Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

Day in the Life Of…

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 15, 2012

It occurred to me in the middle of work this morning that I had to write a blog for today! Whoops! Sometimes, my entire week slurs together and I forget that certain days happen when I have to do things and stuff, it’s confusing. In the midst of my morning confusion, I decided I would just write about my day. ‘Cause I figured… I can do that.

I woke up around 10:30, fell asleep, and woke up again, probably several times. If you added up the collection of moments this happens during my life now, there would be like three whole years or so composed entirely of me struggling to decide when to wake up. I was officially up by 11.

Would have had time for breakfast, but I spent a full five minutes staring blankly at my computer screen, fighting the desire to post an interesting Facebook status update. I’m ashamed to admit, this happens on a fairly regular basis, mostly because part of me feels obligated, if I’m on Facebook, to post about what’s REALLY on my mind, considering, that’s the question in the little box when you first log in. It’s my duty to let my friends know how I’m doing, right? HAHA!

So I sit for a while, pondering, “What IS on my mind?” before concluding that most of the things on my mind would probably erase my ‘friend list’ in a heartbeat. No, seriously. I’m a horror author. If I just went around telling everybody what was going on in my head, people probably wouldn’t like me very much. I eventually decided not to post anything, then realized I no longer had time to throw together a peanutbutter sandwich.

I tossed on my work uniform: black, dress pants –check. Orange polo, still kind of stiff from the sweat of last shift –check. Nametag –check. Hat –check. You’ll note that I didn’t shower today; you’d think that, working in food service, being clean –REALLY clean, is crucial. At my campus food court, that’s not quite the case. Really, wearing a hat for 4+ hours, to me, just means nobody can tell that I haven’t washed my hair in a while. And bathing everything else? Well, that’s a little pointless when you wash dishes for hours and get food waste plastered all over yourself.

Brushed my teeth after getting dressed. Gathered what I needed for my drawing class which follows work. That took longer than expected, and with eight minutes before the start of my shift, I booked it to work. On a normal morning, my walk to work takes a solid ten minutes. My apartment isn’t far from the campus food court, so that’s nice. However, when I have to half-walk half-sprint in bursts to make sure I keep my record of punctuality, that’s not so nice.

My record of not-being-late has not been broken yet.

At work, I shuffled into an apron, clocked in, looked over the beverage coolers. They were already full, so I headed to the dish machine and started washing. Luckily, today, two other workers were sent to dish because there was nothing else for them to do. We tackled a rather intimidating pile of dishes in about an hour. I had earned myself a well-deserved lunch break.

For lunch, I ate a big ol’ stack of pierogies with an ice cold Coca-Cola (for those of you who don’t know, pierogies are Polish dumplings filled with  mashed potatoes and cheese. Basically Heaven in your mouth). I sat alone and  ate, watching customers pass me by, wondering what they would eat, smiling casually at those who looked over.

After break, I returned to the beverage coolers to find that a few slots had been emptied. That was my cue. I mounted my trusty steed –the stocking cart, and rolled into the stocking room, where all the bottled drinks are stored. With clipboard in hand, everything I needed written down, I started loading the cart full of drinks. I spent another forty minutes or so putting those drinks in the coolers.

The rest of work consisted of scraping old food gunk out of the inside of garbage cans. Not much to say about that.

Once work was over, I had a few minutes to browse Reddit.com, one of my favorite websites. It’s for posting pictures, funny stuff, news articles, basically anything. Scrolled through the ‘photography’ section, which just has a bunch of cool, inspiring pictures.

At 3:30, I headed to my drawing class. In which, I drew things. But not just any things. I drew my cat, because I did not feel like working on the project we were supposed to be working on. Call me a bad student, but I plan to do the next project in ink and water, and that’s not very easy to transport on foot. And, my instructor liked my cat drawing.

When I returned to my apartment after class, I entered a cloud of the sweetest-smelling aroma of grilled cheese and tomato soup. My roommate had a guest over and was cooking dinner with her, and offered to make me a sandwich. I took him up on that offer with glee. The sandwich –grilled cheese with chicken- was delicious.

By the time I had finished my sandwich, my roommate and his guest had already left to go do…stuff, I don’t know where they went. So, apartment’s empty. Know what that means?

DRUM MYSELF INTO A COMA TIME!!!

Which is exactly what I did. Drums. Then naptime. When I woke up, I typed this, and now I’m posting it. Later tonight, I’ll probably draw some more, catch up on my NaNo wordcount (I confess, I’m too embarrassed to post my wordcount here for all to see. It’s pathetic), and I might hang out with some friends if they show up like they normally do after the Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) meeting. I used to go to those, but choose not to now, for reasons I might explain another day. My friends who go usually come over to the apartment afterwards. If they don’t, more drawing, more writing. Maybe some reading in there, we’ll see. Bedtime anywhere from 3 am to 7 am. No, I’m not kidding. My brain works best during those hours.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my day. If I had anything else interesting to talk about, I would have posted about that, and not my day. So yes, I legitimately hope you got anything out of this. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Friendship, Life Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

On the Brink of No-Shave-NaNo

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 1, 2012

Last year, my blog-predecessor, Ben Erlichman, blogged at the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) about his plans for upcoming stories. I thought I’d do the same, for those curious about the different types of stories I come up with, and also to help motivate myself to write said stories. I’m challenging myself for NaNo, but I don’t have an account on the actual site, NaNoWriMo.org.

On another quick note, it is also No-Shave-November, or Noshavember for short. For most guys on campus, that means shaving off facial hair on the night of October 31, and letting it grow uncontrollably throughout November. For me, that just means trimming what beard I have, and letting it continue to do its thing for the month and probably through all of Winter. Because I, for one, do not want a cold chin in this nasty, Ohio weather.

These are all the different stories I currently have in mind to write eventually. A few are pretty well developed, most are just ideas tossed about scattered notebooks. If I remember correctly, Ben Erlichman made up a big planning chart for himself with all his story ideas, but I… don’t make charts. Like, ever. So I figured I would just brief you on each idea, without giving away too much meat, of course.

First and foremost, there’s the werewolf story. It’s the first real novel I ever started writing, and had it (and its sequel) complete until I decided it was terrible and had to rewrite it. The story itself was originally going to span for seven books, but I’m playing it by ear now, considering the vast amounts of changes I’ve made to it. The story follows a variety of characters, most of which are not human (werewolves, vampires, mutants, angels, demons, all that good stuff); teenagers in high school struggling to fit in despite their ‘abnormalities,’ immortals locked in ageless battle with others of their kind, unseen evils trying to end the world, unseen good trying to bring all the supernatural characters against the evil in order to save the world… It’s… ambitious. But it’s MOSTLY about werewolves.

The story I’ve chosen to work on for NaNo is what I’ll call a ghost-romance. It starts off like any other love story: two college students meet at a party, things are a bit shaky at first, but they develop a relationship. Lovey-doviness ensues. The fun part is, the guy has recurring nightmares about horrible things happening to the girl, and strange, disturbing things start happening wherever the girl goes. I won’t give away any more, but I’m pretty excited about this one.

I also have two other ghost stories in mind, one of which I plan to write as a short. The short will be about a vengeful spirit haunting its murderer. The other book will involve a single father and his toddler son (or daughter, haven’t decided). The child is lonely, and begins talking about what seems to be an imaginary friend. Coincidentally, spooky stuff occurs around the house once the child brings up his/her ‘friend.’ The father, being a devout Christian, suspects an evil presence, and seeks help from priests to rid his home of his child’s creepy buddy. Once again, without giving more away, things do not turn out as expected for the father, and he gets himself involved in deeper business…

I plan on writing extended stories stemming from the two shorts I had published a little while back, Double-Edged (in Splickety magazine) and Front Row Seats (in OtherSheep magazine). Double-Edged is essentially about a ‘church-soldier’ in a bleak, post-holy-war future, turning his back on the corrupt church sect which trained him. The extended story would make a good trilogy, taking place during and after the holy war the main character fought in, leading up to the events of the short story.

Front Row Seats is a short story about a man struggling through a recent divorce, his inner battle described in detail during a church sermon he attends. This is probably the least horror-related story I’ve thought up, but its uniqueness comes from the portrayal of the good and evil presence following him around in his daily life. The extended story would pretty much explain all this better than I just did…

Another book I have in the works is a murder mystery thriller. It’s still very premature, but what I have so far is an investigation on a series of famous, gruesome paintings of death (in the story, not real ones) which are being mimicked by a serial killer. So like, there’s some crazy guy going around killing people in ways which are identical to these paintings/drawings, something like that, and somebody has to stop him. Basic murder mystery formula.

To keep up with the times, I’ve inevitably thought up a zombie story. It was to be a short, but I might make it a novel or trilogy. Put simply, two priests fight for survival in a zombie apocalypse. At first I REALLY wanted to entitle it, “Mass of the Living Dead,” but I didn’t want to offend anybody and decided against it.

Finally, the most recent story I’ve come up with is about someone finding (or being given) an empty, old journal. As soon as the MC begins writing in this journal, he/she unknowingly opens the gate into an alternate reality, or maybe several, or the future, or the past, something that ultimately defies the laws of science and stuff. My initial thought was, “journal from the future. That would be cool,” but it’s turned into something bigger than that. We’ll see where it goes from there. The idea was partially inspired by Ted Dekker’s Circle books, but I want to make it scary.

Lots of ideas, lots of time for writing out said ideas. I hope you enjoyed catching a glimpse of the depths of my brain tonight. Happy Holidays for those who celebrate them, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Inspiration, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My NaNoWriteMare

Posted by Ben Erlichman on December 1, 2011

Clever title, isn’t it? That’s about the only thing I accomplished this November as far as writing is concerned. Alright, I’m being too hard on myself–it’s not quite as bad as the title suggests. I actually logged 22,200 words on the nose in november, but that’s 28k shorter than the standard NaNo goal of 50k, and about 40-50k shorter than my personal goal of 60-75k. Ah well, life goes on, right?

The best thing I can do is try to figure out where I “went wrong” in my endeavor. If you caught my last post two weeks ago (sorry about the blank Liam Neeson post that showed up Thanksgiving Day–that’s courtesy of WordPress being devilish and deleting all of my content) where I sort of did a mid-course analysis and tried to make corrections, then you know some of my flaws already. I played too many video games, I focused more at work at my day job (that’s a good thing, though) and I didn’t do enough pre-research on my initial NaNo project, which I eventually abandoned in favor of returning to my previous work-in-progress (WIP) which is about a chapter away from hitting the book’s final act.

Yeah, I thought I’d be able to amp up my writing by switching to my old project, but my word counts actually didn’t improve–they decreased, then began to increase in the past few days. I wrote like a tyrant my first week, which was actually only five days, and in that time I put out 9,050 words. The next week (a full seven days) I put out 6,433, then a miserable 1,998 the week of that blog post. That was my rock bottom. I climbed up to 2,270, then reached 2,453 during the last four days of November. In short, I’m on an upswing, and that’s going to have to be good enough for now since I failed to complete NaNo.

In other words, my word count from October through November very closely resembles the stock market crash in 2008.

Here’s my new goal, and I think it’s manageable: finish my current WIP by the end of December. By my count I should have about 20-25k left to write. I have done over 50k words in a month before, so cranking out the end of the story (with the momentum of the entire cast of characters and the plot fueling my writing) should be a fun challenge. I’d like to have it done by mid-December so I can have an edited draft ready for my wife to read by January 1st, as I promised a few months ago.

Here are the things that will probably distract me: writing/preaching a sermon in mid-December for the main service in my church; running my church’s youth group; trying to acquire the biggest client for my dad’s company in its history (sooooo awesome, by the way); trying to acquire other clients at work; an old friend visiting my wife and me for a month or two; video games; getting the first issue of Splickety out and selling it to local stores; marketing Splickety nationwide; making time to spend with my pregnant wife; chaplain site visits to our client location three times a month; critique group stuff; potentially attending two funerals; meeting with a young couple about officiating their wedding; volleyball on Monday nights; workouts on Tuesday nights; Mayhem on Friday nights; and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember right now.

In other words, it’s exactly how I like it: stressful, packed, and short on time.

I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Hospitality, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Parenting, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Halfway Through NaNo

Posted by Ben Erlichman on November 17, 2011

I’m failing miserably on my NaNo word count. I think I have a total of 16,300 words written for the entire month. I don’t know why I just can’t get going on this story–maybe it’s because I have a bunch of other things going on. Needless to say I haven’t been managing my time as well as I could be.

For those of you who have read this blog in the past, you know that I have struggled with addictions to video games. That said, that’s a part of what has taken me away from NaNo this year, but it’s not the entire reason. I’m also taking on a leadership role in my youth group, so every Wednesday I’m at my church all day working on youth group stuff. I reclaimed some closet space yesterday and started reclaiming a little nook towards the back of our multipurpose room where we had been storing a whole bunch of sound equipment stuff that we never really used since we don’t have a worship team at the moment. It was all just sitting there, and has been for years, but we never did anything about it. Well, yesterday I did, and it took me all day to sift through everything and figure out what went where and how I could get some space for the youth group.

20111117-124656.jpg

Some of our arsenal hanging in the "Merge Cave"

All in all, I’ve decided to go back and try to finish my 4th novel instead of continuing the one I’m working on right now. I should have just listened to my critique group and finished it instead of writing this new one. So that’s what I’m going to do. Maybe I can finish strong in both NaNo and my fourth novel by the end of the month.

-Ben

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Life Experiences, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

NaNoWriMo Sound Off

Posted by Ben Erlichman on November 3, 2011

It’s that glorious time of year again for those of us who write novels: NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who don’t know. You know what that means for me as an author? Isolation, a third of my regular social life, long nights awake at the keyboard tapping away to reach that ever-elusive word count goal of 50,000 words in one month (I’m actually shooting for 60-65k this year because 50k isn’t actually a full novel…).

In other words: I’m really looking forward to it.

We writers often like isolation, we don’t mind sacrificing our social lives for our work (to an extent), and chasing that challenge is a thrill enhanced even beyond what we usually get from writing our books. We’re weird like that, so just accept it and love us anyway, or you run the risk of becoming a character in one of our books. And then we may kill that character. Bwahahaha!

All kidding aside, I’m off to a different start and I have a different approach to NaNo this year than I did last year, where I had computer problems and struggled with a lack of focus, yet still somehow managed to get my 50k written in that time. The primary differences this year are that I know what to expect this time through, and I have a detailed outline from which I can work. Last year I had neither of those things, and the result was a 54k book (novella?) jam-packed with action but not long enough to sell to any publishers. (Don’t worry–I can always use it as a free giveaway as an e-book as a marketing/promotional perk for my readers to build a platform.)

This year I’m writing the first book in a dystopian YA series of three books. I have outlined the entire book, almost all of it in scene-by-scene detail except for one section where I totally just wrote a paragraph that’s supposed to sum up three entire chapters (give or take) of writing. The rest is pretty clear-cut, though. In my experience, outlining has proven to be 100 times (that’s an estimate) more useful to me than writing by the seat of my pants. I did that with my NaNo project last year and, well, you know how that turned out. I also did that with my first novel, and it’s taken me about 8-9 years to get it to where it’s actually ready for a publisher to consider. Never again, my friends. I am an outliner all the way, every day.

I’m off to a decent start. I wrote 3,000 words the first day and 1,100 words the second day, which, when you average it out, I’m sill a bit ahead of where I should have been by now anyway, even though I dropped the ball yesterday by about 500 words. Today/tonight will be different. I fully expect another 2,000 words, possibly 3,000, and I plan to be up late writing into the night with some AC/DC playing in the background.

Another key difference is that I’m waaaay busier this year than I was last year. Tell me if this sounds like a lot to handle: a full-time job, a marriage, a very part time job (5 hours a month) as a chaplain, co-leading my church’s youth group, editing and putting out the first issue of a new flash fiction magazine, taking a refresher course on hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation) for a preaching mentoring class at my church, my wife is pregnant, running events for the youth group including a fundraiser coming up soon…

There’s more too, but I can’t remember it right now. Add NaNo on top of all of that and I have no life in November. But it’s all good. I usually don’t thrive unless I have a lot of things going on.

What about you? Are you doing NaNo this year? Do you know someone who is? Share with us in our comments section.

Also, give three cheers to Written World Communications, one of NaNoWriMo’s sponsors this year. :)

Posted in Anxiety, Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

An Above Average NaNo-er, Despite Adversity

Posted by Ben Erlichman on November 4, 2010

9,016 words logged. Yeah, I’m pleased with myself, even though I know that’s nothing compared to some writers who are participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo contest. Lynn Rush, who I interviewed a couple of weeks ago, was over 10,000 words by day two. Wow.

No Hand-Writing for Me!

But overall, I think I’m doing very well considering a huge unforeseen setback. Since I posted, my wife’s computer hit the shop and is getting a new motherboard. That meant we had to share a computer. I would get mine all day at work, then control would revert back to her in the evenings. That wasn’t going to work.

I need to write at night. I can write during the day, but my creativity seems to flow better the later it gets. There were times growing up when I’d stay up until 4 or 5am drawing stuff, and it was almost always my best work. (Granted there were other times where I stayed up that late playing video games too, but we’ve already ascertained that I’m a recovering video game addict). Also, I don’t get much writing done during the day anyway because I’m working during that time. I take an hour for my lunch and pound out maybe a thousand words or 2k if I’m really on fire, but most of the work has been outside of work (and rightfully so).

Solution: my dad had an old laptop that he isn’t using. It used to be kinda slow, but he trashed the whole operating system and did a clean re-install of XP, so it’s back up and running lickety-split. Good enough for word processing and using the internet a bit, which for NaNo is all I need.

That just goes to show you (and me) that God really does care about us (including me). he cared enough to provide a really easy solution to my computer issue, thus salvaging what could have been the smoldering wreckage of my crashed-and-burned NaNo project. In the grand scheme of things, probably wouldn’t have been a huge loss, as I was planning on writing this story anyway, but yet God took care of me.

What small thing has He done for you lately? Have you done anything for Him lately to say thanks? Think about it.

That’s all I’ve got for today, folks. Happy NaNo-ing!

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Jen’s post:

“Ever feel like your life’s under the microscope? Like you can’t quite measure up? Try being a pastor’s wife. Now that’s pressure! Tomorrow, Shannon Taylor Vannatter, author of White Roses, White Doves and White Pearls will share what she’s learned over the years as a preacher’s help-mate. “

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