What I Write

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I Prefer Dreams #MFRWauthor

Welcome to Week 3 of the MFRW 52-week challenge. The topic is "Writing or plot programs, use them or not?" Even though I use a structured writing approach, I don't use any plotting sites or software. I prefer the plot to come more organically. Capturing a dream helps keep the voice fresher.

I've tried various ones that were recommended either directly by other authors or in their newsletters. No matter which software or site I experimented with they always seemed like more effort. Since I don't consciously plan out the story arc, character arcs, or plot points, the programs never seemed to work for me.

I have a stable of forms that tracks character descriptions, the plot, and the rules/description of the fantasy worlds I create.Another reason I don't use plot software is that at least at the start of a project, I tend to do most of my drafting and storyline design the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. Using a labtop isn't always practical in doctors' offices or in parks.

There is a different category of writing programs that I do use--editing and proofing software. The cold scan of the computer can help overcome the author's familiarity with the work or compliment an author's weaknesses. Although algorithms are not a substitute for a experienced editor, they can help with an initial polish.

I also like to use text to voice programs. Having the computer read the story to me, either while I listen with closed eyes or read along helps point out a variety of issues.

What software do you use? Hope you'll visit the other authors to see their answer.

~till next time, Helen


Snowy Days? A Good Book and Hot Cocoa #mfrwauthor

Welcome to Week 2 of the MFRW 52-week challenge. The topic is "What do you do on snowy days?"

Thankfully snow is scarce and light in my current neck of the woods. Businesses and schools don't close. A quick swipe clears the dusting of snow off of cars.

The prompt brought back memories so I'll focus on snow days from my youth. The answer to what do you do on snowy days is short and simple. Shovel...warm up... shovel...repeat. Even though a tractor-pulled sledge helped clear a path down the lane (or around the largest snow drifts) there were places that had to be shoveled for the tractor to bull its way through.

Once the main road was reached meant more shovelling. The car that had been left at the end of the lane had to be cleared, but the hardest work was around the mailbox and across the end of the lane. Besides drifted snow, the several foot high pile of snow-ice-frozen slush pushed up by snow plows had to be moved. Once access was gained to the outside world, we walked back to the house, changed into clothes warmed by the fire, had some hot cocoa, and collapsed on the coach with a good book.

One storm presented a challenge when wind-driven snow piled into drifts more than six feet high along the lane, and even higher in the fields. During one such storm, the local National Guard tank used for emergency transport rolled across the top of the drifts without breaking through.

More recent memories of snow days were not as dramatic. Although throwing snow onto a pile that towers above your head gets old very quickly. The day went thus.
  • Clear a path from the back door to the cars, 
  • Clear the car and business van
  • Shovel a car width path to where the snowplow went down the street (The plow didn't always go curb to curb, but one swipe down the middle.)
  • Remove the huge frozen pile of snow/ice the snowplow pushed up (This usually has to be done at least twice. One day I was so tired that when the plow came down the street the fourth time that morning and pushed all the snow into our drive, I stood at the end of the driveway. )
  • Shovel the front steps and create a path from the plowed zone to the mailbox
  • Clear a path from the street to the elderly neighbors' front door so ambulance and EMS can get in if need be
  • Drive to the next town and clear parents' sidewalk, steps, driveway and car
  • Return home and if sun hasn't melted snow off the slate sidewalk, clear it
  • Collapse for a few hours
  • Cook dinner? I don't think so. There's just enough energy to walk down the block to the local diner.

To all those still living up north, faced with piles of snow, think of warm sunny days of summer, have a hot cocoa, and open a good book.

~till next time, Helen

I forgot to signup for last week so there won't be the detailed list of participants. You can find them here.


2019 - The Challenge

When the 2019 challenge started, I knew I wasn't going to do 52 posts. I finished 2017 and 2018 list of topics, but tackling another year seemed an insurmountable task. And I had a release to plan and had already committed to the AtoZ in April Challenge. Then there were the subjects that were more personal than I care to reveal. I admit to being old school enough that I don't post my entire life on whatever is the social media site du jour. Experience with stalkers and identity theft also adds discretion to my reveals.

Altogether 25 out of the 52 topics were posted. Fair warning, several of the topics have been noted for future blog posts.

Links to the 2019 posts by alphabetic topic are below. Again, congratulations to the other authors who participated. And to our readers I hope you enjoyed our revelations whether they be personal or about the writing life.

~till next time, Helen

Advice, Been There...Done That (Giving and Taking Advice)
Beginning and Endings (Getting the Call)
Bucket Lists - Too Depressing
Contests - Crickets and $$$
Creativity Trigger

Dinner Guests (Who You Would Kill Or Die to Have Dinner With)
Dream Wedding
Dressing Up
Epilogues - Helpful or Hurtful
Gardening, Hard on the Knees
Gifts (Words, the best personal gift)

Real or Fantasy Holidays? (Headaches and Joys of Family Get Togethers)
Does Life Exist Outside of Writing
NanoWriMo (Craziness and Tired Fingers)

Nightmare of a Perfect Day
Passing On Bad News (What Would You Pay Not To Do)

Recipe Favorite (Heritage and Food)
Research (If the Police Searched My Computer)
Resolved.. To Fall in Love With Writing, Again
Ritual Or a Routine - It Works
Social Media, Friend or Foe? 
Temptation (Resistance is Futile)
Writing Yourself in the Story (Maybe a Cameo)