February in hindsight

2018_February

February flew by, of course it’s a shorter month than the rest of them but still it felt like we went from February first to the twenty eight in a heartbeat. I had plans and ideas but not much came together, I need to be better at this, I want to be better at this. I’m working on it, this post is going up tonight on March first no matter what happens! This is my February in Hindsight post and it is posted on the first day of the new month.

The Lion King

I had a blast this past weekend – the last weekend of February – on Saturday my mom came to visit me and I took her out to a restaurant in the city where we had a really nice meal. The ambiance in De Vooruitgang was just perfect, it looks gorgeous! Followed by a nice evening watching television and talking about stuff.

On Sunday we drove to Scheveningen to go see The Lion King – the musical at the Circus Theater. It was truly a beautiful musical. Definitely one of the best I’ve seen so far – with Wicked being my absolute number one. The musical is simply beautiful, the costumes and the way the different animals are presented. It’s really pretty! If you’re like me a musical lover you’ll definitively like this one!

Pinkpop 2018

The Pinkpop press conference has taken place and let me tell you the line-up is awesome! So much better than these last couple of years, especially last year was not my cup of tea.  I’m so looking forward to the show, of course there is always that nail biting moment when you’re trying to get the tickets but in the end it turned out to be a lot easier that I had expected it to me. The sale started at ten in the morning and at ten past ten I had paid online for my ticket. That means that I will be able to see Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, Editors, Miss Montreal en Jessie J! And that is just a small portion of the bands that I’ll be able to see. I’ve seen the Foo Fighters a couple of times before and they rock! They are so awesome! Pearl Jam is one of those bands which have always had this vibe around them. Probably because of their legendary 1992 performance, the last time they were at Pinkpop was in 2000! That was my first year at Pinkpop, but at the time I can’t remember if I’ve seen them. I probably did, but I can’t recall it. I always wanted to see Jessie J live! And now I have a chance to see her perform. There is so much more to see and hear. I need to check out the Pinkpop Spotify playlist.

Reading and writing

I’m still working on that second book in the Monkeewrench series, the book is so interesting! I am about half way through it and I literally have no idea where this story is going. The storyline is all over the place, and so far except for some of the same character there has barely been any connection to Monkeewrench. So I guess that once they become involved in the storyline things will become clearer. This storyline is different than any other book I’ve ever read. Interesting book though, a book like this makes me curious and I want to know where this is going.

This is only the first post I’ll be making in the month of March, I still have some stuff up my sleeve. Soon another post will follow, about an album which came out a couple of weeks ago.

Looking ahead:

  • Pinkpop!!!! I didn’t go to Pinkpop last year and the year before that I only went one day. But this year I’m going for three whole days. I can’t wait!
  • I’m meeting my vacation friends again, up for another fun day the first weekend of March.

 

 

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January in hindsight

2018_January

The first month of the year is over.
It all happened so fast! Of course there was New Years Eve which I spend with a couple of friends from my writer group. We had of course way too much food, since every one brought something with them. And we played ‘Cards Against Humanity’ which is really cool. We had a lot of fun. In fact we had to keep our eye on the time because chances were that we would miss the celebrating New Year and the fireworks since we were so immersed in our game.

It was fun celebrating it with our writers group through the years we’ve become a wonderful group of friends so much more than just a group that meets up because we have a passion for writing or because we all participate in Nanowrimo. In fact without these friends my life would be pretty empty, we meet up for writing appointments, we go to the movies and sometimes we meet up at each others homes or we go to a convention or fair together.

New car

Okay, so my old Mint Green Opel Corsa 1.2 is twenty three years old! That is very old for a car! In fact I think that a car is called a classic when it reaches twenty five years! Nah, I’m just kidding with a color like that a car never becomes a classic if you ask me. And it was getting noticeable, every time it’s harder to get the car through the annual car safety test. And I was paying a lot of money to keep the car on the road. It’s not really surprising – and while it wasn’t anything bad it’s was just typical car stuff – that’s just the way it is.

I kind of made up my mind about it and I knew that I had to get a new car before September since that is the month when I had to renew my old car safety test. However I was not really doing anything about it – not yet anyway I figured I had some time. But my parents apparently had the same conversation amongst each other and they even started looking for a different car for me. I mean, that is so sweet, let’s face it the only way I can look at a different car is by looking at the aesthetics of it. Does it look good? Does it have the right color? I honestly don’t know anything about cars, I have my dad for that. He’s been working with cars since he was a mere sixteen years old in a garage, he worked on cars in the army and ever since he’s been working he’s done different jobs at a car factory for the last forty or forty five years. So I don’t need to know my way around cars unless it is to drive them or tell my dad something is wrong. But anyway on a Sunday afternoon I was minding my own business, reading a book – when I received a phone call from my mom. She and my dad had been looking around the internet and they had seen a car for sale which according to them had my name on it. I really liked the car it’s bright red! And it drives like a dream! And from twenty three years old I made an upgrade to a car which is only eight years old! So that is a huge step forward!

Reading and writing

I’ve not really done any writing during January except for my book reviews for Nevermore and Monkeewrench. And that brings me to the next part of my January post, reading. I finally read Monkeewrench, a book which I had on my to read list for a while but I never really got around to it. I started reading it a couple of times but for some reason it didn’t continue. I can’t really explain why that is, especially not now that I’ve actually read the book because I really enjoyed reading it. I’m currently reading the next part in the Monkeewrench series, really curious where this is going.

Looking ahead:

  • Pinkpop press conference and the sale of the tickets.
  • I’m going to see The Lion King Musical with my mom. I have a huge weak spot when it comes to musicals I love them and I’m finally going to see this one!

November in hindsight

November2017

All throughout this month I’ve been thinking about my ‘November in hindsight’ post and I decided that I wanted to post this on my blog on November 30th. To literally finish the month off in the only right way, especially since I’ve been posting these hindsight post quite late these last couple of months. So half way through the month I started to write the first couple of things for this particular post. So that I would be able to just add some last minute changes to in on the 30th before publishing it.

Nanowrimo

My November has been all about Nanowrimo and it was a good month. We’re now literally at the end of the month and I can tell you that I have a accumulated a grand total of 33 516 words. A word count which I’m really happy about. This is way, way better than I expected to do and I’ve written way more creative stories than I ever could have imagined. And even though I haven’t reached the 50 000 words which were our goal for Nanowrimo I am content with what I did. It was hard – I’m not going to lie about it – I struggled but in the end I was able to get to a really nice word count. A word count which is much higher than I expected to reach, so nothing to be ashamed about. Maybe I’ll reach the 50 000 words next year. We’ll see.

Our Epic Blue Unicorn group had four meetings at the Library on Friday afternoon, around five we would gather and sit at ‘our table’. The only thing missing is the fact that they don’t put up one of those plates with reserved on the table for us. But other than that we can easily call it our table. Next to our Library meetings we also had one Ikea meeting. We had so much fun, we’ve invited some new people to our group and I sure hope some of them will stick around for the future. This was the fifth year our group was active and during those five years I’ve made some wonderful friends who are really dear to me.

Reunion

I was supposed to go to Groningen for another meeting with some of my vacation friends but that didn’t happen. For several different reasons we had to decide to move the weekend to February or March of next year. Because December and January are just going to be too busy to make it work. Hopefully I can tell you all about my city trip to Groningen in the first couple of months in the beginning of 2018. I’m looking forward to it.

Efteling

Since Groningen wasn’t going to happen I was free to make some last minute new plans for the last weekend of the month. My parents were going to the Efteling – it was a day out to the park provided by my dads work – and my mom asked me if I wanted to join them. The Efteling is a beautiful theme park in the Netherlands, and during the winter months they turn the park into a winter wonderland of sorts. It always has a special atmosphere which is vastly different if you go there in the summertime.

If you ever have a chance to go to the Efteling you should really do so it is a really beautiful theme park, whether you go there in the summer or in the winter. The theme park is different from any other theme park I’ve been too. They have their very own style which appeals to young and old people alike. Most people in the Netherlands have been there at least once and the park has been voted best theme park many times over. This year the park has even been voted the most beautiful theme park in the world by the Americans. And the park has been scoring well on all types of theme parks lists. It’s an original park by which I mean that it is not based on Disney for example so it has a very unique style.

I’ve been to the park so many times and I still love it each and every time. From an early age on I’ve been going there, with my parents, with our school on a school trip and nowadays I often go there with a group of friends. It is always fun to see that people from a young age all the way up until the elderly enjoy themselves.

Reading and writing

Since November is all about Nanowrimo you have already been able to read all about my word count and writing for the month in the beginning of this post and in all the other posts I made about Nanowrimo. So it would be a little redundant if I repeated it all again. So for now this is all going to be about my reading.

I’ve finished up my latest book in the last couple of days of this month, it was The Circle. A book which really got me thinking about all the things we’re giving up when we aren’t careful with our privacy. I learned one thing, I don’t ever want to give my privacy up. Not because I have a lot to hide yet simply because we should be able to keep some things to ourselves if we want to. And everything – every single detail certainly isn’t a good thing.

Music and television

I decided to write some posts I haven’t previously added to my blog, the first one was about the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy. One of my favorite shows of all time. Another post I wrote about a television show was the one about the Once Upon A Time season six finale.

I also managed to wrote two cd reviews from albums I’ve been listening to these last couple of weeks. The first one was about The Corrs’ new studio album, named Jupiter Calling. I’ve loved the Corrs for at least the last twenty years and I was really surprised when this album came out. The second one was about Pink. A singer / songwriter who I really admire. She has been at the top for so many years and each and every time she comes up with a new song or a new album which tops the charts. Beautiful Trauma is a great new album – with a wide variety of songs.

Looking ahead:

  • December is right around the corner, everyone in the world knows what that means, the holidays are coming!
  • December also means lots of extra time at work! The busy December month, probably goes for a lot of people at work.
  • We in the Netherlands have Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on December 5th. We do a Secret Santa type of thing which is always a lot of fun!
  • Of course there is the TGIO party (Thank God It’s Over) and that refers to the party to celebrate that we’ve survived another November full of writing. I’m going to Utrecht to meet up with my fellow Dutch Nano’s.
  • Christmas! Who doesn’t love Christmas? I know I do, it means I’ll get some
  • New Years Eve still sounds so far away but it is right around the corner! And this year I hope to celebrate it in a different way than I did previously.

November 23th – One week left

Nanowrimo-2017

There is only one more week left in November, one more week of Nanowrimo. And well I think it’s not really going that well. At least according to the numbers it isn’t going too well. Like I said before I didn’t really believe that I would get anywhere near the word count. However I must admit that I’ve gotten a whole lot further than I had expected before the month started. There is no way to make an accurate estimate when you have no idea what you’ll be writing. The only thing I was sure of was that I would be writing blog posts but even those I hadn’t thought of before the month started. I could have done that prepared myself in some way, but I honestly didn’t know what to do. It was as if I had literally no inspiration at all.

I knew I would be doing a ‘Oktober in Hindsight’ post and I hoped that there would be a book review before the end of the month – which I’m still working on, there is a little bit more I to read to finish the book and the review. And I was going to write some updates on Nano of course, because I wanted to log the progress I’m making and I just have to tell you all about our wonderful meetings with our writers group at the Library or the Ikea or whatever other place we can come up with. But other than that I had no real ideas. I was just hoping that I would get some inspiration for other posts as the month continued on.

And I obviously did because I managed to write quite a lot of words, 27 500 words so far. Which is certainly a number that I didn’t expect to reach. And I’m happy with what I did so far and I’m not done. I am never giving up, but the end is still very far away.

Stats_nov23th

Nanowrimo the halfway point

Nanowrimo-2017

It’s hard to believe, we’re already at the halfway point of the month. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess … a little bit too hard however if you ask me. The weeks have been flying by faster and faster and I feel like I’m missing out on so much. Maybe that’s just me or maybe more people have been affected by it. I constantly feel like there aren’t quite enough hours in a day. And with working full time and writing in the evenings my day seems so packed.

Writing-wise I can say that I am way behind on the schedule but I’ve been doing better. Anyway there is a schedule provided by Nanowrimo and there is my schedule and those two have never been quite the same in all of these years that I’ve been participating. So at this point I can still say that I’m not worried but I guess that’s not all that surprising. I mean why would I be worried. If I don’t make it to 50 000 words by the end of this month there is no man overboard, it doesn’t really matter.

I guess that it’s more difficult for me to reach 50 000 words because I’m not writing a new novel or one big story but rather short stories and blog posts. Therefor the writing process is different, since you write shorter pieces and then you have to come up with your next idea to write about. But I think that I’ve been doing pretty good especially considering how little I’ve been writing these last couple of months. And creative writing was really something that I’ve not been doing at all. So the fact that I have been writing a couple of short stories has been a huge relief for me. Creative writing has always been a huge part of my life but since I’ve been struggling so much I have also been feeling extremely blocked at the same time and that doesn’t help at all.

These past couple of days I’ve written a couple of short stories based on different prompts ranging from 300 words to 1500 and the one with 1500 words is still a work in progress so that’ll be longer. I guess around 5000 words in total – we’ll see where it ends. Right now every word written is a word more than I had at the beginning of this month and that surely makes me happy.

So what have I been writing this past half of the month?

First of all there are my blog posts related to Nanowrimo. Nanowrimo 2017 – a little look ahead to November. Nanowrimo kick-off write in – our writer’s groups first write in of this years November and of course my review of the first week. Of course I wrote a review on how my first week of Nanowrimo went, and I told you all how I tell stories.  There was another Nanowrimo update and my post about our yearly Nanowrimo the Ikea meet.

And I’ve written some other posts which I felt like sharing with you all. Of course there is my monthly review October in hindsight. This time it was followed by 300 times Grey’s Anatomy about one of my favorite television shows and the amazing way these episodes – all three hundred of them – have been written. Furthermore I’ve written two posts about Glow, this one – explaining what it is and the history behind it. Followed a second post about the actual Glow review.

I wrote a short story called ‘Death Day’ – based on a prompt I’d read a while ago which I really liked. At birth everyone has the date they will die tattooed on their arm. You were supposed to die yesterday. I now wrote one story, but I’m thinking of writing a few more based on this prompt because it has potential for more. The story that I wrote so far is one way to look at the situation.

The second story is a funny story about taking ‘A Hike’, where nothing is what it seems. It’s a really short story but it was fun to write.

The third short story is called ‘The argument’ and I started writing the story purely based on dialog. I let it rest for a day or so and then rewrote the same story but added in all the details without adapting the dialog I already wrote and I think I succeeded. That was a fun exercise to do! I think I might do that more often. In fact I wrote that after I wrote blog about Grey’s Anatomy. I definitely tried to write a strong dialog scene – like the scenes I admire so much on Grey’s.

At this moment I’m working on two new blog posts, one is the first part of a book review but I’m still reading the book and that is also the reason why I haven’t finished it yet. And I wrote a blog about #MeToo, but I’m unsure whether I will ever post it.

There are a couple of other things I’m working on. But those aren’t done yet.

 

Nanowrimo update

Nanowrimo-2017

It’s the second weekend of Nanowrimo and I am trying to catch up on my backlog. I’ve been behind this whole time and I have no idea if I will catch up in time for the end of the month. I guess we’ll see what happens on November 30th, there are still 20 days left in this month and I’m going to make the best of it. I’ve had some good days and some bad days writing wise, yet so far I have not exceeded the daily word count in fact my daily word count as of this moment is at 850 words. And if I don’t start doing better soon, there is no way I will ever catch up on my back log. Especially knowing that I probably miss out on writing time in the last weekend completely.

Yesterday we had our second library meeting and it was fun, especially good to see that three people who were new last week joined us again for this meeting. And two others had told me beforehand that they couldn’t come but they’ll be back next week. It’s good to see people come back for more meetings, it means we must be doing something right. I guess we are doing good as a group. We, the ‘Epic Blue Unicorns’ have been going strong for five years now every year we have a couple of people who stay with the group.

This morning I decided that I was going to the movie theater first, I wanted to see Thor Ragnarok. I actually had wanted to go last week on Sunday, but I became ill on Saturday night and I was forced to stay at home. This morning I decided that I was not going to take any chances. I wanted to go see that movie today. I loved it! There is much humor in the movie – I really like those Marvel movies. When the movie ended I had some shopping to do and when I came home I started writing.

Will today be the day that I will catch up? Even if it’s just a little bit. Right now it’s close to seven in the evening. It’s Saturday night, so I still have some time left before I have to go to bed. I’m sitting on the couch probably not the most productive way to write but it’s what feels good at the moment. I don’t feel like sitting at my desk. I have the television on, which probably for most people doesn’t help either but to me it feels good. I live alone and I struggle with that fact. When I get home there is no one waiting for me, no one to talk to and if the television isn’t on there is no sound and no movement. So I’m used to the television being on like all the time when I’m at home. Lets face it I’ve been falling asleep with ASMR for the last couple of years. I need sounds around me. I can’t stand the silence, even when I’m going to sleep. I get that there are a lot of people who like to write in silence but to me it feels comfortable when I hear sounds around me. And it doesn’t really make much of a difference to me whether it’s music, a television show or a documentary or if it’s the sounds of people around me when I’m at the library or in a cafeteria. Right now I have Guardians of the Galaxy playing on the television. While I’m writing this post. And right about now I’m doing pretty well. I am almost at the daily word count and I have almost reached ten thousand words. Granted I should have been a hell of a lot closer to twenty thousand words but that is only a number.

For tomorrow we have another write-in planned, this time at the Ikea. We always do that during the month of November. On one Sunday we go to the local Ikea and we sit there for hours to work on our stories. It’s easy, there are drinks and food for a pretty low price and they have enough tables and chairs with electricity outlets for us to make good use of. Expect another update tomorrow.

How do I tell stories?

Nanowrimo-2017

The reason for writing this post is not because I’ve found the holy grail of writing or something. I think either J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin have that in their possession. This is merely something I thought of after reading through a whole discussion on the Dutch Nano Facebook page (if you are Dutch and participate in Nanowrimo, join us).

First I want to throw one of the biggest myths out of the window. No, writing a novel is not easy! Especially since most of us ‘writer wannabees’ do this next to our study or work. So it is often done late at night or in the weekends. Writing stories is difficult and in my honest opinion sometimes a tedious task. But everything starts to come together it’s what makes it all worth.

There are just as many ways of writing as there are writers. What works for one person will not work for the next. That is why it’s so hard to tell someone how to do it. I have been writing stories for at least the last fifteen to twenty years and no I’m not a published author. But over the course of time I’ve used many ways to write stories – some things worked for me some things definitely didn’t. The key is to see what works for you and to try and incorporate those things in your workflow. If you do that over time you can find your way to write you next story.

Triggered

I know one thing for sure I need to be triggered! And by triggered I mean that I can not sit down at night with no idea at all and just start writing. I can get triggered by almost anything. Most people see triggered as a negative word, but what I mean by triggered is that I need to get my idea from somewhere, sometimes that might be from a song, a news item or a television show. What you must know about me is that I was originally a fanfiction author. And I’ve been trying for quite some time now to write original stories, but it is a difficult transition. The main reason why it’s so difficult – for me at least – is something I didn’t realize while I was writing fanfiction. When you write fanfiction the characters are there, the setting is there and the back stories are already written. You might not know everything there is to know about the characters but we fanfiction writers are really good at molding and bending the stories to our likes. In my case that was very obvious, I think there is a need for more lesbian or bi-sexual characters so I’ve made quite a few ‘originally’ straight characters gay. And I don’t need much to accomplish that. For the most part the original information is still valid, but I changed little details and created my own story. I loved writing these stories, the whole creative process of it as well as the reaction you get from readers.

Moving on from fanfiction

So when I started writing my first original story I had this really simple idea – similar to the type of ideas I would have while I was writing fanfiction. I had a female character, a lesbian female character who had lost her girlfriend in an accident of some sort and she would do basically do everything and anything to get her girlfriend back. But dead is pretty final even in this world that I had made up. And then she hears about a group of scientists who think that they can travel to alternate universes. And she wants to become part of it and as a journalist she claims that they need her skills to tell the world about what they had discovered.

That was the idea I had, but what I didn’t take into consideration is the fact that you need a setting, characters and backgrounds and in this case an alternate setting and doppelgangers for my characters – at least for some of them. I had literally only thought about my main character, what I wanted her story to be. But before that was all I needed to worry about so that was my first mistake. I started writing with not much information to go on. And I thought that I could wing it. Somehow I did make it to 50 000 words, don’t ask me how. I knew that I was just making stuff up as I was going along. In the end those 50 000 words were riddled with plot holes, one after another. And I can assure you of one thing, I never did anything with it. Problem is that I could never get the science part down – not even a little bit. It was the idea of alternate universes that really spoke to me but I The Doctor has his sonic screwdriver and in Stargate they have obviously their stargate. However thinking of some ‘new’ technology without sounding like a total nut, that is so not my forte and I realized that I could never do it any justice at least not the science part – the terminology and all that. So I decided to skip that idea even though I still like it.

The next year I still had this story in the back of my mind, I wanted to do it justice and I had figured out a way to write the story differently. Focus more on my main character and her struggles. I started the story earlier on, so you could see the relationship bloom between my main characters and feel the pain the pain when she lost her love. I wanted to write a love story and the whole science thing would still be part of the story but it wouldn’t be something I would be focusing on. Again I made it to 50 000 but I never worked on it past November. I am so done with writing once November is over that I struggle to continue in December of course December is also a busy month at work and in general with the holidays and all that.

I have tried different ways to prepare for Nanowrimo, I’ve tried the snowflake method. I read several books and followed websites, to try and find the perfect way to get a good story going. So far I haven’t succeeded. But I’ve figured out that there is no guide to the perfect story or outline. One method might work for that particular person, but it might not work for the next. I try it but if it doesn’t work, I move on. I take with me what works for me and  and I hope that one day I will find what works for me. In my opinion there is no guideline on how to tell your stories. When we start Nanowrimo we basically pledge to write 1667 words a day for a month. Let’s face it that is a lot of words. Of course you can technically write them in under and hour if you do three twenty minute word sprints of about six hundred words each. Sometimes words sprints work and sometimes they don’t – in my case I can often chuck whatever I wrote into the bin and start over.

You can even see it with very well known published writers, some might write thousands of words a day, while other writers take years and years to complete a single book. Like I said no two writers are the same or follow the same steps. I have been reading some books on writing and how to do it, I have tried different methods from those books and websites with varied success. Yet, from everything I read and tried I took what worked for me. And using those methods is how I try to write my stories.

There is no simple answer on how to tell a story or how to write one for that matter, you just have to sit down and try it.