Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Silly Fairy Fun

What's your fairy name?

My fairy name is Nettle Iceshimmer
She protects the vulnerable and brings justice to the wronged.
She lives in brambles and blackberry bushes.
She is only seen when the first flowers begin to blossom.
She wears purple and green like berries and leaves and has icy blue butterfly wings.
Get your own fairy name from The Fairy Name Generator!

So there goes 3 minutes of your life, and you'll never get it back.
You're welcome. 
Now go write something!

Monday, May 30, 2011

No outline, no problem!

As far as I can recall, I started writing A HAND TO HOLD - my ghost story - three years ago.  Its present length is 56K, and yes, sections of that have been rewritten, and rewritten again, and chunks have been hacked off and jettisoned.  They totally deserved it, in all cases.  AHTH was carefully plotted, index-carded, and planned, and I am finding the last third of it just hell to write.  I know what I need but the words just won't come. 

I cannot rack up experience and hone my craft like that.

Enter my more recent project.  It's now called Rundiamair, which all good Googlers can find out is Gaelic for mystery, or hidden.  (If anyone knows how to actually SAY that word, please fill me in.)  With this one, I am writing just for exercise.  Just for joy.  And I have written over 10K in the last three weeks.  Just about 20% of the word count for the last three years, in THREE DAMN WEEKS.  Can I tell you how good that feels?  And the thing is, I don't really know what's coming except for the next short bit - which leaves plenty of room for a Swamp Monster to attack in Chapter Three, a Certain Someone who is not who he claims to be (but who is he, you ask?  I DON'T KNOW!  Isn't that awesome?) a fairy changeling, and a near-death by poisoning. 

So yes, I'm having fun.  :o)  I'll have to remember this, the next time I'm stuck on project. 

What I'm curious to learn is whether the actual outline, the beforehand plotting of a story, really kills it for me.  Why would that be, I wonder?  How does that work?  My brain is having zero trouble developing subplots, characters, and story arcs - at least on this end of the story.  It's true I'm writing my usual "lite" first draft, which means I will go back later to flesh out my descriptions, add explanations for things I might not know just yet, plant foreshadowing and other plot devices.  But still.  The story comes as fast as I can type, and with the exception of a major plotting decision I need to sort out, it's effortless.

All of this makes me think a lot of writing happens in areas of my brain where I'm not actually allowed to go, as if there are NO TRESPASSING signs in areas where I'm likely to screw stuff up if I start interfering.  Heartbeat, breathing, blinking, and yeah, maybe writing.  You know, the really critical stuff.  I'm going to look into this some more this week.  There are a lot of people who can't write to an outline, are you one of them?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something lost is always found...

...it may not look the same.

This is my favourite song lyric right now.  It comes a Hayley Sales song - the title track on her new album - When the Bird Became a Book.  There is no YouTube video for it, but you should go listen.  It's a cheerful ditty about perspective and I listen to it about fourteen times a day right now, because it is still effing raining.   

Anyway.  Something lost is always found, it may not look the same.  But some things have to change.
Quite apart from what this means to me as a mother, it also has meaning to me as a writer.

I mentioned that I started writing YA Fantasy all of a sudden, and it was a lot of fun because you get to do whatever the heck it is you want to do.  And then I thought, well Cindy, you know your OTHER stories are fiction too, such as the ghost story you are trying to avoid.  And then I wondered why on earth I should feel imaginitively restricted writing paranormal fiction.  That makes no sense (even for me.) 

So what was lost has now been found.  For all the staring I have done at my screen, the gnashing of teeth and organizing of index cards, it slipped my mind that I am actually in charge of this story.  If I'm bored, likely the reader will as well.  What's even more important: I want the kind of writing life that pushes me creatively.  Not just in terms of discipline and arse-glue and word count, outline, POV.  I need it to be fun.

So, my lost has been found.  Chances are I'll still labour over the development of my MCs relationships, and I'll have to figure out what happened to that sister-in-law who hasn't shown up anywhere since the second scene.  I think, though, that I have gained some insight as to why my ghost has been standing there with her arms crossed all this time.  Girlfriend is bored. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Dust motes drifting in a shaft of sunlight made me sneeze,  and I swiped a grimy wrist over my forehead and scowled.  Spring cleaning always makes me wonder how I ever let things go so far awry - an uncomfortable parallel for my life in general. It was then I spotted it, on a high shelf at the back, under a silk paisley scarf: a battered wooden jewelry box.  I lifted it down reverently, remembering with a rush of longing and affection what I'd put inside.  It was so long ago.  I lifted the lid carefully, slowly, and there it was, just as I'd left it.  My blog.


So, how have you been???  We're pretty soggy; it's been raining about a month now and there's more coming, from what I hear.  But someone told me we're expecting a warm, dry summer, so I should be able to get the mildew out from between my toes by the first of July.  I would so love a warm sunny day.

Writing-wise, A HAND TO HOLD is in the final stages of the first draft.  It's about 57K right now, with big sections still to be imagined.  I haven't quite connected with my antagonist yet.  She won't look me in the eye.  She's elusive.  Demanding.  Unreasonable.  Dangerous.  So you can see why I've been leaving her alone.  She'll come to me when it's time, I think.  And if she doesn't, there's always the delete key.  There are lots of bad little ghosts out there who would love to be in my story, after all. 

In the meantime, I decided to play with an idea that I've had for a while now, up on that same shelf I told you about.  It's different for me.  It's YA.  It's fantasy.  That makes me a little nervous, since I don't read fantasy. It might never be anything - no, that's not quite true.  It is, even now, good exercise.  This story lets my imagination out to play, like a puppy in the backyard of my brain.  And I really need that right now.

I wonder if that is why so many people write fantasy.  (Is that even true, stats-wise?  I am scientifically uncertain of my remark. Forgive me, I'm an artsy type.)  Anyway, there are really very few restrictions for settings, characters, or crazy shiz that can happen.  It's very fun.

Speaking of fun, I must go and reconcile my bank statement.  Ha.  Good times.