Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Juggling act...

I had developed a pattern since November 1st, of spending every waking second that I was not at work, tethered to my desk.

IT WAS AWESOME. 

But, since December is in full swing, all the stuff neglected in November is crying out for attention.  I had started to like ignoring it... but, you know.

I get up at 5am, go with obligations until approximately 6pm.  Cook diner.  Choose that evenings activity.  Go to bed too late.  You get what I'm saying.  So the point of this long and boring post is this:  on average, I write three days a week.  THREE.  ouch.  that's less than HALF of my goal.

 Why?

Because on the days that I run myself into the ground, I skip writing and reading to fit in eating and sleeping and time with loved one... and laying on couch like a zombie, too exhausted to even take off my shoes.

Why does this matter?  Sure, I'm writing, and hey... that's great, but it's like when you're really into a television series, and you go a really long time without watching it.  You start to forget why you thought it was so great.

In the words of Stephen King: "The narrative thread begins to fade, the characters stale off and begin to feel like characters... and for most writers, that is the smooch of death." 

That is what runs through my mind every time I sit down to my keyboard after an extended absence.  I feel like I'm "playing writer".  I realize this is common, and that keeps me going. 

Yesterday was tough.  I stared at my screen for hours, trying to reconnect.  I succeded, but wow... a lot of wasted time.  I could have easily avoided that hassle by being just a tad more diligent everyday.  Just making sure I, at least visit my characters on those busy days.

I have started keeping writing notebooks with my inspirational pics and scribbles with me at all times.  Also, I am sure to only listen to my playlist, the exact same playlist, hoping to recapture some of that feeling I had the previous writing sessions.

I feel like if I just put this out there, a solid goal, to write EVERYDAY, not just my days off, that it will solidify my resolve.  Even just 500 words on my busy days would be a big help in keeping my story fresh in my mind. 

I don't want to be a bad housekeeper, or absent minded employee, but I do want to spend more time brainstorming.

Every writer faces these.  They make it work.  So can I.

Enough complaining. *deep breath*

Thanks for listening.  =O}


Saturday, December 3, 2011

When procrastination can turn to production...

I am a world class procrastinator.  Yep.  I have accepted it.  I have a lot of creativity in me, no doubt, and I have used much of that creativity for evil rather than for good. 

My procrastination demons are LOUD.

I like to use the potter's wheel, I paint and sketch, collage art, music, theater and movies, books and magazines on short fiction, and even TheSIMS2 *don't judge me*.  ALL of my procrastinations are in the arts. 

But, it is still procrastination.

I have, over the last two years started channeling some of that energy into various writing exercises.  For example, I have this novel that I have been percolating on the back burner for a few years.  I was missing something in the story.  I didn't know what, but the more I wrote, the worse I felt like I was making it.

I stopped writing.

I didn't want to write anything else, either.  I was so into the story that I didn't want to lose the connection or risk changing the mental channel and never getting reception again.  *you know what I mean*

When I am trying to find a voice for my characters, sometimes I use MSN image search and I will find one picture of an actor or actress that has qualities, or speech patterns of my characters.  I will print out a picture of each character and create a little profile sheet on them.  I am careful not to spend too much time on this, because it can turn into world-builder's disease very quickly, (also, my characters change sometimes), but it does help stir the scenes in my head.

One day, I took a few of these pictures of people and places, and I began telling my story in the form of news paper clippings.  I have seen books do this, and I was just sitting at my keyboard... it just happened.




Before I knew it, I had a stack of news clippings from a fictitious new paper, all by lined by a fictitious journalist that became a major character in that novel, and solved a lot of my problems with the story.  These clippings weren't great, but they got my story going again, like jumper cables to a car battery!

My point? 

If you want to work, but can't:  point your procrastination in a positive direction. :)  It can be wonderful.

*and so much fun* :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I haven't thrown in the towel...

It lies bloody and tattered, yet folded neatly in the corner. 

That towel is gross, but it symbolizes more than just my refusal to give up...

It signifies the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into me getting even this far in my writing life.

Also, it signifies the mood and tone of my work.

And it's gross. :)

Good talk.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm sorry...

I have been told many, many, MANY times in my life that I apologize too much. 

Recently, my life choices have given me a bit of a struggle.  Career changes, challenges, and the desire to write still looms over every decision I make... it does not influence my decision, but it looms. 

My decisions are based on what is best for my loved ones. period.  The down side to that, (as if there could be one, right?), is that when I feel overwhelmed it makes me moody.  Really, moody. 

I am not used to being able to vent.  Well, not without a nuclear fallout.  But, I have been told that I spend the little free time I do have, (the part I'm not venting), apologizing for venting and expressing my frustrations. Then trying to re-gain a balance that was never really out of whack, (except in my own perspective). 

Today, I was given permission, by my dear loved one, to vent, and then just skip the apology so I can go write.  What a concept!  It nearly knocked me down with its simplistic brilliance! 

As it turns out, we all need to blow off steam every now and then, and I'm told that it doesn't mean that we are failing, or weak, or unpleasant, (I could go on, but I won't :). 

I feel so much better, just knowing that I don't have to apologize for not being, well, perfect.  I'm just sorry I didn't realize it sooner :) *kidding* 

The moral of this?  No matter how much is going on, or how busy we get, we do not have to feel guilty for taking the time to write.  Its just not that big of a deal.  I don't have to feel guilty for not spending every waking second of my life doing my 'duties'.  That concept was completely self-implanted. 

Good talk.

Deep breath... and back to the keyboard.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grounded

I've been thinking a lot about my writing routines in the past few years, and what I could have done better.

I have always assumed most of my struggle with maintaining a good routine was self-discipline.  As I have been painting my writing space this holiday weekend, I have spent quite a few hours thinking about this. 

I have decided that my work schedule, my domestic obligations, and my television addictions are only small factors. 

The real obstacle in my way? 

Finding time to read, and be online. The one or two people reading this probably just rolled your eyes. :) 

How many times have we heard this?

Well, here is my take on it:

 If I am spending copious amounts of time writing about mentally unstable killers and the troubled protagonists they are clashing with, while listening to semi-depressive music to maintain the proper tone and frame of mind, I NEED the reading, and online aspects to keep me grounded. 

I love my characters, but sometimes they are really exhausting and can burn me out.  I can't always see the ending through the obstacles, and I do need to refill the well often during the composition phase. 

I have been reading the blogs of other authors, and reading newer works, rather than re-reading the classics that I used to stick with.  I have enjoyed the silliness of the twitter feeds and the encouragement of people I admire.

All of these things have make a big difference in the enjoyment I get out of writing.  It is a lonely path, writing a novel.  But, I think the Internet has taken a large amount of that off our shoulders. 

Thank you, Internet. :)

Good talk.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo - Day One

It was a shaky start this year, but after two potential concepts were thrown out due to lack of inspiration, I eventually fell back to the old "write what you know" adage.  In truth, it feels kind of good to write about such a familiar world.  Familiar, but strangly new.  I love nanowrimo, and all the excited energy that comes with it.  I love writing all year long, but there is an electric charge to the twitter feeds and blogs this time of year that truly can't be beat.  It's like nothing else. :) I'm happy to be a part of it. Good luck to you all!

Title:  The Paragod

Synopsis:
Imagine someone with the skills and ability to save your life. The tools and resources to get to you in the event of a crisis with speed, and prevent the worse day of your life from being the last day of your life. A true hero, respected by the pillars of the small comunity in which you live. The coroner, the police, the fire department all trusted friends. Now, what if that man wanted you dead.

Experpt:
The rain hit the pavement in torrents, mixing with the pooled gasoline that soaked into her clothes as she crawled on her hands and knees through the broken window of the overturned sedan. Oil, anti-freeze and God only knows what else mingled together and ran down the side of the broken vehicle, dripping on Camden Reece as she carefully made her way over the shattered glass and jagged metal framework that was once a five star crash test rated Toyota Camry.
“Cam!” she heard a mans voice yelling from somewhere on the other side of the road.
“I’m okay.” She called over her shoulder. That was more than could be said for the unresponsive teenager before her, suspended upside down by her seatbelt. There was blood everywhere, but Cam thought most of it was from the deer had gone through the windshield.

“Cam” Mark Hart had come around the wreckage, and was now right behind her. From the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of the bright orange backboard he carried. “This scene isn’t stable. I’d really rather you didn’t go crawlin’ around all up in it.” He leaned the backboard carefully up against the car. Sliding the red trauma kit off his shoulder to the soaked ground, he began riffling though its contents, grumbling and swearing as he yanked the plastic wrap from the head bed and set up the backboard with straps and all its various accessories.
“Course it’s rainin’.” Mark ripped a c-collar out of its wrapper and assembled the chin rest. Handing it to Cam. She took it and placed it on the now only semi-unconscious teen.
“We’re gonna need some more hands to do this safely.” Cam said. Her shoulders were starting to burn from holding c-spine on the kid at that angle. Mark nodded, reaching for his Motorola, he turned and headed back toward the squad, disappearing around the back of the wreck in which she now sat, on her knees in gasoline and glass, her arms extended in front of her in a yoga like position. She squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated on her breathing, trying to shut out the burning ach spreading from her shoulders and through that knot that resides in the groove along her scapula. Once the burning hit that old spot, it would spread quickly up her neck and into a full blown headache. As she worked her scapula back and forth, trying to loosen the muscle, the kid began to mumble and stir.
“Try not to move, okay?” Cam said in a reassuring and relaxed tone. “You’ve been in a little accident. You’re fine, but you need to keep you head still for me just to be safe.” The kid nodded that he understood. Cam rolled her eyes and spoke up louder, “Do not nod. I need you to hold your head and neck still, if you understand, you can say so, but don’t nod.” After ten years, the patience with patients was thin as gauze.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pay Day

So I'm pretty new to the blogging world, I've had my hands full juggling plotlines, homelife, retirement/new career path, and on top of it all I'm polishing my novel (one of three).  I have so many balls in the air, and recently threw a 20lb bowling ball on top to the heap.. yet have finished...nothing.  Okay, not nothing, but of all the balls in the air, writing is my baby... my lifes dream.  I spent the day reading the blog of one of my role models (a newer role model albeit a good one)  and have come to realize that I can do this.  I can have it all.  A tidy house, a happy family, and not one, but TWO thriving careers.  People do it all the time. Just look at Hugh Laurie, a sucessful actor, and novelist, producer and more.  Any way, thats alot of blather for a girl who had nothing to say when she sat down to her keyboard :) so on with it then! 

This is a scene that has been haunting me. It doesn't fit into my storyline, but I liked it and wanted to see if any one out there might want to tack on to it or play with it as a story prompt... just for giggles :) let me know what you come up with! 

P.S.  we'll call it an excersise in run on sentences.... *yeah, I saw them*


Camden Reece walked down the dingy hallway completely oblivious to the leering maintenance men who were not fixing the peeling wallpaper or the rattling heating duct, but rather, leaning against the wall on one of the many coffee breaks that no doubt made up their work day.  Her boots clicking loudly on the scuffed linolium floor, her walk was teetering a fine line between march and strut... she was on a mission.  Deliver the smut photos of the sleazy couple cheating on their snivling spouses, get her money, and get the hell out of this dump.

She opened the door, barely breaking stride, and headed for the main office.  The receptionist was just about to show a plump, tearful woman in, when Camden brushed past them, stopping in front of Jerry Caulier's cluttered desk.  Dropping the manilla envelope she had been carrying onto the file he was reading, she held out her hand, palm up, with a slight waving gesture.  "Come on, Jerry."

"Jeezus, Cam."  Jerry looked up over his glasses, shaking his head, not altogether surprised by her rudeness.

"I don't have all day, Jerry.  I did the job.  Pay me."  her tone flat, clearly conveying that she had better things to do, though she didn't.

The receptionist watched from the doorway, too offended to bother consoling the client, who was no longer sobbing, but staring, slack-jawed at the obnoxious young woman before her- snot still running down her lip.

"Mr. Caulier!"  The receptionist started, immediatly silenced by a wave of Jerry's meaty hand.

"I apologize for the delay, Mrs. Mckenna."  he rose from his seat, smoothing his stained, not to mention tastless, tie against his round midsection. 

"Elaine, would you get Mrs. Mckenna a cup of tea, please?"

Elaine recognized that this was not a request, but an order.  Reluctantly, she turned to the confused Mrs. Mckennna.  "Right this way."  lowering her voice,  "I'm sorry."  She threw a disaproving looke at Camden, as she pulled the door shut behing her.

Jerry opened the desk drawer, pulling out the organizer containing his checkbook.

"Cash."  Cam said dryly.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Call


My 2010 NanoNovel has been posted on writerscafe.org. 
I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to comment. :-)

Grounding the reader using "The Pyramid of Abstraction"

In my geekery on writing education, I have stumbled upon a concept introduced in both of these sources by Brandon Sanderson (whom I have ...