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June 2012
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August 2012

ROW80-3 check in 7/29 - down a rat hole

Actually, I'll be heading down a rabbit hole, but that's for later this week, as I read Alice in Wonderland for my course.

The divergence that caught me was related to my course, but technical. I wanted to be able to read the course assignments at home or out and about, and annotate what I was reading for later use in composing an essay. After a lot of digging and comparisons last week I settled on epub books in iBooks. That would let me keep all my reading assignments in one program and add notes to each one as I read it. Also, I'd be able to email the notes to myself just as text in the email body. So I started just chugging through the stories, using the iPad to read was lovely - cafe, pub, wherever. I did discover that using it to annotate is not so nice. It's awkward to get the selection to cover the words I want, and sometimes iBooks decides to change pages instead. And then it seemed the more notes I added, the slower it was. Between the awkwardness and the slowness I realized my productivity was dropping drastically. And my annoyance level rising. I did some browsing, and found the slowdown was a known iBooks issue. Great! I looked into working with the epubs on a pc - can do with Adobe but maybe lose annotations going to and from the iPad. 

So - on to plan B. Adobe Reader on pc. It does annotations very nicely, lets you search and filter them too. On the iPad, bought iAnnotate. Does more than I need, but I can focus for now and experiment more later. Very flexible, easy to use. And the pdf's are easily handled back and forth between it and the pc program, using my Dropbox - iAnnotate lets you set up a connection. Annotations are preserved between the two and I can email them separately to myself. Just rocketing along now.

My focus was to be on this course. Less(?) editing. A Flash Fiction.

My progress:

  • did a lot of reading of the Grimms' book. Halfway through, but going much faster now that I'm no longer fighting the programs. Finish tomorrow, then do the essay. 320 words max, will be a challenge to make a point - with citations - in that space. 
  • Downloaded Evernote for stories, solved import issues, and did some tidying up of it
  • No episodes of True Blood, but I did accidentally download Season One of Buffy. Oops. I figure it's research into screenplay and vampires. 
  • Flash Fiction - did a story for Terrible Minds - about Time Travel
  • Publishing - will use Duotrope to track my submissions and list markets - they have a good database and a flexible layout. There's a deadline for Glimmer Train tomorrow - would like to try it.

Next focus? Well - the course. Read, do essay by Tuesday noon, evaluate 4 other student's essays by Thursday noon, watch video on this and next book, start reading. Is Alice in Wonderland, as well as Through the Looking Glass. Might do a mathematics themed essay. And try to keep at Flash Fictions, have a short one for Wednesday morning, another for Wednesday evening. Gee - this being a writer is a much harder job than being retired.


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The Bus Station

This week's challenge from Terrible Minds was to write about Time Travel.

TM 2012/7/20 - Must Love Time Travel
Yesterday I had the fortune of interviewing Misters Hornshaw and Hurwitch (who sound the purveyors of fine meats) about their funny book on time travel (So You Created A Wormhole).
As such, I thought, well, let’s carry the ball forward a little bit.
 You have 1000 words in which to write a story where “time travel” is a prominent feature.
 Anything and everything else can feature – as long as it has time travel.
 Post at your online space, then link back here in the comments.
 You have, as always, a wee widdle week. Due by noon EST on Friday, July 27th.

Quite a rich sub-genre, so it took me a while to narrow it down. Then I found myself getting caught up in all the intricacies of how this might work, and trying to explain away all the contradictions and paradoxes that abound. I tried to pare that back, still learning here - which is why I appreciate the range of these challenges. I did try to leave some clues as to possible endings for our poor time traveller. As always, comments and suggestions welcome. 880 words.

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ROW80-3 checkin 7/25 - Rain

Yes - heat wave has broken, we've had rain, and it's cool out. Good day to stay in and work, so of course I'm heading out to visit grandkids instead. 

But first an update. Focus was to be on fitting in time for the course I mentioned, by cutting back on editing (not a sacrifice), and counting reading time in with time already scheduled for that. Do have all the books on my iPad, as epubs so that I can easily add notes while I read. I also moved all my stories from Simplenote to Evernote. It gives me better indexes, and I can add a lot more, like web page clipping for later, and images. Import sort of worked, but resulting notes would not stay synced. Searched, found in a support forum that fix was to edit each note's header in the file to change enml to enml2. I know, sounds cryptic, no idea why it worked - magic I guess. Thank the gods for Google and geeks.  

Since last check in:

  • blogs - still caught up on reading, and commenting, but still in fits and starts. Recommend a post from a few days ago by Krissy Brady, on several ways to manage your submissions. Will try one or two - the first step of course being to actually make some submissions. Keeping up on Facebook writer groups too, but probably could do more.
  • editing - actually added some notes on things to consider based on the above reading.
  • Flash Fiction - submitted two. One to Writer Unboxed, and one to Flash Fiction Friday. Have another one due for this Friday, for Terrible Minds, on Time Travel. Have an idea already, a beginning and an end, just need to do a bit of an outline and go.
  • reading - fiction - had an ebook from the library to finish before it deleted itself - Running With the Demon, by Terry Brooks. Good one, will get more in the series. As for the course reading? Nope.
  • reading - non-fiction - finished and did a review of How to Love Your Job or Find a New One, by Joanna Penn. I recommend it, even if you love your job, even if you're retired. 
  • Fantasy and Sci-fi course - lots of interaction in the discussion boards on the site, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Skype activity. Students from around the world - no idea how many but the structure scales up well - could be a thousand. Many might not make it, but it's a low risk way to try a course. My challenge will be to balance all these interesting interactions with actually doing the assigned reading and essays! 

Focus for the next few days will be on this course mainly. First essay, on the Grimm tales, due Tuesday. Flash Fiction due tomorrow, and some other fiction on the go, as I find time.

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It's in the bag

This week's prompt from Flash Fiction Friday was to take a prompt from a book that's not ours, and use the first sentence on page 84 to start our story. And include a robbery. Here's the details.

F3 - Cycle 89 - Steal This Prompt

In the past, we’ve done flash fiction prompts that start with a sentence from a certain page of book. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by the results I’ve gotten writing this way. But I want to take it a bit further. Instead of reaching for the book that is nearest to you, I want you to steal a sentence from page 84 of a book that does not belong to you (84 being the usual number of months of a sentence for robbery…and since you’re robbing a sentence, I thought it fitting). Oh, and let’s make it a story that has a robbery in it. 

Let’s see what you delinquents can come up with.

 Prompt: Start your story with the first sentence from page 84 of a book you do not own and include a robbery in your story.
Word Limit: 1,400 Deadline: Wednesday, July 25th at 9:00 p.m. ET
Submission Instructions: Please include the title of your story and a link to it in the comments.

 My first idea was to find a copy of Steal This Book, by Abbie Hoffman. That was a challenge in itself, but the prompt was uninspiring. "When you go ask them to put you on their list and you'll get notices of all their future screenings." Advice on sneaking into movies for free. 

Instead, I used a phrase from Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. "One of them has a revolver in his hand, pointed straight down at the sidewalk."

Excellent start, which led to a good short story. Only just over 500 words, not near the 1400 maximum. Oh well, here it is -- 

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