Saturday, March 31, 2012

I’m pretty sure this is normal…


So, as I have mentioned before, I recently quit my job.  I am dedicating myself to my writing full-time.  *yay!*

So far, it has been two weeks.

I’ve scrubbed every inch of my house, cleaned out all of the closets, stocked the pantry cupboards and fridge, washed the dishes (countless times), made a few dozen pots of coffee… pretty much I’ve caught up on everything… except writing. 

*bangs forehead on desk*

My self-preservation/self-sabotage reflex is strong.  I poured every ounce of myself into my writing with my free time while I was burning the candle at both ends.  Now it seems that with a lack of “schedule pressure”, there is a lack of motivation. (and not a small amount of pointless fear mingled with my excitement).  To this I say: time to just do it.

No planning, or overthinking. 

This is the time to just get in the routine of writing.  Just sit at my computer everyday, even if I don’t keep what I write, I need to reconnect with that part of myself that withered during these last four months. 

And if the last two weeks have taught me anything, it’s that I need to do it FIRST THING! I get side tracked soo easy! *the other morning I went into my study, turned on my computer, and then went to make coffee while it was booting up, no problem, right? WRONG!  I wound up washing the dishes while I was waiting for the coffee, then proceeded to mop the kitchen while it cooled, and I was in full domestic scrub mode by 9am!* :)

So to all you writers out there that have gone through this rough patch… any advise or tips?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I hate laundry.

I missed yesterdays blog post.  I'm sorry.  Unexpected occurrences disrupted my day.  I have decided to do what all you smart blogger's that I follow seem to do... write my posts in advance.  :)

Sadly, I have a slight adjustment period from quitting my job to regaining my writing mo'jo.  Part of this is the realization that I have let my housekeeping obligations slip more than I am comfortable with, so I shall have to push this weeks blogging back.
I shall return on Saturday!
 (unless there is a laundry avalanche! If you don't hear from me in a week, send help!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kiss kiss, bang bang

One of my favorite things in fiction as both a reader, and a writer:   Genre Blending!

We all like characters that we can relate to.  That being said, none of us fit into a tidy little box, like "action", "comedy", or "romance" (thank God).

Life is big.  And messy.  And chaotic.

Sometimes we fall in love, and then get hit by a car, and while heavily medicated we see dead people. 

It happens.

I am not speaking from personal experience here, I'm just sayin. ;)

I do have to make a distinction, however, because there is genre blending, and then there is cut and paste plotting.  I don't know if someone out there has taken the term cut and paste plotting for another definition, but what I'm talking about here is the difference between a great read, and a cheesy romance novel with adventure thrown in just to make the sex hotter.  *tsk tsk*

We have all read that book, or seen that movie that we are really into, and then all of the sudden, the characters switch gears with a big "reveal" and now we are reading/watching a completely different story!  Like the writer got bored halfway through, but didn't want to revise so they just kept plugging away, or wanted all of the elements of action and romance, but just didn't know how to marry the two.  I have done this.  No one will ever read it, but I have.  I learned a lot from it, and I want to be better than that, so I expect better when I read/watch. (examples are: Hitchcock, A Killer's Kiss

I think some episodes of Writing Excuses call this "breaking promises to your readers". 

I want to be put into the middle of a very tense situation.  I want to believe the danger, to worry about the relationship, and wonder at the unexplainable phone call from the deceased man. And I want it all to fit together.

I want the story to be pure story, fresh from Once Upon A Time And Place... to be so real to my characters that it feels like I'm there. (examples: The Taking by Dean Koontz, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, and Night Visions by Thomas Fahy, just to name a few.)

I have over the years come to realize that this can be a bit tricky.  I used to look at my favorites, like Bag Of Bones, and think that I could just put events in the story and it would work. (ah, to be young)
Now I understand that these things must connect... and often in more ways than one.

They must start at the top, even in subtle ways, everything is there, then as we weave our tale, the different aspects and genres become more prominent at varying times throughout our story.  Until eventually they all tie together in a tight little bow at the base of our climactic scene, leaving us satisfied with the strength of the weave, and no loose ends to tug at, save one... will there be another book? I want more!

Side Notes:

For a fun POV on genre blending, check out Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 7: Genre Blending

My favorite example of a tighly woven short story is Pop Art by Joe Hill, found in his anthology 20th Century Ghosts.  I had such an emotional range in the twenty minutes that story took me to read, that I was grinning like a fool while sitting all by myself thinking, "I will never be able to write this well!" You MUST read this story! :) *click here to get a copy from B&N for 99cents*

As per usual, this post is packed with links, happy surfing!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Don't let that mold set!

You've got to be quick!

You can't let yourself get too comfy in one place, or the clay mold will set!

Remember high school art class?  There is a time to move with deft hands... to shape and form the clay into what might vaguely resemble a rough outline of the sculpture you have in mind.

Then there is a time to slow down, step back, and assess the work you have done and the changes, and modifications that can be made to improve upon the piece.

This applies to so many things in life.

It can apply to our writing projects very well.  If you move quick and write fast, you can stay one step ahead of fear and self doubt. I believe that Stephen King mentioned that in his book On Writing.  If you write it out as fast as you can, "while its almost too hot to handle" the work is at its best.  If you lose that essential momentum, your work "begins to stale off.  The characters begin to feel like characters, and for most writers that is the smooch of death". 

I can attest to that personally.  I have to stay in the "fairy land" of my story.  If I can maintain that connection, then I get a great story that feels real.  The only way to do that is to write every day.  If it takes me too long to write, it feels forced and fake, even to me. 

I feel like I have learned this lesson the hard way.  I read about it over the last ten years, but in the last two years (since I have been doing NaNoWriMo), I have seen the pattern for myself. 

The moral of this post? 


Another great book on writing and momentum, is This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley.


Happy Writing Friends! Now go write AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Just a quick update..

I have been struggling with some big decision lately.  I have come to realize that I am inadvertently standing in my own way.  So... as of this week, I am making some changes.

BIG changes. 

I am no longer along for the ride.

I am now the driver. :)

I can't say much more than that at this point, (things are still unfolding), but I am not going to "fit writing in" any longer. 

Writing is priority ONE. 

*I'm super excited*:D   (yet, nervous... it won't be easy. Can't wait till I can tell you more!) 

(at a certain point, ya gotta stop complaining and do something about it!)

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 ...