Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG, March 2020



Is this the year March Madness refers to something other than college basketball? How obsessed are you with corona virus updates? You don't have to be a writer to have insecurities these days, but regardless of where your anxieties lay, let's give thanks to our intrepid IWSG host, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his awesome group of co-hosts: Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

March's Optional Question: Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?



Vampire Cat
Image: Dan Dvorscak

Say cheese, y'all!



Yes. For some of my stories, I like to stick myself in the background for fun (under a different name, of course). My current manuscript takes place at a college. I used to be a mathematics professor, and at the start of each semester, I would ask my students to take out a clean sheet of paper and write their name on it in big bold letters. Then I'd take the students' pictures holding their "name sign" and use those to learn everyones' name. My main character, a student, gets to participate in this tradition in an early chapter of the novel.

Now that I have a smart phone, I should bring back this tradition when I meet anyone new. (That wouldn't be weird, right?) I'm terrible at remembering names.



GiantMicrobes

Most bizarre stuffed toys ever? Is one for the corona virus in the works?




So, how are you adapting to the pandemic, if we can call it that yet? Here are some of my questions:

1. Did the authorities wait too long to give this bug its name? Is anyone using "Covid-19" conversationally?  (I'm not.)




US states I've been to
Image: Miles Gehm

Red States: virus-affected or projected political wins?



2. Am I the only one getting political maps for the upcoming election and corona virus spread maps confused? (Probably.)

3. Have you given in to any panic buying? (Yes. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Zone Bars. My whole family is addicted to these things.)

4. How does the idea of isolation/quarantine for two weeks or more hit you? (Advantage: no getting up early for school. Disadvantage: No break from kids if they're home from school.)

Hope everyone stays healthy.



Wednesday, February 5, 2020

February IWSG 2020


It's February, which means a Super Bowl, Valentine's, our odd week off from school (which I desperately need to catch up on my sleep) and another IWSG bloghop. Time must be moving faster these days because I somehow managed to miss the January IWSG entirely. Too much going on. So hats off to those who can keep up with their blogging schedules on top of everything else, including our leader, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his merry band of co-hosts: Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

This month's optional question: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

Hmmm. I don't think so. Although I've toyed with the idea of a story with a setting inspired from one of my favorite poems, Kubla Khan, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Here's a sample to give you an idea of what that might look like, and of course, I couldn't pick just one. 


In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:


coleridgesque (mandalay hill)
Image: pwbaker



Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man



Xanadu

Image: John Fowler


Down to a sunless sea.



Waterfall Cavern, Smoo Cave

Image: Nick Bramhall


And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.



Mossy Grill

Image: Timo Newton-Syms


Alas, such a project will have to wait. I'm meandering through the second draft of my current story and it's slow going. In my earlier works, cutting and cutting to get under 100K left only dialogue and action. This time around, I've left myself space to explore the character's thoughts, feelings, motivation, and memories, which is great, but challenging.

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What setting are you currently working with or would like to work with in the future?