Misplaced Writing

There is a scene that I know I wrote. Though I originally decided not to include it, I’ve been wanting to add it back in and see how it fits now that I’ve made a lot of plot changes.

The only problem? I can’t seem to find it, anywhere. I’ve checked every file on Scrivener. I’ve scoured my Google Drive. I’ve even thumbed through a dozen legal pads and notebooks — it simply isn’t anywhere to be found.

Now the debate is: do I rewrite the scene? Wait for it to show up later. Wait until revisions to see if it’s even needed? I’m leaning towards the last option, but I am sad that I can’t find it. Frustrating!


In other news, I did finish this: a long-form outline/synopsis of my work in progress. Yay!

Four pages, 4000 words, one whole story. So excited to finally feel good about the overall arc of the story.

How do you keep track of your ideas and writing odds-n-ends? Ever lose something you were sad to see go?


Writing Log: Synopsis & Plotting

I’m still working on the book I started working on in earnest back in, oh, January. I got stuck in the plot, bogged down in the mire of not knowing how to make all these loose ends work.

Recently I opened up the first chapter. I scrolled the end of a scene, hit return a few times and started rewriting the introduction to my character.

And it was like magic.

The scene was suddenly alive. It actually showed what the characters were about. It raised questions, created a setting. It got them going, got them doing something — which was really needed.

I went back and revised a lot of what I’ve written up to this point. It just felt like what needed to happen. Sadly, this dipped my wordcount below 20,000, which is depressing considering I’m expecting the completed first draft to be in the 80-100k range. An honestly,

I also took the time to write a more complete synopsis of the plot. Before, I’d written outlines, with each bullet point being a scene I was going to right. But a lot has changed in the plot, some of it has changed back — it’s all pretty different.

A lot of the 19,000 words I have will need to be edited down or taken out. A lot of it still needs to be parsed and updated to match the overall plot. But I do feel that I know better now what my plot is doing and where it’s going, and as I go along and edit or rewrite, a lot will need to be added, too.

My goal is to finish a first draft by the end of the year. I’d like to shoot for the end of November, so I can give the manuscript a rest and start on revision first thing in 2013.

With the new synopsis, I’ve actually been making pretty good progress. I’ve averaged between 1000 and 1500 words a day. If I’m going to be done by the end of November with an 80K word manuscript, that’s about right on target — though I’ll probably have to push it to the higher end of things.

How’s your writing project going? Have anything you’re trying to finish before the end of the year?

Reclaiming the Gaming Community from a Sexist Culture

This post is off-topic. But it’s about something that’s been on my mind lately.

Sexual harassment and sexism has been a hot topic in the geek/video game community over the past few months, and has even spurred articles in big news outlets like the New York TimesBBC News and Forbes. And after seeing posts about it on both Jezebel and Gawker this past week, I thought I would chip in my two cents on sexual harassment/sexism in the online gaming and geek communities.

diablo 3 demon hunter - sexism in online gaming

I first encountered sexual harrassment in a video game at an early age.

As a geeky 12-year-old I was asked by a Druid in Diablo 2 multiplayer if I was a girl. Seeing no harm in replying honestly, I affirmed that I was. He then proceeded to ask me what my cup size was. Being young and not sure what to do, I replied honestly (the answer was obviously unimpressive, as I WAS TWELVE). The guy promptly logged off, never to be heard from again —  though over the years many more sexist creeps like him surfaced, often leaving me feeling uncomfortable, frustrated, afraid or straight up violated.

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Kids Make Books: Simple Pamphlet Stitch Notebook

Before moving to Los Angeles, I was a teacher for nine to eleven year old girls at my church congregation in North Carolina. These girls were kind, smart, and super sweet to their teacher — little ol’ me. They were also very funny and regularly cracked me up. Teaching them was a great highlight of my week.

I mentioned that I make books one week in class and the girls wanted to know how I did it — and if I could teach them.

I was a little nervous — I’d never taught bookbinding to anyone before (besides the stuff here on Handmade Library), but I decided to try and prove my assertion that bookmaking is easy enough for anyone to do including kids.


The girls with their new, handmade notebooks!

We set up a time to meet and make notebooks. With some preparation I walked them through my tutorial on how to sew a simple notebook.

Here are some recommendations I would make for a more kid-friendly version of the tutorial:

  1. Make sure you go through the process ahead of time. This will help you understand the instructions and so you can explain it to your pupils. Keep in mind the age and development level of the child(ren) you’re instructing, and look for ways you can modify the instructions to fit your students’ needs.

  2. Prepare materials ahead of time. Have the covers and pages, thread, etc. all cut to size and ready to go. This will save time and confusion!

  3. You may want to poke the holes in the pages and cover, as well — this was the part that was hardest for the girls to do themselves, and their efforts resulted in a few pricked thumbs! If you are going to have them poke the holes themselves (which I think most kids 9-10 and up could handle with supervision), just make sure to use fewer pages — with less papers to poke through, the task will be easier and safer.

  4. Make sure to tell them to keep a good hold on the pages and pull their strings tight on every stitch to ensure that the notebook pages line up well and aren’t loose.

  5. You can definitely mix up the materials: use regular ol’ computer paper with a yarn needle and yarn. Or even cardboard and ribbon, with a hole puncher to make holes. Get creative!

Overall the project went well — and the girls loved their new mini-journals! We talked about what they could use their notebooks for: planner, diary, sticker book, sketchbook and more. They were so proud to take home a notebook that they had made themselves.

Children love to make books, and there are so great projects that you can make with bookbinding.

They could write down things they love about a family member on each page and give it as a gift. Or you could help them write, illustrate and bind a picture book they wrote themselves. Kids love the idea of having a book they made themselves, and it’s really easy to do!

Make an accordion book - easy & kid-friendly.

Click for the tutorial!

Another easy & kid-friendly bookmaking technique can be found in my tutorial on No-Sew Accordion books. They are super easy, and you probably even made one of these as a kid.

Have fun ideas for bookmaking projects for kids? Or had success doing a project with your child or students in the past? Tell me about it in the comments!

What I’ve been up to.


It’s me, Elyssa.

I’ve been very (VERY) busy the past few months:

  1. Chris and I took a 2 week trip to Europe (Prague, Dresden, Berlin & Warsaw).

  2. Chris accepted a job in Los Angeles.

  3. We packed up all our stuff and moved out just three weeks after that.

  4. We were homeless for about six weeks, living out of subleased rooms and hotels.

  5. During which I was (and still am) looking for a job.

  6. We signed a lease and moved into an apartment in West L.A.

  7. We visited with family and attended my little sister’s wedding.

  8. I’ve been unpacking, cleaning, getting settled in — and still job hunting.

We’ve had some adventures and some mishaps. It was a big change, and a bit scary and intimidating at times to move from small-town North Carolina to big-time Los Angeles — but now that we are settled in I’m definitely growing to love it. I am a West Coast girl at heart, after all.

So that’s where I’ve been. I’ll have updates on those adventures and what I’m doing now — but in the meantime you should head over to Ashpants.com! It’s my sister’s blog, and I designed the header for it (I’m pretty proud of it).