Thursday, May 31, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo is here!

I have a confession to make.  I now have a full time job on top of my full time writing.  I didn't want to do it... but alas... the bills must get paid, and I have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle... and food. ;)

I work in emergency medicine.  There.  I said it. 

Okay, moving on... I am SO EXCITED for Camp NaNoWriMo this June!!!! I am all set up on my page, my NaNo coffee mug is ordered, and have my camping buddy Suzanne in my 'cabin'.

Life is good. 

So, here is a sneak peek at my novel for this NaNo season:

Title: The Closing

After her husband takes a bullet to the head in the line of duty, Melissa begins feeling like someone is watching her. No one can tell her what he was investigating, or why he was in that abandoned house, not his partner, or even her husband.

The doctors are calling it Traumatic Brain Injury. They say that he may, or may not recover. He may or may not spend the rest of his life the mental age of six years old.

With the unknown closing in on her, Melissa has no choice but to fight back on her own terms to save her husband... and her life.


Melissa Briggs pulled into the parking lot of the Weston Psychiatric Hospital in her beige Honda Civic.  Putting the car into park. She sat there with her hand frozen on the gear shifter.  One deep breath, then another… and another.  You can do this.  Stop thinking and just get moving. She scolded herself as another wave of nervous nausea hit her.  She took a sip of coffee, and digging around in her purse, produced a tube of waterproof mascara.  Pulling down the visor mirror, she touched up her makeup, and lip gloss.  Inspecting her reflection, she thought that she almost looked normal, except for that hint of swelling around the eyes and nose.  The tell tale signs of a late night crying session.  Crap. She slammed the visor up, and put on her Jackie-O sunglasses.  Grabbing her bag, she stepped out of the safety that her little car provided.  She smoothed her blouse, and worried for the hundredth time that jeans were not an appropriate choice to see your husband for the first time in two weeks.  Too late now, just stop thinking about it. 

Monday, May 28, 2012


Hey! I haven't vanished... just and unexpected and very temporary UnPlugging. 


I shall return next weekend.  I hope everyone has had a great holiday weekend! 

Happy writing friends!  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Siren calls...

In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures, portrayed as femme fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.

I have been dealing with some of that yucky real world stress this week.  *bleh*

You know how that stuff goes for a writer buried in a WIP... at least for me... it goes something like this:

1. I fight off the stress with the initial "I can't deal with this right now, I have to write".

2. The stress refuses to be ignored, growing until it can no longer be called stress, but is now "that ugly thing that resides where my sweet temperament once lived".

3. I go days with out being able to write, but given the surreal state of my surroundings during these times, I don't even realize that much time has passed, until it's too late.

4. My characters seem a bit stale and distant.  They are angry that I have abandoned them, and are giving me the silent treatment.

5. I beg them to forgive me, reliving all those fun times we had together... while I convince my husband that it's not Schizophrenia, and it's normal for writers to talk to their characters. ;)

6.  My characters do not soften at my pathetic plea for mercy, instead, other characters that were listening in on these one sided conversations from the outerlands of my imagination, have entered and offered me comfort in a new story.  They are tempting and seducing me with bits of dialogue, and touching moments with unexpected joys and sorrows.  They make me want to explore this new world.  They make me want to forget the commitment to my current WIP, and I feel wrong about it... but the enticing world is right there... waiting...

It never fails. 

I will finish my current WIP.

I will ignore the Siren call of the next project.

I hope she waits for me.

How do you deal with the Siren call of the next great idea?  Do you stop what you are working on and write what you are feeling?  Or do you power through... after all, it is a job... right?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

From my crazy playlist...

A few weeks ago, I posted on my facebook page:

"I have been having trouble with character shifts, like POV.. I couldn't go from one characters voice to the other very easily...they are such drastically different people.

Solution: different play list for each main character.

I know ...what you're thinking...major time waster, right?

 On the contrary... if you have a feel for your character...just use ... poof! ready made soundtracks!

It has really helped me today!"
I would like to update that: 

LOUD music, I find, not only helps me to get into the tone of my WIP...but,I am staring to notice that if I pick the right play list for the scene that I'm working on, and really crank it in my ear buds (disclaimer: loud music may be harmful to your hearing;) it has a bonus of really shutting up my internal critic. :D
So... for this weekends blog post, I'm sharing some of my favorite and most ECLECTIC music choices for my writing ...

V'WALAH! *theatrical gesture* ;D

The Knux - Bang!Bang!Bang!

Florence +The Machine - My boy build coffins

Joshua Radin - No Envy, No Fear

Thirty Seconds To Mars - The Kill
(of course! LOL)

The Pierces - Got a Secret

Lykke Li - I'm Good, I'm Gone

Teddybears - Cobrastyle

Florence + The Machine - Bird Song

Club Foot - Kasabian

Beggar's Prayer - Emiliana Torrini

Yes, this is a very weird mix... I know... but I have different playlists for each of my characters since they are such different people. :) and I pulled a little bit from each. I hope you enjoy!

How do you pick your playlists?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Light layers... and a stiff drink.

First of all, let me begin this post by stating the obvious:
  I am still experimenting to find my most efficient writing system.  I have been writing for a long time, and have studied it for years... but I still feel like I can do better.  What I mean is... I still get way bogged down by all that story.

I have heard a lot of other writers talking about how they “write in layers”, and I thought that just wasn’t for me. I never was able to really do it.

I have been reading several different writer’s blogs over the last year, and they all do things a little bit differently… but the one thing that they all seem to agree on is layering… so, I’m finally giving it a try.

Wow.  Where to start?

When I thought of writing in layers, I thought that I would be layering the actual manuscript, (during the draft and composition phase), and that just seemed too confusing to keep all that straight. A novel is a HUGE undertaking, and to keep my notes and all the chapters straight is so overwhelming that more days than not, I’m a tiny bit frazzled. (hence my obsession with organizing.  Some days, it felt like all I could do was shuffle things around!)

If I’m being honest here, I will tell you that most of the (many) novels that I’ve started, were not finished because I simply got my plot lines “tangled up” (in the words of the great Stephen King.) I was hopelessly ensnared in a web of story that was too big for me to get my own head around and I simply wanted to start fresh with my shiny new idea and forget about the wretched thing!
So now that I have reached the dreaded point in my current WIP where I am, once again, getting my plot lines crossed... I tried something new (at least to me).  I broke my plot lines down,  as they are thus far… and ran through each thread top to bottom, looking for weak spots. I did this one at a time.

Then, I broke it down by character. From each character’s POV, each plot line… top to bottom… so far so good. I even saw a few neat new bits I could add just looking from a different POV.

So this is what I’m trying…

I know my ending… I know what has happened thus far, and what needs to happen 'tomorrow'. I don’t have a total story outline, so I am half outlining, and half discovery writing. So to try writing in layers, I am using the daily scene snapshots to log each days writing on a separate document, they fall together just like an outline so that I can see them all in order, or if I need to switch them around, and build off of them. 


It still amazes me, how one day I feel like my WIP is going fantastic, and the next, I feel like I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing even after years of practice and study.

This is that part where writers tend to feel like they are "playing writer", I suppose. :)

I shall power through!  Today I shall write 10k!!!


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 ...