Archive for October, 2007

THE DAY OF THE DEAD


Here’s a kick. Halloween is the one holiday I absolutely adore. I get excited every year, probably more so than my kids who go run and hide because, “Mommie’s watching the scary stuff again.” I have the evil laugh down to a science. If I didn’t have to go to school I’ll watch the History Channel all day. They have the best stuff on Wiccan, Vampires, the start of Halloween. *sigh* Heaven. Then I’ll channel surf because all the best scary movies of all time will be playing. *sigh* More Heaven

Oh, and my favorite line of all time is:
It was a dark and stomry night.

And I swear before I die I’m going to find a way to put it in a book and it doesn’t sound cliche.

This post has nothing to do with writing. Just wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween whether you celebrate it or not.

October 31, 2007 at 6:16 pm 6 comments

PROGRESS I TELL YA

Yesterday was a very good writing day. The kids were gone. The house was clean. And it was just me and my computer. Most days like this I sleep or read. I don’t move from the spot unless I need to eat or use the bathroom. Yesterday I decided to write.

I clocked in at (about 20-25 pages)5,089 words then I felt drained. A little less than half of that was me trying to find the conflict. I found it then lost it and found it again somewhere at the end.

What I learned from yesterday’s writing:

1. My hero’s voice. He’s kind of funny. He’s really hurt by what the heroine did to him, but he still loves her deeply. Which makes me love him more.

2. How my heroine’s deep inner conflict with her mother is going to change her as a person. Funny how a few lines can be like a lightbulb moment. She owns a clothing store. A detail I picked out of the air, but now it makes sense. Here’s the paragraph:

“Why a clothing store?” (the hero)

He smiled at her obvious expression of relief. “I always thought if you wore the right thing it could make you feel beautiful. It could make people stop and admire you. You wouldn’t be invisible.” Megan shrugged.

No big deal when you read it, but knowing that her mother never saw her makes me realize that opening a clothing store is her way to make her mother see her. This makes Megan real for me. We all do things to rectify our past. Most times we don’t recognize it for what it is. I may not be so obvious when I revise the story, but this is something I need to know to give my heroine an arc she deserves.

3. My hero is willing to do anything to get the heroine to stay. He doesn’t see his actions as doing that. Which makes me see his arc.(and gives me the black moment) He has to let her go. Which points me to the theme. The whole if you let something go that you love and it comes back to you then it’s meant to be. And how it ties in to where I’m at in my life right now is kind of scary. For the past year I’ve been letting go of things I have no control over. Hmm, very scary or just the Girls in the Basement?

4. I know how the book is going to end, but I didn’t know how to resolve it until yesterday and not make it seem like the hero or heroine is sacraficing their values, beliefs for love. I hate endings like that. Now I know how to do it and not be disgusted with myself.

Back to the soapbox. This is why I say write crap, because 9 times out of 10 you’ll hit a gold mine. It’s wading back through the crap that is frustrating.

How are your stories going?

October 29, 2007 at 4:10 pm 13 comments

THIS IS FOR MY SWEAT-ERS


At some point in any writing challenge your word count sucks. This is natural. It may be for several reasons. The most common is that you’ve lost interest in what you are writing. Now this may be for several reasons also. The most common is that you’re in the wrong POV. The second most common is that you’ve violated characterization.

The first step to fixing this is to scream out your frustration. The second I recommend is to print off the pages you think are the problem, and then burn them in a nice bonfire and dance naked around them. Or eat chocolate, read a book, clean those baseboards, go for a long drive. Get the story out of your head for a little while.

Then you get your bum back in that chair. If you are still at a lost what to write talk to your characters. I’ve done it and only for a split second did I think “I must be crazy.” but then my character started talking. I got to know her. 90 percent of what I found out about her didn’t go into the story, but I could write again.

You can collage. I swear by it. If for no other reason than to find a placeholder for your hero. Find the hottest guy and imagine what you’re heroine would do them him once she gets him naked. Then let your mind wander to why she wouldn’t let herself even if the man was willing, no questions asked. (Do you see where I’m going with this?)

If that doesn’t work write a synopsis. If you already have one put your finger firmly on the delete key and write out another.

It’s my belief that the only way to get out of the black hole of writer’s block is to write or to do something writing related.

Lastly, and more important, DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP. Do realize that you are your worst enemy when it comes to self-doubt. Do accept you are the only one who can get those words on the page. Let it go that those words are (may be) utter crap. Write them anyway. Trust that you can fix it. Then come back here to tell me if it worked or not.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox. Be glad I’m not Sven. And YOU go write, or knit, or clean, or do laundry, or…you get the point.

Blog Amended to Add:
Not sure if you didn’t know the start of NaNoWriMo has killed every word meter within a five mile radius.

October 28, 2007 at 3:15 pm 7 comments

UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE

I’m trucking on with my daily word count and trying to get the first draft done. Check out the climbing word meter.
For those of you who are interested I rented ROMANCING THE STONE. Loved it for one and two I’m never pissing off a kid with a rock at the end of his jump rope.

Have a great weekend.

October 27, 2007 at 8:46 am 8 comments

SCHOOL, FECES, AND DESPERATION

“God protects fools and babies.”
Julia, my mother(yes she’s still alive, but would kill me if I tell her age and still might for using her first name.)


Last night I was having a very insightful conversation with my mother. She thinks me strange, finds my humor even stranger, and at times has an expression that tells me she thinks there is a nice white jacket with straps waiting for me.

She still loves me.

My mother used to be a nurse. She’s heard and seen it all. This is the woman who I find endless amounts of characterization to draw from. She is one of a kind. She once said to me after I hit my elbow, (the funny bone) “Was it funny?” She doesn’t see where I get my sense of humor. I’ll let her stay in denial.

But I digress.

Last night she was telling me about the time she walked into a patient’s room and smelled shit. Being a nurse you know a patient can sometimes mess themselves. This particular patient looked like every thing was in working order. He didn’t have mood swings. He was coherent. Not long ago he asked for a newspaper. When my mother went in to check on him he was sitting up in the bed. He didn’t look pale or in distress, but still she smells shit. She checks the bed anyway. Nope, nothing. She walks further into the room and the smell gets stronger. She goes into the bathroom and finds the cause.

On the newspaper, this lucid man asked for not more than an hour ago, is shit. Now my mother pauses. There is no sign of dog. He hasn’t had any visitors in the past hour, but her mind still cannot wrap around the evidence leading her to the true culprit. She askes the man, “Did you have a dog in here?”

I’m guessing the man frowns at this point. “No.”

My mother doesn’t cuss so I’m paraphrasing the gist of conversation. “But there is shit in the bathroom. On the floor. On the newspaper I gave you.”

“Yes, my wife always cleans it up.”

It takes a moment for it to dawn on her. The man expects her to clean up his fecal matter that he intentionally put there. On the newspaper, in the corner of the bathroom, a few minor feet away from the working toilet.

My mother walks out of the room leaving the man and his shitty newspaper.

After having giggle fits for three hours I thought about the things you will and won’t do. For me since I’m so close to getting my paralegal certificate and my associates degree, I’m willing to take on hours of endless classes, staying up late to finish assignments, missing my kids and missing sleep. Just this morning when I couldn’t find my stapler and these papers had to be stapled, I got smart. I took a thumb tack and punched measured holes into my assignment then I took one staple and pushed it in the holes and squeezed the ends. Voila. Stapled.

That leads me to desperation. What am I willing to endure to get what I want? With writing it’s rejections, spending the little money I have on paper, ink,postage, and a website. Staying up late to finish my revisions, critiquing, staying up to finish those last 250 words just to have my word count goal for the day. Because if I’m going to be in this business that is what I have to do.

What I won’t do?

When I am absolutely spent picking going to school over sleeping when my kids aren’t home, picking writing over the one hour I get to see my kids on the weekday, ever allow myself to pick up a newspaper with human shit to get a paycheck.

October 26, 2007 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

CONFESSIONS OF A ROMANCE WRITER

“And what’s romance? Usually, a nice little tale where you have everything As You Like It, where rain never wets your jacket and gnats never bite your nose and it’s always daisy-time.”
~D.H. Lawrence

This quote is a little condescending, but I think it fits perfectly with what I’m going to write about today. Here are the 14 things I must confess to:

1. Why for the love of Gob is Pride and Prejudice so popular? Honestly, it took me a year to finish it. (Why you ask would I continue to try to read a book I attest?)I’m a romance author right? I’m supposed to adore this book and tell every newbie writer they MUST read this work of literature. I wanted to gouge out my eyes every time I made myself open this book.

2. Romancing the Stone. . . Never seen it.

3. I’m Obsessed with The Princess Bride and it has nothing to do with being a writer.

4. I do not eat bon-bons. I don’t even know what they are.

5. I attest the word writhe. I cringe when I read this word. Not every romance writer uses this word. (Thank you)

6. I wear boxers and a wife beater when I write. Not a robe and bunny slippers.

7. Valentine’s Day should be wiped from existence.

8. As with number 1 Jane Eyre (sp?) made me twitch.

9. I do not research my sex scenes.

10. My life isn’t romantic at all. There is no one great love in my life. You’d never see as my dedication “To the real hero of my life.” I’m really a Grinch and Gob help the man who falls in love with my cynical, quirky, smart assiness self(i know not a real word).

11. As with number 10 my life is far from romantic. The last guy to hit on me was grayish, legless and could have been older than my grandfather.

12. Marriage. The word alone makes me break out in a sweat.

13. After re-reading my list I can easily be a heroine in a romance novel.

14. I’m doomed.

October 23, 2007 at 4:14 pm 13 comments

GEMS OF WISDOM

I’m on page 230 of Stephen King’s On Writing. I’ve read it before, but like a spaghetti noodle a whole lot of it didn’t stick, because I wasn’t ready.

Things that makes sense (or really made me laugh.)

On the importance of word choice: (and my quote for the day)

George Charlin once observed, in some company it’s perfectly all right to prick your finger, but very bad form to finger your prick.”

This one was found in the description section, but I think it should apply to everything you write:

“Certainly, I couldn’t keep it on the grounds that it’s good;it should be good, if I’m being paid to do it. What I’m not being paid to do is be self-indulgent.”

Paraphrased: Cut it if it doesn’t serve the story. If you are reveling in how good it is, but it slows down the pace, doesn’t raise the stakes, softens the conflict, get rid of it. Really, you can print it out and stick it to your wall on the days when you think everything you write is crap. You can go see I can be brilliant.

This quote I’m pulling for the idea of structure:

” . . . You have to learn the beat.”

I know I’m pulling this out of context, but his point was to learn what it meant to break you novel in paragraphs, to have a balance of dialogue, narration, so on and so forth.All this consists of beats.

What the hell is beats you ask?

A beat is the smaller part(s) that makes up a scene. Character walks in, talks to other character, argument ensues, one character leaves. Those are beats, when you fill in the blanks around the beats then you have a scene. For the past year I’ve been hearing about beats and hearing people sing their praises. (refer to spaghetti noodle theory) It wasn’t until last month that I figured out how to use it.

I swear by it now.

When I’m at a lost for what to write next I can write down the beats. Like right now I’ve hit the first turning point and not sure what the second turning point needs to be. Before I can get there I need a scene. The first scene after the first turning point usually tells me where I’m going. That’s the way I’m built it may not work for you, but I’m still going to put it out there. I’m rambling, but anyway here’s what I’ve come up with.

(beat 1)Aiden(the hero) goes into the precinct(he’s a cop in a small town). He’s feeling sour, because this is day two he hasn’t had a good night’s sleep. He kissed the heroine the day before. A BAD IDEA.

(beat 2)He’s reminded of the person he put in jail the day before. Day one of sour mood. This is starting to become a bad habit. As best he can he’s going to avoid Megan(the heroine) unless absolutely necessary.

(beat 3) He goes to release single jailer. Gets the riot act, feels guilty. Realizes he needs to get control of the situation or the whole town will end up in jail. Heroine walks in. Aiden says. “Well, shit.”

It’s the bare bones, but by Gob I’ve got a scene.

October 21, 2007 at 6:43 am 11 comments

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