Why I’m not NaNoWriMo -ing This Year

I See in WordPress that I have a few more followers this week! Thank you and I hope you stick around. Since I haven’t been updating the site, I thought I’d do a quick post this week and maybe start getting back on a schedule.

So. What am I doing this month? Well, for the first time in almost a decade, I’m not failing at Nano. Instead, I continue to work on a daily writing practice, and am coming close to pulling the trigger on a couple novellas, and my journal-ling is going great (Obviously, since I’ve decided to get back to publicly posting,right?).

I’m not nano-ing because I don’t need the pressure in my life right now

I’m not doing it because I’m writing regularly at my own speed.

I’m not doing it because Wattpad does a lot of the same thing for me

I’m not doing it because I want to polish a project for #SFFPit on Dec. 9th

I’m not doing it because I don’t want to go to the Meetup and awkwardly stare at the other two people wondering if I’m the crazy one.

I’m not doing it because I don’t want to feel like I’m failing again, on the same project I failed at last year.

NaNoWriMo is great IF. If you have the time. If you need the support. If you Win. But I don’t feel it’s great if you’re trying to go to the next step. If you have a little pride, if you’re already motivated. Instead it becomes an albatross of lowered expectations and arbitrary goals.

I Don’t the goals of NaNoWrimo are SMART— Specifically, I don’t think they’re wither Relevant or realistic killing yourself and driving away your family for a month to say you’ve completed yet another fanfic or nonpunishable Novella doesn’t lead to anything else. What are you going to do in December? Another writing sprint? Edit the mess? Not that it doesn’t work for other people: It just doesn’t work for me.

And that’s what I’m in the process of re-learning right now- What works for me. What procedures and software, attitudes and practices, work for me to start writing again after all the abuse and heartache I’ve lived through the last 5 years.

Leafless Video Game Intro

Jamie has been working on a couple of projects for her senior Thesis, the main one of which is Team Jomie and Leafless.

This video will probably be the Kickstarter Intro, and I thought I’d post it here first:

Leafless: The Making of an Indie Game – Episode 1 from Karl Allsop on Vimeo.



Six Things I Love About Scrivener ( For Linux)

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Do a quick Google search, and you’ll see most writers have a real love/hate relationship with scrivener. For every scribe raving about how their productivity has gone up since switching, you’ll find another who’s decided the learning curve was too steep or it didn’t do what they needed it to do (Not true- it just couldn’t do it easily).

I’ve used Scrivener for the past year or so, and as I’ve gotten used to its strange peccadilloes and eccentricities, found that yes, as advertised, my productivity is going up and I’m finding it easier to develop a daily writing practice and get some drafting done.

So, here’s five reasons I love Scrivener, in no particular order. These are not comprehensive: just six things I thought about right now as i sit here between Pomodoro segments:

  1. Instant on- When you boot up scrivener, it starts up on the last thing you were typing. No blank screens, no having to open files. just a cursor blinking at the end of the last sentence you wrote. Add Scrivener to your startup folder, and instead of seeing a blank screen , or the Firefox Icon each morning, you see your draft beckoning you.
  2. Templates- I’ve used plotting and outlining software before, but could never find the right balance between structure and flexibility. But with Scrivener, laying out a template with and playing with the structure is easy and fun. I created a pulp template for short stories on a lark. Since then I’ve seen several Novel Templates, a blogging calendar, even a project manager. Currently, I am working on one for myself for an Artist’s Way Journal and a Sonnet Crown. Templates extend Scrivener way past just another Word Processor.
  3. Ctrl-K- In Linux, Ctrl-K splits the test att he cursor into two separate text files. Working off your Bea Sheet and the scene goes off in a tangent? Ctrl-K and keep typing. Got a new Idea but don’t know where it fits? Ctrl-K and keep typing. Want to move a block of text to Act 1? Don’t copy and paste. Ctrl-K, move it and use the Inspector to remind yourself Why You Moved it. Cool Huh?
  4. Project Target/Project statistics- Two little pop-up windows that help you keep track of session targets with nice little progress bars. Isn’t fun to hit your daily goals and want to keep going?
  5. Compile Preview- And finally, using Compile:Preview allows you to see your draft in book form in its own little reader. Scroll up, scroll down. Isn’t it looking like a real book now?
  6. f11- Full Screen Distraction mode.

That’s it for me- 6 unsung little features that make me want to use Scrivener.

How about You? What do you like or have discovered that you didn’t know about when you started using the program?

Family Trip to Imaginary London

The Family and I at COSI’s Sherlock Holmes Exhibition. As fas as traveling Science Exhibitions, this was one of the Better ones. Nice use of Artifacts and story telling. Really fun, even if light on the Cumberbatch. First room, Conan Doyle and the true life Inspirations. Second Room, the underground Arcade, where a variety of exhibits led you through Victorian Tech and Society, leading to a coded message from Sherlock to meet him At Baker Street…


Then A quick jaunt to the crime scene to collect clues. And a trip around London to perform experiments in Blood Splatter analysis, Botany, Tracks and Deductive reasoning., before having the mystery revealed ( A Little Unsatisfying ending, as it was mostly just assuming LeStrade’s analysis was incorrect every time, but hey…) Then a quick Movie Prop and Cultural History Exhibit, and A gift shop, where our visit was commemorated. Ah, Family Memories


BAker Slaughter

( Yes, Same Photo with Green Screen Backdrop.)…


Edgar Allan Poe Papercraft Coffin

Here’s a copy of the papercraft Edgar Allan Poe Gift Box Jamie made in 2008:

Edgar Allan Poe Coffin Top
Here’s the top

 Edgar Allan Poe Giftbox BottomI had thought I lost this, but found the images on an old USB drive when cleaning out the office.

Jamie made this from a “Museum in a Book” on Poe. The eyes are from the Ultima Thule; the words are facsimiles of Poe Manuscripts.

After originally posting, we were contacted by the Library of Virginia. They had wanted to sell these gift boxes for Poe’s 100th Birthday Celebration. Unfortunately, this was just a graphic project and to actually make the box requires a bit of finagling. We were not able to get the specs up to where it would work for them and the project kind of fizzled.

But here they are for your amusement. I guess we’ll let you download them with a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution/Non-Commercial license: use them for your own projects, just don’t sell them. You are free to remix and edit the images so long as you don’t sell the remixed images and allow others to remix them, just link back here.

Joe Konrath’s 2014 Predictions: Which Ones Are Wrong?

Konrath has posted his Publishing industry predictions for 2014, and as usual, he’s spot on. I have a couple of comments I’d like to make here as an Outsider looking into the industry:

B&N Going Away– I don’t think it’ll happen this year, but it is happening. When Border’s closed, I posted about it on the old site. I felt that having one brick-and-mortar monopoly was better than having two struggling stores. I felt that B&N would be more proactive instead of having to react to Amazon.

Boy was I wrong.

Look, I love my Nook Tablet. But it’s two years old. I needed a new one this year, and B&N didn’t have one out. So, now I’m looking at the Nexus 7. Why not? It has a camera that’s useful for the Evernote Moleskine I bought at B&N that their tablet won’t support.

In fact, it looks like B&N might just get lapped by indie booksellers, especially if a lot of Konrath’s  other predicitions come true. B&N needs to figure out what business changes it needs to make to stay relevant, instead of carrying on with business as usual and making cosmetic changes.

I said before they need to make the café the social hub of their experience, not the Nook Kiosk. Not the Toy store. And not the gift shop. All those are just aspects of the retail business they’re flailing at. They need to get people into the store to interact with other people in the store.  They need people exited about their Nooks to show other people what to do with them. And they’re failing at that.

Library Sales- Here’s another part of the industry that’s reacting to changes instead of capitalizing on them. Creating fans and readers will be extremely important to publishers. Making Libraries a part of this, instead of punishing them for giving away books ( At a time when they’re already under attack by local governments) makes sense. Good Luck Joe.

Discoverability and Visibility– Disagree here. This has always been a problem, will always be a problem. I don’t think there’s an easy way out. There’s too much crap, too much generic fiction that looks and reads like any other. The way to stand out is to have a unique voice and viewpoint, and to offer something valuable to your readers. Look, I get a ton of hits on my Pulp Scrivener template, for no reason other than I have it here, and have it here before anyone else. Right now I’m working on my novel and making notes on a novel template, and might do an Erotica one as well. That’ll get people here to read my stuff, and hopefully convert them to buyers. It’s not a trick, and it’s not hard. I just hope it works.

AMAZON- I Don’t trust Amazon, and would like to get out from under them as fast as possible. Amazon does not have Indie authors best interests at heart. Once they own the market, they’ll switch to selling mode, not marketing mode, not capture mode. Writer’s who rely on Amazon for discoverability and sales will be left in the cold. They did it with Free, they did it with Erotica, they’ll do it with Lending library and Prime. I’m looking at Oyster and Scribd’s Model to help.

And for an alternative viewpoint, Here’s Evo Terra and Jeff Moriarity:

How to get an advantage over Stupid Writers



Daily Writing Practice, Journalling, Nano and Butt in Chair

So I failed again at Nano.

No, I Failed at winning Nano. Like every year, it’s hard to get my butt in the chair each and everyday. And one bad day leads to one day off, which leads to too, which leads to “Wait for the Weekend to get caught up” which leads to ‘I Give up.”

But something was a little different this year. I still am having fun with my Story, at least turning it over in my head. I am also still working on a daily writing practice, working on a journal and The Artist’s Way.

Maybe something is telling me I’m just not ready to push my writing into the public sphere yet. And that is a little self-knowledge that I didn’t have last month. That’s worth learning, so long as I can keep plugging away.