Archive for December, 2015

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 570 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Here are my own thoughts on 2015…

Last year, I started with six goals for the year.  I’d like to take a moment to review how I did with meeting each of those goals.

  1. I wanted to finish the seven remaining WIPs in my writing folders

In some cases, it took me until the end the year.  However, I managed to either finish all of my WIPs from previous years.  Some of them were stories I never imagined that I’d even go back to.

  1. I wanted to write consistently through the year

In past years, I had some months where I’d barely write anything and others where I wrote huge amounts of words.  Last year, I was far more consistent – writing between 40K and 50K each month.

  1. I wanted to continue to finish what I begin

Again, I ended up getting several ideas for new stories throughout the year.  I had a total of 54 pieces that were longer than 1000 words.  I didn’t manage to finish all of them.  However, I managed to finish the vast majority, which was a great improvement over the previous year.  I had fewer abandoned pieces and fewer lingering WIPs.

  1. I wanted to link my “orphan” stories together into larger works

I am proud to know that I had far fewer little short stories that didn’t go anywhere.  In spite of keeping up with my writing blog, I was able to interconnect my stories far more cleanly than I have in the past.

  1. I wanted to write more longer works, rather than so many short pieces

As a result of interconnecting my short pieces into longer stories, I was able to meet this goal as well.  My total of longer short stories was far greater last year than in the past.

I reached each of these goals and surpassed them.  It made me feel like the last year was one of great accomplishments where my writing is concerned.  Being able to sustain plots over long periods of time has always been a challenge for me.  I rose to that challenge and proved to myself that it was something I could accomplish.

My final goal…

  1. I wanted to edit what I’d written

Last year was not a big year for me with regards to editing.  I did have a few stories that I managed to edit.  However, the stories I edited were not on my list of “stories to edit”.  I also far surpassed output of my new stories, compared with stories edited.  This is one goal that I feel like I failed to reach.

However, I also think that, having shown myself that editing isn’t so hard and can be as fun as writing new pieces, I’ve gotten out of the negative mindset I’d been trapped in with regards to editing.  I feel like, going into the new year, I’ll be better prepared to actually edit my past stories.  However, I also plan to continue writing new stories.  I’ll strive to balance the two essential aspects of writing.

Here’s the summary of my reading for 2015 (from GoodReads):


A Review of The Nine Lives of Christmas

The Nine Lives of ChristmasThe Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book partly because it went with this time of year and partly because my sister had read it and enjoyed it last year. We also watched the Hallmark movie that was based on this book last season.

I enjoyed the plot of the book – particularly the parts that were told from Ambrose’s viewpoint. I felt that the characters were realistic – three-dimensional. I wish there could have been a bit more from the cat’s viewpoint. The ending wrapped up a little bit more quickly than I would have liked.

There were some major changes from the book to the movie, but that’s rather to be expected. I liked that we got to know more about Zach’s family in the book. In the movie his parents don’t even put in an appearance. However, I missed the character of the older firefighter in the movie. I think the ending of the movie handled Zach and Merilee finally getting together a bit better than how it was done in the book.

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A Review of The Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English DictionaryThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that I read at the recommendation of a friend of mine. It details the lives of two men who were instrumental in making the Oxford English Dictionary a reality: James Murray and William C. Minor.

It was a fascinating read and written in a rather conversational style. I liked the little definitions that were quoted at the start of each chapter. My favorite quote was, “A dictionary should be a record of all words that enjoy any recognized life span in the standard language.” The words were spoken by Dr. Richard Chenevix Trench and they were spoken in a speech that basically spurred people to make a real English dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary still seems to live up to this idea. So, next time they come out with a list of words that have been added to the dictionary, don’t look at it and say, “Why did they add that? That’s not a good/important/etc. word.” The point is that these are words that have entered the standard language: good, bad or otherwise, they’re real words.

It’s a story of how the dictionary came to be. However, it’s also a story of two men who, in the making of that dictionary, became unlikely friends. In a time when madness was little understood and mostly feared, Murray looked past Minor’s insanity and saw a human being – a genius and a friend. Ultimately, I’m really glad that I followed my friend’s recommendation and read the book.

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