Friday, February 28, 2014

Writing Day No Go

Today's Friday - my favourite writing day. I get the kids up and out to school, I typically do one session at a daycare and am back at my MeStation at 9am to do a blog post, FB check and jump into my WIP.

Today I just feel too crappy. I got the kids up and out and was back in bed by 830. Woke up at 130. Forced myself to get showered and then climbed back ON the bed, not in it, where I'm cuddling with my pup and watching the Jays' third game.

I'm mad that I'm missing my productive day but there's no deadline for my WIP so a day won't matter in the long run. Maybe my creative centre is in my sinuses? Blocked and paining. Nothing worthwhile coming out of my head today.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Much About Nothing

I started this blog entry first thing this morning. That's my routine on writing days, first a blog entry to get me warmed up, then whatever I'm working on. Oh wait, no first is Facebook, then blog entry, then Facebook, then WIP, then Facebook for a bit... you get the picture. Toss in there several trips to the kitchen to refill my diet Coke glass, find a snack, let the dog out, turn on the water for the cats... And speaking of cats, the fat one jumps up, jumps down, jumps up, jumps down all day. She's cute though, and she talks to me with mews so how can I resist?

Perhaps there are multiple reasons why I'm not always productive?

This am though, the blog entry was a big white blank page. I didn't know what to put. I thought I'd try to compare the arts of writing and drawing to the arts of sports in light of the recent Olympics and I was going to tie them together with Churchill's famous answer "Then what are we fighting for?" to the suggestion of cutting funding for arts for the war effort but even that wound up a dead end because apparently he didn't even say that. So I gave up on the blog entry and went back to my WIP (well, Facebook first, if I'm honest) and I actually had a good day and got a lot done.

Happy Monday!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Bullying... the whys.

I've been giving workshops at the local libraries about writing and one of my 'tips' is 'Avoid Crowds and Caricatures'. The first part is easy - don't have too many characters in the story. Keep to the necessary ones. The second one is tougher - don't have characters that are in there just as a device for something to happen. No one is solely defined by his best moments or her worst actions. The reasons behind the actions need to be consistent and realistic with the character. No one outside of Disney is bad just to be bad, or good just to be good, there are always motives for actions, and the motives define the character. Taking away the motives and explaining only actions leaves the character flat and unnatural.

This is relevant because my current story has a bully in it. A big mean intimidating dimwitted bully. Everyone either knows or remembers someone like that - right? It would be easy - and believable - for him to be just that. But he'd be a caricature, an easy cop out.

So now I have to do some digging. What makes a bully a bully? Why do they do it? I know there's the easy 'bullied at home, bully at school' but maybe that's too easy too - and not always the case. Should make for some interesting research.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Spring!!!

Yes, "Happy Spring" even though our driveway would be skate-able if the ice had frozen flat instead of rutted with tire tracks and footprints. "Happy Spring!" even though some sites are calling for more snow this week (Not all, of course, some are calling for rain and some for sun, it is Halifax after all). "Happy Spring!" even though we're only sixteen days through the worst month of the year...

Why then? Because, BASEBALL!!!

Pitchers and Catchers have reported to spring training! The Jays first full work out is February 21 and they play Philly on the 27th. YAY!

I've written sports into each of my stories, at least in passing. To me, sports are an essential part of life. For my kids sports (hockey, basketball, baseball) teach persistence, practice, sportsmanship and FairPlay, confidence, graceful losing and classy winning, priorities and full effort. In Game Plan basketball was important enough to make the cover. Ella's star status on her basketball team was a huge pedestal from which to fall, was something important put at risk by her pregnancy and gave her something to move forward for during and after the story. It gave her a connection to Kat and Danny too, as he played university ball, like she was hoping to do. Her basketball gave her something to connect her to her brother and her friends, it gave her something nonverbal with which she could interact on a fair and even plane even when she was struggling to feel competent socially.

My short story, Nine, is narrated over nine innings of a baseball game. Mike is a big league picture who has returned to the game after the sudden death of his wife. He struggles to stay in the game and through the game works through some of the fallout of her death. In celebration of the Jays' spring training, I've put the price of Nine down to 50% on Kobo. Check it out!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hearts and kisses and sparkles to all of you. Ick.

I'm a closet romantic. Mushiness sets off my sarcasm and I wince at sentiment. But I root for the underdog and love a good girl-gets-boy chick flick. It has to be real though. It can be over the top corny or subtle and painful but if it's not real, it's instantly rediculous (that's not a spelling error, I've decided that's the proper spelling of that word).

I guess that's the bottom line. When I'm writing it has to be real. It can be futuristic, it can be fantastic with fairies and monsters. One of my favourites is Harry Potter. Woven within the giants and wizards and spells and time travel and flying sports is true emotions - fear, anxiety, excitement, growth and love. It's real and that's why it works.

And that's the challenge, maybe the ultimate challenge.


Monday, February 10, 2014

SO what's the point?

Happy Monday!

And I mean that with no sarcasm at all. I love Monday. It's Tuesdays I struggle with.

I received some feedback on Game Plan yesterday that really made me think. The reader asked:

"Was her hope to encourage young girls to feel comfortable giving their babies up for adoption?" 

And it's one of those questions that has festered with me even though I answered it easily and simply right away - no. So why is it taunting me?

Game Plan is 'just a story'. That doesn't mean there aren't themes and messages, though. It's a love story. And it's a story about being true to yourself, making hard choices and growing up doing that. But it's just a story with no political intent.

And that was tough to come to terms with when I was writing/editing it.

The easiest choice for Ella would be an abortion. But my story was about adoption and my respect for birth mothers who have lost children to adoption so an abortion would not tell the story. I really struggled with the why of it - Why would a 17 year old choose to go through a pregnancy and birth to give a baby up for adoption? Why would she choose to place a baby for adoption instead of keeping it, especially when her family was supportive. That's why it took Ella so long to find out she was pregnant - I guessed that hearing the heartbeat changes everything, regardless of the circumstance.

But it was a struggle to write her decision. The truth is, I can't know what's best in any circumstance and feel pretty strongly that it's not my right to choose or judge what someone else needs to do. I was very worried that Ella's decision would come across as judgemental and righteous to anyone who would choose differently. One of my favourite lines of the story was: "She couldn't end a life to fix her own." but it very nearly didn't make the cut... because I agonized that it would be condemning. And I worried readers would think that Ella's decision represented my categorical stance and that's just not true.

Anyways... always a good exercise to think on the whys of an emotion, there's usually something there to learn.


Friday, February 07, 2014

Ah Friday

Snow is really quiet. When it's raining, you can hear it hit the windows and the roof or hit the puddles as they get bigger. Snow just floats, heavy and slow and silent. That's what's outside my window. And while it might sound poetic, I hate snow. HATE it.

But whatever. I'm tucked into my office chair with a puddle of a cat perched on one knee. My desk light is making a circle on my computer and my diet coke is cold and fizzy. I have on my Fierce Reader hoodie that is too big and sooo slouchy it's perfect. My Acadia sweats and my way too expensive wool slippers that are actually worth every penny.

I've got the skeletons of three people pounded out. Today I'm going to do some digging into journalistic writing and try my hand at news articles. My newest project is starting to take shape, starting to grow and move on it's own and hopefully soon I'll have to rush to keep up.

I hate snow, but I love Fridays :)


Monday, February 03, 2014

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

It's Monday again and for me that's awesome - it's my day to sit at my 'puter with a puddle of a cat on my left knee and poke away at my most recent hallucination. This latest project has been different from others - I don't have the whole story yet. The other two stories were pretty much complete in my head, all I had to do was type it out. This one is a tangled mess, as I've written here before. I've made notes on cue cards and plugged through two characters. I've revisited what I thought was pretty complete to realize it was just the bones, the structure that needed a whole lot more. But now I feel like I've got the momentum and I'm moving forward.

I like being in the thick of it. I find the beginning of a story daunting and the end tedious and stressful. I like the middle where the words are flowing and mistakes are allowed. And I think I'm coming into that part after pushing and shoving and pulling and tearing my way through the obstacles of the beginning stages.

Of course I've no idea yet if this story has any merit, if it's any good at all but the process has become paramount to the end result. The process is the therapy, the magic, the fun, the end result - if there is one worth keeping - is the bonus.


#GoodDay Reviews

Charlie's Story on Wattpad

Game Plan on Wattpad

Nine on Wattpad

My other Distraction