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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Short and Sweet...

"When it comes to writing, let's be a little reckless, don't think, just do.
 
Put the pen to paper, the fingers to keyboard, don't think about what you're spitting up, just let it flow and see where it takes you, sometimes your fingers are the real writers and you're just the enabler. Let them have a chance to shine, too."   ~Cassie P.
 
This morning, sharing a piece of wisdom from a fellow inmate at the Asylum. I've been thinking way too hard about what is coming out. So, in preparation for all you NaNo'ers out there- don't think- just write. Let it flow down the brainstem to the arms and out the fingers in whatever medium you choose. Can't find words? Draw a picture. Just get it out!

This week it's all about volume for me- not quality. That can come later in the (gag) editing phase.

So go forth and WRITE!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Double Homicide... how do you motivate your characters?

Sad state of affairs on the way to school this morning. A possum lie dead, just inches from the green shroud of safety on the other side of the road. His would-be pursuer, a racoon, lay dead, just inches behind him. Both will be mourned by the twelve year old girl riding in the car.

Anyway- it started me thinking (of course) about motivation and how our characters are driven to make the choices they do. So, what do you do when that's all they 'want' to do- sit around and go in circles? I literally watch my characters wander around, in a circle, accompishing nothing. It's one of my biggest aggrivators. Of course,  I have a couple of suggestions, if you suffer from this same sad misfortune. Those of you with characters who do nothing boring and are interesting ALL the time, well, lucky you, tune in next week... lol. But for the rest of us~

1. Lists- Create a list of events that your character will star in- or conflicts they seem to have with other characters. Then, let your characters 'lead' you to that point in the story. It gives you goals in your writing, and keeps the characters on track. Mine would stop for a pastry and a coffee every chance they get, and never get anything done.

2. Use a writing program, such as Scrivener, to outline or plot some basics. I am a Scrivener fanatic- I love being able to create 'scene' titles and then write the scene, and move it around as needed. Sometimes I can just feel an argument coming on with a couple of characters, and this program let's them get it out, and allows me to get into down on 'paper'.

3. Observe life around you, and use it to your advantage. I find that morning radio is has a plethora of ideas just waiting to happen. One of my favorites is 'inappropriate Friday' - last week they were talking about inappropriate relatives, which gave me an idea for a character that will come into Tansy's adventure, and motivate her to get things done and get out of town- as quick as possible.

So, I know it's not a lot- but it may lead you to other ideas you may have when you are in need of some character motivation. I know I've got to keep Tansy out of the bakeries and out interacting and solving the mystery! If you have a motivational technique- please share in the comments! I know I can always use more tools in the old toolbox.

Oh, and P.S. I have a soft spot for animals- well, most of them. Possum's are on the list of 'not so much' but they did creep up a bit after reading a review of a book 'Possum Summer' by Jen K Blom. (If you like 'Where the Red Fern Grows' it's right up your alley.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roadblock!

We all have road blocks from time to time- for Tansy, they’re bad guys and bad hairdos. For me, it's computer issues or laziness. Regardless, though, we need to take a page from Tansy's book and forge on. How, otherwise, will we find out (for those of us writing mysteries) whodunit? How will we find out what wonderfully romantic twist will blow our MC's socks off?


Most days, I can come up with at least a million excuses as to why I'm NOT working on writing- the floor needs vacuuming, I need to organize my closet, the dog barfed- throw a dart and call it- whatever it lands on, I'll have no problem coming up with double that many excuses. Most days, I can do a bit of something, and then get down to writing. It's my agreement with myself. I give in to my drag your feet lazy nature, and then reward myself by writing for at least half that time, or if I'm adventurous- the same or even, gasp, more time.

But, you say, what am I to do? I argue and plead and thrash around (yes, temper tantrums are NOT above this author) and I just cannot seem to make myself make time. Well, here's the challenge. The next time you find yourself organizing anything by some ridiculous system (i.e.- pantry by color and country of food origin) you sit yourself down and write your character doing this same thing. It could be they are working on solving a mystery, and sorting makes them think straight (we all know that's EXACTLY what you told yourself) or maybe they have someone they cannot stand who is completely crazy anal-retentive and they try to have a conversation with this person. Whatever you come up with - USE the procrastination 'job' as a tool for your writing. It doesn't have to 'fit' with your current WIP, it can just be an exercise, but - it did it's 'job'- it got you writing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Very Sad Day Indeed....

Well, it's official... I am not all great and powerful and the world does NOT beckon to my every whim. Okay, in my head it still works that way, but in the real world- hell no! My baby is in the hospital. Yup, hardrive going down- had to take her in to see if they can bring her back from the 'mostly dead'. Where is Miracle Max when you need him? Oy, so, today's lesson is- new computer does not instantly = better computer. In April- after I'd completed my book and my husband had gotten a bonus- he took me out and bought me a bright shiny new laptop. We poured over which to buy, and in the end, settled on almost the exact same model that he'd bought me six years prior. I'd never had a problem with my laptop, and in fact, except for a small 'cold' that took her out of commission for a week or so, she had been the ultimate computer best friend. (As a matter of fact, I'm writing on her as we, er, speak.)

So, now for the 'Yes, Virginia, Kathy is not the brightest' moment. Can we say, backup your work? Everybody, repeat after me - 'Even though you have a NEW computer and you've NEVER had a computer issue before- BACK UP YOUR WORK!'

Yes, as the Geek Squad leader (who maintains five external hard drives at his home for all of his precious electronic 'stuff') told me- you MUST backup. So, moral of the story- don't think that NEW is BETTER- because sometimes, it just ain't the truth! Now, everyone say a little prayer for Tansy's recovery- because, even though most of it's in my head- it just won't be the same if I don't get it back in one piece.