Monthly Archives: July 2011

Map Making and ROW80 update


In my current WIP I have created a fictional world. I really enjoy the process of world building. Envisioning the people that might live there, the cultures, dress, manufacturing, religious views. Things become real because you will it to be. I like that. I guess I like being God.

One of the problems with making a world is making it truly real. I am an okay artist but I am a terrible cartographer. A few months ago I went looking for an answer to my problem and found software put out by ProFantasy which is literally for world building. Though the company caters to RPG (roll playing gaming) there is really no reason that these programs can’t be used for writers.


There is a pretty steep learning curve to the program and many additional programs where you can get terribly detailed in cities, dungeons, etc. I try not to spend too much time creating my world rather than writing it but I have found that this really helps give a sense of permanence, real-ness, to the places I create in my head. That writing seems easier because I know there is a cliff/mountain/forest/city right there and my characters can go play in it.

As for my current Work in Progress. I’m still sick. But I’m on the mend. The only writing I’ve been able to do has been a few hundred words on the *other* story that zapped me last week. And that’s just because it’s in the shiny newness stage and I didn’t have to think about it too much.


Yes, I’m still alive


I’ve been reading for the past five days. My ear is still swollen shut which limits my movement, throwing my equilibrium off terribly. Today I meant to write but can’t even swing my head around an interesting blog post so I doubt anything will happen. I did get a few hundred words written yesterday in my “other” Work in Progress, which is the story that zapped in my head this time last week and nearly derailed my current ROW WIP.

This ear infection has to go. Yes, I’m still alive but man it sucks.

Otitis Externa and the death of my word count


Well dear readers, my Sunday update is very grim. After an emotional day taking my son to the speech therapist on Thursday, where it has been concluded that he is in need of immediate therapy, I got an ear infection. The result has been tremendous pain and a terrible and nauesating  relationship with anything remotely vertical.

Which leaves me at the same word count I was at Wednesday at which I was 3 days ahead. I am now 1 day behind. Such is life and why I like ROW80 bettern than NaNoWriMo.

Life happens.


Communication and the soul


There is something happening in my personal life right now that I never really considered happening; I have a child that is developmentally delayed in communication.

This is new territory for me. I’m a little raw over it though Max-more than likely- has a very mild form of it. Today we have our first appointment with a Speech Therapist. Sorry if this post isn’t as elloquent as I want it to be. I’m a ball of tangled nerves right now.

His entire three years I have spent waiting for that magic moment that his verbal skills unlock and, in turn, unlock the secrets to this little human. I keep waiting. Every day. Hoping. Nothing happens. One of the most wonderful things about being a parent is seeing that human that you have nurtured, develop and bloom, watching with awe and fascination as the petals unfold and the personality is revealed unique and special. It’s something else.

The first thing that comes to mind, that strikes the barrier between infant and toddler, between new human and emerging one, is communication. Baby books are filled with empty spaces to enter in first sounds, first words, first names, first everythings that are uttered out of cupid bow lips. His baby book is mostly blank. I can’t help feeling the void.

For someone that revolves around communication this is devestating for me. If you’ve ever met me in person you know I like to talk, a lot. My nickname in softball was “Mouth”. My teacher once told my mom I could charm the scales off a snake and he’d be happy to give them to me.  “I like to read” is an egregious understatement. I was reading at four, my oldest son was, too. My eldest daughter is nicknamed Wee-ah because that was all fifteen month old Alex could say. I’ve been writing since I was an early teen, documenting the horrors that were my life at the time. Poems, I still have, dictating the pain of youth and much worse traumas. I write now, I can’t imagine not.

The point of all this is that my life revolves around words. They are the doors to my soul, the windows I look out, the expression in my heart. I feel as though my child, with his inability to communicate in words to me, is like a little puzzle box. There is something secret and special hidden deep inside and I cannot access it. I keep waiting.

We have tried teaching him ASL and he does, reluctantly, sign a few things. ASL is our first additional language in the home though I’m sure to others our signing is like a toddler. The majority of Max’s communicating is done with pointing and screaming. Giving me empty cups to fill instead of asking, throwing them at me when I don’t comply. Bringing me his shoes when he wants to go out, throwing them at me when I don’t comply. (I think you get the picture). Though he does say some things, somewhat clearly and kinda consistently, it is something we need to address.

This has given me new appreciation for the spoken word. How amazing is it that we, as a society, have developed a way to consistently and efficiently communication with each other? How wonderful that we have learned how to take those words and commit them to paper, to be able to read things people long dead have thought, that others that come after us will be able to do the same?

I think, verbal society as a whole, we take this for granted.

I’m confident that at some time down the line my son will be able to communicate with me either verbally or with signs, that he will learn to read those sounds that have a hard time forming in his tiny mouth. Right now, he’s playing with magnetic letters and I’m trying not to panic over the appointment. I think I’m going to go play with him.

So far, so…far.


I’m up earlier than I want to be because my two year old son decided to punch me in his sleep. Cracks to the face with tiny instruments of pain tend to jar you from sleep but not to fully awake.

Yesterday was an exciting day for me if you consider mental torture and molar grinding “exciting”. I’ve been doing remarkably well with my current WIP…until yesterday. I’m not sure if things are like this for you, but while I was cleaning out the cabinets in the bathroom I got slapped silly by a new story. So many details were uncovered I had to to write it down.

I wanted to work on it immediately, this new person with her new problems called to me to write her. But I have this WIP, I’m trying to be a serious writer. I’m trying hard not to be derailed by my fickle muse. I’m trying not to do what I’ve always done, which has always got me the same, nothing but piles of unfinished manuscripts. I want a finished one.

And of course, this new story pops up at a time where the shiny story newness is wearing off and writing is becoming something I have to work at. That magical word count that falls between 10-12,000 words and since I rarely outline a story, I flounder. It was hard, soo hard but I posted it on Twitter with my #ROW80 hashtag that I was about to flounder and got some great supportive responses.

“You have a 750 word count goal,” I sternly told myself. “Make your goal first, then you can go play with the new demons.”

I also read this article about removing writer’s block. Oh my word! I put this on a post it behind my computer so I remember it, always:

Detach From The Outcome.

Then I was lead to this article (again from Twitter) that talks about listening to characters beyond what you type for them. To let them tell you where they are going. Quite eye opening stuff, this is.

Once I stopped thinking about where I wanted my characters to go and started listening to what they were saying and removed any idea of outcome, I was able to get those 750 words yesterday without much trouble. I’m still about three days ahead which is good because tomorrow my face-punching son has an appointment with a speech therapist. I’m a wreck over it so either I’ll have an awesome, emotional writing morning or I won’t look at it all day.

After I was a good little writer, I got to play with the new characters for almost 1500 words.

This morning I’ve already made half my goal but breakfast calls as do children that are screaming at each other. I’ve made myself a goal chart and bar graph for the new story. I think it has some worth and I’d like to stick with it. I gave it only a 500 word goal but I’m promising myself to work on the current WIP before I even touch it.


Reviewing Reads


I have been using for a few years now and have nearly 570 books reviewed, most with commentary. I just learned of and have tried (unsucessfully) to move my GR books over to their site. I’m working at it but it’s a bit of a slow process.  My books range from animal husbandry, to children’s, to adult romance.

Not only do I use these books just to keep track of what I’ve read and liked but I love reading author bios, checking out other’s reviews before reading a book or series and keep track of upcoming releases. I also love that new authors, including those that are self-published, can create identities to get their books promoted for free.

If you haven’t checked out either site, now is the time. If you’d like to friend me (I love virtual friends) here are my links



In which I have an epiphany, eat a veggie sandwich and find out I’m a Fluff Writer


As I was sitting here discussing my current WIP with the husby, trying to explain to him everything I’ve written to try and get a handle on where I’m going, and telling him about everything going on in the background that I haven’t written yet and may never get to paper I had the realization that I might just be a Fluff Writer. At least on this current book.

You see, I have to explain, in depth, all these things to husby because I will not allow him to read anything I write. He’s a harsh critic. And it hurts. Though I end up telling him much more about any story I have in mind than I actually write down in words. I should just let him read it. But anyway, I digress.

The realization that I might write Fluff doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Writing it makes me happy. I hope to make other people happy with my writing. I think that’s a-okay. Will I ever write a scary, super thriller like King? Probably not. But I’m not King. I’m Crystal and Crystal, apparently, writes Fluff and likes it. 

So, while I was rolling over this new form of self discovery at 8:30 p.m., I made a veggie sandwich. It’s my favorite. I roast veggies, add 1/4 an avocado and some Duke’s mayo. Holy guacamole, one bite and I’m in heaven. I made the veggie sandwich because there is a box of cookies calling my name. I ate sustenance in lieu of fluff.

Much like how I read books.

Sometimes I ingest carbs and veggies, sometimes I go right for the sweets. I don’t mind my writing being someone’s sweets. After reading such hard hitters like Saintcrow or Jemiah Jefferson that toss me sideways and rip me raw, I need something fun, light, fluffy. And I can write that.

This is a big, huge thing for me, being okay with this personal revelation, as I have a slight problem comparing myself to other writers. Because I don’t write like those wonderstars above that leave me emotional ragged and painfully sad when the wild ride is over, that I am not a good writer. Because I think that something I do, that makes me happy, is still not good enough for other’s eyes.

And that is very bad.

Worse than eating sweets for dinner.

The point isn’t what I write but that I enjoy writing it, that I take the time to perfect my craft, that I entertain other’s which is my goal. I hope it doesn’t mean that that is all I’ll be writing forever into the future, I’d like to think I’m more than a one trick pony, but I’m okay with this today. Now, where’d those cookies go?