Sunday Update: July 6, 2014


There’s no ROW 80 check-in this week. The new around begins tomorrow, but I have some update-y things to cover, and I didn’t do one last week.

Redefining Disability2

Redefining Disability

I made a new intro post for the expanded Redefining Disability Project, since the original intro was specifically for the blog series. If you’re new to my blog, and you’re interested in representation for people with disabilities, please check out that post.

On the Blog/in My Social Media Feeds

I discovered this week that WordPress only lets me reblog a post once. I’d been planning to periodically reblog that one. Looking for a work-around if anyone else has ideas.

Sharing the intro post on Facebook this week led to a cool discussion about the definition of disability, and I’m thinking about revisiting that topic when I open the series in September. I talked about language and definitions before, but I feel like this needs to be a topic we talk about more than once. Almost every post I’ve seen and even some of the comments here address this issue or demonstrate the need for further discussion just by virtue of how often I see phrases like “the disabled” “the handicapped” and “wheelchair bound.” I read some discussion about metaphorical representation this week too, around the issue of whether or not “made up” or “magical” disabilities count as representation. That’s worth discussing here, because I don’t want to assume that everyone shares my opinion about this.

There’s also this post from yesterday about stereotypes and idealizing people with disabilities. I’d like to revisit that topic in a more thought-out post and see if we can generate some discussion around fears about acquiring a disability or social conventions that contribute tho this kind of idealized characterization.

So, I think that I may start with those two topics in September and see what kind of discussion develops. I think they would both be good as groundwork for practical writing examples and tips. So, I’m looking at doing those posts in September and then starting writing related topics in October, unless folks are really enthusiastic about getting those writing tips out as soon as I can manage it.

On Other Sites

I have three guest posts finished. One for Signal Positive, one for Readful Things, and one for Wording Well. They need to be formatted and have html added for links and such. Then they should all be off to their respective host bloggers sometime later this week.


I have first drafts finished for three of the four stories I said I would write for Redefining Disability. I’m having trouble with the fourth one because the story ideas I come up with work, but they don’t end up being very helpful comes to examples of presenting or introducin anyhitng.


Disney/Children’s Media

I took an unplanned break from this in June and I started watching a couple of adult shows, and I’ve recently found out that the ABC show Switched At Birth has a Deaf main character. I think I’m going to let the children’s media break continue and check these out for Redefining Disability.

Writing 101 Day Six: The Day Everything Was Interesting

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2I’ve been drifting around the blogosphere since roughly 2006, when I joined LiveJournal. Before that, I was involved in fandom-related message boards and before that there were AOL chat rooms. Yes, I know I’m dating myself.

I started on LJ at the encouragement of my best friend. She was into Supernatural, and encouraged me to watch it. I tried, but the show never held me. I’m glad she convinced me to join LJ, though. Some of my closest friends are people I met in the Stargate fandom. I was heavily involved in that fandom in the mid-to late 2000s, and while most of the acquaintences I knew there have moved on, I still have friends like Natacha, Hannah, and Jess who are daily parts of my life.

I blogged for a few years on Blogger but never made many connections there. It was a niche blog and I struggled to find enough regular content in between bouts with migraines. When I started on WordPress, I expected a similar experience. I didn’t plan to use this blog much. I just wanted a place where I could post the occasional opinion piece that didn’t fit in with my fan culture musings.

I didn’t have a plan or care very much about whether or not the blog gained a following. Sure, it would’ve been nice, but that wasn’t what I was after. Well, my occasional opinion piece turned into a daily blog about stories, finding inspiration, and connecting with people around us. I post about my experiences in fiction writing, and if you are a writer, you’ll find a lot of tips and goodies here. For me, the main thing that makes this blog special is how much of it is written in response to (or in support of) other bloggers. I never set out to do that, but I’ve been lucky because I’ve met lots of folks with interesting and diverse points of view. My favorite part of blogging here is joining in their conversations. Somewhere along the way, I’ve gained over 200 followers.

Given that some of my friends’ blogs have followers in the thousands, I guess that might not look impressive, but 200 people is enough to fill a plane and it’s more than I envisioned when I began on WordPress in November 2013.

I think I’ve met more people this year than I have in the previous four years combined, and most of them are people I’ve met from WordPress or social media accounts associated with bloggers here.

So, I’m at a loss about today’s Writing 101 assignment. How do I pick the people I find most interesting, and how do I describe them when I don’t give a crap about their appearances and mannerisms? I decided that instead, I would put together a little thank you.

First and foremost: thank you to every person has followed this blog. I appreciate you, and if there’s ever anything I can do for you or to help make your blogging experience better, just ask.

Thank you to those of you who regularly read, like, and comment on my posts. Alex I haven’t forgotten about when we were talking about Sailor Moon. Still going to get back to that (one of these days.) Trent, Natacha, Natalie, I always look forward to posting Star Wars because I know you guys will have interesting comments. Karen, I always enjoy your reviews and seeing your trains of thought on various things. I’m happy to see your avatar show up in the like box.
ROW80 bloggers like Denise, Eden, Shan Jeniah, and everyone else who’s visited (I can’t possibly link to everyone, sorry!) thank you as well.

And of course, thank you to the folks who oil my brain and keep the wheels and gears turning with all of their thought-provoking and fun content. Natacha, Hannah, Gene’O, Diana, Suzie, David and Holly Shannon, Yolanda, and anybody else I’m forgetting.

This week I started reading some new blogs, and I haven’t gotten to know those folks yet, but they definitely get some interesting points as well! Check out fantasy author Kat Clemens, former Olympic Athlete Amy Gamble and fellow geek Christine.

And as I’m closing, if you’re a storyteller interested in diversity and representation for people with disabilities, check out my post from last night.  I have a new project in mind to help authors create strong positive characters with disabilities and feedback will help.

Blogging 201 and This Week’s Maintenance Overhaul

I had to take an unplanned breather from blogging shortly after Blogging U got started, but I’ve been following along with the Blogging 201 assignments and using them to focus some improvements I’d been planning to make.

I was wondering if some folks would be kind enough to take a look around and give me some feedback.

My blog is pretty diverse — more so than I had planned for it to be when I started. It’s grown up around connections I’ve made with other bloggers, shared interests, and discussions.


  • I’ve restructured nav bar, simplified my categories and added several pages.
  • I’m using my theme’s sticky post slider to highlight key posts and regular features; I’ve added the top posts widget and plan to start doing a weekly “favorite posts” instead of compiling a static best of page.
  • I have a plan to start incorporating my social media profiles and integrating them with my blog over the summer.


My questions are:

  • Can you find your way around the blog/find the content you want without trouble?
  • Does the look/feel of the blog seem cohesive to you?
  • Does it help or hurt for me to use the section header images as featured images in my posts? (those little pictures on the left.)
  • Is there anything that seems counterintuitive or that still needs improvement?
  • Is there anything missing?
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Herding Muses: On My Crazy Outlining Method (with examples)

Fountain Pen and notebookLast month, I posted about my character development process. Check out those posts here and here.I have some more examples of that, but I also want to talk about outlining. I can hear the groaning start already. I know that there some folks who hate outlining and feel stifled by it. For a long time, that was me.

I used to use a pretty traditional outline format with Roman numerals as key points and then a progression of letters and numbers. Sometimes I used the lower levels to detail what I was thinking/planning. Most people I know would stick to a few words or a line for each outline point, but that never actually helped me. Here’s an exerpt from a (very old) version of a novel outline. None of this is canon anymore.
I couldn’t get the formatting/spacing of this one to work on WordPress, so I uploaded it to a mediafire account associated with my design blog.

When I outlined like this, I would end up with pages and pages of detail for each chapter that either left no room for growth or were so hard to move around that every time something changed, I would have to make a whole new outline. I also had to wrestle with the sense that my story was “finished” before I had even sat down to write. I knew what had happened, and in my brain, it became ancient history, so part of me was off creating the “next” story or the “next” generation of characters when what I needed to be doing was actually writing the story I had just outlined.

Some of my friends and blogging acquaintances use Post-it notes or Scrivener. Neither of those methods work for me. Post-It notes make me feel like my brain is melting because there’s too much information at once. Scrivener probably would work, but I have a tendency to get distracted/carried away trying to set up the environment of special programs like that and by the time I have it the way I think I want it, I’m afraid to DO anything. I prefer to use Wordpad (not even MS word, just Wordpad) for outlining because it’s simple, there are few distractions, and it saves in .RTF format, which I can open easily in just about any other word processor.

I use WordPad for most of my early development stuff, and I’ll be doing another post to show how I organize the gobs of .rtf files I and up with.


About three years ago, I decided to give up traditional outlining and develop my own outline format that actually approaches the story in the same way that my brain does.

Usually, by the time I start to outline a story, I know my characters and the important events in their lives pretty well. That’s because the first step in my creative process is usually the kind of stuff I talked about in my character development post. World building happens concurrently with character and plot development, but most of the time “plotting” starts with picking an event I know about or a problem I know the characters are having and just writing it out (along with a solution/resolution) in a logical order.

That’s the first level of my outline process. When I start, the scenes and events are usually sort of a jumble in my mind. Putting them in a loose order with bullet points helps me get a handle on the story in a way that’s easy to follow but not overwhelming.

Sometime after I’m done with that (usually after a break to let things settle and think about what I have) I create a more detailed version of the same outline like this. This is the part where the scenes really start to take shape in my mind, where I can visualize what’s happening and begin to grasp what the characters are thinking and feeling.

Because my first level outline is so loose, there’s room here for the scenes to grow and change, but there are still events (which I refer to as “anchor points”) that really don’t change. The outline is basically a winding path that leads from one anchor to the next.

The outline examples that I’m using for this post are from a short story idea, but I’ve used the same process to outline novels and serials. Each project is different and I tailor the level II outline specifically around the needs of the story. There are some constants, though. The further I go in a long story arc the more vague my descriptions and plot paragraphs become, but no matter what, there are still some anchor events. Those are what I hang a story on. For a short story like the one in this example, I can put a level II outline together in a day. For a longer story or a novel, it might take a week.

My third level outline is probably better labeled as a very rough draft of the story. For the purposes of this post, I made an example that only contains the first scene. I have sketched longer works this way, and I find it very helpful because it allows me to see which parts of the story work and which ones don’t make sense or need to be changed without having to spend all the time and effort to write a draft. It certainly helped me with the example story, because it made me realize that the tone of the piece was a lot darker and more angsty than the two stories I had previously written in this set. Although I did like some aspects of the example story, overall I wasn’t interested in writing a dark, angsty story just then, and if I hadn’t completed the level III outline, I would have been hip deep in a story I didn’t like before I realized what was going on.

I think the short story in this example took a day and a half for me to outline to the point that I realized it wasn’t working. It probably would’ve taken me several weeks of writing to realize that if I had gone straight from a basic outline to formal prose.

I hope that you find this post helpful. What are your experiences with putting a story or a writing project together? What are your favorite methods or tools, and how long have you used them?

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We’re having a #FeministFriday chat on #wordpress this week, and all you #bloggers are invited.

Rose F:

I probably won’t have the time on Friday, but wanted to spread the word. I think this is a cool/important discussion for anyone interested in equal rights.

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Originally posted on Sourcerer:

I had this idea over the weekend. Diana and Gretchen encouraged me to take the shot, so I’m doing it.


I’ll publish a Feminist Friday post on Friday morning. I’ll tell you a story that you will find amusing, if not downright heartwarming, and then I will ask a few questions:

Is Feminism a politically useful label? If not, what do we do about it? Can it be made useful again, or do we need to get creative?

I will NOT argue either of these things:

  1. Feminism is dead (I believe it is alive).
  2. We should not reclaim the label as a positive identifier and use it proudly (we emphatically should).

The question is very specific. If we want to work together and advocate for full equality for women in a comprehensive sort of way, should we brand that effort a feminist enterprise? That’s what I’m getting at. I…

View original 237 more words

ROW80 Check In for February 16

This has been a long week and I’m kind of blogged out right now. We had a massive two-day snowstorm and another one is coming in today, so I don’t know whether I’ll be on WordPress again this weekend. Wednesday I had contractors working on my kitchen for several hours, but they’re still not finished.

Somewhere in there, I also finished the third and (hopefully) final draft of the story I mentioned in my last check in. I really quite like it. It’s very different, stylistically, from my typical writing, and I’m sure I’ll be posting it up in the Free Reads section sooner or later. I was thinking I may use it as a case study for story development. I haven’t decided yet.

Last weekend, I came across this post and was inspired to write detailed analysis of the Disney princesses as a cultural phenomenon. Somehow or other, that sparked a whole line of conversation about the Disability Rights Movement and Disability Awareness. I’ve decided to do a blog series on disability awareness and popular culture, and started off with Iron Man, Acquired Injury, and the Biggest Missed Opportunity in Disability Awareness Ever.

It turned out to be one of my favorite posts on this blog, and it’s accidentally led me to another one, which is specifically concerned with the lack of superheroes who use wheelchairs in starring roles. I wasn’t intending to take the series so far  in that direction, but I’m going to go with it because I think it’s important. (Thank you Hannah.)

I think that I might put my 100 things blog series on hold for a few months and focus my fandom related posts more on the diversity/disability awareness stuff. I don’t know that I’ll have enough time to do both, because I’m finding it a real challenge to write about disability awareness in a way that’s relatable to a predominantly able-bodied audience that probably hasn’t had these topics on their proverbial radars before.

There are a couple of posts in my Are You Stuck? Writing tips series that keep getting derailed by popular culture analysis. My goal is to finish the superhero related posts by next week and then get those writing tips up the week after.

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Introducing A Lyrical Alphabet

1191706_84167472I’ve mentioned a few times in recent posts that I am looking for some good music review blogs or music recommendations that aren’t specific to one genre.

Music has always been an integral part of my writing process and a mainstay in my life.

I crave music like most people crave food. I love sharing music I like with other people.

My life is a little crazy right now (okay, it’s a lot crazy.) I don’t have time to do the sort of in-depth music recommendations that I used to do on Fandom Bouquet, but I’ve felt like something was missing from this blog.

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