Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Which There is a Contest

I'm sure you all know by now, but in case you don't, Nathan Bransford is having his 4th Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge.

Go ahead. Submit your first paragraph. What have you got to lose? Nothing, because it's free!

Friday, January 21, 2011

In Which My Fever Drops

Yay! My fever dropped  below 100 for the first time this week! Maybe the thermometer isn't broken after all :)

Maybe I'll get that highly controversial post done today :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Which I Learn New Things

One of the most wonderful and frustrating things about writing is that I'm always learning new things. This is wonderful because I love learning new things and because I always want to be a better writer. By "better" I mean have more tools in my writing tool box than I do right now.

But it's frustrating, because I never hit a plateau. When I learned something in school, I had some time to integrate what I'd just learned into my life before learning a new thing. I don't get that anymore. When I read other people's blogs on writing, I learn something new every time. Something I can apply to what I'm currently working on. Something that I need to go back through my current WiP and fix.

Then, while I'm learning this thing, I learn something new. Or discover I'm still struggling with one of my old problem areas. For me, this is show vs tell. Can't I just learn this one and move on already? No. It is a constant struggle, with everything I write, to show vs tell. I've gotten very good at telling in a showy way, but it's still telling. Now it's just harder for me to find.

But when I do learn it? Wow! I'll be a much better writer!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Which I am Sick. Again.

Lately my blog posts have been following a pattern. A pattern of illness. Now some people might think that I get sick a lot. And they'd  be right. This week is no exception. I am sick again. Unlike the killer colds of the last few weeks, this is the flu. I get a flu shot every year, but they're not 100%. (Or as my doctor said, "It's kind of like birth control".) So now I have a new baby. I mean the flu.

Seriously, who changed from calling it "influenza" (which totally sounds like something that kills between 30,000 to 60,000 people in the US every year) to "the flu". The flu sounds cute. Friendly. Like something your kid might bring home from school. (Ok, well that last one works.)

Anyway, after two days of fever over 100, I finally went to the doctor. She ordered me off work for the week. This is day four and I still have a fever of over 100. But at least I'm getting plenty of rest! And I must be getting better, because I'm well enough to post and say, "The flu sucks. And if your kid says, 'Mommy, look what I brought home!'"* check to see if it's the flu before before letting it in the house. I mean, sure, they look all cute and have those big eyes and your kid will be saying, "But it has no place to go!". Be strong. Don't let it in the house.

Possibly my fever has affected my writing.

*This implies that my son gave me the flu. This is not the case. As with my last illness, Randy came down with it first. I forgive him, because he's lovable and does nice things for me when I'm sick. He does nice things for me when I'm well, too, but I'm more grateful when I'm sick :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In Which My Husband Is Cute

My husband did something very cute tonight that made me laugh. I said, "I'm totally going to blog about how cute you are!"
He said, "No."
I said, "You're mean, not letting me blog about how cute you are."  (Notice how he went from "cute" to "mean" in less than 7 seconds?)
He said, "In what universe can I actually control what you write or don't write?".
I said, "If I blogged about something that you asked me not to blog about, that would damage our relationship."
He said, "Write whatever you want. But if you're going to write about me, can't you write about my penis?"
(I swear he said "penis".*)
I said, "Of course I can write about your penis. You have a great penis."
He said, "Not 'penis', 'P-ness'. With a hyphen."

We laughed. Because many years ago, when Randy** was married to someone else, they were going to a meeting. Randy was running late and told his wife to let everyone know that he was late because on the Myers-Briggs scale he's an INFP and P types (P stands for perception) are frequently late. So, blame it on his P-ness. His wife went to the meeting and told everyone Randy was late because of his penis. They looked at each other and shrugged.

*I never did actually find out what he said instead of 'penis'.

**When I asked Randy if I could call him Randy on the blog, or just say "my husband"  he said, "Yes." That's the kind of man he is :)

In Which I Try To Develop a Tag Line

One thing I love about Jami Gold's website (and I think I've mentioned this before) is her tag line. "Beach reads with bite" tells you everything about her writing in just those four words. I've had tag line envy ever since I first saw her site, but I've absolutely no luck in thinking of one of my own.

When I wake up at 2:30 in the morning, and lie there Not Going Back To Sleep Even Though I Am Tired, I think about things. One of the things that I think about is what my tag line would be if I had one. Of course, then I worry that I'll think of a great tag line, actually fall back to sleep and then not remember it in the morning, but some people just aren't happy unless they're worrying about something.

Tonight, while reading "How To Write Magical Words, A Writer's Companion" (full review later, short review after reading 20 pages is go and buy it now*) the germ of a tag line hit me. This is not my tag line. This is my rough draft of my tag line.

"Defender of trolls, rescuer of monsters, and cuddler of clockwork cats"

Needs work, but at least it's a start!

*Full disclosure. If you follow that link to Amazon and buy the book, I don't make any money off of it. It's just a link.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In Which I Turn Troll Wife Over to My Crit Group

Tomorrow I'm sending Troll Wife to my crit group. It's a rough draft, and it's rougher because I keep thinking of extra little things I want to add in, which causes continuity errors further along. So, when I hand it off to them, I hope they'll look for three things:

1. Oubliette was originally written as male. About halfway through the book, I changed Oubliette to female (decided the Dark Mother archetype was a better fit). Unfortunately, I am *still* finding "him" in the book. So, I hope they'll let me know if they find any "him" that should be "her".

2. Continuity errors in general. I've moved so many scenes around, that I have more continuity errors than I can find. My problem is that I know the story, so I have trouble picking them out.

3. Missing scenes. Again, since I know the story, there are times when I'm sure I've written a scene, only to discover that it's not there. Also, there are duplicate scenes, when I wrote a scene two ways, and couldn't decide which one I liked better, and now I can't find the duplicate scene to remove it, because so many things have been moved around.

Once we get those things fixed, I'll resubmit for my more standard problems. "Telling not showing" and using the same word umpteen times on a page.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato

I've always loved this quote. I try to live by it, though I'm not always successful.

I just read Bill Zeller's suicide letter. I never knew him. I wonder if the people that knew him saw him in the same light in which he saw himself. I understand his wish that he could have ended his pain in another way. Some way that wouldn't hurt the people around him so much. I wish he could have gotten help.

In the meantime, I will do my best to "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

In Which I am Feeling Better

I'm on the mend. My son, Michael, was sick too, but never got as sick as I was (thank goodness!). I'm no longer contagious and it's easier to breathe now. Which kind of sounds like I was at death's door, but it was just a really miserable cold. Actually, two. Once I started to get over the first one, I got a second one. I'm hoping I avoided bronchitis, because I'm sick (get it?) of getting bronchitis.

But today? I actually did some writing. And I have promised the whole book, Frankenstein stitches and all, to my crit group on Monday. I'm spending most of the weekend in bed, but plan to get up tomorrow morning to go see Nicholas Cage in "Season of the Witch". He's got financial troubles, so (lucky me) he's in a lot of movies these days. (I love Nicholas Cage in part because he's one of the few actors I can recognize.)