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Archive for May, 2012

T.V. Trauma

After days and days of wishing I could get back into my love-o-lee routine of blogging first thing in the morning, here I am! Granted, it’s not first thing, it’s more like mid-morning but it’s the first thing I did since having a shower. There’s something so soothing about about a quiet house, a strong cup of Lapsang Suchong tea from David’s Tea and fruit while writing. It’s like my brain’s finally been switched on. Until now it’s always been set to the energy efficient mode. Tell me, how can you fully enjoy life when you’re not completely functional?

The story is coming along nicely. I’m getting to the point now where my character enters the setting where the murders will happen. That’s right. She’s got her work cut out for her because I’m already planning on 3 characters dying, possibly more. It’s going to be tricky and certainly where I’m going to get creative but that’s half the fun. I’ve never thought before about whether my stories ar reasonable or not until this one. I have a feeling this is going to be a wildly entertaining blood bath. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!

My arch-nemesis has been resurrected- t.v. Even though I don’t have cable (or my own t.v.) I’m constantly sucked into watching shows online. The list seems to grow longer and longer every few weeks. Currently I try to watch:

Sunday: Once Upon a Time, Desperate Housewives, GCB

Monday: Castle

Wednesday: Criminal Minds

Thursday: Grey’s Anatomy

Friday: Grimm

This is utterly unacceptable. Damn you, ctv.ca! I miss out on all the background aspects of the creative process when I passively enjoy the boob tube. Maybe that’s why I had so much success last summer. Most shows were re-runs and with a natural lull in my work cycle, I could really focus on my stories. I need to find somewhere I can just read the synopsis of Grey’s. Criminal Minds can be delegated to inspiration when writing scary/twisted stories and thank goodness Desperate Housewives is finished for good! I was never a super-fan of it but I’d follow it off and on when I could. After this season of the rest, I think I’m going to stick with Castle and GCB. The other two will be best enjoyed by renting the season on dvd.

It’s amazing how far you can slip into bad habit before some inkling of self-preservation kicks in and gives you a little slap. aS I’ve freshly rediscovered with losing weight and saving money, paring back on my t.v. time is a painful process. It’s so much easier to maintain a healthy body/bank account/t.v. habit than it is to fix what you have. Nothing is impossible because there’s always a silver lining.

So, with my shows on break, the beautiful weather of Halifax in late Spring and a delightfully busy work season, I’d be a fool not to take advantage of the perfect conditions to get me back into the shape I want to be. Who knows. I may even succeed my revised goals of finishing 5 of 12 novels. Wilder things have happened!

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Ahhh Crap

Ooops. Sorry about forgetting about you, WordPressland! I’ve been so busy with work and have been squeezing in my writing when I can so I completely forgot about updating my blog.

But here I am.

I had a really great observation the other day but true to form I didn’t have a pen and paper handy to make notes. When I sit here and actually think about what it was of course it fades further into my subconscious. I’m sure next November I’ll remember. I can, however, say that I’ve been reeeeeally enjoying the writing process. I’m back to craving entire days off so I can hole up and plow through an entire chunk and get down a few thousand words. I’ve rediscovered the taste of that heady addiction. In reality though, that’s not likely going to happen because I’m such a ridiculously slow typer. Mum’s been pestering me about getting the Dragon software so I can dictate my story but that hasn’t been possible yet. *sad little frowny face* I’m still lusting over an iPad. So one thing at a time.

The typing is going slowly and my beginning is a lot more sparse than I wanted but I’ve still got that silly hang up about putting into words the rated R (and above) material. There’s no getting around the fact that I am a YA writer. That’s great but I want to delve into the more adult aspect of writing as well. There’s so much more I want to explore but it involves swear words, salacious scenes and all sorts of tawdry bits. I feel like a prim old nurse maid in 1597 being dragged by my charge to go see Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor. ” I can’t decide if I’m horrified by the naughtiness or that secretly I’m enjoying it. Prim and proper have their place in life but honestly. I miss Saucy San. She was fun.

While I ignore my writing hang ups, it’s been hard to pin down the soundtrack to write the book to. Considering there’s a strip club involved, I’ve been listening to a lot of Chemical Brothers and Nine Inch Nails and pretty much anything else I can imagine a routine to but the setting’s changed and the music choice is much more ambiguous. When this happens, Classical is my go-to choice. Currently my favourite is an amazing piano virtuoso whom I saw play live in Toronto; Gabriela Montero is utterly brilliant. I’m currently addicted to her cd of improvisations but every cd she has put out is spectacular and inspirational. If she can create something so complex and layered as she goes, surely I can construct the framework for a novel. It may be rather ragged and rough but even that has its own unique beauty.

So, thank you, Gabriela for your inspiration and your beautiful music. It’s a joy to be writing while listening to a cd that drowns out Pascal and Josefiend. I am eternally grateful.

So for you to enjoy on a late Monday night or Tuesday, I’m pleased to introduce you to Ms. Gabriela Montero!

 

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I’ve written enough to start forming chapters again! This is pretty great progress. I finish a writing session and I can see the immediate future and have a bit of a game plan for when I get back into the story. That hasn’t happened in a long while. I’m still struggling with getting my daily word count in (ideally 2,000) but I’m writing every day. A big chunk of the battle’s been won.

Yesterday I had a mini break through. Granted, it just involved changing the reason my character was getting on a plane but still it could have a huge impact on the story; I don’t know yet. It does make it feel a little more solid though. I was super early to my language lesson last night so I curled up in the car with Yesterday and pulled out the laptop to write. If I lived in the neighbourhood I’d be a little concerned, some random girl hanging out in her car working on a big old laptop. I really am in desperate need of an iPad now. I keep telling myself it’s a want not a need but I’m not so sure anymore.

So far I’ve spent more time focusing on a secondary character than I have on my protagonist. I don’t know why this is the case but I keep coming back to him and adding little details that aren’t necessary. He’s starting to become real and concrete. I don’t know why I like him but I just have a good feeling about him. The more I think about him the more convinced he’s going to show up later but how? It’s going to take quite a bit of juggling to sort that out. I have no idea what’s going to happen with him, hopefully nothing bad. I really like Too-Late Charlie.

Once again I’m super lucky to have found bosses that are supportive of this endeavour and I can work on the stories in bits and pieces at work. Granted, it’s pretty impossible to get much done but half the battle is keeping the idea and story line in the fore-front of my head whenever possible. Work comes first as it always has but it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to let my imagination go a bit indulge in some creative writing. It’s a pretty amazing balance.

Writing a mystery is a little intimidating. Do I just write the story and whatever comes out of my imagination comes out or do I try to plan and structure and set it up so that readers have a chance to figure out the whodunit?  It’s one of those times when I wish I could ask a famous mystery author how they do it. Do they write the story then fix it up and slip in the necessary details? Do their subconsciouses do the work for them? Do they purposely try to make it so that an astute reader can figure out the crime or do they omit a critical piece of evidence so that the best anyone can do is suspect? Long ago I gave up being an active murder mystery reader so I have no clue how clear to make the trail. Scooby Doo clear? “Murder, She Wrote” clear? Or P.D. James clear ( which means I have no chance in figuring out her killers)?

The best thing for me to do is to forget all this and just write. Obviously there is a huge range of sophistication in the genre and I have my own style to sort out and get comfortable with. Who knows… I may be a genius when it comes to writing mysteries or I may be better suited for the level 4 easy readers. The point is to get back into my writing and to fall back in love with the creative process. My inner drama queen (we’ll call her Viola) is lethargically laying back on her crimson crushed velvet chaise lounge fanning herself just biding her time before she can recommence with the theatrics. There’s nothing more thrilling to her than the struggles of a budding artist. She’s eagerly waiting for the moment when she can convince me to dramatically fling myself onto a couch because I’ve hit a road block or some other foolishness like that.

So, after settling down with a pot of tea, warm slippers and a beautifully quiet house, I can start working. Perhaps I’ll meet my quota today and begin to play catch up! You never know what the day has in store for you!

Happy Friday!

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Final Word Count May 1, 2012: 446 (1 page)

How long has it been since you’ve seen that format?!

Well, I may not have started off with achieving my word goal yesterday but it’s something and 446 words more than I’ve written on the 1st of a month in a very long time. (It’s going to be  run-on sentence kind of day I think, sorry!) I’m not feeling the beginning of the story at the moment but I don’t give a crap about it because it’s all going to change. It’s pretty hard to write about a stripper when you’re anywhere but home (so you can listen to strip club music to get the atmosphere) or an actual strip club. And writing at a strip club is just weird. I know if I was performing on the stage I would hate to see someone’s face illuminated by a glowing screen. An iPad is bad enough (which I don’t have) but to trot out a clunky old MacBook, not only can’t I see the keys, the little apple on the front glows too! What a social eejit and uncouth person I would be! Luckily I won’t need to check out the local clubs for inspiration since I already have enough music to set the mood for me. But I digress.

I had this story sketched out for months but true to form, 2 days before I was to begin I began thinking of another one. Why do I always do that?! So when I was having my nightly phone call with my Mom I asked her which one I should do. She recommended the first one because “we all know how you like to complicate your stories.” Ah a mother’s wisdom.

So, my cozy mystery novel is about a stripper. I don’t know how cozy sequins, PVC clothing and pasties are, but she does qualify for the genre since she has no crime fighting experience. No grannies or spinsters for me! I like the hot, leggy heroine much more. Why write about a little old lady when no one can surpass Miss Marple? That character type has been claimed long ago. Good thing I excel at thinking outside the box. Agatha Christie has Miss Marple and I have Candy.

 

 

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I am appalled with this month. Yes it’s been crazy and a bit of a roller coaster but that’s no excuse. At least I hadn’t tried to write posts about my writer’s block, artist’s angst and general frustrations. Thank goodness for small blessings, eh?

April was supposed to be ChickLit. I wrote 600 words and none of them good. I had no inspiration this month and that makes me sad. The struggles have been getting more and more violent over the past few months. My pile of attempts is quickly growing and ideas have been cast aside with carelessness and abandon.

It’s frightening yet incredibly liberating to realize that ChickLit isn’t for me and I DON’T CARE. I love reading ChickLit but some things are better enjoyed than in which actively participating. This whole year has been an interesting exercise in discovering my creative style and what I enjoy most. It’s been a challenge, one I’ve wondered how I’m going to accomplish. As with every other difficult project in my life, I will see it through to the end.

May’s attempt is going to be a mystery. This is one of the most intimidating ones because I have never been able to figure out the formula or the tricks. For a smart person, I’m pretty obtuse sometimes. I was a pitifully old child before I figured out the villain in Scooby Doo before Velma did. And it just gets worse from there. I have no idea how I’m going to accomplish this one but I’m hoping that with a new job and schedule I’ll be able to make an honest go of the last two months. It’s the best time for me to get this done before I have to start apartment hunting and packing for the inevitable move.

So I’m going to stick with my original plan because I had scrapped ideas at the last minute and that hadn’t ended well. It’s going to be a bit of a wild ride but I’m looking forward to it. I’m actually pretty excited because I have no idea how this is going to turn out. At this point, I don’t care how crappy my writing is, I just want to get something back on paper. I’ll have to write every day because skipping a day is just not an option. The beginning seems to be the most important because that’s when everything is set up and the structure is developed. If I lose interest then, well pfffft. Forget about getting back into the groove of the story! I’d much rather lose steam halfway through because at least at that point i’ll have something to work with in the future.

So as with the beginning of each month, I have the best intentions to get my writing back on track and the routine going again. It’s a new start; this time I’m going to take it seriously. I want to succeed and I truly mean it. So fingers crossed!

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