NaNoWriMo 2015

Posted: November 1, 2015 in Writing

2,466 words in 3.5 hours. Not a bad start to NaNoWriMo 2015.

Yes, my friends, this year I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the first time in 4 years. The last time I tried was in freshman year of college, but ultimately I didn’t complete it. This time, I fully intend to complete NaNoWriMo, for two main reasons.

  1. I’m determined to finish my “Traveler” story. While trying to figure out what I was going to write for NaNo yesterday (yes, I did not plan this at all) I came to a realization: that The Traveler would actually work better in a post-apocalyptic story than a dystopian story. So for NaNo this year I’m going to write a story that will fit the character. The external plot is still a bit shaky, but all the internal plot elements (The Traveler’s struggle to find community vs. not trusting anyone) and all the themes I planned to include will play out in this story.
  2. This year there is some ego involved. My brother is also doing NaNoWriMo this year, and he fully intends to complete his novel this time. In fact, he took a week off of work in order to write. Unfortunately for him, I have a MONTH off from work (virtue of being unemployed) and there’s no way I’m going to fail to finish while he succeeds. Bring it on bro. ūüėÄ

Anyway, a full plot summary will be available once I’ve got the external conflict hammered out. Also, special thanks go to PhillyWrimos (The Philadelphia group for NaNo participants) for having hangouts on Halloween and today, I’ve been able to get a lot done because of you guys and I look forward to going to more hangouts.

Anyway that’s it for now, talk to you guys again soon.

-Scott

Life Update Part 2

Posted: October 8, 2015 in Writing

In the earlier post, I talked about my work situation, specifically my difficulty in finding work. As you can imagine, this has left me with plenty of free time, so I guess I’ll talk about what I’ve done with my spare time, besides sending out job applications.

Writing

The #1 question I get asked by friends and family is this: “Have you done any writing?” “Have you written anything recently?” “When are you going to start writing again?”

This has been an immensely frustrating question for me; the truth is I haven’t written anything in a while. The last thing I wrote was the beginnings of a thriller novel for a writing seminar I took at my last semester in Taylor University; I haven’t finished it and have no intentions of doing so. If I’m going to be completely honest, there hasn’t been a single story I’ve written in the past several years that I was truly proud of and wanted to share. More often than not they were done at the last minute, were not very good ideas to begin with, and the execution of those ideas was awful. Furthermore, I haven’t been getting any good ideas at all, my inspiration has run dry. So, right¬†now I have nothing to work with.

“But what about The Traveler novel?”

Yeah, I haven’t worked on that in a while either. If I’m going to be honest, I must admit that I don’t see the character working out in a novel. I know I’ve been encouraged to write a novel about him, but I don’t think it’s going to work out. I’ve reworked everything about The Traveler, the world he lives in, and the possible story I could tell about him over and over, but there’s nothing that’s ultimately satisfied me and made me think the story could work. I may write a few short stories about him, but for now I’m not going to write a novel about him. Maybe one day, but not now.

All is not lost, though. I’m planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year, and if I think I’ve written a decent story I’ll edit it and self-publish it to Smashwords. I’m also going to reread my writing books to see if I can get some inspiration. We’ll see what happens.

Fitness

I’ve been on a bit of a fitness kick for the pass few months. At first I started working out after I realized how fat I was (218 pounds) and I wanted to slim down my gut. However, I truly committed to having a healthy lifestyle after I started doing High Intensity Interval Training and realized just how weak and out of shape I was, especially with my upper body strength. I did a 30 Day HIIT program and it’s given me great results; at the end of the workout program I weighed just under 200 pounds, and it’s been a long time since I weighed that much. Now I’m doing my own HIIT workouts, and I’m hoping to burn as much fat as possible, get rid of my gut, and get stronger. We’ll see how that goes.

Other Things

I’ve hung out with friends and family, and I’ve been going to church regularly, which is nice. Haven’t read any books recently, as mentioned earlier I plan on correcting that in the coming days. I’ve watched some animes on Netflix, my brother got me hooked on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and I’ve watched several other animes since then.

So far though, there hasn’t been anything particularly exciting happening in my life that’s worth blogging about. I do plan on writing here regularly though, I just need to figure out what I’m going to talk about. My next blog post will describe my dilemma, and hopefully while I’m writing it I’ll stumble upon an answer.

-Scott

Life Update Part 1

Posted: October 8, 2015 in Writing

I knew that it had been a long time since I’ve written a post for this blog. I did not realize, however, that it has been 264 days since I wrote my last post for scotthowardphillips.wordpress.com. Consistency has never been my strong suit, but I can change when needed. Who knows, maybe I’ll blog more consistently from now on. Considering my track record though, probably not.

This post is mainly for my friends in, and graduates of, Taylor University’s Professional Writing program, to share what has gone on in my life since I graduated college in May 2015. While I’ll always miss the friends I’ve made there, I looked forward to graduating college during my last semester. I was ready to move on, to get a job, a car, and my place to live. I was ready to have the money to be able to go out and adventure. Some in my generation complain of “adulting” but I wanted (and still want) to embrace adult life, with all of its complexities, difficulties, and opportunities.

I was hoping to have some sort of writing or editing related job soon after I graduated. Unfortunately, I seem to be stuck for the moment. I’ve sent application after application out, and all I’ve gotten for it was either silence or rejection. The only interview I got was for Chick-Fil-A (which I applied to recently out of frustration) but even they didn’t hire me; I was supposed to get a call back the day after, but I never did.

Granted, I’ve only sent out applications to places in my immediate vicinity; if I sent applications out to just anywhere, I might get better luck, but that brings troubles of its own. I don’t have the money needed to move anywhere, and I’d definitely need a car to get around (and I¬†don’t have one now). So realistically, my only options are in the Philadelphia area.

You can imagine my increasing frustration, especially since student loan payments start at the end of November. However, things may change soon; my mom knows a person who knows a person who has worked with a certain company I applied for, and that connection might help me get the job. In my experience though, connections are worthless, they haven’t helped me one bit. The only exception I’d make to that principle is if you know the CEO of the company or whoever is in charge of hiring.

So that’s my job situation. There are lots more I want to talk about my life in the past few months, but most people nowadays consider this post to be long enough. So, I will end this post here and write more later today. Take care, everyone.

-Scott

My WordPress Help for Writers post has been a big hit among my fellow Professional Writing majors, and one of my teachers, Linda Taylor, has encouraged me to write more WordPress-related posts. Therefore, I’ve decided to change how I’m going to approach this topic; instead of editing in answers for doing stuff in WordPress in the original WordPress Help for Writers post, I’ve created a new category with the same name. All posts that deal with doing stuff in WordPress will now be tagged with this category, so you can click on it and find what you need. Also, I’ll edit in the links for all WordPress Help for Writers posts into this post (hence why the title of this post is “WordPress Help for Writers Hub Post”).

If you have any questions for me about using wordpress, you can fill out this contact form below and ask your question. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can and write a post answering your question, or direct you to a post I’ve already written.

Also, if you’ve never used wordpress before and don’t know how to get started, I’ve created a Youtube video showing you how to do that, which you can view below:

I hope this is helpful for you as a writer, or for anyone else who is looking to get started on WordPress.

-Scott

WordPress Help for Writers

 

 

Note: I normally don’t review books on this blog, but I’m reviewing one here as part of my Online Writing class. If you would like me to review more books and post them here, let me know in the comments below.

When you hear the word “dystopian,” what books do you think of? Perhaps you think of modern novels like The Hunger Games or Divergent. Perhaps you think of classic novels like 1984 or Brave New World. However, there’s one novel you probably didn’t think of, and I think it deserves to be more widely-known.

That novel, as you already knew by reading the title, was We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin. With the possible exception of Jack London’s The Iron Heel, We is the first dystopian novel ever written. Written in 1921 and translated to English in 1924, it was actually the first book that was censored by the Soviet Union, largely due to one of the characters saying, “There is no final revolution. Revolutions are infinite.” (This obviously conflicts with communist theory, as the worker’s uprising is supposed to be the final revolution.) It was also influential with Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, who wrote Brave New World and 1984, respectively.

After the apocalyptic 200-Years War, society is reorganized into OneState: a massive city-state that is sealed off from the rest of the world by the Green Wall (a glass wall which gets its name from the green foliage growing outside the city). In order to prevent such a destructive war from happening again, society is controlled by The Tables, a set of instructions for what people are supposed to do every minute of every day. The all-powerful¬†Benefactor rules over OneState, and his word is law. All citizens are spied on by the Bureau of Guardians, OneState’s secret police. Privacy is dead, for every single building is made of glass. Individuality is dead; all citizens wear the same uniform and are¬†known by numbers instead of names. Even sex is regulated; promiscuity is encouraged, but it can only happen once every several days. In other words, freedom as we know it is completely dead, and men have become machines. However, people seem to be completely happy with this new society.

1000 years after the 200-Years War, the starship Integral is being built so that OneState’s way of life could be spread to other worlds. D-503 is the main engineer of the Integral, and he begins a diary about life in OneState as part of a call to fill the Integral with propaganda about OneState. However, everything changes when she meets I-330, a woman who introduces ideas of individuality to him. This begins internal conflict in D-503, and when he goes to see a doctor, he learns that he has developed what used to be called a soul.

I don’t want to spoil the entire story in this review, so I’ll end my synopsis there. Suffice it to say, I believe that people should read this book. While there is no threat of our society turning into OneState, the book does warn against things that are relevant to us today:

1. We started the trend of dystopian stories warning against mass surveillance and the dangers that it poses.
2. It warns against placing control over all things into the hands of centralized power.
3. Most importantly of all, We warns of what happens when we surrender our individuality to the collective; whatever society advances as the greater good, it is not worth surrendering who you are.

-Scott

Last weekend I went to the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana.¬†This was actually my second writing conference I’ve been to (I mistakenly referred to it as my first in my last post), and as I mentioned in my Facebook post, it was exactly what I needed as a writer.

Over the last year I’ve been discouraged when it came to my writing; I took Creative Writing and Fiction Writing at Taylor University, and I felt that all the short stories I wrote were garbage. I had trouble coming up with good ideas, and they never turned out as well as I wanted them to. I had my novel, but beyond a Speculative Fiction seminar with Jeff Gerke that I took last January, I’ve barely touched it. I had lost the passion for writing fiction that I had when I first came to Taylor University to pursue Professional Writing.

This conference, and one session in particular, changed all of that. I took the Writing Fiction seminar with Katie Ganshert, which was about building the spark of an idea into a full fledged story. Essentially, it covered what Debra Dixon called the Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (GMC) of a story; that is, What does the character want, Why does he want it, and What is standing in his way of reaching that goal. Mrs. Ganshert also talked about the Internal/External GMC, addressing the GMC from Character First and Plot first perspectives, and the plot road map.

As I sat there listening to the lecture, I began thinking of The Traveler; who he was, what he’s doing, and what his motivations are. New ideas began flowing through my mind, and for the first time in a while, I got excited about The Traveler and what story may come from it. There still remains a lot of work to do in planning and writing the novel, but thanks to Katie Ganshert’s Writing Fiction seminar, I know how to think through the idea for my novel.

So the moral of this story is, if you’re ever feeling down about yourself in your writing, if you’re stuck on a writing project, or if you feel like you’ve run dry on ideas, come to a writing conference. It will jumpstart your writing career and bring new life to your writing.

-Scott

Conference Bound

Posted: October 27, 2014 in Writing

ifwc-tn

This is just a quick announcement that I am going to the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference at Anderson University on October 31 and November 1! This will be my first¬†second writing conference, so I’m pretty excited. Here’s a brief description of the conference from their website:

The Indiana Faith and Writing Conference will build on the established foundation, providing publishing opportunities for those communicating the Good News through the written word while mentoring writers to create works of literary and academic excellence.

I’ll write a blog post after the conference about my experiences there, it’ll probably be posted here the Monday or Tuesday after the conference (Nov. 3rd or 4th).

-Scott

EDIT, 10/30/14: Actually, I just remembered that this is my second writing conference, not my first. My first writing conference was at Philadelphia Biblical University (now called Cairn University), and I think I went to it when I was in high school or during a break¬†on my first year of college. Regardless, I’m still pretty excited for this, as it has been a long time that I’ve been to a writing conference.