Sunday, February 24, 2013

Planning Your Plan

When I was still working a day job, I managed to get some writing done during (most) lunch hours, and in the evenings, after supper, while the TV nattered in my ear with whatever show my husband and I was watching. I didn’t really plan when I write, I simply wrote in whatever time slots I could.
Then I retired. You’d think I’d get a LOT of writing done, right? Now I had entire days I could devote to it!
It didn’t happen like that. I’m not sure exactly what happened when, but somehow I seem to have less time for writing than I had when I was working full time.
Once I retired, I expected myself to keep the house a little cleaner, to spend a little longer than half an hour to put supper together. Planning our vacations became my chore, as did income taxes, stocks, and any household errands that came along. I was supposed to go the gym several times a week. And then a long-time friend and I started MoonPhaze Publishing.
Last week I considered how frustrating my ‘To Do’ list had become. The chores assigned to each day had no inkling how long that chore might take me to address it. Some days, just cleaning out my email took 2 ½ hours, yet this chore was jumbled together with 6 other similar chores in a 1 hr time slot.
I studied my list and realized the whole thing was like that; In a 1-hour time slot for MoonPhaze, I had at least 6 chores listed, and the same for research, travel planning, ect. A hard day at the gym might take 2 – 3 hours, while a soft day might only take the 1 hour I had allotted.
No wonder I was so frustrated!
I rearranged my list. I divided my chores into 6 basic ‘types’, and slotted one day a week for each ‘type’. (The 7th day is for ME!) MoonPhaze, research, errands all have their own day of the week for me to concentrate on them. Some things, like the gym, cooking supper and doing the dishes are still listed daily, of course.
And when do I concentrate on writing? In the evenings, after supper, while the TV natters in my ear. After all these years, that’s the time slot my brain is used to working with.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Trudy's Universes, Part 4

I’m going to try and wrap up this list this time. We’re getting into Universes that I don’t seem to visit very often.
O is for Orange Witch. Another fantasy universe. The protagonist is a newly-graduated witch who likes to wear orange. I dreamed up this universe more than 3 decades ago, and haven’t done much with it since.
S is for Spooks. This is where I keep any paranormal projects I might be working on. For me, paranormal includes ghosts, witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies and the like. I don’t write horror, so there isn’t much in this universe. And if I start a project here, and it really grabs hold of me, that project tends to emerge and form its own universe.
T is for Tunad. Tunad is a planet that is secretly colonized by females from a sister planet, Danut. The society of Danut is male-centered, and the females are slaves. Some female individuals are taken off-world by enlightened aliens, taught to think for themselves, and to make use of their skills, and eventually, a number of these are deposited on Tunad to form their own colony. I haven’t written in this universe much, but I love playing with the background; the colonists, the layout of the colony…
W&V is for Wolfie & Vamps. Okay, I’ve already listed one universe centered around a werewolf and vampire team, but actually, this werewolf & vampire universe has been around longer than that other one. This team is female, and their history goes a lot further back in history.
X is for X-Files. Loved the TV show, didn’t find the books to have the same impact. I have a couple projects started here, but I’m just not sure I can do justice to this particular genre.
There you go, my universes. I didn’t used to have this many. Some of these are probably on the path to fading out of existence. There’s always the possibility I will add new ones. But that’s my list right now, early in 2013.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Still More of Trudy's Universes

I think if I could sit here and work on my stories for 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week, I would not need any ‘new’ ideas for at least a decade. Think I’m kidding? Here’s some more of my folders:
G is for Gothic. 3 decades ago, ‘Gothic’ was a specific type of romance where the setting was some out-of-the-way household owned by a brooding but handsome bachelor who is obviously keeping some horrible secret from the heroine. I never read a lot of them, but I do have one story in this folder that I wrote and submitted to an anthology. I came )( this close to being accepted, but in the end, they chose other stories. So this story is currently sitting on a different editor’s desk, waiting for him to make a decision.
H is for Halves. A few years ago, I was told by another author, “Everybody’s writing vampires and werewolves.” She was right, but I went ahead and created my own anyway. A vampire is neither alive nor dead, so he could be thought of as half of both. A werewolf is partly human and partly wolf, so he’s halfway both, too. And these guys have a friend who helps them do things, who is of mixed ancestry, so … also a half. Thus I named this trio ‘The Halves’. None of them talk very much, which makes getting a complete story out of them a long deal.
K is for Kandi. Kandi is a member of the same alien race that produced the Atlans, but the crew of this ship was her parents, who had left home for their honeymoon and never went back. When their ship was punctured by a freak meteorite, baby Kandi was thrown into a lifeboat. The lifeboat landed in the Dakota badlands, and Kandi was adopted by a Native American couple, and raised as one of their own. Kandi joins the Space Fleet (precursor to the Fleet that Mac belongs to) and Kandi is kidnapped by a derelict ship her crew is exploring. Kandi spends the rest of her long life exploring the universe, gathering together a rag-tag crew of aliens.
We’re over halfway through my universe folders now. Do you see any patterns in what I tend to write? I do. I’ve been aware of them for some time, and that knowledge has encouraged me to explore new universes. As we age, we have opportunities to grow, to adapt our outlook on life. I suspect my newer universes reflect that change in me and some of my universes may – eventually – be left to their own devices.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More of Trudy's Universes

Last week, I listed 3 of my ‘uiverses’, the ones where I seem to spend most of my time these days. I thought I would introduce more of my universes today, some I hope to explore more fully … ‘someday’. Here are a few more of the ‘universe names’ that occupy my main ‘writing’ file on my computer.
D&D is for – no, not our Saturday night adventures written up as a story. This folder is for stories of a fantasy nature, set in a place that might resemble a D&D land, or a Tolkein-like setting. Probably this will be a home for shorts, because if I write an entire novel using a set of characters, I tend to give those characters their own universe, as shown in the next universe:
FG is for Fantasy Gumshoe. I’m still in the planning stages with this one. I see a world rather similar to Glen Cook’s Garrett series, perhaps with a splash of Jim Butcher’s Dresden for a little different flavor. There are no stories in this folder, yet, just some maps, character thoughts, possible history.
D is for Dohio. The Dohio are similar to the Atlans; a matriarchal society that does not think much of men. The differences are that the Dohio live on Earth after some holocaustic social & technological breakdown, and they do not have the mental abilities or Powers of the Atlans. As the holocaust hovered on the horizon, a collection of men in the Ohio Valley sent their wives and children to live in the caves that riddle the valley, along with all the supplies they could gather, including some livestock. The husbands were supposed to join the families, but they didn’t, and by the time the Dohio dare to venture out of the underground, the world is far different than the legends described.
Well, that’s another 3 of my universes. We aren’t quite half done yet. See you next week!