Writing Mash-Up: NaNoWriMo/ Galliventures with My Mother

It’s almost mid-way through November (ALREADY???!!!) and a light bulb just went off in my head. Since I’m going to start posting in my series Galliventures with My Mother, why not make the posts part of my NaNoWriMo wordcount? Undoubtedly, I have a long way to go still to reach 50, 000 words, but I’m going to do my very best!

Also, I’m aware that I was supposed to post during my trip and trust me, I tried, however due to various reasons, it didn’t happen. Nevertheless, I made notes on my phone, so now it’s a matter of taking those random observations and turning them into readable posts.

50-Word Story.7

It’s November 11th or Singles Day, as I recently found out, because the date is 11.11 (all ones or singles, get it?) and I haven’t submitted a 50-word story this month yet (I’ve 4 days to go!). I’ve got something in mind, I just have to whittle it down into a proper tale consisting of only 50 words, no pressure!

I was on vacation when I found out that my October submission was accepted to be published, which made me walk on air a little, as I walked the streets of Amsterdam. Of course, before this little nugget of a story was accepted, I had two stories submitted for August and September, that was rejected:

August: This was a tweet-long story that I felt had potential to be more, so I expanded it into a longer story. Perhaps it needs to be an even longer story.

Immigrant

I pinched my specially-designed contact lenses and slid them from my eyes. Without these silicone disks, I’d be singled out, vilified and feared. I contemplated my eyes in the mirror – they’re a solid shining black, no pupils, no white, nothing. 

Just like my other brethren who now call Earth home.  

September: This was a combination of a two tweet-long stories which somehow morphed into a story that had elements of a nursery rhyme into it. I blame my ignored garden.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The air was ripe with the pleasing, dewy petrichor of the post-rain morning when she decided to cultivate her garden. She planted tomatoes, French beans, herbs. Her vegetables flourished, insects hummed. Then, the plants withered, died, rotted.She was confounded. The nursery rhyme lied, pretty maids don’t make good compost.   

October: Surprise, surprise, this was ALSO a tweet-long story but when a tweet was 140 characters only! I went through my old posts here and discovered this story which surprised me because I’d totally forgotten I’d written it. I thought this story was apt for the month of October.

Packing

Packing, oh my gosh, packing.

I’m an anal packer anal about hyper-particular about packing – I make lists of how many underwears to bring, how much soap to take, etc… My mum brings disposable underwears she’s bought at the pharmacy.

We’re due at the airport in 3 hours and I think I have my packing done. I hope. I really hope. Worse comes to worse, I’ll buy what I forget onsite.

But I think I got everything. I think. Good luck to me.

See you on the other side of sanity because I think the next few few hours will be crazy!!!!

Reading

Deciding what to read during flights and the holiday has and will always be one of the most difficult decisions I have to make. One thing I can definitely say now is thank goodness for my Kindle.

Pre-Kindle, I would pack between 3 to 5 paperbacks for a trip, agonising for days, which 3 or 5 books to take. Not great for controlling luggage weight.

Now, I just load up books on my Kindle, which gives me a choice of between 10 or 100 books, fiction and non-fiction. In addition, with Zinio, the magazine reading app, I get my subscribed digital magazines which I can download into my device and read online sans wifi. This is when technology is awesome.

Despite all that though, I still bring at least one paperback and one magazine (usually Reader’s Digest), just in case my tech fails me.

The one and only paperback I’ve decided to take with me this time is one that I’ve taken with me on previous holidays but not managed to finish – Stephen Hunt’s The Kingdom Beyond the Waves.

My mother, on the other hand, is happy with magazines and she’s equipped herself with almost five different kinds, and I’m sure she’ll get more at the airport and during our travels.

Galliventures with My Mother

While I was frantically trying to think of a title for the series of posts depicting my travels with my mother, I thought of the word gallivanting. Somehow though, based on my previous experiences travelling with my mother, that word seems insufficient. Another word that came to mind was adventures, which is how I tend to view the trips with her, in hindsight. Although some of our adventures tend to not go the way we expect them to. Thinking of both words, I thought galliventures was a more apt description of what tends to happen during our mother-daughter trips.

Since I won’t have a laptop during the trip, only my trusty iPad mini, I foresee my posts during the trip itself to be short and sweet as I’m not a fan of the touchy keyboard thingy. Although who knows, I might get a proper keyboard thingy while travelling which will allow me to write longer posts.

What will this series be about?

Well, obviously, I’ll be posting about my experience travelling with my mother. It won’t be a travelogue with lists of places to visit if you’re in a certain country per se, rather it’ll be more of the how to survive travelling with a family member (especially if it’s your mother)-type posts.

This isn’t my first mother-daughter trip

This is probably my 4th (or maybe 5th? They’re all beginning to blur together) trip with my mother, just the both of us. This is the first time I’m documenting the trip though, so that will be exciting (I hope).

Also, in my family, I’m the only child who has traveled alone with my mother as an adult. Go figure.

So, that’s my not-so brief introduction to this series, see you in the next post!

Writing Report Card III

“…we make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones…” – Stephen King

Since I’ll be travelling at the end of the month, I reminded myself not to procrastinate for this month’s Writing Report Card, and to get it written and posted. So, here we go!

  1. VSS365 Anthology – It’s currently available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback. I’ve got the e-book version myself and can’t stop admiring it *insert slightly satisfied smile here* The minute it was published, I shared the exciting news via social media. Though I have to admit that I was a little shy at first to tell folks that I had the stories selected and published because after all, the stories are just tweet-length, not novel-length, so in my mind, I was making a big thing out of a little thing. Then, of course, I berated myself because no matter the length of the story, it is still an accomplishment which should be celebrated. Sometimes, it’s true what they say – the hardest critic is your own darn self.
  2. 50-word-stories – So, I submitted my September story a few days before the monthly deadline and just heard back a couple of days ago that it was not selected to be published. Now, I’ve got to polish my October submission, which is an extended version of one of my #vss365 tweets, and send it off soon!
Upcoming writing plans:
  1. Call for submissions – There’s a call for submission for an online travelogue site. The theme of the submission is ‘overcoming fears’ and should be within 1000 – 1500 words. I have a few ideas swirling but the deadline is the 15th of October, so I’m excited to submit something but worried about making the deadline. I’m a MAJOR procrastinator.
  2. A new blog post series – Since I’ll be traveling with my mum soon, I thought of blogging about it since traveling with her has never been boring, rather too exciting sometimes. I intended to set up another blog but received sound advice to set up a series within this blog instead. So, I’ll be organising that soon (I hope). I’m also still thinking about a title for the series. Ideas welcomed!

Writing Report Card II

“Write. No amount of self-inflicted misery, altered states, black pullovers or being publicly obnoxious will ever add up to your being a writer. Writers write. On you go.” – Al Kennedy

Yes, it’s the end of August September, and I’m only posting this now but you know what they (whoever they are) say, Better late than never! After I wrote my first Writing Report Card post, I received several encouraging writing news. I also continued to write, reminding myself to continue to write, albeit not daily. Rather my writing efforts have come in spurts and gasps.

I feel a more than slight twinge of guilt for not writing everyday, but then I came across an essay in the The Writing Cooperative, aptly titled “Stop Feeling Guilty for Not Writing Everyday”, and I read this “Write when you can. Be bold. …don’t shrink back no matter how loud your guilty heart screams at you“. Definitely a note to myself – Stop Feeling Guilty for Not Writing Everyday!

  1. VSS365 Anthology – As mentioned in my previous post, two (TWO! I still can’t believe it) of my Very Short Stories were accepted for publication in the VSS365 Anthology, and according to the publisher/ VSS originator, the latest update is that there’s a tentative release date – September 23, 2019! Can’t wait to have this little gem in my Kindle.
  2. #vss365 – I’ve continued tweeting very short stories almost every day which has been good for my creative soul. To my pleasant surprise, most of the daily prompts has a way of extracting strange tales from my brain.
  3. 50-word-stories – The other good writing news was that my July submission to the site was accepted and published, which makes it my 3rd accepted 50-Word-Story this year. I sent in my August story early August, and just got an email that it wasn’t accepted to be published. I’ve yet to send in my September story, which I should do soon since the monthly deadline is on the 15th. Wish me luck!

Very Short Stories Anthology #vss365a

It’s been a rare and happy week of acceptances. Acceptances for stories that I’ve written, that is.

Early this week, it was news that my July 50-Word Story was accepted for publication.

Early this morning, I learnt that not one, but two (!!!!!) of my Very Short Stories, were accepted and will be included in the Very Short Stories (VSS365) Anthology 2019.

My VSS which were accepted were for the prompts mood (June 23) and liberty (July 4). Though I sent two entries for the mood prompt, I think I know which one was chosen. I only sent one entry for the liberty prompt so there’s no wondering which one will be included.

Joining the #vss365 community has been nothing but good for my writing. Though, it’s just 280 characters daily (almost, I missed 2 days this week), whatever I wrote, is potentially a kernel of a story that I can expand for a much larger piece, which I’ve already done. Needless to say, continuing to do the prompts each day is something I look forward to.

As I get more news regarding the anthology, I’ll write an update post.

It’s been a good week.

50-Word Story.6

To be honest, I almost didn’t send anything to the 50-Word Stories site in July. I’d been feeling despondent from all the rejections recently that I couldn’t bring myself to come up with an appropriate submission. However, I’d made a promise to myself to submit every month, no matter what, and I did. To my surprise, it was accepted. If you read my previous post about my 50-Word Story submissions, you’ll know this means that my May and June submissions were not. Never fear though, I’m posting the orphan stories (for now) here –

May: I’d just met up with old friends and was thinking about the awful situation of attending a reunion, which became this little piece –

Reunion

“That school reunion of yours…,” Mark murmured. 

“Oh, I skipped it.”

“Someone died there. A Janice Young, she fell from the roof.”

“Janice?”

“Wasn’t she the one who took your mother’s peacock brooch?” 

“I don’t recall.” I smoothed my hair down and straightened the peacock brooch pinned to my blouse.

June: This was actually an excerpt of a WIP that I’ve been working on for ages. When I sent it, I didn’t expect it to be accepted, so I wasn’t surprised by the rejection that followed.

Where Royals Tread

I stood on the exposed terrace of the Aerial Temple, contemplating the crumbling limestone steps ahead. Once, kings ascended these steps to reach a tower of gold. Within minutes, I reached the summit and was assailed by the scent of sandalwood. Hark! The last abode of the legendary Snake Princess.

July: This little story started out as a Twitter Very Short Story or VSS, based on the prompt for that day which was ‘protect’. Also, I’d had a dream the night before about monsters, so needless to say, all my fears coalesced and became this VSS which inflated ever-so-slightly into a 50-Word Story.

Writing Report Card I

“Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.” – Margaret Atwood

It’s July. Yes, the SEVENTH month of the year! SEVENTH!

Anyway, I did not post in June at all. Not one post! Despite the fact that I intended to post at least twice a month. I don’t have any excuse for not posting, but I know I have to do better and while I do that, I need to remind myself not to be so hard on myself.

I was trying to come up with ideas for how I could keep this promise to myself of posting more regularly, when it hit me that since this blog is about my writing endeavours, I should be posting about what I’ve done with regard to that. So, every month (I hope), I’ll share what I’ve done with regard to putting my writing out there in the world. Okay, let’s get to it –

  1. VSS365a – Which stands for Very Short Stories 365 (days a year) Anthology. Since the 1st of June, I’ve been tweeting, based on a given prompt, very short stories AKA vss, for possible inclusion in an anthology of Very Short Stories. In the beginning, I wrote my stories related to a WIP I was working on, but after a while, the well dried up so I just wrote. The closing date for inclusion for the anthology has now passed, but I still continue to write because, well, it’s fun.
  2. 50-word-stories – As I’ve mentioned before, I have every intention of submitting a story every month to this site. My last published flash fiction was in April. I submitted a story in May and June, both rejected, and just sent in one for July. So, we’ll see how that goes. Once, I get an acceptance, I’ll post the acceptance and the rejections here.
  3. WIP – I’ve got several going on at once, but my most recent, is a collection of posts about my experience as Maid of Honour at my sister’s wedding. It’s still sitting in Scrivener, waiting to be edited, for a cover page, and everything else.

And that’s it, hope there’s an update next time (crossing my fingers and toes)!