Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Seven: The Sixth Day

This week’s Sunday Seven question from Patrick’s Place is about the Creation story.

So having said all of that, we have seven days to work with. Your challenge is to imagine having the opportunity to be there as God did all of the creation: to watch it all happen as it happened. Which days would you be most interested in witnessing in the presence of God as He created everything?

I would want to be there on Day Six. This was day that God created man in most Judeo-Christian beliefs.

God’s Perspective

I would love to see what God was saying and thinking on that day. Was he already looking to the day He would have to send His Son to redeem this new creation of His. The Bible says that Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation chapter thirteen, verse eight).

Was He holding out hope that maybe Adam wouldn’t screw it up in the Garden? Was is still possible on that sixth day that at the key moment Adam would chose to obey his God and not listen to the Snake?

Early Earth

I’d also love to see what Adam and Eve looked like. Some have speculated that Adam and Eve would have been the most attractive people ever created. The idea is that their DNA was perfect and it’s been degrading ever since.

In addition to see what Adam and Eve looked like, I would have loved to see what the Earth looked like. Was it some sort of Pangaea super continent? Would I even recognize it?

What was Adam’s world like? Were there fantastic creatures the likes of which we’ve never seen. Some people believe that there were dinosaurs walking around during the time of Adam. That would be cool, but how about dragons, unicorns and other incredible creatures. Did they populate Adam’s world?

I would also love to see how Adam was created. An often overlooked fact from the Biblical story is that Adam was created outside the Garden and then put into the Garden. Could that outside the Garden experience relate somehow to an evolutionary creation of Adam?

Day Six would be the day that interested me the most? How about you? Feel free to play along at Patrick’s Place.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Remember The Milk

I think of things I need to do when I’m at work, or in the car, but by the time i get home, play with the kids, and have dinner, I've totally forgotten what I needed to, or wanted to do. Its the biggest reason I got behind in HTTS. I simply forgot to check in on the classes for days at a time. I'd remember at work or on the way home, but by the time I could actually do something, I'd forget.

I needed a tool to help me get more organized. Enter Remember the Milk.rtm

Remember the Milk is a cool little site/tool task organizer. You can organize your tasks into categories. I have Writing, Blogging, Personal, etc. rtm2

One of my favorite things about RTM is how intuitive the site is. When you set up your tasks, you can put in a due date of the date say June 30, 2011 or 6/30/2011. It understands it either way. But you can also put in due dates like “next Saturday” or in “two weeks”.

You can do the same kind of things with repeat. For example, the program understands what “Repeat every Tuesday” means. It even understands if you put your due date in the subject. Entering “party tomorrow at 9pm” will set your task as “party” with a due date of tomorrow at 9pm.

Another part I really like is there voting feature for new features to prioritize. rtm3 it lets their users have a hand in how the site is grown. who knows better than your users what your site needs.

I've used task managers before but then I'd forget to check the task manager. RTM helps me with this because they integrate into Gmail. When I get on the computer at night my browser opens to Facebook, my Yahoo mail and my Gmail/G+, there in all its glory is my RTM list.

They also have an Android app, but that requires a Pro account. I am planning on getting one soon because I feel like I should support them. They have made an excellent product.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unicorn Update

The first draft is in the bag at just under 5,200.

I actually had two different ideas. My original thought was to write them both, but the second idea never made the leap from theme and character to good story.

I started with an outline of my first story, and then Tami and Bre gave me some helpful feedback.Next up I made a scene list similar to how I make a function list when I’m laying out a new computer program. Then it was just a matter of writing each scene and the transition and voila, a first draft.

My story is about a King whose pregnant wife has fallen deathly ill. The only way they can save her is by obtaining the horn of a Unicorn, but doing so will violate a treaty and force the King to surrender his Kingdom to an evil dictator. The King must choose between saving his wife and placing his subjects at the mercy of an evil tyrant, or spare his people people and lose my wife.

I’m looking forward to sharing with the Saucy Ink group and getting some feedback that will improve the story and hopefully my overall writing as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Write?

204604yydwa3rp8 Asking yourself why you want to write is an exercise that's been suggested to me in both Writing Fiction for Dummies as well as How to Think Sideways. It's not a simple answer.

I want to write because:

I enjoy telling stories, and I enjoy sharing stories with other people. There is a special joy that comes when your writing is read, and appreciated. I've been writing stories as far back as elementary school. I continued writing through high school and college, but it was always something that would come and go. It is only very recently that I've gotten serious about it, and started studying it.

I want to write because:

I've got all these story ideas. My current Idea Box, a Scrivener Project where I jot down ideas, has 20 entries. They aren't all fully fleshed out, but each one is the spark of an idea I could use. They run the gamut: Christian, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical, Mystery. I want to get those stories out, and have them read and enjoyed.

I want to write because:

I would like influence how people see the world. It is impossible to write without your own views of the world coming through in the way the story is told. Books have had a powerful influence on me. In high school, I was influenced by a series of adventure novels where the characters were setting up their own little country*. During college, it was reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead that impacted my thinking. More recently, the Left Behind series has challenged the way I look at the world. I would love it for someone to read a story I wrote and reconsider the way they have viewed the subject matter.

I want to write because:

I’ve been told I’ve got some talent. Now its up to me to develop that talent and see where it can take me. I don’t want to look back and wonder “What if?”

I want to write because:

I love the schedule. I’ve always wanted a job where I could work different hours. As a night owl, the early morning has never been a good time for me. I always knew whatever my 8’oclock class was, it was going to be a struggle because my brain just isn’t engaged at that hour. I would struggle to get up and be late which didn’t help. I’d love more freedom in my schedule. My kids are growing up, and having the ability to tailor my schedule around theirs sounds like a dream. I know it may take several years to even get to the point where I can have the writers schedule, and I may never get there, but it is a powerful motivator for me.

That’s why I want to be a writer.

(* - The name of the series escapes me at the moment. It was set in a post apocalyptic USA and the main character carried around a Tommy Gun. One of the supporting characters fancied himself after Wild Bill Hickock. I asked the internet, but it wasn’t much help. I hereby reserve the right to come back and edit this entry when and if I remember the series.)

Image provided royalty free by: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, July 18, 2011

Saturday Six – Books and Movies

1. What’s the last movie you waited in a long line to see?

Star Wars Episode III. I knew this was going to be my last chance to see the premiere of a Star Wars film. So I did the whole nine yards, dressed up as Obi-Wan and waited in line for the midnight show.

2. What’s the biggest movie you’ve been excited about seeing before the premiere?

Star Wars Episode I. It has been 20 years since the last Star Wars movie came out. I waited in line for about 4 hours for tickets.

3. Do you watch more movies in the theater or on DVD?

Option C none of the above. These days we watch most of our movies by streaming them through NetFlix.

4. Which do you prefer to do: watch a movie or read a book if both are based on the same story?

That’s really tough. Both formats have their advantages, and I can’t think of any story that I’ve experienced both ways, although I am looking forward to Blue Like Jazz. I read the book and I’m curious to see how it translate to a movie.

5. How often have you found that the book really is better than the movie?

The only movie I can think of at the moment would be Passion of the Christ, in which case, the book is definitely better. It is always tricky when you switch from one medium to another. Some stories transition well, others, not so well.

6. Take the quiz: Are You a Book or a Movie?

Apparently, I’m a book. Who knew?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Picture Pages

I have a problem. I want to use pretty pictures with my posts. What I normally do is a Google Images search for the image I want, copy to my hard drive, and post to my blog. After talking with a good friend, I was shocked to learn that this is sort of illegal and violates the image creators copyright.

Who knew?

As someone who hopes to one day make some money on copyrighted material (novel, short story) it would probably be a good idea to honor the copyright of others. Not to mention that whole ethics/conscience thing I’ve got going on.

I was given a link to a couple of photo services, but these places charge about $1 a photo. That that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’ve already written 32 posts on this blog. That would be over $30. I plan on doing hundreds of posts. That is going to get expensive after a while.

I wonder how other bloggers handle this? If you have some ideas on how I could address this issue, feel free to drop me a line in the comments.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Saturday Six – Anthony Verdict

This week’s Patrick’s Place Saturday Six Meme was about the Casey Anthony trial.

1. How much attention did you pay to the Casey Anthony trial?

Virtually none. In fact, I wasn’t familiar with the case until the verdict was rendered. We don’t watch much news, and this particular case held no interest for me.

2. How justified do you think people are in their outrage at the jury’s verdict?

It’s understandable, but not justified. It’s only natural to be upset when circumstances don’t go as you had hoped they would. The facts of the case, as I know them, were suspect. If one of my children was missing for 30 seconds, I’d be calling in the National Guard to find them. But people obviously jumped to a conclusion that the jury could not support.

3. How often do you watch shows like Nancy Grace, who focuses a great deal of attention on cases like this?

I don’t watch shows like Nancy Grace. I had never even heard of the show before this Saturday Six. My viewing tends to be more Discovery/History, and anything to do with the NFL.

4. If you had been a juror in that case, would you have talked to the media right after the verdict was delivered?

I would have. My goal would have been to help get my name ‘out there’. It might cause people to start following me on Twitter or reading my blog. What is the old saying, “No publicity is bad publicity.”

5. If you were a juror and you were later offered money for an interview, how likely would you be willing to accept payment to appear on television to discuss the case?

I would absolutely accept money for an interview. Get my name out there AND get paid? Where do I sign up? I would state my answers in such a way as to not give away the identity of other jurors in attempt to respect their right to keep their opinions to themselves.

6. Would you support a law that would prohibit a juror from profiting from being on a jury in this manner? Why or why not?

I would not support such a law.

If there were not people who would gladly pay for such information, there would be no one to sell it.

I think we need to get past a knee jerk reaction of  ‘there ought to be a law’ so often. We’ve got a multi-multi trillion dollar deficit. Our lawmakers have better ways to spend their time, and our law enforcement has more important crimes to prosecute than someone making a couple of bucks off a civic duty most people dread and try their best to avoid.

If it could somehow be shown that such profiting somehow might affect the outcome of  a jury, then there might be more grounds to support such a law. But I think that would be a very difficult case to make.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WIP Update 30k!

250px-Railmileposts Last night, I passed the 30,000 word mile marker in my manuscript. This is the now the longest story I've ever written, and I'm not even to my climax yet (but it's coming very shortly).

I'm actually a little nervous that I'm going to hit the end of the story well before the 70,000 word mark. My first inclination when I realized that was to go back and do a new outline, and try to figure out where I need to add.

Instead of looking back, I decided the best thing to do would be to press on, and see where the word count is when I hit ‘The End’. If I stop to reassess, I might get so sidetracked that I don’t finish the thing. Besides, the word count will change as I go through and edit it anyway. I want to focus on finishing the story. If I'm short, I can figure out where I need to add, and if I'm long, which I won’t be, I can figure out where to cut.

At this point in my writing journey, I believe its vital that I simply finish that which I have begun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sunday Seven - Quotes

I’ve always loved quotations. They teach. They inspire. This week Patrick’s Place’s Sunday Seven is all about Quotations. Here are seven of my favorites, in no particular order.

  • Christianity is a statement that, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of utmost importance. The one thing it can not be is moderately important. - God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis, p.101
  • Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. - Aaron Levenstein
  • Bravery is attracted to action like a moth to a flame. Don't wait until you're ‘brave enough’ to start your dream. Just go.- Jon Acuff
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzsky
  • In five years, you will be the same person you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet. – Dave Ramsey
  • Never tell me the odds - Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back
  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus
  • Write what you know. Learn what you don’t. And never give up on the dream - Tracie Peterson, founder American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

us-flag Today we celebrate America’s birthday. We should take a moment today to remember again the sacrifice being made by men and women around the world to protect our freedom and way of life. They have given of their time, talents, and sometimes their lives. To every person in uniform, and to all those at home who call you Father, or Mother, or Son or Daughter, or Wife or Husband: Today, and every day, you have my heart felt gratitude.
Across the nation today, people will play the Star Spangled Banner. My friend, Paul, made an excellent point to me about the national anthem.
It wasn’t written during the Revolutionary War. Instead it was written during the attack on Fort McKinley during the War of 1812. In the Revolutionary War, Americans fought for their independence. We won and became a free people. Yet, it wasn’t until that resolve was tested years later in the War of 1812, that the question was really answered. Would we stay together? Would we be able to come together against a common foe. It is in those times of testing our mettle, as countries, and as individuals that the anthems of our lives are written.
So let us celebrate the grand old flag and the red, white and blue. And let us, in these times that try us financially, or personally, or spiritually write an anthem of our resolve to pursue our hopes and dreams.
It’s the American Way, and the American Dream.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday Six Episode 377

The ongoing internet meme from Patrick’s Place.

1. Did you set any specific goals for yourself for 2011, and if so, what kinds of goals did you set?

I set several goals for myself in 2011. These goals include personal development, professional development, and spiritual development.

2. How often do you go back and review a goal after you’ve set it to see how you measure up before the goal is actually reached?

Some of my goals are easier to measure than others. I can easily quantify goals like blog post counts, or weight loss. Measuring my spiritual development is a little trickier.

3. Of the goals that you’d be willing to share, what’s the most ambitious one you’ve set for yourself?

Given my progress, or lack there of, I’d say all my goals were fairly ambitious.One has been a yearly goal for about five years now, so I’d say that one continues to be ambitious.

4. If you had to give yourself a letter grade, how would you score on achieving this specific goal so far?

Probably a C-. I’m not near as far along as I’d like to be in most areas, but there are a couple where I see good progress.

5. Of the following categories: health, spirituality, career, lifestyle and personal development; in which do you feel you’re most on track?

I’m most on track on personal development. I’d like to say I’m on track on spirituality, but as I mentioned, I find that one very difficult to measure in an objective way. 

6. Of the same list of categories, in which do you feel you’re least on track?

Probably health. I’ve had a goal of breaking 200 pounds for several years now, and I still haven’t accomplished it.