Thursday, October 25, 2007

Possibly great idea vs. my own morality

Last night I had a great idea for a book. Actually, it's not a new idea, just one I found myself revisiting. Again. The story is ripe for the picking.

What's important to know, and really the entire issue, is that one of the main characters is loosely based on a woman I met online and is, thankfully, no longer part of my life.

Giving more thought to the ideas I had last night, I jotted down some notes this morning. I think this could work. Yes, it would be a rather unconventional book and chances of it ever being snuggled by a publisher would be slim at best. I realize that. I've tumbled this around in my head most of the night (sometimes sleepless nights are great) looking at it from all sorts of angles.

I also realize that it would be fairly therapeutic and educational for me, too. Therapeutic in that if I dedicate 50,000+ words to the bitch she'll finally be out of my system and I can shrug off the unease I feel any time I run into her on the internet, because I'm finding that she's everyfuckingwhere and it's driving me batty with the "can't go there, she's there and it'll cause problems" thoughts. It would be educational in that it would get me (1) plotting (because I absolutely SUCK at plotting) and (2) focused on something larger than a few thousand words. I'm sure there's more, but those are the highlights.

But it would also be extremely petty and even a bit vindictive of me to follow through with this idea, and that bothers me. The thought that I'm actually considering doing it bothers me. She's nothing to me, and yet she has managed to shove parts of my life into a blender, push the frappe button and then leave the damned thing running while she storms out in a tissy screaming about how evil I am. She's a highly destructive force of --

Of what? Energy? Maybe. I'm not sure what the most accurate word would be.

She's a petty, manipulative, destructive, self-centered, lying bitch. But does that give me the right to mock her in a story? Granted, such people often don't deserve the consideration or generosity (let alone compassion) of others, but if I did it -- if I wrote this book -- what would that make me?

Interestingly enough, my "tarot card of the day" is Justice.

Justice

This Deck: Morgan-Greer

General Meaning: Traditionally, what has been known as the Justice card has to do with moral sensitivity and that which gives rise to empathy, compassion and a sense of fairness. Since the time of Solomon, this image has represented a standard for the humane and fair-minded treatment of other beings.

Often including the image of a fulcrum which helps to balance competing needs against the greater good, and a two-edged sword to symbolize the precision needed to make clear judgments, this card reminds us to be careful to attend to important details. It's a mistake to overlook or minimize anything where this card is concerned. The law of Karma is represented here -- what goes around comes around.

I think this deserves further thought. But not right now. I have more important things to do at the moment.

Oct. 23 - 100 words

I can’t sit in my current desk chair for more than 10-15 minutes before my ass starts going numb and my legs start aching. The damnable thing is also causing all sorts of havoc with the muscles in my neck, shoulders, and back because of the lack of support. At this point, I would rather clean than sit at the computer and write. And so I clean. I actively watch tv. I cook. I do anything and everything I possibly can that will keep me out of this nefarious torture device dug up from some dungeon in the Middle Ages.

Oct. 22 - 100 words

gun fire Seoul cathedral stained glass rock hoop earring conch shell liquor store acne grass chocolate brownies casino desert lake map cave painting treasure bee chest stars column seal newscast blazer ugly paint bikini beach football picture practice chain link fence hall double standard flag therapy green plaid oil boulder bakery clothespin handcuffs concussion rottweiler archeology dig soil samples body decomposition mercury murder Santa Anna Winds hurricane lightning ice storm moron stupid ass library reckless patch beard piglets stabbed ghost spirit raw meat cow button box tracker oil wax sucker bears missile lava play hard grain whiskey kite explosion hat

Oct. 21 - 100 words

pink satin tile wood motorcycle brunette green coffee codex winter snow full moon cow camera waterfall canyon laptop black and white film hot rod kittens oak tree large kitchen tile floor platypus venom fire glass doors rosary peacock feathers priest assassin seaweed brownies eyeball cookies glow stick shower cobalt silver skull pain glasses leather jacket horse race hunting desert salt mine monkey bridge cable spoon shattered glass razor cards angel demon woodpecker cigarette massage shark green beret mime scarf pumpkin vertigo daisy elephant bells dragon cave pendant brick copper orange muscle car club scissors frog umbrella sword emerald denim boots

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oct. 20 - 100 words

The problem I’m having with the one hundred words a day is that I’m treating it as a separate assignment, and it really shouldn’t be. I suppose that sometimes it could or should be, but not all the time.

What I need to do is shift my focus from “write one hundred words a day and have it make some sort of sense” to “pound out two thousand or so words a day and throw out a random excerpt of exactly one hundred words”.

Or, you know, I could just write the first one hundred words that come to mind.

Oct. 19 - 100 words

Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry, go to sleep my little baby. When you wake, you shall have all the pretty little horses.

Dia yelled and bolted upright in bed, frantically clawing at the sweat-soaked sheets tangled around his body. With large hands balled and ready for a fight, he looked around for someone to hit and blinked in confusion when he found no one.

The flashing red neon sign over the twenty-four hour porn shop across the street lit the tiny room and cut through Dia’s confusion.

Breathing raggedly, Dia slowly rubbed away the sweat beaded on his brow. “Damned nightmares.”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I should be cooking writing.

Last night I was talking to someone about Holly and he commented that he didn’t think he’d ever met her. Because it’s often easier to hand over a profile sheet on a character than it is to explain the character, I started digging for Holly’s profile. After about an hour of hunting through the computer, various disks (those are some ancient records), my filing cabinet, and several different notebooks, I realized that there is no working profile on her. I used to have one, but it’s been eaten by some computer critter or another over the years. Or maybe she’s been in hiding and covered her tracks really well. (Sometimes the characters hide from me.) However, since she’s pushing her way to the foreground again, I need a profile and there’s not one. I’m going to have to recreate her from memory.

This got me thinking that I don’t have any profiles on any of my characters. Not really. What’s in my head is pretty much it. This is a bad thing. A very, very bad thing. I need to find (or create) some sort of formulaic profile sheet and start filling in the blanks on all the characters I have in my head. (This will also give me something to work off of when I sit down with each of them for interviews and evaluations over tea and Twizzlers.) Ideally, this would be done on the computer then backed up (twice) and printed. Sadly, this is not an ideal world and I haven’t got the first clue how it’ll actually turn out.

Good thing I’m creative. Or so they tell me.


*********


Ophelia’s book is kicking my ass. The reason the progress bar has been reset to zero is that I’ve stripped the prologue and redressed it multiple times in the past few weeks, and now I’m thinking it shouldn’t be a prologue at all, but rather the beginning of the first chapter which means that I need to rethink the entire timeline of the story and rewrite the beginning yet again and Ophelia keeps insisting that the whole story line is “just wrong” and demanding that I “fix it”. (*BREATHE*) It doesn’t help that I’m no longer sure WHO is in the book, either. Again we have a rather pressing need for working profile sheets and bio-jackets on everyone.


**********


I still don’t have a plot for NaNo. Or characters. Or anything else.

Ophelia has let me know in no uncertain terms that she will not have any part of NaNo. She’s an unruly character that way, and I don’t think she can be bribed.

Maybe that’s why Holly is reemerging. Maybe HER story will be my NaNo project.

I’ll have to think about this.

Oct. 18 - 100 words

Our lease is due the middle of 2008 so we’re casually looking at houses. I don’t think my requirements are too unreasonable.

*Three bedrooms, two bathrooms. A garage would be great but not mandatory.
*The front door MUST be on the front of the house, not on the side.
*No lakes, ponds, rivers, or other natural bodies of water adjacent to the property.
*Covered front porches are good. Small tunnels are not.
*Must have space between the houses. If I can stand between two houses and touch both of them with a broom without taking a step, they’re too close.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oct. 17 - 100 words

Lexie took a step forward and Max grabbed her arm to stop her. She looked at him questioningly and he glanced at the fray again, keeping his voice low. “The attackers are under demonic control. Probably looking for us. They’ll fight until they’re recalled or dead. We need to go around.”

Lexie shrugged out of her jacket, leaving it in Max’s hand when she stepped forward again. “They’re innocent, Max, and they’re not fighters.”

Max shook his head. “You can’t help them, Ophelia.”

She moved away from him quickly and glanced over her shoulder with a cold smile. “Wanna bet?”


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oct. 16 - 100 words

The idea of not writing is repugnant to me. It’s one of the few interests I haven’t given up for one reason or another over the years. Yet here I am, sitting in the dark and considering doing just that.

When it comes to choosing between keeping the peace within one’s family and pursuing one’s dreams, it’s a double-edged sword situation. No matter what choice is made, it’s bound to be the wrong one. Or maybe it’ll be the right one, but with painful backlash.

Give up my family or give up my writing. It seems I can’t have both.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oct. 15 - 100 words

I started the scene with Holly yesterday but never finished it. I got distracted. Not by the deadly beauty taking a shower by the eerie glow of a glow stick in a grimy bathroom in some abandoned building, but by the guy watching her. The guy she couldn’t see despite feeling his gaze on her time and time again, even in the shower stall as she washed off a few days worth of her own personal funk. The guy she couldn’t see because he was not there.

Who is this guy? What is this guy? Why couldn’t she see him?

Oct. 14 - 100 words

Holly let the water run while she hung the glow stick over the shower nozzle. She was surprised the water still ran but had no hope that it would ever get hot. Maybe it would run clearer with the time, though. She pulled the chain that activated the shower head and after a few minutes Holly left her clothes piled on the dirty floor.

Holly gasped when the hot water sprayed over her. She didn’t question the how of the heat, only said a small prayer of gratitude. The yellow-green light of the glow stick gave the grimy shower walls…

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oct. 13 - 100 words

Deirdre squinted hard at the walls moving closer together. Earlier she’d dismissed the idea as the onset of claustrophobia but now she could definitely see the walls creeping toward her. A cold sweat broke out across her forehead and a shiver crawled up her spine. Deirdre swallowed down the rising screams and bile. She didn’t want to die locked in some dark room by herself.

Shaking herself out of her panic, she searched the shrinking room again. The flickering flame of the candle made her move slower than she wanted, but she had no choice with only four matches left.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oct. 12 - 100 words

Yeah, I have nothing tonight.

While my mother slept on my couch today (don’t ask) I turned my thoughts to Ophelia’s butterflies again. It’s a troublesome element for me. I need to explain them because undoubtedly someone will question them. Besides, it’s just proper to explain such oddities. An author can’t just throw something like Ophelia’s butterflies out into a story with no explanation. I know I wouldn’t accept it in a book I was reading, so I wouldn’t expect anyone reading my book to accept it.

But how to explain the critters? Genetic engineering? Magic? A little of both?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oct. 11 - 100 words

I understand the cops doing what they did. They ain’t got an easy job sometimes, but they shouldn’t have arrested me in front of my girls. Not in front of my girls. You gotta show respect for a person’s family, ‘specially when there’s kids lookin’ on. It’s like with what I did. I loved my man right, but my man was someone else’s man; I didn’t want that. So I had to fix things and show my girls you don’t let folks use you like that. He disrespected our family with that boy and I had to show my girls…

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oct. 10 - 100 words


So here’s something I didn’t know.

Platypuses make poison. A venom, to be exact. Only the males produce this venom and they squirt it from the spurs on their back legs – on their ankles -- while fighting off other males during the mating season. Sadly, it’s not lethal to humans but can cause excruciating pain. Swelling occurs quickly around the injection site and gradually spreads throughout the affected limb. From there it seems to develop into a long-lasting extreme sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia) that can last for days and even months.

I have to figure out how to use this.

Oct. 9 - 100 words

Ophelia and Leonard watched the body rise.

Leonard tsked. "I don’t mind the killin’. We used to kill’em, too, but back in those days--"

“Back in those days what?!” Ophelia glared at the old man. “And don’t you dare say something stupid like ‘when we killed a guy, the guy stayed dead’. If you do, I swear by all that’s holy and not...” She trailed off, shaking her head. Threatening old men now?

Leonard rubbed a leathery hand over his wrinkled cheek. “Well they did, missy. And another thing, we showed respect for our elders back in those days, too!”

Monday, October 8, 2007

Oct. 8 - 100 words

hot steamy passionate slippery sticky sweaty thick solid hard soft gentle tender wet electrifying orgasmic touch lick pound suck pinch nuzzle cuddle fondle nibble taste stroke squeeze twist paddle belt swallow whip chains clamps cane strike swat nip bite scratch claw blindfold caress fetish leather oil toy sting slap spank tease tie bind restrain gag arouse velvet slow fast messy bewitch captivate strain raw primal panting breathless purr rumble roar scream moan mewl growl whimper thrust need desire swelling throbbing pulsing tremble clutching massage kiss flick grasp collar beg rope corset stockings crawl kneel tight dirty ice gasp anticipation



pseudonym

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Oct. 7 - 100 words

One hundred words is especially hard tonight. I can’t focus. I can’t concentrate. I spent some time at my grandparents’ today. My grandfather isn’t doing too well. The possibilities have me distracted. More than distracted, actually.

I’m supposed to be doing research for National Novel Writing Month. I’m also supposed to be researching Ophelia’s butterflies. There’s also research that needs to be done on a sniper’s rifle, and a compound bow that needs to be picked out. There’s more to research. So much more. I can’t concentrate on any of it.

Maybe it’s time for me to go to bed.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oct. 6 - 100 words

“Oops.”

Lexie looked over her shoulder at Max. “Oops?”

He didn’t look up from the laptop balanced on his knees when he grunted at her.

Lexie waited for him to elaborate. He didn’t. “Max! What do you mean ‘oops’?”

“Nothing. Nothing.” The sound of his fingers on the keyboard filled the tight space of the car.

“Maximillian! You can’t say ‘oops’, follow it with ‘nothing’ and expect me to belie-“

“Shut up.”

Lexie glared at him in the rearview mirror. “I swear by all that’s holy and not, Max, I’m going to come over this seat and kill you myself.”

Friday, October 5, 2007

Oct. 5 - 100 words

She’s out there somewhere. I know she is. I dream about her every night. I remember her face like it was yesterday. Those blue eyes, that blond hair. She was something. I had to hunt her for months before I got my chance and in the end it was her that came looking for me. Sometimes I cum in my sleep dreaming about how I choked her and bashed her head against the wall.

She could’ve killed me but she didn’t. She made sure I lived.

She should’ve killed me when she had the chance.

I’m gonna kill that bitch.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oct. 4 - 100 words

“So, this is the great Devon Bates’ private inner sanctum.” Sara turned a slow circle in the middle of the bare room, her eyes wide. “What exactly do you do here?”

Devon enjoyed Sara’s obvious bewilderment – and her beauty -- for a moment. “I –“

Wilson’s dull monotone came from the door. “Master Bates.”

Sara’s wild laughter filled the room and Devon grew hot. He glared at Wilson. “What do you want??”

Wilson cleared his throat. “My apologies for the intrusion, sir. There’s a gentleman on the telephone claiming to be able to help you with the problem you advertised.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Oct. 3 - 100 words

So if I’m to understand everything I’ve read this morning (as well as the last few months) I can create the “outline” of my book by, basically, writing it. The short version of it, at any rate. The “you HAVE to read this book it’s all about…” version of it. Nifty. I think I can do that. If I can’t do that, well, then maybe I should rethink this whole writing business.

Wow. Grammar check is all over my ass today. Something about fragmented sentences this time around. It was something else earlier, but damned if I remember what now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oct. 2 - 100 words

I’m seriously considering participating in NaNoWriMo. It’s an insane consideration at best, but it’s the rare occasion when I claim any measure of sanity.

I registered with the site this morning. I’d like to claim sleep deprivation as the responsible culprit, but I don’t think I can make it stick.

Besides the serious time constraints that always come with the month of November, the biggest issue I face is the lack of an idea. I have several works in progress, but the rules say I can’t work on them even though one of them has less than 2000 words written.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Oct. 1 - 100 words

I have the energy of a five-year-old today. By that I mean that I’m an unstoppable blur of energy and motion for two or three solid hours then crash hard for a few hours, then make with the Tasmanian Devil/Flash Gordon imitation again.

Unfortunately, I also have the attention span of a gnat today. And by that I mean that I’m getting distracted by every noise I hear and every thing I see, unable to concentrate on any of it for more than five minutes at a time.

It takes too long to write one hundred words. At least today…

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mercy...

So here it is less than 4 hours after I went to bed and two hours and 15 minutes before my alarm is set to go off... and I'm up again.

Up to pee. Up to get a bottle of water. Up to write.

Because the characters in my head woke me up.

I think I might need therapy. Or maybe some good drugs.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Adventures in Hell; Day 31

The bathroom is still incomplete.

The kitchen is better, but still not complete.

Despite everything, I am starting to write again. This is a good thing.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Adventures in Hell; Day Eight (morning edition)

I have a few moments of relative quiet (the dishwasher is running and the felines locked in my bedroom are crying to get out) so here goes...

Our bathroom was gutted on Thursday, August 30 by 930am. It's still not completely reassembled... and now they've started in on my kitchen. And while I realize the guy really didn't want to go into the kitchen just yet and he had no choice in the matter because of a leaking pipe under the sink that was draining into the bathroom, the plans (by management) to COMPLETELY redo my kitchen (except the appliances, because who wants new appliances when they have all new cabinets, counters, and walls?) could be made a priority now that the gutting has started rather than leaving me with a partially gutted kitchen to cook in until whenever they feel like getting to the project.

The guy that's been working on and off in the bathroom left the apartment just a few minutes shy of 8pm last night. He still wasn't done.

The floor guys were back again today, only this time they were here at 7am. (We were told they'd be here yesterday between 9 and 10am; they showed up at 8:02am.) They were asked to come back in an hour because 2/3 of the family were not anywhere close to being dressed for the day. (The child was still in bed.)

Three and a half hours later and they're still not back.

My last nerve is straining hard to stay together but it's being pushed beyond the breaking point. I don't know how much more I can take.

I've been trying to get the books I listed a few entries back read and been trying to get some sort of an outline for Ophelia's book pieced together, but it's so very hard to concentrate when there are loud, rude, dirty, smelly strangers romping around my apartment, tromping all over my life with their mud, paint, and crap smeared boots... and not accomplishing anything but pushing me closer to the edge.

In the last two weeks I've lost touch with so many of the characters that were in my head. It feels like being abandoned by your best friends while you're out. You look away for a minute and when you look back, they're all gone, leaving you stranded in a strange place with no means of escape.

I can't really say that I blame the characters for scattering, though. If I had the option, I'd vanish too. Unfortunately, I don't have that option. Without them, however, there are no ideas to work on in the all too infrequent quiet moments such as this one.

I'm not sure which is worse: not being able to write because of intrusions and interruptions or not being able to write because my brain has shut down and my characters have abandoned me.

I can only pray that this ordeal ends soon so I can get back to my version of "normal".

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

....

Hey look! Now they're taking out the toilet.

*headdesk*

Lord, give me strength...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Or maybe not...

Three days without a shower or a bathroom sink is starting to grate on my very last nerve. While no longer running in crisis mode, this family is certainly visiting a whole new level of Hell. I don't remember Dante writing about this one, though. Leave it to me to map out new levels.

Still, I'm adjusting (allbeit slowly) to the chaos of this new level of Hell, and may even be able to get back to writing in coming days. With a little luck. And a blood sacrifice.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Downshift, breathe.

Downshifting out of crisis mode now. It'll take a few days for me to decompress completely and remember how to breathe. We're going to call the next few days a "vacation from thinking" and pick life back up on the first of September. Unless I get bored with the whole not thinking thing before then, of course.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Still...

Still running in crisis mode.

Still having chest pains.

Still not sleeping well.

Still having terrible nightmares.

Still not writing.

But I'm still alive, and that's something.

By the grace of God, this insanity will end sooner rather than later and "normal" life can resume.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Layout (and stuff)

I set up a new layout this morning. It's something I picked up from FinalSense and tweaked a little.

I changed the font; I just think the typewriter-esque look of the Courier family looks better on the lined paper background.

I changed some of the colors because I didn't like the way the originals looked. They didn't look bad, they just bothered my eyes. I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with some of the changes I made, especially the links. I'll look at it again tomorrow when my eyes are less willing to bleed from a night of fragmented sleep and other irritants.

I wish I could have changed the background color because I'm not so crazy about what was offered, but without remaking the graphics, it just wasn't possible. Well, it WAS possible, just hideously ugly. And since I'm not remaking an artist's graphics, I'm stuck with the color until I find a layout I like better. Or make one.


~*~


The books that I ordered last week showed up yesterday. They weren't supposed to be here until Wednesday. Go United States Postal Service! Because I don't want to break my (already faltering) stride on another project I have going on, I won't be touching the books until Wednesday night or some time on Thursday. Possibly Friday (I feel a massive headache that could easily become a migraine starting to form just at the base of my skull and behind both eyes). I've already slotted them into the books on the shelf above the computer, though, so each time I begin considering a nap or slowing down or delaying the completion of the current project, I can see the books. They are begging me to read them. I want to read them. I am going to read them. Just not today. Or tomorrow.

And speaking of that other project, I need to get back to it. I just stopped for a cup of tea and mild distraction. Break time's over.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Progress update (of a sort), and some musing.

I've almost finished reading one of the books that was recommended to me (Fear of Writing by Milli Thornton) and the other book that was recommended (How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques For Dramatic Storytelling by James N. Frey) should be here by the middle of the week. Tracking scans show it making progress on the journey.

I also ordered two other books that looked helpful or, at the very least, entertaining. Plot & Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish) by James Scott Bell and Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint : (Techniques and exercises for crafting dynamic characters and effective viewpoints) by Nancy Kress. Needless to say, I'll be very busy reading during the later part of next week and the week after that.

The last day or two has had my mind tumbling titles for the book I've been working on. I'm only searching for a working title because some editor/publisher somewhere will probably insist on changing it someday. Also, I'm only searching for a working title because I can't keep calling it "O's Big Adventure". I just can't. It sounds too much like porn and if when I call it "Ophelia's Big Adventure" I get images of Pee Wee Herman in my head. I cannot write with that in my head. (Besides, it looks really dorky on the progress meter.)

The suggestions that were made to me on certain parts of O's book have also been rolling around in my head these past few days. I'm going to give my brain somewhere between two and seven more days to tumble everything around and get everything straightened out (it's like tumbling raw gems and rocks; it takes a while to get to the pretty shiny stage) then I'm going to start making daily progress. (Not to mention that next week is the week before school starts and the calendar is starting to look pretty frenzied; I'm not sure I'll even be able to check my email on a few of the days... at least, and not make it to bed on time, too.)

I've also had the issue of "how much do I post on the internet?" rolling around in my head lately. Do I dish the details of the book (soon to be books) in progress? Do I post unedited excerpts? Roughly edited excerpts? Polished excerpts?

I worry about someone stealing what I've written and claiming it as their own. It's happened to me before and is, in fact, part of why I quit writing when I did. Someone was taking Ophelia short stories and scenes from larger stories that I had posted in the Ophelia journal, posting them in their own journal, submitting them to groups, and claiming them as their own. Then the thief pointed to me with the accusation of "THIEF!!". All while simultaneously telling me via comments and emails how badly I wrote.

Yes, I've seen the little copyright statements authors put up when they post raw scenes and excerpts to their blogs and websites, but has that ever really stopped anyone from stealing them? It didn't stop the person stealing O's stories from me.

I know that authors should have web pages where editors and/or publishers (not to mention readers) can get to know them, become familiar with their writing, or whatever else it is that they do (which is why I have this blog and eventually a multi page website). I've also read many authors' blogs and websites and seen a lot of raw scenes and quite a few polished excerpts from unpublished books and/or works in progress posted. I've also seen some pretty detailed explanations about the current book in progress, and even one daily and very detailed recap of what was written or rewritten. I don't need to buy that book should it ever be published; I watched it be written, step by beautiful step.

So, how much is too much? Is there such a thing as too little in this situation? I'm happy to share what I've written if it entertains someone, but I'm finding myself being extremely cautious in the matter.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Writing well, expectations, and why I write.

The spousal-unit wants me to become the next J. K. Rowling or Stephen King, that is to say, write lots of books and make tons of money.

Honestly, I don't care too much about the making lots of money part and though I do wish to be published, I won't be devastated if it never happens.

What do I want? I want to write well.

You can have the worst story ever in the history of story-telling but if you write it well, it will still be better than a fantastic story written badly.


~*~

In one of the on-line writing groups I'm a member of, the topics of the term "artist" being a creative blocker and how expectations can be damaging were addressed. Both topics struck nerves with me.

It's been a long time since I've seriously written. The truth is that I'm just now clawing my way out of a six year writing freeze brought on by various expectations and their results. In fact, I've not even been able to maintain a blog or a hand-written journal over the past six years thanks to a careless off-hand comment of "You're so creative. Why is your blog so boring?" from someone with access to my personal blog. That innocent comment still haunts me every time I start to type or pick up a pen. Even with this, my writing blog, I have difficulties with entries. I still keep trying with both blogs, though, because I've realized in the last year that writing is part of me.

The last six years have been, well, an overall mess. I don't blame the lack of writing, but I can see now that without the writing outlet it was a much harsher strain on me emotionally. The last year has been a slow climb up during which I've reevaluated a great many things in my life. I never had that many expectations in life, but the few I had were fairly big. Even so, expectations have been something I've been trying to rid myself of, both in myself and in others.

Part of the whole dropping expectations thing is getting past what others have expected of me in the past and currently expect of me as a writer, not to mention the train wreck those expectations have caused and continue to cause inside my head. It's hard to write when I'm worried about disappointing someone by writing badly or not telling the story they think I should be telling. More than once I've had well-meaning people tell me I'm telling the story wrong or that the events I've written are all wrong. I'm learning to say the words "I'm writing for me, and no one else. If someone likes what I write, I'm glad to have brought them some pleasure, otherwise they can go write their own story." and truly mean them with all my heart.

And it's working. I'm writing again. Not on a daily basis, but I'm getting there.

As for the label "artist"... I hate being labeled in any way and I'll leave it at that, except to say that I do find myself creatively blocked by the majority of labels. I'm learning not to let that stop me, though.


~*~

The question "Why do you write?" always seems to come up from somewhere. I've never been able to answer that question... until now.

I write because I love to write. Writing is the natural progression in the evolution of my life. And truthfully, there's just more room outside my skull than inside. Besides, my mother taught me to share. I shouldn't be the only person in the world entertained by the characters living inside my head. ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11

11
I could write short stories galore on what the characters do for fun inside my head.

Assuming I could get people to leave me alone so I could write in peace.

I’m one of those that needs peace or, at least, no distractions.

What goes on inside my head is as impressive and scary as the twenty-some-odd characters living there! (And I wonder why I get headaches so often. Sheesh.)

We have assassins. We have bodyguards. We have a billionaire. We have… strange things happening inside my head.

I wonder, not for the first time, if I should seek therapy.

July 10

10
I swear I can hear her greeting new characters in my head each night.

“Now just you never mind about that there person bangin’ their head against that there keyboard. You just run along and do whatever you like.”

And they do. Almost every single character runs off all willy-nilly. No aim. No purpose. No goal. No story. Just off having a good old time on their own until I interrupt them to work for me.

The roll call for the characters I have in my head is both impressive and scary. Ophelia. Max. Gabriel. Michael. Holly. Sarra. Sam. Stalker.

July 9

9
I know it’s possible to write a book without a plot outline, but at the very least I should have a sketchy guide of what I to happen in the story, shouldn’t I?

Not that the characters ever listen to me. They run about all willy-nilly doing whatever they want, whenever they want.

Really.

I swear there’s some hefty, aging southern black woman living inside my head that greets all the characters as they arrive. “Now just you never mind about that there person banging their head against that there keyboard. You just run along and do whatever you like.”

Sunday, July 8, 2007

July 8

8
It’s confession time.

I haven't got the first clue how to plot out a book. I never learned how.

I know there MUST be conflict, and a hero/heroine, and a bad guy type, but I don't know how to set up that guide rope that keeps me from tumbling off the edge of the cliff and wandering off into nowheresville. I don't know how to outline the plot. And so I sit, with characters standing by inside my head. Oh, I can write excerpts but I don't know how to string them together because I don't have a plot outline.

July 7

7
His hand slid gently over the marking on her upper thigh. Slowly he traced the darker of the reddish-brown lines with his fingertip and whispered quietly, as if talking to himself rather than to her. “So beautiful…” Moving his hand outward to trace the fainter lines, he watched his fingertip gliding over her smooth skin with a nearly captivated gaze. He loved the way her skin felt so soft and after a moment allowed his lips to curve into a small smile of satisfaction. She belonged to him, and the mark he traced on her thigh was evidence of that.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

July 6

6
One man stood at the end of the bar, his presence unnoticed by most of those in the club.

With his back against the wall, he watched the pathetic excuses for men swaggering into the club and the women wearing fewer clothes than any self-respecting whore on the street would wear prissing about on display. Dear God, he needed a drink if he was going to make it through the night.

He made a gesture to the bartender and tossed several folded bills to the top of the bar, then tossed more down when his regular order arrived within minutes.

July 5

5
Slowly he crawled onto the bed. Using his hands, Maximillian gently spread the girl’s slender legs, his lips twitching with the hint of a smile when he felt her tremble. He looked down at her and positioned himself between her legs, then looked into her eyes.

“It’s alright, kitten. I won’t hurt you.”

The girl whimpered and Max smiled reassuringly.

“I know, kitten. You’re afraid. It’s going to be alright. Everything will be just fine. I won’t hurt you.” He stretched out on the bed between her trembling legs and turned his head to nuzzle at her creamy bare thigh.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July 4

A cold mist formed suddenly and swallowed the forest, but the pair pressed on. They walked hand in hand with fingers entwined, each drawing from the other the strength and courage to go on. Both man and woman harbored deep fears but neither gave voice to what was in their minds as they moved carefully through the chilling mist. Voicing those fears aloud would make them come to life and nobody wanted that.

---------

I’ve got nothing more on that scene. I saw a picture and this sprang to mind. I’ve poked at it many times recently but little changes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

July 3

Her blood ran like ice through her veins and she stood perfectly still, barely daring to even breathe. Even the slightest move from her and Alex would be gutted like a fish on the docks.

Ophelia’s gaze shifted slowly and she studied what little of the darkened stone room she could still see. Finally she released a slow sigh. She didn’t see anything that she could use. That crazy bastard thought of everything, she thought to herself.

Hearing something to her left, she turned her head slightly and narrowed her gaze intently… and then smiled a wicked smile. “Almost everything…”

July 2

The withered old man sat on the park bench, huddled against the whipping wind. He watched the world passing by with squinted eyes. His vision had faded years ago but his vanity kept him from seeing a doctor about glasses. Even so, he could still see things other failed to see. Or refused to see.

The autumn wind turned bitter as the sun sank on the horizon, and the old man could smell snow on the biting wind. Squinted eyes shifted back and forth, searching for one person in particular. Pulling his jackets tighter around him, the old man shivered.

July 1

Almost a year ago someone recommended the book Walking On Alligators A Book of Meditation for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy to me. I was told it was motivating.

It took a while for me to order the book. After it finally arrived it sat on my desk near the bottom of the tower of books that is my “to read” stack.

Last week my desk attacked me. During the chaos and cleaning that followed, I found the above mentioned book. Since then, I’ve been reading a page a day. I have to say, I am glad I have said book.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I need the world

I'm stuck again.

I really should get out more. I'm realizing that the lack of outside stimuli - even just quick jaunts to the grocery store or lengthy stays in the library - is damaging my ability to create interesting characters. For that matter, it's also crippling my ability to come up with ideas for scenes.

It would seem that I need the world around me.

On another note, I do believe that I need to get Season 1 of the television show Supernatural. I'm not sure which season is currently rerunning for the summer, but I'm finding it interesting. I'm also feeling lost. I don't understand a lot of the references to past episodes. I have two options: buy them as the come out and catch up, or stop watching all together.

I think I'll buy the seasons as they're released.

Monday, June 11, 2007

June 10

Fix what’s been broken, or rip it all down and start fresh? I think that’s what it really boils down to. But that’s a difficult question.

The threads of the stories that were in progress have been lost. I don’t know how to get any of them back.

Starting fresh feels like a betrayal to not only myself, but to the stories that I had been writing, too.

And the characters. That’s an entirely different problem. Do I banish them all to oblivion while I create all new characters? Or just take the same characters and start entirely new stories?

June 9

Yeah. So, um, the nefarious villain wanders around rearranging things and generally messing things up until finally she, through a series of devious and malicious acts, pisses off the Muse (who gets introduced later) and spirits away the wordsmith.

That’s the long and short of it.

Basically, the bitch seriously screws things up and leaves the writer’s world in chaos.

Fun stuff.

How does the writer recover? I don’t know. I’ve never figured it out. I’m not sure it can be repaired. So… what? Do I continue trying to repair? Or do I finish ripping it down and start over?

Friday, June 8, 2007

June 8

The only sounds in the room were a frantic sounding beeping from the computer and the steady sounds of soft breathing.

The cause of the noise was plain to see. At the desk, bathed in the soft glow of the light, was the writer – or more precisely, the writer’s inner wordsmith - sleeping on the keyboard. Completely unaware of the intrusion, let alone the malicious intent of it, the wordsmith slept on.

The woman’s lips twisted into a smirk. She turned and began to walk the perimeter of the writer’s den, pausing periodically to rearrange the books on the shelves.

June 7

Once inside the room, the intruder paused again to take a look at the private world of the writer.

It was cast in a warm glow from the ever-burning desk lamp. Neat and orderly, everything was in its place so as to be found with barely a distracted thought given to needing it, let alone finding it. The d├ęcor was simplistic at best but the writer had made it so intentionally; a desk and chair, lamps, scores of books, a computer on the desk, few pictures on the walls. It was a place for working, not a place for distractions.



Wednesday, June 6, 2007

June 6

She paused in an open doorway. The warm glow coming from a small desk lamp only dimly lit her features as she stood at the door to the writer’s sanctum. With green eyes and shoulder-length brown hair, she could have been any woman in the world.

Her hesitation was short-lived, however, and she soon overcame her fear of being seen. Or maybe it was the fear of being recognized for what she truly was and her image being shattered. Whichever it was, it was disregarded quickly enough and the seemingly everyday woman stepped into the private world of the writer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

June 5

Darkness clung to a shadowy figure skulking about the writer’s home late one night. The headlights from a passing car swept across a window and caught the figure in profile. The woman, a little taller than average and carrying some extra weight, pulled away from the beams of light and moved further into the home she invaded.

The woman moved slowly, taking her time to handle and sometimes rearrange items she passed. A few things found their way into the bag she carried slung over her shoulder. More than a few times things were carried to the nearest trash receptacle.

June 4

The worn down word wrangler heaved a sigh at the gray light spreading across the window.

Vague memories from the night before taunted a groggy mind. Close, but not close enough for capture, and as the veil of grogginess slowly lifted, they took flight like elusive butterflies.

What was the problem? Where was the wordsmith that could mold the written word into such delightful descriptions? Where was the story teller that could twist plots and throw red herrings with the best of them? Hiding? Lost? On vacation without notification? Kidnapped by some nefarious enemy?

Now that would be a twist…

Sunday, June 3, 2007

June 3

The budding novelist listened to the storm rage on through the morning and paced off countless steps. An entire box of pencils was chewed through during that time; a dozen pencils meeting their doom between the teeth of a frustrated writer.

Nothing came. No words strung themselves together. The wordsmith was empty. The word slinger was out of ammunition.

Staring out the window again, angry questions began to rise. “Why can’t I write any more? What’s wrong with me??”

But it really came down to just one very simple question.

To borrow a phrase, “Why are the words always gone?”

June 2

I close my eyes, only for a moment and the moment’s gone…

“Oh, wait. That’s already been done.” The struggling author sighed and picked up a fresh pencil. The old pencil had been chewed in half during the previous hour. The disenchanted story-teller rose and began to pace.

“How am I supposed to write an original story when all the stories have already been told? There’s nothing left worth to tell… is there?”

Stopping by the window, the frustrated writer sighed again and stared blankly out at the rain. Somewhere deep inside there was a story waiting to be released.

Friday, June 1, 2007

June 1

The beginning of June is here and still I’ve written nothing. I’d say “I suck”, but I know it’s not true. I’ve been busy. There have been pressing matters to deal with, obligations that needed to be met.

I close my eyes late at night and the characters come to life, playing out their stories against the backdrop of my closed eyelids until I’m lulled to sleep. Sometimes the sleep is peaceful, sometimes it’s fitful.

The morning comes and draws another sigh from me. I can’t recall the stories from the night before. I’m still disconnected from the writer inside.