Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo

So I’ll be making a genuine effort to do this. Really. I swear.

Okay, so I don’t keep up with this as much as I should, but *excuse mode ON* it’s been a seriously AFU week at work. Monday was busy, Tuesday I was fried because I watched a guy wreck his truck right in front of me, Wednesday was so busy (and I was/am suffering from Hormones From Hell) that I didn’t get lunch until 3 pm, yesterday was the day of huge dogs to radiograph unsedated (lots of risk of radiation exposure to the people that HAVE to hold the dog, even more exposure because the dog won’t be still and they have to be positioned correctly for the images to be diagnostic, the same clinicians are always the guilty parties, blah, blah, blah) and now I’m sore, and today we had CT scans from hell. I left early to avoid the traffic generated by everyone in Gainesville heading to Jacksonville for tomorrow’s Florida-Georgia game and was a half-mile from home when I had to stop. A parade. At 1:30 in the afternoon. Down one of the main highways through town. Back on the highway, another half mile down the road, this street blocked too. Once more back on the highway, down to the ATM almost out of town, then approach the route to my home from the opposite side of town that I had originally come from. Okay, so this route isn’t blocked by police, but the opposite lane is full of middle- and high-school footbally players, many of which dart across the street, across the lane I’m creeping along in… I got home at last. So m uch for leaving early. *excuse mode OFF*

So, back to the writing. I’ve got a werewolf idea brewing, I’ve probably mentioned the idea in passing. Anyway, I think I might have a different approach to the concept. That or halfway through writing it I’ll find a book already published that has a similar plot and I’ll have to resist the urge to slit my wrists. 😉 Tomorrow will start the writing and I’m going to have to squelch the editing until I get the word count down. I tend to write, read, tweak, read, rewrite, read again, tweak some more… you get the idea. Not editing will be the hardest part, I think.

So, wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.

How do you pick a title?

I dunno, that’s why I’m asking. I’m very unoriginal and usually choose things that are already titles of other things, like songs. I figure if it works for the song, it by default, should work as a title for a piece of fiction.

I was at the Alachua County Friends of the Library Book Sale yesterday evening and was skimming through the titles. There were too many to actually read them all; we’re talking a huge open warehouse like space, filled with tables covered with books and the walls lined with them. It was the 4th day of the sale and therefore half-price day. It means I scored a plastic grocery bag full of books for $5.35. I actually got a title I’ve been wanting to read for some time, Isabel Allende’s Zorro. I usually look for hardback versions of favorites for my personal library at the sale, or anything interesting.

At any rate, I realized that no matter what name I give to my works of fiction, there has already probably been something by the same title already. I’m okay with that, just as I had to accept that there are lots of stories in the fantasy realm with female protagonists that are similar in some ways to Rayne. It’s just a bit disturbing when the first chapter of a book is really close to the situation your main character is in. I have to admit, I never finished reading that book; even the title escapes me now. It just depressed me that both were the youngest of the family and only daughters, that they both had a talent for healing and herbs (though Rayne’s does come much later in her life) both were quite tomboyish, yadda, yadda. It made me not want to keep writing.

So I’ll continue to write under working titles until a flash of brilliance attacks me and reveals to me the perfect title, or I just get tired of it being named by my computer as the first sentance I wrote and slap something on as a name. It’ll have already been the title of someone else’s book already anyway…

Sharing

One of the best things to ever happen to my writing is the viewpoints of other readers. It’s hell to let go and let someone else read it for the first time, but I have come to discover how much I enjoy the comments from other writers. Even if they pick it apart, word by word, I learn something from it. Now, someone just saying “It sucks!” without offering their reasons as to why they believe so doesn’t cut it. Constructive criticism is the foundation for improving my writing. I may produce something I think is brilliant, I post it over at the Lit Forum or wherever, and I’ll sudden;y realize I have way too many adverbs in it. Or I have plot holes big enough to back a truck through. Readers can find these things, point them out and suggest new ways of appraching the idea. One scene with Valerie and Daniel underwent a massive transformation. The basic premise remained the same; a bad encounter with the ex-husband, but it ended up as something so much more powerful and strong at the end. It also afforded Daniel the opportunity to be a hero for Valerie, whereas he wasn’t so much in the first few drafts.

My advice? Find an online forum that you like. Compuserve has a writer’s forum that is open to anyone and there are lots of fantastic writers there who are so helpful and happy to answer questions. Yahoo has lots of groups dedicated to writing, some very structured, some not as much. Rarely have I run across anyplace where someone is hurtful or mean in their commentary; such behavior is not tolerated. If you post someplace looking for help, be prepared to offer such help in return. Reading someone else’s work and commenting, expertise in a subject, there are lots of ways to contribute to the cause. Your writing will grow and improve because of it.

Alternately, many community colleges offer adult education classes that often include creative writing instruction. Sharing my work in person was harder for me, but it still as helpful and supportive; you may prefer the face-to-face interaction. These classes are usually short and aren’t overly expensive; some are even online.

Really, I swear it works.

The best laid plans…

… are often supplanted by someone’s offer to buy you lunch. There are three of us in the department that will often go to lunch together, always the same place, usually some variation on the three of us, with the occasional different member of our group. I was broke yesterday after having to buy gas on the way in to work (not as bad as it has been, down to 2.99/gallon). These junkets to lunch are more therapeutic than anything because the three of us get along really well and can vent and whine and complain to one another, knowing that the information is safe with the others. Most importantly, we make each other laugh. A LOT. So my lunch was spent in a different sort of constructive manner than was originally planned. All in the name of research… (*insert evil overlord laugh here*)

On a different front, the suggestion was made by a fellow poster at the LOL writing forum that Keresh and Rayne end up together as a couple. While the thought is intriguing (and maybe a scene from the past with them straying into romantic territory and finding it not for them is brewing), I can just hear both characters saying “Ewwww….. but (s)he’s family….”) They are not related by blood in the slightest, but they’ve behaved like big brother-little sister for so long, I don’t think it would work. It might be fun to explore, but I just don’t see it happening. Rayne has other romantic entanglements throughout her story, one of which almost ends in marriage. Keresh is too much a free spirit and Tarlia was the love of his life. He may be a lone wolf forever.

Busy week

So, I haven’t posted much here the past few days. It’s Veterinary Technician’s Week and at the VMC, I swear that means “go to these continuing educational presentations, which may not have anything to do with the job you actually perform, regardless of your caseload.” Sure, the information presented is interesting, but I work in Radiology; I haven’t done labwork in over ten years. I won’t be doing labwork anytime in the foreseeable future. If I don’t use the information on a regular basis, it atrophies and dies, because the words to “Satisfaction” have a firm hold in my brain and does not suffer interlopers lightly. As since I’m not certified (and may never be, at this rate) these CE sessions mean little to nothing to me, benefit-wise. Since I’m not certified, they don’t count toward CE credits to help me maintain my (nonexistant) license. I found myself finally at lunch about 2 pm yesterday, trying to do a bit of writing/editing and I was nodding over my laptop! When your own writing isn’t enough to keep you awake…

This will all find its way into my writing sooner or later. Characters too busy to do basic chores like grocery shopping will also be neglecting relationships, pets, taking out the trash and that will affect said relationships, pets and trash receptacles. So, with that in mind, I think that’s what I’ll write today at lunch, provided I actually get lunch and don’t doze during that hour.

Valerie is really busy; getting the house repaired, car trouble, with work, maybe with studying for renewing her certification as a vet tech (because she is one), maybe one or more people are out sick from work and she’s coming down with it herself… I could go on, because my own life provides such scenarios on an alarmingly regular basis. And maybe when the shit hits the fan (hopefully only in the figurative sense) she’ll realize she can’t do it all herself and she should accept the help offered. I’m discovering Valerie is a very proud person, doing everything she can so she knows it’s done, and to her standards. That’s why she hung on to her marriage for so long; she couldn’t admit to herself that it was screwed up until the evidence slapped her in the face. So she’ll be running around, ninety to nothin’, and something will happen to force her to stop. I’m not sure if I’ll use an existing scene and elaborate, or if I’ll start from scratch. Of course, it should be Daniel in the role of Shining White Knight; this story is, above all, their story. I think they’ll be together in my imagination for a very long time. I already have ideas perking for after the reconciliation and I haven’t even written all much of the pre-relationship stuff yet.

Okay, whinging over. Back to the world inside my head.

Dream a little dream…

Rene Magritte- The False Mirror

Rene Magritte- The False Mirror

Now this writing exercise I like. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and I think it’ll be fun to get inside the heads of my main characters. I already know who two of my victims will be and possibly the third. Now to decide on the fourth.

The exercise is as follows:

Dream exercise: A commonly used creative writing exercise is to create biographies or back stories for each character in your piece. Try this variation: write the recurring dreams of your four most significant characters.

Even if this never ends up as part of your finished work, it will still offer valuable insight to your character and what makes them tick (I’m hoping). I’m off to work on this. I’ll edit this post or reply with the results. Please feel free to jump in and have a go. C’mon, you know you want to….;-)

 

Rayne, as a child/young woman, dreams about a woman with dark hair and vivid blue eyes. She is barefoot, wearing greens and blues, and flowers bloomed in her footsteps. Sometimes she is in the company of a horse, sometimes an entire herd, horses of all shapes, sizes and colors, but each of them a perfect representation of their type. What Rayne doesn’t understand until she’s older is this is the goddess Eldrienne visiting her, keeping a special eye on her. She never remembers the dreams in detail until she is twelve and this dream becomes more than a visitation; it becomes a summons.

 

As an adult, she usually dreams of her family, all dead now, except her sister-in-law and nephew.  She has a great deal of guilt; she feels maybe if she had remained on the family farm instead of haring off to the city to find her own way, they might still be alive. When Angus and Seamus (oldest brother and the nearest to her in age, respectively) freeze to death one winter, she isn’t even able to visit or help her sister-in-law because she’s been outlawed, unjustly, I might add.

 

Keresh has recurring nightmares, repressed memories of a childhood spent in captivity among the Neth (dark elves). He and others were forced to fight one another, not unlike gladiatorial games.

 

**************

Valerie suffers from night terrors, something she never outgrew. Her father also is afflicted by them. Valerie never remembers the dreams, only wakes sweating and panting with a vague sense of dread. The occurrence of the episodes is greater when she is sick (a fever is pretty much a guarantee it’ll happen) or under a lot of stress. During most of her marriage, divorce, and some time after, she slept very poorly, sometimes not at all. The more relaxed and happier she is, the less often they occur, waning to once a month or even less.

Normal dreams that recur for her involve being naked in public. Oddly enough, no one else in the dream seems to notice her undress; only she is concerned about it. The Dream Moods website has this to say about that particular dream.

 

Daniel is, in his waking world, a very neat, organized person. His recurring dream is of being late for a class, even though he’s years out of school, or being unsure what day it is and therefore, which class he should be attending. Or he can’t his way to the class, find his books for the class, or remember a lock combination in order to get to his books. Dreams like this for him are nearly as stressful as being chased by some unnamed beast.

The Wish Jar blog

This is new to me. I wish I had found it sooner. Just a whisical, thought-provoking way to look at everything around you and find something new about it. Keri Smith is a self-proclaimed ‘guerilla artist’ and I love how she thinks. It’s inspirational to look at the same old world around you that you experience every day and really, you stop seeing. Keri has suggestions and prompts that get you really engaged and restores and enhances your creative sight. For a writer, what could be better? Go have a peek…