Time Flies!: November 2015

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Huh? What do you mean, tomorrow’s the first day of December?! I’m not ready to think about 2016 yet!!

Buddy the Elf

It’s insane how quickly this year has sped by. November in itself was a blur. I was hoping things would quiet down after a nutty October. Nope. Life offline turned into another kind of crazy altogether. So I’ve craved more time than usual to relax and meditate, and I know I’ll still need it now that the holiday season is underway.

Btw, I hope all my fellow Americans (and anyone else who celebrates the holiday) had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’d traveled out to state to spend it with relatives, hence my absence from the blog and social media for the past few days.

Let me give you a chance to catch up on the past month’s posts now:

This Month’s Posts

Interviews, Guest Blogs, and Columns

Site Updates & News

Earlier this month, I announced that the blog is now open for guest posting! Please read the blog announcement here or the guest posting policy here for more information.

NEW! November’s Gems from the Blogosphere

I’m adding a new section to share some of my favorite blog posts I’ve read at other sites this month. Most of these are writing-centric (I can’t help myself *blushes*), but you’ll a few other goodies mixed in as well.

  1. “18 Habits of Highly Creative People” by Carolyn Gregoire (Huffington Post)
  2. “Becoming Your POV Character” by Marcy Kennedy (Writers In The Storm)
  3. “The Griffin: Call It A Chimera Comeback” by Codey Amprim (Mythic Scribes)
  4. “How Can Characters Be Powerful If They’re Not Real?” by Victoria Grace Howell (Stori Tori’s Blog)
  5. “The Lure of Magical Worlds” by Carol D. Gray (Dead Darlings)
  6. “On First Drafts and Overwriting With Purpose” by Sarah Kettles (The Great Noveling Adventure)
  7. “Simple 30 Minute Yoga Routine for Writers (No Flexibility Required!)” by Kaitlin Hillerich (Ink & Quills)
  8. “Ten Tips for Tired Writers” by Bess Cozby (DIY MFA)
  9. “Using Grammar to Strengthen Our Voice” by Julie Glover (guest post at Jami Gold’s blog)
  10. “Why We Should Write What Scares Us” by Heather Webb (Writer Unboxed)

Offline Happenings

What made November so insane? Work slowed down at the beginning of the month, then ramped back up again a week or two later. I also started Christmas shopping to have some gifts ready for Thanksgiving (since I won’t see those relatives next month). Finally, my parents are leaping for their pre-retirement dream of living on Cape Cod earlier than expected, and should close on their house during the first week of January. It’s not all negative craziness, of course. I couldn’t be more happy for my parents! But at the same time, it’s no wonder I constantly feel like my head is spinning.

The craziness hasn’t deterred me from starting archery lessons, though. I decided a couple months ago to try out archery as part of (belated) hands-on research for my novel. It’s a beginners class with seven other students, and it’s been fun so far! I never realized how much coordination archery requires. Posture, leg and feet positions, finger placement on the string, hand placement on the bow – I find I’m concentrating so hard on getting everything that I’m usually the last student to empty my quiver. 😄 And my aim is terrible, like with any sport I’ve ever tried, but that’s OK. I’m there to learn and to get a better understanding of the (crazy) things I’m making my protagonist do.

Of course, when I ready my bow and arrow in class, I sort of can’t help but imagine I’m this guy you might recognize…

Legolas Archery

Or this girl you may have heard of. 😉

Katniss Archery

Draft #2 of The Keeper’s Curse is still creeping along. As of yesterday, I’m on Page 243 of 397 (about 61% through). In the meantime, my mood about the revisions has swung back and forth. Sometimes I’m thrilled with how things are going. Other times (especially lately), I want to rip my hair out. :/ The only way to move past the less-than-satisfying days is… well, to keep moving forward. I tend to keep my expectations for December progress low because of the holidays, so we’ll see where I am at year’s end. But man, I’m SO looking forward to my vacation time after Christmas. It will be a welcome time to focus on revisions, helping my parents pack, and some sorely needed relaxation.

100_2461

I didn’t see any new movies this month. However, my (early) Christmas present to myself has arrived! 😀 After my (maddening) disappointment with the theatrical cut for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, I refused to settle to anything less than the Extended Edition Hobbit Trilogy. Now I can see that last film (and the previous two) with ALL the scenes I’ve been waiting to see. (*coughThorin’sfuneralcough*)

Oh, and I already bought my tickets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens!! Anyone else going to see it?

Song of the Month: “Save The World” by Leah

Remember this lady from Time Flies back in September? I finally got hold of Leah’s latest album Kings & Queens; and even though I still prefer Of Earth & Angels, I’m enjoying this new one a lot! It’s heavier and more symphonic and experimental than Leah’s earlier work, with flavors of world music and a softer, Enya-like approach to her vocals. It was tough to pick one track to highlight, since several have been stuck in my head lately… But I think I’ll go with “Save The World,” since it’s one of the more accessible (“metal-newbie-friendly”) songs. If you want to check out other tracks, I also recommend “Arcadia,” “Alpha Et Omega,” “There Is No Farewell,” and “Palace of Dreams.”

How Quickly Does Time Fly?

Since I’ll most likely be busy on New Year’s Eve, I’ll post the next Time Flies on Wednesday, December 30th. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday season!

29 thoughts on “Time Flies!: November 2015

  1. This month did pass crazily quickly didn’t it! I was buried in exams at the start so lost track of time for half of it.

    That Hobbit extended edition looks so good! And it’s given me a christmas present idea to my best friend 😄

    Hope you have a good December!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember the “exams period” feeling all too well from college. At least you get to relax for a little bit now, right?

      AHHHHHH I can’t wait to start watching the Extended Editions! It might not be until 2016 at this rate, but that’s OK. 😄

      You have a good December too, Becca! Happy Holidays!

      Like

    • Hahahaha, yes, lots of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and other extras. I’ll find time for it all, one way or another. But that’s what I get for buying the version of BOTFA I really wanted to see and not settling for the theatrical cut that irked me so much. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you had a good Thanksgiving, Sara. 🙂 I know what you mean, November started out slow, but then one thing after another came along and it became busy and rushed. And honestly I cannot believe it’s December already!!! Aaaahh! That gif reflects how I feel! I still have gifts to find/figure out for people, and we need to put our tree up, bake goodies, etc etc etc! 😀

    I’ve felt those same editing/revising woes with my WIP this November too–as you can probably tell from my November post, haha. It was probably the most stressful that it’s been so far. Sounds like it has been the same for you too maybe. I send you a *writer’s hug*. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing links to writing oriented blog posts here! I’m going to browse through them now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!! ALSJFKASJFAJFJASLJAAFA

      And the trouble is, December is going to be even more crazy. The only way I’m going to be able to maintain my sanity is by a) aking to-do lists for each day, and b) setting aside one night each week where I do NOTHING except read, journal, and/or meditate. (Tonight is going to be one such night.) If you don’t take care of yourself in the middle of holiday insanity, you end up wearing yourself out so you don’t enjoy it. At least that’s what I’ve found.

      Yeah, I remember that bit from your November post. Mine has mostly been frustrations with the word count. I’ve been adding in stuff that (I think) needs to be there, so it’s off-setting the number of words I’ve deleted. I’m back under 118k now, though. What’s been troubling you, revision-wise?

      You’re welcome! I hope enjoyed them, and I send you a writerly hug in return. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • 😄 The crazy of holidays haaas begunnn!!!
        Oh yes indeed! Good idea using lists. I still have gifts to buy, and some people I don’t know what to get them yet, aaaah! Will have to do a little at a time. Like you said, the holidays should be enjoyed, not overly stressful. But we’ll see how that goes. 😉 I’d like to bake some Christmas cookies too, if possible. And I have a lactose-free eggnog recipe to try out! Those are fun holiday things I’d like to get to. 🙂
        Oh I hope you can find more than one night a week to do nothing–that’s tough! It’s necessary to unwind from the day sometimes. Do you work extra hours in December?
        Eep, yeah, I should think more about word count. Thankful it hasn’t grown much bigger, but I do find myself having to add key things that were missing before–the same as you did, it sounds like. But maybe that’s how 2nd/3rd drafts are, you know? You begin to see what’s missing in the story, and correct it.
        My main trouble has been figuring out what to do with certain scenes that I didn’t want to take out entirely. I have it figured out for now though. I took out the scenes while leaving behind a few necessary chunks. Hopefully in the next draft I’ll be able to tell if my solution worked well or not. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m *hoping* finish my Christmas shopping on Friday. We’ll see if that happens. *crosses her fingers* And I’ve got my annual pumpkin bread baking coming up on Sunday! What kinds of cookies are you planning to make?

        I actually squeezed in a sort-of “do nothing” night last week. Just because I desperately needed it, and it was the best night that week to fit in. I feel (a little) less tired now. 🙂

        I haven’t had to work extra hours, but I’ve had more things thrown my way that needed to be all at once. It’s a lot to take sometimes, especially over a prolonged period, so I usually come home feeling exhausted – which doesn’t help when you have a lot to do when you get home. :/

        Agreed, adding what’s missing from Draft 1 is definitely part of the revision process. It’s not always about cutting the word count. I’d figured that when I made my checklist for Draft 2, but sometimes it doesn’t hit you until you do the actual work later on.

        That’s good that you figured out what to do with those scenes. Did you have to move any to other parts of the book, or combine / condense them with other scenes you decided to keep?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pumpkin break baking, is it a contest? Oh that sounds deliciously wonderful!
        Russian teacakes, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, gingerbread, and I want to try that lactose free eggnog…but we’ll see how much I actually get around to doing. 😉 Pies would be nice too…
        Oh btw, how is your parents’ move going?
        Yeah, I moved them to other parts of the book. So we’ll see in draft 4 if it works well or not, heheh. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • *lol* Not a contest. I just bake small loaves of pumpkin bread to give to my co-workers every year. That’s my Christmas gift. (I might also delay it a weekend – I’ve got a ton of stuff to do on Friday and Saturday, so some down-time may be needed this Sunday.)

        The move hasn’t happened yet; they’re still in the process of getting inspections, and their current house as well as the house they’ll buy won’t close until early / mid January. But they need to find temporary housing while they work on the house they’re buying, and my mother wants to move to said temporary housing by January 1st, but they haven’t found it yet… So, yeah. It’s complicated and very stressful. I’m just trying to focus on everything I need to do for the holidays; and if they need my help, I’ll do it when I can.

        Hey, sometimes you just have to say it’s good enough for now and move on with the rest of the story. Otherwise, you stay stuck on it and make no progress, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • That would make one delicious Christmas gift! Pumpkin bread and zucchini bread are my fav!
        Yesterday for me was baking, today was shopping! Yay for getting some things done!! 😀 I hope your weekend is going well.
        Oo, that is complicated, especially during this time of year. Is there a reason they decided to do this December-January? I hope it all works out, and that you can focus on the holidays without being overwhelmed with their move–moving is a drama; it’s never easy. Take time for yourself. 🙂
        Yes, I’m glad I’ve moved on from that chapter for now! I don’t feel so bad about it now either. I know it’s much better than what it was, at least. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like zucchini bread, too! One of my aunts has a recipe for blueberry zucchini bread. I’ve never made it myself, but hers was quite yummy.

        Sounds like you had a productive weekend! Do you have more shopping left now, or are you almost done?

        I feel like I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Shopping was done on Friday (huge sigh of relief), and I hosted my annual holiday party for my friends on Saturday (another sigh of relief, but that was a lot of fun). Tomorrow night will be Christmas-card-signing night. As long as I pace myself, I’ll check off those remaining to-do list items very soon.

        I can’t say there’s an actual reason why they’re moving right now. Originally they were going to put their house on the market in the spring. But my mother loves researching real estate online; and after my dad retired in August, I think she got impatient about making their (semi-)retirement dreams come true. (She hasn’t retired yet.) Even she keeps saying she never thought it would happen so soon…

        I think I’ll be able to strike some kind of balance between helping out and revising / self-care. We’ll see how it works out, but I’m cautiously optimistic about things now. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Blueberry zucchini, I’ve never heard of that one–oh, sounds good!
        Yes, I’ve got the shopping part done! Of course I could always get a few more last minute things, but the major stuff is done. 🙂 Now I have to put everything together! I’m glad you were able to get things done too, and that your holiday party went well. 🙂 It’s beginning to feel more like Christmas, me thinks. ^_^
        What kind of job does your mom have? Keeping a balance sounds like a good idea. I’m glad things are working out well so far. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s very good! I’ve never tried making it myself, but my great-aunt’s loaves always come out yummy.

        Awesome! Good job, E. I sent my cards on Monday and finished wrapping my presents on Tuesday. And last night… I went to bed early. *lol* Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel, too?

        My mother works in Human Resources for a local bank. Payroll, benefits – that sort of job.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’m seeing that light at the end of the tunnel, it’s within reach! And now I have time to worry about end of the year blog posts, lol. It never ends. 😀
        Actually there’s a greater stress going on right now. My grandfather’s health has declined, and to top it off he now has an pneumonia and refuses to eat. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m working on my year-end posts, too, but I’m not posting them until January. With the holidays coming up, it’s going to be difficult to keep up with blogging in general… Plus, January’s still a good time for looking back on the past year, IMO.

        I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather, E. It’s hard when loved ones aren’t well at this time of year. 😦 Sending you wishes of comfort and hope.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots happening for you this month! I’m dyinnnng to see the extended edition of the Battle of the Five Armies and the Desolation of Smaug. I’ve only seen the extended edition for the first movie. Aghhhhhhhhhh! I got the BOTFA theatrical cut a few days before my birthday so I could marathon them on that weekend which was pretty epic. Six movies, meaning about 12ish hours of film. Pretty epic!

    That’s cool that you’re taking archery lessons! I was doing some rapier, but I’ve put that behind a bit because I’ve been concentrating on Kung Fu. Testing is this upcoming Tuesday! *crosses fingers*

    I hope you make some more progress in your book soon! You can do it! And thanks so much for mentioning one of my posts. ^ ^ I’m so glad you liked it that much. It’s a really dear post to me.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I REFUSED to get the theatrical cut for BOTFA on DVD. I still remember how angry and disappointed I was about it when I left the theater! It was the first time I’d come away from one of Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth movies feeling that way. I saw it again a couple weeks later and had more fun the second time around… but it’s still my least favorite of the Hobbit and LOTR films. So I’m hoping the Extended Edition will make me feel a little better about it.

      An LOTR and Hobbit marathon?? Awesome! If you had to pick a favorite of all the films, which one would you choose?

      You’re welcome about sharing the “powerful characters” article! It was really well done, and I thought it was something other writers would enjoy reading and learning from. 🙂

      Good luck with your rapier test tomorrow!

      Like

      • Ohhh. Really? I liked it the most out of the three surprisingly even though I cried like a baby. 😄

        Two Towers. Hands down.

        Aw thank you. ^ ^

        It’s a Kung Fu test, but thank you. 😄 I guess I mixed up that sentence.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I actually didn’t cry during BOTFA. I was so sure I was going to… but I ended up having so many issues with the movie that when The Really Sad Scene came and I didn’t get weepy, I knew something was wrong. :/

        The Two Towers is my favorite, too!! 😀

        Oh. (*blushes*) Well, good luck regardless!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the Elf gif 😛 And the Legolas one – that is how I feel (not how I look at all) when I have a bow in my hands. It’s awesome that you’re continuing the archery, even if your aim isn’t perfect. I’ve certainly never met anyone with Katniss aim 🙂
    Thanks for the November Blog post recommendations! That’s a great idea 🙂 And if you post all writing related ones, here’s one reader who won’t complain, 🙂

    Sounds like you had a busy month too! The end of the year came up really fast, and then exploded into wild, crazy confetti of stuff and commitments. This may happen every year, but, whatever.

    If you’ve watched it already, what were your thoughts on extended BotFA?

    STAR WARS STAR WARS STAR WARS *stops and tries to look composed and cool. Fails impressively*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aim is actually the focus of the next archery class. So I’m looking forward to possible, finally improving on that bit. 😉

      Ha ha, you’re welcome! I wanted a way to highlight some of the great posts I read each month, outside of sharing the links on social media. Did you like anything in particular?

      “he end of the year came up really fast, and then exploded into wild, crazy confetti of stuff and commitments.”

      😄 😄 😄 I couldn’t have said it better myself!!

      At this rate, I won’t have time to watch any of the EE Hobbit movies until next year. If I attempted to watch one at night this month, I might fall asleep in the middle of it. (I was actually watching Star Wars Ep 4 with my brother Saturday night, and my eyelids started dropping – and NOT out of boredom. I’m just that exhausted from everything that’s been going on….)

      STARWARSSTARWARSSTARWARSALJFKLAJSFKLAJSKLFJAKLSJFKLAJSKFJAA 🙂

      Like

  5. Pingback: Time Flies!: December 2015 | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  6. Pingback: 5 on the 5th: Five Things I Learned from Archery Lessons | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

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