Thursday, June 25, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Today, supposing I get time, I'm going to have a look at my subplots. I might even try making a line graphy-thing, with colours and notes and arrows. Thing is, that really doesn't sound like it's any more organized than the yarn-snaggle that's in my head. There's a notebook somewhere I have a list of scenes I've written, more or less in order. That'll help.

I did my morning pages today in between fending off an ant attack - those little buggers are everywhere. At least the kids aren't collecting them in jars any more. Pebbles was mad at BamBam and decided to get revenge by letting all his out - in his bedroom - and of course he reciprocated. So, that happened.

Why did we let the kids collect household vermin in jars? Because they were quiet for half an hour while they did it, that's why.

Off to organize keyboards and vacuum the floor. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Writer Wheaties

Last week I set 2 goals - get up early to write and write 500 words on Friday. I didn't do either one of these things.

One thing I did do was begin reading The Artist's Way. This morning I started my day with morning pages, and while I'm not new to the idea of needing to get to the page early in the day, I did find this a help in making sure that my writer-self gets her wheaties. She has been chattering nonstop in the back of my head ever since and I wish I hadn't given her so much coffee. She says there should be a benefit dance at the restaurant for, I dunno, someone worthy. And I wish I could tell you her other idea - it's just PERFECT - but it's a major spoiler and I may want you to read this book someday. It ties two major subplots together, and it comes right before the climax. I'm very excited about this. (woot!)

In fact, I'm going to sketch out the bones of this scene today. I don't know the location yet, but since we all know it's going to be rewritten a gazillion times anyway, I'll just do the writing now and the worrying later.

Something else I've been thinking a lot about is soundtrack. I've heard writers say they had one for their book. Do you do this? I think it's intriguing, but I need silence to write. Then the other day I realized that hey, I DO do this.

Once I listened to one song all day. Over and over. There was something in the tone, something in the lyrics that was exactly what I was trying to capture in a scene I was working on. It set the mood perfectly, and I didn't want to hear anything else. I just wanted to stay in that emotional location. So while I was doing the writing I had quiet, but in between moments when I was actually at the page, I was letting it steep in the music, letting the music infuse the language to make it come out feeling the way I wanted.

Carrie's song right now is Somewhere In Between, by Lifehouse. You know it, but here are the lyrics (more or less). In case you're bored.

I can't be
Losing sleep
over this
No I can't
And now I cannot stop pacing

Give me a few hours
I'll have this all sorted out
If my mind would just stop racing

Cause I cannot stand still
I can't be this unsturdy
This cannot be happening

This is over my head
But underneath my feet
Cause by tomorrow morning
I'll have this thing beat
And everything will be back
to the way
that it was
I wish that it was just that easy

Cause I'm waiting for tonight
Then waiting for tomorrow
I'm somewhere in between
What is real
or just a dream

Would you catch me if I fall
out of what I fell in
Dont be surprised if I collapse
down at your feet again
I don't want to run away from this
I know that I just don't need this

Cause I cannot stand still
I can't be this unsturdy
This cannot be happening
Cause I'm waiting for tonight
Then waiting for tomorrow
And I'm somewhere in between
What is real
or just a dream

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Morning

Spent a few moments this morning going over the calendar for the next two weeks, and egads. There is at least something every day, many days have two things going on - Taekwon-Do class, Baseball practice, Preschool party, Father's Day Dinner #1, Father's Day Dinner #2, birthday party, oh, and don't forget to get ready for camping. Shee-yikes.

Pebbles had one of those mornings when she hates that I'm going to work. Her face is swollen up from reactions to bug bites, and she's miserable. She wants me to hold her, but I need to dry my hair, get dressed, put on makeup. Finally, I am done and we dance. Then she wants to play, but there is no more time. She cries. I get irritated. I am horrible.

I rush out the door - remembered my lunch today, hold the applause - but when I get in the car I remember that I have no freaking gas. DH is at the window yelling for me to wait. I shut off the car, go to meet him and get my phone, thank you. Need that. Back in the car, frazzled, frustrated, overheated and late, I turn on the music and what do I hear?

Jackson Browne. Running on Empty.

Very funny, Universe.

Filled my gas tank and figured that if I took the highway and busted up the sound barrier I just might make it on time.

And I did. And I'm thrilled to be here, let me tell ya.

So today, I'm aiming at 500 words. I just have to find the zone. But first, coffee.

Monday, June 15, 2009

2000 new words!

I don't have an exact count, but this week I added roughly 2000 words to AHTH. It feels good to have my life (sort of) under control and to be creative again. The process fascinates me.

It works best for me when I write in the morning, before my head gets crowded and my thoughts start to shout at each other. I write everything I know or can put in words at that time. I might try to capture a scene, or a feeling - or something I've been struggling with lately - weaving places with conversations and action. I just suck, sometimes. Then I leave the keyboard, do some other things (empty the dishwasher, fold clothes, go to work). If I can get that writing time in the morning, my mind keeps working on that scene even while I'm busy. I will find a way to create more depth or color, or solve a problem, or fill in a blank. I jot things on paper, and it makes me happy.

Sometimes someone else will (unknowingly) fill in a blank for me. I needed a name for a ghost. A little-girl ghost. Clara? Nora? No, no, eew. Something old-fashioned, foreign, a little mystical. Then one Sunday Pebbles and I were playing with her doll.

"Miss Artinne wants her lunch now. Miss Artinne needs to go the the doctor."
"Artinne." She says it almost with a French accent, with a 't' so delicate it feels like a bubble bursting on your tongue.

So of course I used it, because it is just exactly what I wanted. And how would I have even known what she was giving me if I hadn't been tuned in, turning that problem around in the back of my mind? Life has a way of feeding the writing, if you let that happen.

There are days that just don't start out properly, you know? A client takes too long describing his woes, I lose my train of thought. I can't get very deep into POV when the phone is ringing. So here is what I will do. I will start getting up a little earlier, say three mornings a week for now, to write for half an hour before I start my day.

I also have a book called "The Artist's Way" that I will read, I know some people swear by it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What is it with people?

Well, it's been quite a week. Full moon, people are crazy. Oh, you don't believe in that stuff? Perhaps you've never worked in retail:

There was the very old man who fell asleep in the driver's seat of his minivan outside the store. We were speculating that he might actually be dead, until a fire truck went by and woke him up.

There was the girl who backed into a sandwich-board sign and tried to flee around the side of the building, only she hit the corner and scraped all along the side of her car.

There was the woman who came in raging about how she can't send email through one ISP's mail server when she's connected through a different ISP's wireless service. Cause, you know, I should be able to fix that. I'm the boss of the internet, right?

There was the woman whose father bought a computer from us SIX years ago and never had a single problem, only now she can't find his Windows disk. I shouldn't charge her to have my technician reload that system, just because she can't find her disk. She will be pursuing this. She's taking this to the next level. She's calling MICROSOFT.

And last but not least? You ready? There's the man who drives that red sportscar, who used to have such a great job? He went outside in the parking lot and PEED ON THE GROUND NEXT TO MY CAR. He's the winner. He's the only customer I ever banned from the store.

All in the last 7 days.

Let's talk goals

Spent the better part of yesterday's work day (I'm self-employed - it's allowed) going through the first 30K of A HAND TO HOLD. It's been about a year since I put any serious effort in, and I needed to get a feel for where the story is. I had questions: is it as good as I thought? (Yes, in parts) Is it as bad as I thought? (Oh, definitely first draft, Baby!)

The foundation that I had wanted to lay is there. It needs pieces added, but it's workable. I need to look at the pacing, and I have things to figure out, but I know what scenes I will write next. And that is all I need.

Today I am planning some new words, and this is a Good Thing, because here we are nearly halfway through the year, and I have another 60K or so to go. This would have been the death-rattle for my goal of a completed first draft if this were last year, but the kids are bigger now, a little more self-sufficient. I can still do this. I will do this.