Thursday, July 15, 2010

There's a Mouse in the Barbeque!

Wrong place wrong time - But there's never been a good time for something like this.

A Mouse in the barbecue - ugh!

Not quite a mouse but...
There's never been a mouse in the barbecue and that there was one last night, was relatively disturbing.  Of course, being an animal lover my first thought, rodent or not, was don't turn on the barbie until we get the poor little guy out.  Let me announce here that I was alone in that feeling.  Fortunately, the mouse made his own exit, straight through the grill and out into the yard heading with lightening speed to the neighbours.  Now I hate to inflict my problems on others, but in this case it was a relief to have the mouse choose his own escape.  A plan that uncrossed his life path from our supper.  

In a story, sometimes the characters seem to choose their own routes.  The life paths you originally envisioned get changed because of a twist in the plot you didn't foresee or a character flaw you didn't anticipate.  I have a character like that, he thought he had a bigger place in the story then he did.  Okay, my subconscious at work again - I thought not the character, I know that.  The long and short was that he really was a pathetic investigator and he's got to go.  This guy isn't moving the plot along and truthfully, he has a bit of a drinking problem.  It's time for him to exit via the cleanest way possible, so I took creative license and chose death.  For some reason, he's not happy.  Some days you just can't please.

On the upside, a mouse got to live another day and the barbecue has been cleared of any signs of occupation.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shaken Not Stirred

Life - Like a good martini - sometimes you have to shake and not stir.  It's the same with a story.  A great premise might start out too slow, maybe the characters aren't threatened, their world is too secure.  Maybe the romance has been forgotten as they wrestle thugs with machine guns.  Okay, that is all pretty out there examples - or maybe not, it is romantic suspense - but you know where this is going.  Revisions.

What does it take to get a good story out there?  It's not just the work of the author that brings the story to fruition but all those helping hands who made suggestions here and there.  Sometimes it was one suggestion, a quick fix that is the catalyst to placing a landmine amidst a few chapters and doing some drastic renovations.  In the case of my current story, stirring the plot up a bit evolved to shaking the first half within an inch of its life.  Not necessarily the makings of a great martini but I'm seeing a stronger story - one that will be worth a martini in the end to celebrate where all those revisions took it.

Shaken not stirred - rather like life.  Sometimes you just have to shake things up.  Don't just change a routine, turn it on its head.

So about today - any ideas for shaking up your routine? 


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fifth Sentence - Any Book

Something light I discovered while taking a break from revisions.  Okay, you caught me - I was surfing.  Either way, this was rather fun - it was supposed to be done yesterday - but a day late doesn't make it any less interesting, give it a go.

Storytime With Tonya and Friends is hosting The Friday 56. These are the rules:

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Here's what I have just reaching over and blindly grabbing from the bookshelf:

From P.J. O'Rourke's "All the Trouble in the World"

"Actually it was TRASH METAL RULES, but someone had corrected the spelling, inserting a defining H.  A nearby sign forbade use of skateboards or bicycles in these tempting half-pipes.  I suppose the vandalism was fair recompense."

Thanks Elena for an interesting break from writing.

Any one else willing to give this a go?


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Couch Surfing

Today was the first day home.  It's nice to be back after spending time at a friend's place.  No matter how comfortable someone else's place is, it's not home.  It's rather like couch surfing, minus the couch and of course, the surf.  Okay, so there is no similarity except that it's not your place.

Couch surfing.  Not that long ago I read about someone couch surfing their way around the world.  That seems a little extreme but what an adventure and the stories that traveller would have to tell.  

While I've never couch surfed, one of the strangest places I have stayed was a little hotel in Langkawi, Malaysia.  The room was so small that the luggage had to be balanced carefully on top of each other in one corner and the narrowest single beds I have ever seen lay legless side by side with only enough room to create a path either between or beside them.  But it was clean and dry and there was a bathroom - I've seen some different places but those rules always hold.  And the rules hold for my characters too at least so far, but that's another story.

Back to Langkawi - the view of the beach - fantastic!  There are compensations!

But couch surfing - not so sure - and you?


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Outlaw - Dream It or Just Do It!

Yesterday I checked out downtown Calgary and the sights.  Every city is unique and that's what I love about travel.  The people, the taste and smells are always different from home.  But what I was really interested in seeing this visit was the new statue honouring one of the city's heroes - not a man or a woman but a bull.  Yes, Outlaw is a local hero having dumped every rider who ever attempted to ride him except one.  The amazing sculpture of Outlaw is located just outside the stock exchange and fits the dedication "Bullish On Your Future".    Outlaw was created by fellow Saskatchewanian, Rich Loffler.
Both Outlaw and Rich are a fantastic example of dreaming + doing = success.
 Statue of Outlaw, Calgary, Alberta

Suitably awed after seeing Outlaw - my only regret that I never met him in person - we took a break and headed to Inglewood where we arrived in time for Free Hug Day.  I was duly hugged and after that received a generous sample of delicious dark chocolate.   A collection of unique shops from consignment to Chinese antiques, and a dog named Jack who slipped like a shadow from inside to outside a small shop depending on the energy of the crowd in the shop at that particular time.  Lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant completed the afternoon.  All in all, a pretty good day in Calgary.

Calgary, Alberta

It's hard to believe that Canada Day is three days past, this post is one day late, and already the July 4 celebrations south of the border are more then half way through.

Happy Birthday everyone - including Rourke who also had a birthday July 4 - time sure passes! 

Any unexpected hugs in your day?


Saturday, July 3, 2010

The View From Here

The path up the Nose Hill isn't really a path but more of a runoff for water.  It's a bit of a challenge in sandals not really made for hill climbing.  But the top is worth the hike just for the view.
View of Calgary from the Nose Hill

The book I'm reading right now is rather like that - unexpected.  Still Alice should be nothing if not depressing.  A story of a woman's struggle with early onset Alzheimer's, it is a book that has me turning the pages, reluctant to put it down.  That was unanticipated.  But then I find books like that, often the gem is hidden in subject matters I don't tend to explore or authors I have for one reason or another missed. 

Rather like this trip up the hill that began with a walk through this unimposing tunnel, gems are often hidden.  Sometimes veering slightly off the path leads to something unexpected.  Whether it's a walk up a hill in foot gear unprepared for such a venture, or picking up a book that is like nothing you've ever read before.

Anything different in your day?