So… the turning of the year has been interesting so far…

(MAJOR AMOUNTS OF BABBLE and a bit of TMI below the cut.  Sorry… :P)

First off, I ended 2015 SUPER stressed and bummed out.  As a result, you’ll have noticed I haven’t been around much and my queue keeps running out.  One of the reasons is that my final Worker’s Comp hearing was on the 30th and YET AGAIN a judge completely fucked me over for things that were beyond my control.  And even though I was expecting it to go that way (because I always expect the worst when it comes to having faith in systems and people), it was still a major blow and I wasn’t as ready for it as I expected to be.  There’s a part of me still sitting around wailing “But that’s not fair!!” as if that part of me somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, EXPECTED IT TO EVER BE FAIR.  *shakes head at self*  So, yeah.  Major bummer.

Anyway, the New Year came and the Old Year went and I caved in when my sister suggested we go back to Weight Watchers.  And that was a HUGE mistake.  I’d been feeling pretty low all week and just generally cranky and I was exhausted and the meeting was early and for any of you who caught all my angst yesterday… yeah.  That’s what that was.  Needless to say, that one meeting was enough to convince me that the direction they’re currently taking their program is NOT going to work for me and I canceled the membership I’d just bought… and I’m OK with that.  When I’m ready to take the weight off, I will.  But right now, my mental battery is already running down by 5 PM most days and I just don’t have the energy to deal with that.  So, I won’t.

One of the reasons that they pissed me off so much was that they’re taking this new “holistic approach” to weight loss that amounts to “if you feel good about yourself and develop excellent self-esteem and are completely mentally healthy, then the pounds will just magically disappear!”  And you know what?  They’re not entirely wrong there… but IF IT WERE THAT SIMPLE, I WOULDN’T NEED A WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM, NOR WOULD I NEED A THERAPIST AND YOU ARE NOT A TRAINED THERAPIST, MS. WEIGHT WATCHER LEADER, SO KINDLY TO GET OUT OF MY HEAD PLEASE AND THANK.  ugh.  So, yeah.  That fucked with my head something awful.

Here’s a funny thing, though.  After the meeting when they gather the new people to explain the program, the leader said something snooty to me about “Well, do you have your little book?  Are you going to take it out?” and I just slowly raised my head and stared her down and said, “I have it. I’m good.”  And the best part is that when my sister and I were talking afterwords, she said to me, “OMG, though.  Your response to her was amazing.  I can’t believe she even said that.  I know not to even talk to you when you have that look on your face.  That’s why I didn’t say anything to you all meeting!”  And that was both hilarious and reassuring, because these days, a lot of the time, I feel like my sister and I have drifted so far apart that we barely even know each other, you know?  So, to know that she can still read me that well was really nice.  ^_^  (This is the same look, BTW, that caused my misogynist shithead of a boss–who always used to interrupt me and make me work on my break instead of bothering the boys–to say, “You know what, actually?  Never mind.  You look comfy.  I’ll get one of the boys to do it,” and then slowly back out of the room and flee.  It was HILARIOUS.  XD  …and that should have been my first clue.  :P)

Because later that day?  CRAMPS.  SUCH CRAMPS.  UGH.  And really, my low state, my increased anxiety, my attitude, THAT LOOK (which I can only ever manage at the heights of PMS), and my general irritation with everyone and everything, should have clued me in, but didn’t.  😛  I’M A BIT SLOW SOMETIMES.  And of course, my mom, sister and I were going to see a show in the city that night (last night) and I was supposed to be seeing the new SW movie with a friend this morning.  In spite of crampiness, though, I went to the show with my sister and mom and we had an AMAZING time.  We really did.  ^_^  And I was even in a better mood this morning and said friend and I had a really pleasant drive out to the theatre… only to find that the movie was STILL SOLD OUT EXCEPT FOR THE FIRST ROW, ARGH.  *hangs head*  WHY DID I NOT CHECK???

But she was really philosophically good-natured about it and said, “Well, we can come back tomorrow and it was a good day for an outing, a pleasant drive, and good conversation!”  And you know what?  She was right.  ^_^  So we got our tickets for tomorrow (which isn’t even CLOSE to sold out and if I’d thought about it, I’d never have suggested Sunday to begin with :P), got a drink at Starbucks and headed home. 

And halfway home?  CUE MASSIVE 2ND DAY EXHAUSTION.  EVERY. FUCKING. MONTH.  O_o;;;  Seriously, I’m like clockwork.  On the second day, it’s like every ounce of energy I have just drains out of me and I can barely keep my eyes open.  But I made it home and we talked a bit more, then parted ways, and I crept upstairs and put my pajamas back on and laid down in bed with a book.  THREE HOURS LATER, I WOKE UP.  -.-;;;  That second day is the only day I can nap and not feel worse when I get up.  Like, I’ve found that if I give in to the exhaustion fully and completely and just sleep, when I wake up I feel almost normal.  No more uber-low, cry-about-every-little-thing feelings.  No more CRUSHING EXHAUSTION.  It’s like a reset button and it’s fucking amazing.  I’m still not going to push myself too hard today, but really, I feel much better.  ^_^

(Also, I got an amazing pair of messages from @elissa-nerd-writer-24601 telling me things that I think I really, really needed to hear and that lifted my spirits SO much that I think I will be writing things this afternoon.  ^_^  So, THANK YOU.  ^______________^)

And really, just… general thank you to all of you who have been supportive this year.  I’m not the only one who had a hard 2015, and it means so much to me that no matter how low we’ve all felt, we’ve still been there supporting each other, and it’s really mean so so much to me.  I’m not going to name names, just in case I forget someone, but you all know who you are and you’re amazing.  (And if you think this is about you, it probably is.  ^_~)

I love you all and I’m so glad I have you in my life.  ^_^

And even though the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 were kind of rough, here’s hoping this accidental three hour nap was a reset on more than just my physical energy.  Get at me, 2016.  I’m finally ready for you!


Writing PSA











  • Writing is hard. 
  • Outlining is harder. 
  • Trying to create a logical, step by step outline with character motivation based on an existing draft is damn near impossible. 

Plan ahead, kids

I’m facing this struggle right now. I’ve basically decided to throw the whole draft out and rewrite, with the draft as a reference/bible.

It’s hard, but I don’t regret it. I’m learning loads. Outlining helps me sleep at night.

I’m finding that I like outlining, because I think it helps me avoid major structural errors, and the enforcement of connecting the scenes via character action and consequence helps keep the pacing going. 

I used to think that outlining the book meant killing the surprise, but there’s still room for the story to move and change once you get in there. I like knowing off the bat that all the scenes I have planned out work – they’re dramatic, serve a purpose in the story, and are interesting.

I can’t figure out why outlining doesn’t work for me. I love making lists, and I work better when I have a to-do list. Editing involves less teeth-gnashing for me than drafting because I finish a scene and move onto the next one.
I also write/think in episodes, so I will have snippets of future scenes written and then will be guiding my story towards that event as I go. It gives me something to look forward to incorporating into the novel draft. You would think that outlining would provide me with a little list of things to look forward to in the same way.
And yet, every time I sit down to outline, all I get is a vague list of bullet points that gets thrown out about halfway into the draft. Maybe it’s a lack of discipline? Maybe I haven’t found the right outline format yet?

How do you approach your narrative structure? do you use any of the formal structures you find writing craft bloggers talking about online?

There are a lot of them. I tend to divide the story in a weird way. but I always figure out my major points, usually with Inciting incident, climax, midpoint as the first things I figure out. I HAVE TO KNOW what the midpoint is. I have to know what my big twist and or change in the middle of the story is. 

I never, never, NEVER outline by taking out a blank sheet of paper and then going like this:

1. Dean is running late for an audition

i. Dean hears a little girl crying
ii. Dean helps her find her mother and is now late for the audition 
iii. Dean can audition because the whole thing is running late 

I would die of fucking boredom and despair if I tried that.

What I do is i get together some index cards.

Real index cards. I could use the corkboard on scrivener but I find that the actual cards in my hands are better because of one thing that I will describe below. on each card, I write a sentence like:

Michael offers Dean huge sum to leave Cas; Dean rips the cheque into bits.

And then the next one could be:

Dean brings Castiel home to his place in Burnaby and is ashamed of it.

So far nothing connects those two cards. so I will have to connect them. But for right now I’m just coming up with simple scene ideas. I can write some of them in order, but I write whatever comes to mind, one sentence per card. each card is a beat. It might be a whole scene, but it’s probably less than a whole scene, and that’s okay, that’s fine for now.

I arrange the cards in what I think is the correct order, but I don’t *write* them in order. I usually just write whatever’s in my head. and then I read the cards in the order I think they go in, but once I get about say 40 cards for a novel, I shuffle them, and read them out of order. (i’ll end up with at least twice that, though.) The point isn’t to rearrange them in order, but to see if I can CONNECT the scenes to each other even if they don’t happen one after another in sequence. 

so let’s say that i have an anonymous note in one of my scenes, and in scrambled order the anonymous note card is next to my hero meeting a friendly person who supports them after a failure. 


yeah I know you wanted the antagonist to write the note. BUT WHAT IF? is that cooler? is it more interesting? do you have to do another GMC table all of a sudden? Or what if the friendly person saw the antagonist write the note, and wants to use their harassment of the hero to further their own plans?

this is why ONE SENTENCE PER CARD even though that sentence may not sum up a scene, but only a beat in the scene. so now you have room to note connections, motives, foreshadowing, symbols, epiphanies, etc. you can use the front of the card and the back. 

I shuffled the cards for Project Blackwing a few times and wound up with a few surprises that way. 

once I feel like I need to read the cards again, i put them in order (which might have changed because of the shuffle game) and I reserve the index cards that don’t fit (they might later, or they could be discards) 

Now I read the cards in order, and say, “and because of this,” or “So therefore” and read the next card. Does it follow? no? That’s a hole. a card needs to be rewritten, or a new card needs to be filled in, or there’s another card for your discard pile. once I can read the scene cards and feel like I have no gaps, THEN i can write my linear outline or even a synopsis based on what I have scribbled onto my index cards.

And that looks like this:

Scene 1 – Dean is running late for an audition in downtown Seattle when he hears a little girl crying. torn between making the audition on time and helping a child, he turns back and finds the girl’s mother in a nearby Starbucks. He’s going to be late, but he continues upstairs anyway and manages to audition for a lead role, doing his best.

Scene 2 – Castiel can’t believe the hot guy from Starbucks who saved the day is auditioning in front of him. He chooses Dean, not wanting to even look at the other applicants. He calls Dean’s cell phone.

Scene 3 – a telephone number with a Seattle area code calls. Dean’s on international roaming and the charges are outrageous. He decides to take the call and it’s Castiel, asking him to come upstairs to discuss a contract. Triumphant, Dean returns to the office. 

That’s a lot longer than the 1. i. outline but it’s a lot more detailed, so it’ll help you remember what happens next. 

i’ll try it!


I am so amazed by people who have the ability to outline. I can’t do it. I’ve outlined three fics and then felt like I’d already written the fic and that’s where it stayed. An unpublished outline.

You guys have way more skills than me.

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
George R.R. Martin

If George RRRRRR Martin gardens his way to a blockbusting series, so can you.