Update Into the Pause

It feels like it has been forever since I last posted, but when I look it has been less than a week: a very packed week. As the whole world seems to hold its breath waiting on the results of the US election, I may as well step into the intake of breath and give you an update.

My weight loss continues. I’m pretty happy with the program I’m on. It’s easy to eat during self-isolation and the food is comforting.

I am not doing as well on the prescribed strength training. I somehow always find an excuse not to do it. It’s just seven exercises: Curl-to-Press, Squat-to-Balance, Plank, High Knee Pulls, Reverse Lunge Side Squat, Shot Put/Squat, McGill Curl-Up, Rotational Punch, Overhead Tricep Extension, and Lateral Band Shuffle. But it looms large in my imagination.

I won another Honorable Mention for another story in Writers of the Future. This is my sixth Honorable Mention and I am honored, of course. Mixed with that sense of honor and good fortune is a bit of frustration that I have not advanced higher in the rankings. I need to improve my story-telling.

A friend and I are going through Jessica Brody’s Save the Cat Writes a Novel to help us understand the beats of a successful stories. I looked at Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat methodology about four years ago and it made no sense to me. It says something about my learning that this time I started to have epiphanies. A lot of what my SFF group says about my stories makes sense within the Save the Cat structure.

I am very self-consciously writing the current story using Snyder/Brody’s beats as a guideline. Let me be very clear here. This is practice. It is a way of understanding the structure they are laying out. I did the same thing when I learned the structure of short stories that Kris Rusch presented. Once I did two stories in this self-conscious way, the structure embedded deep enough into my brain that I could write in a discovery fashion again.

BTW, WMG’s course on short stories is amazing. In addition to all the lectures by Dean, you also get the short story lecture by Kris Rusch, which really transformed my stories. I highly recommend it. They are running a half price sale on all their courses until November 10. This would be a good one to get.

Recently I took a course on editing from Tiffany Reisz which was excellent. It is the polar opposite of the way Dean edits and writes, but similar to JMS in some ways. It’s good to get a variety of opinions and perspectives. I continue to learn from JMS and Dean and Kris, of course.

NaNoWriMo has started and I am way behind. I probably won’t win this year, but that’s ok. I’m going to continue on doing my best to learn, write, and send stories out.

As I write this blog post, we don’t know who the next president will be. We are waiting for all the votes to be counted, all the court cases to be adjudicated, and everything to be done. I wish all my friends strength, inner peace, and compassion. Whoever our elected officials are, it is up to us to care for our friends and neighbors. No election changes that basic truth.

Be well, friends!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Congratulations on the honorable mention!

    Exercise gets a lot easier to do once you start seeing progress–and I’m not talking weight. It’s the little things, like carrying your groceries inside, or walking through the airport with a backpack (that one’s no joke. If your core muscles are weak, you can’t do it). It helps prevent old age problems, including break bones, and especially helps with balance. Makes that big of a difference.

    1. I know it is important. I just need to make myself do it. Steve pointed out that the movements in the list were very similar to Ashtanga yoga sequence movements, so I may start there. I enjoy yoga more than I enjoy other forms of exercise.

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