Mar 29, 2012

Accountability and A to Z

I thought about saving this post for the 1st, or Saturday, but I'm forging ahead!

First: update on progress on eWife 3.0, prototype first draft completed a few days ago(yay), it's short but it has all the major scenes in it and is printed out and in a notebook for following along with daily writing schedule. Second story for the Romance Fast-track on the Harlequin forums, roughly plotted out and ready to start on if I decide to storm ahead on it.

Second: A to Z

Decided to give this a go. First year doing it, and I'm terrible with schedules so it might just go to hell, but giving it a shot!

I've prowled the blogosphere to see the approach of others to this bloghop, and most seem to have a theme of some sort. The only theme I can keep to with any kind of regularity is being ridiculous. I can be ridiculous 24/7, so I guess that's my theme: Snapshots from Ridiculousville. We'll see how that pans out :)

Mar 27, 2012

My Awesome Fru Fru Lamp

Sticking this up since I've mentioned it to a few people online and requests have been made. I have a strange fixation with making bows out of wire-edged ribbon. I love them. It's my favorite Christmas decoration: sheer and sparkly bows lit with lights. To indulge that love all year round, I threw a bunch of different color bows at my lampshade, and it casts such a lovely mellow light on my bedside table it has become my favorite craft project from the past couple years.

  •     1 cheap cloth lamp shade
  •     Approx 100 yds wire-edged ribbon
  •     Scissors
  •     Craft wire
  •     Bandaids

  1. Shred the fabric/material off your lampshade to leave only the wire frame. If your cheap lampshade is only a couple wire circles connected by plastic, you'll need a different lampshade. Something like this, which has a metal skeleton beneath the fabric.
  2. Make 30-ish big(6" diameter) poofy bows with your ribbon (More or less depending on your lampshade size to start with. If you don't know how to make a big poofy bow, this is a good tutorial, but rather than just wrapping the ribbon the width of my hand, I wrap it to be about 6" long when the loop is flattened.)
  3. Tie some bows on lampshade skeleton and fluff
  4. Apply bandaids-- that wire-edged ribbon is evil and pokey
  5. Tie some more bows on the lampshade skeleton and fluff
  6. Make sure none of the ribbon touches the bulb, and please please use a bulb that doesn't get hot. May start fire otherwise!

Mar 26, 2012

Summary Is Your Frenemy

As a new writer I take writing advice to heart, probably more than I should. I live by the mantra: Show, don't tell. 

What about the times you should summarize? Like when what you've written is important for plot credibility, but doesn't drive the story.

Getting to know one another conversations, for instance, aren't generally rife with conflict. And even if they are, run-of-the-mill debates about this and that aren't the kind of conflict that drives story. I can grasp this concept, sometimes you need to tell, not show. Summary is your frenemy.

The problem is, I have trouble figuring out what other situations would benefit from remembering there are times to break this rule.When I have anything happening with my two protagonists, I want to show it. I want to show, don't tell, like a good girl!

I like to end my posts with a question, for the sake of gathering more advice(I <3 advice): 
How do you decide when to summarize?

Mar 21, 2012

Accountability Update & Bready stuffs

Loving the snowflake method for writing. First time using it, and feeling ridiculously empowered. Building from one sentence to one paragraph to one page... and on to a (short) prototype first draft takes all the overwhelmed feelings away from the process. No start at A and write 60K words and hope you end at Z, the gradual expansion makes it all feel very possible. It's comforting.

First draft goal has evolved. Harlequin announced a fast-track for their Romance/Riva subs, and since Riva is where I feel my voice belongs within the Harlequin family, I've derailed from eWife enough to start working on another story. Much as I am uncertain about my ability to write two projects at the same time, my first draft on eWife by April 1 goal has become Prototype First Draft by April 1, and actually I'm ahead of schedule on that.

Amending goals to include prototype draft of the Fast-Track Riva manuscript, along with first chapter and synopsis by April 23, which is the end date on submissions.

Finally, is it crazy to feel like I'm cheating on my wildyeast starter to contemplate baking with any other kind of leavening? Seriously, I'm like... if it doesn't use the starter, I ain't making it. That can't be normal. I don't even know if you can use it for stuff like... cookies. Or biscuits!

Mar 13, 2012

People Are Strange

Today, I went to the grocery store to pick up one thing. Ahead of me, walking away from the cashier, was a man who also bought One Thing. He was on his way out as I was on my way up to the check-out lady.

As she rang up my terrible-for-you diet soda, I watched the man open his bag of One Thing, extract said One Thing, and begin tearing into the packaging without a care for tabs or perforated lines. Just outside the automatic door, he began eating it with his fingers.

Okay, strange, but not so strange until I say... the One Thing was a half-gallon carton of mint chocolate-chip ice cream.

And he didn't wait to get in his car to dig in. Nope. He stood in the parking lot, eating that ice cream with his fingers.

It was just like the photo, only with fewer roses and more mint-green ice cream dripping off his fingers. Also, it probably wasn't Mickey Roarke. Just sayin'.

Things I should consider before judging:
  • It was 85 degrees today(surprising after our recent crap weather). That's ice-cream weather.
  • Maybe he didn't have a car and walked to the store for that ice cream
  • Maybe he was having low blood sugar issues and thought... To hell with plastic spoons! (like ya do)
But why commit to a half-gallon? There were smaller containers. And that carton was never closing again after the way he mangled it. So, he was in it for that whole half-gallon of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, in the parking lot of the little family-owned grocery store.

I try to look at least somewhat presentable when I'm in public. And I know I'm irrevocably weird, but I really try not to look crazy(in a bad way) in front of people--especially people I want to think well of me. But since seeing this strange(&probably stoned) dude with his ice cream, I've been wondering, in my whole life, what have I wanted badly enough to stop caring what other people think of my efforts to obtain it? I can't even regularly shut off my internal editor to write without reservations, even when I'm the only one who will read it. I might judge me! I know what a harsh critic I am, and I'll give me hell if I write something exceedingly stupid. Or somewhat stupid, if it's not also funny at the same time.

I kind of want a little of what he has, that Don't-Give-a-Damn-I'm-eatin-my-ice-cream spirit.

Like a cup of it, not the whole half-gallon.

Medical Romance Book Review: One Month to Become a Mum

... Is the most excellent debut from Louisa George.

I don't even know where to start with this review. It's not often that I write them, and even less frequently do I write reviews for fiction.

I could say I loved it(I did), and gush about how the characters were drawn so sharply I couldn't fail to love them(Yep, that's true.). I could say I had to put it down in the middle when duties dragged me away, and I couldn't wait to get back(Also true), or that the emotional wounds were so deep I could almost smell the blood(I connected with the characters, does it show?).
I don't often gush over books with children with them. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, but I don't have any and sometimes the stories with secret babies and pregnancies are harder for me to identify with and I'll skip over baby stories for their non-baby counterparts. Had I not won the book, I may have not read this one(and probably wouldn't have because it's not on sale in the U.S. for some reason). That would have been my loss.

If I'm trying to figure out something on my own, I think I'm something of a slow learner. If you explain a new concept and give me examples, I'm quick to catch on. If you give me two very similar things and ask me what's different about them, the chances that I'll highlight the important differences are slim. What is logical to one person is not logical to me, and that's always how it's been.

I said that to say this: Louisa's writing made me realize what is missing in my own writing with such clarity I can only call it an epiphany. I'll look forward to her next release, with or without a baby.

Mar 8, 2012

Books, Accountability, and The Walking Dead

First, I have to say I love winning books! I actually got the one from the referral link a few posts ago, and am happily reading Louisa George's debut today, which I just noticed isn't available for purchase through, only Mills&Boon. Only three chapters in so far, but loving the characters! I also managed to snag a Superromance(ebook link: Here Comes the Groom) from Karina Bliss the other day on the Superromance blog, so it's next on my TBR pile.

On the goals: So far, so good, though it might be a two steps forward, one step back sort of 'so far, so good.' I am keeping up with daily word count, but today I decided to start the story over. So much has changed I feel like having a rewrite of the first couple chapters will be more in tune with my vision of the story, and will also help propel me into the way the rest of it needs to go. Plus, it should be pretty easy since I already have written this once. Or twice... Okay, this is the last time I'm starting over before finishing the entire draft... but I am starting over again today: eWife v 3.0.

Who's your daddy!?
Finally, I'm addicted to The Walking Dead. Like, really addicted. I knew I loved it because it's all about the characters and how they change during their tentative zombiepocalypse survival, but I never really put together how much it was like a soap opera with a living dead backdrop before. It's no wonder people get addicted to it.

I even actually connected(briefly) with a, er, somewhat unsophisticated cousin(who I usually fail to interact with) over The Walking Dead. I asked her: which character do you like the best? And who do you think would be the best leader? Both of her answers were: Daryl (which really didn't surprise me, I do live in Appalachia). So I'm going to ask ya'll: Who do you like best, and who would you want to follow? And WHY? That's the important bit. What is it about these characters that inspires or interests us?

For me, I just love Glenn, he's still sweet and I think he has more innocence about him than Carl does, and Carl is like... 10 or something. It's neat to see him remain untainted, somehow, by all this. Bad stuff might make him sad for a bit, but he rebounds, and still thinks of others first. I know that overall, this is Rick's story - he's the protagonist, the leader/character who struggles the most with whats moral and what needs to be done. But, I have to say, if it was all about staying alive, I would back Shane to keep me alive. I hasten to add: He could keep you alive, but only until his bad people skills and hair-trigger forced you to kill him, OR YOURSELF.

And as much as I hate to admit it(since it doesn't speak highly about my maturity, stability and reason), sometimes that caveman thing Shane has going on is hot. You know, a really destructive kind of hot. Future burning-bed kind of hot. And to my shame, I must concede I still have the urge to fix the bad-boy. What's up with that? I should be past that by NOW, surely.

Mar 6, 2012

Goals and Deadlines

A few things about accountability. I need:
  • small deadlines/goals to keep me moving without overwhelming me
  • accountability somewhere public, with the threat of shame... because I have no concept of time, or really, just a general problem with assigning values to numbers, and I will goof-off if I'm just sure I have time to spare.
Which leads to me not knowing what is a reasonable amount to write in a day. I can do the NaNo math and say I need 1667 words per day to hit 50K in a month, but is this reasonable or is this a drive-yourself-crazy amount of words?

I could just be setting myself up for failure with this, but here we go with goals:
  • 10 minutes free-writing by hand every morning before leaving bed. Wake up, write. No excuses, even if I'm doing the peepee dance. Anything goes.
  • At least 1000 words per day
  • First draft current WIP completed by April 1, even if it is way short of overall word count goal. First draft is for laying out story, more words will come later with layering in description/emotion.

Mar 5, 2012

I Think My Cat's an Evil-Genius

Nephew: 9mo-old Evil-Genius
Actually, when it comes to Nibbler's mental capacity, I swing between thinking she's brain-damaged and thinking she's an evil-genius. Today, I'm leaning more toward evil-genius(though I do tend to label lots of small cute living things evil-geniuses).

She's been weirdly picky about her litter preferences of late. Somedays she likes scoopable, some days she wants clay. I, however, don't like clay, so I've been in a full-on battle of wills with her the past week over using the litter box. I have to pick her up, put her in it(it's clean, I don't know why she decided not to like it), and make her stay in there until she gives up and uses it so I'll let her back out.  This is where the idea comes in that she's brain-damaged.

Nibbler: Crazy-eyed Evil-Genius
In order to make SURE she uses that box, I keep a box in my bedroom, lock her in with me at night, and I don't let her out in the morning until she goes in the box. It took a while for her to learn this, but she figured it out.

And today she tried to trick me.

After screaming at the door(like usual), and having me ignore her(still usual), she ran to the box, jumped in, scratched three times, then jumped back out and ran back to the door. SEE, I WENT TO THE BOX. I didn't immediately get up to go let her out, so she resumed screaming, and I resumed ignoring her. After a few minutes, she gave in and went to the box and used it, and I let her out.

If that's not conniving, I don't know what is. Today's verdict: brain-damaged cat is evil-genius.

And what's the writing lesson in this? I have no idea, so today is Make Up Your Own Lesson Day on my blog!

My made-up writing lesson: Just because someone's crazy doesn't mean they can't have moments of insight. Or something. I don't know. :)

Mar 3, 2012

Not All Ideas Deserve Writing

Wile E. Coyote: Super Genius
I have an abundance of ideas. Creative ideas, I would say. But I'm not yet very good at turning that initial spark of brilliance into an awesome story.

I try. I brainstorm.  I doodle. I research. I plot-bubble my way to something pretty good(I think), and then I run with it until I slam into the plot-problem roadblock--like what happens to the coyote after he's jumped and dropped the bomb.

The solutions to these roadblocks don't present themselves when I'm looking them, but I'm digging the way they are starting to appear when I'm not looking. It's kind of like when you KNOW something, but you can't think of it, and it bugs you and bugs you and you still can't think of it so you give up... and then two-weeks from Tuesday, when you're standing in line to buy gum because it's after lunch and you're sure you have dragon breath... and you suddenly shout out 'David Hasselhoff!' and  everyone looks at you like you're crazy? You know, the usual.

Or in this case, at 2am when you should be sleeping but you're reading blogs(or a craft book), and you suddenly realize why your plot went blammo in that story you started months ago.  (<---Look: Justification for not sleeping!)