Monday, November 29, 2010

Bad Writer

I'm a bad writer, I didn't do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. In retrospect, it's a good thing because this month has been crazy. Plus, I didn't have an original story idea to work on this year. Heck, I have to finish my current project before I can start anything else. I've been failing in the writing department of my life. :( But that's ok. New Year's is coming soon, so I can make more promises that won't be kept! :D

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Need (Flash Fiction)


I hadn’t noticed the door before, but it stood ajar, bright light beckoning, unobserved by the other dancers; so without looking back I stepped through. My red stilettos went from dusty wooden dance floor and on to white marble streaked with green. I stopped and stared at a never ending room filled with black marble columns veined with blue. The contrasting colors made my eyes water. As I stood staring I heard the door click shut behind me. When I turned to look at it, the door had disappeared and the columns continued in that direction as well.

I gasped and felt panic rise in my throat. “Why did I do that?” I asked the silent columns. “What possessed me?”

“Need,” said a light male voice behind me.

I spun around and came face to face with a tall, slender man dressed in an old fashioned tuxedo with a navy blue vest and bow tie. His dark hair was slicked back from his pale, angular face and the palest blue eyes I had ever seen.

“What?” I asked.

“Need. That is what brought you here.”

“How can need take me anywhere? Need is just an emotion.”

“Oh, not so,” the man said as he took a step closer. “Need is not just an emotion. Need is the emotion that propels everything. Need is very powerful.”

“Okay,” I said, folding my arms across my stomach. I glanced around, looking for some kind of exit, but all I saw where those blue veined black columns.

“You cannot leave yet,” the man said.

“But I need to leave.”

“Your Need is not strong enough. Once your Need is strong enough a way will become available for you to return to your world.”

“What?” my mind raced, trying to figure out what this place was. I glanced at the man, he was staring at me with such a bemused smile that I wondered if he could read my mind. “Where am I?” I finally demanded.

“A place neither here nor there. A place in between.”

“Between where?”

“Here and there.”

I glared at him, but he continued to smile.

He extended a hand to me, “Care to dance?”

“No,” I said, taking a step back.

“But you are dressed for dancing,” he said, waving his hand up and down to indicate my short white and navy blue homecoming dress.

I looked down at my strapless dress and my eyes fell on the bright red shoes. Mom had thought it would be tacky to where red shoes with a white and blue dress. But I had insisted that it was the latest fashion.

“They’re just so red,” Mom had complained. “Put a little sequence on them and they’d look like Dorothy’s ruby slippers.”

I laughed as I pranced out the door.

“I love the shoes,” the man said.

When I looked up, his smile was so warm; I found my hand in his. He pulled me towards him and placed a firm hand on my waist.

He swung me around and we glided between the columns. At first the only sounds was the clicking of my heels. Then music began to play, sounding as if it was coming from a great distance. As we danced the music would slide away and then boom in close to our ears.

I closed my eyes and imagined that the music was another pair of dancers that would come close to us and then swing away.

The man chuckled and my eyes snapped open, “What are you laughing at?”

“What where you day dreaming about just now?”

“The music,” I said, “and the way it dances around us.”

The man threw his head back and laughed, I could feel my face heat. He looked down at me, “Don’t be embarrassed. You are right, the music is dancing around us, you just can’t see it. Music doesn’t like to be seen, she is a shy lady.”

I smiled and nodded, letting him lead me around the columns. I felt my mind drifting, spinning around with our movements. My eyes settled on one of the many columns and blinked. The blue veins seemed to make a picture. As I stared the picture shifted into a small image of me and the man dancing. It shifted again, still showing me dancing, but with a different man, shorter and with lighter hair. A part of my mind knew who that light haired man was, but the thought floated away with the music.

The man and I spun around again and I was looking at another column, showing a different picture. It was me alone, in a dark place; a large figure looms behind me, grabs me and pushes me to the ground.

I gasp as the tall man and I spin again. The next column picture shows the large figure beating me on the ground. I cry out with the remembered pain and crumple to the floor. The tall man leans over me and places a hand on my cheek, the hand is cold, colder than the marble beneath me. Why had I ever thought it was warm?

“What do you Need?” he asks.

Tears are streaming down my cheeks, “I need to get out of here.”

The man shakes his head, “What do you Need?”

“I Need to leave,” I cry.

“Where do you Need to go?”

“I need to go back.”

“Where do you Need to go?”

“I Need to go back to life,” I’m sobbing, the pain is so intense. My whole body aches, every bone and muscle screams in pain.

“Yes,” the man nods, a sad smile on his face now. “What do you Need?”

“I Need to LIVE!” I scream.

My eyes pop open and all I see is darkness and blurry faces. There are voices too, but they’re even burrier than the faces. Everything seems so far away. The music is drifting away, coming close and then drifting again. Is someone calling my name? I close my eyes and darkness overwhelms me.

A couple days later I wake up in a hospital bed, my face swollen and bruised, bruises all over my upper body and two cracked ribs. When I ask what happened, my parents tell me that Tom, my ex-boyfriend came to homecoming, saw me with my current boyfriend, Mark, and beat me up. The doctor informs me that for a moment they thought they had lost me. I took several blows to the side of the head, and they were going to do some test to make sure I didn’t have any brain damage.

As I lay in the huge MRI machine I thought about the tall man amongst the columns. I closed my eyes and I could see him as if he was standing there in front of me again, dark hair slicked back, pale blue eyes glowing. I smiled at him and he smiled back.

“We will dance again, Michelle. But not for a long time I fear. Promise to remember me and our dance among the columns.”

“I’ll remember,” I whispered, “I promise.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Been Kind Of Dry Here

I have not actually written in over 22 days. I’m not saying that is an accomplishment, I’m just stating it as fact. But that does not mean that I haven’t been actively working on my story. I stopped writing 22 days ago because I got to the point where I had stopped outlining a while ago. You see, I’ve had a pattern with this story, when I first came up with the idea I pounded out a disgraceful prologue and a couple chapters and then I stopped. I had no idea where I wanted to go. So then I sat down an outlined chapters 4-12. When I finished outlining chapter 12 I was stuck again, I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take. So I figured that I’d just start writing and see where the flow of the story took me when I got to chapter 12. And thus, 22 days ago I finished writing chapter 12 and only had vague ideas of what would happen next. So I fell back to outlining.

Thus far, I have outlined chapters 13-18 and am working on 19. I used to hate outlining. Back in the days when I had to outline research papers, I thought it was such a waste of time. And I hated it when an outline was part of your final score. But with this project I have found that outlining is good. It gives me time to think and brain storm. And even though I didn’t do all the outlining at once I think it’s been helpful to do a little of each off and on. It’s a good balance of freedom and structure.

And normally, outlining wouldn’t take me this long, but life has been crazy. What with work, home duties and starting a new business, I’m surprised I write at all some days. And admittedly, I do 90% of my writing at work (as I’m doing right now ;)). The benefits of working at a super slow branch. I even managed to write 3837 words one day. How awesome is that?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Over My Head

I think I’m in over my head. First person is hard! Especially when the person I’m using as the narrator is absolutely nothing like me. To explain, I’ve decided that having the entire story told from the MC’s point of view would be very boring. Even though it is very easy to write her. I’m not ashamed to admit that my MC is a good deal like me. But, now I’ve started writing a few chapters with the Bad Guy as the narrator. The Bad Guy is a 50 something year old man who is a religious freak, very intelligent and is lacking some humanity. I’m not sure how much more different he could be from me and so I’m having a very hard time getting into his head.

In my original draft I wrote a chapter about him, but it was in third person and it worked very well. But, in an effort to get into his head so I could write a later chapter with him as the narrator, I rewrote that chapter into first person. I knew as I wrote it that something was wrong, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. So I sent the finished chapter to my sister Carrie who is not only a grammar Nazi, but is much smarter than me because she’s actually going to college for English. In the end, she made me realize that all my fears about writing this character were real.

So now I’m at a point where I’m wondering if I should even write my Bad Guy in as an occasional narrator. I’m sure I could do it, given the time, but time is something I don’t have. I can’t really dedicate myself to writing this character while I’m at work. The environment is all wrong. But I really want to have him as a narrator! I know my story will suck if I don’t use him. The reader has to have a chance to see things through his eyes so that they can understand why he does what he does. I want that emotional impact, I want the reader to almost feel bad for him.

Blah! Writing is hard, why couldn’t I find some other creative pursuit, like scrapbooking, or sewing, or something else simple?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When All Else Fails, Write a Blog Post

About a month ago I started a new job that requires me to work 5 days a week. I generally work from 8:45 am until 6 pm. And because of this, the little time that I do have at home is dedicated to cleaning and spending time with the Husband and the Son. Thus, the time that I used to use to write is completely gone. I used to get up early and write, but I end up staying up so late these days just so I can have some quality time with my family; thus I can’t get up as early any more.

So I have adopted a practice that I picked up from the AW Forms

called Ninja Writing. Ninja Writing is done while doing other task, like work. I am lucky because my job gives me plenty of opportunity and time to Ninja Write. I’m a receptionist at a local credit union, which means I have a big desk away from everyone else so no one can really see what I’m doing all day. All they know is that I spend a lot of time typing. Fortunately, the branch I work at is very slow, so there isn’t much else for me to do but write and read.

The only problem with all of this is that I have a hard time really concentrating at on my writing while at work. I can’t get into my writing groove as easily. I do get interrupted a lot and then I get distracted by talking to my co-workers. So in one day I generally mange to get out about 700 words. The most I’ve done in one day was a little over 1600 (a very good day for me and the muse). I guess I could manage to write more words if I didn’t have such a good work ethic for the job that actually pays my bills. But I really hate to be idle, so my first option at work is to find something work related to do, only then do I turn to writing. My very last resort is reading (I think reading on the job makes me look lazy).

Anyway, Ninja Writing has been hard as of late. I’ve gotten to a very important part of my WIP and I feel I need to have complete concentration to write it. I think my writing will suffer greatly if I try to write it at work and have it all broken up. Plus, I did a bunch of writing on one of the days I was home and then the next day, I looked back over my outline and realized I skipped over a very important part of the story. So now I’m trying to rewrite the parts missed, but I don’t want to kill all the stuff I wrote before (they don’t mesh well because of me forgetting the vital plot point). And then, when I’m at work, I don’t have the entire document with me.

See, in the morning before I go to work I e-mail myself the last page of what I wrote the day before. But, the day I wrote so very much, ended up being like five pages long. I couldn’t e-mail that much of it to myself and all the re-writing would be too much to do at work. So I wrote the one bit that I had left out and now I’m left with a lot of stuff I’m trying to work in, none of which can be done at work.

So today I thought, “Well I’ll just pick up where I had first left off and go from there.” I tried that and that’s when I realized I was getting to another part that I couldn’t write at work without totally killing my MS. So I gave up, e-mailed myself what little I wrote today and sat down to write this blog post. When all else fails, write a blog post!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

To Edit or Not to Edit, That is the Question

So, a while ago I decided to change the point of view I was using for my WIP. I’m going from 3rd to 1st person. After some discussion with the people over at AW Forums, I decided that I just needed to keep writing and I’d worry about rewriting later. But, the other day as I was trying to plug along in my story, I realized that I could not continue until I fixed some major plot holes. I have gotten to a point where my MC and the Love Interest should have a little thing going. Like they should have made some important connections by now. But for some reason I skipped right over those parts in the early chapters. So I thought, “Well I guess I need to go back and write those parts”, but then I realized, those parts should be scattered all throughout (to make it authentic, you know). And then I concluded, “I need to re-write the whole damn thing!” Now, “the whole damn thing” is only 6 chapters, about 22K words. It won’t be too bad.

But this goes against everything I believe as far as a writing process goes. I’m totally in the “Just get it on paper” camp. I believe that a writer should just write and finish the story, and then go back and re-write and edit. So, I comfort myself with saying, “Well this is the story, I just skipped it and now I have to go back and write it.” Yeah…

Either way, I’ve already started re-writing the first chapter and it’s going well so far. I’m able to keep a lot of it the same, like 99% of the dialogue is unchanged. And I feel like I’m improving the rest of the exposition. I just have to do this because it’s bugging me so bad I can’t continue the story. I’m pretty sure that I can finish the re-write quickly. It’s taking a little bit of time because I am literally re-typing all of it. I’m changing so many of the words, it’s easier to just re-type it. If I push it, I know I can get all 6 chapters re-written in a couple weeks.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Small Update

Been on vacation this past week, so didn't do any writing. Will be getting back on to the horse this week, promise!

Read about my trip here:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Changing my Point Of View

While in my hour of writing this morning I had a pretty big change happen in my work in progress (WIP). For the last 8 & 1/2 chapters I have been writing in a third person limited kind of way. As in I write in third person and focus one character at a time. So the "camera" is seeing almost everything from the same angle as whatever character I'm focused on, which means that occasionally, the reader will hear the thoughts of that one character and see most things from their perspective. But this morning, I switched to first person, mid-chapter.

Now, this was a conscience decision. I was stuck on a part where I couldn't figure out how to describe something and I wasn't really sure where I was going in the scene so I thought, "What if I wrote this from the main character's perspective entirely? How would she say this in her own words?" I started writing in the first person for a paragraph or two and I liked it so I just kept going.

I found that the first person felt a lot more natural. I've written a few short stories and things from the 1st person POV, and they were easy to write that way. I liked getting fully into the characters head. I've also written a few shorts about specific characters before I actually use them in a story so that I can get a feel for them. I guess I was only doing 3rd person for this one because most of the Fantasy books (YA or Adult) I read are in third person.

Anyway, so now I'm faced with these 8 & 1/2 chapters that I'll have to completely overhaul. And there's a whole prologue that I'll have to kill. But the prologue can die, it was pretty but wasn't really needed in the story overall.

For a while I was trying to figure out if I should go back now and re-write what I have or if I should just keep going and worry about it later. But after putting that question up on the Absolute Write forums (AW Forums) and getting some great feedack, I figured I'd just keep writing as I am and I'll fix what I have later.

Too many writers (some that I know) spend a lot of time being stuck on a chapter or scene because they are constantly re-writing it and not just getting the whole story down on paper. I just want to finish this manuscript just so that I can say that I did it.

And btw, I did 1023 words this morning. Not bad for spending half of it staring at the screen thinking "What now?"

Monday, July 5, 2010

America (a poem)


Red, white and blue,

I pledge to you,

The strength of my bones.

To defend and protect

All that you hold dear.

Red, white and blue,

I pledge to you,

The wisdom of my mind.

To teach and enlighten

Other minds around me.

Red, white and blue,

I pledge to you,

The courage of my heart.

To stand up and speak

For truth and liberty.

Red, whit and blue,

I pledge to you,

The peace in my soul.

To guide and uplift

Your many lost souls.

Red, white and blue,

I pledge to you,

My Life,

My Liberty,

My Happiness.

For this One Nation

Under God.

That He may provide

Liberty and Justice

For All.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Picking It Back Up

So this morning I picked up my NaNoWriMo project from this last year. The working title is Avalon. It's a YA fantasy novel (maybe urban fantasy?). It kind of started out as a "what if" type thing. "What if all the mythological creatures in the world are real and if so, where did they go?"

I've started and stopped this story a few times now. And last October I outlined a bunch of the story and I've been trying to pick it back up again ever since Will was born.

I even started a whole different story, but I've put that on a back burner for now because there's a lot of research involved that I just am not ready to do.

Anyway, I found the current draft I'm on for Avalon and I finished chapter five. I wrote 1233 words this morning! Go me! I think I average about 1200 words/hour.

My goal is to finish the first rough draft by the end of the year. I'm pretty sure I can do it faster than that, but I don't want to stress my self too much.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Blog!

So I decided to make a second blog for just my writing life. I really want to get serious about this and I think chronicling it will help.

This blog will contain updates on the progress of my novel. Plus, random writing prompts and occasional poems. And no matter what, it will be all things writing.