Publications for Linda Adams

Published November 28, 2013 by Linda Maye Adams

If you’re interested in my publications, please visit my publication list on my website.  I’ve identified stories that about Women at War and Women Veterans.  Enjoy!

Coming in 2015:

  • “The Stones Next Door,” published in the Tales of the Talisman anthology
  • Soldier, Storyteller: A Woman Soldier During Desert Storm
  • Same Time, Different War, a collection of stories and poetry about war.  Will include some I wrote during Desert Storm.
  • New Robot Smell, a short story.  Add technology to the military and sometimes you get what you ask for.
  • Rogue God, a contemporary fantasy set in an alternate world of Hawaii.

Dogs of Desert Storm – Photo

Published April 20, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

As the war started, this small dog wandered into our camp, and one of the women — my roommate from back in the barracks adopted him.  She called him “Muttley.”

This was taken inside the women’s tent, so you can see what our living conditions were like.  The floor was covered and taped down.  In back and to the left a little are boxes of ubiquitous water bottles.

Small dog walks across tent floor

Keeping Track of What’s in the Novel

Published April 15, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

This topic’s prompted by a comment over at Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, where he is currently running a series on Writing into the Dark (not outlining).  In the comments, we got to discussing character questionnaires and interviewing characters.

I don’t use either technique. I’ve looked at questionnaires and not been impressed, and character interviewing just seems to odd to me.

Or actually, it all seems like outlining to me. In this case, outlining the character.

Just like the story, I wouldn’t know anything about the character until I wrote the story. A character worksheet would force me to make decisions that I don’t know about yet.

Then there was the question, which was “But you keep track after you write, right?’ Like write down who the POV character is for a scene, what they were wearing, what happened in the scene.  A story bible of sorts to refer to.

Nope. Not at all. I don’t keep track of anything as I’m writing.

I have a very good memory, which is a function of being visual spatial. I might write a scene, and as I write it, I’m mentally connecting it to another scene already in the story. It’s like I can see the direct connections, and all the connecting parts get into the new scene. I don’t have to refer back to summary of the scene to know what’s in it. I can generally even hop back and land within a couple of scenes of it because I can see where it is in my head.

I can have trouble remembering how to spell things.  Usually I’ll hop back and look, but sometimes I just do a botched spelling and move on, for fixing later.

As for the character pieces, It’s the same thing. I remember reading about a writer who had to physically write down that her character had tea at exactly 8:00 in the morning every day or she’d get it wrong. I found that quite strange because once I connect to that character, it’s part of the landscape in my memory and comes into the story when it needs to.

When I’ve tried story bibles or variations of one, I end up stalling out on it. I think, “What should I write down?” and it seems stupid to write down the character’s name when I know what it is, and it seems stupid to write down that character’s favorite color is when I already know what it is. The result is that I spend a lot of time wondering what I should write down in a story bible and don’t write anything at all.

Going through my messed up electronic files, I found at least five instances of character name lists. I started them all, thinking I needed it to remember a character name, and then never used them at all and forgot they were there.

Photos of Our Camp from Desert Storm

Published April 13, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

My computer failed in December, and I ended up paying to recover files from it.  Some of these were scanned in photos from Desert Storm.  These were taken in January, 1991, when we were 43 miles (!) from the border of Kuwait.  I was told at the time it was 70km, which sounded a whole lot better.

The first one was our battalion.  You can see how flat and devoid of landmarks it is.  One day, one of the companies packed up and left.  That night, when I came out of the latrine, I was disoriented for a few minutes because the tent landmarks were gone!

 

Army tents in the Saudi Arabia desert

 

This was our supply tents, or rather tents.  At this point during the war, they moved it out of the living quarters and used three small tents tied together.  I called it “Triple Peak Supply.”

Sunset in Saudi Arabia over military tents

Except for our time at Cabin Village and then at Eskon Village, this was pretty much our living conditions while we were there.  Can you imagine living in a tent for six months?

The Why of Organizing Writing Files

Published April 12, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

My post last week triggered some interesting comments on organizing, so I thought I would address some of the major reasons of WHY.

Why #1

I’ve always just created a folder, slapped some name on it, then saved files to the folder. I wasn’t always careful about naming the files or the folders because I was always rushing off to do something else. So sometimes the file names didn’t make much sense to me later.

Then there was the Doc1 files, where I just saved the default …

Then there was the novel project …

I was trying one of those Write Your Book in 30 Days, which had all these different worksheets for each week, and it was a lot. I tried naming them the best I could, and I was trying to save backups of my writing files as well. I ended up with at least fifty files in one folder, and it was a like a visual clutter to me. Even though they were dated and sorted that way, I had trouble finding the last thing I worked on because there was too much chaos.

Then I’d need something from an older version that I’d taken out — but because of how inconsistently I’d named them and from the visual clutter of all of them, I had trouble finding what I was looking for!

So an Z – Old Files Folder preserves the files, but controls how much I have to wade through on a daily basis.

Why #2

In December, my computer failed. I’d done some backups of the story material on flash drives, but I hadn’t backed all my documents up.

I thought I could use what I had.

I was missing two stories. They somehow didn’t make it over from the other computer.

I continued to make flash drive backups of my current computer.

A third story has disappeared.

So I paid to have the hard drive recovered. On my new computer, I have 2K of files. With the additional files, it went to 6K. I also found that I hadn’t lost three stories — it was four, plus one poem. I had short stories in three different main folders. The four were all in a folder that never made it into the backups. The poem was called “wra.” The name even looked like it wasn’t anything important. I only found it because I opened the file to see what it was.

I almost deleted it unopened.

I’m also finding duplicates, caused because I wasn’t consistent in what I named the files. Couldn’t find the file, so I recreated it. Instead, I had 2, 3, or even 4 files.

I’m also finding files where the context was needed to understand the file name, and the context is no longer there.

But the real reason is that I shouldn’t be making more work for myself when I write, or when I do something else on my computer. It’s easy to think that the name isn’t that important, but I’m having to spend a lot of time figuring out what the files are, which should have been unnecessary.

Organizing the Writing Files

Published April 8, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

Most of the time when I Google organizing + Writing, I get a lot of articles and posts on outlining. So not what I’m looking for.

Writing, by its very nature, is paperwork. Like:

  • The story itself
  • Other versions of the story (i.e., drafts, publisher wants it in rich text format, etc.)
  • Correspondence (i.e., submission letters, rejection letters, general correspondence)
  • Contracts

And there’s even more.

It’s also easy to lose paperwork, especially if it’s not labeled correctly.

Because of space limitations, I want to do electronic filing. But what I’ve found out there on organizing isn’t very good. Most of them seem to be left-brained, very terse and with generic one word titles like “Docs.”

I can’t find stuff in folders like that!

I can’t even figure out where to put stuff with folders like that!

So the way everyone says really doesn’t work for me. The result I’m trying to figure out what does work for me because I really need to.

Goal #1

It should really obvious where a file should go. At one of the places where I worked, they redesigned a shared folder structure based on a senior boss’ email. The problem was that person had organized the system with those very terse words, like Meetings, Reports, and Presentations. If you’ve been to meetings, you know that the contents of said meeting could fit in all three folders!

Goal #2

Another goal is to take the time to make sure that what I name both the folders and the files makes sense to me. That’s been a problem at work where I’ve often just saved a file with someone else’s name and that doesn’t always reflect what I know about the document.

On the writing side, I just simply don’t always take the time to name them properly.

Goal #3

Find files without mining through files that are not relevant. Some files do become out of date, but still need to be saved.

Naming Stories

So what I’m trying to do is spell out the full name of the short story. Just normal spaces. None of this lines for spaces nonsense (and I know some programmer out there is horrified). When I read, I hop form word to word. The space is a natural hopping spot. With lines, no hopping. It looks like one word to me. So:

Name of Story

But I also have different versions of the file. I might send it to this magazine, who wants it in .doc format as opposed to .docx. Or another magazine wants no contact information on the manuscript at all. So:

Name of Story vDOC

Name of Story vNO INFO

That way, if I run into another magazine that has the same requirements, I can simply reuse it. (My old method was to delete the extra file, which makes more work for me). The “v” means version.

Files like rejections look like this:

04-08-2015 – Rejection – Publication name – Name of Story

Naming the Folders

The short story folders are in a folder called “# Short Stories.” The number sign is so that the folder will pop into a particular order. In this case, I can’t control the folders other programs install in the Documents file, so this forces a different sort order.

Inside, the short stories are organized simply by their name. In the folder title, it’s the name first, then genre, and subgenre. If I don’t have that on the folder, I won’t necessarily know what genre the story fits. I currently have 39 active stories, so they can really run together.

I thought about breaking it down into genre subfolders, but that started to get more complicated and increased the risk of not being able to find a store because it got stuck in the wrong folder.

The format looks something like this:

Stain of Ghost – Fantasy – Steampunk

Inside the folder, there are more folders, because there can be lots of files. So far, what I have:

  • Submission Versions – This is where I put all the different versions for submitting stories. I just make these up as I need them, so it’s not automatic that I create one without any identifying information or a .DOC file.
  • Record of Submissions – Submission letters, rejection emails, acceptance emails. I also saved the User Agreement on a site I submitted to and saved it here as part of the submission.
  • Contracts – For any contracts associated with the story.
  • Research Notes – Any notes I did for the story.
  • Old Files – That folder gets named Z – Old Files, so it falls to the end of the folder structure. Pretty much, it can be anything that’s not current. I want to be ruthless with this one because it’s really easy to get a bunch of old files in the main folders that I now have to search through to find current file. Just like at work. If I submit a leave slip, once the leave is over, it’s an old file.

I still have to think about what’s going to work for me for the more generic paperwork — author biographies, author bibliography, that kind of stuff.

What’s your filing system like?

Measuring, Military Style

Published April 6, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

One of the things about the Army is the we always had to improvise, and being able to do that was an essential part of how the Army functioned.  A soldier might be out in the middle of nowhere without any of the proper supplies. What happens if the soldiers needs something to accomplish the mission?

Ergo, a very simple measuring tool that every soldier had in their pocket: The quarter.

We used it to put rank on a battle dress uniform (the BDU) collar. The rank then consisted of two each, with two pins on the back that fastened using a pin closure. I always hated the closures because they were hard to get on and easy to loose.

Some pictures of the rank here: http://www.galaxyarmynavy.com/rank-insignia-p-130.asp. The black ones at the bottom where known as the “subdued rank” and were used on our battle dress uniforms (the camouflage uniforms you see on old TV shows). The basic idea is that you don’t advertise your rank on the battlefield with something shiny that can be seen by a sniper.

The polished ranks in gold and silver were worn on the dress uniforms. Contrary to what might appear obvious, silver is the higher ranked.

To put the rank on the uniform:

  1. Line the quarter up to the point on the color.
  2. Pin the rank above the quarter and try not to stab myself with the two pins.

I always knew the quarter is being one inch because of this (the rank goes one inch from the point), but it’s actually a little under an inch.

Beds, Military Style

Published March 30, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

When you live in the barracks, you’re kind of stuck with what you have. I’ve heard the military has tried to improve things, but there is a tendency to think of soldiers as children.

The beds, for example.

We were assigned beds that were originally in life bunk beds. We’d probably be still using them as bunk beds but there was a urban legend that an accident had caused Fort Lewis to outlaw them. According to the legend, over a four day weekend, a top bunk had crashed down on the bottom one, killing both the soldiers. No one found out until Tuesday morning.

But the bed was a twin bed, for an adult. In hind sight, that’s a tough fit for any adult. It’s more of something you give to kids. I’d always wake up and find an arm or a leg hanging off the bed, or smashed up against the wall, probably because of the sense there wasn’t really enough room.

I can’t imagine how some of the guys managed! We had some really big guys.

What about the sheets?

The bed clothes were furnished by the army — two cheap, thin, flat  sheets; two wool blankets; and a pillow.

Once a week, we stripped the bed to air out the mattress. Someone came around and picked up the sheets and replaced them with a pile of fresh ones. Sometimes they would be clean but stained.

We did have to use what the military issued us. However, we could add to it, so some of the women would add bedspreads. I got one of those mink blankets from a local flea market. It wasn’t real mink, but soft and thick. You’ve probably seen them hanging in stores and roadside stands. They usually have big pictures of animals on them like a buck. Mine was light purple, with a tiger.

I usually slept on top of the military blankets so I wouldn’t mess up the bed, and under the mink blanket. It was hard getting it made to where people were happy.

Is it true the bed had to be tight enough to bounce a quarter off of?

During an inspection, yes, but I never passed that. I simply couldn’t get it that tight. I’m not sure if it was just me, or if there was a point where I felt like it wasn’t worth the effort. Probably a little of both!

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