need to be plugged in to do so.  It’s not that big of a deal, because it nevers hurt to brainstorm, but at the same time, I can’t access any of my typed notes.  I did write down the notes I had typed up, so at least I have a written copy in my binder.  And looking at my notes when brainstorming could help me come up with ideas.

Now that I’m done whining about how my battery is dead, I don’t know why I didn’t think of adding my library to the list of place to go to.  Coffeeshops are also good places, but it’s harder to justify staying at a coffeeshop for a few hours.  At least for me- and I tend to get slightly more distracted at a coffeshop than at the library…the library is a magical place.  I feel like I have to be productive at the library, especially when I look around and see people studying and stuff.

I think that’s enough rambling for now.  There’s no doubt I’ll be rambling about something else soon!

Magic Steps

Book: Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce

Pages/Format: 262/Hardcover

My Thoughts: Magic Steps is the first book in The Circle Opens quartet.

Sandry discovers a boy who can dance magic, and as the mage who discovered his power, she is the one who must be his teacher.  Sandry and her uncle, however, learn that there is someone who is stalking some local merchants.  This killer has some very strange magic- an ability to reduce essence to nothingness.

I love the whole premise of novel, and found the unusual forms of magic different from the few fantasy books I’ve read.  It was a little slow in the beginning, but the pace picked up, and I found myself wanting to read more.  I definitely want to read the rest of the books- at first I thought I wouldn’t like the book, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.  The circle opens quartet is the sequel to her circle of magic quartet. 

I found the character of Lark to be the most interesting and I wished she had appeared in the book more.  The characters weren’t really developed in this one, although that’s probably because they were developed in the first series. 

I do wish there were more details on how the dancing magic worked.  How magic works may well have been covered in the first series, and it certainly seems like Pierce assumes the reader has read the first series.  There were enough details for anyone new to her circle of magic books to understand what was going on…but not a lot.  While it’s not necessary to have read the circle of magic in order to understand this one, it would be a good idea just to know how the characters came to be. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.  Interesting book, and the world she built is fascinating.

The Evolution Of A Family Tree

Today’s post is how my family tree has evolved over the last couple weeks or so.

The Basic Structure Of My Family Tree

The picture above is the basic structure of the family.  It starts off with Chastity, who is the great-grandmother, and goes from there.  I wanted to do it in pencil so I could erase things as needed.  It’s a little bit messy, but it works.

Rough Draft, Version One Of The Family Tree

This picture is the first version of the tree, complete with names.  Except for the one section that doesn’t have names, because I didn’t give myself enough room…and I didn’t feel like changing it so I could have enough room.  Plus, I needed to redo the tree since it was still a little funky.  Still in pencil, but that’s because it’s easier to change things if it’s all in pencil.

Family Tree, Version 2 Of The Rough Draft

And this is the most recent tree, with names for most everyone…the only exceptions being the four unnamed children, who will probably have a few mentions.  I also have a few notes- mostly on who’s dead, which will be a good reference for the different funerals they’ll all be going to.  Plus, I have a note on who’s divorced and a note that someone’s a single parent.  It’s still in pencil, thank goodness, because I did have to make a couple changes to it.  I still don’t like how it’s formatted, but it’s better than the previous draft.  I think what I need to do is have a bigger version, which will probably help.

For the super final version (that hasn’t happened yet), I’ll probably do different colors to distinguish between the different branches.  I’m going to put off that super final version on posterboard until October in case things change between now and then.  And honestly, that’s highly likely, depending on what I come up with.  I know posterboard isn’t expensive, but I really don’t want to buy it until I have to.

Honestly, I’m so glad I have a list of names I like, because it was really helpful to have a list I could pick from.  I tried to make the names as different as I could, which didn’t always work in some cases.  But I’m not too worried since, I’m going to focus on only a few people anyway.  Writing it all out definitely helped me in terms of how they’re all related.  I took a look at a basic family tree detailing how cousins are related, and it makes a lot more sense now that I have names I can attach to each spot on the chart.

I think this novel is definitely going to be an adventure!

And on a random side-note:

Pottermore has finally been revealed!  I’ve been waiting to see what it is, and it’ll be the only place to get an e-reader version of the series.  Plus, JKR has a lot of unused info concering the series, so that will be revealed too!  It sounds awesome and I can’t wait until October, when everything will be set to go.

Family Tree!

Well, yesterday I managed to get a basic family tree done.  There aren’t any names attached to it, so it’s just a basic idea of what I want the family to look like.  The tree definitely needs a lot of work because the structure of it right now is kind of…annoying.  But it’s a really good start, and it’ll definitely evolve over the coming months.  Plus, I want to give those consanguinity charts another look, so hopefully a family tree written out will help me better understand how everyone’s related. 

I think today’s project is going to be naming everyone, and I’ll try to format the family tree a little bit better, just to make it a little easier to understand.  While I don’t mind naming people, this is going to be a little different than what I’m used to, just because of the number of people!  I think it’s around 50 or so people (if I counted correctly, and it’s likely I may have missed 1 or 2 people).  I definitely need to figure out who I want to feature- but that’s something that can wait until I actually know who everyone is.  I have some ideas for a few of the people, so I might work on that sometime this week. 

I’m feeling pretty excited about this, and it’s one of my favorite ideas so far.  It’s been really nice writing again- and it’s also really cool working on different ideas.  It keeps me busy, for at least a few hours every week, and it gives me a chance to see different projects in different stages of completion. 

I should start writing!  Have a great day!

A Few Things I Love

There’s a few things I really love right now, so today’s going to be a little bit of show and tell.

I love Cricklers!  I know the Washington Post has them, but I’m not sure where else you can find them.  The link is over in the link section.  All they are is a crossword puzzle featuring the news.  It’s a good way to catch up on the news, and they also have vocabulary ones, and a few other random ones too.  And for the most part, it’s different puzzles every day, so there’s always something new.  I haven’t played it for a few days though, but today, I’m going to get back on the Crickler bandwagon.

I’ve been playing the sims a lot- for the longest time is the sims 2, but lately I’ve been playing the sims 3.  I usually go back and forth between the two, but I tend to play it a lot, and then leave it alone for a long time because I’m bored with it.  And then I go back to playing it, and so the cycle continues.  The only problem I’ve been having with the sims 3 is the fact that whenever my sims go on vacation, there are major problems when they get back!  It seems like its a problem they’re working on, but they’re not sure if/when it’ll be fixed.  It’s frustrating, because there are some really cool things you can get when you send them on vacation, like new skills and food…so it’s slightly annoying that when they get back from vacation, the stuff the characters get is missing or they come back as a double.  So…I can play it, but sending them on vacation is out of the question.  Despite that, the sims 3 really is fun to play.

And this is totally random, but the mini-bags of popcorn are totally amazing.  I can get my popcorn fix in a much smaller serving!  I don’t have much to add about the mini-bags of popcorn, but it’s one of my favorite things right now, so there you go.

Right now, I also love online dream dictionaries.  I had this horrible dream last night, and I’m kinda interested in what everything means. 

So those are my current favorite things, hopefully I’ll have some more to share soon!

Let’s Talk About…Food!

I think it’s been a while since I’ve devoted a post to food, so that’s what I’m going to talk about today!

The whole cooking and baking 2 new things each month is going well.  I made lemon bars the other day, and they turned out a lot better than I thought they would.  I made chocolate cupcakes with a buttercream frosting yesterday.  I decided to add some color to the frosting- half have purple frosting, the other half have blue frosting.  I didn’t mix the cupcakes as well as I could have, but they turned out okay. 

I also made a moroccan saute- it has zucchini, corn, chick peas (or garbanzo beans, whatever you want to call them) and couscous.  I haven’t had any, but it smells yummy! 

As for my progress through my cookbooks, I’ve been focusing on my vegetarian times one lately.  I’m not sure why, but right now, I don’t feel like cooking anything from rachael ray.  Plus, my vegetarian cookbook is full of things that I wouldn’t ordinarily eat; one of my reasons for cooking 2 new things each month is try to different things, and what better way to do this than a cookbook full of things I don’t normally eat?

There so many things I want to make, and there’s so little time to make everything!