Reflections In A Car Mirror: #AtoZ Blog Challenge 2019

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#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary Reflections badge

26 Posts

A total of 36,061 Words

A Car In The Woods

Six years of participation. Six years surviving. Six years.

This year kicked my ass.

I’m not someone who outlines these things. Titles, maybe (i.e. the Road Signs year). I get the basic idea, like it enough, think I’ll get some mileage out of it, and go with it, peddle to the metal.

I originally planned to just do individual stories. The only through line connector would be the Narrator (the Present Day voice). My take on The Twilight Zone.But then…

Commenters got invested in the mystery. The clicking sounds. Then the Thunderbird. Finally, Patricia, Debra, and Tim. What started out as a Horror/Mystery series of lightly connecting pieces began to form a larger story. So, commenters, you may take credit for leading me in this direction.

I also began to care and think about the family.

Zeno the mutated frog was planned before I started. This is a real African frog known as the Clawed Foot. It does not have a tongue and makes a clicking sound instead of croaking. It can’t make the usual frog noise. AND: it was (is being?) used in many Biochemical labs as a test subject for a variety of reasons. I had my X post planned out, and the Z post.

Which changed drastically by the time I reached Z.

The Narrator was originally going to remain a mysterious “voice” in the woods, with Z being a more philosophical/paranormal pondering. Once I introduced Eddie, it felt right for him to take on that role. By the very end, and the reason why Monday the 29th’s post was delayed, I was having an intense inner struggle: let Eddie live to fulfill the role I was planning, or let him die and have someone else become the narrator.

Tim was a bit fragile, with all the trauma he went through. Patricia needed, I felt, a happier life. That left Debra, the smart mouthed, arm punching, take no shit Sister.

Eddie vs. Debra. A full day was spent with inner debates, and then a well thought out feedback email came along. Thanks, Melanie. If you are not familiar with Atherton’s Magic Vapour, you really should check it out.

I didn’t want to be predictable, but in the end I guess I was, based on the few comments I had at the end.

The posts were much longer than I should have written. The story took me where the story took me. Blog hoppers don’t always want to invest in long posts. Pop in. Hit the like button. Leave a comment here and there. Not this puppy. The lowest word count of the main story was 887 words (I on April 10th). The longest was the Y post, with 2,936 words. In case you’re wondering, I wrote the Z post’s 1,491 words the same day I wrote Y.

4,427 words. One day. I think I used up all the words in my head. The night was for vegging out.

The Saturday posts were hint drops for things as yet unexplained. Some were straight forward, most needed your thinking cap on to make the connections. I felt I didn’t have to hit the readers on the head with explaining every last detail. Sometimes solving things, or allowing your own mind to wonder, can be a great experience.

As for TB, there are clues scattered here and there about the T-bird. Red Thunderbird-4 was described by one reader as just gobbledygook. It’s the least straight forward of the Saturday posts, but read between the lines and look at the graphic inserts. Add that to the last week of stories and TB’s role.

I want to thank every single person who read, liked, and commented on the day-to-day posts. This is what stirred me on, made me think, and really boosted a confidence that needed a lot of boosting. Congrats to everyone who completed, or attempted, this years Blog Challenge.

Big thanks to all the hosts of 2019’s AtoZ Blog Challenge:

Arlee Bird (founder) @ Tossing it Out
J Lenni Dorner (captain) @ Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary

John Holton @ The Sound of One Hand Typing

Jayden R Vincente @ J R Vincente Erotica Writer

Jeremy Hawkins (graphics) @ Hollywood Nuts

Final Words:

Is this story done? Are there questions you still have, threads you feel I didn’t tie together?  Why did I choose the titles for each piece? Thoughts, comments, Agents who you think should read this? I’d love to hear from you.

There’s a car in the woods.

Link To AtoZ Reflections Sheet

And to finish this out, the following are 10 Reasons Why I Hate You

10 Questions To Answer:

  1. What did you love about the challenge this year?
    1. As always, getting my creative juices flowing & finding new blogs to read/follow
  2. What would you change about it?
    1. Group the Master List by categories, as we’re asked to choose where our blog fits in.
  3. What was the best moment for you during this year’s challenge?
    1. The comments of those who really followed my complicated story line.
  4. What is the best comment your blog got during the challenge, and who left the comment?
        1. First Post: “Excellent start, Stu. Almost David Baldacci meets Stephen King. Expertly narrated.” by Varad
        2. Last Post: “Fantastic story. Had me riveted to my seat on every entry. Well done.” by Harvey

       

  5. Will you do the challenge again?
    1. Most likely. Depends where my head is at next April
  6. Was it well organized and were the hosts helpful? (Did you fill out the after survey?)
    1. Survey Says: It’s done. This year, the main AtoZ page was a little hard to navigate. Took too many tries to find things. i.e. Master List
  7. How did you and your blog grow, change, or improve as a result of this challenge? Did you find new blogs out there to enjoy?
    1. The more I write, the better I feel my storytelling gets. Each year has its fans, but I really pushed myself this year, and I think it shows.
  8. Were you on the Master List? (If you did the challenge last year, was it better this time without the daily lists?)
    1. Yep I was. I do with we saw the deletions as previous years. Winnows down searches.
  9. Any suggestions for our future?
    1. Throw us a curve-ball: Start the month with Z, work out way to A. Something.
  10. Any notes to the co-host team? A word of thanks to Jeremy for all his hard work on the graphics?
    1. As always, thank you. The graphics were excellent. Thanks.

 

 

That’s All Folks. Comments are always appreciated. Did you like my April output? Are there things I left open that still leave you puzzled? Who wrote the book of love? Just want to say “Hi Stu!”?

Enjoy

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10 responses »

  1. It sounds like the story ended up taking you somewhere new. It’s always an amazing feeling when that happens
    Debbie

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  2. Stu, you’ve written a novella, however you worked it out, and have showed yourself to be a fine pantser! 😉 Now it’s time to give it an edit and consider a self publish – too short to submit to a book publisher, too long to sell to the average magazine. But worth doing a bit more than just letting it sit on your blog. Do think about it!

    Like

    • Sue, thank you. I’ve probably gotten as many requests to publish this as last year’s AtoZ. I DO have many ideas that did not get included into this run; If I’m going to do it, yes, a heavy edit and add the additional chapters that I had envisioned. I have to really think about this.

      Like

  3. I’ve done NaNoWriMo (50k words in November) and you don’t show those words to anyone. To write what you wrote and had it make sense is a major accomplishment. I will admit my head may have been better with smaller chunks but I found myself falling into the story on several occasions. So, my comprehension wasn’t the best. Does that make sense? When I have time I’m going to reread and then I may have some questions. Finally, thanks for sparing Patricia.

    Like

    • thank you, Alana.

      Patricia was never in danger. Tim I went back and forth on, the same with Schatzi. As I mentioned above, the role Deb wound up in was not what I had originally planned. I DO know that I never went into the real Lisa’s story, but…no room. Also need to change her name.

      Hope you enjoy it as much when you re-read.

      Like

    • 390 Chapters? AIiiiieeee. Are you trying to give me a heart attack?? 🙂

      Like the last two years, people (YOU, among others) have asked me to rewrite/add on for a novel or novella. I do have other ideas, and I see parts that I could have expanded easily into chapters of their own. I really have to think about this. I’m hoping the Writers’ Week in June will connect me with someone in the field (preferably and agent) who can say “DO THIS ONE NOW” and take the juggling out of my hands.

      Thanks, Roy.

      Like

  4. I really enjoyed A Car in the Woods and looked for it each day. I probably missed a few pointers as I did start in the middle, went back to the beginning and maybe missed one or two. It has inspired me to try a fiction A to Z but I would try to write it before April (famous last words).

    I wouldn’t worry about the length of your episodes. I was sorry when they ended and they sure made me read fast. See you again next year.

    Like

    • For me, the challenge part is the main reason I do this. The time crunch pushes me ahead and keeps me very invested. The only time I “pre-write” a post is if I know that I will not be around/booked a gig for that day.

      Thanks for following the story. I will be writing at least once or twice per week, as is my usual.

      Like

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