Free Writing

NaNoWriMo 2014 – WINNER

I honestly didn’t think I would make it, but as you can see from the title, I managed to win NaNoWriMo 2014! I was behind for almost a week, got caught up, and then fell behind again during the holiday. On the last day, I bust out little over 3k words to hit 50,002 words (according to Scrivener – Validation gave me over 51k.) This time I didn’t count any notes, blog posts, or word sprints. Only words that went directly into the novel itself.

 

Sadly, I’m still not finished with Soul Weaver. My word count currently sits at 115,806. I’m estimating about another 15-20k words (give or take) before I can officially say that the first draft is complete.

NaNo14WinnerGraphTo be honest, I’m worried that I’m pushing the limits on my word count. If I were to self publish I wouldn’t be too concerned, but I have plans to try to submit to a few publishers first and I know that they may refuse my manuscript on excessive word count alone. That being said, I know that a lot of it will be cut during the first round of editing. I’m banking on that.

With that in mind I’m fighting the urge to start learning how to edit. While I’d like to think that most of my first draft doesn’t have too many grammar and spelling mistakes, what I’d like to learn is how to make sure I have proper flow and continuity. That my characters are fleshed out and consistent. That there’s a great hook at the end of each chapter to keep readers reading. Everything that a professional editor would look at. That’s what I want to learn. My goal is to have my novel impeccable before submitting it to any publishers. The less work their editor needs to do, the better.

NaNo14WinnerCertificate2I’m also starting to do some research about beta readers. I won’t start taking names until I’m through the first round of editing. I’ve already got my two teenage boys who are chomping at the bit for me to finish so they can read through it and help me out, but I’ll need more. Preferably readers who have beta’d before and can offer some awesome feedback.

 

But all that can be saved for the future. Right now, I still have a few more chapters to write. If all goes well I’d like to be done with the first draft by the end of December. I’ve already got a few ideas in mind for what I’m going to write in April.

Speaking of April. I’ve managed to motivate both of my boys to join me for Camp NaNoWriMo! I even got them a copy of Scrivener to use. My younger son has already started using it to transcribe the book he’s been writing for the past few months. All he had before was a notebook full of scribbling so he’s excited to see it all typed out and divided by chapter. I’ve directed him towards the Young Writers Program that NaNo offers as well. So lots of awesomeness to look forward to.

 

For those who won WriMo – CONGRATULATIONS! To those who didn’t – as long as you wrote, you’re still a winner. Even if you only wrote a couple words, it’s better than nothing. Just keep at it! And keep in mind, there’s always CampWriMo in April and July too.

 

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Free Writing

One Woman’s Response to 33 Men

One Woman’s Response to “33 Men Reveal The One Thing They’d Like All Women To Stop Doing Immediately

1. Taking their dreams too literally.

Stop getting mad at me for what I did in your dreams.

Women are emotional creatures. Sorry, we can’t help it. It’s in our hormones. Is that an excuse for everything? No. But dreams typically reveal our true fears. Guess what, gentlemen? Usually when we’re upset about a dream, what we really want is for you to show us some love and reassure us that it was just a nightmare. Be tender for once.

2. Rehashing.

When the fight is done, let it go. It’s over, no need to bring it up or reopen. Forgive, forget, move on.

Sure. We can do that. No problem. Except when we have the same damn fight again. And again. And again. For the same stupid shit. Regardless of whose fault it is, it gets old that the same fight happens repeatedly. Eventually, we begin to expect it. And yes, we will throw it in your face when we think the issue is resolved, but it obviously isn’t. You do it just as much.

3. Believing that men have no discretion when it comes to sex.

Assuming every man must want to have sex with every woman all of the time. No I’m not gay, I just don’t find you attractive.

Stop thinking with your dick and we’ll stop thinking that all you want to do is get it wet.

4. Treating guys like children.

When I finally decide to open up around you and show a more sensitive side DO NOT SAY “Aww…”

Again, I tell you that we are emotional creatures. When we’re accustomed to talking to a brick wall, and once in a blue moon we find out it’s a magical entrance into Diagon Alley we get excited. It’s wonderful and we love it. Yeah, I realize that saying “aww” might be emasculating, but it’s a good thing. Get over yourself.

5. Putting guys in lose-lose situations.

Setting us up for questions that have no right answers.

We don’t do that on purpose. Seriously. No stop laughing, I’m being honest here. Women are insecure creatures. Constantly comparing ourselves to other women (you should have put that one on the list too. Sometimes we have no choice because we know that you men compare us as well. Think of it as comparing the size of your dick to other men. You get a little insecure. So do we.) When we ask you those “no-win” questions, all we want is reassurance that you love us, you think we’re beautiful, and there’s no one else in the world you want but us.

6. Thinking that they’re queens.

Stop posting those “A real man would treat their girl like a Queen” bullshit postings on Facebook. It is not our job to serve you like a queen, and you’d better believe a guy would get an angry feminist mob bearing down on them if they posted something similar about men. It’s not funny and makes you look like a bitch to all men, no matter how many of your girlfriends agree.

I call bullshit with this one. We know we’re not queens. We also know that you’re no king. Do we both like to be treated as such? Of course we do. You want your sammiches, we want your respect and to be spoiled by you. It’s a give and take here. We want a man who will treat us with respect and love. Not a man who thinks we belong in the kitchen.

7. Passive Aggression.

Stop being all passive aggressive. Just tell me what you want and stop hemming and hawing and saying, “nothing” when you really do want something.

Want to know why we do that? Because we know it’s useless to tell you what we really want. We’re either not going to get it, or you’re not going to understand. You don’t think like us, and we don’t think like you. Sometimes it’s hard to tell you what we really want, and a lot of times you get upset because we don’t just come out and say it. Other times we’re afraid to hurt your feelings (see #31.) So we just say fuck it. Sorry. It’s a woman thing. I don’t expect you to understand.

8. Being the worst decision-makers.

Me: “What do you want to do for dinner?” Her: “I don’t know, whatever’s fine with me.” Me: “How about that Mexican place on 2nd street?” Her: “I’m not in the mood for Mexican.” Me: “What are you in the mood for?”Her: “Eh, whatever you want…” My bad, but when you guys say “whatever”, I assume you mean “whatever.”

Sometimes it’s nice for the man to make the decision for us. While I do not condone this for every single decision, sometimes women want to be lazy too. Why do we have to always tell you what we want anyway? It’s okay to not know. So we say “whatever” and let you pick. Sorry if we don’t like some of your options. Give us another. Deal with it.

9. Expecting guys to pick up on subtle hints.

Dropping hints. Seriously. We don’t pick them up. We won’t pick them up. We can’t pick them up. Stop expecting us to know what you want or feel and just say it.

We do this because we want you to feel like it was your idea. We know it really wasn’t. What we really want is to not have to make hints at all. For you to know what we want and act upon it before we feel the need to make hints. I realize this is a bit unfair. We know you’re not a mind reader, but after a while, you should know what your woman wants. We know you want us to have a beer ready when you get home. Do you have to ask us? Well, yes, because we really don’t want to get you a beer. Get off your own ass and get it.

10. Assuming that guys are mad when they’re just zoning out.

As a man, my mind often wanders. If I’m staring off into space, please stop asking me “What I’m thinking.” I usually don’t know. Admitting this, however, seems to trigger an argument, since I’m “avoiding” the question. There is only an infinitesimally small chance that my wandering thoughts are about you. There’s an even smaller chance that it’s anything negative.

We’re sorry. We just want to get a little peak into that tiny brain of yours. I guess we should have realized it was full of air and not thinking about anything significant.

11. Taking from their man’s plate of food.

Order your own fucking fries or salad at the restaurant. I told you to get whatever you wanted. I wanted a whole serving of fries, that’s why I ordered my self a whole serving of fries. I didn’t order something cause I only wanted half of it and was hoping to split the rest with you.

Boo-fucking-hoo. So order another helping of fries. I hear a waaaahmbulance. It’s coming for you. Think of it as our way of being that much closer to you. It’s like sharing a milk shake out the same glass with two straws. It’s romantic. Sorry you feel like you have to feed your fat face and not let us have a bite or two.

12. How they treat each other.

Honestly, I love the company of women. I just can’t stand how they can be so mean to each other when guys aren’t around.

We’re bitches. What can we say? Remember the whole “in constant competition with each other” comment? Yeah. It sucks. As a woman, even I hate it.

13. Sexually harassing guys.

Just cause I’m a guy doesn’t mean you can sexually harass me. It doesn’t matter what gender you are. It’s creepy, Kathryn.

Excuse me? Are you really saying this after you google-eyed that hottie with the tight black yoga pants? Sexual harassment goes both ways. It doesn’t have to be verbal or physical. Eye contact alone can creep a girl out so stop it.

14. Burying themselves in their phones.

Stop taking an hour to reply to every text. Every time we hang out, you’re on your phone. What the fuck are you doing on that thing?

Same reason you’re on your tablet. Or magazine. Newspaper. Obviously we could give two-shits about what you’re talking about. Change the subject and we’ll magically become interested. We’ve heard you talk for the last two hours about what kind of modifications you made to your ‘baby’ (aka car). We’ve lost interest. Kind of like when we want to talk about our girlfriends and you tune us out to watch TV.

15. Talking during a movie.

Stop asking me questions about a movie we’re watching together that we’ve both never seen. No, I don’t know if he’s going to die, I’ve seen exactly as much of this fucking movie as you have. Also, when you asked me what the person on the screen said, I don’t know because when they were talking you were asking me what the person on the screen before them said. Oh, and I’m sorry you didn’t follow what happened with that one person in the movie because you started playing with your phone for ten minutes to ignore the movie that you picked for us to watch.

I’m calling bullshit again. If we picked the movie, we’re too interested in knowing how you feel about it than we do our phone. We’ll probably shut up during the movie if you’d shut your trap about how to recognize that one guy from this one movie that had the big thing that had to be destroyed to save the world. Ok so you know every actor there is to know. So what? P.S. Stop bitching about that one woman you dated for 48 hours and decided to dump you. Obviously it was because you complain about every little thing.

16. Painting their eyebrows.

Stop making their eyebrows like the Nike symbol.

Stop thinking it’s sexy and we will. P.S. Since when did most women have the Nike symbol for eyebrows? I think you’re talking to the magazine models again. You do know they don’t talk back right?

17. Expecting every gay guy to be her best friend.

Just because I am gay does not mean that you and I will be best friends. I don’t want to go shopping with you; I don’t want to check out guys with you. Most of all — your other gay friend is not perfect for me purely because he is gay.

Just because I’m a lesbian doesn’t mean I’m going to let you watch while I make out with my girlfriend. And no we don’t want to have a threesome with you. And when we hang out, that doesn’t mean you can check out other women because you think I’m checking them out too. Quit being a hypocrite.

18. Treating sex like a gift they give to men.

Stop treating sex as something you let us do to you. Either want it too or fuck off.

Men want sex multiple times a day. Women want it much less. If you want it, you have to earn it. Romance us. Turn us on. Don’t just grab our ass or tits and think we’re going to jump on and ride’em cowgirl. Respect our bodies. Desire it. Caress it. Love it. When you do that, we’ll want it just as much as you do. Or you could just do the dishes, pick up your laundry, or scrub the bathroom – seriously, it’s just as sexy.

19. Reckless feet behavior in the car.

Take your fucking feet off the fucking dashboard.

Ask for fucking directions. Are we really playing this game?

20. Trying to play-fight with another guy.

This may seem oddly specific, but please stop trying to prove that you’re stronger than I am. Play-fighting and wrestling can be fun, but when you decide that you want to prove how strong you are, one of us is going to get hurt. If you use all your strength and I don’t use a reciprocal amount of force, you are probably going to end up hurting me in some way. If I use enough force to keep you from hurting me, I’m probably going to hurt you. I get it; it’s fun. Just remember that most likely, I’m taller, weigh more and have a lot more muscle mass. No one is saying you aren’t a bad ass. It’s just that someone is going to get hurt. That’s no fun.

Stop making fun of us for being “tiny” or “short” or “little” or “weak”. Yes, we are bad asses. Can we beat you up in a fight? Probably not, but by golly sometimes women like to feel strong too. You know what’s frightening? Knowing that most men are bigger and stronger than you. When I’m walking to my car alone at night, the thought that I was able to wrestle your ass down to the ground makes me feel a little less frightened. So let us win once in a while. It makes us feel good about ourselves.

21. Getting mad because guys didn’t read between your lines.

Don’t get mad when I completely ignore your “I’m not mad” bullshit.

Why do we have to tell you we’re mad? Do you not know how to read body language? Seriously, if I’ve been glaring at you for the past hour, don’t ask me if I’m mad. Of course you’re going to get a passive aggressive sarcastic remark like that. Try saying “I can see your upset about something. Would you like to talk about it?” or “I’m sorry that I upset you. Could you please tell me what I did so I can make sure never to do it again?” If we refuse to tell you, it’s because we feel like you should already know what you did wrong. So just apologize and give us flowers. Offer to do the dishes this time. We’ll get over it. Really.

22. Not knowing how to take compliments.

When we say, “you look beautiful today” we aren’t saying you don’t look beautiful on any other day, we are just saying you look exceptionally beautiful today. Take it as a goddamn compliment.

Remember that insecure comment earlier? Yeah, we’re insecure. Sorry. Deal with it. Or you could try saying “Every day I look at you and think you are beautiful.” If a woman can’t at least say thank you, she’s incredibly insecure. You chose her. Sorry. I could give you tips but that’s not what this is about.

23. Fake tanning.

Fake tans. Orange is not a good skin tone.

When they finally make a product that gives us the perfect tan, let me know will you? Until then, either deal with orange, or stop vomiting in your mouth when you see the pasty white. Better yet, don’t go out with an orange woman if you don’t like it.

24. Waking their man up.

Just because you have woken up does not mean I want to be woken up. Women in my life seem to always have this notion that as soon as they’re awake, my ass had better be getting up too, but if I wake HER up…World War fucking 3.

Wow….you sure do like to bitch a lot. Are you sure you’re not a woman? Hi, we’re social creatures, we like to spend time with you while you’re awake. And any woman who doesn’t like to be caressed into consciousness doesn’t deserve to be in a real relationship. Now if you’re shaking us awake, yelling at us, or taking away our covers just to wake us up, you better believe you’ll have World War fucking 3. Although, if that’s how we woke you up, then I’m all for fair play.

25. Being a hypocrite.

Please, don’t tell me it’s weird to have girls as friends when 82% of your friends are guys! And then you go cheat on me with those 82% of friends, fuck you Riley.

You know why 82% of our friends are guys? Because most of them are easier to get along with because they’re not catty. Except you. You bitch too much. Maybe that’s why 82% of your friends are girls.

26. That weird pout with their mouths.

Duck. Face.

I can’t speak for the mentally handicapped. You shouldn’t make fun of them. It’s not nice.

27. Not being able to complete a thought.

To the college women: stop saying “I CAN’T EVEN”. Finish your sentence or don’t talk at all. It makes you sound dumb as shit.

Stop saying “YOLO” and we’ll stop saying “I CAN’T EVEN”. Seriously, if you’re going to say YOLO can you just say “Carpe diem?” It’s the same damn thing except you’re using it as an excuse to do idiotic things rather than realizing it’s true meaning.

28. Hogging the bed and then denying it.

Stop taking up the entire bed and then call us the bed hog in public. You know who you are.

Excuse me. Didn’t we just have a conversation about how men are larger than women? You take up the entire bed by default. If we like to scoot closer to you it’s because we want to be intimate. Yes, even while sleeping. It’s not our fault you move to get away from us and we wake up diagonally in bed.

29. Believing that their periods are free passes to be an ass.

Can I answer even though I’m a woman? Please stop announcing when you’re on your period. It doesn’t give you a free pass to lash out at everyone for no reason.

I agree. Sure, women have no problem doing that. As long as men stop throwing it in our faces every time we get even the tiniest bit upset about something. PMS is not a legitimate dismissal of our feelings.

30. Stop with the silly games.

Don’t start complaining about something, and then cut it off mid-sentence to lure me into it. “Ugh, I hate it when — ohh, never mind.”

Want to know why we do that? Because we know it’s useless to tell you what we’re really upset about. We’re either going to catch hell because we’re bitching, or you’re not going to understand. You don’t think like us, and we don’t think like you. Sometimes it’s hard to tell you what we’re really upset about, and a lot of times you get upset because we don’t just come out and say it. Other times we’re afraid to hurt your feelings (see #7.) So we just say fuck it. Sorry. It’s a woman thing. I don’t expect you to understand.

31. Believing that guys can’t get hurt.

Generally speaking, a trait I run into among many women, especially those from privileged upbringing, is the pretentious stance that no one could suffer if they have a penis. That really needs to stop, right now.

Generally speaking, a trait I run into among many men, especially those who have small dicks, is the pretentious stance that they don’t even have feelings, let alone show them to anyone. Cry? No chance in hell. Girlfriend dumped him? She was a bitch anyway. Start acting like you HAVE feelings and we’ll start treating you as if you did.

32. Not knowing what they’re asking for.

If you insist on getting treated like one of the guys, then don’t get pissed when you do in fact get treated like one of the guys.

If a woman wants to be treated like one of the guys, it’s her way of saying she wants to spend more time with you. She really doesn’t want to be treated like one of the guys. This goes hand-in-hand with the whole “hint” factor. Sorry.

33. Not believing in themselves.

You can even. Stop telling me you can’t. 

Insecure. Pretty sure I’ve used that one already, but it’s true. Sorry. We doubt ourselves. You do too. You just don’t admit it. Just reassure us and help us when we ask for it. All we want is your love and support and sometimes a shoulder to lean on. Oh, and not for you to bitch about every single little thing we do. Just because you had a couple of bad girlfriends doesn’t mean we’re all the same.

 

Disclaimer: I do not speak for all women. I don’t even speak for myself for some of the responses. I hate generalization and absolutes like ‘never’ and ‘always’. I hate lists like these. I only created this because my significant other thought it was “funny”. Needless to say, I didn’t. I thought it was crass and spiteful. So I responded in kind. Do two wrongs make a right? No, but I was honest with my responses and because some of these statements are true about myself, I felt I needed to defend them.
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Free Writing

You’re Going to Suck, but You’re Going to be…Happy About It

While surfing Pinterest I saw a gem of an image that really struck me. I immediately repinned it and even saved a copy of this image directly to my laptop.

DareToSuck2

This quote really hit me, because I accept the truth and reality of it.

The stuff I wrote in grade school sucks. The stuff I wrote in high school sucks. The stuff I wrote in my mid 20’s sucks and the stuff I’m writing now sucks.

In the past, knowing that my writing sucked is what eventually made me quit. When I read through all of my old writings, even in the privacy of my own home, my face reddens and I am actually embarrassed for myself! I can’t stand reading my old writing. It’s almost like seeing a badly taken picture of yourself, listening to the sound of your own voice, or watching yourself on an old family video. You can’t help but be embarrassed because all you see is the negative, even while your loved ones are cooing over how cute you were.

I am just as embarrassed of my old writing as I am of the middle school picture that flaunts my super fabulous 90’s hair style, my flashy braces, and the smug look on my face that screams ‘I’m a teenager and I know everything.’ But just as that old picture is a piece of my history, so is my old writing. It’s a part of me; a window into who I was at the time I wrote it, and although I’m not particularly proud of the things I did (or wrote) in the past, it did make me who I am today; and I am proud of that. The same goes for my old writing.

What kept me coming back to writing, and has brought me back now, is that I’ve always enjoyed it. For some reason I find particular pleasure with discovering the right grammar and sentence structure to ensure that the reader can paint the same picture in their mind that I do in mine. When written well, these things come together to tell us a story that finds a way to burrow into our hearts and become a part of us. I think the telltale sign of a great writer is when your audience genuinely reflects on what they have read and starts applying it to their own lives. Much like the phrase “What would Jesus do?”, to the reader it becomes “What would Harry Potter do?”, “What would Katniss do?”, or “What would Gandalf say?” When your reader starts looking up to your characters, modeling themselves after them, and even naming their children after them; you know you’ve made your mark on the world.

It will take time, and a lot of really sucky writing, but I will get better; and eventually I will have someone read my work and think, “Wow, I’d love to read more.” Just think, maybe someone will read all the stuff that sucks and say to themselves, “If she can suck that bad and still keep writing, then so can I.” I think that may be my ultimate goal: To show someone that I suck and learned from it, and inspire them to do the same.

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