Friday Funny with a Flash and a Big Breath

You know what that means.

Yup! It’s FRIDAY!

…Go ahead and cheer. I know you want to ūüėČ

So, my week wasn’t quite as productive as I would’ve liked it to be on the writing front.¬†I had to take some time out of my regular scheduled programming to apply¬†for a substitute teaching license.¬†I wasn’t planning on doing this, but…

Okay, so long story short: My sister tried to convince me to apply for a teaching post in the Marketing Department at a local high school. For a few days, I seriously considered it. Then I realized teaching isn’t a job change. It’s a career change, and I’m not looking for a new career. I have one as a writer and a pursuer of full-time authorship.

I explained all of this to my sister and she completely understood. But she still urged me to apply for a substitute license, just in case I needed some extra cash or suddenly found myself without a job. I agreed and decided to go through the nitpicky application process.

Yeah,¬†that was¬†a blast. But, I’m glad I did it. It’s always nice to have some kind of cushion in case things fall apart unexpectedly.

¬†Another thing that stole some precious manuscript time this week was on the sillier side. As¬†most of you know, I’m an avid participant in¬†the NYC Midnight writing challenges. Tonight at midnight, the Flash Fiction Challenge kicks off.

To celebrate, one of my friends/fellow competitors decided to make a funny “Flash” themed video to post on the competition’s forum. It’s mostly a fun way to get writers¬†pumped up and excited for¬†the challenge,¬†and to create a sense of community.¬†A few days ago, my friend emailed me and asked if I’d like to contribute some silly/beautiful/clean “Flash”¬†type photos and videos.

Being the “Yes Girl” that I am, I said, “Sure! No problem.”

Yet, as I began taking photos, I realized something: I STINK at making come-hither eyes and sultry expressions and anything else of the sort. Worse, I kept bursting out laughing at myself, so most of my shots were useless.

After a solid¬†hour of trying and failing, I finally gave up and sent my friend what I had. Most of them were of me puckering,¬†trying¬†to look alluring (haha!),¬†and cringing at myself. Yeah, I’m awesome.

IMG_2561IMG_2551

IMG_2566Go and laugh. It’s cool. I’m still laughing at myself.

Anyway, as I mentioned, tonight the Flash Fiction Challenge 2014 kicks off. At midnight, I’ll be assigned a genre, location, and object, and then I’ll have 48-hours to write a 1,000 word story.

*BIG, DEEP BREATH*

To be honest,¬†I’m not sure how I’ll fair. My brain is¬†so wrapped up in my manuscript right now, I’m afraid I won’t be able to snap out of that story and jump into another. If I receive a difficult genre like¬†political satire, comedy, or–God forbid–romance, I might just curl¬†up and surrender…Okay, that’s a lie. I never surrender¬†without putting up some kind of fight.¬†I guess I’ll just cross my fingers and pray to God for the best. Of course, your positive vibes will be much appreciated too.

So, in honor of my terrible fear of writer’s block striking this weekend, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

MjAxMy00NjI4MWVhZjgxMmNlMDM4How was your week?¬†Is anyone else participating in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge? Let me know! We can cheer each other on ūüôā

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday ‚Äď You Give Love A Bad Name ‚Äď Bon Jovi

One Year Blogiversary ‚Äď How My Blog Saved Me

Sympathy for a Good Villain

Photo credits: 

http://rebloggy.com/post/my-gif-gif-funny-glamour-party-humor-new-years-retro-nostalgia-1920s-classic-fil/71786318384

http://mrwgifs.com/jack-black-salutes-with-passion-in-school-of-rock-movie-gif/

http://gifstumblr.com/cool/get-outta-my-way-1250

http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMy02YmNiNDFhY2MwM2Q0MDQ4

http://www.theredheadbaker.com/pizza-ground-lamb-leeks-rosemary/

Friday Funny with a Random Road Trip and Book Research

Sheesh, I don’t know about you, but this week flew by¬†fast…Of course, that might be because I played hookie from work on Monday.

It’s my Mom’s fault! Blame her. She convinced me to skip work to¬†go on¬†a random road¬†trip¬†to¬†the mountains. (Yeah, my¬†mom¬†told me to ditch…She’s such¬†a positive influence ūüėČ Kidding!)

“Come on, Jenna,” she implored on Sunday. “Take tomorrow off. We can go eat lunch in Vail, and then drive up to Leadville, and then maybe stop in–”

“Idaho Springs?”

“What?”

“I’ll go if we can stop in Idaho Springs.”

“Um…Okay?” She looked less than thrilled by the request. Idaho Springs isn’t the coolest, hottest, most¬†exotic town in Colorado. Plus, we pass by¬†it¬†all the time to get to the higher elevated mountain resorts.¬†

“I need to do some book research for a scene that takes place there,” I explained to her. “If we can stop in Idaho Springs, then I’ll go.”

“Deal!”

So, I sent an email to my boss and hopped in the car.

We windy-weaved through the Rocky Mountains¬†all day long,¬†making¬†stops in Vail, Avon, Edwards, Minturn, Leadville, and lastly–and most importantly–Idaho Springs. Now, I’ve been to Idaho Springs plenty of times, but I’ve never really explored it. And I needed to if I was going to use it as a location in my story.

So, with my notebook and camera ready, we pulled off the highway and drove around town. We took it nice and slow so I could jot things down and snap pictures (both with my camera and my imagination).

IMG_3461 IMG_3467 unnamedWe even decided to eat at the restaurant I’d picked for my characters to dine at, and ordered the same dish as them. It was fun. And exciting.¬†It’s always fun and exciting for me to walk along the same path as my¬†characters.¬†It brings them to life in a whole new way. It helps me “see” them better. I can look out and “watch” them strolling down the sidewalk, or laughing¬†inside the coffee shop, or staring up into the sky and reciting the words I’ve written for them…

Yes, maybe all of that sounds weird–maybe even a little crazy–to some of you, but oh well. I can’t help it. I love traveling to the locations I use for my stories. It always makes me feel closer to my characters and the lives they lead.

Anyways, that was the main highlight of my week. As for my manuscript, I’ve just hit the halfway mark, and once I finish the current chapter I’m working on, I will be embarking upon that “bang” I mentioned last week.

So. Excited!!!

So, in honor of tracing the steps of my characters this week, and bringing them to life in a new–and much realer–way, here is today’s Friday Funny!¬†10551108_659258480809071_5577094688058604998_nHow was your week?¬†Anyone else play hookie from school/work? Or was I the only rebel out there? ūüėČ

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday ‚Äď Once Upon a Dream ‚Äď Lana Del Rey

How To Write A Novel: 7 Tips Everyone Can Use

Photo Credits: 

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/ferris-bueller/images/21202650/title/ferris-buellers-day-off-gif-fanart

http://www.tonpetitlook.com/en/2014/07/11/your-weekend-getaway-meal-plan-sorted

http://elitedaily.com/women/the-34-signs-you-are-actually-dating-your-best-friend/

Friday Funny with a Reminder: Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

Ahhh, it’s Friday. Friday, Friday, Friday!

In a nutshell, my week was similar to the last few: calm and productive. I’ve continued traipsing through¬†the revisions for¬†my YA manuscript, and despite my ongoing sluggish pace, I feel good about them.¬†As planned, I sent my beta reader the first five chapters of my story, and she gave them the thumbs up.

Hallelujah!

When I received her positive feedback, I did a little happy dance. I was so delighted! And astonished. And¬†relieved. She isn’t an easy critic to please (hence the reason she’s my beta reader). But she genuinely enjoyed my first five chapters. Here were¬†a few¬†of her comments:

I read the chapters and all I can say is other than some typos and descriptions–like you said just read for the content–well I could not stop reading it. I mean really. I never wanted to stop and you kept me guessing

I chuckled off and on throughout and felt the story’s lightness–not too deep and dark–yet. Your character development was perfect

I am anxiously awaiting the next set.

I will be sending the next two chapters to her tomorrow. I’m not as happy with them–something just feels off…Hopefully my beta reader¬†will be able pinpoint what the problem¬†is. Or maybe I’m just over thinking things and need to¬†carry on. Which I will, as always. ūüôā

Unfortunately, my 9-5 job has picked up its¬†pace and workload, so I won’t have as much free time to devote to¬†my manuscript. Blerg! Fingers crossed I’m able to deal with it¬†and just keep writing, especially since I’ve made it an official goal to have a solid draft completed by August 15th. That’s when the first round of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014 kicks off.

So, basically, I won’t have a life the rest of¬†summer. Adios world. See ya later.

Oh well. As the saying goes, “Dreams don’t work unless you do”, right?

*big breath*

In honor of the slightly overwhelming amount of work I have ahead of me, here is today’s Friday Funny:

a-ha-ha-wr-be-a-writer-funny1How was your week? Are you feeling stressed? Or you are kicking back and enjoying some fun in the sun? I won’t resent you if you are…Okay, okay. I might resent you a little ūüėČ

Jen’s Weekly Roundup
In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here go:

Music Monday ‚Äď Good Girl ‚Äď Carrie Underwood

Why You Should Enter the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014

The First 250 Words of Your Manuscript

Friday Funny and What’s a Weekend?

Happy Friday, everyone!¬†So, who’s ready for the weekend?¬†I know I am.¬†I mean, I won’t be kicking back and relaxing, or anything like that. Not really.¬†As usual, I’ll be writing. Or catching up on chores. Or writing some more. Or doing more chores. Or…Hmm, come to think of it,¬†I haven’t had a real¬†weekend in months. You know, the kind where you don’t do anything but watch TV, read a book, take a walk in the park, nap, etc.

Sheesh, it might be¬†time for a vacation. I’m thinking somewhere on a beach. With a good book. And crashing waves. And, what the hey, let’s throw in a rainbow for fun, yeah?

IMG_8750Man, I wish I could repeat the trip I took last summer to Captiva, Florida. It was perrr-fect. Books, waves, rainbows, and all.

*cue wistful sigh*

Okay, okay. Time to stop fantasizing about a¬†vacation that isn’t going to happen–unfortunately–and get¬†down¬†to business!

So, I had another quiet, uneventful week, which means I was able to get a lot of work done on my manuscript. Woo-hoo!¬†Although my progress remains on the snail side, I am¬†making progress. I’ve now edited/rewritten five chapters, and I feel good about them. I’ve chopped¬†out a lot of¬†unnecessary details, worked on¬†deepening and strengthening my characters, and expanded, added, and completely changed certain plot points.

Thanks, Jennifer ūüėČ

To stay motivated–and to keep¬†my story on track–I’ve decided to create a weekly deadline for myself. Every Friday, I’m going¬†to send my most updated chapters to my beta reader. I’m hoping this tactic¬†will help¬†me keep my chin up and my fingers typing, even when I’m exhausted and start daydreaming about¬†sandy beaches and turquoise waters.

…Hmmm…Sandy beaches and turquoise waters…

Well, I’m sure by now you know where¬†today’s Friday Funny is going. So, without further ado, here you go. Enjoy!

8f7ddb833ed995fd32ac35e4e2982d61
How was your week? Do you have any vacation plans coming up?
Jen’s Weekly Roundup
In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here go:

Friday Funny with an Honorable Mention and a First Draft

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m feeling rather wonderful today. It’s been a great week, especially on the writing front.

friday-checklistFirst off, I received the final results for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Okay, so¬†I didn’t win, but I did receive an Honorable Mention for “Into Paradise.” That means I placed in the top 15 of the 1,000 writers who originally entered! Which boils down to placing in the top 1.5%. Wooot!

More than achieving this seemingly impossible feat, I’m proud of the three stories I wrote for¬†this competition (“Chasing Monsters,” “Over the Edge,” “Into Paradise”). Not only did I work extra hard to make each one entertaining, unique, and meaningful, but I forced myself to step outside my comfort zone and take on topics that were scary, disturbing, and/or heartbreaking. I truly learned so much about myself as a writer. More importantly, I learned that if a story demands to be told, then I need to check my insecurities and fears at the door and tell them. I shouldn’t hold back. I need to take the plunge and just go for it!

Yeeee-ha!

Another great piece of news this week: I finished the first draft of my YA manuscript!

KIDDING!!!

Okay, let me clarify: I¬†basically finished my first draft. I didn’t fully write out the last five-ish chapters. It just didn’t make sense. You see, I took a path in earlier chapters that eventually backed me into a corner, and the only way to fix it would¬†be to start over and find where things went wrong. So,¬†that’s what I decided to do. I jotted down some in-depth notes about how I saw the book ending, saved my document, and closed it. Then I opened a new one for draft two.

6a00d83451607369e2017d42f8b7f5970cI began working on draft 2¬†yesterday and…ugh. Guys, there’s A LOT of things to fix. A lot, a lot. But, it’s okay. I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work. And now that life has finally calmed down, and the NYC Midnight Challenge hoopla is over, I can dedicate all of my energy to my revisions.

So, in honor of my honed focus, as well as the many, many, many writing days I have in front of me, here is today’s Friday Funny:

10374510_850320518311743_1136249276918190834_nHow was your week? I’d love to hear!

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

Music Monday ‚Äď Know Your Enemy ‚Äď American Idiot

On Writing Secondary Characters

Friday Funny and Slowly but Surely

Friday! Friday! Friday!

…It’s FRIDAY!

Well, I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a rough week on the manuscript¬†front, ladies and gentlemen. I only managed to knock out around 9,300 words…Yeah, I know that’s better than nothing, but I’d planned on writing A LOT more than that. Honestly, I just couldn’t get my act together. Between a¬†draining¬†allergy attack earlier in the week, and a never ending pile of ads¬†at work, it’s been a nightmare finding the time and energy to sit down and write.

Another part of the problem is I’ve completely lost the insane¬†momentum and natural rhythm I had going before round 2 and 3 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t recapture it.

What makes this¬†even tougher is I’ve reached the dreaded middle portion of my story. Historically, this is when I slam into a brick wall, even when I¬†do¬†have¬†momentum carrying me. And, historically, this is when I give up and¬†go allll¬†the way¬†back to chapter one to¬†begin revising. However, I made a deal with myself at the start of this draft. I told myself, “You’re not allowed to start over. No matter how hard it gets or how many obstacles try to trip you¬†up, you gotta push through.” AKA,¬†NO STARTING OVER ALLOWED!

Thankfully, I’ve got some badass moments planned for my characters in future¬†chapters, so I’m using those as motivation to¬†fight through¬†these foggy middle ones.

Hi-yah! Kablam! Splat!…Oh, yeah. I’m feelin’ it ūüėČ

Anyways, in honor of my “slowly but surely” type of writing week, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

DfgRvHow was your week? Are you on a roll? Or are you feeling sluggish and “blah” like me? If you’re on the blah side, all I can say is push through it. That’s what I’m gonna do here.

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

Music Monday ‚Äď For the Glory & With These Hands ‚Äď Civil War Musical

Unforgettable Writing: Use all 5 Senses to Add Emotion

 

Friday Funny with a Reminder: Pain is Gain

Congrats, everyone! We made it to Friday.

Overall, I had a good week…though, much of it was spent recouping from last weekend, after¬†the crazy 24-hour final round of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Simply put, I’ve felt like a zombie. I still can’t believe how much those 24-hours drained me, both physically and emotionally.¬†However, all the pain and tears were worth it. On Tuesday, I was given the thumbs up¬†from the competition to publicly share my story. And, so far,¬†Into Paradise¬†has received positive feedback.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what people would think of my story.¬†I based the entire thing¬†off a rather sensitive topic, so I knew there was a risk of¬†rubbing someone the wrong way. But, so far, people have told me I handled the¬†topic in a respectful, gentle, even hopeful manner, so I’m pleased. That was my intention, after all. In fact, I purposefully kept my setting for¬†Into Paradise¬†vague,¬†even misleading. I didn’t want people to be focused on where/when this was happening. I wanted them to be focused on my protagonist and the difficult choice she had to make.

…It’s funny, though. I did¬†make it pretty clear by the end where/when this was happening, yet some people still didn’t grasp it. Meanwhile, as vague as I tried to keep it at the start, some people knew instantly where/when this was happening.

It doesn’t really matter. Like I said, the setting wasn’t the focus. And, either way, people have told me Into Paradise¬†is¬†a heart-wrenching, yet touching story. Even comforting. So, I’m good ūüôā

The only real complaint thus¬†far–and this is from a few of my competitors–is that I didn’t use the “jealousy” prompt in a satisfying way. Some think I squeezed¬†it in. In retrospect, I can see what they mean. But to be honest, I wouldn’t change it. I used the jealousy prompt in a¬†way I felt fitting for my¬†story. I mean, maybe if I’d had more words to use (1,500 is so limiting!) I could’ve weaved it into the plot more. But, then again, it likely would’ve weakened the story, so I’m glad I didn’t.

If this “issue” means I lose favor with the judges, then oh well. It’s not like I have high hopes of winning the competition. I’m competing against 39 highly talented writers. I’m just honored I made it this far. I know it’s cheese-to-the-max,¬†but I feel like a winner already.

winner-crown-on-ladyAnyways, now that this harrowing short story journey has come to an end, it’s time for me to put all of my focus back into my manuscript. Unfortunately, due to making it this far in the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, I doubt I’ll be meeting my spring deadline for a first draft ūüė¶ But don’t worry.¬†I’m bound and determined to have a solid draft ready¬†to query¬†by the end of summer. So, it’s time to roll up my sleeves, stomp on those distracting butterflies, and get to work!

In honor of my hard fight last weekend, and all the pain and agony I endured while¬†writing¬†Into Paradise, here is today’s Friday Funny!

8ec9ba8ccaaf08a0334b34fcc8cb707fHow was your week? Better tell me now! I’m going into the zone with my manuscript starting tomorrow and will be in la-la land for awhile.

P.S. Thank you for all of YOUR positive comments on¬†Into Paradise.¬†I can’t tell you how much each one meant to me.

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

Crazy with a Capital C ‚Äď The 3rd and Final Round

Into Paradise ‚Äď Final Round Entry ‚Äď NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge