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March 2012
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May 2012

ROW80-2 checkin 4/22 - spring's late too

Yes - I'm late, as is spring. Photo shows front yard and car - snow tires just came off last Thursday. Jinx! I woke up to a couple of cm of snow on the ground, a long lists of accidents on the radio, and no need to set foot outside into winter. Or whatever season we're in now - maybe it is spring, here and on time. It's just being "seasonal" and those +20C days we had were teasers. 2012 04 23_0227aSupposedly teasing is a marketing thing us writers can do too, by letting people see a chapter or so from our soon to be released book. Julie Czerneda is doing that with one of her latest - I've been reading an early draft version here, chapter by chapter, on her site. I'm not that far with my novel - my version of first draft is fairly readable, but I've been editing the heck out of it - re-ordering scenes, adding and deleting dialog and description, even changing some plot points. But when/if I get closer to publication, I definitely will put out some teasers.

On to the checkin, and what can I say, other than  - busy, busy, busy. Or - other priorities.  Our band had it's final concert yesterday, we did quite well. There are a total of six bands on the go now, including two for Jazz. Next year I think I'll stay in Intermediate - I like the conductor and her music type and level - and also try Beginner Jazz. More teaching in it of theory and improvisation than in the Advanced Jazz. Will start in the spring band session soon roo, but that's more casual - all levels can join.

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Death Is On The Table

This was the challenge from Terrible Minds  - Death Is On The Table. 

You have 1000 words to write a short story that prominently features death. What that means is up to you, of course. And genre is also in your court.

But a death — or the concept of death, or an exploration of death — must be front and center.

So I called up my fairy tale friends and away we went.

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ROW80-2 checkin 4/18 - more than a writer

It was only a few months ago that I decided I would think of myself as a writer. Not an aspiring writer, but not a professional one either - somewhere in between. I tried a few exercises - some short pieces, a draft novel or two, I'd enjoyed the challenge of creation and the satisfaction of the finished work, and had received some positive feedback. I realized that I liked this writer thing, that I seemed to be able to do it well at times, and would like to focus on it and see where it would take me. 

There's a recent book, Outlier's, which proposes that the key to success in any area is basically to work at it, by practicing a task, over and over, for 10,000 hours. Linked to that success would also be the need for some talent in that area - would be a shame to basically waste all that time when there might be other things you could have focused on. Which is a good reason to make sure we try many things in life to see if we've a talent there, a passion.

Anyway, back to writing, even with a fanatical dedication of ten hours a day, that would take over twelve ROW80 cycles. Or three years. I do realize the original 10,000 number might be too high, and that even with the first 100 hours there would be some improvement - it's a gradual thing. And for writing - does that mean 10 hours a day hammering away at the typewriter? Or does it include editing, submitting, marketing, reading, learning - all those things a writer needs to spend some time on? What it boils down to is a question of priorities for my retirement hours. I COULD focus on mastering one thing for 10 hours a day, but I don't WANT to do it, as I would have to drop most of my other pursuits: reading, hiking, CBC radio, music, grandkids, TV, newspapers, trombone, science magazines, sharing a cold beer in the hot sun with friends. These are all things that make me who I am and feed my creativity.

I admit I started this ROW80 cycle with higher expectations than the last one, with lots of hours planned each day, and I have tried harder, encouraged in part by the humongous lists many have for their objectives - lists they even manage to get through at times. And encouraged by other writers I have met. Still searching for a balance.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

This was a challenge from Flash Fiction Friday. The details were : 

I want you to remember your fair tale lore, your scariest of scary bed time stories, those monsters, oh so maligned monsters, who go bump in the night. Remember the typical tropes of good little children lost in the forest in perilous fright of witches, wolves and wild wonderlings? Where step-mothers are evil and hags are cannibals? Babies stolen and switch during the night?

 Are your toes tingling, your spine wriggling? Remember all those horrible things? Yes? Well throw it out the window, the baby with the wash.

 This week I want you to write a story where the monster is the protagonist. Maligned, misunderstood, quirky or funny. A love story, a comedy, or still yet a scary morality tale, make what you want of it.

 Also, to play on the wicked aspect, I want you to use the famous Ray Bradbury title “Something Wicked This Way Comes” as a line in your story.

 Use the line - Something Wicked This Way Comes

I decided to re-use some characters from last week's "Once Upon a Time", I think I'll keep them around for a while. 

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