pikestaff: (Devious Snaps)
I haven't written a post updating my life in a little while so here we go!

Overall things aren't bad; the meds and therapy are making a big difference, I think. I feel more optimistic about things in general and the panic attacks are, thankfully, much more sparse than they have been in the past. My therapist recently mentioned that I seem to handle small, "daily" goals much better than bigger, more long-term ones, and I have to agree with her, so I've been trying to incorporate more of those into my life. As a result I'm finally doing things like digging through boxes of crap from years ago (throwing away old schoolwork is a painful but necessary sacrifice) and working on editing Cricket Song, which was NaNo 2010.

I'm also trying to take more walks and stuff in the mornings. Not particularly to lose weight or get in shape or anything, but now that I'm almost 30 my metabolism has noticeably slowed and I want to at least maintain an "average" build while still being able to eat like a pig. I have lovely life goals, don't you think?

Lastly, work recently fired the third of three people to have been fired in the last two weeks or so. And not just quietly and with a little pink slip-- we're talking being escorted out mid-shift and told not to return. These are older people with families, too. The rumors are flying around like crazy but of course the higher-ups aren't talking. I find myself wondering if they're just looking for excuses to fire people now, since Sears Holdings Corp. is in such deep financial doo-doo. Hopefully I'll be gone before I can find out.

Projects!

Dec. 2nd, 2011 01:20 pm
pikestaff: (Spike - Writing!)
I've only taken a break of a couple of days and the writing bug is already upon me again.

I could go three possible routes here:

1.) Edit "Cricket Song" (NaNo 2010) - It's been sitting around gathering dust for a year now but it's a pretty tight story to begin with so I could polish it up relatively easily and then sell it online, I'm sure.

2.) Edit "Space Heroes Forever!" (NaNo 2011) - I just finished it, so it's still fresh in my mind. Once I polish this one up I want to try to traditionally publish. The thought kind of scares me, but you gotta try, I guess.

3.) Write something completely new - I have three different ideas for this; two are kids' books in a similar vein to what I just wrote and one is a heftier project a la "Windshifter" or "Cricket Song".

I'm not sure what I want to do at this point. I'm leaning toward #3 because there's just something magical about first draft writing that editing lacks. But then, I don't really want to sit around for years on unfinished projects! Decisions, decisions. Either way I'm looking forward to jumping headfirst into a writing project again.
pikestaff: (Spike - Writing!)
Real quick update; it looks like after three weeks of red tape, bureaucracy, and false starts, I'm actually starting work, for sure, on Monday. So yeah. While I am very much looking forward to the paychecks, I'm pretty meh about the rest. I hate that I'm almost 28 years old and working for Kmart, and I hate that they're putting me at the service desk, a position that I worked (and hated) at Target way back in the day. But whatcha gonna do, I guess? I know retail inside and out; I'm not good at anything else. My hope is that-- since Kmart is literally right next to a Super Wal-Mart-- maybe our traffic will be slow because everyone will be going to Wal-Mart instead, and it won't be as stressful as Target was. We'll find out!

I'm working my little butt off with Windshifter. I have designed a cover with my rudimentary graphic design skills and I'm right in the middle of the final edit and writing the last scene I want to include. I'm serious when I say I want to finish this up and e-publish within the next couple of weeks. Then I'll be all clear for this November's NaNoWriMo, which is going to be a rewrite of my failed Camp NaNo attempt. I've reached a certain point of desperation with this book that I'm about to e-pub. I feel like I'm a failure at life and that, at least by doing this, I can show that I know how to make something and how to meet a goal that most people do not meet. And maybe if I'm lucky and enough people like what I write, I can write more, and then it can become A Thing.

But I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

Yet.

Yes.

Jul. 7th, 2011 11:06 pm
pikestaff: (Pinkie Pie - GREAT SCOTT!)
So at work today, I was struck with a MASSIVE lightning bolt of inspiration regarding some extra content to add to "Windshifter" in order to tie things up.

The Final Edit begins on Saturday. And by Final Edit I mean Final Edit #6 or 7.

IT'S LIKE I'M REALLY SAKAGUCHI

/terrible joke

Welp!

May. 1st, 2011 09:16 am
pikestaff: (My Little Pike Pony)
Yeah I failed Script Frenzy. It doesn't bother me. Scriptwriting is one of the very, very few things I'll claim to having some sort of modicum of talent in and I know full well I could've written a script in a month if I'd had the motivation. I just... didn't! NaNoWriMo is the more important thing for me personally, anyway.

Speaking of which, I'm tired of being poor, so I've decided it's time to drag Cricket Song out of the proverbial cellar and force myself to look at it and edit it and then force myself to throw it at agents. Also I need to decide if I should make the main character about five years younger. (Have I mentioned that I apparently tend to overshoot characters' ages when I write? I think it's because I was am such a sperg that it was completely normal for me to act like I was, I dunno, 14 or 15 when I was 20, so I make my characters do the same. And then I don't realize it until people point it out to me. Apparently not everyone spent their early 20s curled up in bed, playing Game Boy, watching cartoons, and avoiding human contact!)

Aaaanyways, starting that up may or may not happen today, seeing as I'm exhausted thanks to sunlight pouring in through my window and waking me up at 6am for like the fourth or fifth day in a row. So we shall see!

Hmm.

Jan. 18th, 2011 10:08 pm
pikestaff: (Proud Charmander)
Two of my sisters have now finished reading "Cricket Song". Both of them are basically enamored with it and keep asking me trillions of questions regarding details of the world and characters. In addition both want to draw fanart and both want me to write a sequel post haste.

This is ironic because really, this was just a one-shot I wrote up to get an idea out of my head; I had no idea it was gonna be such a big hit.

Maybe this thing has got more potential than I thought it did...

...inspired to edit now! =D
pikestaff: (Tree Finger Wag)
I'm considering sprucing up "Cricket Song" (NaNo 2010) and chucking it at this contest. I mean, I'm not anticipating any sort of response, but why the heck not, right?

In other news, my paycheck today was a good few magnitudes smaller than my last one. This has both a.) made me decide I dislike commission-based sales, since it's impossible to anticipate paychecks and budget anything, and b.) Kicked me out of "Moving Toward Financial Freedom" Tier and put me back firmly in "LOL, At Your Mom's House Living Paycheck to Paycheck" Tier. It stinks, but there's not a whole lot I can do about it, I guess, except wait it out and keep job hunting for something better.

I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to move back to Montana this summer. I keep alternating between being all "Yes, 100% Positive, Coming This May to a Moving Van Near You", and being all "Meh, May As Well Stay Here Now That I've Got License Plates and Everything". I guess I'll just see how things are going in a couple of months. It's not like I can go anywhere for a while anyway, what with all the snow between here and there.
pikestaff: (March Hare)
Yesterday I spent about three or four hours playing with my Wacom tablet. I was alternating between being impressed and not impressed with the results. Considering I'm still learning how to use the thing, I guess that shouldn't be much of a surprise, but I was getting kind of frustrated by the end so I quit mid-project. I may or may not pick it up again later.

I still need to learn how to do coloring and lighting that looks "real" and not "stupid". I sort of figured out a new technique for that by the end of last night but it wasn't working the way I wanted it to and I'd already been drawing for a while and was tired so I'll mess with that again later.



(Pic related: failure and more failure! But done entirely on tablet.)

This morning upon waking up, I had some lovely e-mail feedback from one of my sisters regarding my most recent novel. It was the first piece of feedback on this one and it was a lot more positive than I was expecting. She actually gave it a higher rating than she gave to Windshifter, which sort of shocks me because I thought my new book sucked. Maybe not! I really need to start editing.




(Concept art from a million years ago... by which I mean September)
pikestaff: (Jedi Pooh)
New Years Resolutions 2011

1. Edit & spruce up "Cricket Song" (2010's NaNoWriMo) before 2011's NaNoWriMo.

2. Save money. I allowed myself to buy two "vanity" things with my surprisingly big paycheck. One was an electric blanket, because I am in a largely unheated house and it's cold (userpic related: my face when), and the other was a "Montana State University" license plate frame, because goshdarnit, if I have to have Washington plates I am going to have a freaking Montana frame. Combined, those two items were about $35. I want to hit my next paycheck without spending anything else except for bills and necessities like gas. Everything else? Savings.

3. Figure out all the ins and outs of my new drawing tablet.

4. Draw.

5. Write, and not just for NaNo. (It's hilarious, really; I can write like a maniac in November but it's like pulling teeth the rest of the year. Actually it's like pulling teeth in November, too, but I guess I'm just more motivated.)

6. Blog more often on both my "main" blogs.

7. READ.

8. Organize all my crap. Seriously, I have too much junk.

9. Get better at things like lighting and coloring in regards to my art.

10. Stabilize my life much more than it is now.

...kay, sounds good for a list I made up on the spur of the moment.
pikestaff: (Proud Charmander)
Last year's NaNo is DONE. Done done done. So done. I can't think of anything else I want to change that wouldn't be a massive overhaul.

Final Word Count Not Counting Titles and The Like: 71864. =| It's not as long as I would've liked, but meh.

Now, if the furry publisher wants to read it, I'm so there.

If he doesn't, well... I dunno. I'm kind of going to toss the manuscript in the "finished" pile for a bit while I work on this year's NaNo. If I happen to get around to submitting it to people in the time being, so be it, but I'm not really in a huge hurry. Although if it's looking like months are going by with no avail I may just toss the thing up for e-publication since I have like billions of people who want to read it, apparently... >.>

But yeah, gonna focus on this year's NaNo now.

"Windshifter", I loved you, you were great, I had a lot of fun with you, and I hope a few other people out there will someday enjoy your characters as much as I did. <3

Attn: [livejournal.com profile] darkyo I promised you a free copy for making me fanarts, so if you're still interested poke me here or on dA or something with your e-mail <3
pikestaff: (Jedi Pooh)
I'm currently on what I am pretty sure is my One True Last & Final Editing Read-through of my novel. I'm not exactly sure how I know it's the "last one"-- it just feels finished to me. All I'm doing on this pass is making a few minor tweaks, polishing it up, and braiding in the last theme that still needed to be incorporated. I'm so proud of how far I've come; compared to earlier versions this reads so smoothly and everything ties in... I'm very happy with how this has all turned out. My biggest self-critique at this point is that the book is still pretty short for a novel (70k words), but ehh.

Then I can forget about it while I fling queries around and work on THIS YEAR'S NaNo which I think is gonna be better anyway.

I've already submitted a query letter and synopsis to the biggest furry publisher, Sofawolf. It'll probably take them a few weeks to get back to me and this Final Edit will be long done by then at the rate I'm going at. If they're not interested then it's probably back to the drawing board and trying to go "mainstream". It'll take a while. I'm in no rush.

Anyways final call for any last-minute suggestions/comments you have on any drafts you've read. Speak now or forever hold your peace. <3

In other news, I'm moving to WA in less than two weeks. Already put in my two weeks' notice at work. I don't have a job lined up in WA yet because where I'm moving is actually a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. I'm really nervous about that.
pikestaff: (Profferlink - Thinking)
So in regards to publishing my book, I always had this little goal that I was going to do it The Hard Way. Primarily to prove to the world that I Could Do It. You know, I figured I'd spent months on end getting an agent and then months on end trying to get published and etc.

Anyways the more time goes on, the less appealing this sounds to me. I mean yeah, I'd love to see my book in a bookstore or something, but ultimately that's not the goal, which is to be able to say "Hey blog readers/friends/family, check it out, I wrote this book, I think it's decent, you can read it if you want."

So then I was thinking self-publishing, but it has this massive stigma attached to it and I guess it's hard to break into traditional publishing from there, so I thought hmm, maybe not.

Then I thought "You know what, I bet I could find some little publisher somewhere that specializes in furry/anthro stuff and maybe do that."

And guess what, furry press companies totally exist. Some of them have published decent stuff (aka "Digger", and assorted award-winning sci-fi.)

Now I'm considering doing that. No, it probably wouldn't put my stuff in Borders or Barnes and Noble, but it'd be a Real Book that was published by a Real (albeit small) Publisher. And I bet the odds of them liking my manuscript is astronomically higher than, say, Scholastic doing the same thing.

ANYWAYS I'm just rambling now. I know you're all sick of hearing me talk about writing all the time, but it'd be nice to have some closure on last year's NaNo before this year's NaNo. =S (Plus I get a lot of e-mails from people asking when they can read it, and I'm tired of saying "I dunno")

As usual, the disclaimer: I'm a writing noob so lemme know if my thinking here is way out of line.
pikestaff: (PikaRaichu)
We'll return you to your regularly scheduled meme tomorrow.

Computer Issues: My wireless card gave up the ghost yesterday. It is physically falling apart. For most people this wouldn't be a big deal and you'd just go to Staples and buy a new wireless card, but when you use Linux it turns into a weird game of trial and error and hoping you get lucky with the limited supply at the store.

Anyways, I bought a USB wireless thing to try it out, and have yet to get it successfully working. I kind of think that I'm just going to order a card that I know will work off of NewEgg and then just live with my laptop until that gets here. I mean, all I'm really missing out on by not having an internet-connected desktop is video games... and you can play Starcraft 2 offline... and I think my WoW account is about to expire (again) anyway... so I'll just live with that for a few weeks.

Besides, I think it would be a good idea to reduce my internet presence just a bit. Not like I want to completely disappear, but being Internet-less on my trip reminded me how much I love crap like reading or playing my Game Boy, haha.

TV: Why did I not know about "Cake Boss" before? Or "Cash Cab"? You guys need to keep me updated on this kind of stuff, pffft.

Work: Both the store manager and department manager now know that I am leaving within a month or two. Both are very understanding of the situation and both have said that they will miss me. Store manager said "Hiring a new person isn't going to be a problem. Finding someone as good as you will be the problem." And I was like "Awww <3"

Tinkering!: Yesterday I used the quartz movement from a clock I broke (oops) to invent this silly and pointless little device where a paper bee flies in circles around a decorated cup, once per minute. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about stuff like friction and other things that I should have paid attention to in school but didn't because I was too busy drawing anthropomorphic chemical elements in my notebook.

NaNoWriMo: I am SO EXCITED for NaNo this year, I got so much inspiration for it on the trip and I have so many ideas and omg I can't wait until November. I hope we're all moved and stuff by then. I have also come to the decision that I want to participate in, and win, NaNo every single year for the rest of my life. I will totally have like 70 novels written by the time I die and it is going to be awesome.

Woot

Jun. 28th, 2010 01:38 pm
pikestaff: (Clockwork Hare)
Gotta finish moving today. The bulk of my stuff is already in my new place, just gotta finish throwing the last minute stuff into boxes and then haul the computer and bed over there.

Recovered my lost e-mail account. Changed the password, security question, etc. etc. Still waiting to hear back from Neopets.

Discovered that because I am moving back home, all four of my little sisters are now having to squeeze into the same room, just so I can have a bedroom. And guys, we're not talking about really little sisters here. We're talking about middle school age, high school age, and college age. They are being good sports about it but I feel kind of horrible now >_< I'M SORRY GUYS I'LL TRY TO GET A NEW JOB AND BE OUT FAST.

Was combing through my junk mail folder in my inbox looking for any news from Neopets and stumbled across a very interesting mail: a response to a literary agent query I'd sent out so long ago-- back when I thought I was done (the first time)-- that I forgot about it. It was a rejection letter. I am not bothered in the slightest. I always figured that my chance of getting an agent with this quirky little project of mine is about 1% so if someone shows interest before I hit 99 queries I will be shocked.

Recently got some good feedback though so now I'm excited to do YET ANOTHER editing round. Yes, this is the Edit That Never Ends.

Most everyone ever who has read my novel has told me that they love Sparktender. This makes me vicariously happy for him, because he is my favorite, and I <3 him too.

Back to packing...
pikestaff: (Clockwork Hare)
I'm trying to keep myself stoked for moving as opposed to disappointed. Example: if I'm going to have to be a kid again for a few months, then I am going to be a kid IN STYLE, by which I mean I am totally planning an entertainment corner in my room and then the fish tank corner and then the computer corner and then the bed corner. Dream room. Yes. So I keep making myself think about that instead of thinking about, uh, all the other stuff that I'm not going to name because I AM THINKING POSITIVE.

In other news, try as I might, I cannot convince myself to actually start querying literary agents. I am scared to death that I actually wrote the next Twilight* or something and my test readers are just too nice to let me know. I hate my low self-esteem sometimes. It gets me into trouble, more often than not...

---

* On the other hand, Twilight author is published and is sitting on a pile of cash and I am neither. But on the other other hand, I really hope I did better than sparkly vampires. ...but "Dragons in Waistcoats" really isn't much better, is it...? *sigh*
pikestaff: (March Hare)
Since I've had a couple people asking what sort of feedback I'm looking for regarding my novel, I thought I would write a little something up on it:

At this point I'm approaching this as a filmmaker would a public test screening. I want to know where you laughed and where you cried and where you were confused, and I want to know which characters you liked and which weren't really working for you. I want to know if any plot points were confusing and I want to know if the characters stayed with you, in your mind, for at least a little while after you finished reading. I want to know if it made you think. There probably won't be any major sweeping changes made to the book at this point but I want to know what needs polishing.

I have had some people ask if they should be proofreading with a red pen; I'll admit that's really not what I'm going after. Don't get me wrong, if you find a typo or some grammar mistake please let me know, but I'm much more interested in your idea of the story and characters.

Some more things I feel are worth mentioning: while I still think that the book is, overall, "for all ages", if you tied me down and forced me to give it an age range I'd tell you it's for ages 12-15. Thus, don't go into this expecting "2001 A Space Odyssey" when it's supposed to be more like "Atlantis the Lost Empire". It's alt-universe in the way that "Treasure Planet" is more than, say, Lord of the Rings is.

And lastly I've gotten a lot of feedback that begins with "Don't hate me but..." and then this is followed by something minor, and then followed by lots of apologies for daring to suggest said suggestion. I just want to say: don't feel like you have to apologize for feedback. Yes, it's my baby, but if I want to get it published, then I need feedback. That said, please do tell me what you liked as well as what you didn't like. That way I know what to focus on. *nods* (and it will buffer my fragile ego when I deal with constructive criticism. Hey, I won't lie.)

<3 Thanks again everyone!!

Once Again

Jun. 11th, 2010 12:43 pm
pikestaff: (Eve and Wall-E)
Another general announcement saying that I think I managed to snag everyone who said they wanted a copy of the novel. But I've had a lot of requests, so if I overlooked you, please let me know <3

I am going to make a couple additions and then seriously look into agent querying. Quite frankly I've known from the start that this is a project that would end up "abandoned" rather than "finished", and if I don't force myself to abandon it, it shall never be done. I'm hoping some final feedback from this latest round of beta-testing will get back to me in the coming weeks and I'll be able to do some final tweaking and then off we'll go! I'm prepared for the possibility that the book is still abjectly horrible so I always figure that if querying gets me absolutely NOWHERE I can toss the thing aside for a while and fix it later.

Because it is almost time to start getting ready for NANO 2010 omg I am excited. Guys I'm going to retell the Adam and Eve story, except that Eve is a robot gaining sentience. And it's post-apocalyptic. I AM STOKED
pikestaff: (Devious Snaps)
Editing, Take Five of my novel-- aka "Windshifter 0.5"-- is done. Current Word Count: 71,441. Any previous manuscripts that people have read/are reading are now rather outdated.

New additions since the last draft include:

* An entirely new chapter
* An entirely new minor character
* Several new scenes that were not quite long enough to make up new chapters, but are still new additions to the novel, regardless
* Tightening up of some of the screws on my themes (hopefully)...
* A pretty sincere attempt to lighten the "Talking Head Syndrome" that tends to follow me around in favor of more character description and action
* A couple "bug fixes", so to speak, mostly involving story inconsistencies or historical inaccuracies

I have a list somewhere of people who wanted to read a draft who haven't been sent one yet; I'll be going over that & sending out manuscripts prrrrobably tomorrow (since I'm about to go to work right now). Please let me know if you want a draft and didn't previously inform me, or if you already read a draft and want to read an updated version.

I am really hoping that this is one of the final edits, so as it is I'm seeing this as a "speak now or forever hold your peace" type of thing. Last minute feedback/suggestions are great. I would really love to finish this thing up, although if any further feedback I get is overwhelmingly negative I will, of course, keep polishing it... =P
pikestaff: (Upside Down Gir!)
Non-work things I did today included:

  • Another day, another... scouring the job sites. Still nothing. Trying to be optimistic. (Keyword: trying)

  • Continued reading through my novel for the ten millionth time. I'm getting really close to the end so I can begin earnest work on this latest edit. I still really like [insert zomg gigantic spoiler scene here] at the end. Probably one of the better things I've written. That and the prologue. The rest of the book I still waffle on. For the most part I've convinced myself that it's really not that special and/or great. Oh well.

  • I uh, sent a query letter off to an agent. I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF SHE SPECIFICALLY SAID SHE WANTED "STEAMPUNK WITH GOOD WORLD BUILDING". I have no idea if my world building is good but at least it's unique? Then I went to her website and she had this statistic like "of all the query letters I get I only ask for partials on 4% of them and then I only ask for full manuscripts on 17% of those 4%" or something so I'm not getting my hopes up. Sometimes I wonder if I have a slightly better chance because I imagine a lot of queries are from people who don't know what they're doing. Then I remember that I don't know what I'm doing either. ._.

  • I am refreshing the UPS web page roughly once an hour to see where my watch is, because they have super detailed, exact-to-the-minute upadates on it. Apparently it's not going to be here until June 1, though. Mark my words, I shall die waiting.

pikestaff: (PikaRaichu)
I did so much work on my book today. I totally added an entirely new chapter which I hope will strengthen character development and cement a few themes. This chapter includes a new character, which may possibly be against better judgment... since I had at least one beta-tester say they felt there were too many characters... but I dunno, I think this one really works.

The new chapter brings the current word count to 70,449. Not too bad for a "middle grade/young adult"-ish novel, I hope? ._.

I really really want to be done with this next draft and start seriously looking into publication by the end of the month. Maybe that's pushing it... but on the other hand I was totally expecting this new scene to be the most difficult part of this edit and I finished it in about four hours so the rest shouldn't be that bad, right?

Anyways. Tomorrow begins the Stalking the Mailbox for Sexy Watch Adventure. I'm stoked.

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