As part of my ongoing procrastination, I finished listening/reading Holly�s How Not to Write a Series, which has much useful material although the not writing a series idea has been superseded by events in e-publishing.  I
Here was the interesting thing that struck me from HNTWS:  How you view your own life changes what you write.    I had been thinking while writing SP2 that so much of my own baggage was slopping in that it was warping the book in ways that I really don�t like. 
And the corollary:  What you write changes how you view your own life. Which feeds into my realization that many (all?) of my books have the same themes:  a person loses their life (or some significant piece of their identity) and is revived.  The revived life is not the same as the first life and may be inferior as if the character left some pieces behind that can�t be replaced or mended. 

Here’s a list of most of the stories/novels I have written so far:  (For those who are not Joss Whedon devotees – Spuffy is Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction featuring Spike and Buffy)
Because She Wills It (2005) – MC is trapped on a space city dying from a disease.  His lover stays with him and accepts his fate.  Everyone dies.  (The space city is an oasis in an inhospitable place; after disease breaks out it is no longer capable of sustaining life.)
Puzzle Ball (2005) – MC is able to save a space city from breaking to pieces and able to save his marriage.  (oasis in a severely inhospitable place; precariously sustains life.)
Positive Reinforcement (Spuffy 2006-7)  Buffy controls Spike�s chip. (Plot not related.)
Choosing (Spuffy 2006)  Spike gets released from chip and has a choice of returning to his evil ways or going on new path. He chooses new path.
Invite Me In (Spuffy 2006) Spike is kidnapped and starved but he doesn�t give in to temptation.  He is rescued by B.
Blood Twist (2006 and revamped into Spooky Times 2) Character (not MC) gets killed on street by a vampire and wakes up alive.  MC burns down a building to get at the villain (her father). 
I Will Remember You (2007) – scientist wipes his wife�s brain and they end up in the desert trying to survive. They get rescued by bad guys, put on a plane, drugged and shoved in a survival capsule and dumped in Lake Michigan.  Characters still ending up in an inhospitable place. 
Beer Foamy (Spuffy 2007) – Vampire named Sunday gets dusted.  Wizard Bob brings her back to life with help of her twin sister.  She gets killed again at the end.  Also, Buffy�s a**hole one-time sex partner gets killed and turned into a vampire and wakes up in the morgue.  He manages to sneak off without getting killed.
Virtual Zassy (2008) � Actress gets tossed into the desert and is saved then able to return to the space city where she lives (another precarious environment surrounded by space – a kind of desert.  Not able to get out on her own.
Billy (Spuffy) (2008)  After death of her vampire lover, slayer has baby.  He grows up and becomes a vampire to emulate his father. (dies and is revived).  Slayer kills her son and herself.
Going to Tell (Spuffy 2008)  Buffy falls in love and is willing to fight off all her friends to keep him.  People who have been giving her a hard time cave when she shows some spine.  (not related)
Who Whatting How with Huh (2009) Lots of fun robots.  Nobody dies or ends up in the desert.  (not related)
Black Poppy (2009 and 2011) – one character (not MC) is �revived� several times, or gets copied into a new life.  The new version of the character is devoted to revenge.  Before death, her life is sustainable but very poor for this character and she lives on dreams that cannot come true.  After revival, she has nothing but revenge to sustain her.  She is killed a second time.
Atomic Love (2010) – Demon lives in the desert and fights off aliens or something (never written cause I couldn�t come up with a plot or maybe I was ready to come out of the desert?)
Shanshu (Spuffy 2010 in progress) Spike dies and goes to hell and is brought out to be used by bad guy.  Buffy goes to Cleveland, which is not unlike hell. They are forced to do things they don�t like and appease or ask favors from the Villain.  Spike �dies� and becomes human.  Things are looking up until he is nearly killed by someone seeking revenge for someone Spike killed in the past. Then, he �dies� again and is returned to vampire state.  Buffy and Spike are able to get together at end and even have a home, although it was abandoned by previous owner.
Spooky Times 1 (2010) – MC has his �destiny� stolen away but gets something back instead (although it�s inferior � he loses all his personal possessions and his fancy job.  He gets his girl back, and gets a job in a substandard place.  Life can be sustained.  Love can exist.
Spooky Times 2 (2011) – (Current book) Vampire gets staked and gets revived when the stake is removed.  Also, at end of book, MC�s lover is killed and turned into a vampire, thereby making their contemplated marriage an impossibility (maybe).  MC is in environment that can sustain him physically, although it is inferior to prior life and cannot sustain him mentally or spiritually.  He is forced to do work that he doesn�t like or believe in – still in progress so it remains to be seen how everything will shake out.

As part of my o…


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I thought I understood the dot, until I remembered the Dot for the Twist.  Ugh.

While struggling with the idea of how to make my characters’ voices sound different, I came up with a Dot/Map combo.  I don’t think it actually helped me, but it was fun.  The map had an oval (Big Dot) for each of the characters and each Big Dot had three legs for some characteristic about their way of speaking. 


I struggled with the whole dot thing when I went through the course the first time and finally decided to give up and move on. (I got the line part). Now I see the dots as mini mind maps that are limited to three items (so you won’t go hog wild.) Still don’t think I’m so good at the “extraordinary” idea.

I did use the Lines when I launched Black Poppy (which is still in progress) for the setting and world, to some extent.  I see now that it had many more possibilities that I realized. 

Also, I think I want to change the work sheets into little mind maps.  Those boxes are are so not right brain oriented.  Reminds me of art school where everybody’s idea of structuring their paintings, drawings, etc. was to put stuff in boxes.  Yeah, it worked, but it also had a peavish side to it.

I decided to test out dots/lines on a book I know, which was cool and showed me some new things about a book that I practically have memorized.  I want to try mind mapping w dots/lines some sci fi books when we get to that part of the HTTS course.

Here’s Gone with the Wind:


North vs South
Free vs Slave
New world v old world
Atlanta v Tara (railroad “line” connects the two)
City v Country


Rejects old ways/religion/morality while pretending to conform
Abuses the freedom she has
Accepts responsibility for others

Secretly hurt by family which he disguises with cynicism and antisocial behavior
Tells the truth no matter how unpopular it makes him
Sacrifices for people he truly loves

Clings to the old ways
Afraid of the new world (Scarlett)
Torn between duty/honor to wife and lust/love for Scarlett

Intensely loyal – refuses to believe bad things about people she loves
Embraces freedom but also keeps her moral principles
Will fight/kill to defend loved ones

Slavery – bastion of non-freedom
House is pieced together/not a congenial whole
Precarious existence – pine forest threatens to take over.

(The house is a metaphor for the Confederacy – pieced together over time and not really a beautiful whole.  While it manages to survive, it will never again realize the strength of its slavery days and subsides into being a mere farm that is constantly being threatened.)

This was a bit of a heart breaker.  Five novels abandoned, many  fanfictions that weren’t completed.  Of course, now I can see why.  A cool idea is not the basis for a full blown novel.  It’s just the Dot, so to speak. 

Because she wills it – Test tube man hiding in a space city is hired to find the techno addicted daughter of a rich man only to discover that she has the last two tickets to escape the city before it is destroyed by plague.  2005   First non Spuffy book if you don’t count the part where I tried to rip off the characters.

Puzzle ball – Rich man and controller of a space water mining city enters into an arranged marriage and is blackmailed by his brother in law as the city self destructs.  2005  he does manage to have his brother in law sucked out of an air lock. 

Blood Twist – Newly graduated medical research grows suspicious at her job at a medical company that is inventing a blood product that will cure old age (vampires, of course).  2006

I Will Remember You – brain doctor/scientist wipes out his wife’s memories so she will forget something and they can start over.  (ended up in the desert really really bad)  2007

Virtual Zassy – Woman virtual reality star gets transported to a barren planet by her murderous husband and his girlfriend, where she finds a new life and love without tech, but is forced to return and choose between love and revenge.  2008  If only it had come out that good.

Black Poppy – WIP  2009 – Still working on this one with the help of Holly’s HTRYN course.  (Can’t believe it – after working on HTRYN for MONTHS, I never finished the Sentence for the Book!  Well here goes)  Talent agent is drawn into virtual reality world by an old flame and discovers things he didn’t want to know when mysterious deaths being to pile up.

Spooky Times – young journalist forced to take a job with a creepy new age tabloid when an evil woman steals his future.  2010  – This is my next project when Black Poppy gets done.  Hey Jim Butcher won’t mind if I borrow this idea, will he? 


Spuffy projects

Just What I want – THE VERY FIRST STORY EVER!  Slayer dumps her vampire boyfriend, who disappears, but not before giving her an important gift.  All right it was dumb but it was fun.

Billy – Slayer’s dhamphyre child, born after his father’s death, turns to the dark side.  A lesson in telling not showing but a cool ending.

Choosing – Vampire is released from his electronic cage and is forced to choose between the dark and the light, between love and violence.

Diary – no plot ever accomplished but a lot of Diary of Bridget Jones fun.

Dinner – Slayer, despite her suspicions, accepts date with vampire.  (not finished)

Let’s Play a Game – When her vampire lover decides to turn the tables on her abuse, something happens.  Something I didn’t get around to finishing possibly because I’m just not into the whole SM thing.  This was for a contest and what was I thinking?  Try new things?

Mr. And Mrs. – Vampire marries and claims Slayer and attracts dangerous attention from bad guys and stuff  eh – it had it’s moments.  Like of the tear jerking kind.

Never Leave Me – I can’t even remember what this was about and I’m too lazy to ready it.

School Harder – The Wishverse.  Slayer goes to the Cleveland Hellmouth and meets a dangerous vampire.  Can he change her mind about love and life?  Another one that didn’t get written.  Fun ideas here though.

Enemy of my Friend – Rogue slayer plays with magic and traps the head slayer with a insane vampire in Hell.   Everybody hates Kennedy, but unfortunately, she didn’t play a big enough part.

When Slayers love – don’t remember this one either.

Shanshu – WIP – Buffy pines away until Spike gets brought back from hell to help the other side, while his soul is held hostage.

Maybe need to review the ones I did finish to make myself feel better.

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  • calex3531: Thanks for leaving a note. Maybe Pierce Brosnan could star. Although I can't see him running a Bootcamp exercise class. :)
  • Debbie Mumford: Love your dots and lines on GWTW. Really easy to see them on a novel I'm already familiar with. Thanks!
  • Debbie Mumford: Love that last sentence! Sounds like a cross between Jurassic Park and The Thomas Crowne Affair. Cool!