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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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Now playing: Abney Park – Creep
via FoxyTunes