Tag Archives: Valkyrie

Level Four

I think I’ll just make this a quick post today.

The highlights of my last week:

I hit Level Four on the Magic Spreadsheet this week. My daily word count is now a minimum of 400 words.

Story 35 is done. It’s about a man who wakes up in the middle of a lake. He is rescued by what is essentially a Valkyrie, a beautiful warrior maiden riding a flying horse. She takes him back to his village, where he discovers he seems to be the one named as savior in an ancient prophecy. The story is actually more of a beginning than a complete tale, but it does the trick. I’ll probably expand on it later when I figure out more about the prophecy and what he will need to do to fulfill his destiny.

I have been watching a lot of superhero animated movies lately. No particular reason for it. I guess I just thought I needed something light, with a dash of awesome. Netflix has a pretty good selection.

That’s about it. I’ll see you next week to let you know about Dirty Little Freaks 36.

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NaNo Update

Just a quick update, because I have lots of work to do, and the day isn’t getting any longer.

I hit 23,000 words on my NaNoWriMo project today. Writing a scene every day is working out pretty well for me. It lets me stay focused on one thing at a time, and with my outline summary I already know roughly what I am going to be writing every day.

Today’s scene, however, took a significant curve sideways. It was supposed to be about a simple day at the office for our hero, followed by a little shopping and a chance meeting with our favorite Valkyrie. But George wasn’t happy with that plan and decided he was going to quit his job and join the rebel forces.

This is a significant change, as he wasn’t supposed to hook up with the rebels until a lot farther along in the story. There are several scenes now that are going to have to be skipped or seriously altered in order to fit this in. But I think it works, and I’m going to keep going with it. At least I’m still ahead of schedule.

On a personal note, despite the efforts of the pest control, we are still seeing bedbugs in my apartment. Mostly on our couch, and if I could afford to do it I would get rid of the old thing and just get a new one. But my life isn’t like that, and I’m going to be stretching my pennies in order to get through until my next paycheck on Thursday. And to top it all off, we’re still unpacking. There seem to be more boxes now than when we started. That shouldn’t be possible, but the fact of the matter is that we now have boxes stacked in places where there weren’t boxes before, and most of the places where they were in the past are still full.

Organization and applied stacking science. That’s the trick. One of these days I’ll get everything where it needs to be: in the trash.

I hope your November is going smoothly, and I’ll check in again on Wednesday. Go write.

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NaNoWriMo – Day 4

Things are going pretty well so far with my writing. I’ve got 8,192 words so far, so I am slightly ahead of schedule.

When I reviewed the plot summary I had written in October, I broke it out into individual scenes, thirty-three in total. What I decided to do for NaNoWriMo is to write one of those scenes every day. I thought that if I could make each of the scenes come out to be at least close to the daily goal, if not over, then I should easily make 50,000 words for the month. And so far it is working.

Of course, some of the scenes aren’t as easy to make fit into the daily word count goal. They are inherently simpler, and so should be fewer words. Today’s scene was an example. One of my Valkyries followed my hero home (without his knowledge) to make sure he was okay after being severely beaten, then she sat on his back porch and thought about things. The scene is basically a big info dump, but I managed to drag it out to 1,459 words, which brings me just a couple hundred words short of the daily goal of 1,667. Since I wrote 1,901 yesterday, and over 2,000 words each day before that, I’m still ahead.

Tomorrow is going to be another challenge. The scene as I wrote it involves my hero going to work and doing a search on the Internet. Again, not a big scene. But I can write a bit about how he gets ready for work, and the bus ride to get there, as well as some of his job duties and work rules to fill it out. There will also be a lot of introspection and speculation on his part about the strange blond woman with the flaming sword that saved his life. And all of this will work up to him meeting her again and getting a more complete introduction into the world of the supernatural, and unlocking the magical powers hidden within him.

I’ll post again on Wednesday. If any of you want to add me as a Writing Buddy on the NaNoWriMo website, you can look for me as user name BSRPG.

Now go write!

PS: For all of my American friends, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. I don’t care who you vote for, just as long as you vote. But if you’re interested in my opinion (and haven’t figured it out by now from my previous posts), I’m voting for Obama!

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Mix and Match

Before you ask, no, I’m not done with my summary yet. I have been working on it, honest! I’m up to over 3,400 words as I write this, but I hit a snag. It’s not a problem with the story so much as that I had a new idea that has got me thinking about a different, and hopefully better, way to bring some conflict into this tale. And that brings me to the topic for today.

A good trick for many authors is to mix and match things that may, at first glance, not seem to fit together. My idea does this.

My NaNoWriMo story this year is about civil war, as the ramifications of the Republican political platform have been weighing heavily on my mind lately. The backwards thinking of the right-wing extremists that have taken control of the GOP have convinced me that this election is the most important vote of my life. And I couldn’t help but to (literally) demonize the crazies by including a supernatural influence in my story. I also thought that this would be a good way to rewrite the first NaNoWriMo book and include the Valkyries I have been writing about since then.

So since I have tossed all these ideas into the melting pot, you can guess that the resulting plot summary is all over the map. As I was working on it tonight I think that I may have come up with a way to bring all this stuff together into a single, cohesive whole. Either that or I have lost it completely and my story will end up even more of a mess than before.

Before I explain my idea, I need to tell you a little bit about myself. First, I am half Norwegian (on my mother’s side). That heritage is why I chose to write about Valkyries in the first place. I had a basic knowledge of the Norse mythology, and over the last couple of years I have amassed a small collection of books that have helped me expand that understanding into something that I can use in my books.

Second, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons. The same church that Mitt Romney says he belongs to, although I don’t think that he is living any of the principles that the church believes in. But I won’t go into that now. If you watched the debates over the last few weeks you should know by now that he is not now, and probably never will be ready to be a good President. And if you disagree with me then you obviously haven’t been paying attention and I probably wouldn’t be able to convince you otherwise, so we’ll leave it at that.

So taking those two things into account, while I have a great respect for my Norwegian heritage, my faith in the LDS church is also very important to me. My first NaNoWriMo effort included some heavy references to my church, and I do want to include that in this book as well. But that brings me to a problem, as well as a possible solution.

The problem is that if the Valkyries and the related mythology are such a big part of this book, how does my main character resolve the conflict between his introduction to the supernatural world and his faith in the Christian God? (No matter what you may have heard, the LDS faith worships the same God as the Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, etc., etc., etc. We just don’t think they are doing it right.)

My solution was that the Christian God is superior to the Norse gods. If you read the Norse mythologies, deities such as Odin, Thor, Loki, and the others are all represented more as super-powered humans than actual gods. As a matter of fact, I think that there are some experts on this mythology that think that the Norse pantheon is actually a tale of a group of actual people that has been exaggerated way out of proportion over the course of history. They think that these adventurers simply had a really good bard to tell their stories, making them into the stuff of legends.

What this means for my hero is that he can keep his faith while fighting side by side with Thor. He can take comfort in the prospect of going to heaven while he is battling the demons of Loki’s army.

Working with one of the Einherjar (the warriors of Valhalla) may be a little harder to explain, but I’ll figure that out when I get to it.

So here is where we come to the idea that could bring this all together. As I was thinking about the Norse mythology, I started thinking about Ragnarök. The Norse Armageddon was something that I had thought about including before, but now I think that their version of the end of the world could be the one thing that pulls this all together.

I think I can plan the book so that my hero is thrown into one scenario after another from the prophecy of Ragnarök. The parts would have to be changed in order to more include more demons than giants, but I think that this could help to focus the plot into a recognizable pattern. Not too recognizable, as I want it to be a surprise when I pull out the reveal that this s all a lead-up to Armageddon, but I think it could definitely work.

So that’s where I’m going to have to focus my efforts. I’m going to try to finish the summary with that end goal in mind, and then when I break it up into a usable outline I can interweave the Ragnarök theme into it as appropriate.

Please let me know what you think of this plan. Is this a workable idea, or am I way off base? Any input would be appreciated.

I’ll check in again on Sunday. See you then!

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The Best Laid Plans…

… often fail due to the procrastination of the guy in charge.

I still haven’t finished my summary. I have gotten farther, but it certainly isn’t done. It is a little over 2,600 words right now, and I have at least hit the turning point of the story, where the hero has had his life overturned by the Valkyries and been drafted into the rebel forces.

One of the problems with following the Star Wars model for this story is figuring out what to do with him next. If I go along with Mr. Lucas, I need to have my hero go into battle against a stronghold of the demons that have taken over the country. But at this point I haven’t really mentioned the dark forces behind the throne, much less set anything up for a big finale.

This is the reason why I need to focus more on my writing and less on Farmville. I think I’m going to have to cut way back on my gaming even before I give it up for November.

On that note, I’m going to stop right there and get back to work. I’ll check in again on Wednesday.

Ten days left before NaNoWriMo starts. Are YOU ready?

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Moving Things Along

I don’t have a lot of progress to report today. I am still working on my summary. So far I have introduced five characters from my previous books, but it is still in the beginning stages of the plot.

George is the main character. If I follow my Star Wars analogy, he would be Luke Skywalker. He is an older man with the heart of a hero, and he is introduced when he tries to stop a rape. Eventually, he will be the one that visits the dragon in order to release his untapped magical potential. That magic will be what will save the world.

Miranda is the main Valkyrie. She is the one that discovers George and introduces him to the dragon. She is just trying to do her job and keep the supernatural world hidden from mortal view, but the growing demonic influence is making that more and more difficult.

Kari is Loki’s daughter. She is the one being raped at the start of the book. Despite her penchant for chaos, the rape affects her more than she likes to admit. This pain will cause her to make increasingly dangerous choices which result in more than a few men being harmed and possibly killed. I’m thinking that George and Miranda will have to step in at some point in order to turn her away from this course, otherwise she could easily end up filled with hate like her father.

Nicole is a rogue Valkyrie. She has broken away from the council of “retired” Valkyries that normally lead the supernatural women, and is on her own, enforcing law and order for all creatures, mortal and magical. She has hooked up with some rebel forces and regularly uses her powers to transport fugitives across the border to Canada. George will probably meet her when he goes to see the dragon. Other than the rebel connection, I’m not sure yet what role Nicole has to play in the story, but I’ll try to make it interesting.

The last character I have introduced so far is another George. This guy is Miranda’s dead boyfriend, and he is one of the Einherjar currently waiting for Ragnarök in the halls of Valhalla. I know there’s going to be some confusion with more than one character having the same name, so I’ll probably have to change one of them. My plan for the Einherjar is to have at least some of them be released into the world to help the rebels fight the demons. I might have this grow as the story progresses so that ALL of them are sent out, as this war reveals itself to actually be the start of Ragnarök.

So those are my characters, as well as some of my plans. What do you think? Am I on the right track? Would you read this story?

I’ll be back on Sunday with another update on my progress. Hopefully I’ll have the summary done by then and I’ll be working on breaking it down into an outline. We’ve only got two weeks left before the start of NaNoWriMo, so I had better get cracking!

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Stealing from the Best

I’m still plugging away at my plan for NaNoWriMo in November. I was playing around with some ideas for the plot this morning and had a bit of an epiphany.

My idea has some small parallels with the original Star Wars trilogy. Maybe I should pattern it after the movies. Then I would have not just one, but three books that I could write.

Now before you get all hot and bothered about stealing ideas from other creators, let me remind you of one thing: THAT’S WHAT WRITERS DO!

Seriously, there are only so many plots available to write. Every author takes one (or more) of them and creates his own story from that basic idea. I’m certainly not going to plagiarise George Lucas. There is no way that I can write about my Valkyries fighting a demon incursion and have to worry about George setting his lawyers after me.

What I mean, is that I can write my story in such a way that my characters will be hooking up with a rebel force and at the end they will take down a major demon stronghold. It won’t be the Death Star, but it will be big, nasty, and destroying it will be a huge setback for the demons. After that I can write a second book in which the demons “strike back”, and lastly one in which the rebels, led by my main characters, take down the evil empire.

Although I won’t be copying the movies, I do want to watch them again before I start writing. I’ve got a whole stack of other dystopian films to go through as well, so I will certainly be busy for the next month.

I may end up changing my mind about this idea, but for now that is what I am going with. Let me know what you think. I could use a second (or third, fourth, ninety-eighth) opinion before I make a big mistake. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out who will be the evil emperor behind all the chaos.

Speaking of evil empires, I learned today that the governor of my state (but definitely not MY governor), the weasel Scott Walker, is going to start a national narc campaign. “If you see something, tell somebody.” This whole idea gets under my skin in so many ways.

First off, remember that this is from a man who has to have a legal defense fund, has had several of his political “achievements” turned over because they are illegal and/or unconstitutional, and who has spent most of his term touring the country because he is afraid to show his face in Wisconsin. If this goes into effect, you would think he would realize how many calls they are going to get about him and his cronies. Not a good idea.

Secondly, if I remember my history correctly, the Nazis had a similar program to flush out Jews. I know Joseph McCarthy did at the height of the Red Scare. This is how it started. A seemingly innocent program that sounds like it is only intended to flush out the criminal element, but it quickly turns neighbors and co-workers against each other.

For the last ten years we have been trying to regain our privacy and freedom from the “Homeland Security Agency”. The paranoid extremists took the opportunity given them by the tragedy of 9/11 to get a toe hold into our democracy, and that crack has only widened over the last decade. I really don’t think this country needs another witch hunt. It will bring nothing but pain and injustice to a country that needs, more than ever, to come together.

Whatever happens in the next couple months, I hope and pray that we as a nation will be able to come to our senses and go back to the good and decent country that I grew up in. Please remember to VOTE in November. Do your part to make my dream come true.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with another update. Don’t forget to leave a comment for me!

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I’m Done. What’s Next?

As you can tell by the title of this post, I finished my story. It came in at just over 61,000 words, so I hit my goal for the story as well as my goal to finish by the end of September. And now it goes into a drawer for a few months or years until I can stand to look at it again enough to edit it.

So my next project is getting ready for NaNoWriMo. As you may recall, it’s going to be about the next civil war in America. I’m bringing back George from my first NaNoWriMo project, Dragons at Dawn, as well as Miranda and Nicole from my Valkyrie series. They will be teaming up to save America from the demonic forces that have taken over.

Part of my process is figuring out how bad things have to get before somebody has to step up and do something about it. So I have been taking a long, hard look at the Republican agenda and have posited some worst-case scenarios for what would happen if they win in November. As you might guess, I am fiercely opposed to practically all of their party platform, and I will proudly vote for Obama (again!) on November 6.

Here’s what I came up with. Forgive the rambling nature. These are just thoughts I jotted down as I perused a list of the goals of the GOP.

The United States is a democracy in name only. The corporations had taken over by buying all elections, and profit rules the country. People are treated like slaves, especially women. There is no longer any social safety net, and most Americans have lost any retirement savings they had. Elderly are either forced to work, or they live on the street. Children are forced to find jobs to help their families survive, and public schools have all been shut down, leaving education solely for the rich elite.

Unemployment is at a record high, leaving at least a third of the country out of work, while millions of American jobs have been outsourced to other countries. Unemployment insurance has been eliminated, leaving people destitute within days if they lose their job. Anyone lucky enough to find employment is desperate to keep it, making themselves virtually slaves to their employers.

Health care is only available to the rich, while the majority of the country is forced to either purchase expensive medication or buy on the black market. People are dying of diseases that were thought to have been wiped out decades ago, and there are rumors of plague.

Taxes on the people who do have jobs take half their income, and most of that money goes to bailouts and handouts to the richest people. The country has a state religion, with mandatory attendance for everyone except the rich, who profess belief but don’t conform to the practice.

Women and homosexuals are targets wherever they are found alone, with beatings and rape common and never investigated. If women are lucky enough to find jobs, they are paid a small fraction of their male counterparts and are often required to perform sexual acts to keep their positions.

Clean energy research is a thing of the past, and companies ravage the countryside with no concern for the environment as they look for more fossil fuels, even though the demand in the United States has dropped drastically, since most people can no longer afford a car. Bicycles and walking is the most common mode of transportation, since even public transportation has gotten to be too expensive for most people to afford.

Guns are common, and most of the wealthy employ private armies labeled as security forces to protect themselves. These forces are staffed mainly by the poor who enlisted in the army in an attempt to better their lives. Once they are discharged the only employment they can find is in these security teams, with the best going to the police. The police forces have been privatized. Their staff has been drastically reduced, and only patrol the wealthiest parts of the country. Everywhere else crime runs rampant. Fire departments have also been privatized, and again, they are only called out to protect business property and wealthy homes, leaving the slums which cover most of the cities to burn if a fire breaks out.

The divorce rate is down since single parenthood is illegal. Many women are forced to marry if they get pregnant, even in the case of rape, since abortion is also illegal. And since contraceptives that used to be provided by organizations like Planned Parenthood are no longer available, and sex education is no longer taught in schools, unwanted pregnancies have increased.

In short, the superpower that used to be the United States of America is now a third world country, despised and ridiculed by most of the world. Canada and Mexico now guard their borders to keep Americans from crossing into their countries illegally, and most people can’t afford the bribes and fees that are charged in order to get a passport.

That’s it. That’s what I think might happen if the Republicans are in power. Pretty scary stuff. Then you throw in some demons and Valkyries and you get a downright horrific mess. Ready for more? Here’s an overview, showcasing some of the different groups involved in the story:

The country is ruled by the richest people, who have all formed an alliance with demonic forces. The demons used their powers to take over the country for the rich, but now they are getting bored and have been going out into the world more and more frequently to wreak havoc.

The rich people are losing control over the demons, and are starting to get worried, but they are trapped in the lives they created for themselves. Some of their children are starting to rebel against their parents and supporting the common people.

The Valkyries and other supernatural enforcers are having trouble keeping the increasing numbers of demons from revealing the magical world. The influx of demonic power has also increased the number of human wizards and priests who are discovering how to use magic on their own.

There are also increasing numbers of people joining gangs, and many gangs are fomenting revolution. They are heavily armed and pissed off, with nothing to lose.

In short, the country is about to break wide open in civil war.

Those are my preliminary ideas. Now I need to start figuring out how to tell this story. I’ll need to decide how each of my characters is involved in this mess and what they are going to do to get us all out of it. I’ll also need to come up with a good antagonist. They will need someone to fight with. Someone who has been behind the scenes, planning this whole thing for his own sadistic pleasure. I can’t use Mitt Romney, because despite how hard he tries, I just don’t think he is evil enough for the part.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back on Sunday with another update. See you then!

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Short update

I’m not feeling up to a long post today, so I’ll just hit some highlights:

I hit 40,000 words yesterday, which was my goal for August. That means that any more writing I do this month will just be getting me that much farther ahead for September. I’m not sure if the story is going to make it to 60,000 words, but at least it will definitely be finished by the end of this ROW80 round.

I’m also starting to think of what to do for NaNoWriMo. I have a couple of co-workers that I discuss politics with each morning, and I have been telling them that if the Republicans get their way, either the country will fall apart, or we will have another civil war. I am firmly in the Obama camp for the upcoming election, because everything that I know about the Republican platform shows me that they are only out to serve their corporate masters and they will screw the rest of the country to get it done.

Regardless of whatever your political leanings are, the reason I mention it is that I made a comment a week or so back to one of my co-workers that I thought maybe the next story I write should be about the next American civil war/revolution. So that thought has been percolating in the back of my head for a while and I had an idea of how I could take the idea from my first NaNoWriMo story along  with the characters from my Valkyrie series and use them to write something that puts all of it into one place. So here’s a short blurb about the plan:

The country is going to hell. Literally. The Republicans won the election through demonology, and now that they are in power, the demons are getting restless. They break free of their masters and start wreaking havoc. The Valkyries have to step in and try to stop them, but they find that they can’t do it alone. They find a man who has discovered an ancient race of dragons and managed to learn some of their magic and is now teaching it to others. Together, the dragon wizards and the Valkyries take back the country by destroying the demons and the evil men that initially summoned them.

There’s not a whole lot there right now, just a premise and an ending. Now I have to start plotting out all the fine points that go in between. I also want to do a lot of work on the character arcs before I start writing as well. Since I have already written these characters, I have a pretty good idea of what they are like, so there won’t be any discovery writing for this story.

The last thing I wanted to say was THANK YOU to everyone that commented on my last post regarding editing ideas for my superpower story. Feel free to comment on my new idea as well.

That’s about it for today. Not as short as it could have been, but shorter than normal for me. See you again on Wednesday!

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Vacation/Research

I didn’t get a lot of writing done in the last few days (almost none, in fact). The reason for this lack of butt in chair is that I was on vacation with my wife. We traveled to Door County, Wisconsin. It is a well-known tourist spot for Wisconsinites, and although we have lived in Wisconsin for decades (me about 25 years, she her entire life), neither of us has ever been there. So we decided to rectify that omission this week in celebration of our 15th anniversary.

It was a long trip north from Madison. Almost a four-hour drive, so we left before 8:00 AM. It wasn’t easy for our little car, but we took it easy and our GPS kept us mostly heading in the right direction. I thought that we were going to have trouble finding WiFi access while we were up there, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it almost everywhere, including the little B&B we stayed in. It is called the Cornerstone Suites, and is a converted barn.

They have four suites available. We stayed in the Garden Suite. It was fabulous, and I would definitely recommend it. We would have loved to stay longer, but unfortunately we couldn’t afford it this year. But it will definitely be top on our list when we go back.

Our anniversary wasn’t the only reason we decided to go to Door County this year. The other reason we went is because I wanted to do some research for the Valkyrie book I wrote last fall. I set the story in Door County and I wanted to check out some of the places in person that I had written about earlier. I also wanted to take some pictures that I could potentially use for a book cover. I think I was successful in both endeavors.

We started by going to Cave Point County Park. This is the place that I wanted to use for my book cover. The shoreline is very rocky, and the waves from the lake have work caves into the shore. It’s really cool, and I took a lot of pictures like these:

     

     

          

Next on my list of things to do was visit Washington Island. It is a large island just off the north tip of the mainland. It is accessible by ferry, and we caught the last one of the day. The Island Clipper took us through the infamous Death’s Door channel and we landed on the island at about 4:45 PM. That only gave us fifteen minutes to explore, but that was okay with me. I was mainly interested in the boat ride and not the island. Once again, my camera was busy on the trip over, and I got shots like these:

                         

After the ferry, my wife and I were pretty worn out. We stopped at a farm market and picked up some of the cherry goods that Door County is famous for. Then we found a nice Italian restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. The waiter joked that the food was excellent but the service left something to be desired. I won’t mention the name of the place, because when we left we were agreeing with him. The food was great, but our waiter was a bit slow. He was very accommodating, and brought us everything we wanted, including some non-alcoholic cherry spumante, which was really good. But they charged fifteen dollars a bottle for something that we could have bought in the store for six. The total bill (including tip) was $120, which is a lot of money for dinner for two. I’m sorry to say we probably will never go back again.

The next morning we had to check out by 11:00 AM, so we didn’t do much, just laid in bed and read a little before breakfast. We went to a little cafe which had excellent, but simple fare. My wife had cherry pancakes, which had whole cherries baked into them, while I had a nice ham and cheese omelet. Then we went back to the B&B, packed our suitcase, and left for home. We stopped at the Door County Maritime Museum on the way back. I was hoping to find something about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, but was told that they had that exhibit last year. This year the star attraction was about pirates.

I did manage to learn some cool things though, and it was worth the stop. We probably should have spent more time tooling around town, but my wife wanted to get home to her animals, so we didn’t stick around. The only stop we made on the way back was at a Subway for lunch, and we made it back before 4:00 PM.

The rest of the day on Friday and all day Saturday we mostly spent in recovery mode. We read our books and watched a couple of movies. In short, we just enjoyed being home together. That’s got to be the best way to end a vacation, in my humble opinion.

So I managed to get lots of pictures, and the places and things I saw up north were definitely worth the trip. It gave me a few ideas for some revisions in the book that I will be pondering over for a while.

Speaking of edits, I am still working on the revisions for the first chapter of my current YA project. Even though I did almost zero writing for the last few days, I think the time off helped me to gel some of the ideas in my subconscious, and the next draft should end up to be that much better for it.

I’ll be checking in again on Wednesday. I hope to have the revisions done by then and maybe be finished with Chapter Two. See you then!

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