Challenge Update, November 2016

1 Dec

This month was ridiculous when it comes to finishing books. Considering I took my final and did NaNoWriMo this month, I wasn’t counting on much progress. I’m ecstatic about it, don’t get me wrong. I wonder if I can keep this up? You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in November:

Stiff // Mary Roach
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing // Marilyn Durham
In the Garden of Beasts // Erik Larson
Z // Therese Anne Fowler
The Lost Daughter // Elena Ferrante
The Tempest // William Shakespeare
Only the Paranoid Survive // Andrew S. Grove

I can’t remember the last time I read seven books in a month! This is such a good feeling. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the number of reviews I owe you all! I’ll be hard at work on those this weekend.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. And I finished! I’m cutting it down to the wire a bit this year but The Tempest will be my 1600s book. I may continue to do Shakespeares for this in years to come, the 1600s can be hard!

Goodreads Challenge

49/45
Woo hoo! Finishing it off like it’s nothing, haha. I’ll probably get to 52 or so by the end of December. I’m going to try to put more time into writing while I can so books might take a bit of a back seat.

stiffBook of the Month

Stiff was really good. The audiobook was wonderfully narrated as well but the writing took my breath away. I wasn’t expecting to be so interested in dead bodies! It was a great surprise and a smash hit at book club (more on that to come in a few weeks!).

Added to my TBR

I added three this month which I’m not happy about, but I think I’ll survive. I’m down one overall with 123 total books. I’m going to be missing my book club meetings for a while so this might really start to drop!

  • A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. This may be premature because I haven’t read A Gathering of Shadows yet but I’m going to assume I’ll want to read this one!
  • Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. A book club selection for January. I’ll probably start it next but I do hope to speed through it and get some other books read over the holidays!
  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Another book club pick. This one is a clunker so I’m hoping it sweeps me along and I can finish it fast.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, it’s fun! I’ll do it again in 2017 to be sure.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 30-November-2016

30 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


breakoutCurrently reading: I got World Without End by Ken Follett back! I started listening to it on Friday during my run and I’m beyond excited to keep listening. I hope to finish it this time, but there’s a lot going on between now and when it returns again.
I’ve only read a bit of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. Again, as an ebook, I don’t tend to read these quickly. It helps that I own this one and won’t have to continue to check it out every three weeks!
I picked up Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass on Sunday and I plan to start applying it to my novel-in-progress in December and January. I’m not sure how much of it will be fun to apply and how much of it will frustrate me and make me want to pull my hair out, haha.

paranoidRecently finished: I finished Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove Sunday morning. It wasn’t as informative as I’d hoped it would be. The advice applies better to senior level managers and since I’m only at the entry-level point of my career, I’m not sure how much of it I’ll use and I’ll likely forget the important parts when I would be ready to use it. Oh well.
I finished The Tempest by William Shakespeare on Friday before I started back up with Follett. It was hard to follow while running, which is the first time I’ve said that. Usually I have no trouble but I found I needed to picture the actors moving across a stage and it was hard for  me to do that and not run off the side of the road.

onceuponReading Next: It’s likely going to be Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January pick. I have another book club book coming up soon so I better start in on these and make sure I get them both done in time!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: My Day 20 2016- DONE!

29 Nov

I’m calling it quits for this year. Goals met!

Today’s writing time (30 goal): 80
This Week’s writing time (120 goal): 180
Total time for the month (630 goal): 765

 

Daily, weekly, and monthly goals all met. I got through the full read through today and I did a Grammarly check. Apparently I put too many commas in sentences. If you don’t use Grammarly, I highly suggest it (mostly because it’s free). I started a new round of editing that I’m looking forward to. I’m putting the dialogue my characters say into Excel, using a different sheet for each character. This way, I can see if my characters have consistent speaking patterns and I’ll notice when they say something out of character. So far, I’m learning a lot about my side characters!

I’m really excited about how this month’s gone. It’s gotten me really excited about my story again and I hope it gets me working on it a bit more in the next few months before school starts up again. I know it can be hard around the holidays, but it might also be a welcome break! I hope it will at least.

I’ll do a full review post in the next few weeks.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: My Day 18 2016

27 Nov

WRITE IN FOR THE WIN!

Today’s writing time (30 goal): 100
This Week’s writing time (120 goal): 100
Total time for the month (630 goal): 685

Done! I went to a write-in at my library and got a lot of solid time in. I have one page (just one page!) left to edit, much like earlier this month when I stopped at this same point to keep my momentum going. WOO! I have one more write-in to hit up on Tuesday and I’ll be able to start working on editing with my book guide. I’m so excited!

I had less to change in the later sections, but I did continue to add some bits to make characterization more consistent and emotional transitions more believable. I think I rushed through when I wrote the first time because I was so excited to get to the end. The only problem is I love my ending so much I’m continuing to do it when I edit!

I’m ecstatic with my progress this month! I think it’s almost time for some more beta readers.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: My Day 17 2016

26 Nov

There’s nothing like a last-minute catch-up to round out the week, huh?

Today’s writing time (30 goal): 90
This Week’s writing time (210 goal): 210
Total time for the month (630 goal): 585

 

I was spending time with my family out-of-town for the holiday so I didn’t get anything written Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. My husband is driving us home now and I utilized the time to write for 90 minutes! I’m hot-spotting my phone to put this post up. Yay technology.

I’m getting really close to finishing my second time through the story. I’m fairly certain I’ll finish doing it before the end of November. That leaves me until my class starts again in February to do some work on editing with an editing workbook I have at home. It will be fun to work through it. But for the rest of the day, it’s more family time with his side. Tomorrow, I’m thinking a write-in? We’ll see

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 23-November-2016

23 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


birthdayboysCurrently reading: I’m so anxious to get World Without End by Ken Follett. All my audiobooks are about to wrap up and it would be the perfect time to jump back into it full-force. Soon enough…
I’m still making only minor progress with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. It’s slow reading and a lot of it is about the computer industry which is outside what I know. Also, the book is really dated sometimes, asking if the Internet is going to be a big thing for companies to adapt to. Ha!
I was given a copy of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge a few weeks ago and finally started in on the ebook. It’s exactly what I suspected so far, which is a good thing! I’m a fan of Bainbridge’s style so I’m looking forward to this one.
I also started listening to The Tempest by William Shakespeare. My husband has read almost all of the Bard’s works and of the ones written in the 1600s that I haven’t read, he recommended this one. It’s quite short so I should be done soon!

BeastsRecently finished: SO MUCH PROGRESS! I, unexpectedly, finished In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson on Thursday. I was only at 79% but it turns out the rest of the book was notes and references! That was a pleasant surprise. It was a good read and I almost wish Dodd had been in Germany a bit longer, but I can’t change history.
I also finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler on Thursday. It was a bit more abrupt than I was expecting but it was appropriate. The part of Zelda’s life when she was in treatment was glossed over a lot so it sped to the end quickly. Still, the book was really enjoyable.
I’ll have a lot of book reviews to write at the beginning of December because I also finished The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I didn’t enjoy this one much, to be honest. I’m a bit nervous about reading another Ferrante novel but I’ve got one on my shelf so I’ll get to it eventually.

breakoutReading Next: There are a few options. I’d like to start working with Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass as part of NaNoWriMo. I should get through this re-read of my novel and be able to start on some serious editing with the book before the end of the month.
The other option is Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January selection. For that club, January will be my last meeting before I have to miss three months due to class. (I’ve already cried over this.) I might delay starting it a bit so it’s fresh in my mind for the meeting.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: My Day 13 2016

22 Nov

Write in for the win!

Today’s writing time (30 goal): 90
This Week’s writing time (210 goal): 120
Total time for the month (630 goal): 495

As expected, I got nothing written yesterday but I went to a really fun event for the Detroit Red Wings. See Instagram for details!

Today,  however, I went to a write-in and it was very productive. I added a scene to my story and built on a few more. I’m adding another one now as I stop so I can start with some momentum when I pick up again, which will probably be Friday. It was a ton of fun and I added over 1000 words!

I might not get to say this again but HAPPY THANKSGIVING to my American friends! Enjoy time with your loved ones.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: My Day 11 2016

20 Nov

Just enough today.

Today’s writing time (30 goal): 30
This Week’s writing time (210 goal): 30
Total time for the month (630 goal): 405

 

And so the next week begins! I’m going to be cutting this close again this week. A write-in Tuesday will help a lot. I got in just the needed 30 minutes today. Between a 10K race this morning and Friendsgiving tonight (best tradition ever), I don’t have a lot of time, but I got in my 30 minutes.  Good enough!

I added a bit of the character I’m flushing out. It’s hard to write a ‘bad guy’ who’s funny and light-hearted! I think I’ll have to add him in more in the second half of the book. I’m almost at the half-way mark now. My big focuses are consistency and character development, especially of my secondary characters. I’m going to be confident and say I’ve got my primary characters more or less figured out.

Tomorrow will probably be very minimal writing, I’m going to a big local hockey event. Exciting for me, not my editing time. Tuesday should make all the difference.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: My Day 10 2016

19 Nov

I’m going to just squeak by this whole thing, I think.

Today’s writing time (30 goal): 30
This Week’s writing time (210 goal): 270
Total time for the month (630 goal): 375

Finishing out the week with about an hour over goal! I’m pretty happy with that. The write-ins I’ve been able to go to were a big help this past week. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make any this week but I’ll try for one on Tuesday. The week of Thanksgiving is always rough with NaNo so I’ll see what time I can carve out as my family travels to Ohio to visit my brother.

Not much added today, really. I took out a good amount of ‘saying’ and was able to give one of my pseudo-villains a bit more of an edge. I think he needed it, he was kind of bland. I tried giving my silent character a bit more to say as well. I’ll probably have to add a scene for him to be really fleshed out. I’m not sure where I’ll do that. Hm.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: My Day 9 2016

18 Nov

Better today!

Today’s writing time (30 goal): 40
This Week’s writing time (210 goal): 240
Total time for the month (630 goal): 345

I didn’t get any time in  yesterday but I managed to do some today! I did forty minutes just now and depending on my evening, I might do some more tonight. I’ve got to head to a doctor’s appointment and then I can’t decide if I’ll have a beer or go for a run. Time will tell.

Nothing too exciting to report about my edits. I changed a setting for historical accuracy in one scene, but I didn’t add much. I’d made a commitment to make one quiet character a bit more talkative but he hasn’t been in any of the scenes I went over today. Maybe more tonight? I like what I’m doing with him so it will be fun to bring him out.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!