Tag Archives: organization

Strange Flotsam in My Bedroom – A Photo-essay

Cleaning your room can unearth the oddest things you forgot you had. I’m a bit of a packrat – a bad habit – so it was high time to do a deep cleaning and clear some stuff out. It’s a wrench to part with some of these things. In fact, most of these I ended up keeping. Such as:

To my surprise, my old piggy bank still had money in it! A grand total of 16 cents, but still…

This is apparently a tooth-holder. For putting your baby teeth in when waiting for the Tooth Fairy to come. I got it as a gift in playschool.

To illustrate my skill as an interior decorator, here is my brilliant idea to fill an old Jones Soda bottle with my dad’s old marbles. Doesn’t it just ooze with originality?

Now THIS is a pen. It would be a pretty neat idea for a pen too, if the pen actually worked. The long, skinny part detaches from his foot, which acts as kind of a pen-stand.

The dude on the left is the aforementioned pen. The dude on the right is – er… a souvenir from Holland. It actually opens in the middle, and you eat ice cream from its belly. My sister and I got one for dessert, after eating dinner at a pancake restaraunt (yes, they eat pancakes for dinner in Holland).

And lastly, my lovely bookshelf is made of vintage apple crates I rescued from my grandparents’ garage. The crates have come in very handy, actually. The one thing I’ve learned from all this cleaning is – I have too many books! Is that even possible? Maybe it’s time for me to go buy a Kindle or something.

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Update on the Splayed Novel

As you can see from the picture, my organizational system for keeping track of the plot of my novel is getting unwieldy. (For comparison, see the picture in this post). On the plus side, I am one tenth of the way through! The trick now is to not bog down in the middle part, but to keep my excitement going all the way to the end. I can’t believe I wrote a novel in eight weeks once, it seems to be taking a lot longer this time around.

For fun, I’m going to look at some of the tropes I’m planning to use. Go ahead and see if any of the tropes seem familiar to you (from other books, movies, etc.) “Tropes” are devices used by writers as a kind of storytelling shorthand, usually because of audience familiarity with that type of story (yet tropes are not clichés – click the link for more explanation). All trope descriptions listed below are from TvTropes.org, and are linked to the specific page.

The plot of the novel probably falls under the heading of “Romantic Comedy.”

1.) Heroes Want Redheads

From TvTropes: “Love Interests have always been Color Coded for Your Convenience. Traditionally, the hero’s significant other would usually be a blonde, to contrast with the brunette Vamp or Femme Fatale. But today, the passive Distressed Damsel have been replaced by a sassy, bold, brash, sharp-tongued heroine — easily compatible with the “spunky Fiery Redhead” stereotype.”

–       I was going to make my main character blond, but then I realized I’ve written tons of blond main characters (possibly because I am blond?) But I want her looks to indicate she’s popular with the guys – think Cheryl Blossom in the Archie comics. Ellie doesn’t quite fill the whole trope description though. While she’s a bit sassy, she’s more bubbly than sharp-tongued, though she does love to take down the Insufferable Genius (see below) a few pegs…

2.) Single Woman Seeks Good Man

“Frequently they’ve been burned by a previous lover; and generally they’ve matured. But it is not necessary. Any heroine who finds the hero attractive exactly for his more admirable qualities falls under Single Woman Seeks Good Man. This can range from liking his sense of humor, to appreciating his poetry skills, all the way to his Heroic Sacrifice.  Immature and hormonal souls may wonder What Does She See in Him?, but the heroine is much more likely to end up happy this way.

–       This is Ellie. She’s gone out with a string of jerks, and just wants to meet a good guy. She hasn’t exactly matured yet though…

–       She was attracted to her last boyfriend, Leroy, because of his “Good Man” qualities. Unfortunately, that relationship is currently on the rocks. Just one part of why Ellie’s life is currently spiralling downhill…

–       The “immature and hormonal souls” in my story are the rest of the “Good Man’s” friends, excepting the “Insufferable Genius,” who has other problems.

3.) Insufferable Genius

“At first glance, the Insufferable Genius appears to be exactly the type who’s doomed to learn a lesson: he’s very talented, knows he’s very talented, and doesn’t mind telling you repeatedly what a talented person he is. But the difference between him and your standard loudmouth is that he really is that good, and when placed in a difficult situation he can actually work his way out of it — so maybe he does have a right to brag…”

–       Writing this character amuses me. I didn’t know pretending to be a know-it-all could be so much fun. No wonder insufferable geniuses do this.

–       This trope leads to another trope known as Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness – using long words. Finally, a chance to use the words in my vocabulary that make other people stare blankly at me!

–       The Redhead, Ellie, drives my Insufferable Genius up the wall. He can’t figure out why his roommate ever went out with her…

3.) Nice Guy

–       This is Ellie’s last boyfriend, Leroy. His “niceness” is why she likes him.

4.) Those Two Guys

“Two characters, usually in a school setting, to be the mundane Greek Chorus. They may or may not be snarky, but they are completely ordinary. Often the best friends of the main character.”

–       To round out my group of friends are a couple characters (actually three, not two) who could be described as “Those Two Guys.” You know, just to fill up the empty spaces. They might get filled out a bit more, or get some minor subplots, or get cut entirely by time I finish. We’ll see.

–       They are useful for snarky insights into the main characters, though.

5.) The Power of Friendship

–       Can Ellie remain friends with the group, when her relationship with Leroy, might very well be over?

6.) Perpetual Poverty

“Despite always being desperate for cash, food or other supplies, some people never seem to actually run out. They might always be desperate for money, but somehow manage to live in the same house for the duration of their story, never getting kicked out once. Or they might always complain about being hungry but never starve.”

–       Another one of Ellie’s problems

So there you have it, a very brief idea of what I’m working with. Hopefully this will be enough to pull me through the other nine tenths of the novel! What about you, are there any projects you are currently working on?

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Subscription Disorganization

Or: Aaaaaaaaaah, How Do I Keep Track?

 

Stress, by Abie Sudiono. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

I haven’t come up with a good organizational system to keep updated on the blogs I follow yet. Not that I’m the most organized person on the planet – see last week’s post for the messy system I came up with to keep my notes for my novel straight. But it seems like there’s a million different ways to keep up with people’s blogs, and none of them work quite as well as I’d like them to.

The easiest method is with WordPress (the blogging platform I use, in case you didn’t know). If you have a WordPress account, you can just click on the little “subscribe” button at the top of the blogs you find interesting. Of course, this means you have to be signed in to WordPress to read your subscriptions, but I usually catch up with them before or after I make a post myself. The downside is this only works for WordPress blogs. Blogger, Tumblr, etc. you have to find another method for.

The other tool I use is Google Reader. If you have a Google account (for Gmail, GoogleDocs, etc.) you can get into Google Reader and type in the web addresses of the blogs you want to follow. The handy thing is you can organize blogs into folders according to topic or whatever you want, which is what I’ve down. My problem is I’ve got lots of blogs on here, and I forget to check this (mainly because I have to sign in to check it). As a result, my Google Reader currently says I have 500 or so updates to read, which I’m never going to catch up on. Also, if I read a blog without going through Google Reader first, it says that update is still unread, even though I’ve read it.

Another method is through email updates. There are only a couple blogs that I follow this way, mainly because I don’t really want to clutter up my inbox. If I get really lazy, I sometimes use my browser to bookmark blogs, because I don’t have to sign in to do this. Unfortunately, bookmarks don’t tell you about updates. And they’re not there if you happen to use a different computer.

The last way I keep up is to click on the person’s name every time they comment on Stories and Stuff, just to see if they’ve updated since I checked last. Sometimes it’s a good reminder, because I realize somehow I’d lost track of one of the blogs I’m interested in.

As a result, I often read blogs in batches, catching up on the last five posts someone wrote all at the same time. So if you’re wondering why sometimes I have five comments all at once, when I haven’t dropped by for a little while, just blame it on my disorganized system of staying updated.

What about you? What methods to you use to stay up-to-date, and how well do they work?

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Yes, That Is My Novel Splayed All Over The Walls

This is my current workspace:

And that is AFTER I spent a couple hours last night organizing my notes. Since I have a lot more free time (in theory) than I do during school, I am trying to get a large chunk of writing completed on my latest novel. I’m posting this pic because I like how it displays the messiness of my thought processes.

For a long time I didn’t have a dedicated place to write. Since I can write just about anywhere, I didn’t see a need for it. But it is useful to have a place to spread your stuff around without having to pack it up all the time.

Where do you write? Do you tack your story ideas to the wall (bulletin board) just like me, or do you have a better system?

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