Critiques

Here’s what I love about my critique groups:

  1. We have so many kinds of writers, so everyone has a different way of looking at stories.
  2. Everyone has a different thing they’re serious about, too. One hates adverbs, one obsesses with having enough romance, another is super descriptive about what she likes and what doesn’t work, one loves my sticky words, another one tells me every time I have a good hook…
  3. I can go through all four critiques and still have things to work on by the time I’m on the fourth one. It’s amazing how that works.
  4. No one can tell me why transferring from Scrivener to Word destroys half my apostrophes and half my italics. No one knows. It’s a mystery. I look at it in Scrivener, and they’re fine. Move stuff into Word, they’re not. WHAT EVEN IS GOING ON?!?!?!
  5. They would all get onto me about my excessive use of exclamation points and all caps in the last point. I can’t help it –I’m excitable.
  6. People in my groups know the difference between all three dashes and can talk about it. I have to have it in a file on my desktop and remind myself every day. I still don’t remember. Also, the shortcuts for them vary across apps and that drives me insane.
  7. Sometimes people draw pictures on my critiques. I love that.

NANOWRIMO WINNER

I spent the last week of November feverishly writing. I got up at 5am every day and wrote straight through until 7am, when I took a short break to go out and kiss my kids and help them find breakfast. Then I went back most mornings and wrote for another hour or two until it was time to visit my dad and sister, who were here for the week of Thanksgiving. Some evenings, I would come back and write even more. I had so much to catch up on. The last three days I wrote nearly 20,000 words, which is a huge stretch for me. I know I’m probably going to throw out the whole first chapter in edits, but right now I’m going to sit here and glow about having finished the first 50,000 words of this novel.

Book Making Weekend

One of my best friends and I made books this weekend. She took a four-day workshop on it and graciously offered to have me down for the weekend and teach me her new skills. I forgot to take a picture of the book press, which is large, red, and dusty from having sat in someone’s workshop area for years.

Things I learned:

1. Glue is the foundation of all books. That and more glue. With some glue here and glue there. Also some paper.

Photo of a workspace that includes a teal cutting mat which has cut paper and a rectangle of cardstock on top, a wooden 12-inch ruler, a black Sharpie marker, an awl, a white plastic storage container, a box containing a brayer, a bottle of fancy white glue, a yogurt cup containing glue and a a foam paintbrush covered in glue at the tip, a blue bowl with a wet, blue paper towel wadded up inside of it, a pair of green-handled scissors, a red stool, another work area across the table from the main work area (but without the teal mat), and front-and-center a hand which is coated in glue holding a cardstock spine that is also coated in glue. So much glue.

2. I cannot cut the cardstock. Not at all. My friend ended up cutting it all. BUT she has a Cricut and we’re going to cut down some of her huge cardstock sheets to run them through the machine later. I folded all the paper in half, though.

3. Stabbing little holes in paper is fun! So much fun!

4. Sometimes you forget how many holes to make, so you have to improvise. We accidentally put in 5, but you need an even number in this style of book binding, so we put in another one at the bottom. We used variegated thread for our inner binding, which made it super festive.

5. Beeswax smells just like when you smush your face really deep into your cat and then try to breathe, but without all the fur up your nose.

6. There is no 6. 7. Waxing thread is also addictive. I don’t know why.

8. Sometimes you have the wrong sized paper for your interior. So then you need to cut it, but it is hard to do without the guillotine. You may try many things, like sanding the paper, cutting it with box cutters, or even using the dremel wood cutters. They will not work. They will also make the house smell weirdly burnt. Then you will go out to Wal-Mart really late at night and buy a guillotine. They are CHEAP. Start with that last step.

10. Bookbinding has a lot of waiting time while the press does its work. We watched irreverent feminist comedy specials on Netflix while we waited. You can watch whatever you want. 🙂

11. When putting the endpapers in, use the tiniest line of glue. We thought we had. We were wrong. Also, don’t use thin paper for the endpaper. Mine was a little too translucent. Steph’s was fine (a nice sage green, not pictured.)

12. Make a feature of a little error. My error was cutting the paper too close to a little signature spot on the paper. I ended up putting it on the front, where it looks like a cute little frill. We also learned that if you don’t like one side of your book, flip it the other way and make the back the front (my blue was crooked on one side. This side is much better.)

We had such a fun time making these little darlings! 🙂 12/10 would do it again.

NANOWRIMO Write-In at the Tyler Public Library

We had a great first Write-In at the Tyler Public Library today! Well, a little chaotic because we were moved to an area that had no places to plug in our computers, but I found us some help. The rest was really good! We had 7 writers total, six that stayed and chatted and one that zipped in late and out early. Met some very lovely ladies that I’m looking forward to seeing again later this week! 🙂

Halloween 2019

Our Halloween… over at my parents house on Woodhaven, of course. 🙂 We had a pretty good turnout, but still had one whole bag of candy leftover at the end of the night. We watched HalloweenTown, but not HocusPocus because my children have decided to rebel and say they “hate” HocusPocus. Ah well, at least we had the traditional Taco Soup.

British Houses

Does anyone else watch perhaps too many British shows and movies and then, seeing houses you recognize from other things, feel at once comforted by them, but then a little later disconcerted because they didn’t actually use that particular houses inside for the inside scenes? Is it just me?

Nurturing Oneself

I had an early brunch with a dear, dear friend of mine this morning. As we sat in her sweet little breakfast nook with tea, boiled eggs, and stollen, we chatted about how the year was going and she asked me what I was doing to nurture myself. Honestly y’all, I babbled out an answer full of things that made her go “THAT’S what you find nourishing?” Things like scheduling things, making sure everything had a task associated with it, being better organized, etc. She expressed a bit of doubt with my methods, but being the gracious hostess she is, she just let it go and the topic moved onward.

I got home a while later and really started thinking about it. I am not really a planner. Oh, I try and try to be, but in the end every plan lasts a few days and then I scrap it. So I spent some time just meditating on the idea of nurture and what it meant to me.

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Nurturing me means extra time around everything so I can digest experiences. Yes, that means a bit of planning, but it is soooo good to have time around things and not just be chock-a-block busy.
  2. Nurturing me also means time for music, which I have not been making. The words “I haven’t played the piano since I got these progressive lenses” slipped out of my mouth and now that I’ve ruminated on it, I got the glasses in January (9 months ago) and haven’t really touched the piano since my mom died.  Hmmm….
  3. Nurturing me means time to read. I have “Time to Read” in my Habit Tracker, but how much have I really been reading? None. Like one day a week, which is very close to none for a Lisa.
  4. Nurturing me also means eating foods I actually like. My husband is very good about cooking dinner, but he is very bad about making food that I really am fond of. Part of that is that the kids hate everything and part of that is that we really, Nick and I, have a totally different palate. I’ve been cooking my own lunches this week and eating all the things I love, like mushrooms and onions and zucchini and sweet potatoes and cabbage, and have been so happy at lunch time!

Anyways, that’s what’s on my mind today. Time to go eat the mushroom/onion/zucchini/feta dish that’s been sauteing while I type. 🙂  Hope y’all have a good afternoon!

Dylan & Tristan’s Birthday

Got up and started driving before at 6am to see the little twin humans on their 1st birthday. Spent the day with Katherine & the twins, hugged the Kelly between her classes, and then drove back home. It took 2.5 hours to get there and nearly 4 to get home [plus a stop for food I’m not counting in there]. Well worth it, though. 🙂

Downton Abbey Movie!!

Nick and I had a rare afternoon movie date this afternoon. We grabbed a super quick lunch at Torchy’s Tacos, wherein I discovered the joy that is the happy corn side dish (unfortunately it was Nick’s- sorry babe!). Then we headed down to Time Square Cinema for the Downton Abbey movie. We’d bought tickets way ahead of time on Fandango, so of course it all had to go wrong. Apparently the movie theatre didn’t think anyone was going to want to see the movie, so they’d only scheduled one theater and the people all revolted and demanded more screenings, so ours got scrapped and moved, so our tickets were hiding in a pile behind the old ticket counter (which is now just the concession stand). We had to wait in the concession line for our tickets, our seats we had picked out online had been given to other people in the meantime, so we ended up sitting in the very front section. The whole thing was chaos because all the seats were messed up, so people had all gone to the places they thought they had tickets, sat in the them, and then had to be moved because when the theater redid the seats, they didn’t do it right at all and just stuck people in willy-nilly, so everyone was having to re-jigger themselves and try to trade seats to sit with the people they came with. This chaos went on all the way through the previews and until the actual movie went on, when everyone finally just shut up and sat where they were.

In any case, The Downton Abbey movie was most excellent. Many super improbable things happened and Maggie Smith was once again deliciously quick witted. We loved every bit of it, although we did yell at a certain character in our heads quite a lot that he was being dim witted. Ah well, at least it ended well. Really, we have watched this show so long that it felt like we went home, some how, like we had gone to see friends that we missed. It was delightful.

Pumpkin Shaped Waffles!

Our Secret Somebody sent us another gift in the mail. Nick looked at it and said “We don’t need another waffle maker. What are we going to do with it; it’s so small.” This was my response. (Two kids have already been through and eaten the other 2/3 of the pile)D8674D7E-4932-4C8A-ACF2-1A1EF84DDC56