Camp NaNoWriMo Week Five and Final Update

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Camp NaNoWriMo is over! And wow, I pushed myself so much further than I thought I could. My stretch goal of completing two and a half cycles is done. Finished. I did it. I won!

What the shit? I wish I could write like this every month, but I’ve backed off a bit more the last few days in an attempt to recover.

My brain still hurts.

I also got through my re-read of Project Graves 2, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I had there, and that it seemed like so little at 35,000 words. The best part is, I got past my writer’s block and figured out what needs to happen next. Now, I need to double check it against the new outline and continue to revise as necessary.

I’ve also started the branding and marketing plans for this series, which is super freaking exciting. If you’re interested in this wolf erotica series, and similar things, here’s my website for Autumn Lishky. I don’t typically cross-promote, but it’s my Nano Project, so we have some overlap.

I did fail, however, in most of my writer-opoly prompts, but I’m working on that for August, adding them on to my new rolls. Yay for me! I definitely beat that word count goal though.

Anyways, let’s look at the numbers!

Week One | July 26-31

Minutes Completed: 736/720

Minutes Ahead: 2

Words Written: 8,045

That brings me to 39,067/20,150

I’m halfway through Marsh, and he’s my midpoint for the series as a whole. Yikes! I need to get planning the next few bits so I can keep up the productivity.

Especially since I’m planning to have this series launch in January 2021.

Want to watch me do all the things, like making banana muffins and play with cats? Check out my camp writing vlog:

 

How did your July go? Let me know in the comments below!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week Four Update

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After the twelve-day headache, the pain finally broke, but not before a terrible, group interview. Ever go in and have an expert try to tell you about some marketing trick they don’t do for the wrong reasons? Everyone looks at you like an idiot, even though you know the guy is full of it. Yeah, that’s how my week went.

It showed in my word count and minutes tabulated. Thankfully, I had all of those minutes racked up from the last three weeks.

Anyways, let’s look at the numbers!

Week One | July 19-25

Minutes Completed: 691/840

Minutes Behind: 14

Words Written: 6,455

That brings me to 31,022/20,150

Regardless of the weaker week, I’m still almost done with cycle six, Midnight, and onto Marsh. Man, this is going so quickly! I love it.

Want to watch me do all the things, like making chocolate cake, re-reading a project, stretching, and wrangling cats? Check out my camp writing vlog:

How has your July been? Let me know in the comments below!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week Three Update

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This week has improved! I’ve been able to get back to edits, post videos on YouTube, and contact my authors. Life is getting a little bit closer to normal.

Productivity in the rest of my life also means more ups and downs in my daily wordcounts.  Or maybe that’s the headache I’ve had since last Monday…

Anyways, let’s look at the numbers!

Week One | July 12-18

Minutes Completed: 853/840

Minutes Ahead: 55

Words Written: 9,253

That brings me to 24,567/20,150

Y’all, I’m on the brink of 80k. What the freak is happening?

I might just get through two cycles this month. If I keep this up, I’ll be done with this beast in…another four months. I’m nearing halfway through.

I don’t think that’ll happen, but I can hope, right?

Want to watch me figure my shit out? Check out my camp writing vlog:

What have you been working on this July? Let me know in the comments below!

Camp NaNoWriMo Goals & Update

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Hello to all of my lovely friends.

It’s been a little while since I’ve been here, and I have a few things to catch you up on.

Like how I am participating in July’s Camp NaNoWriMo! I love July’s camp because I don’t need to worry too much about other hard deadlines. Usually.

With the world as it is, my productivity has been a roller coaster ride, and the anthology I’m editing is slow going because of this. Add on that one of my kitties just died last week, and we’ve got me in a half-cocked meltdown mode.

But since I don’t want to dwell there, let’s recap some camp nano things instead.

First, my goals: since I play writer-opoly every month (a game to give me writing prompts and challenges), I have an added 150 words a day to produce on top of my typical 500 daily goal. If this wasn’t July, I might have been upset, but as I have some serious goals this month, I didn’t let it bother me.

And really, I’m smashing my goals right now in that department.

Overall, that brings my wordcount goal to 20,150. Not a bad goal for thirty-one days.

However, what I’m tracking for camp is minutes (equaling two hours a day) dedicated to writing. I did this last year, and the results were FANTASTIC. I wrote an extra 15,000-20,000 words in my novel in 2019.

That’s 3,620 minutes, by the way.

Second, project goals: I wanted to finish one and a half more stories in my current distraction project—Wooing the Alpha, which is a series of fourteen shorts that range between 12k and 15k in length. I also want to re-read my YA novel, the one I’m being distracted from, and jot some notes down so that I can dig into it again. I’m played with re-outlining, so that may be on the agenda as well.

Third, I also have the writer-opoly challenges of writing with a cursed prompt, to emulate another author’s voice (aka Christopher Pike), and to write a scene with courage and perseverance, which I’m pretty sure I’m combining into one project.

Okay. Here are my numbers so far:

 

Week One | July 1-4

Minutes Completed: 490/480

Minutes Ahead: 10

Words Written: 5,508

Week One | July 5-11

Minutes Completed: 872/840

Minutes Ahead: 42

Words Written: 9,806

 

And that’s a total of 15,314/20,150 words so far this month and an average of 1,392 words a day.

It seems that the only thing not impeded by the ups and downs and more downs of life is my writing. I just passed 70k in this project, and I started it mid-March. Holy hell.

 

Want to know more about my kitty or my writing progress, check out my vlog:

 

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Let me know in the comments below.

A Warrior Survives Her Legend

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Another writing challenge this month, and another poem has been written. It’s not my best, but my inspiration has been singularly focused.

 

A Warrior Survives Her Legend

 

The world turned from technicolor

To a strained black and white.

Swords swung and sliced

And clanged and clashed.

 

Blood sprayed her face.

The front of her armor.

Her fingers grew slick, but she dodged

And parried and cut through meat.

 

Bodies fell, the battle ending

As Winter chased down the stragglers.

One lingered, hitting hard and fast.

One who didn’t fall for her tricks.

 

Cold steel pierced iron with a screech.

Tip burns a line across her throat,

A scratch spreads poison,

Working to take her down.

 

She fought, bleary and discombobulated.

Throbbing spreads through her

Flesh, eating her vocal cords

Ready to take off her head.

 

Her speed failed, and a blow fell.

Winter dropped to her knees,

Writhing against her own death.

She would die here.

 

But death did not come.

Not quickly.

A battle moved away from her,

Leaving her to gargle her own blood.

 

Floating in nothing, she

Met her mother.

Woke to Newt pressing

A clean cloth to her wound.

 

His mother mended her wounds

After Newt saved her life,

And struggled with her own mortality:

A weakness for her kind.

 

The great warrior, Winter,

Taken down by a single sword’s swipe.

Surviving made her a legend.

No one knew the truth.

Writer-opoly Writing Prompt

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This month, one of my writing challenges was to complete a writing prompt. Here’s what I got:

 

“As a homicide detective in a large city, you’ve come across some odd cases. This, however, takes the cake: you have the Grim Reaper, death itself, in custody.

 

And here’s what I wrote:

 

The gray t-shirt fit the young man—if man could be applied yet, those things varied beyond age—and other than his oversized blue irises, he wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. Average, fair skinned with a tan, blonde, medium build, although his arms might have been longer than his height required.

I’d caught him in my theater room, aka, the basement where my wife hasn’t taken over due to the damp walls. He’d propped himself on the old and worn recliner I’d stowed down there and had the projector streaming Moana from my movie laptop.

He didn’t seem fazed by my appearance, nor my gun and badge. He wouldn’t stand until the demi-god was done singing his welcome song, then he hopped up and put his hands behind his back for my cuffs.

“What are you doing in my house?” I jerked him toward the stairs.

“Your wife invited me in, told me to wait for you down here. She seems nice.”

“That doesn’t answer my question. Why are you in my house?”

A lopsided grin turned his mouth. “I did answer your first questions, which was what I was doing, not why I was doing it, but I’m here to collect a soul.”

He’d made his way up the stairs before I could process what he meant, and he’d smiled at my wife.

I shoved him out the door and into the back of my police-issued wagon.

He sang the entire way to the station and the entire time he sat in his holding cell. The young man had a penchant for Disney songs.

After filing the paperwork and running his prints, I pulled a chair to sit outside of his cell, sure this conversation would go as any did. His avoiding my questions, me repeating them ad nauseum until he tripped over himself.

“Why were you in my house?” I asked.

“I told you already. I’m here to collect a soul.”

“You mean, you’re here to kill someone. A hitman.”

That playful smile, like I wasn’t the smarter of us two, but sympathy lined those oversized eyes. “I don’t kill. I collect. Y’all kill yourselves just fine on your own.”

“Who are you collecting?”

“No one you know.”

“Give me a name.”

“They don’t have one yet.”

“Who are you collecting for?”

His big blue eyes closed as he shook his head, pity replacing that mixture of cheekiness and sympathy. “Depends on what you believe. The universe. Fate. God.”

How had some wacko made his way into my house? Past my wife?

“Who are you?”

“John Doe 357.” He sprang into “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin.

I left him to it and checked on the computer processing his prints. No matches on the general database. I ran it through the next series, but I felt myself scowling at the likelihood I’d get nothing from it.

He would be John Doe 357. How did he come up with that number?

I pushed him through my questions again, but his answers were the same.

No matches on his prints.

He didn’t seem stressed about the time he wasted.

I made a few phone calls, contacted some old PI friends and techs from other agencies to put out feelers on this scam.

When I returned, the young man stood on the bench, peering out the small rectangular window at nothing—the glass frosted over. There was no way to escape through it.

“Why were you in my house?”

Grief lowered the lines around the young man’s large eyes as he turned toward me. “It’s happening now. I’m sorry.”

Rage pushed me against the bars to his cell, but I refrained from lashing out. He wouldn’t get to me this way. “What’s happening? Is someone killing for you?”

He shook his head, dropping back to the bench and singing “Circle of Life” in a slow, eerie cadence that sent a chill over my skin.

The phone rang at my desk, and I went to answer it, tension and terror mounting as my hand cut off the last jangling note. “Detective Duntley.”

A sob echoed across the line, “Billy.”

My chest tightened. “Marianne. What’s wrong?”

“I—” Another sob cut her off. “I need you to come home.”

Marianne, what happened?”

“I lost it. There’s so much blood. So much blood.” Heartbreak laced her voice.

“Lost what?”

A sob and her voice cracked—the baby.

My mind went blank for too many breaths.

“I wanted to surprise you tonight.” A hiccup and warble. “I went to the doctor today.”

My baby?

The office was too quiet. The cell too quiet.

“I’m on my way, sweetheart.”

The phone slammed back into its cradle, and I stomped back to John Doe 357.

Silence settled across my shoulders as the empty cell dumfounded me. Metal cuffs sat on the bench.

A soul to collect with no name.

A baby I hadn’t known about.

Fate. The Universe. God.

I grabbed my jacket off the back of my chair and drove home to console my wife.

I Finished an Old Half-Written Story

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I’ve forced myself to dig back into an unfinished story. I didn’t stop writing it because I didn’t want to finish it. I stopped because life got crazy, and I needed a different distraction, which was my new novel that I also put aside for similar reasons.

Funny how that works.

At the time, I was editing my fourth book in the Broken World series, the end of the semester was upon me, I had the flu and food poisoning and something else, and my kitty died.

So yeah, this got pushed aside.

But now, I’ve reopened the file for an official review and push to finish it. It is my story for my upcoming anthology after all.

I sat down to the first twenty-four pages. And I cried…six times.

Then, I sat down to write, and I cried for nearly an hour as I wrote.

To clarify, this is the diary of my main protagonist’s mother, Tatiana. The one who dies to give birth to Ria. Her death is no spoiler, but as I experienced in writing her father’s story—also dead—their inevitable deaths didn’t hamper my emotions.

I might have gotten this response on video, too, up on my channel via a writing vlog. It’s pitiful, but I didn’t edit out the crying. It was, like, three-quarters of my experience.

Overall, in my review and continued creation, I hope it affects others even a quarter as much as it did me while I was writing it.

I feel crazy sometimes, having these kinds of experiences while I write. But what else am I to do when people inhabit my head?

 

Do you ever have this kind of response when you write? Let me know in the comments below.

A Brief Look at Poetic Justice

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Poetic justice rewards the good and punishes the bad at the end of a story.

In a similar way to karma and dharma, we respond with phrases like, “she had that coming,” and “he got what he deserved,” thus developing a moral compass for the readers. Behave well and be compensated or behave poorly and be admonished.

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Essentially, this prompts reader to see certain actions as a code of morality to set up easy identification of good characters and wicked ones so that we can connect with them appropriately.

Disney, for example, is great at wrapping up their movies with poetic justice: the prince and the princess fall in love, the villain is thwarted in the final battle, and those who clung to evil’s coattails are thrown under the bus.

In Frozen, Elsa and Anna are rewarded with the kingdom and family in one piece (kind of), their helpers also prospered. The villain, Hans is humiliated and exiled.

In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is killed by the Beast, in part, due to his own arrogance, pride, and malice, while the Beast is rewarded with the love of a fine woman.

In Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and Aladdin gain love and the promise of a better kingdom. The Genie gets his freedom, and Jafar gets trapped away with the power he wanted so badly but no means to use it.

 

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In The Lion King, Simba regains his kingdom, brings prosperity back to the land, and gets to create the family he’d missed. Scar is killed, not by Simba, but by his own minions, the hyenas.

I could go on, but I won’t.

We see this trope happen in dystopian stories where the rebels fight the dictators and win, usually fating them to death and their heroes to glory—or at the very least, to peace.

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Think The Hunger Games, Katniss and Pita get their quiet life and family as both President Snow and President Coin die at the end for their corrupt natures.

Think In Time, Will steals an elite young lady, Sylvia, and they work together to topple a corrupt system. They’ve created an impact by shutting down factories by giving people enough time to quit their jobs, and the good guy duo go on to rib larger banks and destroy the system. The bad guys, at least the ones who come against them in the movie, die. The larger villains are no longer able to horde their riches with absolute security.

Think Equilibrium, Father dies, the rebellion defeats the dictatorship, and the people gain their freedom to feel.

Shakespeare has plenty of examples of poetic justice in his plays, although a great deal of terrible acts befall good people, the Montagues and Capulets lose their children for their feud, Lady Macbeth’s plot falls apart and haunts her, Othello’s death is justified for his lack of trust and violence toward those who loved him, and Iago is tortured and executed for manipulating Othello, and etc.

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Beyond the fact that authors use poetic justice to create morality and paint potential punishments for when we don’t behave, how do we ensure that we properly craft this kind of ending with a lack of preaching to our readers while creating universal ideas of good and evil? There are varying degrees of what these concepts mean after all.

 

I’d love to know your take on poetic justice and its role in society. Tell me what you think in the comments below.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.literarydevices.com/poetic-justice/

https://literarydevices.net/poetic-justice/

http://www.woodheadpublishing.com/literary-devices/poetic-justice

https://writingexplained.org/grammar-dictionary/poetic-justice#Modern_Examples_of_Poetic_Justice

https://www.softschools.com/examples/literary_terms/poetic_justicel_examples/332/

https://www.bachelorandmaster.com/globaldrama/poetic-justice-in-othello.html#.XrMvfC-z1Bw

 

Last Month, I Won Camp NaNoWriMo

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So, I pretty much spoiled it, yeah? I won camp. I wrote over 15,000 words, which was my goal—aka 500 words a day, and I was reminded of a few things about my writing process.

Mostly, I learned that I have no idea what I’m doing at any given moment. I mean, I like to think we’re all in that boat, so if it’s not true, don’t burst my bubble.

Essentially, as much as I want to plot and plan a story, I am ultimately a pantser. I also have to follow my story chronologically, even when other characters are screaming in my head.

No, it’s not your turn. You have to wait.

Why? Because what happens before you affects her time with you! Now, calm your ass.

I sound like a crazy person, right?

My husband recently read an article that described how authors described their interactions with their craft and their characters. Some of us “hear” our characters. Some of us “lose control” of our characters.

And some of us, experience our characters.

I’ve done all three. But most of the time, I hear them…like a schizophrenic. They have their own minds, and I wonder how crazy that makes me.

The funny thing about this is, as loud as Thunder and Torrent—my first and third male protagonists—were, North—male protagonist number two—was silent until I dropped into his perspective. Then, wham, his personality hit me like a battering ram.

Why? Because he’s quiet and polite and knows how to wait his turn!

I’ve rather rambled in an odd direction, haven’t I?

Okay. So what camp reminded me of most importantly was how much love I have for writing and creating and how much fun it can be when I don’t take it too seriously.

I plan to continue writing in this fun, erotic set of stories for May as I learn to re-outline and plan my sequel to the Graves series. It’s going to be a lot of work, so it’s nice to have Wooing the Alpha to keep me sane.

Fun times.

Want to see my process? Watch my Camp Nano vlogs here:


What have you been writing in April? Do you have plans for May? Let me know in the comments below!

#SoCS A Joint Adventure

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Today’s prompt is “joint.” Use it as a noun, an adjective, or a verb–use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!

 

(Seriously, y’all, I could not stop laughing as I wrote this, but one of my challenges this month was to write another poem, so here ya go.)

 

A Joint Adventure

 

Grind, scrape, stuff.

Roll, lick, press.

Flick. Flick.

Light it on fire.

Puff. Puff.

 

Smoke swirls in light,

Twisting and turning,

Spinning over itself.

 

Shift, groan, creak.

Stand, wobble, press

Hand to forehead.

Sway in place.

Stomach grumbles.

 

Flour wafts in the air,

Covering and coating,

Caking in grooves.

 

Scoop, whisk, scrape.

Measure, dump, stir.

Preheat to 350.

Grease and pour.

Bake. Cool.

 

Family peers in curiously,

Hovering and tasting,

Hungry little animals.

 

Sweet, cinnamon, butter.

Fluffy, gooey, warm.

Nom. Nom.

Eat it up.

Nap time.

 

 

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Prompt source: https://lindaghill.com/2020/04/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-11-2020/