Monday, April 28, 2014

Reflections on Camp NaNoWriMo 2014

What worked:

  • Having an outline – it was easier to get through the first part because the outline was loose, but when I got the 2nd part and had strict rules, I knew how the book should play out. Of course, by knowing what exactly should come next made me feel guilty, in a sense, when I just wanted to let a scene run where it wanted.
  • Staying away from Twitter – I love the writers I talk to online, but not knowing what they were doing, and not having much conversation about the month’s goings on helped me not compare myself to anyone else. I liked the community chat in my “cabin” but it ended up only being me and one other author who chatted occasionally. As far as the NaNo stuff went, I just posted my daily word count and left it at that.
  • Getting a good start – having the push of NaNo is always good for me to at least get the book on the right track. In previous NaNos, I’ve been all over the shop by just writing out stuff for the book, but this time I had a bit more of a cohesive goal. Of course, there’s going to be lots of edits, as usual.
  • Knowing the material – I thought up this book idea ages ago, so I pretty much knew what elements I wanted and how the plot should go. When I come up with some new project idea, I know now that sitting on it and really taking time to think about it works best for me.
  • Focusing on one project – when I’m left to my own devices and have no deadlines set up by anyone other than myself, I can drift off into other project ideas. I’ll write notes and dabble with scenes in my other book. NaNo keeps me focused on the project that needs to get done.

What didn’t work:

  • Physical problems – aside from the backaches and the eyestrain, I ended up sick from allergies (I guess that’s what this is) so I took a lot of days off. By the time I got to Easter and was too sick and out of it to bother, I knew I wasn’t going to get to 50K words by Wednesday. This has happened during every NaNo I’ve done before. I always get eyestrain and one year my fingers ached something awful. I like aiming for a daily goal, but I need breaks.
  • No real incentive to “win” – by knowing that I was running into mid-May for a finish date, I started realizing that trying to struggle again with eyestrain, backache (which is better now that I have a new computer chair, by the way) and the ickiness from being ill, there wasn’t much to keep me going back to the book straight away. I know what I need to do for P2 and P3, but now that it’s half way done, I can take my time getting it finished. Besides, everyone knows 50K isn’t novel length. A final draft will have to be at least 60K.
  • Racing toward the end, makes for sloppy work – this has been my problem in NaNos before. The last book I wrote, that my CP is now helping me clean up, was thrown together and tried to get finished “in time.” It just made it rushed and in need of more work than usual.

Final reflection for Camp NaNoWriMo 2014:

All in all, I’m really glad I started working on the book. I know that I have a lot more work to go for May, but a first draft has a much better start than if I hadn’t tried to follow the Camp NaNoWriMo daily word count goal.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years is definitely one of the best shows ever created. Aside from the amazing cast of characters, and the soundtrack, it was just a good show. I love voice-over narration, so the fact that Kevin was telling us this heart-warming story about being a kid during the 60s and 70s made the historical references all the more monumental. Plus, the love affair with Kevin and Winnie has to be one of the best TV show couples of all time. I truly miss seeing this show. I know they had it in syndication finally on ABC Family right before I moved.

I'm so glad to have the last A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014 post to be about such a great show.

80s and 90s TV show honorable mention: Who's The Boss (a show I liked, but didn't love. I watched it in syndication after it ran in prime time. It was always kind of meh to me.)

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for V

Today we were watching old 80s episodes of Doctor Who on the horror channel (??) and I mentioned that V was probably the only sci-fi television show that could have been comparable at the time. I only saw some episodes, but the concept was great - aliens who look like lizards with green blood who pose as humans. I've seen some of the new ones, but I lost interest after a while, unfortunately.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

T is for Three's Company

Another one of my all-time favorite shows. I watched Three's Company as a kid, and then again in syndication. In fact, I was named after Suzanne Somers, so I have a special affiliation with this show. Plus, John Ritter was so stinking funny. As a bit of trivia, he played the TV father of Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (Penny) before he died.

80s and 90s honorable mentions: Taxi, Thirtysomething (the episode where the prof hangs out with Emily Dickinson is the one I remember most), The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, Tic Tac Dough, Talk Soup (now The Soup with Joel McHale), and Twin Peaks (which I watched after it's big season finale.)

U is for USA Up All Night

USA Up All Night was a great way to show B movies. I have fond memories of me and my friend watching these terrible films in the middle of the night. So bad they were good. I was a fan of Gilbert Gottfried as the host, but even after he left, we still watched these terrible movies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live

Sesame Street was probably the most influential show that we kids ever had on television. So glad it's still running and still so popular.

I was always allowed to watch Saturday Night Live, as a kid. I was a big fan for a long time, but after Jimmy Fallon left I kind of lost interest. I loved the cast with Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Tim Meadows, Chris Farley, and the like. The Celebrity Jeopardy skits were hilarious too.

80s and 90s TV show honorable mentions:  Silver Spoons, St. Elsewhere, Small Wonder

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Roseanne and Reading Rainbow

I have a deep love for the show Roseanne. There was no pretence about it. They were the first real sit com family to show what real working class American families were like, and how funny they could be. Of course, without this show, we would have no Big Bang Theory since about every character has been on the newer show (I'm honestly surprised that Roseanne Barr hasn't showed up yet.)

When I first came back to Florida after being in England for over a year, my first priority was to watch these episodes on Nick at Night again. Unfortunately, they were only running the later episodes, after the famed lotto win episode. It just went sour and weird around that time. I did enjoy seeing AbFab make an appearance in one episode though. Still, very strange.

Regardless of that, I have a box set of Season 1, and I still have fond memories of watching this in my apartment in Florida late into the evening. It's like an old, trusted friend. It never fails to make you feel better. One of the best shows on television, hands down.

Reading Rainbow is just a staple in our childhood that can't be denied. I'm so happy that they gave us a show like this devoted to books and reading. I also thank Jimmy Fallon for doing the best rendition of the theme (in the spirit of Jim Morrison.)

80s and 90s TV show honorable mentions: Rags to Riches, The Ropers, he Real World, Riki Lake Show, Road to Avonlea (which I still need to watch in its entirety.)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is from Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap was such a cool show idea. You have some nice scientist guy who ends up time traveling and helping people. Scott Bakula did such a good job as Dr. Sam Beckett too. I’m glad this show’s on Netflix. Every episode was different and you got an idea about history’s cultural issues with each character Sam stepped into. Good stuff.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Punky Brewster and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose

I love, love, loved Punky Brewster. I wanted to be Punky Brewster. I dressed up as her for school (though my mother made me wear matching shoes.) Big, serious part of my whole existence was in this show. I remember being so excited when it came on every week. No words for my appreciation to Soleil Moon Fry for being on this show and showing little girls how different can be a good thing.

Parker Lewis Can't Lose was supposed to be a Ferris Bueller's Day Off for TV, which did much better than the actual Ferris Bueller TV Show. My favorite quote from Parker Lewis was, "Synchronize Swatches." Ah, the 90s were so good.

80s and 90s TV show honorable mentions: Perfect Strangers, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Pictionary

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Our House

Our House was a show that I distinctly remember watching a lot when I was young, even though it didn't last long. It had Shannen Doherty, Chad Allen, Deidre Hall and Wilford Brimley as the grandpa. The mother had to bring her kids to live with her father-in-law, so it was all sorts of touching and sweet to see a family be a family. I even liked their basset hound.

80s and 90s TV show honorable mention: One Day at a Time (a darn fine show.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Night Court

I cannot even begin to express how much I love Night Court. All the characters were funny, and the ensemble just worked so well. There were lots of now-famous actors and comedians who made guest appearances on this show so, yeah, it was kind of a big deal. Harry Anderson was like the Matt Smith of judges. He was young, quirky, strange, funny, and wore a bow tie. It was a great show that lasted a while and, sadly, like some others on my list, is no longer in syndication.

80s and 90s TV show honorable mentions: Newhart (I absolutely adored that show too) and The New Scooby Doo Mysteries

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for My Two Dads

Of all the M shows, My Two Dads is one I remember watching a lot when I was a kid. It was a ridiculous story, of course, but the studio apartment where they lived was pretty cool. Also, this was Paul Reiser before his role as Burke in Aliens - and we all know how much I love that movie.

80s and 90s TV show honorable mentions: MacGyver, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Magnum P.I., Mama's Family (I watched this in syndication because it was the only thing on certain times), Miami Vice, Mickey's Christmas Carol (my favorite Christmas movie ever), Major Dad, and Mad About You (the other Paul Reiser show I watched.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Little House on the Prairie

This is one of my favorite shows of all time. Just hearing little Laura Ingalls begins her narration for the pilot episode to Little House on the Prairie, gets me emotional. It was such a good show - good characters and good moral values. I still watch it on Sony channel here in the UK. It never gets old. It's the show that made me want to live in a small community, made me want to be a teacher, and made me want to be a writer. It's a pivotal part of my childhood and one day I hope to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real homes.

80s and 90s TV show honorable mentions: L.A. Law, Late Night with David Letterman, Looney Tunes

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Kate and Allie and Knight Rider

Kate and Allie use to be on in syndication early in the morning and it was a welcome relief to the usual junk that plays after non-college kids go to work. I always liked Jane Curtain and it was nice to see her in a regular sit com.

Knight Rider had the best intro song too. Who didn't want a car that talked? I was such a fan of this as a kid.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Just the Ten of Us

Just the Ten of Us was one of those shows they don't talk about that much anymore, but I really liked it. A large Catholic family full of girls and a basketball coach for a father at their high school. It had its intense moments with "issue" episodes, and it really wasn't given the credit it was due in the sitcom hall of fame.

80's TV show honorable mention: The Jeffersons, The Jetsons, Jeopardy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for In Living Color

I think when most of us first saw In Living Color we were like, "What the heck is this?" and "Isn't this just Saturday Night Live?" But oh how pleasantly surprised we were. People quoted these skits,Jim Carey got his start, and J-Lo was a Fly Girl. Good times.

80s TV show honorable mentions: Inspector Gadget and It's Punky Brewster

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Head of the Class

Why isn't Head of the Class in syndication more often? They had it on Nick At Night once in a while, but I hadn't seen it for ages before I moved from Florida. It was a show about a smart teacher and a group of genius kids at high school in New York City - what more could you ask for in a show?

80s TV show honorable mentions: Headbangers' Ball, Heathcliff, The Hitchhiker

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Golden Girls, Gimme A Break and Growing Pains

I don't care if I like this. All the years that I watched this as a kid and no one else did, now they see how right I was because Betty White is such a big deal now. I am so glad they put this on TLC in the UK because I missed it so much. When there's nothing else to watch, The Golden Girls will be on somewhere; especially in Florida. Bless them. These girls were so funny and worked so well together for a sit com.

I miss Gimme A Break so much. Nell Carter was an awesome lady and I loved her in this. It was a neat idea for a comedy, plus little Joey Lawrence was in this before Blossom (which I forgot to put in my "B" post - forgive me, Mayim Bialik.

Kirk Cameron made Growing Pains what it was. I sometimes get this and Family Ties mixed up because it had a similar situation with the cheeky older brother, but this one later featured the young Leonardo DiCaprio. The father was also Alan Thicke, father to the twerk-loving Robin.

80s TV show honorable mention: Garfield and Friends, Get Along Gang

Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Felicity and Family Ties

Ah, Felicity. The New Adult heroine before New Adult was a thing. Remember Scott Speedman before he was a lycan-vampire hybrid? And Janeane Garofalo being the older, widowed pen pal that Felicity confided in via tape recorded messages. It was such a good show.

British fans of Back to the Future didn't know how Marty McFly got his start, so I'm here to tell you: He was Alex P. Keaton, on Family Ties - a young Republican of former hippy parents from Ohio. He was so arrogant and smart and charming that you couldn't help but like him. Originally the part was offered to Ferris Bueller's Matthew Broderick, who turned it down. I'm glad he did, because Micheal J. Fox was perfect for the role.

80s TV show honorable mention: Fraggle Rock and The Flintstones

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Empty Nest

A spin-off from The Golden Girls, this one really held its own, just because of the cast. Plus, it had a dog, Dreyfus. Who can resist a television show with a dog?

80s honourable mentions: Eight is Enough, E/R.

90’s honourable mentions: E! True Hollywood Story

Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Designing Women

Just watching the intro to this makes me homesick for Florida when I was a teenager. The girls were all funny, and the idea of having a business of your own, making your own rules, and working from home really appealed to me.

Personally, I wasn’t a fan of Bernice’s character, and once Charlene and Suzanne (great name) were off the show, it just wasn’t as good.

80’s honourable mentions: Dear John, Different Strokes, A Different World, Double Dare.

90’s honourable mentions: Dawson's Creek (I watched these later in syndication), Doogie Howser M.D., Dharma and Greg (I watched these, but they were kind of boring. Loved Jenna Elfman though. Who, btw, is in a Depeche Mode video: Halo.)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Clarissa Explains It All

I absolutely adored this show. It was like a younger, female version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Melissa Joan Hart played the lead, Clarissa Darling (great name), before she was Sabrina the Teenaged Witch, and our beloved Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins (another great name) wrote for the show.

80s honourable mentions: Charlie Brown, Captain Kangaroo, China Beach, Care Bears, Cheers, The Cabbage Patch, Cagney and Lacey, The Cosby Show.

90s honourable mentions: CBS School Break Special, China Beach, Christy (I need to see these), Clueless TV Show, Cold Case Files.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Beverly Hills 90210

The 90s gave us our favourite teen drama. Beverly Hills 90210. I never missed an episode, and I remember being outraged when Tori Spelling wore Doc Martens with hot pants. Those were the days.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for A-Team

80’s television shows that I really enjoyed when I was a kid: The A-Team and Alf. I use to have a talking Alf doll as a kid too. Loved that thing.

90’s TV honourable mentions: ABC After School Special, America's Most Wanted, Almost Perfect, Arsenio Hall Show.