Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dog-gone Ninjas! A mid- NaNoWriMo -recap...

It all started innocently enough, here ----->
In my (almost finished) office.

June NaNoWriMo!

Sounds harmless enough... even fun!
I had a great starting point for my nano novel, and plenty of coffee and diet sodas on hand.

I was psyched!

Even my boxer, Abby, was supper excited!
  She grabbed her favorite snuggie and
 was right there, by my side!

 <------------- (see the excitement in her eyes?!)

 She's the best writing buddy.
  Always there to keep me company. :)

  But, my lil' guys quickly tired of the long hours spend in front of the keyboard.
They lost interest in curling up by my side while I gave all of my attention to my WIP.

So they went to the fence, to consult with the nefarious, yet brilliant, chihuahua next door.


<-------- (this is Gee)

Gee, advised them that if they wanted to end this silly NaNoNinny business, they would need the white ninja dogs.

 (this female warrior ninja princess dog, requests to remain nameless) ---->

<----------(This is Bob)

 Together, the nefarious chihuahua, my dogs, and the white ninja mercenaries, conspired to end the NaNoNinniness that prevented the nerdy humans from playing with them in their free time rather than tapping on those annoying clicky-pad-things.
The dog ninjas took out the power to my house! I was left completely defenseless with no way to charge my laptop, cell phone (for those all important Twitter updates), or even my wi-fi! *gasp*

But, alas!  I was able to overcome the obstacles thrown in my path by the EvIL bi-lingual chihuahua, and defeat the mercenary white doggy-ninjas thanks to my husbands very thoughtful gift:

<-- An Inverter for my car. :)

With the mobile power originally given to me in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, I was able to generate enough power to run all necessary writing implements!

June NaNoWriMo was saved!

And I would like to point out, how very "Camp NaNoWriMo"  this writing environment was! LOL -------->

(Despite the scary shot gun casings that I found on my adventure into the woods.  It lended to a great scene in my WIP)

With their plot to destroy June NaNoWriMo thwarted, the puppies collapsed in defeat. (also, they were put in a time out for being naughty, but they asked me to leave that part out.)

 Mean while, I did fall a teensey bit behind schedule due to the mis-adventures of the unsupportive, yet very loving poochies.   So, I scribbled furiously away into the wee hours of the night to keep up my word count.

Thus far, I have managed to evade the still-on going attempts to derail my nano-ness from said four legged fiends... I remain optimistic, and we have compromised... as long as they are touching me, my laptop is okay...
                                                                 ...... for now.....

Copyright © 2012 Funny Cute Pics

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Casey's Theory About Earworms".

(as advertised on Twitter) LOL

When I first started developing my story idea, I was listening to Lungs by Florence and the Machine, that song ‘The Hardest of Hearts’.

It was such a touching song, to such a strange beat that the contradiction stuck with me. (I mean literally, sang it for days)

I had a dream a few nights later about two characters, stuck in a situation based on the lyrics of that song.

The softest of kisses will melt the hardest of hearts, as the lyrics say. I had two, very different characters, from two very different worlds… and there was no way that the conditions were right for them to like each other, let alone, fall for each other. It just wouldn’t happen.

Then, of course, I thought… what would MAKE it happen? What set of circumstances would have to occur, for that to happen?

I was stuck. My brain hit a wall, and I didn’t know how to move forward. This story was not unique. It had actually been done to death. I didn’t have a single original thing to say. So, I shelved it.

…or so I thought…

The next couple of days, I had a completely different song stuck in my head. I don’t usually listen to the radio much (at least I didn’t, until this theory) and I didn’t even realized that I knew this song, but 30 Seconds to Mars’s song ‘The Kill’ was really stuck in there! I could not get it out!

At first, I hated it… then I liked it… then I realized: my subconscious is helping me with my dead end story idea!

I got excited when the new angle to my story started dancing around in my head. This time, from the antagonist’s POV. I had my entire antagonist’s side of the story top to bottom in rough cut!

So, though, I didn’t have an outline (cuz my dog ate it), I just did that scene snap shot for each day, I knew where my story was going to end up. I was going to try to ‘let it breath’ as they say. Try to work through the growing pains. *I’m still experimenting with what works for me.*

I had my protagonist and their whole story complete with goals/motivations, character arc, etc.

I had my antagonist and their whole story complete with goals/motivations, character arc, etc.

But… (here-in, usually lies my problem) blending all my worlds and situations into a seamless and engaging tale of suspense? hmmm… there’s that wall again.

Enter earworm #3.

‘Too Cold for Angels to Fly’ by Ed Sheeran. Boom.

So, here it is… my theory on earworms:

Our subconscious minds are so much smarter at deconstruction, resolution, and general story excavation than our conscious minds ever could be. To that end, if I haven’t heard a song in a week, and currently am struggling to move forward with a storyline, and that long absent song is suddenly all over me… listen up folks… cuz your subconscious mind is leaving you clues that your conscious mind might be missing!

If you subscribe to Stephen King’s idea that stories are ‘found things’ waiting to be unearthed… this might be for you. :)

I feel that our subconscious minds speak to us in our dreams, but when we are open to the signs... our super smart sides are leaving us clues everywhere!

Have you ever noticed that the very best ideas seemingly pop into our conscious minds out of nowhere while we are keeping the clumsy, pushy part of our brain too busy to get in the way? (driving, hiking, cleaning... etc.)

My theory is that our subconscious minds use association... I'm certainly not saying that your MC needs to get his credit report if you're singing about that waiter/pirate/guitarist... (Stephen and Jennifer ;) I'm just saying if there is something you need in a story... those little things that our subconscious minds do... those are the first place I would look. You never know... maybe your MC's identity was stolen and he is about to be framed for a crime he didn't commit. ;)

*Without going back and cheating... quick! Tell me how many times I said subconscious in this post!! Haha!*

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Then & Now

I have noticed more and more, in the last year especially, that my approach to writing scenes has evolved quite a bit.  For instance, in 2003, if I were to have an idea or a starting point, I would write that scene, then sit and ponder what that character would do next... literally.  Would they go home?  Yes.  Okay, so write about them at home. 

Can we say boring?  I was so ... step-by-step/ paint-by-number back then.  I remember it was so frustrating.  I would read these books and love them, but just couldn't break them down and see how they ticked. 

Then I started studying both fiction and non-fiction about how to write fiction.  I started reading interviews with authors.  Maybe the very biggest thing that I did since 2008 to train my mind how to construct tension was I began to listen to and stopped reading about how to write, and started actually writing more.

I am currently on day two of and my 1,667 words per day is going swimmingly.  But I'm noticing that as I approach a scene that just last year would have made me sweat a little, I simply said to myself...

I want to show that the husband feels at home in the hospital, it's his safe place.  I want to show that this patients wife is frustrated, but determined to not let that control her behavior.  She is a problem solver.   She keeps her struggles private.  I want her and the doctor to disagree about treatment, and she must find a way to understand why the doctor doesn't think she is good for her husbands rehab at this point.  what does she do?
I basically have a clear goal.  This is how my character is.  This is what I want to show you.  This is both to build my plot up, and reveal my characters to you, the reader.  Everything has a purpose.  Everything lends to character, plot, tension/conflict, setting, and eventually theme.... naturally, not with a gun to the head. :) 

I just wanted to share that.  It is a milestone for me, and I just today realized that I've reached it!

Yay, Me!! :D 

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 ...