Catholic Writers Are Needed Today

+JMJ+ Now that I’ve actually written a novel all the way through (well, a rough draft, anyway, and using no cowardly padding gimmicks like I used during one NaNoWriMo after another, ones included in the handbook, I might add), I’ve been giving serious thought to what a Catholic (or Christian in general) writer is. I mean, I’d thought about it before, I’ve read about it and watched videos and listened to podcasts. I’ve read at least some of what Dorothy Sayers, Tolkien, O’Connor, and others said or wrote about it. (An aside: I thoroughly enjoy the non-fiction, the essays and letters of Sayers and O’Connor, but not their fiction. Lord Peter Wimsey is not my cup of tea and a story I like by O’Connor is hard to find. There, I said it. Let the flame throwing begin! However, after some videos I watched last night, I’m planning to have another go at O’Connor. I will share some of the videos in this post.)

Continue reading “Catholic Writers Are Needed Today”

Reading and Writing like a Catholic

+JMJ+ I’m always trying to learn more about writing and I learned a lot while writing the rough draft that I posted on the blog recently. But I have not even scratched the surface of all there is to know about writing, especially about writing a Catholic novel. I wish I’d found this interview before I started writing. Maybe it’s better that I found it after I wrote. Who knows? Maybe you or someone you know would enjoy watching this interview, too. Notes and links are at the end of this post.

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NaNoWriMo, the only way I get any fiction written

NaNoWriMo = Exuberant Imperfection. I’m all about it! ;)

(This was supposed to be a nice little caption centered under the image, but for some reason that only works in the composer, not after I post it. Argh! So this is a work-around, albeit a clumsy one, for now. Hey, it’s imperfection but I’m not exuberant about it.)

It’s NaNoWriMo time again and I’m going to try once more to write a novel in thirty days and I promise I won’t fill up your inbox with progress updates. I plan to update my progress on the blog weekly instead. (I’ll also be updating my progress via the little word count graphic in the sidebar.) There’s a new, upated, modern NaNoWriMo website now and it’s pretty spiffy. I’ve started my page there and posted my word count. Woohoo! Day One of month-long novel-writing, ridiculously-caffeinated madness has begun! Oh, how I’ve missed it! Seems the only way I get any writing of the fiction kind done is to NaNo it.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo, the only way I get any fiction written”

Posts will resume after a brief interlude

I’ll get back to reading and posting about Laudato Si soon, but I’m taking a brief break while I work on a novel for Camp NaNoWriMo. Right now I’m over 17,000 words in and am finding it difficult to think of anything else. But soon I will resume reading the encyclical and putting down some more thoughts about it. Plenty of other people have said plenty about it, as I am sure you are aware. Some of them even have something worthwhile to say. While I’m away, working on the novel, I leave you with this worthwhile and short video commentary and summary by Al Kresta. (If you haven’t ever caught his show on Catholic radio, I highly recommend that you check it out.)

Published on Jul 9, 2015: While specific scientific and economic points can be debated, since they are prudential judgements of the pope, the doctrine surrounding them are truths of faith and are binding on the consciences of believers. So why don’t we focus on those aspect of the encyclical, since they really aren’t controversial at all?”

New stuff for me and my little blog too

I’m trying something new this year. First, I’m trying out a theology course. The other day I attended a Catholic Theology webinar hosted by Dr. Taylor Marshall. At the end of it, he offered attendees a special rate on the first month of tuition at his New Saint Thomas Institute. I got it but I’m still kicking myself for not getting in as a charter member in the beginning. Oh, well, hindsight and all that. I spent a while tonight deciding on a way to keep up with coursework. Here’s a screenshot (below) of the arrangement I finally settled on.


I started out using DEVONthink for this but I’m liking Scrivener better. For now. What I want is to find a way that works and then not have to mess with it. I just want to use it. When I’m through with the course, I can compile the different files into an ebook for my iPad or print it out. I’ve never tried to do either of those things with Scrivener, so that’ll be a whole other adventure.

Second, I’m working on getting organized with my writing, especially writing for the blog. I found a template for Scrivener (my preferred app for all kinds of writing) that has really helped me organize my thinking and planning. The editorial calendar is especially helpful, though I customized it by adding liturgical seasons and feasts to it. Here’s a screenshot of how the blog plan looks so far.


The more I work on the blog plan, the more ideas I get and the more excited I get about writing again. It’s been a while since I’ve focused (or been able to focus) on much at all. Please keep me in your prayers. I need all the help I can get, for the writing projects, for the theology course, and for my health to allow me to do anything. You’ll be in my prayers, too. (I pray for all visitors to the blog and everyone I interact with online and in face-to-face life when I make the Daily Offering and when I pray the Rosary.)

Thank you for reading and for your prayers. Peace be with you. God bless you!

50,000 words and I’m ready for my nap now, Mr DeMille

Done, done and DONE! 50,000 words in just under 30 days. And that’s amazing considering that I pulled my shoulder blade muscle a few days ago and couldn’t write or do much of anything except howl in pain. Until today. This afternoon I grabbed the laptop, started to write like the wind, and didn’t stop until I crossed the finish line. That means I wrote about 4,000 words today, in case you wondered. What did I win, you ask? This:


Woohoo! I be slayin’ dragons! I’d love to get one of the Winner T-shirts, but apparently T-shirt makers these days think all women are skinny. Well, we ain’t. But NaNoWriMo laptop bags look pretty cool. Maybe Santa will bring me one. A girl can always dream, can’t she? (Why not? After all, I’m dreaming I’m a girl instead of a middle-aged woman. Unless there’s a senior citizen discount somewhere. Then I’m all for admitting I’m somewhat older than middle-aged. How much older? None of your business. Smarty pants.)

Thanks for reading and I hope you had a great and blessed Thanksgiving, and that your own writing (or whatever you might be working on) is going well. Now I’m off to do some much missed reading and ponder some ideas for the next draft of the novel. Oh, yeah, I’ve got plenty of work to do on it yet. But first I need to put some more pain reliever stuff on my shoulder. All that writing about spaceship battles and crashes is hard on a person. Maybe I should stop acting out what I’m writing. Maybe I need to train these dawgs to help out around here more. More. As in, at all. Maybe I can get back to blogging on topic about Catholicism soon. That’d be awesome. ;)

Taking a breather from NaNoWriMo

Truer words were never sputtered between gulps of steaming hot coffeeMy NaNoWriMo word count is already at 31,167 out of the goal of 50,000 (target for today was 30,000) and that gives me some breathing room. So I’m taking some time to ponder the mysteries of the universe. Some things I’ve wondered along the way:

  • If Christ is the King of the whole universe, then isn’t He the Savior of everybody on every world?
  • Do aliens suffer from original sin or just humans?
  • Do humans exist on other planets already?
  • Would they look like us?
  • What if there are beings a lot like us on the other side of the galaxy?
  • How long would it take for us to find them? Or for them to find us?
  • What if they already did…and they’re as surprised as we are?

I wasn’t kidding about those mysteries of the universe. And that’s not even the half of it! But if I say any more, you’ll know too much and then I’ll have to…you know. You’ll just have to wait for the book. Or the movie. Oh, don’t I wish?! Why, yes, I do, actually. ;)

Thanks for reading and may the peace of Christ be with you always. Back to working on the novel now. Or do some dreaming. (Same thing, really.) ;)

Writing a Novel with Story Bible Using Scrivener and (soon) Aeon Timeline

Finally got far enough along (21,055 words!) in creating the story world in Scrivener that I needed to start the Story Bible. Now I will finally have need of Aeon Timeline. Bought it a while back knowing I didn’t need it yet but would eventually. Eventually is now. Or pretty soon, anyway, but probably not until after NaNoWriMo so I won’t scramble my brain while I’m working on the rough draft. :)

Scrivener: Write Any Way You Want To
Scrivener lets me write the way I want to
Scrivener lets me write the way I want to. Which means bouncing all over the place when I realize I need to change something in one place that also means I need to change something somewhere else. And that gives me another idea which changes another idea and leads to yet another one. See? All over the place. Not easy with one long document. A cinch with Scrivener. Work in one document if you prefer. Or do like I do and break it up in as many different ways as you like. Scrivener makes doing your Story Bible easy too. You may not always need that but sometimes you may. At my current level of development for this project I definitely want one. Worlds, races and religions, oh my! I shudder at the thought of keeping all those ideas in my goofy little brain or on one long page of scribbled notes.

Here’s a screenshot of the novel in Scrivener, edited to keep secrets, well, secret. This image is much reduced. Click on it for the full size image in all its (redacted) glory. ;)

The novel thus far

With everything I’ve written in Scrivener I’ve used a different setup. I start a project in the simplest way with hardly any folders. (Notice the folder for Unused Scenes, ones I want to use but haven’t figured out where they go yet. I sometimes name this folder Unordered Scenes.) But as the work evolves so does my workspace. I also keep a database outside Scrivener in DEVONthink Pro Office. I try to keep mostly simple text files in Scrivener along with a few images. This keeps the project slim and backups fast. Autosave is set in Preferences to every 2 seconds of inactivity, backups to when I close the project and to save to Dropbox, I manually backup to a folder on my laptop (which my Airport Time Capsule backs up automatically for me every day).

Aeon Timeline: Untangle Those Storylines

Here is an interesting looking post about using Scrivener and Aeon Timeline by a published author who uses both. (I know nothing about the author or his books having only just discovered him, but I’m enjoying his post and blog, and have just begun watching one of his many videos on writing.)

Keep those storylines untangled

More than just a timeline: Track all the information that matters

“Aeon Timeline is more than a series of events on a never ending line. With Aeon, you can divide your timeline into logical groups, projects, or concurrent arcs. You can model the relationships between events and people, places and ideas. Aeon calculates people’s ages for you. And you can link your events with research material such as external files or images that can be displayed inside the application.” I cheated and copied this from the website. I  haven’t used it enough to say anything intelligent about it yet except I think it will help me keep from getting overwhelmed. I’ll let you know how that goes. :)

Thanks for reading. I hope some of this was helpful. Now back to writing. Right after a late lunch. (The dawgs are finally asleep and I hate to wake them up, but I’m starving! All this novel-writing and blog-posting is hard work, ya know!) Peace be with you! :)

Word count update and a bit of NaNoWriMo advice

If I had the energy I'd dance just like thisA few moments ago I passed the 20,000 word mark on my NaNoWriMo novel. Woohoo! I am doing the Snoopy happy dance. Okay, I haven’t actually moved, I’m still sitting here with the laptop in my lap, typing this post. But in my mind I am so doing the Snoopy happy dance. (The mere thought of really doing that makes me tired. But imagining it? Hey, I’m a writer, I can imagine it just fine. But there, a graphical type image so I don’t even have to imagine it. Well, I still have to imagine ME moving like that…Nope, can’t do it. Not even in my writerly imagination.)

So much for the update, now for the advice. I’ll keep it short and simple: Trust the process. You’ve been telling stories your whole life. Sometimes they’ve been whoppers. Sometimes you’ve embellished and honed the telling of your story until you are proud of your little creative self. You may even practice telling it to the dogs. (My dogs give me distinct looks of “Not again!” and “Will there be bribes, er, treats this time?” and often sigh out loud when I hone my craft on their captive flappy ears, which is too often, I suspect. And surprisingly difficult to say.)

National Novel Writing Month Because We Are Insane!My point being, you know how to tell a story so tell it already! And once you start telling a story, all sorts of other stories will occur to you, so jot those down and get back to your story. This story. The one you’re writing for NaNoWriMo. You can do this. Believe me, if I can, you can. So, go. Now. Go write! (So much for short, huh?)

Thanks for reading and have fun writing whatever it is you’re writing. And if you’re not writing for NaNoWriMo or any other reason, then bless your heart, you might be one of the sane ones. Peace be with you. :)

Dreaming dreams, imagining images, wordsmithing words

Imagining...I’ve been writing every night since NaNoWriMo started, pushing to make the day’s quota and I managed to get one day ahead. So today I took the day off from writing and I’ve been thinking and imagining. Got a glimmer of what the story may be about. Letting it soak in. Or soaking in it. Or something. Want to hear the characters’ voices, see the characters acting. That hasn’t happened yet except for a few moments here and there. So tonight I’m not pushing for words, I want images and sounds and feelings. Later I’ll write down what I see and hear and feel. And think. And dream. When I really get going on a story, I dream about it. That’s when I can see the characters and hear them and see what’s happening. That’s when the writing begins to flow.

On the other hand, I may just lie down to dream and fall asleep. And that’s okay, too. Maybe I’ll dream about the story and wake up and write it down. Or type it up. Either one. Realistically, though, I hardly ever write anything. I almost always use my phone or iPad or laptop. My teachers back in the day would have bought me these things if they’d been available at the time. My handwriting, oy vey! It was abomimbob–abombadible–adomba–awful. Ahem.

More later as this story develops. And here’s hoping that it does. Develop, that is. Until then I’ll be dreaming dreams, imagining images, wordsmithing words. Thanks for reading and peace be with you.

So much for all those blog posts I was going to write

writingwritingwritingI really meant to write scads of blog posts about myriads of subjects, but, well, I didn’t. A lot has been happening in the world and I’m not going to try to comment on all that. There are other blogs that cover current events and issues and do it well and in a timely fashion. But I was ill a long time and, though I am recovering, my energy level has been low. L-O-W low low low. So all projects have been on hold. Except for reading. And watching some TV. I don’t have cable or satellite, so I haven’t been staring at network dreck. I’ve been watching good stuff!

Netflix and Amazon Instant Video and used DVD’s have helped me through the times when walking across the room seemed an impossible chore. I’ve always enjoyed science fiction and have been on a sci fi binge. Especially my favorite Star Trek shows. I don’t care what anyone says, I have always liked Deep Space Nine and Voyager, even if Voyager suffered from some dreadful writing at times. (I dinna know how much moor that hull can tek before it canna breach any moor! Even the computer was tired of saying it after a while.) But after Seven of Nine joined the crew, things got more interesting. Laugh out loud interesting. And sometimes made me cry. A holographic doctor who wants to be human and a borg not wanting to become human (again), not at first, anyway, and a half-human half-Klingon who often doesn’t seem to want to admit she is either one: sheer genius.

B5shieldI even finally got to watch all five seasons of Babylon 5. That was an intense marathon! I was never able to watch it when it was on the air in first runs. I didn’t have access to a TV of my own and would have had to have someone record it for me. So that didn’t happen. How I wish I had been part of the fandom back then when online fandom was new and I had no idea that Babylon 5 led the way in that. There’s a lot about Babylon 5 that I had no idea about. But I was hooked this time after the first couple of eps. And as soon as Marcus entered the story, well, all I could think of was Lord of the Rings. Rangers! Strider! In space! Minbari, with their Grey Council, as Elves. And by that time I was so hooked that I bought the whole series on used DVD’s and watched all of it straight through. Whew! That. Was. Amazing.

I plan to go back and watch the whole thing again, and this time listen to some commentary and read about it. I’ve watched a few interviews; but while I was watching the first time through, I didn’t want any spoilers. I wanted my first impressions to be un-spoilered. (Maybe that isn’t a word but it should be.) I may write about Babylon 5 here. But I’m not saying when because I don’t have any idea and I don’t want to be held to a timeline.

nanowrimo2014-part-500In related news, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo which began Saturday. Word count is over 5,000 as of tonight. I’m using a story idea that I had a couple of years (or more) ago, though it was only a vague idea and I’m thoroughly enjoying exploring it now. I can’t tell you any more about it or I could ruin the whole fun exploring process. And I don’t want to do that! Suffice it to say that it’s space fiction (cuz I ain’t no scientist but it does take place in space) and — no, I’m not saying any more yet. You’ll have to wait until I get much further along with the story.

Thanks for reading. I hope to post more regularly now that I’m feeling better and have more energy. (Ahem! Hear that, Guardian Angel? I need health help and blog help, too!) See you soon. Peace be with you. :)

What a journey that was, Camp NaNoWriMo WIN, WOOHOO

2014-Winner-Facebook-ProfileAnother session of Camp NaNoWriMo is winding down and I just validated my word count. WIN! WOOHOO! But the best part is that just now, today, moments ago, I opened a new document in Scrivener and started typing up what I know about the setting, the characters, their relationships, their goals, the forces (or what-have-you) keeping them attaining those goals, and suddenly I felt like I knew where the story was going. I am beginning to know these characters, they are becoming real, deeper, fleshed out, alive. I’ve had glimmers of that before while developing this story. But those glimmers would appear and tantalize me, then fade away.

So annoying!

But I kept working on it — and taking breaks from it to do other things (read, play with the dogs, stargaze, watch shows like Sherlock and The Last Ship, play with the new slow cooker while teaching myself to cook — my favorite kitchen gadget is my iPad, don’t know what I would do without it). Looking at this latest version, I can see elements of earlier versions of the story, but I think this one is going to work much better than any of those. Hope renewed! I may just get this story written yet! And then there’s the wee matter of publication but that’s still down the road. Waaaay down the road. Still have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited about it. Thrilled, actually. Yay! Thanks for reading and I hope you’re enjoying whatever project you are (or aren’t) working on. Peace be with you! :)

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