Dividing Projects

As mentioned last week, I managed to succeed in CampNaNoWriMo. I know-I know-I know, I keep going on about this. But honestly, for some reason, this month really taught me a lot.

I’ve always enjoyed the competition, so to speak, with myself, in trying to reach that word count goal. However, I find it’s easy to get stuck. Having a bunch of different projects that I wanted to get so far in, or to wrap up entirely in a month really helped me out. Once I had my list made, it was easy to divide up my time. What’s more, it was fun ticking things off my list. Then it gave me a word count to aim for as a whole.

I know, this is sounding like regurgitated information from the post at the beginning of the month, but I do rather think it’s worth regurgitating.

I actually think I’ll take into practice what I did for the month of July and try to apply it to every month. Part of that will be tracking my projects each month, how many words I write in a day and so on. Most of the time, when I do NaNoWriMo, I’m only recording the words that I’ve worked on for one project. I always manage to get to 50,000, but just not of the one project. I work on other things, including my blog. I think that if I look at how many words I’m writing for each thing I’m working on, then I’ll feel better about how much I’m writing.

That being said, even this month I’ve written more than I’ve recorded that I’ve written. For one thing, I’m not including journaling to myself, which is all hand-written. I’m also not including the expansion I’m doing with my novel. I’m going through and adding detail and expanding scenes to make them clearer, as well re-writing the ending. Because I have a novel which, in the last draft was hovering around 54k words, it’s difficult to keep track of how many I’ve increased vs. scenes or paragraphs or sections I’ve deleted. Perhaps during those times I should look at the time spent writing as well?

I’ll let you know how it goes.


What do you like to do to keep track of your goals? Are you good at sticking to them? What kinds of regular goals to do you set yourself?

Advertisements

Writing Horror to Music (and other playlists)

I’ve never once wanted to go as deep into my characters’ brains as to know what kind of music they would listen to. However, as I go through this last pass of my current work in progress, I am finding that I have to write a few extra chapters, and it’s forcing me to delve into what it is that they would be listening to.

While I’m still compiling playlist on YouTube to help me, I’m actually, as I edit, falling back onto something I was listening to more during the winter, and I think maybe in the fall? But it’s an hour of ambient haunting music–and I just love it. It’s subtle, it’s quiet, it blocks out the background noise of wherever I am, and it puts me in a fantastic writing mood.

The only problem is that it puts me in the mood for writing horror–which is fine, that’s not to say at all that I don’t write horror. But i’ts just a little too over the edge for what I’m writing now. As a result, my characters are slowly getting creepier.

However, I actually just wanted to share this track, because I just think it’s so great.

Haunting Music – 3 Hours 
Haunting Music ~ inspiring, motivating music for reading, writing, drawing, painting and art
Posted by White Noise  Relaxation

It should also be noted that White Noise Relaxation also posts happy music for studying, chill out lounge, morning bossa nova, ukulele, Christmas music for children, and so on. I make mention of this so that you know that this particular YouTuber is quite eclectic, and if you don’t need horror-type music, then you can still find something that might suit your needs.

 

I would love to know what music you write/study to. What genre do you write? What topics are you studying? Do you do something else with certain types of music?

MyHorrorLives.com Blog

A very good friend of mine writes horror. You can find his work in Carpe Nocturne Magazine, HorrorAddicts, and his website. He’s recently expanded from beyond writing horror to compiling a blog. I’d like to share one of his entries, for those of you who are horror movie addicts–feel free to visit his site and argue or agree with him! 

Best Horror Movie Deaths

I went to Durham Again!

A very quick entry, mostly to express my excitement. I went to Durham again today. This is no easy feat. It’s quite a trek there. And, unlike the last time I went, I was able to spend a little more time there. And all I can say is:

I’m Home.

Read about it here: Durham and It’s County

Lessons From Losing  A Car Key: Part 2

To revisit lessons 1-8, visit Part 1 Here.

We left off with wined-up me losing contact with reality in my flat on Sunday, the 16th, and pick up again two days later on Tuesday, the 18th.

Lesson 9: Drive Your Car More Often

It took me a full 36 hours to notice that my car key was missing.

It was a lovely morning, bright, and early, and still before the tourists woke up and left their dwellings. I decided I would beat them to it and go get me some breakfast. Unfortunately, the village I live in doesn’t allow for early morning breakfasts, and I have to go to Pwllheli. I got dressed, teeth brushed, and even brushed my hair!

But then there was no car key. Nowhere. Not a sighting of it.

I searched the clothes I thought I had worn over the past two days. Nothing. I searched every piece of dirty clothing I had. Nothing.

Lesson 10: Don’t Give Up Looking

I gave up for the moment, and decided not to worry about it too much. I’m pretty good at losing things and then finding them later. It’s a well-crafted skill of mine that my mother can attest to.

However, that didn’t stop me from mentioning it to Mom yesterday as she made her way to the Yacht Club, that she should ask the bartender if he had a key turned in. No dice on that one. The loss was beginning to buzz in the back of my mind, but nothing dire. Just a minor worry to keep in mind for when I got off work.

When I finished work, I had another look in my room, and still couldn’t find it. I got ahold of Mom, who was out having dinner with said family friend and other friends, and asked if she could ask family friend if he’s going out on his boat later on, and if he could have a look. She said she would.

The evening carried on, and I had some odd news of a publication I was in, which ended up sending me into a dark dwelling of panic, that was only perpetuated by my state of stuck-ness. I don’t do well being stuck. And not having a key to my perfectly well-working car was a good way to agitate my psyche.

Lesson 11: Get Creative in Searching

My usual co-pilot, as referred to in my travel blog came over and helped me search my fault again. Between the two of us we searched every piece of clothing I own, two-three times, un-made the bed, took out the duvet from its cover, pillows from their cases, rummaged drawers, picked through make-up and various other toiletries, searched the fridge, the staff room, the freezer, the cupboards, the pub, the pub kitchen—only to have very little luck. I began rummaging purses, my backpack, shoes, books, pen cases, hats, only to begin the cycle again. No luck whatsoever.

The following morning I called Mom, asking if she’d spoken to Family Friend. She hadn’t, and didn’t know if he was out golfing or not, which did me no good at all. I walked the road to the Yacht Club, retracing every step I could think of. I Facebook messaged the owner of First Light, who referred me to Jack Wills, which had nothing. The Garage hadn’t had a key turned in, nor had Londis. I made my way up the village to the police station, only to find it unoccupied.

I went back to the pub to look around my dumb locked car all over again. There was nothing on the ground. I looked under the staircase leading up to my flat, below which is the slide that gets the beer barrels to the cellar. Nothing. So I went back to the flat, and repeated the rummaging of the night before. I dragged out my suitcases and searched in them (though I did find my cable to charge the keyboard to my iPad), and looked in pouches of crystals I hadn’t touched in months. Nothing.

Lesson 12: Be Humble

I finally flung my hands in the air. I wasn’t about to resolve into calling a locksmith. I wasn’t about to try and get a copy made from scratch. That wasn’t going to happen, not when it costs several hundred pounds. I’ll say that again: Several Hundred Pounds to have another key made.

It was time to ask. I sat down on my bed, looked down, knowing whose mercy I was at.

“Please, elves, give me back my key. Give me a sign of the offering you wish, and if it’s in my power I’ll make it. But please, give me back my car key.”

Hey, don’t knock it. It’s totally worked before. The elves and gnomes are tricky with what they take from you and when. Sometimes they just want to be acknowledged.

So far, I’ve heard very little from them. But you know, sometimes they need time.

Lesson 13: Be Thankful For Those Who Help You

By this time I needed to go to work. It had been a long morning, and I needed to seclude myself in my little ice cream shack. The weather was just terrible, something that had been building up for days in humidity. From my little nook I watched the early afternoon sky darken. If I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed that it was dusk.

Then, it happened. The clouds could stand their moist (that’s right, I said it) collection no more, and let it all fall, with booming laughter. The storm hit, with a pleasantly heavy downpour.

I personally love a good rain, especially when it’s been warm for so long. In fact, I filmed it (which, if you’re that interested, you can see on my Instagram) while customers huddled in my small space for shelter.

After the worse of it, in trudged my mother, the remnants of the storm dripping from her hood, her shorts soaked through. She relayed to me how she had dutifully taken the launch out to the family friend’s boat to search for the key and was caught up in that fantastic thunderstorm.

Apparently, “Yeah! Wasn’t that an amazing storm?!” wasn’t the best way to greet this news. My personal debt to her I think doubled with that comment. Either way, there was no key on the boat.

She left, made her way to the police station, and later returned, having been caught in the second onslaught of downpour (I think I owe her a grandkid or something for this feat). No key. However, the police person she spoke to said to just call Peugeot and they would be able to replace it.

Well, I couldn’t call them since I was at work, but thankfully my co-pilot was in touch with me about the whole thing as well. In that moment, he was at home researching what could be done to replace the key (he is so awesome like that). I relayed the info to him via text, and he tracked down the number. What he, in turn, relayed to me after speaking to four different people was that yes, they could do that. However, It would cost £226, take seven days, and I would somehow, magically, have to get it to Bangor (an hour drive away when your car door isn’t locked with the parking break on while in first gear, and when you have the key to drive it there). So, given then I have no way to get it to Bangor, that isn’t an option.

Many locksmiths either don’t go to Abersoch, want upwards of £300 (AA quoted £387).

This is the unfortunate position that I’m in at the moment. Which brings me to

Lesson 14: Be Patient

I spent the remainder of the day just trying to have faith. I’m not religious by any means, but I just had to know that I had been logical, I had been active in my search, that the damn thing was somewhere, and just not in the sea or in the bins that had been taken to the dump that morning.

That part was stressful. I was stuck at work, without any idea of what to do.

Finally, I decided that I would wait until the tide went out. Perhaps–just perhaps, the key had fallen out of my pockets at the Yacht Club on the steps and gone between them, falling into the cave below. However, low tide wasn’t until midnight. That meant more waiting.

Lesson 15: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Once I was off work, I found a good aid for waiting was wine. So I drank a swig of that, straight form the bottle, because I’m classy like that. It went down so well that I had another…and another…until half the bottle was gone.

No, I didn’t repeat Sunday night, don’t be silly. I learned my lesson. No drinking at the Yacht Club.

I wasn’t about to wait until midnight though. I went at nine thirty so that I could at least access the cave, though the tide was still reaching toward my toes. I retraced my steps in the dusk, waving my phone and my co-pilot’s head light along where I might have woven my path on Sunday evening.

Nothing.

My co-pilot, ready to turn back as we approached the gates to the Yacht Club whispered, “It says members only.”

“I know.”

“We’re not members.”

“I know.”

“We don’t look like members.”

“I know.”

I pushed through the gate and marched right through anyway, passed the bar, down the steps, passed the loos, and down the steps that stood watch over the dark cave. At this point it was darker than preferred, and the rocks were looking pretty slick. Thankfully my co-pilot is gustier than I am, and managed to get down onto the sand and into the cave for a little bit of a beach-louse-ridden search.

Nothing.

Do you know how tired I am of typing that word????

So I retreated back home, defeated.

Lesson 17: Mom Always Has the Magic

Mom never believes that I’ve thoroughly looked for anything. So far she had been urging me to let her have a rummage through my room and my flat. Finally, I gave in. She came around in the morning, after I gave a last minute run-around of tidying (not that it was needed) and threw a small stash of underwear and shirts in the wash.  Once she arrived, I followed her around picking up little bits of garbage that were completely invisible to me until mom’s shadow passed over them. And here I had boasted that my room was clean!

She yeilded just as much nothing as I did, to my relief/dismay. It was nice to know that it wasn’t just me, the damn key wasn’t there. But part of me had hoped that it was just me, in fact a large part of me had hoped that. I need my car key! I don’t have £300+ to be flinging at locksmiths!

We were figuring out what our next plans were, what it was that we would do over the weekend now that my driving was out of the question when I heard the clunking.

Clu-clunk. Clu-clunk.

 

“That’s in the washing machine!” I exclaimed. I imagine myself much like an excited GIF of Ren and Stimpy in that moment (though I’m sure mom would disagree).

“No, that’s the dryer.”

“Heck no it’s not!” (That’s not quite what I said)

I ran to the washing machine–which is a torturous device. There was my key, stuck against the glass front, begging for me to save it as the suds mixed in with it’s plastic exterior.

“I’ll save you key!” I declared, tugging with all my might at the door. It, being a torturous, front-loading device, locked its hinges against me. I began fiddling with the nob, trying to force it into a spin cycle, a drain, a rinse–anything!

Alas, I was powerless. I had another 39 minutes to wait.

Either way, my key was found, which brings me to my final lesson:

Lesson 18: Pay Tribute to the Elves and Gnomes

Mom may be magic, but it was the gnomes who decided to give the key back. So later this evening I’ll find some offering to them for their kind return.


If you want my advice in regards to the realm of key-losing–just don’t do it. It’s rather stressful and you just won’t have a good time with it. That’s my sound advice. Just don’t do it. Say no to key-loss.

Writing Achievements (this month)

Hurrah! I did it! I managed to make my word count goal for this month’s CampNaNoWriMo. My goal was 24,200 (the number for which you can read about here), and today I reached 24,537 – and just 19 days in.

Though I should note, that I wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped to be–I wrote more than enough words, but I didn’t complete the projects I’d hoped to complete. I wrote lots of blog entries, but I fell short with my interview I needed to write up, I only got two pieces of flash fiction done, and got half way through the two series I hoped to complete. However, it was a learning experience, something I’ll write more on, later.

Also, the digital edition of the Summer 2017 issue of Carpe Nocturne was released, with three of my pieces came out yesterday. It features the debut episode of my horror series, “The Wall”, my article on the Denbigh Asylum, and I also have a tarot/astrology as well. The digital copy is available on Magzter, though the print copy takes a little while to be available. However, when it is, you can find it on Amazon, Barns & Noble, and Waterstones websites. You can also keep tabs on the magazine in general at www.CarpeNocturne.net.

Denbigh Asylum sUMMER 2017

Lessons from Losing a Car Key: Part 1

Don’t do it. It’s just a ridiculous idea that you should get out of your head at once. Just don’t.

No, I suppose that isn’t helpful. What might be helpful, or at least if nothing else, entertaining, is for a recount of my own story in hopes that you’ll find the straws of wisdom at which to clutch.

It began on Sunday morning. My mother has been in town visiting, and had to switch rental-houses. She mentioned Saturday night that I should stop by in the morning to come see it. So I did. She wasn’t there. And with July being a particularly busy month for me, I decided to take my shiny powder-blue Peugeot to Pwllheli to get some writing done with the unexpected free time. I spent a few hours there before wandering off to the beach, which was delightful and I gained a fantastic sun-shaped sunburn on my back (don’t ask).

Lesson 1: Use pockets

I was wearing these fantastic summery, flowy, flowery pants, because they’re light and hide my shape and make me look taller (oddly enough). However, for some reason fashion designers don’t think that women need pockets. Or, they’re in cahoots with hand-bag designers (or they’re in actuality handbag people themselves!), and it’s all a conspiracy to get women to accessorize (something I, myself, just can’t be asked with). Either way, I had an equally-flowy sweatshirt tip thing which had one pouch in the front, much like a hoodie. It was there I stashed my belongings.

You might be thinking that this is how I lost my key. I assure you, that I didn’t, though I did have that thought. If I lost my key at the beach, then how did I drive back? Hm? Yes, let’s not be silly about this now!

I managed to get my back to the car, though I did forget my key at my perch for a couple of moments and had to return to retrieve it. But to my car I meandered, and drove back to the village, parked my car—

Lesson 2: Don’t lock your doors

–and locked the doors. I know, you might think this is a habit I should regularly engage in. However, usually I don’t have the best of cars (in fact the car I left behind in the states had a button for the ignition, and that wasn’t a built-in feature but rather the result of the starter stopping), and so, logically, I would rather someone just have access of the little-that-there-is-of-worth by opening my door instead of me having to pay for a broken window. What’s more, I live in a village with a rather insanely low crime rate, and it’s filled with insanely rich tourists, who aren’t going to steal my car or what’s in it, and probably have nicer cars to lure the criminals than my own. So, I don’t lock my doors.

Yet, for some unknown reason, as I left my vehicle with my backpack slung over my shoulder, and my free book in hand, I felt the need to hit that damned lock button. So, it’s locked. What does this tell us? My key isn’t locked in my car. I need a button to lock it, and that button is on the key. So it made it out of the car.

I live above a pub, and so it’s only a short distance from the pub parking lot to my flat. Once there, I had an hour before I was meant to meet up with my mother and a family friend at the Yacht Club to go out on said friend’s boat. (It should be noted that I’m not a club member, nor do I look the part, nor do I act the part, nor do I fund the part) During this hour I probably flopped onto the bed and just decompressed for a few moments before rooting around my room for a pair of clean jeans and a presentable top.

Lesson 3: Pay Attention to the Possibilities of Your Clothing

I couldn’t tell you what top I did find. But I do know for certain that I was wearing jeans with adequate pockets. And I do know that I grabbed that flowy seater thingy as well. At this point, my memory loses track of the key. Could it be that I stashed it on my night stand as I usually do when I get home? Did I put it in my jeans pocket from the bedside table? Or did it make it back into my sweater thingy’s front pocket on the journey from the car to my room? Who knows! After all, I did grab my bank card (another dumb decision), and whatever change I had laying there.

Lesson 4: Pay Attention to the Possibilities of Your Accessories

I was meeting with my mother and family friend on the boat to scatter Granny’s ashes. A couple weeks ago I made the long drive to Warwickshire to retrieve her ashes (that I didn’t know were still at the funeral director’s and was shocked to discover), and I had been the holder of them until Sunday. I didn’t have it in me to delve into the black-funeral-party-looking bag, into the shoe-box-looking case and take out the urn (which it turned out, looked like a coffee canister to my indignation), so it had remained snuggly put together in the corner of my room. I retrieved this open bag (is this a clue???), my bundle of flowy sweater thing, and left the flat near the time I was meeting everyone.

Lesson 5: Pay Attention to Mindless Habits

I noticed I was a little early to the corner that I was meeting Mom at, so I meandered toward the ATM, where there was a line. I stood in line for a little bit before I saw Mom, and abandoned the idea of getting cash out. Now, usually, when I am going to need something out of my pocket and I have to wait, my eager hands will sneak into my pockets and fiddle with the thing I need, or retrieve it entirely. This means that I could have had my card in my hand, I could have taken it out of my pocket, which means that my inadequately small lady pockets could have regurgitated my key from my pocket during that time—IF my key was in there to start with.

We weren’t at the Yacht club long at all before finding family friend and heading toward the boat launch—you know, down the stairs with nice gaps between them that open into the swaying tide. I managed to get into the launch boar fairly easily, though, as we left the jetty I felt the nip of wind and decided to put on my sweater thing. Was my key in that pocket? Did it fall out in that boat?

Lesson 6: Don’t Hop Boats

We reached the sailboat and managed to climb over the ledge of the launce, over the wire railing of the sail boat and get in. I actually have to pose the possibility too—did I actually just put my sweater thingy on in this boat, and not the launch? I know I was in charge of passing things to my mom, who was first onto the sailboat. Was my own clothing one of those things? Did my key fall into the water?

Lesson 6.5: When You Do Hop Boats, Stay Away From the Ledges

The day was beautiful, and we sailed around the—well, you can read my post on it here, or the description of the scenery on my travel blog here. I shan’t bore you with repeating myself (though I’m pretty certain I’ve bored my readers already at this point). We drank a glass and a half each of Prosecco to Granny on the way out to the point. When we finally reached the spot where Granny was to be scattered, both Mom and I made our way to the back of the boat. There we both leaned over the railing and took turns dusting the sea.

I think I can rule this out. While we were leaning forward, my memory had considered that perhaps the vibrations of the boat might have shaken the key from my pocket. But honestly, I think that it would have hit the flat back of the boat first, thus producing a clunk. Also, we didn’t start using the motor of the boat until after she was scattered and hugs were spread. We were all sail up until that point.

After the tears and the hugs, it was time to break into the average daily wine, and I think I had maybe two and a half, possibly three glasses of red, myself, while we moored up (is that the right terminology? I’m not a sailor. I suppose we parked the boat in the boat-parking lot on the bay).

Lesson 7: Repeat Lesson 6: Don’t Hop Boats

The launch came for us fairly soon afterward. I hopped boats. Again. What’s more, I hopped from the launch to the jetty, and made my way up the stairs with the large gaps to the Yacht Club.

Now, this is where I lose moments of my life it gets a  little hazy.

We of course had to have another drink to Granny at that time. She had such a great impact on so many people in the Yacht Club, and in the village. There were only a handful of people there, but I knew most of them while Mom knew all of them. Drinks ensued.

Lesson 8: Drink Only If You Don’t Have Your Car Key On You

And more drinks.

And more drinks.

Until finally the Yacht club was closing, the family friend and the rest had all gone home and Mom and I were swaying our way out of the building, through the beach huts in the nice, fine, white sand, across the beach car park, under the chain locking the car park, down the little lane (at which point Mother and I parted), and then down to the pub, where I live.

But of course the adventure never ends there, does it? Thinking that I was being good, strict with myself and emotionless, I threw the funeral-party bag and shoe-box into the giant pub trash bins. That sorts that!

I decided that I had to do my managerial duty and do the stock order for the following day…with my very heavy dose of hick-ups. This means that I went into the pub to retrieve keys, into the ice cream shack, into the storage shed, and repeat (for all those concerned, I did not drink and order. I realized that I couldn’t hold a pen, never mind leave a message with an order for twenty flavors of ice cream, so I gave up and hoped for the best).

Then I retired to my flat.

That’s where my memory ends.