Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

Still Pondering SkillShare

Happy Friday, squiders. I hope May is going well so far!

I went in to SkillShare this morning to check my stats, and God, is it depressing. You can see exactly where 1) they changed the payments rules and 2) they took down some of my classes because of “lack of engagement” (including one that had 100 people currently enrolled).

Very depressing. I worked hard on those.

(Sorry. I started this post yesterday then got derailed when somebody ate a battery and had to be taken to the ER.)

(He’s fine and has hopefully learned a life lesson.)

(Nothing really prepares you for parenting.)

They continue their antics, though, because I got an email a few weeks ago saying they were going to stop accepting classes in some areas (writing was not one of them) and then actively start removing classes as well. I can understand that they’re trying to rebrand just for creative classes, but it’s kind of a crap move still, especially if people were making decent money from their classes that they’re going to lose.

I still am not sure what to do. I think what I’m going to try in the short term is re-uploading the classes that were taken down, and see if I can better maintain my “engagement” (though, like I said last time we talked about this, you can’t make people post or review, so who knows) and get my income back up near where it was.

And I guess what I should do long term is research other teaching platforms, though I am not looking forward to re-recording sections of classes that call out SkillShare specifically.

(I have thought more about just hosting them on my own site, but it does lose the discoverability aspect that a platform provides, and probably isn’t worth it to me in the long run.)

Any thoughts on online classes, squiders? Do you prefer to take a class on a platform, and if so, which ones are you most fond of?


April, Week 2

Good afternoon, squiders! It’s snowing here after being in the 80s all week. As it does.

We’re about halfway done with the month! I think, to be on track for my 25K goal, I should be at…oh, like 11.7K.

I’ve only written a few hundred words thus far today, so I’m at, like, 7.6K.

Not amazing. Not great. More than I’ve written in a hot minute, though, certainly.

Most of the words have been on the novella for TDP. I’ve got it outlined to be about 15K, so while I’m not quite as far as I had hoped, I am at least halfway-ish.

I ran into some issues the last few days with my outline.

It turns out I outlined this story in June of 2018. Good Lord! That’s almost five years ago. Anyway, I outlined it then and broke the outline back out last month to plan for this month. And I wasn’t wild about the outline. I think I told you guys this. Some of the later plot points were just…not good.

My choices were: 1) start writing and see if I could fix the story on the go, or 2) fix the outline before I started.

I chose 1, because I am eternally an optimist even though I know how I work.

So, lo and behold, to no one’s surprise, I had a rough time writing yesterday and realized I’d hit the point where the outline was no longer working.

But, also, that the outline method wasn’t quite working.

I have levels of outlining I do, based on estimated word count. Anything under 5K, I use a phase outlining method.

Past 5K, I switch to a 6-act outline.

For longer works, 30K+, I also use the 6-act outline, but I do arc work and tentpoles as well to help with pacing. Different stories and genres may require additional work past that.

So, based on several 7.5K-10K-ish stories I’ve written for, say, anthologies, I outlined this 15K story the same way.

This was apparently a mistake.

So I spent about an hour last night doing my arcs and tentpoles, and now I feel better about the whole thing. I didn’t actually touch the 6-act part even though I maybe should have because it’s still bad, but I’m hoping the tentpoles will let me ignore them.

Or, you know, in three days, we’re going to be back to outlining fixing.

Now, I don’t mind outline fixing. An outline, after all, is an active document whose sole purpose is to help you write your story, and it needs to change as necessary to help you succeed. I just probably should have done the work at the beginning.

Or maybe not! Maybe I needed to get into the story, expand the world and the characters, before I understood enough to make the outline work properly.

I’ve been invited to join a critique group that’s meeting this Sunday. I’d better figure out if I’m going or not, and look at the materials if so. It’s Sunday mornings, which is inconvenient, so I’m going to have to think long and hard about it.

See you guys next week, when I’ve hopefully caught up!

Passing on the Nerdy Torch

Squiders, if you’ve been with me at all, you know I am (unabashedly) a giant nerd. I went to my first Star Trek convention when I was 12. I cosplayed all through my 20s (and still sometimes). I occasionally hyperfixate which is very annoying because it makes it VERY hard to get anything else done.

When the small, mobile ones came along, I was like, ah, yes, my children, I shall teach you my ways. When the bigger, mobile one was small, we used to watch Doctor Who together (though we had to stop, because we reached a threshold where he was understanding enough of the show to get scared of some of it). I think we’ve watched Avatar: The Last Airbender all the way through three or four times. We’re working our way through all the (appropriate) Star Wars stuff.

And, now, finally, we’re getting into Star Trek.

Star Trek is my Very Favorite, as you know, and I’ve tried a few times over the years to watch it with the small, mobile ones with varying levels of success. The Animated Series went over rather well (probably because it is animated) and we’ve watched a few episodes here and there of the Original Series or Next Gen. But it wasn’t really sticking.

This is a bit devastating. Some of the earliest memories I have are of watching TOS with my parents. And when I was a bit older, we used to sit together every week and watch the new episodes of TNG, DS9, and Voyager as they came out.

(Though we only got a few seasons into Voyager before something got messed up with the station it was on–we got sound, but no picture. Very frustrating.)

With the newer Trek–Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks–none of them are family-friendly, so we couldn’t watch those with the kids.

Til now.

My spouse and I sat down a few months ago to watch the first episode of Strange New Worlds, and we came to the realization that here, finally, was a series we could watch as a family.

And, hey, this time around the kids were interested too!


We did hit a bit of a snag–Episode 9 is rated TV-14 whereas the rest of the season was TV-PG–and we haven’t managed to figure out why exactly it’s got the higher rating and whether or not it would be okay for upper elementary-aged people. (So if you know, let me know.)

So while we wait for me and/or my spouse to get our act together about Ep 9 (or just watch it), we decided to switch to Prodigy. This is an animated Trek series made specifically for kids through Nickelodeon.

And, squiders, I loved it. The small, mobile ones loved it. Programming for children can be very hit or miss for the whole family, but it was a unique take on the Trek universe with enough Easter eggs to appeal to long time fans.

But we’ve hit the end of Prodigy til season 2 comes out, and we’ve got the last two eps of Strange New Worlds.

We’re running out of Entertaining-For-the-Whole-Family scifi/fantasy shows on our streaming services. We did Amphibia and Owl House on Disney+, plus the Mysterious Benedict Society and are now in season 2 of The Secret of Sulphur Springs. Not necessarily seeing a lot else on that platform that’s appealing right now. And kids’ programming is kind of hit or miss on the other platforms–though we did watch some Scooby Doo through HBO Max (and the first episode of Velma, which was pretty dang awful).

(Paramount+ does have all the Nickelodeon stuff, so I suppose I could poke through there and see if there’s anything interesting. Mostly the small, mobile ones watch Spongebob on their own.)

ANYWAY, the spouse and I were talking about Voyager for some reason, and about how I’d never watched the whole series, and we realized…we could watch Voyager with the kids.

There’s a gazillion episodes so it would keep us busy for a while, if nothing else.

I brought up this idea with the small, mobile ones the evening, and the bigger, mobile one said, “Maybe we could watch Next Gen too.”

Oh, be still, my heart.

Thoughts on the newer Treks, squiders? (I admit I’m not wild about Picard–I’ve talked to you guys about that before–but I’ve also only watched the first season so far.) Know what happens in SNW EP 9 and can advise?


Hello hello, squiders! I hope you’re doing well! I’m doing a month’s worth of work on a project in a week, so that’s good times.

(I did, however, sign up for Camp Nano, and, fingers crossed, I shouldn’t have anything major happening in April that will keep me from regularly writing and making progress on my revision.)

So a few weeks ago, I introduced you to my new writing friend/trigger object, and asked for names.

(Here he is again, in case you forgot:

After looking over all my options, I’m pleased to introduce you to Taig the Turtle!

Now, Taig is the American English phonetic spelling of the Irish/Scots Gaelic name Tadhg, which means poet, philosopher, or storyteller. Seems like a good fit for a writing friend!

(“dh” makes an “i” or “ee” sound in Gaelic.)

(I did several months worth of Scots Gaelic on duolingo last year, leading up to and following our trip to Scotland. I have never been great with languages in general–I took SO MANY years of Spanish and am barely rudimentarily fluent–but Gaelic was especially hard for me. No combination of letters ever made the sound I expected it to.)

With Gaelic names I’m normally pretty good about equating what the name actually sounds like to the spelling (Saoirse to Sear-sha, Eilidh to Ay-lee, Siobhan to Sha-van, etc.) but since my little friend here is supposed to be helping and not causing extra stress, I’m going to change the spelling for my own sanity. I will remember that Tadhg is pronounced Taig, but I will have to think about it for a minute each time, and meh.

Taig should be getting his first run on Tuesday or so (my project ends on Monday afternoon) so I’m hoping I can spend next week training myself to use him as a writing trigger and then it should be smooth sailing from there.

How are you doing, squiders? Anything fun happening?

WriYe and Rewriting

Hi, squiders. Sorry for the long time, no see–I was on a trip, and normally I schedule posts for when I’m gone, but it just didn’t happen this time around.

(The trip also had a surprisingly little amount of downtime, despite planning whole swathes of time for that. I only read half a book–mostly on the airplanes, actually–wrote a single sentence in my writing journal, and read over an outline for a novella and then did nothing else.)

Oh, and last call for name suggestions for my new writing friend! I hope to dub him later this week.

Anyway, here’s the WriYe prompt for the month. Like most Marchs, in homage to the now defunct NaNoEdMo, it revolves around editing and revision.

March: Revision or New Vision? Revising vs Re-Writing? Which one is it?

I am firmly of the belief that if you can finish a story, in general it is working. It’s been my experience that if a story is broken, you eventually reach a place where you can no longer go forward.

That being said, a story can still have a lot of faults even if you manage a finished draft.

So for revision or new vision, I go revision. (Unless, of course, I’m trying to fix a story that I couldn’t complete a draft on the first time through.) You can do a lot of changing and deepening without affecting the core of what the story is about.

For revising or re-writing, well, I think you have to do both. Well, I do both. I always always always plan out my revisions before I do them. It goes so much easier if I can see what needs to change where and know what is changing to what else.

But I rewrite. Some people just go in and change the specific passages that are changing. I can do that–and have, for tighter deadlines–but I don’t like to. I like to start at the beginning and rewrite everything, in order, whether I’m changing the passage or not. I make my changes as I go, but I also re-type parts that aren’t changing rather than copying and pasting them.

This is a little OCD of me, I am aware, but I find this does a couple of things. 1) It ensures a consistency in voice and tone. Your writing voice changes over time, and especially for larger projects or projects I haven’t touched in a while, sometimes it can be obvious you wrote different parts at different times.

2) It helps me keep track of everything to make sure I’m not leaving things out.

3) It allows me to tweak little things, such as removing filtering or improving flow.

Is this slower? Oh, absolutely. But I find the quality of what I get out of doing it this way is much higher, and much more consistent, so we continue on.

Thoughts, squiders? Turtle names?


Executive dysfunction is no joke, my friends, and I swear it’s getting worse the older I get–or maybe it’s just manifesting in more annoying ways.

ANYWAY I finished my revision plan last week, like I was planning to. Monday I sat down with my red pen and the paper copy of the last draft of the story, and I scribbled all over, and ta-dah! I was ready to start writing.

A scribbled on printout of a story

Or re-writing, I guess, except I do need to do a new first scene, so who knows.

Anyway, the last couple of days have been busy (Tuesday I needed to run errands after work, and yesterday the roads were a mess, so I came home early and worked here, but that actually made it so I worked longer), so I thought I’d go to the coffee shop after work today, have a nice coffee, and write my opening scene.

Easy peasy, right?

Well, I gave myself about an hour and a half to write, and by the end I had this:

A poorly executed first chapter
Not impressive

What makes it worse is that I suspected I was going to do this. As I arrived at the coffee shop, I said to myself, “Now, Kit, don’t get distracted. I know it’s kind of overwhelming, to have to write a new first chapter, and I know there’s a lot riding on it, because we want this to be the last draft, but you’ve got to just do it, and the sooner the better, because maybe we can catch the end of the critique marathon, and then you can get feedback on whether or not the new beginning is working.”

And then I got a brownie, and I had to wait for my coffee, and I thought I’d play a phone game while I ate/waited, and then it was too late. All I did was make the document and generally panic.

This is stupid. I know this is stupid. I’m predictably stupid in this way too, so you’d think I’d just get over myself by now.

But alas.

Left to my own devices, I will eventually just sit down and write, but it can take a few days, depending on how easy it is to distract myself (spoiler alert: it’s super easy).

So I think tomorrow I will ask some friends to bother me until I actually write. I read an article today that said that, for people with ADHD, just sitting with other people, or having people expect something from you, can be the impetus to have you sit down and focus. Now, I don’t have ADHD, or, at least, I’m not diagnosed, but I don’t see any reason why it won’t work for me too.

(In fact, I know this can work, because if I’m goofing around at my desk and my husband comes and sits next to me to work, I tend to switch to doing things I’ve put off.)

Anyway, wish me luck! If all goes well, I’ll have a finished first chapter ready in time to post next Monday for the critique marathon (I think there’s only two weeks left on it), and I think once I’m past the first chapter and, indeed, just the initial hurdle of starting, the rest of the revision should go faster.

See you next week, squiders!

WriYe and Kissing

Happy Valentine’s Day, squiders! No one got me anything, although the smaller, mobile one gave me a leftover Valentine that was extra from her school set.

(It had candy. It was pretty good.)

In honor of the celebration of love, I thought I’d do the WriYe prompt for the month, which is:

Is This a Kissing Book? Romance as a main genre vs. subplot.

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about this exact topic somewhere in the past (somewhere in the last twelve years)–I can recall mentioning I’d read two similar books, one of which was categorized as a mystery with romance, and the other of which was categorized as a romance with mystery, despite the actual make-up of the books being near identical. I, too, posed the question of what got to be considered the main genre, and why.

(I think my determination was that one author primarily wrote romance, and the other primarily wrote mystery, and so they got categorized due to that when the going got tough.)

Now, being older and wiser, I would say that it’s romance as the main genre if the major plot points of the story are driven by the romance elements. Like, if the main story question is whether or not two characters will get together, or how they will surmount the things keeping them apart.

If the main story revolves around other plot points–a mystery to be solved, an adventure to be had–then it’s a subplot.

But I do think it gets muddled in the middle of the spectrum. I always plot my stories with an external, an internal, and a relational arc, and romance tends to involve internal arcs more than external ones (excepting, of course, something actively trying to keep characters apart). So if you have a romance-based internal arc, and a, say, mystery-based external arc, and you give both arcs equal or about equal story weight, then it’s not clear if it’s a romance or whatever the other genre is.

And then we get into subjective territory, which is surprisingly common when it comes to genre.

Personally, I tend to use romance as a subplot, though arguably with Shards the romance could be considered to be the main thing driving the plot (though it doesn’t particularly follow Romance beats).

What do you think, squiders? Thoughts on romance in stories in general?

Finally! Movement

Howdy, howdy, squiders. How’s February treating you?

Aside from the SkillShare issue, mine’s been decent! Because, miracles of miracles, I’m almost done with my revision plan FINALLY.


And I moved my cards around a bit more, and I realized…

…I was thinking about it too hard.

What is the expression. Something, something, weeds… hold on. Oh, it’s just “in the weeds.” Maybe combined with a little bit of “can’t see the forest for the trees.”

When I started this revision, I knew where the problems lay. Specifically that my female main character lacked decent internal motivation and that the beginning of the book felt a little disconnected.

And then, somewhere along the way, I got lost. I got so deep into checking my plots and subplots that I lost sight of what I was trying to fix, and then I started to try and fix things that didn’t need fixing.

No wonder I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated!

So, oh, Friday I want to say, I was like, hey, maybe, you know, things are mostly in the right order, and we just need to tweak things based on observations we made when we did the readthrough, including fixes for things that actually are problems (which I had figured out, I’d just…not stopped there).

And, oh, hey, guess what was suddenly a million times easier.

Anyway, I’m almost done with my revision plan for the beginning of the book (which is where the majority of issues reside), and once I’m done, I’ll finish the revision plan for the rest of the book, which is mostly streamlining things to make sense with the changes to the beginning of the book, and fixing clunky writing, and adding in one scene (or maybe a whole chapter) about three-fourths of the way through the book.

I’d like to say that I’m frustrated at myself for going completely off the rails and therefore halting the whole process unnecessarily, but I’m just so happy that things are finally moving! Hooray! Progress!

Anyway, things are moving now, and hopefully we’ll be able to start the actual revision next week! Eeee!

Re-Considering SkillShare

Howdy, squiders. Happy Groundhog Day. Someday I should probably watch the movie, but today is apparently not that day.

(Here in Colorado we have Flatiron Freddy. He’s a taxidermied yellow-bellied marmot. The park rangers put a top hat on him.)

(He saw his shadow too, so six more weeks of winter. Which is fine! We need all the moisture we can get.)

(I guess he didn’t see his shadow. He’s dead.)

Anyway, let’s talk about SkillShare. As you guys probably know if you’ve been about for a while, I’ve been teaching on SkillShare since 2019. I put a couple writing classes up a year, and it’s been giving me a small amount of income every month, normally between $20 and $70.

Not amazing, for sure, especially since it does take quite a bit of work to get a class ready, between planning it out, creating it, editing the videos, and posting it, but enough that it’s generally been worth it. Plus I’ve been getting a fair amount of followers, who have come over onto other platforms from there.

Well, a few months ago, SkillShare decided they were going to start paying based on engagement (how many reviews, etc.) rather than number of minutes of class watched (which is how payment has traditionally been paid out). Between August and December, my income dropped by 75% despite the number of minutes being watched remaining the same.

And I got an email last week that they were closing three of my classes because they didn’t meet the new engagement requirements. Nothing I could do about it.

(And, annoyingly, two of those classes were actually doing really well for the month! And I feel bad, cuz what if people were in the middle of the classes when SkillShare closed them? I tried to warn people beforehand but I don’t know how many people actually saw my warning.)

You guys know how I feel about setting goals that rely on other people. No matter how many times I ask, I can’t make people leave reviews, or watch other classes, or recommend my classes to other people. To make payment and, indeed, if a class can even stay on the site, so dependent on what other people are doing is frustrating, to say the least.

(Yes, I realize that the payment based on minutes watched also relies on other people, but it was a they did, or they didn’t, sort of thing. Nobody was getting their classes closed off of that.)

What it really feels like is that they’re trying to drive the smaller and/or newer teachers off the website.

It was already pretty hard to be found by the algorithms if you weren’t one of the celebrity classes SkillShare pays for and advertises, or if you hadn’t been on the site forever and built up a major following. But I was/have been getting consistently good reviews, and it seems like people have found the classes helpful.

So, what now?

From what I understand, there’s nothing to stop me from just making a new version of the class and putting everything right back up. (I even emailed and asked, and all the dude said was that the new classes would be held to the same engagement standards.) Of course, the new class will lose any projects and reviews, and no doubt it will be removed from people’s courses, which means I can’t contact those people anymore.

Also, it will make the class EVEN HARDER to find through the algorithms.

Is it worth it?

I haven’t decided. Maybe. You get some leeway on engagement stuff for a bit before they would pull the class again. But in the four years that I’ve been on SkillShare, they’ve consistently revamped how pay works, and it’s always worse for the teachers. Is it worth it to stay on a site that so obviously does not want me?

I could move the classes to another platform, or even offer them here on the website. But they are geared toward SkillShare, so I would need to edit or even re-record some of them. And I would need to do research to figure where/how to do all that.

It’s all a major pain in the ass. Part of me just wants to give the whole thing up, but then I’d have to go in and edit the back matter in the Writers’ Motivation books and workbooks to remove the SkillShare link too.

There’s not really any good answers here.

What do you think, Squiders? Have any experience with teaching on the web?

WriYe and Restarts

Hey ho, squiders, I was reminded that WriYe has monthly blog prompts and that I should probably get on the January one, since we’re fast running out of time here.

Here’s the prompt:

(Re)Starting fresh, for a new year, new story or after a writing break.

Got to admit this one threw me a bit for a loop. Not, like, from a concept standpoint but I did find it a little hard to puzzle out what it was asking.

I think it’s asking how I feel about starting fresh (…). That’s what I’m going with, anyway.

I don’t tend to start fresh for anything, really. I write or at least think about writing pretty much nonstop–don’t think I’ve taken a real writing break in over a decade. I wonder if that’s a good or a bad thing. Maybe I should, once I’ve finished the revision on Book 1. Just take a few weeks where I’m not even thinking about writing.

I stopped taking breaks because I found it hard to get back into the swing of things after I did so. Like any habit, if you break it, it can be hard to start back up.

Of course, I was taking pretty substantial breaks. I would do Nano, try to continue through December (continuously and always a problem from me), and then write through the beginning of the year until I finished my draft. And then I would stop til it was time to get ready for Nano again, so it could be six months or so in there.

Anyway, I stopped doing that when I started writing more seriously.

We’ve talked about how I feel about new years and resolutions and all that jazz many times here (I think the blog is 12 years old now) so I won’t repeat myself too much, but I’ve never really seen a reason to start a new project with the new year. I’m normally in the middle of something anyway, and the new year is an arbitrary division of time.

So I suppose the only time I start (or re-start) anew is when I’m starting a new project, or going back to one that I haven’t worked on for a while.

And it is exciting! There is definitely something exciting about starting a new project or picking something back up, and you can coast on that feeling for a good while, especially if things are going well. Maybe I should switch projects at the new year. Over at WriYe, there’s definitely a lot of excitement floating around that I don’t typically participate in. Maybe I would find it beneficial to ride that energy out like it feels everyone else is.

Ah, well. I really need to get this revision done. Next year, maybe.

Thoughts, squiders? How do you feel about a fresh start, or picking something back up?