Friday, January 27, 2012

Frankly - It's Not That Interesting

I'm exhausted and frankly, even that isn't all that interesting.  But it's that middle ground of winter and I'm sick of it.  Most especially as this has been a particularly unusual winter.  There aren't many where you can look outside and see no snow on the deck.  Of course all this warm then cold then warm again weather has made the streets rather deadly.  There hasn't been a lot of snow and what there has been should have had Hollywood on speed dial - yes, the fake looking stuff that isn't fake at all.  Let's say my left elbow is getting a workout - wiped out for the second time this month and have the fine art of landing on your elbow and not your head, mastered.  Considering all the patches of ice I've been dancing over on my walks - that's not too bad.  Isn't it?  Shouldn't I be able to shuffle-hop my way over yet another icy, downhill driveway or do the skip-hop recovery on the unexpected rink lying beneath that pretty white fluff of snow cover?  I was beginning to feel like maybe it was just me and I needed more time spent in a yoga tree position but then I saw the dog doing a four-legged dance of his own.

So what else isn't interesting?  Frankly - soggy middles.  Not people, books.  People, not so great either but that's a topic for another post and in mid-winter, a touchy subject for most of us winter clime people.  Nope, what I'm talking about is the literary soggy middle.  The result of a second, third or even what you tentatively called a last draft.  Just because the end was written, once, twice or even three times - doesn't mean the end. 

Seriously, I've never written the end.  Okay, maybe once - the first time round just to see how it looked.  Not that great, it looked better after delete.  The end, spelled out and finalized is about as interesting as a soggy middle.  I'd rather hit the period - one return and save - take a break and on to the next idea.  Or in this case, on to the problem where all the action bogged down.  Action?  Wait, there lies the problem.  There is none.  Not in those middle chapters.  The characters are just hopping from one venue to another seemingly oblivious to any and all around them. 

So it's back to a rewrite, hurl a hurdle or two or even three into that calm little lull my characters were quietly enjoying.  They were quiet about their hiatus - more than likely afraid that if they made any noise I'd be alerted to the situation. So they've enjoyed their reprieve.  But it's time to get their running shoes on and get to work.  You wanted to what?  Enjoy that nice lunch - delete!  Time to what?  Have a conversation about the state of the world - delete?

So while my characters aren't too happy - they'll thank me in the end, when maybe they actually do get a chance to rest, talk and catch up.  Of course they'll have to write their own pages for that, in their own book.

And frankly - in the end - it's going to be a lot more interesting.  Or so I hope.

Meantime, it's time to get out there and walk.  I heard soggy middles are an occupational hazard and I want to head mine off at the pass. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eat My Exhaust

I didn't mean that literally - really, I like all you people who read my blog.  I'd say love but that may be too strong a word for people with whom I have yet to have a face to face meeting.  It's the weather who "Eat My Exhaust" is really targeting.  Why?  It's just that today it's freezing cold - not scary cold, just bordering on that.  Now for all of you from cold climes you know what I mean.  There's the point where you can see the cold in the air and it's awful uncomfortable to be outside too long and then there's cold that goes one step further into the land of scary cold.  Kind of like strong wind - hurricane. 

The day began at -30 celsius that's -22 for all you farenheit lovers.  Either way it feels like -43 c or so the weather channel assures me.  I'm taking their word for it and the furthest I'm venturing is the visitor side of the departure lounge in the airport.  I'd pay money to be on the other side of that line - the one where I was actually going somewhere.  Wait, that's right!  Eureka all I need to do is fork out some money get a ticket and head out.  Instead I'll be heading home to put on extra layers.  But in the meantime I'm having a virtual trip.

It all started, pre-airport run, with an urgent discussion about a backpack that wouldn't close.  Ah, the horrors of travel, you want to take it all but soon discover that lugging all that stuff through airports, hotels and transport of all sorts; well, it's just not practical.  So with scaled down luggage we headed with said traveler to the airport.

Did I mention I love the airport?  The hustle and bustle - the mystery of trips about to begin and the exhausted yet completed feel of trips that have just ended. 

Then, of course there's the security line and while it's annoying, sometimes I actually like it.  Why?  Well, there's stories hanging out there, yes even amidst the frustrated and disgruntled passengers that have maybe been in line too long and on one flight too many.  There's characters too - I mean really, is that shifty looking man clutching his carry on a little too tightly because he's clutching the evidence of the money he's stolen from the small firm he worked for or because he has an even darker intent?  And if the latter is the case, will security screens catch him or - is he smarter than that.  How far will security go as they strip one more article off that sullen looking teenager?  And what do they suspect? 

Ah - yes, I hear it, the rattling of another story as my outrageous imagination defies logic and trips on ahead of itself.  That's what I love about airports.  There are stories everywhere.  In fact, I'm thinking one day I'll just pack a lunch and hang out for the day.  Okay - or not.  But it wasn't a horrible thought.  Slightly eccentric I admit but I'm betting not boring, not for one minute.

Meantime it's bon voyage to someone who'll be setting foot in Cairo as a new day dawns over here.

And me - well tomorrow I heard the sun will be shining in a brilliant blue sky and the temperature?  I'll get back to you come spring. 

Any trips in your future - or would you like to pack a lunch and join me at the airport?


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stark White and Naked - Yikes!

Stark white - glow in the dark.  Isn't that one of the tricks of Halloween - white sheets glowing in the darkness, ghosts reaching quivering hands to frighten little kids.  I know, you're not all into Halloween but it's my thing.  And yes, sheets well positioned may be rough forms of scary fun but they can be effective.

Footprints in the snow
White sheets - brings me to the topic of this post.  Yes, in a round about fashion.  I'm talking about paper not snow, like the only picture I had, but kind of comparable.  Blank paper without even a footprint, a smudge - nothing.  Now I've never been scared of a blank page - in fact they're one of my favourite things.  At least so I thought until this morning.  I discovered something then - blank pages are great if you're just free-form writing.  They're really crappy if you just want to get a start on a novel and not choke on the third page, mid paragraph because you have no idea where to go next.  A blank page can throw a long shadow.

Where was this story going and how many ideas could I incorporate into one story before it became a mish-mash of nothingness or how few before it began going circular mid-stream?

I needed direction - an outline, some logic to coral all the creativeness that was spinning quickly into nowhere.  So I moved to the synopsis.  Did I mention I loathe the synopsis.  Yes, loathe - there is no better word for how I feel about that short little condensed version of a story.  But you know, I've learned that if I skip right over my "beginning hebejeebies", a synopsis can be an awesome thing.  Okay, maybe not awesome, but along with an outline - a big help.

So I went there, to hebejeebie land with a different page, a new tactic, and looked again at another blank page.  Problem was there was still a problem.  I had a house and nothing else, not even a character name.  Yes, you didn't read wrong - a house can be a character, how much of one in this particular story... well even if I make it a female house, I sense that cannot be construed as either romance or woman's fiction.  And that folks, is what I write.  So I suspect the house will only be a small supporting role.  I'm sure not sure if I'll ever want to write about a house, not as a primary character anyway.  That's been done before, mostly in the world of horror - and done well.  No this was a story about people, about a woman.  A woman - now I'm getting somewhere.

So now I need a name - so off to the baby name section of the internet.  Unfortunately, the first one I hit on was something about "The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Naming."  No, that wasn't what I typed in, it's what came up and the names - well they were names that were slightly unusual, they weren't who my character is.  Not that she isn't unusual but I sense she likes to work with her hands and not strictly her head.  Aha - a personality is finally beginning to emerge.  I left that site, checked out another - found a name and went back to the blank page.  This time success.  I began to type - single spaced, just to prove I wasn't yet serious.  Serious means using the correct font and double spacing.  I considered using a chalkboard print but that might be poking the fates so I stuck to publishing industry standard and voila.  One and one-half single spaced pages later I had a story, a character, and a rough-hewn synopsis that would make the writing industry cringe.

I'm pleased with the name of my character.  I think it suits her and I sense she might be happy with it.  I'd mention it here but with only hours into the whole project everything is subject to change.  Onward Christian Soldiers - okay, just onward one little writer sitting on her couch pecking away in the early hours of the morning.

And that's the journey of one story.  The beginnings anyway.  They're all different.

How do you begin a new project - an organized fashion or from every angle possible?


Thursday, January 5, 2012

The New Years Hop - Shake Out

And the results of The New Years Hop - I wish I could say that you all won!  Alas, there was only one prize.  So by random draw, the winner has been chosen.  Everyone listen for the imaginary drum roll....

 The Winner of a hard cover, first edition copy of "The Tommyknockers" is....


Congrats Tiffany!!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Missing E-mail - New Years Blog Hop

Lucky1fader - you entered the New Years blog hop without an e-mail.  If you're still interested in signing up for my newsletter "The Walkabout" or, if when I draw in the next hour - you are lucky enough to win the copy of The Tommyknockers, I will need your e-mail.  If you're still in fire an e-mail back to me at