Category Archives: Uncategorized

November blusters in…

Let me introduce you to my sun lamp.  It’s not even remotely as bright or as hot as the sun.  In fact, I think my iMac gets hotter in about a quarter of the time, but the lamp is pretty bright. Bright enough that I have it angled slightly away so it isn’t right in my eyes or I see spots for a long time.  Bright enough to make me forget (until I turn it off) that I’ve entered the land of murk and there I will reside for long enough to make me think once or twice about leaving.

Not seriously, of course.  Well, maybe to parts south for a long weekend. But I promise to come back.

I’m pretty surprised no one has compiled one of those “You know it when…” deals for the Puget Sound/Cascade mountain foothills.  Like, “You Know it’s November in the Cascade foothills when the sun gets dramatically sucked out of the sky and is replaced by a layer of clouds so thick you begin to doubt there ever was a sun to begin with.”  Oh, wait.  That might be part of my sci-fi for NaNo breaking through. See, the brain melt starts.

The problem is, I like the sun.  I don’t like sunburn, or heat waves in the consistent 100s (so glad not to have been part of the East Coast Bakedown this past summer).  But I like seeing it through the window.  I like knowing it’s out there.  And it always makes me feel guilty when it leaves and I haven’t appreciated it enough.  I doubt I’ll do better next year.

So I feel like hibernating but I can’t.  Because today is Day One of NaNoWriMo and I’m finding my novel writing groove.  900 words into scene one and I changed my mind already on a bit character I wanted to be a little more smug, a little more thoughtless toward the “lesser people”.  Eh, the little darlings run away from me as quickly as I can set their little feet on the paper.  Which reminds me, time to crank the lamp up another notch, pretend it’s really only September out there, and wrap the leash around my wrist as my characters drag me down the block.

K. –

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Words and Jazz

I’ve always wanted to be really good at playing the piano.  Good.  Like, throw out a few bars of Beethoven-good.  The keyboard above has been in my possession more than eleven years now.  My husband bought it for me a couple of days after we married; he still loves to indulge me in my creative endeavors.
My keyboard sits downstairs on a table, played somewhat by my husband and tinkered with by my kids.  The three year old loves hitting the demo button and dancing to all the snippets of music thrown about.  But I don’t play.  I want to be good.  Immediately.  Unrealistically.
This problem with realism hasn’t filtered through to my writing.  Instead, I’m a little too ruthless when it comes to getting it right.  I’m homicidal when something’s not working to my liking and the trunk novels are piling up.  They aren’t “there” yet.  But I’m not putting my laptop on a desk somewhere and leaving it sit for eleven years.  I’m not expecting to write like yet.  I’m not even going to write like some of the talented and rising soon-to-be authors I’ve encountered over the last couple of years.  I’m going to write like me.  And keep going until I can stand up with the rest of them.
NaNoWriMo is days away from starting and my outline is done, character’s are a little less blob like.  I’m excited to be working on a more sci-fi oriented idea.
I’ve got my cool NaNo tote to protect my laptop when I slosh through late autumn in Western Washington.  I’ve got Scrivener 2.0 downloaded and already being the efficient organizing and writing program it is. (Only used for free by me until Literature and Latte give me a buy button to clicky) I’ve got at least 2 boxes of K-cups in various flavors so I can avoid a distracting run to the local espresso stand.  Well, some of them anyway.
Ending my post with another piano mention: tonight is Word Jazz in the Snoqualmie Valley and I’m eager to cheer on my fellow peeps in our terrific writer’s group.  They’ve got a million times more guts than I do for getting behind a mic and reading 2,000 words.  Out loud.  In public.  *Thud*
K. –

Distracted by summer…

I had no idea I’d be distracted by summer.  And yet, that’s exactly what happened.  I squeaked out one post right around when summer began and then… nothing.
That’s not to say I haven’t been writing.  I have.  Several different things, in fact.  A short story, I’m still not-so-patiently waiting to hear the results of, is one thing I spent the month of July working on.  Another short story, the shortest I’ve written, is being included in a journal my awesome local writing group is producing.
But I’ve been taking the time to think.  To plot.  To read more in areas I’m not usually interested in.  To research.
And I went on vacation.  A much needed one.
Here it is, somehow Octoberish.  I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo again, making this my third year.  I love the goal, the camaraderie, the planning.  And that I will have something to say.
K. –

>Break time is over…

>

…let the hard work begin!  The read through of Wishful Thinking is complete.  This go-round is much better than the last (when I couldn’t even read through the whole way).  This means I can begin editing with more of a shape rather than an unassuming blob of a novel.  


Ah, editing.  Some people love the first draft of a novel; the heady, breathless rush to put words on paper (metaphorically speaking for me) and see thoughts become form.  Not me.  My favorite part is planning with extensive outlines and offshoots and what ifs.  Since I can’t spend all my life just planning things…well, I could, but part of the fun in life is finishing those projects too…editing a novel is my second favorite part.  


For me, editing is where I prove to myself I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m trying to say.  The first draft of Wishful Thinking had promise but it wasn’t until I re-wrote most of it that I could see the direction I needed to go in.  I consider my re-write the first editing pass I took since I reshaped the plot and basically made it make sense.  (If it doesn’t make sense, it’s worthless – going on a sticky note push pinned in my drywall)  In editing, I’m starting to look at the individual scenes and their role in the whole package.  And I’m ruthless.  Forward the story or GTFO.  I’d push pin that into my wall too but my eight year old is very interested in colorful language and I’m not talking aubergine.


So far, I’ve noticed a flat scene, a scene that needs a follow-up scene, a scene I chickened out on, etc….  I can’t wait to get back in to those scenes and let the characters tell you what they really think.  No holding back.  Time to make the story better, give it a fresh coat of paint.  









Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos.


>The Dreaded Plot Hole

>I nitpick.  There, it’s out in the open.  If I see something that looks off to me, I worry at it until it’s fixed.  Interviewers love to ask about weaknesses.  Mine happens to be high impossible standards.  The declaration one has high standards is immediately followed by the misuse of punctuation, typos, grammar issues, etc….  Fortunately, I also have reasonable expectations when it comes to my ability to meet my own standards. 

I blame it all on being an INTJ.

What I also blame on being an INTJ is when I’m revising my work and realize that I have a plot hole.  I almost never write myself into large ones because I am a compulsive planner and before I even write about a dark and stormy night, I have a rudimentary outline saved.  No, these are the tiny plot holes that might go unnoticed by others but drive me to want to delete the whole blasted story and start over. 

So, I worry at it for a couple of days and make sure I have copies saved in places I can’t delete from.  When the crisis passes or lessens, I implement my plot hole fix and move along.  Good thing for reasonable standards.  And if you see a typo, I don’t mind at all if you point it out. 

Things that distracted me on the internet:

~  Think Geek has an uber cool remote for kids too young to remember what channel Dora the Explorer comes on (via the number).  Press a logo button and voila!  Also keeps their grubby mitts off the remote and saves me from having to crawl on my hands and knees to look under the sofa.

~  Quite a number of agents are having an #agentsday on Twitter and I am enraptured with what goes on.  Mostly that the activities sound like those of any other type of business office.  Where’s the glamour, the hand-wringing, the catty fighting?  My fave snarky agent is Lauren E. MacLeod @BostonBookGirl and I only write YA by accident. 

Non-internet distractions:

~  Teeth are still on the painful side since it’s time to close some spaces.  It’s all worth it in the end, blah, blah, blah.  Also, the toddler is being quite the demanding soul today, all snuggly and cute.  

Accomplishments:

~  Good Intentions: re-outlined and ready for character creation/adjustment.  Fantasy – High/Quest.
~  Darkspell:  Working on outline, building from short story.  YA Fantasy – Magic
~  Rel. Pro. 101:  Short story submitted, waiting on response.


>Obligatory Goal Post

>Hello 2010!

Back when I was a more youthful version of myself, my friends and I would sit around and talk about how we pictured our life in 2000.  We’d gasp at how old we’d be and race off to play again before we blinked and stared into our mid twenty selves.  Ten years later we are now mid thirty selves, way old when you are ten and still have someone telling you what time to go to bed. 

When I was ten, I didn’t picture my life being the way it is today.  I think I was still in astronaut phase back then, not stay at home writer mom throwing words on a screen in between naps, lunch, and crashing objects.  That’s okay though.  This fits now.

The obligatory new year’s goal:  polish my shiny new novel and send it out into the world.

Will still be making room though for Cataclysm

Things that distracted me on the internet:

~  Twitter goofed up and my # aren’t showing in the feeds.  A little difficult to have a conversation that way.  I can either wait for tech support to fix it or start a new account just to “chat”.
~  Some fantastic blogs I’ve been reading lately.  Some are pure comedy from The Oatmeal and another is a really useful site for writers on Twitter at InkyGirl.com

Non-internet distractions:

~  My Keurig busted some time ago and it took me a while (and microwaving water for tea) to replace it.  UPS kindly dropped me off a nice, new one with blue lights and three cup sizes for my brewing pleasure.  I had to play with it for a little while.

Accomplishments:

~ In the middle of my 2nd revision on a short story needing to go out by end of month.  Started revisions on Wishful Thinking which amounts to the entire prologue being revised to include stuff I thought of at the climax.


>Zoom Zoom

>I’ve learned over the course of the last year or so a thing or two about what motivates me.  I’m convinced I’m a great ball of rolling momentum the second I get started.  Push me down the hill and I will zoom away gathering ideas, completing tasks, creating my brains out.  If I am stopped by anything; a tree, a small child, a barfing dog – it takes me a while to get back on track.  The internet, to my surprise, is not a momentum killer for me.  Sure, it takes me away from what I was working on at that moment, but most of the time I return to my work recharged with a different idea of direction.

I don’t recommend this path for everyone, just as I’ve had to disregard fantastic advice to others about working in quiet places.  The trick has always been to find what works for you.  It’s not a bad idea at all though to experiment with ideas and try a few on just to see what you get.  Even the crazy ones that couldn’t possibly work. 

Things that distracted me on the internet:

~  Massive distraction this morning.  Even my cup of tea is only half consumed.  Watched the brand spanking new Boeing 787 Dreamliner take off from Paine Field right here in Everett, Washington.  It’s supposed to be landing after several hours of testing, likely at Boeing Field just to the south.  What a beautiful thing to witness.  My youngest daughter sat on my lap waving as it left the runway.
 
~  Spent lots of time on Chaotic Shiny creating characters for a novel I’m starting over.  I may salvage some of the previous work but it was one of my first attempts.  Even the plot is redone. 

Non-internet distractions:

~  The day is still early and I have a mound of laundry needing to be washed for the two outfits I am restricting my family to bringing on our trip East.  Those two outfits are headed for serious negotiations with the teenager.

Accomplishments:

~  Finished rough draft of short story and revised major plot points for starting over again novel.  Sticking to my promise not to look at newly drafted Wishful Thinking until I am settled in my coach 737-800 Alaska Air seat.  Then I can white knuckle the paper until we are cruising.