Bribing Myself

Why do we have to use rewards to make ourselves do something we want to do?

I do this to myself a lot.



My goals are set month by month, and this past September I was going to fall short of my goal if I didn't step up. Admittedly, I'd been goofing off a bit; I also had a hard few days where I let myself relax and go to bed early instead of write.

So I told myself "if you reach your goal, you can buy a nice new book off Amazon."

That was Friday. I buckled down and sped through Friday night and Saturday night. I don't write on Sundays. Then Monday evening rolled around. I sat on my bed after family devotions and said "I'm going to get this done."

And I did. I got a little tired around 10:30, so I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and got into my PJs. Then back to writing. And I did it. I finished the tenth draft (or editing round) or Words of Bravery.

After thinking about it the next day, I decided not to get myself that book. Why? (Mostly because I'm cheap and I have way too many books waiting around to be read anyway.)

But mostly because I wanted that draft to be finished. I wanted to have it done. Because I want to be published.

I shouldn't have to bribe myself to do something I already want to do.

The draft being complete is reward enough. It got done by the deadline I set. And now that book is complete (save maybe one final grammar/nitpicking edit). It's done.

That's my reward.

Setting goals for yourself is great, and adding rewards might be helpful. But if you have to trick yourself, bribe yourself, pull yourself along kicking and screaming, to get something done that you know you want done...be honest. You're lazy.

STOP.

"I'm not lazy." I say that to myself a lot. I work 9-5, come home and do farm work until dinner.

"I earned this." I say to myself as I mindlessly scroll through FaceBook while my writing time ticks away.

"I'm not feeling it." I say as I stop editing after 15 minutes.

"I'm just tired." I say as I put my laptop away and then spend the next 20 minutes on Instagram - and not going to bed.

STOP.

I'm done. I'm done claiming I'm too tired to write and then staying up watching Studio C videos. I'm done wasting my time.

Yes, I know I need to take care of myself. I know I need to make sure I don't get "burnt out" and all. But y'know what? Earlier in the day I was out going for a quick, relaxing horse ride. After dinner I played a few songs on the piano. I watched a Studio C with my little sisters before they went to bed. I don't need any more "chill time" for the day. I need to stop watching YouTube and I need to sit my butt on my bed and I need to write.

I'm sick and tired of not feeling "in the mood" to write. I'm tired of my lazy self procrastinating and putting things off and convincing myself I deserve time off. I'm tired of feeling guilty when I check the time and realize I don't actually feel tired and I could have spent the last 30 minutes editing instead of doing absolutely nothing productive.

I'm sick and tired of baiting myself. I'm done with that, guys. I'm going to set my goals, and I'm going to reach those goals, and I'm not going to drag myself through every milestone. I'm going to buckle down and hold myself responsible for my time and make sure I'm not just wasting my evenings and I'm going to get these books done.

I'm sick and tired of being a writer. I want to be an author. And that will be my reward.

Why Characters Should Stay Dead

It's a current popular plot "twist" these days: characters who die but don't stay dead.

(Caution, spoilers ahead for a few movies/books.)



We all know the drill. That character hanging off the cliff lets go...the building gets blown up with someone inside...Bucky falls off the train...and all the other characters are devastated. They cry and mourn and maybe the readers/watchers cry too.

Then the next book/movie comes out (or sometimes you just wait for a few scenes or chapters), and that "dead" character shows up. Maybe they're the villain now. Or maybe they've been tortured by the villain. Or maybe they've been wounded and fending for themselves. Or they just stroll over and act like nothing ever changed. 

They didn't really die. Something cushioned their fall. Something protected them. They planned it from the beginning. It was just a trick.

Or maybe a different character uses magic or whatever is available to them in their world to bring that actually-dead character back.

It happens so much, we've almost come to expect it. The character falls, their friends cry, and while we shed a tear or two, we keep reading/watching, eagerly awaiting their "unexpected" return.

Why can't they just stay dead?

They can and sometimes they should. Other times, bringing them back to life can be good and well. So let's look further into this.

Keep Them Dead Because It's Simply Realistic

As much as it hurts to loose a loved one, we can't bring them back. We may see them again in Heaven someday, but for now, they are no longer on this earth. They're out of the story. No resurrections this time (to quote Thanos on the quite-possible-permanent-death of Loki). It brings a sense of realism to the story. It shows you're serious about this book.

Keep Them Dead to Raise the Stakes

Like I said, show you're serious. Show the readers that your villains really and truly are dangerous. They will kill. People will die because of them. We're raising the stakes here. People have died, people the readers love. It's time to make the villain pay.

In a World of Not-Really-Deaders, Surprise Readers with an Actually-Deader

You wanna stab your readers in the heart? Don't bring that character back. Just...don't. Their story is finished, more or less. It'll make readers continue to think about your book (even if it's only to grow that harboring resentment against you, the author) after they read it. It'll make them go back and re-read the parts with that character because they realize how precious few paragraphs they really have with him/her.

Keep Them Dead Because Deaths Drive Action

Death impacts the other characters. It spurs them into action. They want revenge. They want to make the villain pay. They want to see their friend(s) didn't die in vain. It also serves for a low point in the book, that "dark night of the soul" moment where everything seems black and hopeless.

Of course, we can still get achieve this and then bring the character back later. So let's talk about how to do this correctly.

Don't Bring Them Back Because You Only Killed Them Off to Horrify Readers in the First Place

Marvel brings back a lot of their characters who "die", right? Because those characters are well loved and because Marvel wants to continue making money off of them.

When rewatching the movies, guess which is the only death to make me cry? Quicksilver's death, because he doesn't come back. Bucky falls off the train, and I'm like "Oh, yeah, poor Steve, but he'll find him later. Yeah, Bucky gets captured by Hydra, but he makes it through." But Quicksilver dies, and Wanda looses her brother. Forever. He doesn't return.

Do you want your readers to stop mourning for character deaths because they're 90% sure that character will come back later? If they know you resurrect half your "dead" characters, they won't be so emotional when a character dies.

Kill Them For a Reason

Don't kill that character off simply because you want to make readers cry. And then bring them back later because you actually kinda still need them, or because you want to make readers get all excited and happy.

No. Kill that character and watch readers stare in horror as they slowly realize he/she isn't coming back. Ever. They're gone.

Kill them to show the tough battle they're fighting. To show that there really is danger. To show what the villain is capable of, or that the heroes have to work together before they all die. To show the price of the heroes mistakes.

Make sure every character death is there for a reason. Don't just kill them (and bring them back) just for fun. Every death needs to pack a punch. And keeping them dead will do just that.

2019 Recap

So. 2019 is over.

-Presbytery was in Canada, and I got to meet some awesome people and see many old friends
-Went to Realm Makers with Sarah and Evan and met my writing peeps
-Got to pitch Words of Bravery at Realm Makers (haven't got any responses back...which isn't a no, haha)(okay, so maybe it is a no after waiting this long...)
-Wrote Ships, Secrets, and Survivors for NaNo
-Went to the Ark Encounter with a dear friend
-I made a meme for about our repair business




-Found out Bree has navicular and it's incurable and he will only get worse until he's completely unridable
-Haven't heard back on my pitches at Realm Makers
-A friend had to put her old first horse that taught me everything horse down and she's been taking it really hard
-My siblings are growing up and they're not supposed to???
-We still do not have a pastor for our congregation (our original pastor retired a few years back)
-Saw a harp for sale on Craiglist in the area and should have snatched it up but now it's gone and I have regrets

2019 Goals

Read 100 Books And yes I did reach this goal (yay). I read a total of 111 books, so that's cool. One was a Calvin and Hobbes comic book, though.

Pitch Words of Gold Yes!! Twice! I also submitted it to a third place, but so far, I have yet to hear back from anyone.

Go to Another Writer's Conference YES REALM MAKERSSSSS!!! I might have gone to Write2Ignite as well, but I went to a Ride and Tie race instead.

NaNoWriMo So this was a goal because at the beginning of 2019 I was editing everything and had no idea what I was going to write. Then Sarah told me I could just finish off the book we were writing together, and so then I had no idea if we even had 50K left to write in the book...but yes I reached 50K, and the book still ended up being around 80K.

Run Another Ultra Technically, no, I did not run another Ultra. Work was busy and I simply wasn't running enough (not that that hasn't stopped me before). I went to the site of the race I wanted to run, and was considering signing up and just running and speed-walking my way to the finish line, but I decided to make the wise choice and not do it. But I volunteered for the race instead and helped, and that was really fun.

Compete with Bree in a Ride and Tie I did two races with Bree this year. One in May: a ten miler on a rainy day. We were the only ones doing the short distance, and then 3 teams did the long distance. So a good one to start with. The other was in September: another ten miler, but at a huge race. And we got DQd for intermittent lameness, after which I took Bree home and to the vet and found out about his navicular...but yes, we did race. :)

Go Through the M'Cheyne Reading Plan YES! This was my first time to ever successfully complete the plan, so I'm pretty excited about that.

Drive Pepper More Often Well, I drove him once. Which is more than I can say for other years. And he got driven for a fairly long time - not just up the driveway and back, so that's nice. So yes, we did reach this goal.


~~*~~

Anyways, I'd like to have another of those photo dumps and just share a few things. And I hope y'all have a lovely start to your 2020.

January - Found out how to get all three horses some exercise at the same time, lol

February - The 2019 Winter Games were held!!

March - Airsoft game played in 30 degree freezing rain.

April - Surprised Dad for his birthday with a huge family camping trip.

May - Sarah and I raced Bree in his first Ride and Tie race.

June - Trip to Canada for Presbytery.

July - Realm Makers Writing Conference!!

August - Visited the Ark Encounter with a dear friend from Canada, crossing that off her bucket list. :)

September - Took the horses to the county fair.

October - Volunteered at the local Ultra Marathon race.

November - The ice skating rink opens for the season!

December - Fun group ride.
Hope y'all had a lovely 2019...and let the fun of 2020 begin!!

Know the Novel - Ships, Secrets, and Survivors Part 3

Apparently I'm not done posting for 2019.

So basically, I thought I had already done this post, but after a quick check in my blogger archives I had this moment of "the archives are incomplete" which lead me to realize "if it's not in the archives, it doesn't exist, which must mean I never made the post" and so here you go.

Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around? Firstly, that was last month, so I don't remember (this post is bound to be interesting). Um...I remember I went on a family vacation during the first week or so, and I got behind on the original schedule to finish in 2 weeks. But I still finished.

Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome? I finished later then I wanted. But other then that, everything went well.

What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? I loved writing the ships. Not the romance ones, but the wood and sails and freedom kind of ships. Also, switching from two POVs was fun. Haven't written multiple POVs in a long while.

How about your least favorite part? Having to do research on certain injuries, french revolution weapons, and what are the parts of a ship. I'd much rather be drafting, mate.

What do you feel like needs the most work? Um, honestly, the RPG bit that Sarah and I did before I finished it myself for NaNo. But NaNo draft wise, I would say the ship parts...

How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details! I think I did a fairly good job with the characters, including the ones who were originally Sarah's. They all got a chance to shine and grow a little. But I'm especially in love with Ravin (shy, awkward ex-assassin) and Adi (knife-wielding feisty princess).

What’s your next plan of action with this novel? Um. Edits, basically.

If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be? Mate, I want this turned into a movie/tv series. All the pirates, pirate hunters, agents, sea dragons, monsters, ships, islands...it would be so cool!!

Share some of your favorite snippets! Just check out my Shared WIP Tag post available here and the Know the Novel Part 2 post here. And enjoy the snippets!

Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel? Well...I just figured out how to work with Google Docs, so that's cool. Editing this book will be an adventure for sure!

Anyways, so my next post really will be in 2020...

2020 Plans for Saver of Memories

I've got a 2019 wrap-up in the works, but that will technically be published in January. So this will be the last '19 post for the blog.

Don't worry, I'll make this short.

My plans for 2020 are simple: I'd like to write more writing tips and writing centered posts. I feel like this year was full of random posts, some writing geared, others just for fun. Hope y'all enjoyed them.

There are some other exciting things going on in 2020, but you'll get to hear about those in time.

If there's anything you'd like to see me blog about in the coming year, let me know!!

Hope y'all have a lovely New Years! Talk again in 2020. :)

6 Movie Recs

Are you looking for some new movies to check out over the holidays? Tired of watching the same old films? Looking for something out of the ordinary? Look no further! I have a quick list of same favorite (clean) movies for y'all to check out this winter.

Get a hot drink and some blankets and check out these movies. :)

Black Lightning

This is a Russian movie, but fear not - for those of you who don't speak Russian, you can get it with English subtitles! (Don't get it dubbed, never ever do that, to any movie.) And it's rentable on Amazon.

Black Lightning is a beautiful story about a poor boy who wants to become rich so he can drive a nice car and impress the girls. His father gives him an old, clunky car for his birthday, and he's so embarrassed by it that he doesn't even drive it to school. But then he finds out the car can fly. And the rest is history.

This movie is one of my favorites. Ever. It's a superhero movie, is clean, and also extremely funny. The special effects don't look corny, and the plot is well written. Please, if you try any movies from this post, try this one.


Based off the historical fiction book The Eagle of the Ninth, this movie has flaws (weird costumes, not close to the book, not even historically accurate) but if you just take it for what it is (a fun adventure story), it's really enjoyable.

My brother loves it because there's zero kissing/romance involved, haha. My sister loves it because it's different than your usual movie. I love it because the music is amazing.

It's a little gritty and dark. But no language or "skippy" scenes. :)


So this is based off a kids series (which was made into a cartoon series), but I didn't find that out until a few years ago? But this has been a favorite horse movie of mine since I was little.

Pros: Fun story plot, beautiful horses, aussie accents, amazing soundtrack, ghost stories and chills at the end, different from your normal horse movie.

Cons: If you don't like horses, you'll find this boring...


This is kind of old, so maybe everyone's already seen it and we just don't talk about it? But it's hilarious. Hysterical.

Basically, it tells the story of Red Riding Hood in such a brilliant way...interviewing all the characters and piecing together what really happened. You'll never look at the fairy tale the same way again.

(Apparently there's a sequel movie? That was not very good? I haven't seen it - can anyone tell me if it was worth watching?)

Only Old Men Are Going to Battle

Yes, another Russian movie. Not that I'm sorry. And there are more I could recommend, but I'll just stick to two for today.

I came downstairs one night to find my Dad watching this. I sat in for the last half and enjoyed it; then I watched the whole thing again later and loved it more. It inspired a bit of my trilogy, actually.

But it's clean, despite being a war movie. It follows a group of fighter pilots, and is thoughtful., really interesting, and presents such an interesting aspect of war. Basically, only old men (the most experienced) are sent into battle, but as time goes on, those get killed off, so the more and more younger men are sent out. Until young boys are going up because they're the most experienced over the newbies.

You can watch it for free on YouTube here. Good news: includes English subtitles. :D

The Court Jester

This movie is a classic with our family. Even after all these years, we are still laughing hysterically every time we see it.

A ex-circus entertainer pretends to be a jester while smuggling the real king back onto the throne, and gets involved in all sorts of trouble...

All I can say is just watch it, okay? It's great. 

Let me know if you've seen any of these, or if you watch them. I'd love to chat!!

Cars and Characters

So the below meme (or post or whatever you want to call it) has always made me laugh. And it popped up again the other day and I thought, you know, I should do something like that for my Red War Trilogy characters.

So I did. And below is the result.

The original post.


Marywyn doesn't even have a moped or motorized scooter, much less a car or a license. However, she would think nothing of walking or biking 5 miles to a store. Has hitched rides with local grandmas, farmers in tractors, people on horseback, lost families on vacations, and once a celebrity (who she had never even heard of). 

Duren drives anything, from tractors to semi-trucks, automatic or manual. Has stories about driving each and every kind of motor vehicle. His own car cost like $500 and grinds horribly when it changes gears and the brakes work intermittently. No one knows what the original color was supposed to be, but it probably wasn't "rust".

Jaran had a license, but it gets suspended frequently, as he's always getting caught speeding, doing doughnuts in parking lots, or drifting around curves. His car is one of those little manual sports cars, used, but still fast. He modifies it from time to time, usually when he's unable to drive it because of his license getting revoked again.

Rayn has an expensive sports car, washes it once a week, has a strict "no food" rule for passengers. Has memorized when and where the cops usually are and only speeds when he knows he can get away with it. There's a chance his parents took out the loan for the car so he hasn't paid a thing, but he'll neither confirm nor deny it... 

Wisdom has the biggest, loudest diesel truck around, and likes to dare everyone else to attempt to drive it. Grew up on a farm and was driving tractors when she was 10, though she did get her license on time.

Lavern has a cheap "piddly gray car" that everyone helped her find. She paid for it herself with cash, and it's not fancy, but it's reliable. She learned to drive later in life, and can be timid, though she's working on that and trying to drive to places that would normally make her nervous.

Mask runs everywhere, or else begs someone to pick him up. No one realized he doesn't have a license because no one ever taught him to drive (they just assumed he didn't have money for a car), so once, Duren asked him to take a turn behind the wheel on a road trip. After the normal instructions anyone would receive when first driving Duren's rust bucket, Mask proceeded to take out a line of caution cones and scrape the side of the car across the concrete divider. He was careening towards a line of stopped cars when Duren pulled the emergency break. That was his one and only time in a driver's seat.

Connaven has a cute little Jeep, brand new, purchased for her by her parents. Everyone tries to get her to take it out four-wheeling, but she refuses--mostly because she doesn't want to get it muddy, but also because she's terrified of driving it on anything that's not a fairly quiet road. So the other characters view it as "a waste of a good Jeep." She had her own private driving instructor, but hasn't gone on a highway since the lessons were over.

Ondore has a motorcycle license, but never bothered to get one for driving. She will drive, but only trusts herself in the drivers seat, and everyone knows she doesn't have a car license, so they don't let her drive. So she usually just takes her bike places, which is fine with her. Has a couple bikes, suitable for all occasions, most of which she fixed up herself. 

Gillian lives in the country in the middle of nowhere, and never bothered to get her actual license. She obeys the rules of the road and has never once been pulled over. Happens to know all the local cops and even waves at them. It's never occurred to her that she needs to get a license. Then again, she goes to like, five places when she leaves home and that's it. For special trips, someone comes and picks her up. Current car belonged to her grandma; no one knows what will happen when the tag gets expired.

Tach trades vehicles so often, he hasn't actually paid for inspections in years. Gets pulled over frequently, but never for speeding. Usually because his current car is breaking safety regulations: no lights, no turn signals, exhaust not working, and the like. He doesn't fix the problem; he just trades the car again.

Maxin is a good citizen. Keeps his license and his vehicles up to date, obeys all laws and regulations. Except he never wears a seat belt (because when he was a kid, he never had to). Also eats while driving with his knees. Has been driving the same station wagon for 30+ years; the transmission has been replaced twice. No one knows how the vehicle is still running.

Tan drives a small truck that's completely covered in rust and sounds like a sick tractor. He learned to drive without a license, but does have one now, because "that's the way things are these days, gotta make it all complicated with rules and regulations. Back in my day, you just slapped an engine on some tires and drove it into town." Has multiple run down vehicles in various states of disintegration behind his house.

Hope you enjoyed that! Now go do it with your own characters--it's pretty fun!