Weekly Update: May 14 through May 20

Another week has passed, and I really didn’t do a good job staying on track with my writing.  I wrote.  A lot.  Just not on anything that I would call “creative.”  I did a lot of journal writing this week, getting my ideas down on paper and organizing what I needed to do to accomplish each of them in a timely manner.  My biggest issue is that I have a lot of ideas, but I tend to flit from idea to idea without ever finishing any of them unless I have a structured plan to work from.  That is what I have been doing this week.

I will be returning to Pangaea this week, planning out the seasons and the episodes within the seasons.  I will also be finishing up the edits on “Trenches” because I did not quite finish working through those.

I’m not planning a lot for this week because I am nursing a kitten back to good health, so most of my attention will be on him.

What do you have planned for your week?

Book Review: Left Alive #1

Left Alive #1 by Jeremy Laszlo

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First off, this book is one that is a bit outside my preferred reading. Not because of genre–I simply don’t usually read books that are written in the first person point-of-view. When I do read books written in this point-of-view, they have to be tightly written or I find myself putting them down. This one was not as tightly written as I prefer, but I did push through it simply because I’m a writer, too, and I would like to think that people will give my books the same consideration.

A few things I noticed that really made the book seem hum-drum to me was that it really needed a good, thorough editing by someone who does that type of thing for a living. In the first 38% of the book (I read it on the Kindle), the main character essentially thought the same cluster of input about his wife and two daughters about every other paragraph. I almost put the book down, and I’ll be honest, I did close it out on my Kindle and go read some short stories to give myself a break from it.

The other major issue I noticed is that all the trees and plants are dead. With all those people breathing, the world would be full of carbon dioxide pretty quickly without our natural carbon dioxide scrubbers going through photosynthesis. I’m assuming that some survived somewhere, but it would not be enough to sustain an entire planet of people, and there still seem to be a lot of people.

It had great potential for an excellent dystopian novel, and I do believe that if Laszlo had gone through a few more edits, it could have been a 5-star novel. It just needed a bit more polish.

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Weekly Update: May 7 – May 13

Another busy week for me.  I started worked on The Daily Prompt 2018 on Monday.  It doesn’t need to be done until November, but I prefer to work on it in spurts so that my prompts don’t all start sounding the same.  I managed to finish a fairly large chunk of it, and I could probably push through this coming week and finish it, but I will put it aside for now and give my brain some time to refresh itself before I start tackling more prompts.

I had initially planned to work more on Pangaea and really dig into the characters to get to know them, but I got sidetracked with The Daily Prompt.  I have a short story edit scheduled for the writing hours at the beginning of the week, but I will jump on the character interviews as soon as I get through the edits on that story.  And I will continue the character work through the following week.

I am actually a bit angry at myself.  I did not even get through half the year before I completely scrapped my writing schedule and redid it.  I thought I would be able to sustain my writing schedule through the whole year, but it was too much.  I fell behind too quickly because I was trying to accomplish too much in one day, one week, or one month.  And my brain was too scattered over multiple projects.  I’m trying to focus a little harder now, but I am still working on multiple things at a time.  But instead of working on them all at once, I am doing a week on one project, then a week on another project, then I go back to the original project, and so on.  So far, it is working better.  And now, I am only planning one or two months in advance.  That way, I know what I should be doing, and I know what I should have done by a certain time without becoming too overwhelmed if I don’t finish something in that week.

A lot of you are probably saying, “Why a schedule?  Just work on it when you want.”  Well, I did that for a while, and I never seemed to finish anything.  That was before I had four kids to take care of.  Now, my writing time is squeezed into the school hours while three of them are out of the house, but it is crammed into the same hours that I am trying to get housework done, and the many other things that I need to get done without the majority of the kids needing things and having to interrupt me to get them.  I schedule myself so that I know exactly what I am working on when I sit down so that I don’t waste half an hour trying to figure out where I am and what I need to do.

So this week, I will be editing a short story, then I will jump into the character interviews for Pangaea.  I have to get myself immersed in that world so that I can tell the stories.

Book Review: Sworn to Conflict

Sworn To Conflict by Terah Edun

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I have read the first three books of this series this week, so I will review this book for itself and how it fits in with the entire series.

The writing has gotten much better since the first book. I did not find myself stumbling through sentences and paragraphs anywhere as much as I did on the first novel of this series. There were still grammar errors and sentences that needed some work, but on the whole, it was much better and much easier to read.

Ciardis seemed more likable in this novel. She did not seem as stuck up or as snobbish as she had been in previous novels, and I found myself wanting to know her more. This led to a fault I found with the book. It did not matter how stupid she acted, everyone loved her. It got a bit grating after a while. I wanted someone to reach up and smack her a few times, especially when it came to the relationship between her and Sebastion. They apparently do not know how to talk in this fantasy world. Half of their problems would be solved if they just cleared the air between them. Everyone loving the heroine despite everything she did is one reason why I took a star away on this review. A heroine has to have at least one person hate her. It could be the kitchen grunt for all I care, but someone has to hate her.

The other star was lost due to plot twists. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good plot twist, but I felt like I was on a jerky roller coaster. Every time I would pass a plot twist and almost have myself settled in the story again, another one would hit and I would be yanked upside down. I could not get and keep my bearings most of the time, and it made it quite difficult to stick with the story.

I forced myself through the first three of these to give a budding author the chance, but I think I am done with this series.

Weekly Update: April 30 through May 6

It has been another productive week here.  I have been steadily plodding along with the Pangaea serial series.  Since my story starts out in the present day and then the group gets stranded in another time, it has taken me a while to figure out what present-day items each of them have on them and to determine how many of them actually survived the crash.  This week, I will be working through who these people are so that I can determine how they are going to handle this situation that they have been thrust into.  Are they going to be tough and resourceful, are they going to be in denial, are they going to go into a suicidal depression?  Once I figure that out for each survivor, I will start to set up the stories.  I am having a blast with this series, though, so I hope that once I get it all written, edited, and out for the world to see that you enjoy it.

Another task I have been working on this week is way to bring all of my prompt collections back together into one series.  And I have changed the way that I am offering that series.  I will be offering monthly installments of prompts for those who like to follow along throughout the year, and for those that just want the prompts for referencing when a little nudge is needed to get writing, I will be offering all the months in one book at the end of the year.  That will give me more time to get the prompts together.  I will also be offering the monthly installments in digital format and in a spiral-bound workbook format, and the full year’s worth will be offered in digital, paperback, hardback, and a spiral-bound workbook set.  I’m still working out the particulars on the non-digital formats, so that may still change or it may take a bit more time to get a particular format out for you to use.

This week, I will be plowing through my character interviews for Pangaea.  The entire week is dedicated to this because there are so many of them.  And when I need a break, I will be lining up my short stories to begin editing them next week, and I will be working on the workbook edition for the 2017 edition of The Daily Prompt.

What do you have planned for this week?

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