Friday, December 15, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-December 15, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

Sorry I'm posting so late today.  I wrote part of this post, then had to stop and only found the time to finish it now.  Oops.

My boys had their school Christmas concert last night, and they both had a great time.  Lyle got to dress up as part of a massive Christmas tree formation, and Jude got to play a lobster during one of his songs.  They were adorable.

I'm taking all of the kids to visit with Santa tomorrow morning.  Fingers crossed that they don't come up with any last minute gift ideas for Santa!

Once the kids are all in bed, I plan to relax and get some writing done.  I'm definitely looking forward to that!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-December 8, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

A bunch of Christmas gifts we ordered online have started rolling in.  Fortunately, the boys have been at school every day we received a UPS delivery, so that made it easier to hide things without having to answer awkward questions.  My bedroom closet is now so full of kids' toys that I don't dare open it, but oh well.  It's only temporary.

We put up some Christmas lights, so our house looks festive.  It isn't a fancy display by any means, but the kids absolutely love it!

Writing is going well.  Though progress on my novel has been a tad slow this week, I'm pleased with the progress I have made.  Fingers crossed that it continues!

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: December 2017

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!  Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has assembled another group of top-notch co-hosts for this month: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner.

Be sure to visit the IWSG website!

The question for this month is: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

This is an appropriate question, as the end of the year seems a perfect time to reflect back.

As far as my writing goes, this has been a busy year.  I've been submitting a lot of stories, and I've had a couple of successes.  One of those successes is getting a story published in the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, which is an anthology of science fiction stories for middle grade readers.  It just went on sale earlier this week, and I'm excited to see how well it does.  If anyone is interested in getting a copy, you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

I have one more story to submit by the end of the year.  Once I submit this last story, that'll put me up to thirteen submissions for the year.  I didn't originally set out to do that many, but it happened that way.  While that has led to some exciting acceptances, it has also led to plenty of rejections.  I'm trying not to find those discouraging, especially since I subbed to some really competitive magazines.

While I'm happy about how many stories I've been writing, one thing I wish I could do differently is focus more on my novel.  My original plan for 2o17 was to have a completed 1st draft.  At present, I have about a quarter of it written.  That's certainly better than nothing, but I know I could have done more.  I had a couple of dry spells where I wrote almost nothing, and I wish I could have organized my time better.  Oh well.  At least I know what my goal for 2018 is going to be.

If you could go back, what would you have done differently?  What successes have you had, and what are your goals for the coming year?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-December 1, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

My boys excitedly wrote out their Christmas lists for Santa this week.  I'm so proud of how much they've learned and what a good job they did writing those lists.  I'm also impressed with the sheer number of items they put on there.  Santa is going to have his work cut out for him.

I set myself some goals for the month of November.  While I didn't do NaNo, I still wanted to challenge myself.  The goal was to write a complete rough draft for a short story and add 15,000 words to my novel.  How did I do?  Well, I did indeed complete the rough draft for that short story.  On that front I was successful.  And how about my novel?  How many words did I add?

Drumroll, please.

I added 15,o37 words.  I didn't blow past my goal like I'd hoped I might early in the month, and for a little while there it seemed possible I might.  Then Zoe's birthday and Thanksgiving happened, and I lost some momentum there.

Still, I achieved my goal, even if it was only by the skin of my teeth.  It's still a win, and I'll celebrate it!  And I'd like to congratulate anyone who made it through NaNo this month.  I admire you for that.

And finally, I'd like to celebrate these little beauties that came in the mail.  Earlier this month, I learned I'd won a Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children boxed set through a giveaway on Goodreads, and I just received it this week.

Also, the 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide is coming out, and I just got my author copies in the mail.  Aren't they pretty?  

If you'd like to learn more about the book, you can check it out on Goodreads.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-November 24, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I'm a little late posting this, partly because I'm lacking in motivation after such a busy day yesterday.  After a full pot of coffee, I'm starting to finally get on the ball with what I need to get done today.

Zoe had a great birthday, and she's learned how fun it is to open gifts.  She loves wrapping paper, but most kids do, don't they?  Here are some pictures I took of her on her birthday.  Isn't she cute?

I ate way too much food for Thanksgiving, but a lot of the dishes I attacked included fresh vegetables and fruits, so at least I got some good nutrition in there.

I've made some good progress on the short story draft I've been meaning to work on.  It's almost half done, and it would be cool if I could finish that draft by the end of the weekend.  I have no idea how likely that is, but we'll see how it goes.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-November 17, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

We bought a used car last weekend.  It's an SUV that has enough room to haul the kids and various other things, which is nice.  Since it is used, it needs a few repairs done.  We already got one of those fixes done, and the others will be completed as time and money allow.

We also got a new washer and dryer.  Our old washing machine was completely dead, and our old dryer took about six hours to actually dry anything, so it was past time to get them.  We also got both for the price we'd been expecting to pay for one, so that was great!  I'm definitely happy about that.

Zoe's first birthday is on Wednesday!  I can't believe she's going to be one year old already.  She's been proving her age by walking across our living room for the past week.  She's still wobbly, but she's getting better at it every day.

To all of my fellow American blogging friends, Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm going to be eating entirely too much food over the next week.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Remakes Blogfest

It's time for the Remakes Blogfest!  Our hosts for this one are Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner.

Let's face it.  Remakes abound these days.  A lot of the time, remakes are made to cash in on nostalgia, and they're often done so poorly it hurts.  In a world filled with terrible remakes, it might be reassuring to know that remakes can be done well.

The process of writing this post was more difficult than I originally imagined it would be.  I've seen a lot of remakes, some of which I didn't realize were remakes until much later, and that got me to thinking about what makes a good remake.  I can't quite plot the trajectory I ended up taking, but one thing led to another, and all of the sudden I found myself debating the terms remake, reboot, and retelling.

In general, these terms aren't so easily defined.  People seem to have different ideas of where the lines are drawn.  It's generally agreed that remakes stick close to the original source material.  The primary reason to make a strict remake tends to be to make use of updated special effects.  And to make money, of course.  This might be one reason why I find a lot of remakes dissatisfying.  They ultimately seem pointless.  If the original was so wonderful that you want to make a completely faithful remake, then why bother?

Reboots happen a lot these days too.  These take the original premise, but often take the story in a different direction.  This can be an interesting route to take.  You can explore how beloved characters react to new scenarios and contemplate the alternate paths history might have followed under other circumstances.  The recent Star Trek films are an example of this.  While they're not perfect, I have enjoyed them for what they are.  As long as you stay true to the heart of the source material, a reboot can be a good way to entertain old fans while drawing in new ones.

Then comes the category I personally find most intriguing: the retelling, aka the re-imagining.

The retelling is the least loyal of the three.  Here you can have wild divergence from the original source material, though you can still see it there, hidden in the bones of the piece when
you pick it apart.  It serves as inspiration, helping to lay the foundation for something new.  Why do this, though?  Why are we compelled to retell stories across time?  There are untold worlds worth of stories to be told, but we keep coming back to the same ones and reexamining them.  Why do we keep adapting Shakespeare's plays?  Why do we keep making new works based off The Odyssey?

I think a part of it has to do with the themes of these classic stories.  Shakespeare's plays continue to resonate because they speak to love and loss and greed and pain.  No matter how much society changes, those human emotions stick with us.  Those old stories are a part of us.  We grew up with them, and we continue to relate to them.

That being said, we also live in a time vastly different from Shakespeare's day.  While our humanity remains, our worries about the world are different.  We live in a world where the wonders of science both excite us and frighten us.  We value what science has made possible while also worrying about how our own human failings may lead to disaster on a much larger scale than was previously possible.  In retelling these old tales in a new context, we can explore what it means to be human in modern times.  We can examine where we've come from and speculate about where we may be going.

That brings me to one of my favorite retellings.  It may not be a remake in the strictest sense, but I feel like it falls within the spirit of this blogfest.  I have fond memories of watching this film as a kid.

Forbidden Planet sends Shakespeare's The Tempest into deep space.  The story has been greatly changed, obviously, but it's still there, repackaged in sleek metal and special effects.  It explores the old themes in a new context.  I'd recommend watching this video to learn more about the relationship between Forbidden Planet and The Tempest.  It's pretty brilliant.

What are your feelings about remakes?  What remakes have you enjoyed?