NaNo-more please my fingers are bleeding.

Tina here,

So with that grim title I am here to share with you all my outlook on this the day after what should be the Halfway mark of NaNoWriMo. Meaning we should have 25k words written into our projects.

However, I am working on an existing project so I should have 75k and Kris is well, Kris is Kris. He has been working so hard on his project and I am so proud of him for all the challenges he has overcome. The biggest one being him asking me to read over his last writing session to see if what he wrote sounds good or if it makes me think of fire and death. He laughed at me last year for asking him each day to review my work. Stating firmly that he would review it once I had finished with it… here we are two years later and I am still writing. However, now I feel no need to show him any of the work!

It has been fun to see him get excited about creating and moving his story along, and don’t tell him but I have been reading it each day and watching what he adds. He is building a beautiful story that I am now racing to try and beat with my own story! I can’t allow him to finish his own novel before mine is done now can I?!

Another funny thing that Kris and I discovered yesterday as we were talking was that it was amusing to us that the stories we are writing is not even what his world was created for, meaning that he created that world to tell a story that neither one of us has even touched. He is so in love with the idea of the story that he cringes anytime I bring up the idea of storyboarding it or working it out on paper. I had wondered if he just needed a push and that was why I started my story.

Now this year he is writing a story that is something completely different than what he wanted to start with but we are both so entranced with the story that neither of us mind. I just thought it would be funny that in a few years we have a few books out in this world and at a Q&A we get asked about why we started writing in the same world and the response would be because of a story that they have never heard of!

Any way, I have been mostly rambling, but since Nov 1 I have gotten really good at doing that for the word count. Don’t forget to backup your current projects and keep on writing!

Nanoprogresso

Kris here,

Tina was great enough to take care of the blog last week, which was great of her to do. Thanks Tina, for all your…erm…hilarious, jokes.

The last couple of days we’ve been making sure to take an hour or two each day to hit the ~2000 word count thing for some fancy book club she’s joined called nanowritingalotmo or something. You guys probably haven’t heard of it but I think it’ll be big in a few years.

I know Tina flashed my first act bubble in the blog last week, which is how I’ve been outlining my acts recently. I like to just cobble together a cohesive plan and then flesh it out while actually writing most of the time. It’s working out great during this adventure. Maybe too great. I’m on my second bubble out of 20 or so for the first 1/3 of the novel and I’ve hit that first 10k mark. Tina was so excited, “Kris isn’t it exhilarating!”

And you might think so, but holy cow doesn’t that mean I’ll be editing words out of this sucker for my son’s 18th birthday?

I kid of course, writing is a great exercise in creativity for us, and it’s great to be able to share that with my wife. All I can think of about last year is how she kept persevering and writing everyday, making sure to keep up a steady progress for her story while simultaneously asking me thousands of questions and wanting my opinion on her progress. Well now the tables have turned! She already did this and that makes her the expert, and that means I get to ask her to read every other paragraph I hammer out. HA!

One thing I have to be getting wrong is this chapter breakdown BS though. If you check out online, lots of people are out like “heck yeah I just busted out chapter woo woo” to which I can only be mystified. I definitely plan to write chapters, but man isn’t it a bit early to chapter breakdown on your first draft? I guess I’m probably just less experienced than say an actual author, or people used to writing giant stories who can kind of structure as they move along.

Well you’ll have to excuse me, I’m not counting the blog toward my daily word count and these spiders aren’t going to bring themselves to life. Happy writing everyone!

How we Outline

Howdy ya’ll Tina here again! You know what that means. I am just sooo much cooler than Kris. I get to say that because I can. HA!

So because thinking up a blog post on the fly is OH so much fun, I am proud to present you with, Our outlines for NaNoWriMo! This is my second year doing it, but I am kinda cheating because I don’t want to start a brand new novel, I am going to do 50,000 more words on the novel I worked on last year! And this will be Kristopher’s first year doing it so he is a fresh new little baby into the whole NaNo world. He is aiming for weekly goals and as he says, isn’t wholly aiming for 50,000 so much as for writing every week on a story.  So, I thought I would share with you some of the brain farts and dumps that we do when we were getting ready to get started!

Let’s start with me first since Kris still hasn’t sent me his pictures yet.

Binder
I have a Binder for Each of my Projects
Acts
Each Manuscript has it broken down into Acts
Blocks
Which is then broken down into 3 blocks
Scenes
Further broken down into 3 scenes

So, When I break it down like this I find it much easier to focus myself on what I am writing at that moment. I make notes on each scene as to what I plan to do within that scene and expand it with my beautiful words. Taking in those tiny little strings of thought and turning them into big fat bottomed thoughts of filled goodness. I push to have about 500-1000 words per scene but tend to end up with more.

So in that image you can see my ideas for each Scene on that Block. Then I included pictures of the word count for each of them to show you that I tend to go a bit more heavy handed in words. I enjoy adding detail, and I can always cut it out later if I need to.  Here are some extra pictures from my project I thought you might like to see.

Project Statistics
Here are some stats from my projects
Full break down
And here is just a full view of more of my acts.

Now, Kris does things a little more wonky….

Now I apologize for the blurriness and crazy tones in the pictures, that was my fault. However, you can see, Kris likes to lay out a bubble plot where he has lines that connect in various ways. How did he say it again? *shuffling papers around, flinging post-it notes here and there* AH! here it is, “double lines are plot progression, single lines or connected bubbles are relevant or progressing ideas”.

There you have it. He included several pictures of his more detailed outlines where he has it more neatly laid out but I thought the bubbles were the cooler part of that whole process.  He has pushed himself so far and I am so proud of him. I have really enjoyed getting to brainstorm with him about ideas for both of our stories since they both take place in the same world. He is even going to have one of my main plot points show up in his book for like a few seconds. *girly sequel* How romantic is that! Well, Until next time Keyboard Couple readers!

 

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Place!

 

*Groovy bat symbol spiny sound*

NaNoWriMo – Huh?

Howdy Lovely people! Tina here!

Sorry I am like super late getting a post out to you all. I have been in the down and outs with some pains and visits to the hospital but I am kicking butt and taking names now.

Starting with getting ready for Nanowrimo.

What? Podcast you say? Ohhh…uh well you see, we don’t quite have the funding to go full podcast mode on our site. So that is just something we will have to wait on and maybe look at making it a youtube video podcast or something. We are still thinking about it.

Anywhodal, I wanted to make our first podcast about Nanowrimo, which is short for National Novel writing month. Which is every November where writers pledge to write 50,000 words on a manuscript or just in general. So I guess technically our blogs can count too!

I took part last year and hit my goal of 50,000 words on my very first novel which was then put in a holding pattern as I hem and hawed over it. I have been working on it on and off around the year but now I am going to add 50,000 more words to the story. I have already outlined the next half and have talked Kris into working on it with me. He is reluctantly going to attempt to do some kind of writing.

So, because I have done NaNoWriMo before and won, I was looking around for some print outs to add to my binder of crap I need to do everyday. However, I saw a huge lack of 2017 printable things. So, I offer up to you all my super simple, black and white, no frills no fuss no muss NaNoWriMo printable for 2017 for Free! I hope you can find use for them and that they help you on your own journey too!

Link for Printable here.

(It is a Google Doc link so you can download it in whatever format floats your boat!)

Also, you can sign up to take part and track your words in NaNoWriMo at their website here.

Good luck everyone and I will talk to you all soon!

In which Kris has weird thoughts while walking Izzy

Hey guys, Kris here –

Sorry to break our normally scheduled release – Tina and I have been working on the podcast and were trying to get that up this week, but we haven’t been able to get it hammered out. This is my blog week, so I figured I’d write a silly story that made itself in my head while I was walking Izzy for a few miles.
_____________

The boy sifted through the objects in the dumpster with distate. Yech he thought, more biscuits and rawhides. The small child carefully let himself drop silently to the ground. He was told to get food out behind this old warehouse, but it seems it was all for the dogs. Slinking into the narrow shadows cast by the streetlight, he looked about for any other refuse. Spotting a promising looking trash can with a lock, he softly padded his way over.

*SQUEAK*

“Crap!” Tripping over a small pile of squeaky bones he hadn’t noticed, he pulled his emergency axe from his waist pouch and picked up two of the bones. Sprinting back toward the woods, he doused the two toys with the bodyspray, careful not to get any on himself. About halfway to the forest, he tossed one to the side. Then a few meters later, chucked the other in the opposite direction as hard as he could. Sliding into a bush, he lay very still, catching his breath and listening to the alarmed barking.

The two guard dogs were sniffing the pile of toys he’d stepped on a minute earlier, smelling them carefully. The two guards wore handsome uniforms with crisp collars, so he knew they were professionals. The boy made sure not to move, not to make any single sound. He knew society had a special place for him and he couldn’t let himself get caught now. The dogs tracked his scent through the field easily, when they suddenly stopped. Sniffing experimentally, the two split up to search, sniffing in circles and looking questioningly at the sky. The boy heard the howling of sirens in the distance. One of the guards stopped, jumped a few times and started barking at his partner. The other jumped into the air once, ran in a few circles and bolted to the first. Picking up the squeaky bone, the first guard bit down twice and bolted for the other. Just before they colided, the first stopped all of a sudden, squeaked the bone twice more, and sprinted back toward the warehouse complex.

Watching from the shadows, the boy let out a sigh of relief. Dogs are so easy to distract, it made him wonder why his pack was in this predicament in the first place. The sirens came to a stop as several more dogs filed out of a police vehicle marked DPD. They were all armed, armored and very serious. The two guards arrived back to their posts just as the squad car emptied out and the new group stared at the other two expectantly. After a moment of silence, the dog with the toy leapt into the ready position and bit down as fast as he could. The somber group broke out in excitement, each dog barking or chasing his own tail individually, then all chasing after the first to tackle him and wrestle the toy from him.

Feeling it was as good a time as any to slip away, the kid slipped away into the moonless forest.

***

“Oi!”

He awoke to a rough shove and a rougher voice.

“You didn’t bring anything back!?”

Tonight had been his turn to scrounge up dinner, but he’d come home empty handed. It appears he’d fallen asleep waiting for the others to arrive.

“You told me there was food at the storage complex! Well I went there, I climbed inside every trash can and dumpster, crawled under every porch and there was nothing.” The boy crossed his arms. He was hungry too, but there was no helping it tonight.

“You go, sleep on the ground. Blankets are for good boys” Scowling, the grungy man yanked his covers away and wrapped them around himself.

Tears welled in the boys’ eyes, but he didn’t let himself cry. He refused to show weakness to this pack of brutes. He needed protection it’s true, but if he could just find his own pack he wouldn’t have to put up with any of this nonsense.

“Fine!”

Storming off, he angrily took the pack and what clothes he had left and set off. He knew there were few places in the forest to sleep safely, so he opted instead just to try another hand at getting something to eat. Stashing his clothes inside a tree at the edge of the woods, he crept out into a small neighborhood this time. Houses where everyone lived were much more likely to have food thrown out. Rummaging a few cannisters and barrels, he scored a jackpot.

“Carrots!”

They were a little mushy it seems, it’s probably why they were thrown out. Who wanted to chew on mushy carrots when you could chomp into fresh, snappy carrots. Shoving his mouth full, the small child devoured the carrots until he could eat no more. “Ahh,” he sighed happily. He spent a few minutes looking around for a quiet place to rest. Finding a caged trampoline by the edge of the wood, he crawled underneath and used his clothing as a bedspread.

***

“Mom! Can we keep him!”

He opened his eyes and immediately shut them against the bright glare of the sun. Covering his face, he opened his eyes more slowly this time, allowing them to adjust to the light. He was surrounded by what he assumed was the family of the house.

“Patches, you don’t know where he’s been darling. He could have lice!”

“Aww mama, he doesn’t have lice. Look at him! Pleeeeeease. I’ll feed him and walk him everyday and he can sleep with me!”

Things were looking pretty bad, his eyes started darting around looking for an escape. He hadn’t noticed the tall privacy fence around the yard last night in his tired wandering and now there was only one way out. Growling and barking at the other trying to reach out and pet him, the boy bolted for the open gate to the yard and leapt as far as he could. Freedom! He cleared the gate easily and looked to check his pursuers. Ha, they hadn’t even started moving, he was too quick for em.

“Whoa there little fella, nobody’s gonna hurt you. Come here, I got some pizza-flavored pringles for ya? You like those” A man stepped in front of him, setting a small can on the ground.

Warily, the boy eyed the dog catcher’s truck and the y-pole he carried.

“There now, come on over here and we’ll take real good care of you.”

The catcher set the pringles on the ground and backed away. The boy sized up his chances. They were probably faster in the short run than he, they had four legs after all. But he had experience on his side, and could probably lose them in the forest if he made it that far. The boy turned disinterestedly, casually turning his body away and mozying a few steps in the wrong direction. As fast as lightning, he bolted for the can on the ground and used his momentum to roll between the legs of the dog catcher as he turned to get him. Getting to his feet, he made a break for the treeline with the prize. Heart pounding, gasping for air and his mind whirling a mile a minute, the boy pumped his legs as fast as they’d move and barrelled headfirst into the trees.

*Hurk!*

A tightening around his neck choked him fiercely, dragging him back. Wrenching at the rope around his neck, he bit the hands that reached out to him and struggled to free himself.

“Easy does it kiddo, easy does it” The dog catcher eased him back into the grass, the pole securing the boy to the harness around his waist. The terrier spent a minute sniffing the boy and smiled.

“It smells like you’ve been living out in the trees! Don’t you worry, we’re going to take good care of you. We can get you bathed and fed, and maybe find you a nice family. Come on little guy”

The boy pulled as hard as he could against the leash, but it was no use. He’d known it was a risky move and now he’d pay the price. If the price were 3 meals a day, maybe he’d spend a little extra time paying it anyway. The boy was helped inside the back of the truck with the other stray humans while the terrier climbed into the passanger seat.

“Alright Spot, I think we should head on back to the shelter, this one’s gonna need some attention right away.”

“You got it ruffles” replied the Bulldog behind the wheel, who kicked the truck into gear and sped off. The boy watched out the back window as the family of great danes moved their trampoline back into place before they were out of site.

Enlightened and Rambling

Howdy ya’ll, Tina here.

I am now in my 6th week of classes at the University of the People, UoPeople for short. It is a tuition free, online based, accredited university that is open to people around the world. When I say tuition free, I mean, you don’t pay for books, you don’t pay for classes, you only pay for your application and final tests.

“Tina, that’s great and all but I don’t really care…”

Yeah I know and you are so sweet to be so supportive of me in my three sentence intro. I only said something because I am so excited about the application I have already given to some of my current classes.

I am seeking a Business Management degree and in my business class I had to create my own mission, vision, goals, and strategy using the various methods we are being taught. They were to pertain to my own personal life and what I want out of it. Well, see, trouble is, I have never really known what I wanted out of life. I have always held on dearly to the dream of living in Japan, but other than that I never set my mind that I would become something more than just me. Mostly because I don’t tend to think very highly of myself. Now before you get all, “Oh poor Tina” , I have to say that a great deal of who I am today as a person was shaped by my past. Even more of who I am has been shaped over the last few years as I learned to move past that and push on with becoming my own person. So I would say the whole self discovery thing was just, uh, delayed. I talked about my assignments with family members who all without knowing what the others said gave me the same advice.

“Tina, you love Japan and writing. Always have.”

See, writing as a kid was therapeutic for me. It provided a way for me to press my own feelings, goals, hopes, dreams and demons onto someone else. Pretending for a while that it wasn’t me going through it. I wrote everything, love stories, poems, dark and depressing or light and hopeful, I wrote adventure, and I wrote horror. Lots of horror. I don’t really know why writing didn’t pop up to me right away as a possible goal for myself. I guess really because I think of it more of a thing someone does as they work a real job. However, as my mentor and cyborg queen overlord has said over and over again, Writing is hard, and anyone who says differently isn’t a writer. Writing is a real job, with insane hours, a cranky and sometimes rude boss, unrealistic goals and dreams, and a killer time sink if you just quit. So if you dive into it, you gotta be ready to live it. Family and friends don’t support you, or worse do but don’t understand the kind of commitment you need to give to writing and call you selfish, it is gonna happen.

I have been given the most amazing ideas and creativity that can spin up yards of ideas in an instant. My husband is logical, intelligent and always willing to help me out. He is my chosen editor and key reader for my works.

 

So, if you have never done it before, find out what you want from life. It might surprise you and lead you to joy you didn’t know you had access to.

In which Kris reads children’s books

Kris here,

It’s been a while since I talked about something I liked reading instead of rambling on about writing every week. I figured this week I’d talk about The Ranger’s Apprentice. This is actually a pretty recent series as far as stuff I’ve read goes – I read it a few years ago, but it was just published less than 20 years ago! Okay it’s not that new, but a lot of the books I like to revisit frequently were all written in the 70’s, 80’s and..well the 1800’s. I’m into older stories you could say.

The Ranger’s Apprentice I believe has a target demographic of something like 9-14 year olds, so I actually just read the first book to make sure it was alright for my then 6 year old and whether I could keep it around to read Nik at bedtime. Five or six books into the series and I’m thinkin’ “wow this is pretty good” – as evidenced by the fact that it took me about 3 days to read each book. The writing is surprisingly easy to digest for something written for such a young age; to be fair, when I was 10 I read Animorphs, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and Dragonlance. So I guess kids aren’t as bad at reading as all that.

I don’t want to spoil the actual story here, they’re relatively short and easy to pick up, but it’s essentially a coming-of-age tale of a young orphan named Will who got picked up as a …Ranger’s Apprentice. And he’s all like “pfsh no way!” and then later he’s like “This is amazing!” Honestly the main character is relatively likeable, but is by far one of my least favorite characters. I don’t hate the guy, I just like all the others better. Especially Halt, which is the “Ranger” part of the series title. He’s a rough guy who knows how and when to help, and he fills in my need to have a badass dude who can stand up to the evil guys while the smaller good guys are still doing jumping jacks or whatever so they don’t get stomped.

The series romps through a few topics I wasn’t really expecting to see – befriending bullies, beating drug addiction and killing a guy with a longbow arrow through the face, but were written in a way that I’m definitely adding them to the stuff-to-read-Nik list. Check out the first book if you have a few days to read a fun story, I can honestly say my copies are chopped up between physical books and e-books (self-control, what?!) so it’s available in whatever form you need.

Also the wiki says Mr Flanagan originally wrote the story as a way to get his own child into reading – I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I’m 110% down with that.

(the first book is here)

ruins_of_gorlan
Source: Link

Tina chiming in here,

According to my research, The books have been slated to become a movie and started production in fall of 2016. I have not heard anything new but here is the New York Times article with more information if you want! (Link)