Writing

Feel like beating my head against a wall!

I feel like I’m never going to be a productive writer again.  I have tiny, fragmented ideas for three separate novels bouncing around inside my head like fireflies on a summer night.  Nothing is longer than a few lines, and the scenes are fleeting at best, coming and going before I can even begin to write them down.  I have no idea which one to settle on and how to ignore the other scenes from the other stories once I start working on one particular idea.  UGH!  How does anyone ever get anything done?

About me · Writing

Seattle, writing, and… Honey Boo Boo?

I’m going to Seattle in one week!!!!!!!!!!!  Those that know me know how freakin‘ excited I am about this trip.  Plus, it’s a business trip, fully paid for by my employer, and I get to spend five nights in the city I’ve been dreaming of moving to for at least two decades.  (I’m also legitimately excited to see the corporate campus.  It’s apparently huge and pretty awesome.  Maybe I’ll run into a certain world-respected technological revolutionary who happens to be the CEO of the company, too!)  I’ve never been to Seattle, no, but the weather and the location have always called to me.  I thrive on wet and/or gloomy days, and Seattle seems to have their fair share of them.  I’ve set several stories, both fanfiction and original WIPs in Seattle, and I hope to do some recon while I’m there to come up with new and original settings for stories. I want to be inspired and be filled with ideas for writing once I get home!  Anyway, those that follow me on Twitter (current Twitter is this, but I think I’m moving over to this one), Tumblr, and Instagram better be prepared for a ton of pictures. (And I know I’ll be putting some on here, too.)  I’m going to be burning up my iPhone snapping shots of every possible thing.  And as of right now, the forecast for Seattle is saying sunny days.  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.  I want rain, and I want a lot of it.  For the full Seattle experience, I want to be soaked from the rain.  Got it, Mother Nature???

On the writing front, I have an idea that’s been percolating in my head lately.  It’s a World War II-era story and it’s slowly coming together.  I’ve written a few paragraphs here and there, just little snippets from that moment or this moment as I see them clearly in my head.  Maybe nothing will come of it, but at this point, I’m thankful for any writing inspiration I get!

Anyway, I have a busy week ahead.  I have to wrap everything up before I leave so that I have no loose ends waiting for me here while I’m out there.  I’ll hit the ground running when I get back and then, in mid-April, I get to go BACK to Seattle for another week of training!!!!

Also, we discovered “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” tonight, and, like most of America, we were unable to look away from the redneck trainwreck.  What. the. hell? We were flipping channels and I saw a toothless man speaking the southern version of American English and they had him subtitled.   Within three seconds, I realized what we were watching.  Within five seconds, we were both sucked in and howling hysterically.  While that family frightens the ever-lovin’ hell out of me, I couldn’t stop watching.  Also, it’s fairly obvious that Alana aka Honey Boo Boo, is, at 7-years-old, the smartest one in her family by a mile. Oy.  Stupid show!

About me · Home · Obsessions · The novel · Writing

It’s beginning to feel like home!

It’s been three weeks since we moved and we’re finally, FINALLY getting this place unpacked.  I’m on call this weekend, but things have been relatively quiet at work (I’ve checked my email about 10 bajillion times).  I decided that today would be the day I’d finally get the last 10 boxes in my dining room unpacked.  We ended up throwing away a lot of stuff because we went from a full sized, eat-in kitchen at our old house to a galley-style kitchen in our townhouse.  There just isn’t room for all the junk we had.  So we downsized, and I have to admit that it feels nice to do that!  I also rooted through box after box tonight looking for  these:

A few years ago, my mom found these dishes on FreeCycle and snagged them for me because they were clearly vintage.  They have “Syracuse China USA” printed on the back, so I started to do a little (well, a lot of) research.  As it turns out, Syracuse China made dishes for the restaurant industry.  These particular ones are in a pattern called Millbrook and they’re from 1938!!!  I’ve had them in boxes for a long time but at long last, I have a place to display them so out they came today.  I always picture them being used in my WWII-era novel, when Lila goes to help out at her aunt’s diner.  I can practically hear the sound of the utensils scraping against the plates as the patrons eat, talk amongst themselves, and listen to the radio that Aunt Beth constantly had on in order to catch the latest war news.  *sigh*  I need to get back to writing!

The novel · Writing

A question to the writers out there…

…do you ever feel like you’re going to drown in all the stories that are tumbling around inside your head, just waiting to be written?

I do.  There are so many, and they come at me in flashes and tiny snippets.  Moments of dialogue.  Flares of pain from a particularly sad monologue.  The connection to the characters are fleeting because as soon as I’m invested in a scene that’s playing like a Spielberg flick inside my head, it fades away and makes room for another one from a completely different story, with yet another set of characters who have a story to tell. And they come at me, firing like a barrage, when I’m at work, perhaps counseling an employee or working on a spreadsheet and can do absolutely nothing about them other than jot down a few notes and try to refocus on my day job (the thing that makes me money.)

When I finally do have a few quiet moments to write (after the mundane chores of daily life are done), I have to listen to who’s the loudest, which story is burning inside my mind during that particular moment.  Then, I can finally pound out a scene, where I imagine it being pulled from my brain in a wispy, silvery strand like a memory going into the Pensieve in the world of Harry Potter.  Only once I have a few scenes down can I breathe easier.  Finally.  They’re out.  My brain has room to focus again.

But the respite never lasts too long.  There’s always something to be written.

Home · Writing

The unexpected perils of writing

So the remnants of Hurricane Isaac finally made their way to Indiana.  As someone who is obsessed with rain because it fires up my writing muse, I was only too happy to move into the living room and set up shop by our huge picture window.  I turned on my netbook, lit my oil lamp, pulled back the curtains so that I could watch the downpour, and let out a happy sigh.  And then, not even three minutes later…

Plop.

Plop.

Plop.

Water.  Right on the trackpad of my netbook.

What the heck?

Lifting my head, I spy five cracks in the ceiling, one of which is allowing Isaac right inside my home.

Oy.

Calling the landlord tomorrow…

Writing

A new gal to get to know…

So I invented a new character last night.  She came out of nowhere, she’s incredibly messed up, and I love her to pieces already.  I’m trying to figure out who she physically looks like at the moment.  I like to pick out celebrities to physically model my characters after because it makes them come to life for me.  This girl is hard to figure out so far, though.  Not sure who she looks like!  Funny, the male characters are easy…. they all end up either looking like Jensen Ackles or Mark Salling.  (Mainly Jensen these days because holy crap do I love that man.)  I’m sure her physical characteristics will materialize for me soon.  I love new characters.  YAY!  Of course, this is derailing my other writing plans but as long as I jot down all the notes I can about her, she’ll be ready for me to write when I’m ready to write her.  At least my brain is wanting to write right now.  Progress!!!

The novel · Writing

A little s-e-x… or a lot?

Can we talk about sex, please?  Well, not the act of it, per se, but attitudes toward it in the past versus the present.  I think a lot of people are inclined to believe that in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and right up to the start of the sexual revolution in the 60s, premarital sex just didn’t happen.  And if it did, there was an intense level of shame that rode piggy-back on the person who’d had the sex.  For example, my dad was born in May of 1945, after his parents had been married only seven months.  Later in life, when he questioned their wedding date as compared to his date of birth, he was told that he had been a premature baby.  Pictures of my dad as an infant show a robust, downright roly-poly, healthy baby.  Dad always joked that had he been carried to term, he would have been an 18 pound newborn.  It’s obvious that my grandparents engaged in a little pre-wedding hanky-panky but even when my dad was 50 years old, they still couldn’t tell him the truth.  So it seems that sex, while obviously a part of life, wasn’t an open part of life.

Fast forward to today, where attitudes toward sex are blase.  Television, music, movies, books – everything is designed with sex in mind.  As a result, kids are growing up way too fast and with more knowledge than they need at a young age.  The reason I’m even talking about this is because the novel I’m working on takes place during the 40s, where sex, as a point of conversation, wasn’t treated the same way it is today.  It’s a topic that also has to be addressed because the actual act of it is apparently becoming pivotal to my story.  (The reason I say “apparently” is because the novel I had planned is not the story that’s coming to fruition.  The characters have other ideas and they’re letting me know, one detail at a time.)  The thing I have to remember when writing is that, while sex certainly happened – think of all the soldier boys leaving home for God only knows how long and that whole “last night on earth” mentality that must have been present – my characters wouldn’t have openly talked about it like characters would in a novel that takes place in modern day.  The thing is that today, sex sells.  Even badly-written, questionable sex sells. (I’m thinking of a certain terribly written fanfiction story-turned-novel that involves the “hero” (and I use that term under great duress) yanking a tampon from the body of his heroine so that he can bang her for the 14th time that day.)  Since sexually charged stories are so popular, the more the better, right?  I have think about those things when writing this novel.  Sex is pivotal to the story line, yes.  It’s a catalyst for so much of what comes later.  And even though I know that graphic details and titillating descriptions are what attracts an audience, my biggest challenge is staying true to the era.  A conversation that would easily happen between girlfriends today almost certainly wouldn’t have happened in 1941.  There wouldn’t have been any “OMG we totally did it” moments to share between squealing girlfriends.  Any conversation would have been had in hushed tones with one eye toward the door.

So I guess the question I’m posing to myself is how much sex is too much sex?  Where do I draw the line between keeping a modern audience happy and telling an authentic story?  I love writing sex just as much as the next gal, but I have to find my limits with these particular characters, because I don’t want to turn my readers off when attempting to turn them on.