Monday, November 30, 2009

Weakness

Just for the record, there is nothing worse that having a low normal temperature (95.5-96.5). Because nobody believes you when you walk around complaining of fever and chills when the temp goes up to 98.5.

And why is it my head feels like it's floating gently from side to side up and down even though I'm just sitting still. What is going on inside of there!

*pokes sides of head gingerly, half afraid something might poke back*
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

NANO 2009

Just remembered that the Nov 25 deadline has passed and it was time to upload my entire NANO novel on the NANOWRIMO site to get my Winning count.

I get to brag...



54,600 words - at least according to my computer. I'm not sure how but the NANO official counter added a couple hundred extra words to my total. Er, which I'll take. :)

Rah!

Fwiw - I still like last year's banner the best. This year's banner seemed a little blah compared to the past two years. Just saying. <- And that might just be my dazed and confused swaying inflato head talking.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For the Word...



While looking up cheesecakes for Christmas*, I came across www.sporkorfoon.com and saw the picture above.

Although I'd been planning to cut back on cookies this year and only make MY FAVORITES (Kolacky, Walnut Crescents, Shortbread, baklava), I'm sadly losing control of my will again.

It won't hurt to make a few sugar cookies... I suppose. Maybe a dozen or two...

*Every year, my oldest sister (Marianne) and I have a cheesecake competition. About this time every year, we start our recipe hunt trying to find a new and different cheesecake recipe to try out, and we keep it secret until Christmas Eve, when we actually make the cakes.

This year, I'm thinking about doing a pumpkin cheesecake - as it's probably one of those I haven't done in a while. It is also to make up for the cheat I did last year.

Fact: My mom (the judge) loves anything with strawberries in it.

I was out of ideas and made a quick and easy strawberry white chocolate swirl cheesecake last year. This was made with gelatin, so it was lighter than the baked kinds (yet another cheat, as my mom's constantly dieting).

It was yum, and I won as I evilly knew I would.

This year, I'll play a fair game. Ur, even though I did wonder what a pumpkin cheesecake with strawberries would taste like. :O
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Don't do this - any of it!




A word of advice:

If you want to find an agent for your novel, posting a query on Craigslist is not the way to go.

The following particulars especially show you might not be informed as to how the publishing industry works.

Location: MI, NY, CA, IL
Compensation: Going Literary Agent Rate or Best Offer


RULE #1 - You do not pay an agent to represent you (although some might charge you random fees for copies, possibly). They make their money after the book deal.

Could be this woman meant that, but the way this ad is written, it makes me wonder if she's getting a lot of scammers suggesting an hourly rate for handling her work.

Also -

I also have a finished screenplay that could also use the benefit of a literary agent to sell.


I could be wrong, but I really don't think agents handle screenplays. Or not the same kind of agents.

OH GOSH! Here is another one!

I am a writer i have written many short stories and a book. I am working on a sequel to the first book and a skit that would fit the format of shows like saterday night live. I am having trouble publishing my book and I am looking for an experienced agent to help me get it published. The job would pay based on how much i make. i need an agent asap so please reply quickly to the listed email XXX or call me at XXX and ask for XXX to schedule a time to interview


No! Don't DO THIS!!! You are just asking for somebody to come swooping in and scam you.

Furthmore -

This book is kinda of a spin off the Larry David show Curb Your Enthusiasm and the movie Crash. Where this will be a best seller because of the outrageous funny rude people I have met over the past 40 years. This project is for Journalism students, and previous writers who want to Co-Author a book that will pay Royality's if we sell 500,000 books we will both get some $2 million from the book alone not including what we can make off the movie. Look at the movie Paranormal Activity.


I just don't know what to think about this ad.

From the sounds of it, this is somebody who has a great idea but doesn't actually want to do the writing work. That part isn't the huge deal (because God knows there are good writers out there who are wall-blocked for ideas, or work best when given assignments).

The huge deal is I'm not sure how he thinks he will sell that many copies of a book.

Dude. o_O

Look, I have a great story to tell; a true story and I have been writing it but i keep getting twisted up...I need help and I am willing to share credit as well as proceeds for someone that can help me get this thing on paper.


This one actually...

Sighs.

Have you considered how much credit a writer wants for doing all of the work? Anyone can come up with a fantabulous idea. The writing work itself is the part that makes you a writer and the author. That's why ideas aren't copywrighted, but words are.

On one hand, I know how this feels. When you have this idea in your head, and know it will be good - then yes! It can be really frustrating when you can't get the idea to take shape on paper.

If you think about it in sculpting terms (something I wanted to do all day today, because I'm making some presents instead of buying them) it's like lying in bed dreaming up these fantabulous little statues which you want to make for friends and relatives. Then you sit down to sculpt and the clay is too hard to shape properly, or too soft and keeps falling out of shape. Or the paint just doesn't have the glossy finish that you dreamed of (clay statues don't have the same delicate shape and shine as porcelain statues, but I fall for the same daydreams every single time).

Back to the writing deal -

The best thing to do is work on becoming a better writer. Don't rush. Keep in mind that most qualified writing help books tell you to regard writing as an apprenticeship that may take YEARS before you master your trade. Until then, be patient and open yourself to learning and growing.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After NANO...


I won NANO this past Sunday, though I haven't quite stopped adding to my word count. I haven't gone purple yet. I'd like to stretch myself upward to 60,000 words at least. I'm gaining that point at almost 52,000 words.

Yesterday and the day before I concentrated on going back to my first chapter. I'm fighting a couple of issues that have been bothering me, especially upon witnessing the usual quibbles about the Twilight series spurred on by the recent New Moon movie (which I want to go see).

The main guy character is an alien - or the type of aliens which I like to write about. This comes from my love of Stargate and also my latest fascination with the TV series V. There are nifty particulars about him, but I'm keeping under my hat right now.

Problem is I started the novel with him being a new transfer student - something that happened because he wanted to fit into the community while taking care of family business.

I keep flipping back to the scene where he walks into the homeroom the first time. It's like he's Bella and my main girl lead is like Edward. As if I subconsciously thought switching the gender roles would keep people from noticing the cliche.

Haha. You understand now why I felt COMPELLED to go back and rewrite that first chapter?

Writing plans for the weekend - I'm going to continue revising Bottles (my nick for the NANO).
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Winning NANO

I wasn't really going to do a blog topic on this, but it occurred to me when I saw grieving comments from people who began NANO with high hopes and then never got going. It also may expand on my viewpoint that the last thing you want to do is write cwap just because it adds to the word counts and you have lost control of the plot anyway.

See, my thought is that NANO is one of those affairs where nobody is watching over your shoulder. I know people who are pasting in sections they wrote months earlier for different projects - just so they keep making up the word counts per day. It's all for show, and in the end they won't have anything really to show for it.

There's nothing wrong with this, but it just... I dunno. It belittles the efforts of people who really are writing fresh material every single day and have a mostly finished novel by the end of the month. Then again, those people get the last word, because at least two that I know of have polished and cleaned up their novels in less than a year and have tentatively hooked agents. Compare that with people who deleted their nano novels directly after the Dec. 1 deadline, because it was such a mishmash of junk.

Speaking for myself - I have been in the in-the-middle camp. I am highly guilty of writing all my favorite scenes first and getting my word counts that way, while err... getting stranded in the end because all the dull drab annoying parts are left over waiting for me to get my bum into a seat and write them. :)

I'm also guilty of blocking a LOT of stuff out and pasting it at the bottom of my document while I continued to write and replace scenes I didn't like the day after I wrote them. That's why my 50,000 word WIP gets chopped down to 20-30,000 words after Dec.1. Gladly so.

That is completely different from continuing to write the novels in a steady line, even though you know a bad scene has led you in the wrong direction and you are wasting time writing stuff that you don't want to keep. That's probably about the time that some people get silly and start spoofing their work, just so the word counts grow. <- I could never do that. My brain doesn't work that way. I imagine if I had a novel like that, I'd wind up deleting the entire novel and going back to square one. Something that a LOT of people do.

W/regards to the people who ran into a wall and can't meet the first milestone (10,000 words), my advice is that maybe they just need to organize their thoughts a bit.

1. If they want to just be able to have 50,000 words in the win column, they can do the spoof route. While I look at that as a waste of time that could be better spent on something that WOULD sell (even if I stop doing nano and go back to my old novels), other people see it differently. As long as you are writing and playing around with characters and worldbuilding, you can look at it as practice for that moment when you are READY to write that novel.

2. Don't compete with people who are better writers than you are. Do what you know you are capable of - especially if you are like me and have a dayjob. I know a lot of people get burnt out and stressed during NANO, because OMG! I'M SO FAR BEHIND THE BFF AND LOOK LIKE A BAD POKY WRITER! GADS! MY BRAINS ARE FRIED AND MY BURNING EYES ARE FALLING OUT OF MY HEAD AND I'M STILL BEHIND. I REALLY AM A CWAPPY WRITER!!!!!

Stop it. Just remember 1667 words a day wins NANO. If you really have a hard time nicking out 1667 in one sitting, then break it up. Write a little at different points of the day.

Poky or pokey? Pokie...?

3. Do what I do. When you get stuck trying to explain how characters know each other, even though one just appeared out of nowhere and gives off mafia vibes, jump ahead and write the scene you enjoy writing. I know somebody who wrote 20,000 words in her last week of NANO simply by writing all of the love scenes in her book. Made me laugh at her, but she was just happy she scrapped out a win.

4. Write or Die - I mentioned this in another post, but it really does help if you sit there and have to write 1000 words in a half hour, or DIE! It's all mental, but it helps. Do a couple of sessions of WOD a day, and you will stay ahead of the game.

5. Another trick when you are completely stuck and don't want to go the 'write anything' route - go back to the beginning and start expanding. This does two things. While you expand out in scenes, describing surroundings and developing your characters just a tiny bit more, you are also going back and finding the threads and intrigues which will hopefully guide you out of your blue funk and make you remember where you are going next with the novel. I've used this trick often, not just with this year's nano, but with other stuff in the past. It works.

6. Add action, throw in turns - thought I'd add this one, because it serves more than one purpose. By giving your character PROBLEMS to deal with, you are giving yourself plenty of material to constantly work with. Because, if you cause a problem, you have to show the character getting out of the problem. It also trains you to think outside the box and get away from cliches and similarities to novels already on the bookshelf.

The other purpose is that agents and them who know want to see more action and nonpredictable (as opposed to the 'blah predictable') turns. If you spend huge portions of the novel with characters talking and looking at each other (something I'm so guilty of doing in WIP), then you got more problems than your characters.

7. Indulge in all of your bad habits. This is not the same as writing scenes and whole chapters you do not intend to keep. This means, write as many adverbs as you want, because you can always edit them out. Start every chapter with your character waking up in bed, if it gets the ball rolling fast. You can always figure out a different way to begin each and every one of those chapters later. If you want to throw in sparkly vampires, do it. Just remember to change the vampires to something less Twilightesque when you edit. If you want to make your main character a Mary Sue or Gary Stu - DO IT and relish the moment. You will have plenty of editing to do later, but it isn't like you will have to scrap the entire novel. You will have something to work with.

8. Always remember that you don't have to be perfect. Agents request that people do not send their NANO novels in directly after finishing them. You are expected to edit and revise over and over until you have a polished product. So, see point # 7 and have at it.

9. Write up a quicky summary of what you want to accomplish in the novel. This could be an in depth synopsis like I wrote, including various notes and info I copied from around the web to help. I did this and sometimes consult those notes at different points. It keeps me from going too far off the beaten path.

10. Talk out your problems with your friends, even if you don't really want to show and tell re/your plot just yet. If you are stuck on something, then go forth and ask people questions. Don't expect anyone to write your novel for you. Gather inspiration.


********* Speaking of NANO *************

I've officially notched the 45,000 mark. This means I could be done with NANO - TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <- Yes, all of those exclamation points are necessary, because this would be the earliest I've ever finished.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The harsh reminder of limitations

Or the limitations that go along with being human.

That is - a human who spends an awful lot of time sitting in front of a computer (at work) all day, and then comes home to do the same on own computers can expect to have certain issues with the blinkers.

I have a bad case of eyestrain, and have been trying to rest my eyes the last two days. It is slow going, but I'm hoping it's settling down. I tend to think that eyestrain is just like bronchitis and pneumonia. Once you have it, you will always be susceptible to developing it at the most inopportune times. Like NANO.

So I'm stuck at 40,000 words at this time, waiting for my eyes to calm down and defraz.

Wish everyone else luck with their writing and editing.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Random Thoughts...

"All right, I'll admit it. Radisson, Georgia is a quaint little town. I say little because, well, it is. The welcome sign at the city limits boats a population of 14,877." - Ghost Huntress, Marley Gibson


The above quote made me grin, because I'm fully aware that the sign for my hometown boasts of 7,700 people. And we like to think of ourselves as busting out and growing. Certainly we are compared to neighboring towns who are still stuck in the hundreds. :P

Speaking of small townisms - stopped at the bank on my way home from work on Friday. This is a little story that has stuck in my head and has been bothering me all weekend long. The gal at the bank is vaguely familiar to me, but not to the point that I know her name or would tell her apart from my dog's vet. However, she knew me. I offered to show my ID, and she laughed at me. Said that she recognized me as one of the K- girls. She sees my mom and sisters all the time. Said we are so similar we are practically clones.

Ugh. I thought as I usually do when people say things like that, "Huh? Is she BLIND!"

It is something odd though, and I wonder how it would be described if writing in a book - people don't just recognize people based on the color of their hair, skin, eyes, or their height. They are looking at something else... I haven't quite figured out what.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sunday - EARLY

So I don't forget in the busy restfulness that is tomorrow...

Writing - hurrah and huzzah! <- I've moved my numbers up to 35,000 words typed. This means I'm officially 1/4 of the way through my plot and almost halfway through the novel. I have all of my characters introduced, detailed the backworld information, established my main character quite firmly, and suddenly brought a character (whom the reader is led to believe dead and rotting) back to life. Or at least, her texts. As in, she's suddenly texting her sister after being mia for two years. Where is she? Is it really her texting my main character? Oh my goodness! And that is where I stopped off tonight, because my fingers hurt. And my eyes are going crossed and blurry. Tomorrow is another day though, and there is always tomorrow for dreams to come true... *hums madly* Or, I'm hoping to hit 40,000 tomorrow. It can be done.

Writers Tooling Friend That would be "Write or Die", or This place. I used it all day today, and it got me 7000 (or so) words. What I usually do is set the word count to a manageable rate and speed (1000 words per half hour) and I get to work. I generally come away with 2000 words per 35 minutes, which I will definitely take. If you stop writing and get to daydreaming, the screen goes red and rather alarming looking. Supposedly it makes sounds as well... only I've never dared let it get to that point.

Round of Published Author Websites that I admire and browse frequently:

Maria Snyder - or she who wrote the Study books. I like how understated, noncluttered, but full and useful her website is.

Sherwood Smith - who is the reason I grew to love fantasy. It had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with that dull boy Tolkien. She has made herself very accessible to her readers and her readers who are writers, which I think is lovely of her.

Maureen Johnson - I'm sure I mentioned her website already, but meh. I loves it. And not just because waving my mouse over the buildings on the front page makes that ringing sound and I like little gadgets like that. Check her blog. So much fun.

Meg Cabot - who is the diva of authors, and probably the one who got me hooked on reading and writing books in the 'first person'. Nobody else does it half so well. Her diary is hilarious, but she also has an extremely helpful forum for writers. Check for necessary info.

I know I browse plenty of other author websites at random or as I have bookmarked around my computers... but these are the main ones that come to mind. Just lovingly sharing.

Books to read: I'm reading one book at this moment, and trying to make up my mind whether or not I like it. Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra. The writing is good (expected, as I like Kelly), but at different points the plot reminds me of something else I've read or seen. Hmm. I'm looking forward to hitting 40K on my WIP tomorrow, so I can relax the rest of the day, curled up in bed reading the rest of the book.

That is all off the top of my head.

Happy new upcoming week to everyone.

Hopefully it goes very fast and brings us closer to the Thanksgiving holiday.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday's Free Moment

- before lunchbreak anyway.

NANO Writing: Going strong. I'm now just about at 28,000 words and aiming for 30,000 words before tomorrow. If I'm not too tired tonight, that is.

I was going to wait until Sunday to plop in my next post, but something occurred to me while reading Fiction Groupie's post yesterday (see bloglist on the right) about how to do a successful blog.

I've fallen off my blogreading this past month and a half while prepping for and now doing nano, but Roni's one of the handful of people I still regularly check, even though I don't always have time to leave a comment.

Roni's advice stands up, btw - I found her blog after she posted a comment on somebody else's blog. I snooped and immediately liked the way she knows her stuff but isn't overbearing about it. So I 'followed' her and began making a point to click on her blog every time it updates.

There are other people I follow regularly - some I have on my blog following list on this site, and some who I need to add to said blog following list - who are the same way. They don't always use their blog presence to lecture other aspiring writers on the finer arts of writing. There is this other blog I absolutely love which is done by two gals (sisters and coauthors). They blog on anything and everything, including celebrity critiques ala GFY (Go Fug Yourself where Fugly is the new Pretty). Love it. And there are other bloggers who supply info on the publishing industry as they themselves scope out possible agents and their likes and dislikes. And other bloggers who do book reviews and just post random comments on their life and writing progress.

There are many reasons to follow a blog... but it all comes down to maybe a couple rules:

1. Extend beyond your inner circle and acknowledge that your audience is a bunch of strangers who want to be entertained.

- Meaning, don't be tightly centered and assume you are talking to somebody who knows you well, is a relative or critting partner. Some people can pull this off if they have a theatrical sense of humor and can make cleaning house details sound like a RIOT. Like Maureen Johnson. I really haven't read any of her books (though I probably should, idiot me), but I'm this horrible stalker who is following her blog and twitter feed. I'd probably also follow her on Facebook, er... except I've made an eternal vow to pretend Facebook doesn't exist.

Treat your blog like a novel or a story and supply information if you think it is interesting and necessary. If it is just dull or mundane, infodumping, whatever, then edit it out.

2. Post regularly. If you slip on posting (as I have), you will lose the interest of new readers who will peep at your blog and think "Dead Blog" when they see the last posting date was a month ago.

*** Back to my original point. When I read Roni's post, I thought about myself and my blogging habits. I like people who post informative posts on the writing craft with all the howtos, bewaries, and inspiros, but I haven't really felt the tug to do such a blog myself. My excuse has always been: I'm an aspiring writer, I'd feel weird telling other people how to write. That's not going to change that much. If I've learnt something or have a little detail to share that might be helpful to other people, I'll post it, but in general, I'm shy about getting too bossy on a blog. :P

That said, the ironic thing is how I feel about dogs and training dogs. I'm training my young dog (that's him in my blog header) for AKC Obedience shows. We are in Novice B and getting ready for his shows (Novice B is the level you have to show at if you have already gotten an obedience show title on a previous dog, as I have). While I have met success at the training, that does not mean I'm expert or teach classes for a living.

Still, it was tickling at the back of my head to start writing an Obedience Training how-to blog to help people train their own dogs, or at least do all of the groundwork on their own before they get their dog to the first obedience class. Or even if they aren't going to do the obedience classes, there are still things they can and should do at home.

I'd post informative things on this other blog and be bossy about it, in other words.

I laughed at the contradiction... well, until I realized the wincing difference. Confidence

I guess I'm afraid of coming off like one of those people at dog class that you see sometimes.

There's a good example from a puppy class I went through this past spring -

I always show up to classes at least ten minutes early, to allow my dog to settle down and acclimate. I did so this one Saturday and did my usual quick warm up (basically walk around the room, mixed with quick sits and play comes), and then I sat down in my usual spot to let my dog relax while we waited for the teacher to arrive.

These other people showed up early and their method of warming up was completely different from mine. They...um... let their four mostly full grown poodles (think giant dogs about the size of a German Shepherd but 10X as hyper) loose to run around and play on the training floor.

OMG. I was in a state of shock - and not just because my puppy had jumped into my lap to get away from the four zoo animals whipping around the room at full speed in a four-way playfight.

The rule I've always stood by is teaching your dogs there is a time and a place for them to act all goofy and hyper - and that is never on the training floor.

Those people on the other hand thought they knew exactly what they were doing, and they were happy during class because their dogs were too tired out to behave badly during class.

When it comes to writing and writing advice, it could very well be the same thing. People who are a bit more rigid about writing rules (the outliners, for example) would probably die from shock if I started telling them how to succeed... my way.

Another example (and probably a more relevant one) that doesn't include dogs, I guess, is if you are a mom and a woman who isn't a mom starts telling you how to raise your child. <- Urk and ick, right?

Because I have a title (including two show wins) and years of training backing me up, I feel fairly confident offering dog training advice to people.

Writing though... even though I've published shorts.... I still feel somewhat unproven in my methods. Even if I had years of training and education behind me (which I do have), I still feel somewhat squeamish speaking up for fear of treading on uncertain ground and looking like an idiot.

Mweh.

How about you and your blogging habits? Do you feel somewhat embarrassed or second guess yourself when you give advice? Are there ever any points when you write this huge post on how to do something (like writing a query) and then feel like a total fraud?

Or is this lack of confidence the reason why you are mentally hiding under your bed when you think of all of the unpleasant sales work that comes after hooking an agent?

HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH btw!!!!
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Looks Hassled...

Clicketty me


I'm using the computer without a proper mouse and paint program, so don't laugh at my really really bad graphic art skillz. :P

Or laugh. That's ok.

The above really bad pic expresses my quandary most days perfectly. Finding time to write when you really have a real life pulling you in other directions. Or, as my pic expresses and I feel today, I'm like a ladybug walking up a tree that has two main branches leading in opposite directions. The one I really want to go to doesn't have a branch at all and I'd have to go flying up after that goal, but it will make me look bad in front of my friends if I skip out on BOTH of them. <- Oh, ladybugs reveal their true beetle ID when they take flight and are less than adorable.

*sighs*

I'll have to make a decision soon.

Writing is going good. 20,000 words baby!

*** DANCES ON TOES!!!!!! <- My toes, not anyone else's'. :)

12:40AM ET - Finishing word count is close to 26,000 words. That means I'm a pinch over 50% completed. I'm now going to take care of my burning eyes and rest them for the night.

Aiming for 30,000 tomorrow. Hope I can get there.

Hope everyone else out there in the nanosphere are doing as well. :)
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Irresistable Sidetrack

Avert your eyes while I make a necessary sidetrack here -

Top 100 movies of the 00's -

Check out the list and see how you fare.

For my part, I was thinking that there were a a LOT of movies surprisingly NOT on the list. I know I've seen more than the following movies in the past ten years.

Least I'm pretty sure. :O

96 Shrek
90 Bend it like Beckman
79 Spiderman
75 School of Rock
66 United 93
64 Spirited Away
62 Devil Wears Prada
43 The Dark Knight
41 HP and the Sorcerors Stone
38 Pan's Labyrinth
33 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
31 Pirates of the Carribean
28 The Queen
9 The Passion
5 LOTR
3 Incredibles

That's all. I either chose not to see the others on the list, or I never heard of them. Bah.
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Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Pop

*waves*

I'm still in nanoville over here.

15,000 words written. Which means I'm 30% into the game. Plenty more time to get the remaining 70%.

70% <<- Urk. So intimidating. Especially considering that last week I was at 90% to go. Unless I'm opening my Word doc and actually checking out the three chapters completed, it doesn't really look like I've done much. :)

Writing inspirations:

While reading the news this morning, I came across the one story about the guy in Colorado who woke early in the morning (Saturday or Sunday) to the sound of his dog barking. He went outside and found a dead body on his front yard. The body was that of somebody who had lived nearby.

That is a mystery waiting to be written. There is always a mundane explanation - the guy 's corpse got dropped off at the wrong house. The killer just randomly threw the body out of his truck/car/bike* and amscrayed.

*Yes, I'm mostly kidding about the bike, but you never know.

Where the imagination comes in is trying to figure out an out of the ordinary explanation for the body. Like maybe it was deliberately planted on that guy's property. You never know. I have neighbors who keep getting pranked by people who don't like them. They get dead deer or parts of a deer dropped off on their yard every once in a while. As the corpses appear to be several days if not months old, the neighbors assume they're getting planted.

Other story recently in the news which is a bit darker and... well, thought provoking is the one down in Ohio. That would be with the guy who had been living with 11 (if not more) dead bodies all over his house and property.

What an author can take from this story is the character details - learning how to create a perfect villain without falling into the cartoony "he did this evil thing because he is evil and likes to do evil things for the heck of it".

Looking at vids of the guy in court, I felt almost a bit sorry for him. I know that sounds BAD and I'm by no means excusing anything he did. It's revolting, horrific, terrible... monstrous. But that guy is clearly mentally ill. You can tell by the look on his face in the videos and pictures. I know people like that. They generally live in an alternate reality, and get all obsessive about imagined wrongs or perceptions.

One guy I know snapped suddenly in his mid-twenties. Suddenly he started talking about a relationship he had with a neighborhood girl who had died ten years before. A completely fictitous relationship that we knew couldn't possibly have happened. But he was convinced it had. He was convinced the girl was haunting him and he hated her passionately. And he was convinced regular girls he saw at the stores or elsewhere looked like her or were her. There was another neighbor, a boy this time, who this guy had a similar reaction to. According to the crazy guy's alternate reality, they were friends who played basketball together, but this guy betrayed him horribly, so the crazy guy hated him passionately and kept trying to get out and throw rocks and dirt at his house. That crazy guy had the same look in his eyes as that guy down in Ohio. As he got worse in his head, the more violent and obsessive he got about those people he hated. There is no telling what the crazy guy I know would have done if his family were not involved and keeping him under control.

The thing that bothers me the most about the case down in Ohio is the feeling like this sort of thing has happened before throughout history. If you read up on Jack the Ripper, it was basically the same deal. The unwanteds in society were preyed on and murdered. If anyone got away from the guy, they were afraid to go to the police because they had their own problems with the law. The local police were slow-moving or nonresponsive, because they had no real interest in that portion of society - because they were the common rabble and petty criminals.

It's just really sad and sickening how the worth of some humans can be less than others. Even now, the public reaction is mesmerized, but there isn't the same level of instant HORROR and OUTRAGE that happens when a single person of higher ranking in society is murdered.

Anyway - If you are a writer and trying to build a believable villain, consider cases like the guy down in Ohio and build the layers.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

I DID have a post today, and this...

...had something to do with my procrastinating last night before the NANO hour (I didn't make it - I fell asleep on my computer quarter to). I was looking up idioms, and found a website with a list of the more popular idioms, organized by alpha.
Here - http://www.idiomsite.com/

I read through and thought about a fun exercise for a future novel, and this may be something I take advantage of if I start wuthering off the deep path (or something mixed up like that).

Take the first idiom of every alpha and set it as a Chapter title. You would use that chapter title as a theme for that chapter, as you develop your plot and push forward.

I would honestly change the order of some of those chapters and trim out the ones that I find less inspiring or whatever, but overall this gives you a theme for every single chapter, and gives you a focus point for when you otherwise might be floundering in between plot points.

So:

CH1 Back seat driver
CH2 Dark Horse
C3 Feeding frenzy
CH4 Get down to brass tacks
CH5 Jaywalk
CH6 Make no bones about
CH7 Nest egg
CH8 Off on the wrong foot
CH9 Pass the buck
CH10 Raincheck
CH11 Saved by the bell
CH12 Under the weather
CH13 Van Gogh's ear for music
CH14 Wag the dog
CH15 X marks the spot


***

My (writing buddy) sister and I used to play the same game when we were bored. We'd write down the first line of every single page of a book we were reading, and figure out a story from the muddle. It could be hilarious sometimes what we came up with.
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NANO HEADS UP

I'm going to be posting less this month thanks to NANO work. I will still try to post regular stuff as it occurs to me and I'll still be checking in on people during the day, but expect that production may be hampered as I'm distracted.

I may post random weekend progress notes on the NANO blogsite. Those will be on Sundays, just before the start of the work week.

*nudges blogsite thoughtfully, it doesn't wiggle back like jello which seems to be good, I think*
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