Category: NaNoWriMo

May’s Challenges 2017 (by )

May is about my picture and children's books - there is a write a book/script a day challenge for the first week of the month. It's called NaPiBoWriWee and is actually more insane than the nanowrimo writing challenges 🙂

I have plenty of ideas for my picture books and zines so this is kind of a great way of actualising some of them 🙂

I am being slightly boring in that I am focusing on stories I kind of need finished for festival, workshops and my activity booklets anyway... but the plan is to kind of continue the challenge and actually spend this month working on my children's stories and picture books (and yes there is actually a distinction between the two groups - they heavily over lap but not completely - so I have kids books with no pictures and picture books that are not aimed at kids!).

So for those who want to know this means I am working on:

1) The Origami Story Box - this is a series so as long as I get number one done I will then work on it until I get bored 🙂

2) Scripts for the Paper Pals Theatre - same as above really only these are scripts for making the puppets act!

3) Folded Friends - again another series and yes it involves the origami and paper craft creations but this one involves humans too 🙂

4) The Little Books - there is lots of finishing up to do for The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry like finally putting it on Amazon and making sure the audio is out, same with The Little Book of Festive Poetry, then The Little Book of Easter Poetry needs to be put together and zined and The Little Book of Baby Poetry needs recording and zining. There are also many many more that are written but not edited or illustrated so probably going to get bored before completion here as well 🙂

5) City Scum (might be Scum City I can never remember!) - this is Alaric's role playing game and I need to finish the illustrations for it!

6) Activity Booklets - these are booklets I create to accompany workshops, they contain stories, games, facts and stuff to make and do. Main focus is Cuddly Science 2, Salaric's Arty Activity Booklet, Funky Folding, Spring Time Activities and Summer Activities.

7) Colouring Books - finishing off my Myths colouring book, sorting some sort of year thing for Love: A Stranger Dream, finish the Autumn Colouring In Booklet and make a Spring and Summer version.

8) Admin stuff - sort out Orange Monster which is my illustrations and kids books blog and in general sort out my art work and writing into easier archives for searching, sort more places to sell products etc...

9) Graphic Novels - I have unfinished The Punk Universe comics so getting them finished and planning out the other story lines 🙂

10) Zines and things - there is stuff waiting to be scanned, edited, printed, folded, stapled, and the Wiggly Pets blog needs some work on it.

This is obviously a lot of stuff which I doubt I'll get through but it gives me clear goals and shows me exactly what there is to do 🙂

My only concern is that there is no room for random creation - but then that does have a tendency to just happen anyway so maybe that's not a bad thing?

And that is just the writing side of things... so apparent from that little lot I am also having a finishing things off month again. So the aim is to try and finish one started project or work on a larger already started project each day - at the moment this is mainly things like candle making and knitting

Suppose I'd better get on with it all then 🙂

The End of Spring Camp Nano (by )

It is the end of April - I have not reached the 50, 000 word goal that I set myself, instead I have just under 20 k. However I have also spent over 30 hrs on my poetry stuff this month which has payed off including workshop design, editing and typing up stuff in notebooks and sorting out events and performances - it even got to the stage where it was all so sorted I could just instantly hunt out a poem and submit it to a themed anthology 🙂

Also I have created the ground work for more graphic novels set in The Punks Universe and even scripted the first part - now I had wanted to achieve 100 pages of script but obvs. that didn't happen. And that is fine. Considering the restrictions of the head injury this is actually amazing as I am actually typing and not using voice recognition software or just writing long hand in note books 🙂 And typing is hard for me still.

It is an amazing achievement and I was making sure others I know got time to write as well. But it is also frustrating - for comparison: 60 - 100 k words is my pre-head bang normal whilst running one to two other challenges on the side. But you know the thing is the head injury turned out to be more serious than we'd imagined and the state I was in means that it is amazing that I am writing and performing and all the rest of it!

Big shout out to Mr Al who broke the 100 K barrier on Wojtek - a story we conceived together on our first date! (Ok it might have been the second but what ever it was we had the story line hammered out by our first Christmas 3 months later). He doesn't get much time to work on his projects so I have been giving him priority with the writing. This has now been a novel with more than a decade of making and it needs to get out there!

Second shout out is too my Dad Leonard Pym who has taken part in his first ever writing challenge 🙂 The results of which can be seen on [Yellow Monster}(http://yellow.monsters.wigglypets.co.uk/).

CampNaNo April 2017 (by )

I love writing challenges - they are a bit trickier these days with my limited time window of working brain but it is still possible. One of the things I like about them is not feeling al on my on 🙂

Alaric all set up for CampNaNo 2017

And so me and Alaric are signed up for one of the Nation Novel Writing Months add ons... CampNaNo. This used to be Script Frenzy and is where I'd work on my comic book/graphic novel stuff. Pretty much I still keep it as a Screnzy and work on my graphic novels and Al's role playing game. There is also a poem a day writing challenge NaPoWriMo in April so I bung things up on the WoPo site and the FB page and things to help others. I myself take it as a time to look over what I am doing with my poetry and spend a little time each day on it.

Catapault pencils for the Stubby Writing Challenge 2017

Both girls are doing their own CampNaNo - but me and Jean are having a writing race - known as The Stubby Challenge!!! This is how I did my first actual written and not voice to text stuff after the head bang (I think but to be honest it's all a little foggy back there!). It doesn't involve screens and I can write as big as I like and Jean loves it and... it works - though obviously it means that at some point there is going to have to be a lot of typing up!

The way it works is that we find funky pencils - this time it is catapaults to go with the camp them, last year I think it was dolphins and bats?

We have the ream of paper and our pencils and we write! Then when you are scratching the paper with wood you sharpen the pencil - the first to end up with a pencil stub wins! We even have a special Octarine pencil sharpener from the Discworld Emporium!

Jean Working on her Foodverse CampNano 2017

I'm slowely lurching my way through a novelisation of my first comic book script about how The Punk ends up being apparently immortal. It is slow progress but that is fine 🙂 Jean is working on her project from last year too - The FoodVerse - we typing up and editing chapter one An Apple Pavlova, now it is about about carrots.

Mary on the other hand is dictating a set of stories about a rainbow jungle and the sparkly creatures within 🙂 When the rest of us are working on our books she sits and colours in the picture she has chosen for the front cover. Interestingly they are quiet Roald Dahl in nature.

Mary Colouring in her Front Cover Campnano 2017

Of course I am still managing some typing so am kind of working on multiple projects - this means that I have to have check lists to keep myself on track especially as the time I can concentrate for is actually so small - I can't do hyper focus and I can't fall through the page - my brain just shuts down and I fall asleep! But I think I am getting there and producing good stuff.

So yeah CampNaNo is go and I am prodding people to write and create!

Shakespearian Mock Tales (by )

Twelfth Night mocktail

Last night we had the second ever Mock Tales - 2 hours of stories and writing creativeness with sticky non-alcoholic cocktails. They were Shakespeare themed as it was his 400th birthday at the weekend 🙂

I did 20+ pages of my comic book script/story board and now know how this story arc ends, Alaric managed 5000 words of our joint novel/series.

There were 3 of us so I was limited as to how many drinks I could make!

Twelfth Night mocktail A midsummer nights dream mocktail The Scottish Drink for Shakespearian Mock Tales Tempest non alc. cocktail for Shakespearian Mock Tales

Above are Twelfth Night which was minty, Midsummer Nights Dream which was vanillary, The Scottish Drink which was fruity, and The Tempest which was Sugary.

We also had home made Pizza which was dairy and gluten free - Mary had opinions...

Mary proclaiming her dairy and gluten free pizza is yucky whilst grinning and grabbing the next slice

I remembered that when I was in secondary school I became obsessed with The Tempest as a story and drew the whole thing as a comic - I wonder if it survives somewhere? I loved the stop motion animations they did of the shakespeare stories I need to try and find them for the girls.

Jean tried a Tempest before she went off to best - she was a little horrified at it's stickiness - she still drank/ate it.

Jean being unimpressed by mocktail

Recipes are being written down for Salaric Cooking before people start prodding again 🙂

The School Holidays Begin (by )

It is that time of year again when there are no school runs and I have no completely free child time - Jean however is almost ten so I can work whilst she is around now. In fact at the moment she is helping me!

So we let Jean plan the first day of the holiday - it was without Mary for most of it as it was a pre-school day and they continue during the holidays.

We constructed a plan based on the sorts of things she wanted to do - namely Home School which she loves and I initially came up with when we were snowed in at The Bakery back in her infant school days.

Home School Monday

We started with an American breakfast - Jean's school had done an Independance Day breakfast but the last term we have kept missing dates and time changing and the such like, probably due to my concussion. Jean was quiet upset about this so we investigated the sorts of things Americans eat for breakfast and decided it was a combo of a Canadian and Full English and set about creating our own probably very wrong breakfast!

Jean's American Breakfast

This of course started with us grubbing up potatoes from the garden - I used the bags we had for moving (from Essex which then got used for lots of things but all had busted zips or handles etc...), to grow potatoes in - I am phasing this out as most of the bags have reached the end of their life, and we now have an allotment!

Grubbing up the tatties

We were after the "new" white potatoes rather than the bigger potatoes and the pink/red potatoes so Jean kept checking with me she'd gotten the right type until I pointed out I was just grubbing up all useful potatoes as I needed to make a casserole with the turnips and beetroot from the allotment anyway.

Jean asking if freshly gubbed up potatoes are big enough

We harvested an entire pot of tatties which Jean then selected the ones we wanted for breakfast - we went with sauteed potatoes rather than the chips we'd seen in some of the breakfasts as we just couldn't cope with the idea of chips for breakfast.

Jean and her colindar full of potatoes

She then scrubbed them and chopped them whilst I started on the rest. Once that was done she mixed up the pancake mix, got plates out and general reminded me what I was doing! She also went to the shop to get three missing ingredients.

We used the flat bed sandwich toaster to cook the pancakes, this was the first time either of us had cooked this thicker type of pancake. It was fun and I put the coffee perculator on for me. Jean poured us juice.

Jean putting the maple syrup on pancakes

She took a stack of ten pancakes so it would look like the photos! And she doesn't normally eat maple syrup but she poured it on. She made up a granola and home made yogurt mix too.

Jean tucking into her American Breakfast

It was a HUGE breakfast - fresh sliced tomato, suateed potatoes, baked beans, 2 rashers bacon, 2 suasages, a fried egg, and 2 slices of toast! She basically ate the bacon and cereal and then nibbled on the pancakes all day. The rest did me and Mary for a meal each. 😀

We then learnt Latin, she did some at a language day at school and come home obsessed. She had a piece of paper she had already made notes on (mainly she observed that the Harry Potter series had used latin for the spells). When I say we learnt Latin, what actually happened was that I found a series on Youtube of which I followed the first lesson and then left her to it, she was on lesson 9 at the end with pages of notes.

I found her on google translate trying to check her own translation before she restated the vid to find out if she was right. Her translation was closer than google translates. I discovered I know random bits of latin - I assume from my Classical Civilization A'level. Later on I corrected Alaric's pronounciation as well coughs.

Then it was time for the first ever Stubby Marathon!

The Stubby Marathon Supplies!

I am still struggling with reading and writing, I am using voice tech or just going really really slowly in short bursts. But it is easier for me to do long hand rather than typing and it is a writing challenge month so I looked around and thought "you know what I have a ream or two of lined paper and lots of pencils that haven't even been sharpened!" - BAM!!!

The idea?

It is a writing marathon that will last at least the summer holidays - me and Jean sit for at least an hour writing trying to wear the lead out in the freshly sharpened pencil. Each day we see who has used their lead the most - we re-sharpen the next day so the points are the same so there is a day to day winner and an over all winner (you can write outside of the allotted time and I can't write for very long at all and have to make coffee in the middle etc...). Jean has written 2 stories and twice as many pages as me so far. I am designing a medal for her 🙂

This summer is our marathon summer but more on that later.

I think we then mixed things up a bit by having our outside time and snack before we started on our hour of art. This was basically us working our way through various kits Jean's had for birthdays etc... WHY OH WHY are the instructions in kids craft kits so dire? I mean they really are bad and I think most people think it's the kids just not getting it but it really isn't - it's the instructions :/

trying to work out the instructions to craft kits

It took me most of the hour and a very bad keyring, to remember some basic stuff that I could do before the concussion and have been doing since before I was Jean's age 🙁 This hour was frustrating for both of us but we decided to see it too the end and not jump kits and she at least made a lovely bracelet though with improvisation and not the technique that the kit was designed for!

Jean's shoe lace bracelet

She then played outside on the trampoline whilst I rested my brain, she then set herself up with her maths - these are GCSE level maths but with the questions in accessible easy comprehension which were ones my mum had for teaching those who had failed or not sat GCSE's the first time round. Some of them my mum had made herself and some were from packs provided by the college - the course was cut leaving my mum with all the teaching stuff and no one to teach 🙁

Then Al and Mary came home and we wizzed off to pick up some garden fairy lights which the girls put together whilst Daddy made dinner - they are bees and ladybirds and hopefully there will be a blog post on what we've done with the garden soon!

Jean and Mary putting together the bee and ladybird garden lights

Mary went to bed and then Jean and Alaric played with the electronic kits and only got shouted at once by me for making the radio they'd just built too loud (issue was they couldn't work out how to control the sound level - or so they say!).

Jean doing electronics with Alaric

We forgot to practice the recorder which Jean was going to attempt at 9:30 but I banned!!!

So I think that was an epic start to the holidays - since I started writing this blog post she has been writing schedules and naming each day - this was Home School Monday. But we have also had:

Tidying Tuesday, Wet Wednesday, Friend Thursday and today which was going to be Allotment Friday but then got turned into Cinema Friday has actually been named Freedom Friday as she decided to go home with her friend for a sleep over instead and pointed out that me and Al (Who has a day off of work) do not have either kid with us today.

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