Why I write.

6 04 2010

Weather: High: 80º  (O_0)  and scattered thunderstorms

So warm day and my brain is a-whirl with plot development at the moment.

Why do I write? Well it’s a question that you can ask a thousand writers, and get a thousand subtle variations on a similar answer.

I write because I have no other choice.

I write because the ideas and plots and characters occupying my brain multiply at a rate that is hazardous to my mental health if I don’t spill all the info out onto the page.

I write because if I didn’t, my head would explode. Possibly literally, as in a scene from Scanners. And that wouldn’t be good, especially for anyone in the vicinity.

I write because if I didn’t, I’d start talking back to the verbose muses in my head, and that would land me in a bouncy room with a jacket in which I can hug myself all day. Sanity is not found in this direction.

I write because I love stories. Because I love to read stories & sometimes, I can’t find the stories I want to read, so I write them myself.

I write because I want to share the movie that constantly runs through my head.

I write because the characters that come to  me need a chance to meet other people.

I write because it’s a great excuse to spend money on obscure reference texts and perform research on things that normally would get you strange looks, institutionalized or at least shunned from polite society. (Granted, you’ll still risk the possibility of all three, but if you tell them “It’s for a book.” they at least might switch to curious. )

Conversely, I DON’T write because I want to be rich, or famous, or popular. If any of those things happen, well that’ll be icing on the cake. But nowhere in my lists of motivations are there entries of money or fame. They tend to be bad motivations anyway.

In any case, whatever the reasons we write, the important thing is that we continue to write.  I have a feeling the day I keel over, I’ll have a pen in my hand or be at my keyboard.  It’s kind of a nice thought.

—————-
Now playing: Muse – I Belong To You/Mon Cœur S’ouvre À Ta Voix
via FoxyTunes





Monday musings….

29 03 2010

Weather:  Sunny & High: 48º but warm up on the way.

Writing and life have kept me from properly blogging, but maybe I’m too worried about posting something substantial to keep up with it daily. Hmmm.

Well, a lots been going on around Chez Ellis . My husband has finally landed a freelance position that has the potential to become a full time gig. This is good news of course, because we might actually get to build up the moving money sooner rather than later.

Seattle is still on the horizon, and no further away because of this development. Our house needs to go on the market sooner rather than later.

We just had to have the big sewer line dug up and routed.  $$$$ later, and we’re realizing the Universe is kicking us in the pants. I told my husband, we should have moved last year. He was firmly in agreement.

On the writing front, When the Lights Go Down has received a massive overhaul. As in I’ve rewritten over a third of the story. That’s why it’s not done yet. I’ve radically changed some scenes, and slightly tweaked others. Luckily I’ve had some fantastic editing help from my friend Jill.  I’d originally hoped to have the MS done by end of February, but it’s looking more like mid April now. Better to have it done right than done fast, I guess.

It’s funny how I can see the whole book as a movie running through my head. I’m actually looking forward to sitting down and just READING the MS all the way through from start to finish post edit. There’s a small naggy feeling in the back of my head that the story may need culling and streamlining. It’s over the word count limit I know most publishers have in place, so yeah, some cutting will be necessary. Another concern I have is that the tone of the book has changed over the course of the story. Granted, it might work since the whole point of the story is taking a normal girl with a normal life, and following her spiral into a darker more dangerous world. And this book is the springboard for the universe I’m creating over the next 13-14 books.  We’ll see.  I just want to get the last bit written, then I can get all flaily over theme and structure and length.

I’m finding more and more that the moment I’m able to, I’m going to jump into full time writing with both feet. This catch as catch can, trying to slip in a paragraph here and there between lunch hours, commutes and housework is just not helping. I could get so much more done in longer stretches if I had them.  My brain goes a thousand miles a minute, and trying to get the story bits down and into the flow when you’re trying to transcribe something you only have rudimentary notes from three weeks ago to work from, well….it doesn’t make for optimum storytelling.  I realize this is not a realistic possibility for right now, but that doesn’t stop me for yearning for it.  In the meantime, I’ll do my best to attend the muses dictates  during lunch breaks, keeping my moleskine at hand when I’m unable to write properly, and take copious notes when I can. This is how a lot of people are relegated to writing, and I know it can still be done.

The thing is, I love my characters. I sometimes wish I could some how make them real through a combination of alchemy, black magic and Silly Putty. Would love to sit down and have a drink with them . So it’s hard to say goodbye to them when the story’s done. I watched “A Year in the Life of JK Rowling” over the weekend, and I am totally of the same mind as her, when it comes to her characters. She knew the life story of each character  for several years after the books ended. Knew their family trees, knew what happened to them and also could rattle them off at request. She’s not going to write it though. I’m exactly the same. I have side bits, and back bits and future bits, that won’t be in this book.  But I have them written into my moleskine. It’s like a bit of comfort. An Epilogue for the stories that no one will get to see. But as Jo says, and I’m paraphrasing here, it’s giving the writer the comfort of making the characters entirely hers. So that even if fanfic writers or other authors want to take up the subsequent plots, she alone knows what REALLY happened to them. I like that.

Ah well. Need to get back to the writing on the MS now.

—————-
Now playing: three days grace – TV
via FoxyTunes





Back on the blogging horse again..

22 10 2009

Weather: Has been unseasonably cool, mostly in the upper 40s. Not complaining. For today: High: 57º & rainy. And foggy. Perfect weather for writing.

It’s been a couple weeks of non-writing and other health issues. I broke a toe and am hobbling around, cursing intermittently. Add in a dollop of PMS and financial chaos and yeah. Been a little distracted.

But enough of the whining and flailing.

Writing had hit a bit of a wall for me. The WIP was stalled and I was getting NOWHERE on planning for NaNoWriMo. So, I did the smart thing and set it all aside for a couple of days and went on a research binge. And caught up on some reading. (Got Laura Anne Gilman’s “Flesh and Fire: Book One of The Vineart War” and was hooked in the opening pages. ) Fantastic story and using a unique magic system, wine, which in turn makes it even MORE interesting. Great book and highly recommended. Also been catching up on the Dresden Files. (Reading Small Favor at the moment with Turn Coat, to be ordered and Changes to be PRE-ordered. Oh and a Dresden Graphic novel in the wish list as well. )

Research for NaNo has actually yielded some good little “What if…” thoughts so that I can get a serviceable plot brewing. Thank the gods that Norse Mythology has enough loose ends and loopholes that I can concoct a lovely urban fantasy from the question marks. 🙂 Love that there is no definitive myth on whether Ragnarok has a) already happened, b) is YET to happen, or c) is happening in cycles. Lots of open ground to mine there. That and the fact that some gods & many of the Svartálfar (Dark Elves) & Ljósálfar (Light Elves) escaped to Midgard during the fighting…well. That also leaves some stones unturned. VBEG. I have an abandoned story from a few years back that will need to be completely re-written, but the seeds of a good story are there. It will have new characters and a completely re-worked plot. Nice thing is, once I got a few salient points down on paper, the bits of dialogue started cropping up. And stray scenes. I’m only jotting down notes so I don’t actually cheat and get started early.

Been spending a large chunk of the morning chatting with my lovely writerly friends about topics as diverse as vampire canon (which DOES NOT EXIST, KTHXBYE!), writing software and whether or not committing ourselves to NaNoWriMo when we have books on the burner (and on the back burner and hanging from the ceiling and stuck in little boxes under the bed) makes us masochists.  (I, for one, believe I have lost touch with my pain threshold and am just doing it because I like the taste of insanity in the morning. Burns so good!)

On the home front, Bri and I are getting the house prepped. We’ve crunched the numbers and are slowly getting the few cosmetic things fixed so the house will be ready for the market come March of next year. Seattle or bust, baby! We’re actively looking for places to live out there and, of course, looking for jobs. Along with about a bajillion other people. Sigh. Remember what I said about my masochistic tendencies. Yeah. Right there.  But we’re full bore dedicated to getting the hell out of  here. Sooner rather than later, thank you very much.

Been compiling writing mixes again. And with NaNo coming up, I need to start formulating soundtracks for my characters.  My writing mixes lately have been made up of predominantly the new Three Days Grace, AFI, Muse and Editors albums. All of which are conveniently fitting to the storyline of the WIP. (“Last to Know” off off the new 3DG is so perfect for the epilogue, I swear it was written with pre-knowledge of the storyline. Which would just be weird & creepy.  ::makes note to send those boys a fruit basket or something for the inspiration::)

All righty. Got to get back to work and then head home for a writing session. No telly tonight (Supernatural & Vampire Diaries are both repeats. So vexing.)

More tomorrow, my sparkling ferrets of delight.

——————————————————————-
Now Playing: Fly on the Windscreen — Depeche Mode





Monday rolls around again…

5 10 2009

Weather: High: 63º & sunny.

So. Stuck in Ennui Gear again.

The wake and the funeral tomorrow have kind of absorbed all my focus, so writing and work work have taken a sort of back seat to everything else.

Got a bonus bit of fun today. Local radio station was streaming a live in- station acoustic concert of Three Days Grace, so at least I could listen to my boys while working. 🙂 ETA: Nice little interview with acoustic versions of “Pain” & “Lost in You”. Geebling fangirl is Geebling.

Have decided to go with the Manx/Norse myth mash-up for my NaNo story. Need to get my outline done and the necessary research compiled.  If it works out, I should end up with a 75K novella I can shop around. Cross fingers.

Allright. Been too brain locked and distracted to post a proper blog today. Promise there will be much more pithy and entertaining blogging later.

Probably won’t post tomorrow as I’ll be at the funeral and sundry get togethers most of the day.

See you on Wednesday.

—————-
Now playing: Lacuna Coil – Spellbound
via FoxyTunes





Muses at the pub. Brain on vacation. Sigh.

23 07 2009

Weather: High:77 degrees with isolated Thunderstorms. Seriously? JULY, right?

Torchwood Day 3= HOLY CRAP WHAT WAS THAT!? Yep. Really freaked me out in bits. Loved the chemistry with the cast. Good all around.  Leverage was of the good as well. I mean, Eliot centric story & a martial arts badass Christian Kane all sweaty and stuff? Good thing I watch the show for the dialogue and clever writing, right? VBEG.

So. I’ve gone and broken a fourth wall of sorts. Just sent a message to some inspirations of mine. We’ll see if I get a response. And I’ll say no more until then. ::does the anti-jinx flaily dance::

Work project has me completely swamped today so unfortunately the blog will be truncated.

Hopefully I’ll get to work on those raw scenes again today on the commute home. 🙂

—————-
Now playing: Nine Inch Nails – Perfect Drug
via FoxyTunes





Plotting Day. So I’m wearing black & looking surly.

22 07 2009

Weather: High: 79 degrees with intermittent showers. Good writing weather.

Quick mention that Torchwood was FTW again last night. Unexpected naked Jack is Unexpected. 🙂 (Loved the cast commentary on that scene after the show. HYSTERICAL!) I’m probably going to wait on a proper review until it’s all done. (And considering the rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth in fandom right now, I think the last episode may be a barn burner.)

Was perusing a site that had a ton of writer’s Quotations and this one stuck out:

Being an author is having angels whisper in your ear – and devils, too.  ~Graycie Harmon

Very true. We all talk about our muses in various ways. To some of us they’re a general concept- inspiration, a cache of ideas or something ethereal that motivates us. To others, they have a face and a voice: maybe one of our characters, maybe someone we admire, maybe even someone we are involved with in our personal lives.  For me, when I talk about muses,  it tends to be the latter.

When I write, usually one of the characters comes to the forefront, visually and vocally, in my head. I tend to write from a very visual place anyway, so casting the characters tends to help me SEE them in action as I’m writing. It’s not that fluffy thing of “My muse dictates and I write it down,” which makes for a cute T-shirt eptithet, but bad writing headspace. Muses are just stand ins for characters in my head. They do talk back and give me something to push back against when I’m putting together a scene or dialogue.
It’s more like I have a three dimensional artist’s mannequin that I can mold and shape and move at my brain’s whim. I know they are my creations, even if visually they may look like an actor or musician or model. That is just the outer shell. Everything they say or do or think comes from me. I just have them play the scene out in my head, then describe what I’m watching. The interesting thing that happens is sometimes, the action portrayed goes in a different direction than I originally intended, or, more perplexing, points out how the scene actually ISN’T working.  Things  like the protagonist can’t exactly stab someone if he’s carrying someone in his arms. Or if you have him backed up against a literal wall, odds on are he won’t be able to “turn and run” . Usually I’ll joke that the Muse took the wheel in that scene.

Another thing I do to help craft a character once I get his/her visual in my head is to create a music writing mix for the character. I used to actually burn CDs for this, but nowadays,  I just create lengthy playlists in i-Tunes or for my i-Pod. Music helps me get in the right headspace to write a character. I also have scene specific playlists. I look at it as creating soundtracks for the movies in my head.  For myself, music is instrumental in the process, but YMMV.

A lot of the time I feel like a fraud writing about writing because I have yet to get anything completed or published. All I can do in this blog is convey what works for me and what I’ve found doesn’t work over the years. Honestly, the best advice for me was found in the FAQ at Neil Gaiman’s site. The section “Advice to Authors” has always been helpful. It’s to the point and a lot of common sense. A lot of other authors, editors and publishers have fantastic advice as well. I highly recommend the #writegoal tag over on Twitter. Or check out some of the writing blogs I have listed to the right. Google Fu is your friend. 🙂

Been a while since I did an Irons in the Fire list.

When the Lights Go Down – 88K words completed, finishing last chapters. Editing pending.  Query to be written.

Carrion Dreams, Book 1 – 33K words. Outlining rest of Book 1. Have Rudimentary outlines for Books 2 & 3.

Dark of the Mirror- 75K words. Gutting the last 1/3 of the MS. Needs to be rewritten.  And intensive research needed for historical references.

All Things Fanged & Furry (Book 1) –25K words  In overhaul. Needs a lot of fleshing out.

All Demons Dread & Dire (Book 2) — In Outline. What has been written will be scrapped. Plot needs re-working to seamlessly lead out of Book one.

Librarian Anthology– “Into the Stacks” — Need to finish last two chapters.
Second short story is in the works for this as well.

Untitled Sidhe/Norse Myth Urban Fantasy — Still in outline. Needs refocus on storyline. Maybe will be re-tooled as YA.

Also am toying with a couple non-fiction ideas, but not including them in the list until I can focus on them.

So wrapping up this meandering post with tonight’s plans: Torchwood Day 3, Leverage and perhaps another stab at the manuscript. Although I think with my complete lack of focus, this may be a vain endeavor. This weekend is already shaping up to be writing bootcamp, but I’d rather write and edit when my brain isn’t so hazy and stressed.

Off to the train.










Friday finally…

29 05 2009

Weather: High: 72 Degrees & PM Showers. THE FLAMING BALL OF EVIL IS BACK!

Listening to a lot of Green Day today. Might explain the mega huge chip on my shoulder. Oddly enough, I heard “Afterlife” by Avenged Sevenfold this morning on my walk to the office. Brought a bit of tears to my eyes. Mostly because the chorus is “I don’t belong here, I gotta move on dear” . Pretty damn apropos.

Was still giddy last night that I was able to recover that manuscript. Especially when I discovered there were entire scenes I had added in direct download from the cranium. This meant there was no back up on paper anywhere and I’d have to recreate it. Sucks when it happens, because invariably, you can’t reconstruct the original phrasing when you do. And also, invariably, the original scene was one that was really really good. Sigh. Well at least I don’t have to worry about it now. (And yes, I backed it up to HD, Flash Drive and burned the sucker to a disk, just to make sure I didn’t fark it up again. )

So distracted today. Not good. Trying so hard to get work done, but all my brain can do is push me “Why aren’t you writing?” Got Dev and the Librarian both whispering in my ears, describing scenes of a dark and decadent nature…so distracting. Especially with THOSE voices.

—————-
Now playing: Abney Park – Creep
via FoxyTunes





Lost-nesday. And things are looking up.

4 03 2009

Weather: High: 41 degrees and partly sunny.

Cubemate is out today so I’m blasting the Vampire Writing mix on my I-Tunes. Lotsa dark atmospheric music mashed up with abrasive alt rocka and Goth type stuff. Very annoying to most others in my office and very inspirational to me. :VBEG:

Been working out the details of the Librarian PWP short story in my head. Getting it into pixels is the next step. Still have WTLGD to finish as well. Been very sleepy lately, so focus hasn’t been what it should be.

Worked on writing music list for Librarian story…yeah. It’s mostly trip hoppy, classical and dear god SEXXOR MUSIC. Which it should be for this story. 😉

Can’t believe it’s time to go home already. Suffice it to say, I’ll have more to talk about tomorrow.

Nutshell what’s on the brain lately: Watchmen (ZOMG!), sexxor, writing, sexxor, LOST TONIGHT ZOMG!, Work is just draining me!, sexxor, finances and have I mentioned, teh sexxor?

No video today as I’m swamped and don’t have time to look. Will be more verbose tomorrow. You have been warned.





**yawns** Wednesday, huh? :remains unimpressed::

25 02 2009

Weather: High: 48 degrees and possible rain showers throughout the day.

Watched Obama’s speech last night, (which is still boggling me as I’ve always avoided presidential speeches like the plague) and was definitely impressed. Yes I still have questions, but it was nice to hear a rousing speech that was motivating and uplifting for once. And the fact that the REPUBLICANS stood several times instead of just sitting and looking at their fingernails, that was heartening. I don’t expect congress to be all buddy-buddy or in agreement on all things, but you have to have some effort on behalf of compromise. Bipartisanship, when it’s working, means that both sides suggest ideas and you implement what’s going to work best. Doesn’t matter who’s idea. Better yet, if it’s a mixture of both ideas. The prevailing idea seems to be that one side wins. That’s not working together, that’s not even trying for what’s best. That’s just political grandstanding.

I’ve had a bit of a rant rumbling around in my brain for a few days, but I think I’ll just distill it down to a few lines. Too busy today to really write a lot, what with the boss out and all.

Suffice it to say, I’m a little befuddled why the constant reference to Ronald Reagan and the economy of 1981. I mean, I get why there are those who want to see that kind of economic recovery, but has everyone neglected to notice that the current economic climate, while on the surface looks similar, is completely different underneath? Has no one taken into account that when Reagan entered office, there were much fewer women in the workplace, that prevailing industries then are not the prevailing industries now? That technology has changed the face of  the business world? I appreciate that some economic factors do not change, but if you’re going to stimulate the economy, are you not taking into consideration that the type of funding that worked in 1981 is not going to work in 2009? Seriously. You’re looking at almost 30 years of job shifts, gender roles changing and a ton of exportation of jobs.  The situation is different and a lot of what caused this economic strife is outdated methods and 80’s style “Greed is Good” mentality that is WAY past it’s expiration date. Not to mention that the Baby Boomers who were in their prime back then, are now retirees and they are not exactly on board with the “Scrap medicare and social security” push that’s going on with the right wing contingent.  All I’m saying is stop making a one-to-one comparison between the economic crisis of the early 80’s and the one now. Too many factors are different to say that the solutions of them would work now. We need fresh eyes and fresh solutions.

Do I think we have all the answers in the stimulus and housing packages? Probably not. But is it a good idea to shake up the status quo and use it as a economic sorbet so we can try something new? Definitely. I just hope that Congress AS A WHOLE will stop treading the tired old political divide and start listening to people who actually understand the problems and have credible solutions. Here’s the rub: contrary to popular belief, about 90% of congress has only marginal understanding of all the issues involved with the economic downturn. They are not economists or mathematicians. They are POLITICIANS. They are kings and queens of the sound bite, the knee jerk reaction and the treading of the party line. None of these things are informed by actual understanding of the facts. Congress used to be led by people who UNDERSTOOD the situation, and the rest  fell in line behind these people. Now it’s just “vote the line our leader tells us”. I just don’t think this is productive or helpful. And the talking head pundits on television are making this even worse. Did you know that 85% of the people featured on discussions about the economy and the stimulus in the past two months have NOT been economists or advisers? The predominant people invited onto these talk shows have been political advisers, congressmen and other pundits. Regurgitating what OTHER politicians or pundits have said. Would you want to have people on to discuss the issues who had actually STUDIED the situation and had a grasp on the potential solutions? OR would you rather stick with people who can only give you shouty rants on why the other guy is wrong in supporting/opposing the solutions because of reasons that have nothing to do with the actual numbers or plan?

The Republicans spent a full week sound biting a supposed earmark about a marsh mouse in California that was to receive 30 billion dollars in protection. One problem– that ear mark didn’t exist in the legislation. It had appeared in a wishlist that actually was sourced from the EPA to support 65 different species in a wetlands protection program. Still, it wasn’t in the stimulus package. And six different Republican congressmen went on all the different pundit shows and hammered a totally false point into the ground and pinned all their reasons for not voting for the stimulus package on that false statement. Ditto for the L.A. to Vegas rail line. NOT IN THE PACKAGE.
It made a great soundbite and the right wing pundits crowed and quoted it and it became e-mails getting passed around and do you see where I”m going with this? I’m sure the Democrats have done the same, but this is the best example I can site.

My point is that, why are patently false claims getting this much credit and the facts, spoken by people who have the actual facts, are getting no air time?

So much for keeping this to a few lines. Ha.

Anyway. I guess I’m tired of the sound bite. I’m tired of being angry and pissed off and UNINFORMED by the very people who are paid to get the news to me.  I’m gonna start going to recovery.gov for my information. They are publishing the entire economic recovery information there, unvarnished and uninterpreted by political filtered pundits.

On a non politics front, I have a lot of writing to do today. Had a few brilliant flashes of plot bits that need inserting and have finally gotten visual aids for all my characters so that I can flesh them out a little more. 🙂

In bigger news on the personal front, my brother proposed to his girlfriend yesterday. I’m happy for him, but a bit cautious as it’s his second marriage.  But I like his new fiancee. She’s smart and lovely and funny and just all around a great person. I think she’ll be good for him.  🙂

My mum is leaving for California tomorrow and she’s both excited and nervous about the trip. She’s not scared to travel on her own (wonder where I got that from? 🙂 ) but the weather is looking a little sketchy and she has to drive a lot while she’s out there. Still, she’s seeing family and friends, so not like she’s being air dropped into a third world country and expected to survive on ants and berries.

I think I’m gonna tack on the Vid for the day and head off to do some writing while I snack at my lunch. 🙂

Have a little behind the scenes with Three Days Grace. Enjoy their Canadian accents (yes, they do pronounce “about” that way.) And a live performance of “Get Out Alive” (my fave) as well:

Fave quote from this bit: Drummer Neil Sanderson saying he needs a towel on his drum stool because he sweats “like a hooker in church”. 🙂





Mardi Gras Tuesday and no I don’t want any beads.

24 02 2009

weather: High 36 and Sunny.

Was made of lameness last night and fell asleep halfway through Medium. No reflection on the show, I was just that damn tired.

The boss is leaving at noon today and will be out tomorrow. The clamoring of idiots has already started. I’m thinking I’ll be getting a visit from the migraine faeries before to long. Thank the benevolent deities for meds here at work.

After a couple days of scribbling filler for the story, I’m beginning to see how much work it does need. Sigh. Some scenes are bare bones, others need some editing. And a few characters need to have some plumping done as they are mere set decoration at the moment. Double sigh.

Am geebling like a total fangirl over Watchmen opening next weekend. Apparently the critics are unsure what to make of it. It’s not a shiny happy superhero movie they can do a canned review for. And it’s certainly not a kids oreineted animated flick. I think it’s gonna get mediocre reviews but the fans will enjoy it. I know Wil Wheaton and the boys in MCR loved it and I consider those to be respected and informed opinions. 🙂

Alas work has interfered with my blogging activities today. FALE!

However, good news from the CW front: Supernatural has been renewed for another season. Alas, I believe Kripke has said it will be the last. SIGH. All my fave shows are ending. BSG only has like 4 eps left. Brian will be pouting after that.

Here: have a video.
Something to dance you out the door for once:
Shiny Toy Guns –I Owe You a Love Song
(Just the music so don’t get too excited)
This is my new go to “cheer my emo ass up” song. Very upbeat.

Don’t forget to watch the Leverage season finale tonight!!!