Well, the cell phones can either get lost, stolen, left behind, or have battery drain. People today are on their smart phones so often, I'm surprised the batteries last as long as they do. And sometimes cell service isn't the greatest, even with a smart phone.
05-20-2020, 07:50 PM
There are lots of places here where cell service is iffy. We had several cells before our smart phones. None of them worked here at home. It always made me laugh when we'd get tourists up here from urban areas and they found out there was no service here. Some of them acted like they had just been dropped over the side of flat Earth. Why I found it hilarious was because they always say they come here to get away from it all, when in reality they want to bring it all with. But I think we even have cell service in the BWCA now, at least in some areas.
Yeah, there are plenty of ways to make a cell phone useless. Especially in the land of 10,000 lakes. After all, cell phones are such slippery little beasts.
Some writers think if they write fiction, they don't have to worry about being factually accurate. It drove me nuts when I mentored newbies. Some just didn't get it. It droves me nuts when I make fact errors, too, so it's good I like research. Gonna miss my old network, though. I had a long list of pros I could contact with questions. Some I still know, like our vet who is also a professional musician. But a lot of them are gone. Gonna take a long time to rebuild that resource.
Reading makes me want to write, so I know I have to read a lot more. Can't be a good writer without lots of reading.
05-20-2020, 08:07 PM
I hang out with a good number of people who know things but I haven't really cultivated a network of book-related research people who I can ask "hey, if character 1 does X, how would that work?" At least not at this point. Right now, I can fake it well enough. I just started getting into webinars on FB and the like, now that various historical sites have gone that route with the pandemic. I think once things open up and the writer's group starts up again, I'll go there occasionally to get back in touch with people. Any suggestions on how to start networking for research networks?
05-20-2020, 09:30 PM
I just contacted people, usually by e mail or snail mail, as I needed info. Celebrity fan club addresses were easy to find, so I'd send a letter asking questions. The letters got forwarded to media reps. Sometimes it didn't work and I wouldn'tget a response, but usually it did. Over the yrs I had limited mail or e mail relationships with people who worked for Eddy Grant, Marty Stewart, Jay Leno, lots of others, not all celebrity employees. Not close friendships or anything, just enough that I could ask general questions now and then. I was careful not to wear out my welcome. I've never been afraid to cold call people, either, like the person in the records office in SD. I'd just call, ID myself as a writer, explain I was researching a project, and ask if they could give me any info. Usually it worked. I could tell immediately if someone was annoyed or didn't want to talk. Then I would keep it very short, thank them, and get iff the phone. What I found though was most people love to share their expertise and like to help. Other writers were often helpful, too. My critter had an editor who worked for Dell, so I sometimes got info and advice indirectly from that editor. I had friends who were multipubbed novelists, too, that I met in chat rooms. That was before FB, but it was about the same concept.
I'm a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA). It's the only writers org I know of that accepts unpublished authors, which is why I'm a member. It uses a tiered membership system. The benefits are huge, many chapters worldwide, writing classes you can take free, networking galore, conferences, retreats, national and chapter contests, online and in person workshops, etc. It's a huge resource, one I've been ignoring, which is why I need to haul out my stack of magazines and get busy reading. Membership is expensive, but it's a professional organization.
I don't know of a network for one stop shopping. I just find experts as I need them. I expect I will need a network less now that the internet is no longer an infant.
05-21-2020, 07:22 AM
Thanks! I'm sure I can get a bit from the libraries at work as well. I can reach out to the librarians there with questions. I can probably do the same at the local libraries as well. I do want to get back in touch with the writing group that was in my area, if it still exists once things start to open up again. They may be able to direct me to people.
Right now, I'm just trying to get work done on my first draft. :lol:
05-21-2020, 07:45 AM
We have a huge arts community here, lots of writers. I don't know if the writers group is still around, but it was a poor fit for me. Very cliquey, no respect for romance authors, etc. I wish I had a good local group. RWA has to stand in for that. They do a good job, including helping find critique partners.I will probably rejoin the Kiss of Death chapter in Texas, IIRC. Their focus is romantic murder mysteries. Lots of specialty chapters in RWA.
Libraries are a great resource too, of course.
05-21-2020, 03:14 PM
Here's the result of another way I network, temporarily anyway. Attachment 50697
I needed info on motorcycle camping, so I found an online biker forum, a busy one. I posted about needing info and got the usual trolls and haters which I ignored, but some nice answers, too. One guy sent me pics and a detailed description of his and his wife's rig, including makes and models and way more info than I needed. Very nice. And helpful. The makes and models allowed me to cross check what he told me, since I didn't know if he was accurate or not. (He was.)
I don't have space for more than one bulletin board, so I cut a cork board in 4 pieces and got some plate display racks to hold them. It's an idea that's worked well for me. I use those for lots of notes when I'm actively working on a project.
05-21-2020, 03:57 PM
I'm glad you got some really good information from the bikers. A local 'artist colony' town attracts a lot of bikers (when everything's open, that is). And the cork board set up is brilliant. I'm fortunate to know several re-enactors and have historical sites in my area I can go to if I need to reach out for information. I also joined a group called ALHFAM (Association of Living History, Farming, and Agricultural Museums) if I want to know more about historical farming and trades.
Thankfully, the writer's group I go to when I'm in the mood for it is really nice. I found it online through Meetup.com.
05-22-2020, 05:33 PM
Oooo, re-enactors would be a great resource! What fun!
We made a little progress again today in my office. I found my last draft of the biker story, so I can probaby dump all the others. It's a start. That WIP is one I had barely started, kicked around for yrs, then started over and used it to win NaNo one yr. It's a series romance that might have publication potential. It's the one I got the contest feedback from which I found this week. I'm starting to get everything together for that WIP, so want to get it polished and entered in some more contests ASAP.
I need to start thinking about a project for NaNo, too. I do much better with a deadline. I have a couple like Biker, barely a skeleton of an idea, just waiting for meat to be put on the bones. Prepping one of them for NaNo would be good practice in writing a synopsis and plotting. I found a couple of those yesterday but they were left on the hutch. Husby moved them and I'm not sure where, but they'll turn up soon.
I need to figure out a daily word count to meet, especially for first drafts. If I don't force myself to write when I get blocked, I never finish anything. I need my old habits back. Just the good ones, not the bad ones.
05-22-2020, 06:28 PM
I hear you about writing through the block. That's one of the reasons why I have two WIPs. If I get blocked on one, I can go over to the other and work on that for a while. It's also the reason why I make sure I sit down every Sunday and work on writing. I've using time, rather than word count. Right now, I've been bad and only work for about an hour since I've been writing at home. I need to extend the time to two hours next and slowly longer from there. I should start writing during the week or at least both Saturday AND Sunday. I generally just want to decompress when I get home/am done working. Although I do try and read a bit in the evenings. I do read a bit of fan fiction here and there, though. I do need to get back to reading novels and not just non-fiction.
05-22-2020, 07:21 PM
I've tried working on more than one project at a time and plan to try again, but it's never worked for me. I can't switch genres either. Writing short fiction ruined my book length work. But my short stuff was selling and novels weren't. Shorts also were lazy writing for me, more like taking dictation, didn't require much thought. I can't crank out a novel like that. I'm looking forward to relearning though. Have to figure out where all my writing books went.
My blocks get worse if I don't force myself to keep writing. I learned that the hard way, with projects stalled for years, many of which I plan to work on again now. I also can't use time to judge how much I've written, because I'm a world class procrastinator. I can waste time very efficiently. I have to do word counts, even when every word is torture. What I've found is, when I've had a bad session and feel sure I didn't write a single usable word, when I reread it next time, the suck factor is never as high as anticipated.
05-22-2020, 07:30 PM
I need to read more too. Impossible to be a good writer without reading a lot. Internet interferes with that. I haven't read as a writer for yrs and need to get back to that, too. Maybe I should build reading time into my writing time and read in my office. My problem is I fall asleep when I read.
I'm compromising to strike a balance regarding internet in my office. We'll put in a cable for internet. My desktop is so slow it's torture, so I won't be surfing, just using it for internet if there's a real need. If I have do a bunch of research, I will haul my laptop out there. If I want to use my phone, I will have to burn data so that would be minimal, too. All that should help keep me on the straight and narrow.
05-23-2020, 10:50 AM
Yeah, I procrastinate as well, especially when I have access to the internet during my writing sessions. That's one of the reasons why I spend several hours at the coffee shop. This way, at least I get SOME writing done. I was worried about distractions when writing at home (books, DVDs, crocheting, etc.) but I've been able to focus on writing for at least one hour every Sunday. I need to start increasing my time with the initial goal of two hours.
When I switch from one WIP to the other, I tend to work on the 'new' WIP for quite a bit. I don't alternate every week. Maybe do a quick scene here and there to get through the block? Write something from a different perspective? I remember Mercedes Lackey used to write filk (essentially folk songs for her stories) when she got writer's block. That was one block busting technique I remembered, although not something I'd do. Perhaps write urban legends or a gossip column for your story? Something the characters might hear or read at some point?
The reading I can do in the evenings during the week. I can do that for a bit before I go to bed.
05-23-2020, 12:24 PM
Maybe shorter blocks of time would work better than one big block.
I laughed at the suggestion of writing a gossip column. One of my minor characters in my series is a tabloid journalist (is that actually journalism?) who annoys the heck out of my MC, a late night talk show host. Writing a tabloid story is a great idea.
I have to change my MC's name and I don't want to. AT ALL. But unfortunately Stephen Colbert now hosts The Late Show, so my guy Steve has to become someone else. That's going to be a hard change for me. He's such a Steve I can't think of him as anyone else. But I guess I need to make the switch before I do any other work on those stories. Part of the problem is he has several nicknames based on Steven. Ugh. Time to haul out the baby name books. Wonder where I put them.
I often read in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. Fortunately I can read on my phone so don't need a light.
05-23-2020, 01:32 PM
Then keep the Steven part and change the last name. :) And I'm glad you liked the gossip column suggestion. I have a couple of links for character/baby names. I also have a book called the Character Naming Sourcebook (by Sherrilyn Kenyon) that separates names by nationality then female/male of each nationality. It also has the most popular names in the US according to year going back to 1880. It's a bit old so there may be a more recent edition.
I think the longer block won't be too much of a problem since I would go to the coffee shop for most of the day. That's one of the reasons why I set aside Sunday for writing. If I do go for longer periods (beyond two hours), I may chunk it up.