Obnoxiousness

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obnoxiousThe class I am taking at the moment in my Paralegal Studies degree program is Legal Research and Writing I (yes, there will be a “II” class). It’s not a bad class. It’s pretty much what I figured. We are doing research and writing (ha!). It’s a lot of brief writing, and while that’s hard to do, it’s manageable.

What’s not so manageable is a couple of the women in the class. If I cared more, I’d look up their backgrounds, but that’s not important right now. One likes to grill everyone else. We’re all learning this stuff; I don’t think any one of us qualifies as an expert. The scenario we are working on now involves a Trademark infringement case. Yes, I work at a law firm and have nine years’ actual experience in Intellectual Property law, but I haven’t lorded my experience level over anyone nor will I.

The “griller” waits until someone posts and then she dissects what they’ve posted (this is a fellow student – not the teacher). She will ask how we came to that conclusion, and then her posts will invariably begin with, “the statute says….”. She has yet to cite any of her references so I’m not sure if the statute says anything along the lines of what she says it does, and frankly, I don’t care. I answered one of her replies to a post of mine by stating, “well, you’re obviously more well-read on the subject than I am. I’m just learning this stuff”. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to make someone else feel bad about themselves to make yourself feel better.

Then there’s the obnoxious idiot. The “idiot” writes long posts, and she’s very chatty and friendly-sounding until she comments on one of your posts. Then she will say, “do you mind if I give you a helpful tip?” I’d like to say, “Hell, yes, I mind. Buzz off.” (Again, this is a fellow student – not the teacher). She’ll go on an on about how to do something, and then she’ll apologize if she came off as abrasive or obnoxious. I think that if you have to apologize for how you sounded on a regular basis, then you need to re-think what you just wrote. You obviously know you said something that might be misconstrued; so then don’t say it in the first place!

We do a reflection at the end of the week each week. Last week’s reflection prompt asked how we thought we were doing at the mid-way point of the class. I am afraid that I might have told the teacher I was doing well, but that there were two individuals in the class who made the experience less than enjoyable. I did not mention names; I didn’t think that I had to. Hey, you asked for my opinion. I’m going to give it. I am wise enough not to let the obnoxious part of me out on a daily basis, especially in a  class forum where I am getting graded on playing nice with others. I told the teacher my opinion in private. What she chooses to do with that information is her choice.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Best Hubby Ever

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I think I have the best hubby ever. He’s my biggest supporter. He just gets me.

I selected a small town in northwest Pennsylvania as a model location for the novel I’m writing. It was easier for me to “see” the characters in the town if I had an actual place to work with. I researched the high school, the hospital, various businesses and the streets and houses in the real town. I found houses for sale online and looked at images of the interiors and exteriors. I made those houses the houses where my main characters live.

To help with the visualization, my hubby suggested a day trip (or an overnight trip) to look around the real town. I’m not much of a traveler and usually resist going anywhere, but doing research for my book sounded like a fun and interesting idea.

b&bWe stayed at a nice bed and breakfast located not too far away from the model for my fictional town.  We ended up driving around and through my model town, and I got to photograph various locations. I took pictures of the high school, various stores, businesses and streets. We went to the houses I had found for my characters to live in. The house I selected for my hero has since been purchased so I was careful when photographing that one. I didn’t want someone calling the cops about this crazy lady taking cell phone pictures of their new home. We had a meal at the Applebee’s in town, and we stopped at the Wal-Mart – all things my characters would do.

I think I have the best hubby ever, and I loved that he indulged his silly writer wife as she gawked around at a small town not all that different from where we live in upstate New York. I certainly could have used my imagination to create the settings I needed, but then I wouldn’t have had this great weekend away with the man I love.

 

In Search of A Hero

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This August will mark three years that I’ve been blogging. The recent break that I’ve taken from my blogs has been the longest non-posting period for me in all that time. I’m still writing, but I’m writing outside of the blogging forum.

As most know, I decided to continue the story and some of the characters that I began in my short stories that I wrote for the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I enjoyed writing about Annelise so much that I wanted to write more about her life. When my story opens, she’s 17 years old, and she’s still hanging out with her best friend, Zoe.

It’s weird when someone asks me what I’m writing that I have a hard time articulating the concept. I’m almost afraid to tell for fear that I’ll spoil it or lose what I’m writing. I have 31 chapters and 92,438 words so far. The story hasn’t really come to its end so I’m letting it meander where it will. I plan to just go with it and write, write, write and worry about editing and shaping it later. There is a lot that will be edited out and possibly be used in another book some day. I don’t consider any of it a waste of time. It will get used somewhere. Even if it doesn’t, I had the joy of getting it out onto the page.

baseballWhat began as a story with a teenaged girl as the protagonist has somehow changed along the way. She’s still the main character, but the hero is the character who keeps me writing. How about that picture, huh?  No, he’s not exactly what my hero looks like, but he’s certainly inspirational! Yes, it’s a love story, but it’s obvious pretty early on that he’s in love with her and has been for a while. It’s a young adult type story, but it’s not all that either. It has a ghost in it, but I haven’t really decided where I’m going with that part of the story either.

One of my biggest concerns is that what I’ve got so far isn’t G-rated. There’s swearing and sex, and while I’m not embarrassed about what I’ve written, I worry about how it might be taken by some who are not as open-minded as I am. It remains to be seen what might get edited or softened in the final version. I could always use a penname, I suppose, but I can decide that later, too. It’s not ready for anyone else to read it yet, but I look forward to that day.

I am a member of a writer’s group and they do regular critique sessions. For the recent critique they had they were asking that the writer give up the rights to the written piece so that it could be published in a group anthology. I don’t have that much written work ready yet, and I’m certainly not surrendering any parts of my “baby” and losing my hold over it.

I haven’t felt this alive in quite some time. I love writing. Even if it never goes anywhere at all, it’s been good for my confidence level and good for me. I hope this feeling never ends.

Scrivening

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Scrivener is writing software that I have been using to work on the novel I am writing. If you are thinking of writing anything, I highly recommend it. Thanks, Andra, for the suggestion. It has been the best money I’ve spent in a long while.

screens2You can use it as a word processor, and you can use the corkboard feature and post index cards with ideas on them. You can easily shuffle and move things around either by cutting and pasting or dragging and dropping. What I have enjoyed the most is the scenes, places and characters features.

The town I am writing about is a fictional one, but I have based it on a real place. I was able to research the real town and pull information, links, photos, etc. right into  pages in Scrivener. I have a page for the town, the high school, stores, buildings, etc. wherever my characters go in the story. I can attach the locations to the chapters. I have found homes for sales in the area (with descriptions and pictures), and I’ve pulled those in and labeled them as the various characters’ houses.

My favorite part is the character pages. I searched online for a general description of what I had in my head; for example, someone’s mother was an “older female reddish hair, green eyes”. For each character I found a generic image. I purposely didn’t use any people that were known or had names and identities listed in the image I found. Then I built a personality, description, etc. to go with the image. The image is at the top of the page and the person/character’s description is below. I have found it so helpful to visualize my people, and my main characters’ images are also saved to the photos on my phone and I will often look at them for inspiration.

I am up to 25,000 words and am slowly building the story. I am sure it will go through multiple revisions along the way, but I do have an end goal in sight. That also has helped me to have the ending (or most of it) visualized and planned. That may change, too, but it helps to have a goal to work towards. I haven’t posted much here because the writing process has been consuming me. I will try to check in from time to time, and I do read other blog posts as I am able. I’m still here!

Image from https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

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