August News

I would like to thank all of you who continue to check here for updates.  I know this year has been a bit spotty in the posts, but i plan on changing that. I hope everyone is doing well, and staying safe. I know I’m definately not the only one having a really weird year.

Starting in August there will be the daily Trek post, but i will also be reintroducing Women of History and Writing Wednesday along with some old features.  I also plan a few civic history posts. So there will be a post daily that is a review, plus a sprinkle of a variety of topics. The WOH and the history posts may be here only temporarily. I’m still debating putting those on their own blog solely (and proudly) dedicated to being a history nerd. Depends on fiancies and other factors, as is many things these days.

For those of you new to the blog (or those who want a refresher), here’s a rundown

Writing Wednesday

Starting the first Wednesday of August I will be posting short writing exercises and updates on my writing.  I have not been writing much this year.  As I’m sure is the case with many of you, its been a stressful year overall.  I’m hoping these posts will help me get back into something I love.  I am accepting prompts, if you have a suggestion. Just leave a comment on this post, or any of the writing wednesday posts. I’m also on Twitter.

Women of History

For those of you new to my blog I used to regularly write short essays on various women in history. History is one of my favorite subjects, and I love learning about the women who have shaped our world. I plan on writing one or two posts a month for this. I plan on lengthening my posts for nanowrimo this year, as well. So perhaps for 2021 I will be able to present a book version of this series.

I hope to feature various cultures and be diverse as possible. I have an ongoing selection list but am always glad to add more names if you think there is a woman of history I should feature. The only rule I have at the moment is that it not include women who are currently shaping history. So no Hillary, AOC or Beyonce. Not for a while yet we all hope.

The Rewatch

This started as a fun way to spend my unknown amount in Quarantine. I’m back at work (we only were closed a month) and so i’m not binging my way through it as much as I started. At the moment I have a month of reviews ahead to post and ill try to keep ahead of that. There are over 700 episodes so there is a long way to go. Some days I may post two, particularly on Weekends. I always enjoy comments and once and awhile may live tweet my rewatch.

Bookit

I have taken a pause on writing reviews this year, but dont be surprised if one or two pop up. I’m hoping my Trek reviews will make my book reviews better as well. My goal this year is different as I’m not working towards my normal 50 (I may reinstate that next year) but I’m trying to finally finish some long unfinished books, such as Fiery Cross (the Outlander book the recent season was based on), A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones), Anne of Green Gables, and the newest Hunger Games novels,

History Essays

I used to write random history essays on American government (and early American history as thats what my minor focused on) and also random “This happened today in the past” entries. I plan on starting that again because those were fun, and as with the writing exercises I really want to get back into my writing. Might as well enjoy the material I’m writing about.

On my main page is my past essays, although I still need to go back and catalog some of them. I may revisit some of the topics. I also don’t plan on sticking strictly to US History, although that is my main base of knowledge. Learning about other countries is always fun too. But for the first couple, I’m pretty sure its going to be US bound.

Writing Wednesday (Sunday Edition)

Got a late start this month, so the first Writing Wednesday is going to be on a Sunday. Today’s prompt comes from Writing Exercises, a random generator collection site. I used the random first line generator and got ” He kept absolutely still as the footsteps got louder ” Giving myself a 15 minute time span to write and I’m doing it in the blog editor so this is hardly going to be the most proofread story you’ll read today.

 THE STORY:

He kept absolutely still as the footsteps got louder, curling further into the niche in the wall he had found that was just big enough to hold him.  He knew this had been a poor idea, but it had been so long since he had seen Sarah, he had just felt he had to try to respond to her summons. He had made it halfway up the castle before running into any of the guardsmen that roamed it. Luckily he had worn dark clothing and the lighting had been turned down low as it was nearly midnight and most of the inhabitants were asleep. 

“What are we doing?” He jumped, turning to the opposite way of the guards to see Sarah standing there, an eyebrow raised.

“I was trying to see you.” They were going to be caught.

“Miss me then?”  Her mouth turned up slightly in amusement.  He supposed as the oldest daughter of the Regent she wasn’t as afraid of the guards finding them roaming the halls after hours.  

“No,” he said, sarcasm evident.  “I just felt like getting a good aerobic exercise in by hiding from guards.”  She giggled softly at that before turning to walk into the hall.

“Jeremey, Aara, My boyfriend is here, so don’t be alarmed.

“Of course, my lady,”  he heard a rougher voice say.  She pulled him out of the niche and pulled him down the hall past the two guards who gave him amused grins.

“Sarah, your father is going to know.”

“I don’t care, and neither should you,” she stated, continuing to pull him along.  “Father isn’t even here.  Besides, everyone knows I have a relationship with someone.  You act as if this is the middle ages and having someone visit me after 6 is some sort of infringement upon my honor.”  She shook her head as they came to the doorway to her suite, turning to look at him.  “And you have to know that Dad didn’t mean it.”

“I’m pretty sure he did.”  He couldn’t forget the cold look in the eyes of the Regent as he told him what would happen if he was found with Sarah outside public occasions.    Freiderick definately meant every word he said.  “You asked me here.”

“I know.  And you could have gone through the front door and been escorted up rather then sneaking around like you are trying to steal Gemma’s jewels.”

“Your Gemma is scarier then the Regent.  Why would anyone take her jewels?”

“Because they are idiots obsessed with money, or the shiney.” She finally got the door open and the two walked in.  “But that’s beside the point. As much as I missed you, and I did,” she stated with a look in his direction that told him she meant what she said.  He squeezed the hand still attached to his own.”I have something else to discuss with you.  Do you still have contacts with the Visen?”

“Yes,” he answered, puzzled.  As a artisan, he had many contacts across the various political bodies on the planet.  Sarah’s father was the Regent of Ikeva, a mountainous region to the north.  The Visen were located to the south of the continent, where the land was more flat and were more agriculturally based while Ikeva was more mineral and technology based economically.

“Any with political connections?”

“I think, why?”

“I was visiting with the Carens this past week, and got some intel that suggests that they are planning on trying to annex Visen.”

Writing Wednesday (belated)

So, its Friday, not Wednesday but it doesn’t have the same aliteration. Fiction Friday? It could work but sounds more like a recommednation post. Either way, here is my writing exercise for the week.

To explain the context of this bit, I have been working on a novel for years based on the myth(s) of Persephone called Lady of Shadows. It was a more sci-fi/fantasy take on the myths, deciding that the Greek, Norse and Egyptian gods were actually another species of Human that was more advanced and practically immortal. Cronus/Saturn is the leader of an organization called Titans, INC that the rest are fighting against because they are using the business to manipulate and use the regular humans (so Cronus is the big bad). All of his kids other than Zeus are adopted/fostered so Hera/Zeus is not quite as incesterious as it is in the myths, and neither is Persephone/Hades. So this challenge is me trying to explain the family dynamics.

 Challenge: 15 minutes, scene from one of my novel WIPS.

Hades pinched the bridge of his nose, attempting to stave off the oncoming headache that often accompanied dealing with his younger foster brother.  He loved Zeus, he really did, but Zeus was at times hard to handle.  He supposed it was better that he was there rather then then Posiedon who frankly rarely had the patience.   Posiedon had the shortest fuse of the family, which is probably why Zeus went to Hades rather then the other.

Their family was complicated.  Cronus and Rhia had only one biological child, and that was Zeus.  They had struggled to have children for years, opting eventually to foster and adopt to fulfill Rhia’s desire to be a mother. Whether Cronus wanted to be a father was less certian but for all his sins, he loved his wife.  He was largely out of the picture, prefering the children barely seen and not heard, although he liked to show of Zeus when he was younger till Zeus figured out the type of man he was and rebelled.

Hades had been the first son, but the fourth taken in.  When he arrived he gained an older sister in Hestia who was never happier then when she was caring for someone.  She was his favorite sister still, partially because she was the one to try and connect to him first when he arrived and partially because they were the two with the most patience and even temper.  Then there was Ceres, who was almost as dramatic as Zeus was when he was upset.  She wasn’t quite as oblvious, however, and actually could tell when he was on people’s last nerves.

Hera had been his age, and sometimes people had mistaken then for twins.  They had a simular look…dark hair and eyes.  But while Hades had been more introverted, Hera was an extrovert.  She had ambition enough for them all, and often the skills to back up anything she did.  She did however have a temper to rival Poseidon.  

Hera had left the house as soon as she was old enough, out to case her dreams.  She kept in contact with Hestia and Hades, but not so much with the others.  Zeus had been only a baby when she left, and didn’t have the same sibling bond he had with others.  He had been surprised but not shocked when it turned out his baby brother had a crush on the driven sister.  She was more like a family friend then a sibling to zeus.

He had been more surprised however, when it turned out Hera had returned the interest.

Writing Wednesday!

I am starting a new recurring post series called Writing Wednesday, which as you can imagine is a writing exercise I will undertake every wednesday. For now, I am using This Blog as a prompt giver, but I do accept prompts in the comment sections. I can’t guarantee I’ll use all of them, but if you have a prompt you would like to see me use, feel free to give it.

I’ll take the prompt and write it directly into the blog. Sometimes I may give myself a time limit (Today’s is 15 minutes) to tell the story. Today’s story is probably scientifically unsound, but I wrote it in 15ish minutes and no time for prep like research. Also hasn’t been edited beyond basic listening to the spell check.

Prompt: You look up in the sky and think that you’re seeing things for a moment. But you’re not. There are two moons above you.

Story (507 words):

 Krysta opened her eyes slowly.  The ache in her head was slight but still present.  The room however was not well lit, the only light coming from the window where moonlight filtered in.  Blinking she looked around the room, trying to access where she was.  It was unfamiliar to her.  The walls were made of thick stone,  although she couldn’t be certain in this lighting. The only decoration was the curtains, which moved with the slight breeze entering through the window.

She sat up in her bed, moving to get up and walk to the window.  The bed was surprisingly large, with four tall posts at the corners. The covers were thick, and as she removed them, the air felt colder on her exposed body.  She definately wasn’t in California anymore, where the temperatures had rarely gone under 80 the past week.   THe bed was also high, her legs not reaching the floor when she sat on the edge.   

She slid to the floor, flinching at the cold of the hardwood, and made her way to the window.  Her window looked over an ocean, a rocky shore in the mid-distance.  The waves crashed against the rocks, and she could hear the distant sounds of the movement.  There was nothing however to tell her where she was.  

It was then that she looked up at the moon and found it to be different then she had ever seen it.  For one, there were two moons in the sky, one the size that she was used to, and another far closer far larger. 

“Ah, you are awake.”  She turned around, surprised by the appearance of another person.  “I apologise for startling you.  It is not often we have guests here.”  She frowned – how did that effect surprising people.  She went to ask but found herself without her voice.  The man standing the doorway looked at her in concern, and then sympathy.  “It will return,” he assured her.  “The method of travel is safe, but it does take some time to recover.  We haven’t quite figured out why it affects your people’s vocal cords, but it seems not to linger too long.”  He placed a tray on a table she hadn’t noticed before in the corner near the door beside the bed.  

“I’ve brought you some food.  Keeping your strength up with help you adapt more quickly.” 

Adapt to what?” She thought. 

“Adapt to the planet’s differences.”  He glanced over at her and caught her wildeyed look.  “No one explained this to you?”  She shook her head.

“Despicable.” he muttered under his breath.  “You have been taken to Laroux, a planet about 15 light years away from your home planet,”  he continued in a louder voice.  “For the most part, Laroux is not much different than Earth, but it has a higher gravity, two moons which of course cause more radical tides, and a longer day.  It won’t take long to adapt.  Most of what you have to recover from is the stasis you were put in for the journey.

Writing Resources.

Continuing this month’s theme of writing, Today’s post is a simple list of links relating to writing.  There are hundreds of different writing resources out there available for those who want to look, but here are a few that either I or one of my writing friends have tried and liked.  Feel free to comment with your own suggestions.

National Novel Writing Month

It seems that NANO definately should not be left out of any list of writing resources.  National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo or Nano for short) is a yearly event where writers gather together for a month and try to write 50,000 words or a small novella.  Usually at the end are some good coupons and discounts for those who achieve the goal.  It also has forums, pep talks, and other resources to keep you going.

In April and June, Nano holds ‘Camp Nano‘, where writers gather together to write their own made-up goals (I recently edited mine down to 20,000 due to various reasons).  The goals can be less than 50k (like mine) or more (one of my cabinmates is doing 100,000.).  It’s up to the writer.   Like Nano in November, Camp Nano has forums and other resources for writers.

All is free, although they do have an online store to support costs and a charity they run each year.

4TheWords

4Thewords is a writing game.  It helps motivate you to write more.  You fight various monsters by completing word count goals.  I’m actually writing this post on their website.  MOstly because I need to fight a monster and ran out of creative parts of the story I was writing.  I’m fighting a monster right now that asks for 150 words in 11 minutes, which isn’t too hard.  But the monsters vary in amount of time and word count goals, and the developers are constantly trying out new things to add to the game.  There are also forums and areas for people to read other’s works.  Its really fun, but its not for everyone.   This has a free trial and then a monthly fee of around $4 which is paid by buying in-game currency so you can pre-pay for months in advance, or buy a larger package of currently (crystals) for in-game items and subscription.  its up to you.

Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway Editor is a browser based editing software that allows you to write in your browser window and receive statistics on your writing.  It helps alot with repetitiveness or over use of adverbs.  It can also give you a readability statistics.  This is useful for writing all sorts of types – non-fiction and fiction alike.  Its also Free.

Polygon Map Maker

Ok, this isn’t really a writing resource so to speak.  Someone created a way of generating polygons that look like islands and put it up on a website for those of us who feel its fun to create your own world to make our own island shapes to work off of.  Its fun, and it can be used to help you create a map for your fantasy story, a game, or just to waste some time.

750 Words:

750words has a basic goal: To get you to write 750 words per day.  There are badges to be won for the various goals you reach.  They include writing streaks, time of day, amount of words written, and many others.  It also gives you various statistics on your writing. It also saves what you wrote for the day so if you need to look back, you can.  New members to the website are charged $5 in a subscription fee to help cover the costs of upkeep.

Writer: The Internet Typewriter

For those who like the sound of typewriters,  and or are easily distracted by various things when using the computer, Writer might be a good app for you.  It’s free to register and it has a completely back screen to help keep you focused on what you are doing.  It does have a premium account, but I’ve never tried it.

CharaHub

Charahub is an online database for you to use to create and maintain information about your characters.  This is good for artists too. It helps streamline your information to one place.  Especially useful if you have many characters that you might want to bring back and don’t want to forget what you said about them.

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Really this is just an infographic that helps you remember the elements of writing.  Its useful for remembering, but also learning.

Fandom Writing: The Importance of Trigger Warnings

WARNING:  This post mentions several triggering subjects in the course of covering Trigger Warnings.  

There has always been a debate on the use of trigger warnings..  Triggers are words and or images that can trigger adverse reactions in people who have suffered trauma or have various anxiety disorders. It also extends to things that people know, without having the anxiety, that they don’t care to see/here because its just not something they want to digest/handle.  People over the years have developed the idea of ‘Trigger Warnings’ to help people who have issues with these things avoid them, or at least be prepared to handle them if they still continue on.

Trigger warnings are important.  The debate on trigger warnings is that some people believe they are over used, and warning about things a person should be able to handle.  Others believe that not using it is showing a lack of compassion against those who have problems with triggers.  I am in the middle on this argument.  I believe common sense warnings about possible triggers is important and should be done.  However, if someone doesn’t write a trigger for something its not right to say they are not compassionate.  Perhaps it something they are unaware of being a trigger.

The common sense triggers are often built into archives.  Violence, character death, etc.  And it is already common to put tags to express when a fic has sexual content.  Its important to put these messages because not everyone is okay with everything.  Even if its not a trigger, some people simply don’t want to read smut, or want fluff only and no violence.  They might not want to read something descriptive in gore, or deals with a particular event or activity that makes them uncomfortable.

One of the generic ones is gore.  Some people don’t like the sight of blood or any other bodily fluid.  Sometimes its because an particular event, and sometimes it is just something the person knows they don’t like to see.  I used to have trouble remembering to tag these on posts because I wouldn’t think something was gorey, but then I would get messages asking for the tag.

If you are writing something that includes a sensitive topic, its a good idea to tag it, or make a warning in your chapter notes.  While you might not have a problem with it, or feel its important to your story, some people may just need to avoid that for their own personal reasons.   I have known people who refuse to tag stuff like this because they feel it gives the story away, but it would make it so much easier for people to avoid situations where they might be triggered.  It’s a courtesy to your readers. At the vary least it allows those who are picky about what they read the time to decide if your story will be one they choose.  It will also help those who have severe reactions to certain triggers to avoid them.

I think the fact that I have an anxiety disorder myself I understand the trigger system.  I am not triggered by anything written, but I can sympathise with those who are.  Sometimes surprise is not a good thing. So just take a few moments when you post your stories to think if there is anything worth tagging, anything that might trigger anxiety in people.  Things you should tag include sexual violence (including dubious consent), fertility issues (like miscarriage and stillbirth), detailed violence and torture.  Respect requests for added tags as well.

 

Writing Resources

October has become “Nano Prep” month for me for many years.  I’ve been participating since I graduated from high school (which is longer then I remember, surprising myself each time I actually do figure out how long its been).  So I’ve decided to make a post for some of the places I get help in my writing endeavours for anyone participating in Nano.

I’m including various websites and tools, some of which I use frequently, and some of which I have used in the past and no longer do for one reason or another (in the case of one, I forgot my password).

NanoWrimo.Org

We should always start with the Nano page.  The Original NanoWrimo occurs every November, and its goal is 50k in a month.  NanoWrimo.org also offers helpful links, a forum, as well as offline events as well such as write-ins and community meet-ups.  It also does a yearly fundraiser for Libraries in areas that are too poor to fund one.

(there are also some great coupons if you win for writing services and programs).

Writing Sites:

750words.com

This website gives you online space to help keep up sprints, and daily writing.  The goal is to write 750 words daily.  The longer you go, the more points you get.  You get target rewards each time you meet the criteria.  It also gives stats on word usage and tone which can be useful.

4thewords.com

This is another example of a writing habit creator.  In this particular one, its a subscription service, but only four dollars for what accounts for a month.  You can pay by month, or pay ahead if you want to.  However, it is very fun and so far worth it in my opinon.  However, it doesn’t work for everyone, so the month trial should give you some time to find out.

The basics of it is that you are playing a game.  To fight the monsters that come across your path, you write.  Each monster has a word count goal and a time limit.  You can choose which monster you want to fight.  When you complete the battle successfully you get rewards which go towards accomplishing the Quest goals.  Then you can move on to another part of the valley where there are new monsters to fight against.  It also does periodic special runs of events (particularly during Nano events).

Hemingway Editor

THis is a online editing software (although it does have a desktop app) that allows you to check your grammar and writing as you write, helping you improve as you go along.  I like to sometimes copy/paste my writing into it to see what it says and strengthen the weak spots, but you can just get typing in there.  It has some basic formatting features as well, and a readability monitor to tell you if you are writing for the right age level.  (this is especially important if you are writing for kids. ).

Writer

This is for those who don’t need anything to distract them.  All they need is a plan screen.  If you need the least amount of distractions and just want to write, this may be good for you.

CharaHub

This website is designed to help you with your character building, keeping an online character report for you instead of half a dozen tabs or folders on your computer.  I haven’t used this, but I have been told its quite helpful.  (If you have used this, let me know what you think.)  Its been sitting in my “Writing – Tools” bookmark folder for awhile now.

Word Counter

DOn’t have a word counter built into your word processor?  This site is helpful in that it allows you to check your word count.  Also pretty good for challenges where you have a word goal and/or limit.

I have a whole folder for writing resources, but not all of them are useful as broad tools, and I limited mine to what appeared to at least give a free preview of the service.  I have a selection of generators that are sometimes fun to play around with when you have writers block, and there are millions out there that can partition to your chosen topic/genre.  Also, don’t be afraid to use the same resources you may have used in school to write those papers.  Some of them can be quite helpful when writing fiction (and really helpful if you are writing non-fiction).

If you have any websites/tools you would like to suggest, feel free to mention them in the comments.  I’m always open to finding new things.

NanoWrimo: Week One Update

Its that time of year again when I join in with a community of writers for National Novel Writing Month or NanoWrimo or as we usually just shorten it to: Nano.

Nano is a month long event where writers from around the country partispate in an personal effort to write a 50,000 word novella in a month.  I’ve partispated for the most part for the last decade or so.  I don’t always manage to write 50,000 words – life does dedicate some of that – but its fine enough to try.

Not everyone writes the same thing, or gets involved in the same way.  Some people write original fiction, some write fanfic.  Some write a series of short stories, while others write actual novel-length stories. The only goal is to get 50k worth of words, and to get people writing.  Nano also has forums to get involved with, and often local team leaders who develop events where you can go and meet local Nano-ers.

They also have a donation run to create libraries and provide books for those who don’t have access to them.

This year I am working on several stories, trying to get some of my work in progress list done.  I’ve got about 18 there now, and I’m sure that isn’t a complete list.  (I need to review that one of these days).

Alright its been one week (completely, its now 12Am, so HAPPY ELECTION DAY PLEASE VOTE *AHEM*)  My personal results are as follows:

Continue reading “NanoWrimo: Week One Update”