Monday, December 20, 2010

Focusing The Brain after NaNo while Juggling the Holiday Fun!!

I really have grown to love NaNo - the adrenaline rush of creation, the multi-venue write-ins, the support of all the other crazy people, and the feeling of totally dedicating yourself to an endeavor, the dishes be damned!

After that month of frantic writing, however, December becomes problematical. The dishes can only pile so high before you must pay attention. You open your eyes on December 1 (or 2 or 3) and realize that you are living in a tip. Your uber supportive spouse pouts a little and says he missed you. Not to mention the presents to be secured and wrapped, the tree to be trimmed, the baking to do, the parties to attend...

I spend a good part of the month of December in a fog that resembles jet lag. I do stuff. I even have fun doing it. But only later, when I see the pictures will I remember doing it!

So, for fellow NaNo authors out there - hang in, the jet lag will leave and we can begin the process of refining the rough gems from November. For friends and family - I am sorry for the haze and promise to be fully cogent by Xmas! Cheers for the love and understanding!

Merry Christmas all!

Eddie Louise

Friday, December 03, 2010

NaNo - A Month Long Blur

I did it. I know I did. I have almost 60,000 words to show that I really did do it.
Only I stopped updating the Blog on Day 9 and I have no idea what happened to all the other days.
But, um.. I did it. See?!?

I really got lost in my story this time. Writing was fun most days, and even on the days it started out as work, it quickly became fun.

In fact, I am feeling a bit disoriented now that I have stepped out of my writer's cave and into the blinding light of day. Not that I am done writing! Oh, no, my hero is still battling Mexican drug gangs and arcane immigration laws and willful horses and strict codes of conduct and all those other difficulties I threw at him during November. I will need another 25,000 words or so to get him out of the mess I got him into.

My goal is to have a completed first draft by the New Year. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Writing FAIL

Well.. I just couldn't get motivated to write tonight. 10 hours of work just fried my brain.

I am not going to beat myself up about it. I will just get up in the morning after a good night's sleep and make up the words. I am still well on track, and the book is shaping up nicely.

I posted this excerpt on the NaNo site:

Jace knew that he couldn’t keep running much longer.  His breath was tearing from his lungs with a deep rasping, the stitch in his side was constricting like an Edwardian corset and his eyes were tearing from the exertion, blurring his vision and making it hard to judge the landscape. If he didn’t find a way to shake the St James Boys soon he was a goner for sure.  He labored on, refusing to give in to the weakness of his body, determined to somehow outrun or outsmart the Mexicans.
The streets were eerily quiet.   Jace had never seen the Bronx this empty. There were no cars on the roads, no cruising police, no late night revelers taking advantage of the cool night air, no people coming in or out of the 24 hour diners, the news-stands, the shelters. There was no one to witness, interfere or contain the gang’s murderous intent.  Jace’s time was short. If he didn’t think of something soon he would become just another statistic on the police blotter, just one more Bronx boy who never got the chance to live up to his potential.
When the chance of escape did present itself, Jace didn’t recognize it at first. His brain looked past it, refusing to believe the evidence from his eyes. His disbelieving ears didn’t acknowledge the whickered greeting. His struggling lungs refused the essence of equine musk. There was no way that a big red NYPD mounted police horse was just standing in the middle of Fordham Road completely saddled, bridled and offering to race him out of his current troubles. Certain that the horse was a hallucination brought on by oxygen deprivation, Jace ran on – right past the very solid and warm imaginary beast.

Oh - I also learned that the video problem seems to only be on Google Chrome so I will start posting videos again tomorrow.

Cheers,
Eddie

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Video FAIL

For some reason all my videos are broken.
I have written to Blogger about it.
I will be back on-line soon.
Sorry for any inconvenience.

Cheers,
Eddie

PS: writing went great today! 12,000 words and counting!

PPS: For some reason the vids show up in a Reader - just not on the site. AAARRRGGGHHH

Why I like NaNo

There is certainly a lot of negative commentary on the National Novel Writing Month coming out in the blogosphere this month. Here is my rebuttal to all the negativity:

 I like NaNo for three reasons:

1) I am one of those writers that suffers from a particularly b!$chy inner editor. If I let her she will correct line-by-line. Every word must be poetry or it gets backspaced. The goals established by NaNo require me to push her away and accept a 'good-enough for now word' in order to get the story out. After NaNo, I take a one month break to enjoy the holidays and the feeling of accomplishment and then spend months re-writing and honing the work.

2) Because NaNo has a great public profile it is an easy excuse to get my family, circle of friends, and even strangers on board to enable the focus on writing. For the rest of the year I fight the 'you are at home - you must have time to do XYZ for me' misunderstanding. NaNo gives me a very public and therefore provable reason that I am not available to do that extra laundry, watch your cats or take the car to the shop. For this one month every year I am free to indulge in all the writing time I need without explanations or compromises.

For the record I never really get involved in the silliness - the forums, the monkeys vs octupi etc. I do attend a few local write-ins as you must get out of the house occasionally and I do print the certificates at the end to place with the completed draft of the novel.

3) My final reason why I think that NaNo is a good thing - the Young Writer's Program. There are numerous kids that get exposed to writing through NaNo and in my book, anything that encourages literacy (be it reading or writing) is worthy of support!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Nano Day #6 - First 10,000 Achieved!

One fifth of the way done!

video

Interesting Web Based Plagiarism Event

I first read about it here, but as the article said - it has exploded into the internet equivalent of mob violence. Even Neil Gaiman got involved.

But here is the funniest response of all:

NaNo Day #5 - Remember, Remember the 5th of November!

Happy Guy Fawkes Day everyone!

video

Thursday, November 04, 2010

NaNo Day #4 - The Naysayers

There is a buzz today about a nasty little article that was written denigrating NaNo participants. You can read that here. As you might imagine it has people's dander up. One response was immediately posted here.

For my part I have only two statements:

1) The first draft of any writing is generally 'crap' in my opinion whether that is poety, prose or even music. These creative arts are not improv arts, but crafts. A true artist will 'sketch' his ideas and then craft them into something good. What NaNo teaches writers is the 'art' of sketching a novel. Whether that sketch ever becomes a true work of quality writing or not is up to the individual. I AM sure however that publishers and agents get 100s of poorly crafted manuscripts each year, whether the writer started with NaNo or not!

2) Ms Miller suggests you challenge yourself to Read More. REALLY?!?!? I already read an average of 6 books a month. Even while I am writing NaNo I continue reading - at least a chapter or 2 each night to switch gears before bed. How condescending of her to assume that I don't. What I do not do is seperate the act of writing from the act of reading - to me they are intertwined. The more I read, the more I wish to write. the more I write, the more I NEED to read.

And without further ado, today's video:

video

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I had a Bad Bad Mood - I got over it!

Here is today's video - no music so that Stacia can hear. Actually - my task this weekend in the time I am not writing - learn to use my REAL movie editing software rather than the cheap seat version that came with the camera.

video

Reality vs Perception a Reminder for Writers

Last night there was a brief conversation in my house that reminded me of how often reality and perception do not coincide.

Chip came home from a long day at Uni and when he went to the bedroom to change into comfy clothes, he noticed the tripod set up where I had left it after recording the Facebook video. His first thought was not that I had been recording an innocuous 'talking-head' video, but rather a more steamy version of a bedroom video. His shocked "What have you been up too?" reaction caught me by surprise.

It shouldn't have.

People are always jumping to the wrong conclusion, making wrong assumptions and generally mis-reading reality. It is a hallmark of our species. All you have to do to verify this is to watch politics for awhile. There is an old saw about a husband who always buys his wife flowers when he messes up and then one day he spontaneously decides to buy her flowers just because he loves her. Of course, things don't go as he planned. Her first words are 'What did you do this time?"

For writers this can make for a rich and evocative plot point - mis-understandings are a great way to raise tension. We just need to remember to make them real so that we match with our reader's perceptions!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NaNo Day #2

Great day today. My horse spoke to me. Woot!




video

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNo Has Officially Started

As previously stated, I am trying something new this year - Vlog posts of my daily progress. I will record each of them when I finish the day's writing.

Here is the first one - recorded at 2:30 am (writing officially began at midnight!). i think I look like a spaz and I am WAY too camera conscious - but part of the point of this exercise is to get more comfortable in front of a camera so - share my pain!

One down 30 more to go!

video

PS: I will get a word count widget uploaded later so that you can track my progress and deliver the swift kick when needed!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One Week to NaNo - Cue Frantic Build Up

Hello All!

Yep I am trying NaNo again this year. I failed last year because I was working a job that often required 12 to 14 hours a day and I never got into any of the local write-ins.

This year I am only working 16 hours a week, and the homesickness has eased enough I can face making new friends so I am anticipating success!
I have my novel idea pretty well flushed out, although it will not be (quite) my original Idea.

Turns out there is already a Time Riders series that is about time-travelling kids. When it was pointed out to me in the comments here, I panicked!!! Full scale white-face, spots in the vision panic. I had spent the entire summer planning a series based on the original idea. I had a complete character map, a series arc and the full outline for the first novel all set. OMG! I thought, my entire idea is just a sub-conscious rip off. BUT - it is the best idea I've ever had. I can't tell you how much that sucks!  Luckily, I was at Aric and Stacia's and my son and husband talked me off the ledge! I do have my own personal knights in shining armor!

A little triage was needed and a deep examination of EXACTLY what the thrust of my story is. Turns out that if I do away with the time travel everything else about my idea is unique and not derivative of the other book at all. (or at least what I can find out without actually reading it. That is good enough to NaNo and then I will read The Time Riders before editing to be sure I eliminate any concepts that are too closely related.)

The book I am now writing is now called The Arc Riders. The title is based on a quote by MLK: "The arc of the Universe bends towards justice." My main characters are teens and horses. Hence the 'Riders'. In all the descriptions of the other series I have seen no mention of horses so I believe that element will be ok. If anyone has read these books and can confirm the absence of horses, I would appreciate it!  Anyway, I don't want to give away too much of the plot so that is enough for now.

One last note - Chip is ULTRA busy all through November so this year we are trying something different for daily posting - VLOGs. I have a new Flip camera (courtesy of Avon) and so I will make a short Vlog to record events and writing adventures each day so that you can all keep pace with my efforts.

As always - Thanks for the support and encouragement!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where I have Been and What I have Been Doing

Re-writing

In Bed

Re-Writing

At my Desk

Re-writing

Standing at the kitchen table

Re-Writing

At the local coffee shop

Holiday - for 1 week

Re-Writing....

Almost done with the massive edits and re-writing process - then WHAMMY! I get the advice (from a VERY trusted professional source) that maybe this should be a YA novel. No really, as a career consideration (I have about 50 ideas for YA novels after this one and only 3 or 4 ideas for general fiction and even 2 of those 'work' as YA) maybe this book should be aimed at YA so my Agent/Publisher/Support Team can be the same group of people from first book onwards.

Not Surprisingly Devil in My Dreams is one of my general fiction ideas that could be YA as well.

So I am currently writing a Scene-By-Scene analysis of what I would need to change to make it work YA. I don't think it would take a lot more work and it just might be the best move overall.

I'll keep you updated on my decision.

Meantime - there is light at the end of the jobless tunnel. Unofficial word that a job is in the offing. Should know more tomorrow!

Kisses!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell

The opportunity to do this book review came through Chip's Interchanging Idioms blog.
The Doctor And The Diva is a lush historical novel filled with vivid imagery and meticulously detailed settings. The story centers around Erika von Kessler, an opera singer in turn of the 20th century Boston. Based on a member of the author's family tree, The Doctor and the Diva rises above formulaic historic romance to give us a glimpse into another world - one filled with conflicting desires, expectations and overwhelming ambitions.


Unusually for a story in this setting, one of the primary characters is an obstetrician who is a specialist in conception. This subject matter, combined with a reverence for opera and the power of the music set up a conflict between a woman's desire for motherhood and career.


I do not know if Adrienne McDonnell sings, but she has very effectively captured the 'voice' of opera and the otherworldly aspects of singing this glorious music. Erika von Kessler is torn between the pull of her art and the responsibilities of motherhood, and throughout this book we feel her struggle and labor with impossible decisions. For those of us who will never open our own mouth and hear the angels of Puccini pour out, this is as close as we can get to understanding what it feels like to stand on the opera stage.


Although Erika has two men in her life and romance is a big part of the story, by books end I was entranced not by the romantic story, but by the tale of a woman finding herself - against all odds and with little to no support from the men in her life. This book is about a woman daring to BE.

Adrienne McDonnell's debut novel "The Doctor And The Diva" (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking ISBN:9780670021888) will be on sale July 26, 2010.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who Do I write Like?

This is kind of a fun little app. Apparently, I write like:




I write like
Chuck Palahniuk
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



Yep - Fight Club, Choke, Rant - you know the kind of writing that is socially unacceptable in Wyoming. It is official - my family is not going to appreciate my work!

But I think its cool!!! I mean I could have been compared to Terry Pratchett or Danielle Steele - that would have been death to my creative ambitions! Not that I haven't read those guys and enjoyed them, but they are not the kind of books that make me think for days/weeks/years afterwards. Chuck Palanuik now, those are books you can enjoy and argue over for years!

So - who do you write like?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

New Schedule Day Two - FAIL

In order to get the re-write of my book accomplished in a timely manner I have put myself on a regimented schedule. Yesterday went great with me meeting my afternoon goal and exceeding my morning goal. Day one - success. This bodes well.

Then came today. There are so many things that get in the way of writing - but this morning I experienced the most frustrating and heinous interruption of schedule - the dreaded appointment line to get a dental appointment.

As I don't have insurance I go the Denver Health for my health care. These are the folks that help poor people like me stay marginally healthy. I have two small cavities growing. I need to get them taken care of for many reasons. Not the least of which is that they are on the right side of my mouth. The side that has one lonely molar left.

So last week I went to the dental office - spent 4 hours waiting to be seen - had x-rays and a preliminary 'glance' at the mouth and was told to call this morning between the hours of 8 and 10 to get a 'treatment' appointment. 1.5 hours of dialing and redialing finally got me to a person who said all the appointments are taken - call back in two weeks. Not to be seen - not to get the teeth fixed - but for the chance of getting an appointment. If there isn't one then, well, I can try again in two weeks after that.

American healthcare SUCKS! It is not the best. It is not the most advanced. It is CERTAINLY not the most compassionate!

{sigh} Morning writing session down the tubes. I WILL get back on track for this afternoon. My only hope to save my remaining teeth - get published and sell ALOT of books!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Readers - Friend or Foe

I just posted this article on Chip's BLOG and it got me to thinking. Everyone who endeavors in a creative field faces the double edged blade of audience approval.

If the audience truly loves you there is the danger of being labeled trite, inconsequential or 'mainstream'. If they hate you the labels change (elitist, conceited, anarchic), but the judgement is the same. In art it seems your are damned if you do, damned if you don't. 

So the answer? Do what you want. Do it well. Hope that someone else will like it.

I am currently rewriting my novel and I have been encouraged to make it juicier, scarier and more adult. I think that is a good suggestion - it needs that edge.

Of course the very things that will make it a better book will make it scandalous to my own extended family.

*Sigh* I choose Damned!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sorry for My Lack of Attention...

I have had good reason. My Niece has been staying with us for the past week - the perfect excuse to ignore the world and play!

Can't say too much yet - but the official word from my potential agent is: the novel doesn't suck!! I will be doing some specific edits to request this summer and hope to have real good news by fall! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Predictions of Doom for Fan Fiction?

Ok guys this is why I think Fan Fiction Writers, Publishers and Authors need to come to some kind of standard agreement - before that choice is taken away from us.

If the Digital Economy Act was enacted here, then that site which had the Diana Gabaldon sex scene re-posted as fan-fic of the other author (sorry can't remember who just now) could have been shut down.

As I understand from a solicitor friend of mine in Edinburgh the law would allow the shut down of any size sites - even Live Journal, Word Press, Facebook etc. He also said they are planning to shut down any sign of copyright infringement whether there is money involved or not - they are looking to set an example. The other unfortunate thing about this law is that it is a 'act first - prove later' law. They only need reasonable suspicion of copyright infringement. For this law, there is no 'gray' area.

So.... anybody ready to open a conversation about how we get the fan-fiction community and the authorial/publishing community to cooperate?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Time Riders - Character Building

Ok... so I have this idea for a new series of YA novels that deal with Time Traveling Teens.

Not to give too much away, but each Time Riding team is made up of 6 kids and their time traveling partner. Each book will focus on one of those pairs, but the other members of the team will make appearences.

There is also a villain, and a secret society called the Groomsmen.

The novels will play out in 7s. Six books to get to know the team and to set up the villain, and then a final book where the team (hopefully) defeats the villain.

Time Traveling will be connected to the hormonal flux of teenage years - so as the kids mature they lose the ability to travel. 

I could see easily doing another 7 book series with a completely new set of riders and a new villain.

To get geared up for the first book I need to get a handle on 20 some characters. I am doing research now and loving it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Journal Entries {sigh}

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Even when only doing hypothetical entries from childhood memories I fail.

I just am not really the autobiographical sort I suppose.

As for getting ideas to write about - I am *never* short of ideas. They spring up from my dreams, from observations of the world, from some deep well of my sub-conscious that really loves trivia and weird sh*t! Ideas are not the problem. In fact, I have the opposite problem - not enough time to develop all the ideas I have.

I think I shall reevaluate this workshop and its value for me as a writer. In the meantime I need to research horse cops of early 20th Century New York.

The latest story idea is pushing to be written and since I am done with any conceivable work on the novel currently being shopped (at least until an agent/publisher/expert reader demands changes) I am free to start in on.... (Duh, duh, duh!!!):

The Timeriders

Monday, May 10, 2010

Journal Entry #3 - Boobs

I was far too exhausted to write last night - so this is the first of two entries that will appear today.

What IS it with boys and boobs?!?!?  I am the only girl in 6th grade to have them and all the boys do is tease me or try to stick their hands down my shirt. It creeps me out!

Its not like I did something to deserve them - or that I even wanted them in the first place. The other girls all look at me with envy. I don't get it. To me they are nothing but a nuisance. Sleeping on my stomach is a pain now. Bras are uncomfortable. I don't like the feeling when my nipples shrink - it is like an itch you can't scratch.

They make me look ore like my Mom when all I want is to be able to ride and work like my Daddy. Boobs suck!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Journal Entry #2 - Dream Escort

This is the second of my 'required' journal entries. I am using random memories from my childhood to create imaginary Dear Diary musings.

Last night I couldn't sleep. The cars just kept driving by my window all night long. I can't get used to this new life as a city girl. I really miss the ranch, my horse and the smells of clean country air. Everything here smells like car exhaust. The only good thing is the Donut Hole just down the street. Mama got us donuts for breakfast this morning.

Anyway, I couldn't sleep and I was tossing and turning and Charlie kept hissing at me to just keep still and Earl was snoring and Eric kept saying "You guys be quiet, Mom and Dad need their rest."  It really sucked.

Then I began to get a little sleepy, and I could see myself wandering in a field of fog or mist - completely surrounded by white. I was still awake, but it felt like I was already dreaming. Then the fog began to swirl and I heard hoofbeats. The horse came closer and closer, creating eddies in the mist until its great head appeared.

It had to be a Percheron, it was so big. A huge muscular chest followed the long face on an arching dappled neck. I could feel the thunder of his hoof-falls reverberating in my chest. He was outfitted in strange drapings - long hangings with square-jagged edges and some kind of black bird embroidered on the rump.

He carries a rider wearing a similar kind of robe or dress or something with a big black bird on his chest. This man has long hair and a short beard. Under his robe he is wearing some kind of jingly metal shirt thingy.

Somewhere in the back of my mind a connection is made - this guy looks like a knight. Only he looks nothing like a knight.  In movies or in the books they are always so shiny and so young - unless they are shiny and very old. This guy is like my dad, neither young or old. And strong, he looks really, really strong.

As his horse sweeps by me, the knight leans out of his saddle and scoops me up by one arm, depositing me on the hindquarters of his giant horse. My legs are practically in the splits! He rides me to my dreams and then disappears.

I wonder if we'll ride again tonight?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Journal Entry #1 - Walking

Note: I am supposed to be keeping a journal for a writing workshop I am taking. At the end of the week I have to write a poem based on one of the entries. Journal keeping is not a talent I have. A friend suggested that I use my Blog and simply point my tutor here. As I do not want it to get icky-personal I  plan to journal historic moments in my life. No reason to subject folks to the argument Chip and I had over diet and exercise today.

June 20th, 1969.

Grandma and Grandpa Wiseman are coming today. My sister Lynn's birthday is on Sunday and they are coming for that. But I don't really care why they are coming. I only care that Grandma has brought her walking shoes.

Every time she comes to the ranch, we walk everywhere! Looking for arrowheads. Visiting the old pioneer glass dump. Hunting for frogs, or crawdads or bunnies. Grandma Wiseman makes everything seem so magical. I mean she is a city girl but still notices things that I have never seen. She makes the ranch out to be a magical kingdom full of the wonder of God's creation.

My other Grandma just makes it all seem like work.

I can't wait til they arrive! I think I'll go check if they are here yet.




Thursday, May 06, 2010

Journelling - To Do or Not To Do

I am currently taking a writing workshop through the local library and the teacher has advised we journal as homework.

I have never really kept a diary (6 months as an 8 yr old doesn't really count) and although I do have some wonderful trip journals, those are short term event focused writing.

I have a really hard time journalling daily - not that I find my life boring - but that I just can't seem to find the oomph to actually write my day down.

Many people have told me I should write a memoir, and I sometimes play with the idea of doing it as a series of diary entries (probably the only way I could make writing about myself palatable) but beyond that I struggle.

What are the thoughts of the rest of you? Do you journal? If so, what about and why and how often? If not, do you think you should?

Struggling!
Eddie

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fan Fiction a Continuing Discussion

Hello,

I wanted to make this new post to let everyone know I am learning things here.

There is no more name calling, or over-reaction. My only consolation is that I was not the only one over-reacting.

What I am trying to do now, however is reach understanding. As I perceive it, the beginning stances of the two sides were these:

Me: I think Fan Fiction is stealing and non-creative.
FF: We never steal and are more creative than you give us credit for. Plus, we hate being insulted.

Ok - that is the he said she said. Now, if we want to be civilized I will try and understand why you say it is never stealing and you will try and understand why I think it is and after learning more about each other we come to a civilized agreement, even if it is to agree to disagree.

Before you comment on this post, I respectfully ask you to re-read my original post and the comments I have made there. I think you will see a clear change in my stance as I learn more about the world of fan fiction from reasoned speakers such as delwynmarch.

For the record - I no longer see fan fiction as non-creative. I also no longer think it is stealing, but I do believe there are some potential sticky issues about copyright that could be worked through with a good dialogue between writing communities.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I Remember

I went to a poetry writing workshop tonight and one of the writing exercises was to write a poem titled 'I Remember'. The workshop leader gave us 3 minutes to complete the task. Here is my effort:

I Remember Moving
 I remember the differences.
The trees, distorted, twisted by ocean breezes.
The impossible blue/green of the sea.
Exchanging waving wheat
For fluted waves.
No mountains.
No plains.
Just the ridiculous profusion of flowers
And the endless song of the ocean against the sand.
Then...
I remember moving.
I remember the differences.
The looming gray stone edifices, grime streaked with time.
The impossible fairie green of the grass.
The centering castle.
A crazy-quilt of 16th century bones carving the sky.
I remember cathedral bells arguing with buskers,
And the dour, rain-swept landscape
Peopled with enduring irony.
Then...
I remember moving.
I remember the sameness.
The vast praries unchanged by my absence.
The frosted mountains brushing impossibly tall fingers towards the sky.
Exchanging oceans of granite and salt water
For a land without oceans.
No beaches.
No castles.
Just the ridiculous politics of family
And the tug of a grandchild's embrace.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Lady Diana Starts a Sh*t Storm

Diana Gabaldon, one of my favorite authors, has created a Blog post which is currently receiving a tempest of comments on the subject of Fan Fiction.

I must admit I have never understood FanFic. I have known many people that write it and read it, and they all seem a little obsessive to me. I am likely to get flamed for this, but it is the truth. Each one of the folks I have known seemed to feel a real need to insert themselves into their favorite stories in some way. I don't feel this need. For me, when I read really good fiction it is an immersive experience - I wouldn't want to think of additional material for fear of breaking the bond I feel with the original.

I find interesting the types of exchanges that are occurring:

    Diana: The thought of my characters used pornographically disgusts me.
    FaFic Apologists: Well YOU have them get raped and abused and they have LOTS of sex.

   Diana: I feel as if my hard work is being stolen, and my ideas violated.
   FanFic Apologists: You called us thieves and pedophiles.

  Diana: FanFic a gray area in Copyright law.
  FanFic Apologists: We only do it because we love the source material, and we only sell it for charity.

  Diana: People should write original stories, not plagiarize others.
  FanFic Apologists: You are mean for not wanting us to plagiarize your characters - we will never read your books.

Although I find most of the arguments childish I must say that the FanFic community is adamant that they (mostly, or 99%, or 7/8ths) are reasonable people that will not write stories using characters of an author who objects.

If this is the case Writers of Fan Fiction, I challenge you:  NEVER post a story you have written using another author's characters without FIRST getting permission. This way, you can write all you want at home, but when you want to make it public (ie: post it on the internet) you only do so after having received the original author's blessing. This would keep the process honest and remove the copyright infringement issues that Diana is most concerned about. It does not infringe on your right to explore the ideas you are inspired by, and it makes a clear legal pathway to punish those writers (some, 1% 1/8th) that do not have respect for the source author now.

If my book does get published, it is likely to attract fanfic (fantasy/magic/romance stories tend to) and I just don't know how I would react. Just now, my sympathies lie with Diana. There is something vaguely creepy about letting someone else put their hands all over my characters.

Edited to add: Comments have begun arriving, and the first two are personally insulting. I will post them all, because I was hoping for a dialogue, and I don't want to list only those folk that agree with me. It would be nice however, if comments were constructive. If I am being naive, tell me and educate me.

"I have an opinion. It happens to be the right one. That is, until you show me something I did not know that causes me to change my opinion. Then... I have an opinion. It happens to be the right one."


Edited to add: a shamefully dropped comma. Tempers seem to have cooled a bit, although both Diana and I are still getting the occasional "I'll never read your writing" comments, the name calling seems to have mostly stopped. There have been some really wonderful comments that have helped me to understand the world of fan fiction better. I think, if we can all calm down that we can find a gracious way to get along.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Word on Exclamation Points.

!

It is the most reviled of punctuation marks. It is one I struggle with. Pundits say you should use it as little as possible. Exclamation points are to communicate only the most extreme of emotional responses.

I get that. I really do.

One teacher at first suggested that you only use a written exclamation point where one would be in actual speech. She suggested that I pay attention to my own speech and note the infrequency of exclamations.

Hmm... she didn't know me very well, because I speak in exclamations all the time! I am ALWAYS excited about something. Jazzed! Amped! Distraught! Despairing! Overwhelmed! Extremely passionate! In fact, some people have found my highly enthusiastic personality off-putting and have requested that I learn to tone it down. My true friends however learn to accept my exclamations and note their absence with a concerned 'Are you feeling ok?'

Conclusion? Our characters should be true to their own personality. If you have a hero with a larger than life personality like mine you can get away with more of the pesky punctuation. If, however, you have a wall-flower heroine you should save the exclamation points for climactic moments.

!

Good News for Scribe Types

One of the agents I plan on submitting my novel to has this to say about the current market.

I hope that I can be one of those authors who is worth competing for.

This sort of news also bodes well for future projects (series novels and new ideas both).

I am learning how to talk about my book in a way that people are starting to say - "That sounds really good - I want to read it." I used to get responses more like this - "Hmmm it sounds like you really enjoy writing."

The book idea didn't change, I am just learning how better to encapsulate it. I am establishing a common narrative that I can use to talk about the book. I still find it weird to 'talk up' my book. It feels too much like I am talking up myself - a thing I was taught never to do. But with this new determination to refine, perfect and shop my work has come the focus on talking about it without embarrassment.

Wait... is that a sign of impending maturity?!?!? Wonders never cease!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2000 a day might be a bit Crazy!

My husband has pointed out that trying for 2000 a day would be a good amount if I was actually a full-time writer, but since I am still looking for a job...

{sigh} I hate that I can't just do what I want already. I am 47 years old. I waited until my kids were grown and now I just want to be irresponsible!!

But the fact of the matter is - you can't live without money, and for the near (or even God-forbid, distant) future I must continue to make money of some kind to keep the debt collectors away.

Balance is the thing that is needed here and 2000 words a day isn't balanced - that is more than you need to accomplish the NaNo goal of 50,000 words in a month.

So what kind of goals are reasonable?
Which targets are motivational and which are distructive?

I don't know - but watch this space while I struggle to find out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finding Time and Space to Write

Time management is a big bug-a-boo for me. My days just seem to get away from me. I plan an dedicating a day to writing and find that groceries need to be purchased, or the car needs an oil change, or the library books need to be returned.

When you are working for someone else there is a boss who commands your presence - outside forces that demand compliance. No matter the chores that need completed at home, you must get up, go to work and attempt to accomplish the rest in the eves and on the weekends.

The problem with writing is that the creative juices don't always flow on a daily schedule. Some mornings my writing is brilliant at 9am - others it is execrable.

So - I am trying a new way of insuring I write everyday. It doesn't matter when I start, but I will keep writing until I have completed 2000 words. On good days I jump right out of bed (inspired by my dreams) and have the 2000 words by 11 am. Other days I don't get started with any real writing til 4pm. It doesn't matter as long as I make the word count.

It seems to be working pretty well - except for this Blog. I think I will start a daily '1st thing in the morning' post. It may mean that much of what I write here will lack a sense of coherence as I am not always at my best in the AM but at least it will solidify the habit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blame the Woman - an Age Old Game Continues

It has long been the habit of male dominated societies to blame women for things that go wrong, but this really takes the cake!

Seriously now?

I apologize Denver for that last snow-storm. I went down to check the mail in my PJs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dealing with the S-E-X Word

I have just written a book that I know many members of my own family are going to dislike.

There is cussing in this book, which is bad enough. Worse, there is S-E-X. Between people who aren't married! With multiple partners. Even that dreaded M word - masturbation.

I have always found our American attitude towards sex to be mystifying. Today I came across this article that explains the bi-polar relationship with sex and passion in modern America.

So, as authors do we cave to the puritans or the flirt with the hedonists?

This world is nothing if not diverse. There are people in all parts of the world making decisions every day that I may or may not agree with. People are comfortable doing things to their bodies that horrify me, worry me, turn me on and make me curious. Sexual pleasure is taken in forms familiar and unthinkable, frightening and intriguing.

When it comes to my writing, I have decided to allow my characters to dictate their own behavior. This means that sometimes they shock me and other times their prudery annoys me - at least it is as honest on the page as I can make it.

I can look my family in the eye and say "this is the book I intended to write and my characters act true to themselves."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Families - The Ultimate Writing Destroyers!

Yes.. I am guilty.

The GrandBoys look at me with their big brown eyes, trembling lower lips, and please, please, pleases and I cave.

I rationalize that 1500 is not that far shy of the 2500 word daily goal.
I promise that I can get back to the writing after the boys are tucked in for the night.
I make excuses about the fleeting hours of childhood.

In other words, I am guilty of letting my family destroy my writing time.

Luckily for me, this only happens occasionally. My normal situation is that of an empty-nester living in a small apartment that requires little upkeep. My husband and I live simply and this allows plenty of time for writing and composing.

What I struggle with is the requests from family. You know the type:

"Eddie, you don't have a job, could you come stay with the GrandBoys/niece/nephew for a few days?"

My next challenge is learning how to manage these requests and keep writing. I can generally write anywhere as long as I have a relatively comfortable chair, a nice cup of tea and my iPod.

I will just have to find a way to keep schedule when I am not in my own house.

Is that a Grandson I hear calling?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Finding a Comfortable Place to Write

My apartment is compact. I have a desk, but no proper desk chair so writing at my desk can be uncomfortable.

I sometimes write sitting on my chase lounge which can be comfortable... for a while.
I sometimes write sitting at my pub style kitchen table. Comfortable... for a while.
I sometimes write sitting in a rocking chair, or on the piano bench... for a while.

In the end run all of these options choose to be uncomfortable and the flow of my writing is interrupted by protesting muscles and joints.

The most comfortable space for long sessions of writing - my bed.

One day I hope to be able to afford a custom workstation and high-tech ergonomic chair. Until that bright day I have taken to spending all day in bed.

Sounds decadent no?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Can't Be Brain Dead on This Job!

One of the interesting things I am learning about writing as a 'full-time' career is that you can't have brain dead days.

When you work in an office, unless you have a micro-manager, it is generally possible to fake it through a day when the brain isn't quite firing on all cylinders.

This is not the case when you are writing. If you are brain dead the words on the page are DOA.

I suppose that experienced writers probably set aside certain tasks to do on those days that the synapses just aren't firing.

I don't know. I can't really think of what to do. I'm having a brain dead day!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Verbosity with a Purpose

During revising we are encouraged to Cut Cut Cut. Concise prose is highly valued.

I see that, I really do. But I am a major fan of Dickens and Gabaldon. I like wordiness. The more sensuous the words on the page, the more I enjoy the book.

Partly this comes from my early childhood reading experiences. My Mama read Dr Seuss stories to me practically from birth, and I learned to read at age 4 by bugging my older bothers to share the books they were reading in school. Consequently, I had a VERY developed vocabulary and reading ability at a young age.

The summer before my fourth grade year I ran out of books. We lived 30 miles from the nearest library and only went into town once each month. I had read everything on the shelf at home as was driving my mother insane with whinging. Finally, in desperation, she pulled Shakespeare's Complete works off the shelf and challenged me to read it.

She said, "You won't understand it the first time you read it, but just go back and re-read it until you do understand."

She was looking for a good way to get me off her back. It worked. I grabbed the dictionary and the Works and disappeared for the remainder of the summer.

I read it, and read it and read it again. The first time it was mostly gobbeldy-gook. The second time I began to get a sense of the rhythm and flow. The third I began to grasp the plots, and by the fourth time through I was completely enamored with the elegance of the language and the power of the stories.

In the end run, we must right what we know. I know and love words. My goal now is to communicate this well enough that others who feel the same will provide the market for what I write.

Of course I am still cutting, tightening and polishing my work. I just doubt that the word concise will ever be applied to my writing!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Disgust, Disgust, Disgust

I just read about a video game that is about rape!?!?!?

In what universe is this ok? I understand the protests that you can't really regulate artistic expression - but really?!? It is ok for young men to play-act RAPE? I have long felt that video games are dangerous in the same way pornography is - small doses do no harm, but repeated exposure and obsession can lead to real mental problems. Garbage in = Garbage out.

So how do we fight back?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Search for a Pen Name Part 2

Well, I don't think you can choose a pen names these days without googling it to see if any other person has claimed that name.

Looking just at the two options using some form of my own name reveals that Eddie Louise is already me - ie I have an established web presence (including a review in the Scotsman of an opera I wrote the libretto for. The only other Eddie Louise of note is a black male with a mugshot on line. Most importantly, no-one has the domain name eddielouise.com.

Louise Michaels is a bit more problematic, as there is an artist by that name and she has claimed the domain name.

So, unless I choose to go with a name unrelated to my own, Eddie Louise it is.

As a side note, Deuce Roadkill has announced that he is the secondary star of a YA novel. Evidently my 1950's heroine (whom I haven't met yet) is obsessed with the many adventures of Deuce Roadkill and is patterning her behaviors after him to the consternation of her conservative father and stay-at-home mom. Like most ideas I have that come at inconvenient times, I will note it in the small blank book I carry everywhere and save the story idea for a rainy day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

An Author's Bio and Pen Name

Taking a little break from editing (it is going really well today - but just need a moment to clear my head) and wondered about my author's bio. You know, the little blurb about me to put at the end of a book.

I am not sure 'learned how to tell great big lies at an early age' is quite the right thing. I am sure I can think of something!

As for a pen name I have thought of many - choose your favorite:

Using my own name or some deritive thereof:
Eddie Louise
Louise Michaels (this is my middle name + my husband's)

Or an anagram:
Lace Riddek (Eddie Clark)
Deuce Roadkill (Eddie Lou Clark) Hmmm... not quite right.


Anybody got suggestions?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rules for Writing?

There are many interesting things said in this Guardian article.

Truthfully - I generally just try to write something I would enjoy reading.

The Revision Process

I am neck deep in revision of Devil in Her Dreams. Making Nick more aggressive and dangerous - clarifying the roles of the triplets - correcting horrid grammar errors committed after too much tea and too little sleep. Basically, all those things you do to turn the rough, raw lump of stuff that came out of your brain into a readable book.

I have been given a bit of encouragement by an author friend of mine and will be submitting the manuscript to an agent she has recommended.I may never be a published author, but I will be damned if that is for lack of trying!

In the meantime I do daily battle with self doubt, read book after book for inspiration, and hold fast to the idea that I just want to tell stories!