Monday, June 23, 2008

The Waterboys and Perspective

Hopefully you can all access the video up there... this one worked out great because I wasn’t sure how many people had ever heard this song – and the lyrics run through the video, which is important to illustrating the story... so go ahead and play the video... I’ll wait....

Still waiting....

Yep, I’m still waiting...

Couldn’t access it? Really? Well, that’s not flippin helpful is it?


Okay, here... you can read the lyrics on this page and if you really have a hankering for 80’s British rock, just google Whole of the Moon and you’ll come up with a slew of YouTube video’s....

Okay.... ready now?

Eons and eons ago, when I was young and feisty and full of shit, someone played me this song and said that it reminded them of me... which, of course, was flattering as all hell. They really thought that I had some cosmic understanding... that I saw all of the answers before me and moved with some sure footedness that they lacked. The truth was, I made it up as I went along... I still do.

And these types of things have happened to me throughout my life and relationships. I’ve noticed that a lot of times, people project characteristics onto me that I don’t actually possess – both good and bad. A lot of the time, they’re projecting their own thinking... I’ve had women think I would steal their boyfriends or husbands, not because I wanted to or would, but because it’s something they’ve done themselves... In turn, though, some of the nicest people in the world give me a little more credit than I probably deserve, because they see their own good nature.

I think, for most of us, the person we know ourselves to be, the one we see in the mirror and face at night when nothing else moves or breathes or takes our attention, that person is not the same one anyone else sees. Not because we’re actively trying to hide our inner workings, just because there are other variables at play. When someone asks you how you are, you say ‘fine’... or, you give them a laundry list of complains in which case they will eventually start to actively avoid you... but, the deeper pondering for me, right this second, is not so much all the muck and garbage that no one else sees because we don’t want to bother them with it, but all of the traits they see that we don’t realize or think are there.

Is the me I am in my head more valid than the one other people see? Whose perspective counts more? Or are they equal? And let’s bring this around to the subject of writing, because that’s where it’s really coming from for me – how do you show this sort of duality in your characters? Do you show it? Have you thought about it before? Are your characters the same to the outside world as they are in the sanctity of their own thoughts? Do they project themselves differently? And is it on purpose or is it the perspective of other characters that comes into play?

And now I wonder if I’m explaining this accurately at all. Perhaps it’s just a tangent I’m on with regard to the writing I’ve been doing lately... the story I’m working on is boiling down to a dynamic that isn’t at all what it appears, and each person interwoven in this particular family has a different take on the others, that’s valid but not identical to what the separate characters see themselves... I think I may be floating in the literary ocean on this one, I’m afraid I might be in the middle of it with nothing but a little plastic ducky raft... but the bill squeaks and I haven’t seen any sharks yet... I sent the first page to a reader friend of mine, who liked the voice, and I do too, she’s a spitfire... but the whole of it, what’s fleshing out is so vast and uncontainable. Every character demands their own understanding, both the inner world and way they see themselves and the outer world – the way they’re seen... and here’s the kicker, the way a character is seen by one of the other characters is not the way they’re seen by every character...

Have you ever taken on a story that you just don’t know if you have the chops to handle? The real scary thing is, I have, as I mentioned in an earlier post, multiple other pitches fleshed out that I could be working on... but this is the only thing I feel compelled to write.

Perhaps I should go and listen to some nice fifties music... clean and easy, without the esoteric gibberish... How about you guys? How do you work with these complex characters? And have you ever started a project thinking you might not be writer enough to manage the scope it demands?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Post at Moonrat's

Our dearest, Moonrat, has included me in her ongoing blog book reviews!!!! My review of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn went up today, and I’m so honored to have been invited to participate!

If you’ve been living under a rock or something and missed them, go over to Moonie’s and dip back into the entries for the last few weeks. There’ve been reviews by wonderful agents and editors, and some fantabulous blogging writers, too!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Announcing Book Roast

A Brand New Site is sweeping into the Blog-o-sphere, and it's a must stop for the lover of booksies. Book Roast is a brand new blog covering new books and their authors... there are prizes, fun discussions, and the chance to not only find fantastic new reading fare, but to meet the authors... fun all around.

I'm adding this to my blogroll under, "Authors to Watch" and hope to see you all there... The first Author / book to be roasted is coming up on June 23rd!

Friday, June 13, 2008

What Book Am I?

First, everyone go over to Precie’s and send her good health and wellness vibes. She’s been out of the blogosphere lately, nursing some health problems and we want her better with a quickness...

She posted just today to tell us what book she was and I decided to take the quiz myself:

You're One Hundred Years of Solitude!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Lonely and struggling, you've been around for a very long time.
Conflict has filled most of your life and torn apart nearly everyone you know. Yet there
is something majestic and even epic about your presence in the world. You love life all
the more for having seen its decimation. After all, it takes a village.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Ironic, ‘it takes a village’ is one of my least favorite phrases, I think it’s complete bullshit and it negates personal responsibility... but that could be a long and winding discussion... Anyhoo, what else was I going to post but the results of a silly internet survey thingie... now off to read my horoscope and finish up The Secret... which, by the way, is a revamping of both traditional prayer and old Wiccan / Strehgeria beliefs, but I’ll digress...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mark Twain - Which author has most impacted you?

This post came to mind after reading through some of Moonie’s latest offerings. She’s doing a series of guest posts, having avid readers of her blog give book reviews on the novels that have made the most impact on them... That got me to thinking about books that have touched me as a writer, which spiraled into another thought, which author has had the most impact on me as writer? If I was to go with which novel, it would be a thoroughly different answer, and the answer might change depending on my mood or point of view at the time because, honestly, I’ve read a lot of amazing literature that’s impacted me in some form or fashion.

But which author? Hands down, it’s Mark Twain. I did read Tom Sawyer when I was in middle school somewhere, maybe sixth grade or so, but I didn’t think much about it until far later in life and I’ve had a love affair with Twain’s voice for most of my literate life. I can remember reading the following passage as a kid:

“...Within two minutes, or even less, he had forgotten all his troubles. Not because his troubles were one whit less heavy and bitter to him than a man’s are to a man, but because a new and powerful interest bore them down and drove them out of his mind for the time – just as men’s misfortunes are forgotten in the excitement of new enterprises. This new interest was a valued novelty in whistling, which he had just acquired from a negro, and he was suffering to practice it undisturbed. It consisted in a peculiar bird-like turn, a sort of liquid warble, produced by touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth at short intervals in the midst of the music – the reader probably remembers how to do it, if he has ever been a boy. Diligence and attention soon gave him the knack of it, and he strode down the street with his mouth full of harmony and his soul full of gratitude...”

When I was in my early twenties, I was waiting for a few of my friends to get ready to go out carousing and I found a battered old copy of Tom Sawyer on the coffee table. I was never one to sit in the mirror fretting about makeup and hair, so while they were occupied in the bathroom, I sat on the couch and paged open the book... I realized I was audibly whistling when one of my friends peered around the corner and asked what the hell I was doing. Ten or twenty two, I couldn’t help but whistle when reading that passage.

This wasn’t even my favorite of Twain’s work and my reasons for loving him as a writer are long and winding. Huckleberry Finn offered some of the most amazing characters, yes, but it also offered a commentary on racial relations that was quite radical for the time, and still loudly applauded... here’s the thing, Twain had deep and powerful motives behind his storytelling, he had paramount messages to get across, but he didn’t sacrifice the entertainment of the story to do so. The most memorable scene to me is on the river raft, when the very young Huck decides he’d rather go to hell than turn Jim in. It’s more powerful than it looks, because he really believes it.

Twain went to great pains to capture his characters and is probably most often associated with his dialect – which is tremendous. It’s funny that he would be the author I love so much, because I’m trying very hard to be a more organized writer that plots thoroughly rather than writing by the seat of my pants... Twain was anything but organized. He often had multiple stories in progress at a time and when one called to him louder, he’d move on with that one and abandon all of the others. He never plotted. He set characters down on the page and let them run around until they told the story. I think the thing that speaks most to me in Twain is his lack of pretension. His characters didn’t need to be royalty or elite, as so many of the day were. He reveled in getting into the mindsets of a society that was often overlooked...

This could probably ramble on a lot longer, as I loved the man as well as his work... I’d planned on including some of his quotes, but then we’d be here all day. How about you, as a writer or a reader, which author’s made the most impact on you? Would it be the same answer if I asked which novel has made the biggest impact?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fiction Writing ADD

I think I’m drowning... you know, without the water... the kids are officially on summer vacation and I appear to be the only mom on the playground not outlandishly thrilled at the prospect of having them home twenty four seven... ah, yes, bad mommy. To correspond with this momentous time of year where my time will be totally occupied in my full time job – being a stay at home mother – my creative demons have started to rally. Oh, yes, they is busy.

What is it with me exactly? Why is it, when I space out my time so that I can get some work done uninterrupted I’m at some sort of an impasse in my writing – either I’m at the point in revision where I really REALLY need to not work on it, to get some distance, yada yada... or I’m really not set on what I’m writing and therefore my writing time is less productive than say when I’m in the heat of creation.

Well, I thought (that was probably mistake number one, trying to think out my life... I don’t do well with that – it’s why I’m a seat of the pants writer... plotting never works out for me and the best adventures happen when I’m not at all looking for one)... Anyhoo, I thought I worked this out rather well. Revisions are done. Agent research is done. Pitches written. Synopsis complete. So basically, the plotty planny thingy, was to be geared up to fire off queries and sample pages so that I could concentrate on the kids and leisurely (hello, self? I said leisurely didn’t I?) start on the next project, without pressure.

So, what happened? I am suddenly inundated with plot ideas. I have writer’s ADD, hey look, a bunny! Seriously, I had a backburner plot all picked out... middle grade historical. I started some rudimentary research, and it’s a good idea and I like the main character... but, here’s where I think I went wrong. In order to write it, I really feel like I have to be immersed in the time frame... So I have a lot of reading and research ahead of me before I’m comfortable writing it... so my creative demons (most people call them muses but mine aren’t behaving lately, so there you go) well my creative demons didn’t want to wait... they’ve been steadily handing me fully formed plot ideas for various genres for the last month and a half.

Okay, let’s count them up, with the historical I already had planned, I have a notebook full of notes for two different middle grade novels, two different YA or tweens (I think one of them is actually tween but it could go either way), one mainstream adult fiction, one women’s fiction, and one – of all flippin’ things – mystery / suspense.

Seriously? Seriously. Here’s what I think happened; I planned myself a break from writing and something in my little creative section of brain power said, ‘oh, no, we don’t want a break... let’s keep throwing ideas at her until something’s way too good to pass up.’

So, have you ever done this? Have you ever had so many different creative irons in the fire that you confused yourself on where to go next? How do you pick? Objectively, I think I need to pick one serious idea and work on it solely. What I may do, though, is pick one of the contemporary plots so that I can start the writing process sooner, and do the research reading on the historical in my spare time so that I’m more ready for it when I finish the next wip...

So, my first step right now is to write up a pitch for each... then go through them and see which ones I’d rather read. Okay, what are you guys working on? Anyone working out more than one idea? And what are you doing with your kids over summer break?