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Showing posts from May, 2016

Merry Monday: Jo-ha-kyū

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I got frustrated with my Sensei and Sempais on Sunday. Lately, they bring up Jo-ha-kyū often, which is a timing used in our martial art of Iaido, but actually comes from the theatre.

This will be explained in writing terms shortly.

We like to say the kata needs feeling. It needs Jo-ha-kyū. It also needs metsuke, but we aren't discussing that today.

Well, I snapped at them and said that they keep saying that and it's just words without meaning. I said it was entirely subjective and asked why there couldn't be a guideline on the timing like Jo is 6 beats, Ha is 1-2 beats, and then Kyū is 4 beats? Well, they said that's just not possible because each kata needs different timing.

Valid point.

So we discussed it further.

Jo is the "Rising Action". Often, this is when we are unsheathing our swords. In Ippon-me Mae, we are drawing slowly bec…

Funky Friday: Long Weekend Recovery

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I'm completely oblivious to what has been going on this week outside of my own world.

Personal

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were seminar days that involved a lot of hard training and partying. I did well at the auction and came home with an entire outfit for $50, which normally costs around $200 at least.
I was reunited with Scarlet (my guitar).
Trying to finish the edits on The Page & The Magician before June 8th, so I can submit it to a contest.

Ciao,
R~

Wonder Wednesday: Deadlines

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The only thing I'm wondering this Wednesday is whether or not I can make my deadline. I need to finish editing this novel as I found a place to submit to. The catch? The submission date is by June 8th. I have to haul ass in other words.

It's going to be quite the challenge as I have paint nite tonight, an Ottawa Independent Writers meeting tomorrow, Iaido on Sunday, and movie club on Sunday.

So I'm wondering if deadlines are good for us? Sure, they push us to complete something, but do they ensure quality or just speed?

NaNoWriMo gets you to write the bulk of a novel in 30 days, but it needs a lot of work to turn into a worthwhile story. Most first drafts are awful anyway and affectionately known as vomit drafts.

And deadlines give a target to focus one's effort on.

I feel like I'm going to start rambling. My brain is still recovering from…

Merry Victoria Day Weekend: The 2016 Sei Do Kai Seminar

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I'm thoroughly exhausted on physical, emotional, and mental levels, but seminar was fantastic. My body is happy to be able to rest; my spirit wants more; my brain is fried.

The trip down was made quicker with good music and lots of Worms, which brought much laughter as our attempts to blow up the opponents often accidentally resulted in our own demise.

We arrived on Friday and had our dinner out with whoever was available. The food could have been better for me, but my belly was full. After dinner, I visited with the Peterborough clan for a bit.

I had a suite to myself, which was mostly good because it was very quiet. It was a little lonely, though.

Day One

We worked on Zen Ken Ren Iaido with my sensei in the morning. In the afternoon, we worked with one of the female sensei. I learned a lot from both and am glad I took notes because brain mush no remembe…

Funky Friday: May Long Weekend

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This post was pre-scheduled because I'm traveling for a martial arts seminar this long weekend. I hope this doesn't diminish your reading pleasure.

Personal

Mixed: The other day, my boss announced he's retiring at the end of May. They're splitting up my department and I'll have a new boss. Hopefully, this will be a good change and the transition goes smoothly.
Super Duper Excited: This weekend is the annual Sei Do Kai seminar in Guelph. I look forward to this event all year. It's a weekend filled with hardcore training and heavy socializing. It will exhaust me, but it's worth it. Sounds like it will be filled with gaming too.

Ottawa

Intrigued: Need some geek food?
Shocked: I can't believe the Movati gym that is not allowing a woman to wear a tank top because of her bust size. It's not like her girls aren't contained with…

Wonder Wednesday: Personality Types

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I recently took a personality test for fun. Yes, I do things like that for fun. It told me I'm an INTP.

I wondered if there really are only 16 personality types. With nearly 8 billion people in the world, can they all be categorized into one of 16 types? To me, it seems like there are probably things that haven't been accounted for.

The two broad categories of Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E) are further described as Intuitive (N) or Sensing/Observing (S), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F), and Judging (J) or Perceiving/Prospecting (P). For more on what this all means go here.

My results showed that I'm about 75% introverted and 25% extroverted. I can't remember the rest, but here is a brief summary from 16 Personalities:
"The INTP personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing f…

Merry Tuesday?: From One Event to Another

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Sunday was the final day of 2016 Ottawa Comiccon. I particularly enjoyed the Q&A with John Rhys-Davies and Sean Astin. The only trouble for me was that I periodically wondered why my brother was on stage. You see, his nickname is Rudy because of his striking resemblance to Sean Astin.

Me: "Why is my brother on stage?"
Myself: "That's not Dana."
I: "Oh, right..."

I visited a weapons booth and the Japanese man there complimented me on my sword grip. I should hope I can hold the handle by now... They were the black plastic weapons. I so wanted to do a real test with them.

This weekend was the first time in a long time that I wasn't just smiling because it was expected of me. I was smiling because I was truly happy. The past few years have been really hard. I'm not where I want to be yet, but I am on the path and gett…

2016 Ottawa Comiccon

Day 1

I walked around and found all my friends but one. No matter how diligently I searched, I could not find him. My sense of direction seemed off kilter, though.

I bought flavoured cinnamon decaf coffee. And this year's addition to my POP dolls collection are Hermione (with her wand) and Kailee from Firefly. I also bought a sweet Wonder Woman hoodie, which came with a giant tardis bag that literally touches the ground. I promptly went to my car to offload as it was a tripping hazard.

I really enjoyed the Geek Universe concert, but had trouble making it through because I was sorely in need of sleep.

Day 2

I finally found my other author friend and hung out with him a lot. He's a fun person and aside from great conversations he has convinced me that someday I will be able to overcome my introverted nature and be able to sell my books once I have them to sell. This is good news!

Unfortunately, I could not attend the Alan Tudyk Q&A because he was still on the airplane...

The Rock, …

Funky Friday: Oblivious?

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I've not paid much attention to the news this week. I've been focused on getting things done in my life.

Ottawa

Excited: Comiccon starts today! It feels like I've been waiting forever. There are lots of fun panels I'm attending, a geek orchestra, Q&As with Alan Tudyk (Wash from Firefly) and John-Rhys Davies (Gimli from Lord of the Rings).
Relieved: I finished a project at work yesterday, so now I am truly unburdened. The actual project is a couple of weeks away from full completion, but my regular role for it is old hat compared to what I was put on to help finish a worrisome chunk.
Happy: My Xbox 360 breakaway cable arrived yesterday and I was able to play some Rocksmith. I bought that game over 3 years ago and I couldn't play it because I had a guitar with a twisted neck that couldn't stay in tune, so advancing in the game was im…

Magic the Gathering and Writing Novels: 5 Similarities and 5 Differences

I had been meaning to go to the local game shop to play Magic the Gathering with real people for several months, but I was scared. I'm an introvert, I'm socially awkward, and I barely know the game. I was also worried they wouldn't be friendly or they'd be the wrong kind of friendly as there are some horror stories online in both of those categories.

I really wanted to get better before my martial arts weekend away, though. We often play board games and such while having some drinks. Last year a small group was playing magic and a friend and I thought we should bring cards this year.

I also knew my deck was a mess.

So I went to the shop. The woman at the counter asked for my DCI. Upon seeing my blank deer-in-the-headlights look, she said not to worry and got me sorted and ready to play. I had also forgotten my 20-sided die and she helped me with that too.

I stood around awkwardly until I eventually sat at a table. Of Pokémon players, I later figured out. Someone took out a…

2016 Ad Astra - Day Three

The final day began with packing my car and checking out. The person ahead of me decided to talk the hotel guy's ear off, so that was slower than expected. Luckily, I had already packed up my car and just had to hand him the keys. Yay for pre-booking and paying online!

I was still slightly late to panel one, which was "When to Listen to Your Editor and When Not To". Tips included:

Don't change your whole book if say they don't like it. It means they're not the right editor for you. It's a relationship you're looking to start. Would you be with someone who only wanted you if you weren't you?
If it's not on the page it didn't happen. You shouldn't have to explain anything. They should understand everything from reading the thing. If they don't, it's because you missed communicating something to the readers.
Check out the Terms from the Editor's Association of Canada to know what type of editing you're looking for.
Some offer f…

Wonder Wednesday: Does anyone really have all of it together?

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Does anyone really have all their shit together? This is what I'm pondering today.

It seems everytime I think I'm getting mine together, I do something awfully dumb that complicates my life unnecessarily.

The latest incident? I made a taco lasagna. Delicious. It was to be my lunches for this week. Well, day 1 and 2 I had taco lasagna. On the evening of day 2, I came home discover I had somehow forgotten to put it away before leaving for work.

So, I ate my leftover pho for supper and pondered whether I should skip martial arts to ensure I could eat. I remembered I had this frozen thing that would do for Wednesday's lunch and I could cook it after martial arts.

I had a great session at iaido, so I'm really glad I went. We worked on things I sorely needed to fix like the horizontal cut. I had been getting lax and not making sure the tip is where…

2016 Ad Astra - Day Two (Night)

The afternoon and evening were much less eventful from the I-apparently-can't-human-today perspective.

In "Crossing the Gender Divide", I learned that whether or not your character is male or female matters less than making them a person first. As authors, we need to refrain from making assumptions like gender=female therefore, likes pink. Examples (good and bad) included:

James Tiptree Jr.
Andre Norton
Wally Lamb
The Wheel of Time Series
Gail Simone

Next, I was off to "Does Diversity Sell?" where I mainly just enjoyed the discussion. It gave me something to think about. I think it's good to write diversely, but I also think it's good to connect with readers. There might be a Goldilocks zone there somewhere.

In "Loving the Villain" I learned that Frodo and Sam are the assholes that screwed up everything. Resources included:

Once Upon A Time
Legend (Tim Curry)
Sons of Anarchy
It (Book)
Dexter
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Shirley Jackson

Then I went to &q…

Merry Monday: Fighting My Way Through

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I'm not sure what to say. I'm trying to stay positive. It's been a tough day from horrible internet interactions to a lung test, which has left me feeling awful. I'm still jittery from too much Ventolin. Also, I discovered I forgot to take my Vitamin D for the past couple of days. Ugh! But I'm starting to feel much better now that it's kicking in.

But whatever else the week throws at me, Ottawa Comiccon 2016 starts on Friday. Several friends have booths and I can't wait to escape from the regular world for awhile. Time to plan what panels I'm going to attend!

I'm enjoying my new rear brakes on Pixie. She's so quiet inside now that it's weird. I'm so thankful I have a financial advisor to ensure I have emergency funds when major things happen.

I figured out my novel lacks set up, so that's what I'm curr…

Funky Friday: Week of May 6

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I'm a day late. Sorry. Yesterday was stressful and it got the best of me.

Personal

Scared: Online dating is scary. I seem to attract creeps who want to do things like walk around with pictures of me in their phone after chatting for an hour. When I explain that's inappropriate, they freak out at me. Dude, when you make a woman feel like you might try to wear her skin someday, you're doing it wrong and she doesn't have to feel bad about deciding not to get to know you better.
Sickish: I'm still coughing from a head cold that began April 21st. It is a little better after drinking some wine last night.
Happy: I had wine last night and other than some heartburn and sleepiness, I didn't have any reactions. Being yeast sensitive, I don't drink often, but I felt like I needed to treat myself or celebrate, perhaps. More on that another da…

Wonder Wednesday: Conflict

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It's funny how in real life I can't stand conflict. That's not to say I don't stand up for myself. It was something I had to learn, though. In the beginning, I would overdo it. I'd be too aggressive because I was overcompensating for all the times I didn't.

In writing, I love conflict! Whenever a scene feels a little flat I throw a wrench in the works and have my character limp or crawl along. They have to fight against tough odds. The only time I let things calm down is before something worse happens. The calm before the storm. The trick there is keeping enough tension, so the reader doesn't think the story has ended. I'm still learning to do that.

Conflicting priorities are part of life and it's no different for writers. To be a good writer I often hear it's important to have a full life, but then you have to manag…

2016 Ad Astra - Day Two (Morning)

Day two got off to a weird start. I had a fantastic shower. Indeed, I loved every minute of it. When it was finished, I peeled back the curtain to see water all over the bathroom floor. For some reason, my brain decided not to put the shower curtain into the tub before showering. My jeans (a.k.a. my only pair of pants) were on the bathroom floor! I frantically waved the hair dryer at them. It was hopeless. Due to time constraints on breakfast, I went down to eat half dressed nicely and half dressed in pajamas. On my way, I asked the guy at the desk in my hotel about the connected mall. He said it didn't open until noon. Disaster! After food, I talked to the guy at the other hotel's desk, explained my predicament, and he presented me with a little box of bounce and gave very loose instructions on where to find the laundry room. I roamed the basement halls with my little box of fabric softener and my too wet jeans. I debated entering the Associate's Only room but was sure I …

Merry Monday: A Challenging Day

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It's one of those Mondays where I'm having trouble being positive.

I took today off after Ad Astra to recover from the last two weekends of heavy socialization, a head cold, and a lot of learning. I was doing OK and might have stayed so had I got out of bed before 10AM. You see, I lounged about and let my schedule get all wonky. Normally I do this on weekends, but I remember to get my medication into me.

Oops.

I didn't realize I hadn't taken my morning dose until I was in line at Walmart, which I was only there because I was looking for an Xbox 360 breakaway cable. Mine went missing and I can't play Rocksmith without it as the guitar cable needs that piece to plug into the USB port. I was hoping to play it today. Instead, I got pain and fatigue.

At least I got pho today since I had just missed out on it last night when I arrived back in t…

2016 Ad Astra - Day One

Ad Astra began on Friday evening after I checked in and had a burger at the restaurant in the hotel. Registration was a breeze and I got my choice of a free book. I chose Ed Greenwood's The Iron Assassin.

Later, a familiar friend roamed the halls: R2D2. I heard him through the walls. He sounded upset. Someone was surely trying to put an end to his fun. They're always telling him what's appropriate behaviour. For some reason, the picture I took of him got lost.

In the "Give Them A Laugh" panel, we talked about the different types of humour including situational, character, and verbal. In only an hour, it was difficult for the panelists to go into any depth, but there was enough to use as a launch point. One major point was that humour usually has to be interpreted and the reader shouldn't be hit over the head with a joke. It's OK if not everyone who reads the story gets it. Some recommended reads/watches were:

- Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
- Dr. Strangel…