No Title, But…

I started working on a title for this year’s NaNo novel.  Normally I’d start writing before I fight my way to a title, but when you register your novel with NaNoWriMo, they ask for a working title and a brief description.

Obviously these things aren’t required, and you don’t have to stick with your initial thoughts if the novel pulls you in a different direction.  In the future I may opt to not have them, and I might still skip the title for now, but I did get a decent description written for this one.  I find that the effort of writing a summary helps me to hone my thoughts about the story and where I’m taking it.

Oh, you want to read the description?  Here you go:

After an unlikely accident brings an urban fairy into the living room of a divorced computer programmer, the two quickly become friends.  Their unusual relationship creates some challenges for them both; Doug has to fend off his suddenly re-interested ex-wife and Kiwi must deal with family issues from her past.  While facing these problems, the two try to rescue his coworker from a dark sorceress who uses the energy of her victims to further her evil schemes.

With only a month to go before NaNo, I’m feeling close to ready! How about you?  Are you getting ready for NaNo 2012?

Clever Lines

I like a television show with clever dialog, and the one I’m watching fits that bill.  It’s the BBC series Sherlock, and if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out.

The following two quips came in very close proximity to each other, and definitely fulfill the “clever” requirement.

“Punch me.  In the face.  Didn’t you hear?” – Holmes
“I always hear ‘punch me in the face’ when you’re speaking, but it’s usually subtext.” – Watson

“I think you’re damaged, delusional, and believe in a higher power.  In your case, it’s yourself.” – Irene Adler, speaking to Holmes

It’s the end of a long work week, so I’m going to leave you with those and go back to enjoying my show.  I’m also working in earnest on the title for my NaNo novel, so I might have something to share tomorrow!

Monster Research

There is a scene in my head for my NaNo novel that required some research.  I did that research the other day, and discovered that the information I need is not immediately available on the internet.  I found it, with a little searching, but it shouldn’t have been that hard.  I was only trying to find the names of monsters that take on a female shape to suck the life from men.

It turns out that most female spirits/monsters/nasty things either are more interested in stealing children, or luring men to their doom.   They are also frequently tied to a specific location (water seems to be a common theme).  There aren’t actually that many monsters that keep their men alive for very long, but I did find a couple.  Fortunately, that’s all I need.  It turned out to be a lot of research for a very brief mention in the (as yet unwritten) novel.  It’s important, though, and since I’ve done the research in advance I won’t have to pause in the writing to compile a list.

By the way, the antagonist in my novel is not a female monster who slowly sucks the life out of her victims.  It’s simply a theory that gets suggested as the main characters are trying to figure out what’s really going on. 🙂

Working on Work

When I wrote Butterflies, there was a gap of about 3 months when I didn’t write at all.  This was due to moving to a new city and starting a new job.

Somehow, in moving to this new city and starting this new job, I’ve managed to find time to write and submit essays for a certification, revise Dragon, compose a query letter and synopsis, and blog nearly every day.

Lately, though, my brain has been focusing most on what it should be – my new job.

To be clear, I am not complaining.  I absolutely love my new job.  It uses most of the skills I’ve developed through my career, it challenges me, and it keeps me on my toes.  I have a great team, too, and we’ve improved things in a lot of ways.  But now that I’ve started one big picture project rolling, it’s time to begin the others.  This means that a lot of the creative space in my brain is occupied by boxes labeled “Work” and the ones labeled “Story” are stuck off to the side.

Okay, you’re thinking, why do I care?  Consider this a sort of apology or explanation for any lapses in blogging that may occur in the immediate or near future.  It’s not that I don’t love you, my reader, or that I’ve died or given up writing.  I’m just trying to get all those boxes organized!  After all, I need to get some space cleared by November.

A Toast!

In the grand tradition of starting to write something well before it’s due, I was inspired to work on my toast for my sister’s wedding.

Oh, I didn’t mention?  My sister is engaged, and I am the maid (matron? divorced lady?) of honor.  That means I get to make a toast.

Working on the toast isn’t a bad thing.  Working on the toast in September when the wedding is in June is maybe a bit early.

I’ve never given a toast before.  I’m not worried about the giving part, but the writing part is a bit tricky.  There are things I’d like to share that might not be right for the occasion.  There are things that are traditionally shared that I don’t really have authority to speak about.  After all, I live hours away so I don’t see them together as a couple a lot.  I think I’ll get it figured out.  I know the important part: the two of them are totally right for each other.

I’ll stick to that theme and I should be good.

Tastes and Preferences

Why do we like what we like?

It’s a fair question, and along with its other half (why don’t we like the things we dislike?), it’s not an easy question to ask.

Between being asked why I won’t go see certain types of movies and watching some of my favorites, I began pondering these broader questions of taste and preference.

Sometimes the answers are easy.  I don’t like horror movies because I don’t enjoy being scared.   I enjoy science non-fiction because it’s a subject I’ve found intriguing since childhood.  I like llamas and birds of prey because I’ve worked with them.

The answers aren’t always this easy, though.  I don’t have a good explanation behind why I don’t enjoy most comedy movies, or a reason for my enjoyment of fantasy over science fiction, or even an idea about why I like woodpeckers.

There are probably people out there (psychologists, perhaps, or neuroscientists) who understand how our opinions form, but I am not one of those people.  Instead I’ll have to just be content to recognize that people have different tastes, and be glad that some people share mine!

Hands

The wind, the wind, always the wind.
Pulling every drop of liquid from my skin.

Washing, washing, wash them again.
Hands wet to dry to wet all day.

My skin is dry, dry, dry.
Desiccated, cracking.

Sandpaper fingers, red angry knuckles.

Tiny scarlet crevices seeping blood.

Scrub off the sandpaper, rub in the smooth
Grit your teeth.  Wait just a bit.
The sharp sting will chase away the pain.

Gloves.  My life is already full of gloves.
Gloves to keep off the water at work.
Gloves to keep in the lotion at night.
Soon gloves to keep out the cold.

And winter hasn’t even begun.

Due Date?

First, let me start by saying I love the library.  I’ve already taken full advantage of the local branch.

Now to the complaint: due dates.

I am reading a book that I’m about halfway through.  It’s non-fiction, so it’s taking a little longer than it would were it fiction.  The problem?  It’s due on Monday, and I have a busy weekend.

Tomorrow I’m going to see if it qualifies for a renewal, so I can hold on to it for a little longer.  If not, I’ll have to decide if finishing it is worth the late fees.  🙂

Writing Practice

She scowled with impatience as she stared at the driveway.  Behind her, she could hear the flag snapping.  The same gusts blew strands of hair across her face; growling, she roughly pushed them aside.  She didn’t have any control of the wind or the man she waited for, and she knew it.  She might have to accept it, but that didn’t mean she had to like it.

For the fifteenth or sixteenth time, she pulled out her phone, glanced at the silent screen, and angrily shoved it back into her pocket.  He was 23 minutes late.  As always, he hadn’t called.  As always, she would give him seven more minutes before stomping back into the house.

She sighed, looked up to the sky, and tried without success to convince herself just to go inside now.  For once, be the one who wins.  She had nearly talked herself into it, decided that she was finally going to take control of the situation, when a horn sounded behind her.

As always, she turned, smiled, and hopped into his car.  She glanced at the dashboard clock.

As always, he was 29 minutes late.

Just as he started to shift back into drive, she put her hand over his.  Enough.

“You know what?  I think I’ll stay home this time.”

Without waiting, she climbed back out of the car.  Clearly, she’d surprised him, because for a moment he didn’t say anything.  She expected argument, cajoling, even excuses, but all she heard when he spoke was “Why?”

Swallowing, trying to keep the grown-up part of her mind in control, she spun back towards him.  “Because I’m tired of wasting my time waiting on you.  We’re done.”

As she walked back inside, she was surprised to find that instead of sadness, or loss, or even anger, she felt inordinately pleased.  She couldn’t control the wind, couldn’t control the man, but she could control her own life.

Writing for Myself

Sometimes your writing shouldn’t be shared with others.

Occasionally I get worked up, emotions running high.  Sometimes I call my mom, sometimes I dance, but lately there has been a lot of writing.  When I’m creating a story and a scene gets stuck in my head, I write it out and it leaves me alone.  The same thing happens when I put my rants on paper.

For example, I recently had to sit on an airplane near a couple of people who were discussing politics.  That’s probably not the best way to describe it; they were making snide, obnoxious comments about the candidate I support, loud enough that most of the people around them could hear.  In my opinion, that’s not a very nice way to behave around a large group of people.  Regardless, it ended up getting me very fired up.  Flying already puts me in a grumpy mood, and that just put it over the top.  So when I was sitting in the airport on the next layover, I pulled out my notebook and wrote.  The ink is thick, the pressure is heavy, and it covers two pages.

Clearly, that is writing that shouldn’t ever see the light of day.  Fortunately, it got the irritation out and served its purpose, whether or not it was writing for others.  This was writing for me.

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