Monday, November 11, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day Eleven

Today's word count: 3,469/1,667
Total word count: 21,602/50,000


After a slow Saturday of not being able to piece any of it together and a Sunday off, I'm finally in a place where this new idea is coming into fruition. Basically, where I started the first rewrite made things too slow (in my opinion) so I tried to start it in a place where it moves throughout and I can disperse some back story in, but it keep it moving forward.

Mainly, I feel like the idea is back-heavy but it can't make it there without the front. Just trying to meld the two and now, I'm weaving the new stuff into the parts of the story that I've already begun to rewrite. So far so good.

School tomorrow, so I make no promises. If nothing else, it'll give me an extra day to gnaw on it before I can come back to it on Wednesday.



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Alana

Saturday, November 9, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Nine: The Other (Family)


It Was Supposed To Be This Way

There are four of them
Loving father
Doting mother
Two perfect children
Two little girls
Or a girl and a boy
Depending on how the story goes
The children, five years apart
Moved south to a bigger home that held all four of them
They made new friends
They play sports
Perfect in every way
They were well-liked
They were popular
Everyone who knew them loved them
The older child is 25 now
The other almost 20
Back home visiting for the holidays and planning the next anniversary party for their parents
Who never broke apart
26 years in
Many bumps along the way
But they rarely fought, and he never strayed
It was supposed to be this way

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Alana

Books That Changed My Life: The Rape Of Nanking

I was twelve years old. It was right before the explosion of YA Fiction, so at my library, you either checked out books from the juvenile section or from the adult section. I had exhausted my juvenile list, so I crossed over into the adult nonfiction side.

It was there that I found and checked out The Rape Of Nanking by Iris Chang. It took me most of the summer between 7th and 8th grade to read it (including a long road trip to Midland/Odessa for a track meet), but I finished it shortly before school started back up.

There have been a few books that have changed my life, but very few that have changed my existence. This was one of those book.
Read the rest of the post here.

One Week In

Yesterday marked one week since NaNoWriMo and Writer's Digest's PAD Chapbook Challenge began. It's the first time in years that I've written something everyday and I must say, it feels great. The more important thing is that I've made it a daily goal to take some time out to write. With it being something that I want to do with my life, it's amazing how many excuses I can make to not do so regularly. However, I know that I'll never make a go of this if I don't actually do it...profound, I know, but I've spent so many years being talked out and talking myself out of what I want to do that it's second nature to do so at this point. For better or worse, the words criticizing one of my desired career paths are ingrained so deeply in my psyche that I feel guilty wanting to do this sometimes.

But that's a different story for a different day....

Anywho.

Week one of NaNoWriMo: I've reached 17,000+ words of a rewrite, but I woke up on Wednesday to an idea for The Other Side that would cause me to rewrite the beginning of the rewrite that I've been working on this month. I'm going to take this weekend and explore that to see how it goes. I'm looking at a not-so busy week coming up so I can spend more time writing. I fully expect to reach 25,000 words by the 15th (if not sooner) and am still hopeful that I can make it to 50,000 by the 30th.

Week one of the PAD Chapbook Challenge: I'm amazed actually. It's been years since I wrote poems and only then because they were assigned. Writing poetry was a high school thing for me, but once I graduated and went to college, I graduated from poetry and started writing stories. For a long time, I wasn't able to write both. It was either one or the other and I preferred stories because I could write about others. With poetry, it was so focused on my feelings and my emotions that I never verbally share and after awhile, I got tired of sharing. Secrets must remain secrets for a reason I suppose.

But I'm eight poems into the challenge (will be writing my ninth as soon as I finish this post) and I've loved every minute of it. I guess I'm in a place in my life now where both genres can coincide in my life. I hope this feeling last for awhile.

Back to writing I go...


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Alana

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Eight: Inanimate Object Poem


Cardboard 

 They hold me up at street corners
With pleas and blessings on them
Written in despair
So few actually ever read me
Or see them
So many passersby don't even realize they're there
But they hold me up at street corners anyways
Praying for someone to care


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Alana

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Seven: Hardship Poem

First and Last
The first time was an accident
Both of them were drunk

She yelled her words
He responded with his fists
Neither of them knew better than this
The apology came quickly
He spoke his words so quietly and sweetly

Telling her you complete me
For every hit, an apology
A flower for every lost drop of blood 

Chocolates for each bruise her makeup covered up 
A teddy bear for every lie about a fall 
An excuse for it all 

The last time wasn't an accident
Both of them were drunk

He drew his fist 
So she drew her gun 

He won't be hurting her anymore


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Alana


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Six: Perspective Poem

On The Train To Nowhere...
On the train to nowhere, the woman knits a blanket.
It's not a habit she's mastered quite yet,
but she's getting better.
She learned it while inside
Made the time there less monotonous
And now she sits on the train to nowhere
Knitting a blanket for a baby she has never met
Her family has given her one last chance
To do things right this time
This is it she was told
As they all gathered
Trying to find her some help
She couldn't bear to lose her world
So she went to save herself
She did her time
And worked her steps
Earned her chips
And earned her stripes
The day finally came
When they let her out
So she could begin to live her new life
The temptation never goes away
It probably never will
But she doesn't want to go back to her former life
She doesn't want to fail
Knit one purl two
And three and four
She whispers to herself
As she sits on the train to nowhere
Knitting a blanket for the baby girl that she will never forget
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Alana

NaNoWriMo Day Six

Today's word count: 3,704/1,667
Total word count: 17,708/50,000

After taking a day off yesterday for class and homework, I'm back on the NaNoWriMo grind. I'm up to 17,708 on this rewrite...if only I didn't just think of a new way to start the story that would mean rewriting the rewrite that I'm already rewriting (if that makes any sense)

I'll keep things on their regularly scheduled programming until I can have another marathon work day. Until then, I'll try to outline the direction this idea is taking me on before making a commitment one way or the other.

I've got school and such all day tomorrow, so we'll see if I can get anything going tomorrow. If not, that's cool too. Just means more time to try and flesh out what could become the new beginning.


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Alana

NaNoWriMo Day Five

Today's Word Count: 0

You read that correctly, but I figured this would happen on the days I have classes (Tuesday and Thursday) because those are also the days I do homework and just about everything else I need to do errand-wise and the like.

So no progress on The Other Side today, but I'm still above the average and looking at an off day tomorrow because I got everything that was pressing done today.

Looking forward to the weekend so I can truly get back into the groove of things, but I'll take a day here or there during the week where I can write so long as I don't start falling behind on other aspects of my life.

Back at it tomorrow....which is actually today since it's nearing 2 in the AM. You know what I mean.


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Alana

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Five: Concealed Poem

I'm Fine, Thank You For Asking
Hi, how are you? Good? That's good.
Me, you ask? How am I doing?
Well I feel like the world is closing in on me
I feel like expelling my last ounce of energy
Screaming from the top of the lungs
That I'm not okay.
I'M NOT OKAY! 
I have never been.
I'm angry, furious, with the world around me.
I can't stand to look into the eyes of the ones who betrayed me.
I'm tired of smiling, so tired of hiding.
Tired, so tired of denying.
But I'll laugh my laugh
I'll tell another joke
And make believe that I'm alright.
How am I, you question?
I'm fine, thank you for asking.

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Alana

I Voted Today (And I Hope You Did Too)

So I voted today. This election isn't a big deal. No one's vying for the presidency. Congressional seats aren't up for a vote. In fact, there wasn't a single person on my ballot this time around. For my precinct at least, it was merely nine propositions.

I knew this would be the case (I took a peak at a sample ballot before going in) and I went anyways. I voted anyways.

Read the rest here.


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Alana

Monday, November 4, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Four: (Blank) Sheet

SAD Sheet
Tis the season
The weather's getting colder
The sun's out for shorter
And nights are getting longer
My mood changes with the weather
The colder outside, the lower my demeanor
I bundle myself up tightly to get through the worst of things
My mind's enveloped in a SAD Sheet 
Hiding from the cold world around me
Wrapped in the warmth of a SAD Sheet
Protected from the gray world around me
As I await for winter to turn into spring


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Alana

NaNoWriMo Day Four

Today's Word Count: 6,045/1,667
Total Word Count: 14,004/50,000

Day four of NaNoWriMo and I put in about three days of work today. I was off today but I have class and stuff to do until Friday. From NaNoWriMos past, I know once I fall behind, it's curtains on trying to reach my goals and I didn't want that to happen this time around. So I went beastmode today because even if I don't make it to the 50,000 word count goal, I will make it through this month.

I haven't decided if I'll take some time to flesh it all out and get it all connected to what I did the first three days (as I'm rewriting a previously-written monstrosity) or if I'll just write less until Friday until I can really give my undivided attention to it again.

I guess it'll just depend on how I'm feeling and if I have the energy for it.


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Alana

Sunday, November 3, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Three: The Last Time I Was Here

The Last Time I Was Here
The last time I was here
I barely survived
The last time the darkness came for me
It almost devoured me
Swallowed me whole
Left nothing behind
I flirt with returning there
Every now and again
As a good day morphs into bad
As happiness fades into despair 
But I know that I can't let it win
Because if I let the darkness back in
There won't be anything left of me to salvage


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Alana 

NaNoWriMo Day Three

Today's Word Count: 1,766/1,667
Total Word Count: 7,959/50,000

I didn't get as much done today because I've made to the end of Chapter 1! Instead, I finished the rest of the chapter before reading through it and making sure it all flowed and stayed true to my outline.

It does for the most part, but right now, I'm trying to remain focused on the task ahead and writing instead of letting the rest bog me down and keeping me at a standstill. So far, so good on that front. I just hope that I'm able to continue the pace I've been on this weekend now that a new week is starting up.

Goal for tomorrow: finish smoothing out Chapter 1 and begin writing Chapter 2.
Goal for this time next week: be done writing and smoothing out Part I


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Alana

This Week In Photos: 10/27-11/2

10/27/13

10/28/13

10/29/13

10/30/13

10/31/13: Happy Halloween!

11/1/13: Day One of NaNoWriMo

11/2/13: finally got around to cleaning the bedrooms...now onto the rest of the apartment!

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Two: News Of The Day

News Of The Day
Someone is hurting
And someone is in pain
But that is news to no one
For that happens everyday
Someone mourns the loss of a loved one
Lost in a senseless way
But that is news to no one
For that happens everyday
Someone is left reeling
From another senseless tragedy that happened today
But that is news to one
For that happens everyday



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Alana 

NaNoWriMo Day Two

Trudging along with the rewrite. Instead of overwhelming myself by trying to deal with a huge chunk of the original story, I'm going scene by scene, adding it to rewrite document and fixing some of the more obvious issues as I go.

Won't do a full edit until I've got it all down, but I think going little by little and tweaking what stands out may help in this step as well.

This is a departure for what I regularly do because I try to edit as I go, but I've noticed that while that works with short stories, it doesn't work with these monstrosities and I think that's why I always hit a wall with them.

Anywho,
Today's (albeit inflated) word count: 2,688/1,667
Total word count: 6,193/50,000


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Alana

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Here I Go Again

It's been a while.

Longer than a while.

And then it still wouldn't explain why I've been gone for so long. Suffice it say, life got in the way and then trying to figure out where to go and what to do next took a wee bit longer to figure out than I anticipated.

But I'm back. No more My Time For Ashes as I no longer feel like I need to rise from the actions, but am rising if that makes any sense. So that's why Alana Muses now.

So the game plan is to blog on here and keep my other blog's content to writing-related activities.

Still doing school (almost done with my A.A. in Print Journalism!) and I finished applying to my first round of grad schools (Eastern Washington, Memphis and Texas State). For those of you who don't remember (and why would you) I had time after my teaching certification program (which I finished last December!) and before I had the chance to apply to grad school so I went back to school to finish my associate's in Journalism that I started way back in 2006 but never finished because once again, life got in the way.

Surprisingly, the most fun I've had in the past several months is getting the chance to have a radio show, but other than that, nothing's really new except for my participating in the National Novel Writing Month as well as Writer's Digest's 2013 November PAD (Poem A Day) Chapbook Challenge

That's about it.

Until next time,
Alana

Friday, November 1, 2013

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Did I mention that I'm also trying Writer's Digest's 2013 November PAD (Poem a Day) Chapbook Challenge (link to the guidelines here)

Because I'm doing that as well ("all things in moderation" is a phrase I have no experience with).

Day one's prompt was to write an appearing poem. The tailend of my experience with Dysphonia inspired mine. Here it is:


Appear
It was months of therapy
Months of stretches
Months of exercises
Of retraining
All to make a voice reappear that had remained silent for far too long
All to make me normal again
No luck on the aaaaaas
Or the oooooos

Still whispered
Still no voice
Day after day
Week after week
Month after month
Perhaps it wasn't meant to be
Month four
Still nothing
Maybe there would never be again

First the aaaaaas
Nothing
Then the oooooos
Nothing
The eeeeees come next
Something
Finally something
Then a tear escapes my eye
Not of joy or sadness
The first true sound in 19 months exits my mouth
A blessing in spite of the excruciating pain 

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Alana


NaNoWriMo Day One

So I'm participating in the National Novel Writing Month again (my participant's page is here). I made it about halfway through last year before I had something major due in every class the third week of November.

This year, everything has appeared to align perfectly, so I'm taking the plunge and I hope to make the whole month.

At the end of day one, I'm 3,505 words into The Other Side, which is a rewrite of a monstrosity that I started writing over five years ago. I'm not sure if rewriting a full-length story counts as a NaNoWriMo-related story, but that's what my mind has been trending on for the last several months, so I decided to give it a go.

The story, in a nutshell, is about two high school juniors from two totally different worlds who have to go through the trials and drama of life. Throughout it all, they both come to terms that life isn't always better and the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

If nothing else, getting so much done today might help later on when I'm not able to write as much for one reason or another, but my aim is to reach that 50,000 word goal.

NaNoWriMo: Take 3!

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Alana