Well, it has been a while, hasn’t it?

So, I have been busy with life.  but IIIIIMMMMMM BAAACK!

There is a 200 word challenge posted by a friend of mine, DJ Davis. It is from Chuck Wendig. You write 200 words in a week. Then you take some else’s 200 words and build on their story. Likewise, someone will take your. And so on for 5 weeks. This should be interesting. Who knows?  So here it is: my 200 words.

                God, how she hated dance music. Tony blared that crap every day at work, and after four years, she couldn’t take it anymore. Most had their I-phones or mp3’s and earbuds to stuff in their heads. The rest of them had to suffer. Her fist smashed the bread dough with a vengeance. One fist beat the soft, yeasty mass over and over.

“Screw this.” Abagail reached and ‘touched’ the electric plug that asshole’s antique radio was plugged into. Sparks crackled from the outlet, the acrid smell of burnt plastic ripped across the room.

“Judas Priest!” The sift super rushed over and yanked the cord from the wall. “Tony, this piece of crap is gone. You understand me? Three times in one week? Burn it, burn your own house down, but keep it out of my bakery.” Allen rammed the offending device into Tony’s chest before stalking off.

Gloria could not help the smile that crossed her lips. Then common sense took over. Shit. Why did magic have to be so unpredictable? Two years, and she still could not predict the outcomes, not like her teacher. Who would no doubt taste the magic in the air around her.

Life sucked chunks.

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Get out of the way

Ray Bradbury has a quote I love: “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”

Recently I got stuck in my current WIP. I had the ideas, I had the vision, but failed to follow the vision. I tried to force the story to fit in  a different mold, and came up with a tangled mess. instead of everything serving plot or sub-plots, scenes were simply filler or made no sense to the theme.

In other words, I got in my own way. My ego, my personal desires gummed up the inner-voice that connects me to the world, the vision, I dreamed of. I let a …hmmmm… ‘personal issue’ get in the way of the story. Now I have over a dozen pages to re-write to make things flow again.  All because I did listen to my intuition. “I” got in the way of the story.

This in no way means our stories cannot or should not be organic. They do, can, and will change as we write them. No matter how well you plot out a story, it WILL change. It is natural for insight into a character or issue in the work to suddenly become clear, thus altering what we thought things were. Such insights may change only three words in the entire work, but those three words will alter the story for the better.

I will save these mistakes for possible use in the future, if only to look at it and ask, “Well stupid, have you learned from this?” I will always hope the answer is “Yes”.

This ‘get out of the way’ can easily be a metaphor for life. When we get in the way of what we are supposed to be doing, life hands us a b***h-slap upside the head, most commonly with a clue-by-four. But it is far easier to correct a written issue when we get in our own way than to do so in the waking world.

Lesson learned. Now to apply to both the waking world, and the world I wish to manifest on the printed/electronic page.

How have you gotten in your own authorial  way, and have you learned from it? Now, how do you apply these lessons to life?

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Life gets in the way

Today not much writing will happen. My mother’s home town is flooded, and she lost her house. I also cannot contact her via phone, cell, or email. 

Needless to say, I am a bit worried. So I ask for good thoughts, and will try to plow along. 

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Time breaks

This won’t be long.

I am stuck. I am in a section where I have to decide whether or not a make a break in the time-line. I do have ideas for this, but wonder if they serve plot. 

This is one of the author’s dilemmas: to continue with current thought, or break away from from the whole thing, while keeping it in the back of one’s mind. Or should I write it and edit it later?

So, my beloved people: what are your thoughts?

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Maps. If one is writing epic fantasy in a world hitherto unknown, it behooves one to have a clear idea of what is where. I tried pantsing my current WIP (Work-In-Proggress) without a map, and got confused as to who was where, when.  Now some authors can do this. But many published authors I know use modern day maps in urban fantasy. Some can do the whole thing in their heads. I, unfortunately am not one of those. I need a concrete view of what is where in my world, because I get lost. Yup, I am challenged both in direction and temporal issues both in writing and the ‘real world’. So I made a map. It is not the best, but I have an artist-friend who is going to clean it up for me. But now I have absolute values for what is where. Image

If you are writing, and have not a clear idea, or find your beta-readers are confused, map it. Even in a house, make floor plans. I find it cements the geography and world more clearly in my mind. And that can lead to revelations of plot and society and character you might have been unaware of…later. 

Next….to plot-line or not to plot-line? That is the question.

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More important than writing WIP (Work-In-Progress)

Blasphemy to some, I know.However, I am moving. In part due to circumstances beyond my control . One of those is parvo. Two dogs in my apartment complex have died of it. Even though my Monster (my dog’s name is Monster) is up to date on his shots, that is no guarantee he won’t get it. We go to the vet today, then I pack like a madman.

For those who do not know, parvo is a highly contagious, long lasting virus that can kill a dog in three days. I do not have much. Things can be replaced. Writing can be done later.

My Monster cannot be replaced. Like a WIP, he is a child. Unlike a WIP, he is a living, breathing being. I only get one shot at having him. No contest. 

I was going to rant about idiots not taking care of their pets as one dog never got his shots. The owner was too cheap and busy going out. But that is all I will say on the subject. 

Time to pack.

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Turning the page

With everyone using Kindles or Nooks or whatever, I think too many people have forgotten that actual paper-books are so much more than just the written word. E-readers cannot compete. Yes, you can have a dozen digital copies, but how can that compare? Allow me to demonstrate.

First, set yourself up. A soft light from a lamp or candle; a cup of coffee or tea, comfy pillows all around. Then seek a real book -hardback or paperback- and close your eyes. Let your fingers run over the face lightly, caressing first the front and then the back.

Is it embossed with textures, the jumble of a woven cloth, or is it silky smooth? Can you feel the thrill of something unknown, waiting to be discovered? Let you hands wander over it, feeling it, knowing it in all the glory that is there.

Now, open it to random page -eyes still closed- and slowly bring it to your nose. Can you smell the faint hint of vanilla? The acrid bite of new ink? Or has it been read so much the odour of human fingers, the musk and salt-tang of sweat and human presence, gently touches your nose?

Open your eyes. Look. The cover hold the title. What does it say to you? The colours and images, bright and vivid: let them speak to a primordial part of yourself; the innermost part of your imagination bringing the contents to life. Even before you have devoured the first word.

Run your fingers down a page. Is it fresh and crisp, new and exciting, just waiting for you to begin devouring the promise on each sheet? Does it hold the thrill of a gentle cut -not noticed until the sting reaches your brain- or has the paper been touched by so many hands it is now soft and malleable.

Can you feel the crisp fibers in each page, or do they bend like a new petal under your seeking fingers?

Open your eyes and let the contrast of that first word, the blackness stark against the background, fill your sight. Take in each word, knowing your nose and hands can register the warmth of the pages. Luminescence comes from beside you, not the harsh, unfeeling burn of digitised pixels.

As you read each word, the tickle in your nose of the pages, tea, and the room around you draw you into a new world. Your fingers grasp the top of the paper, moving ever so slightly up and down, waiting, wanting to move, but you are held in place until you reach the bottom, every word taking you deeper and deeper into realms unknown before. Take a second to sip your beverage, knowing that those crisp or well loved bits of paper are waiting for you. Printed words, so subtle in seduction, are patient and waiting for you.

You find your fingers again at the corner of the page, your mind open, your breath mellow, until at last, you can see the final word -there, beckoning you. Your senses filled, you brain awash in new sights, new imaginations, you wait. Savour that moment, the feel of the sacrifice of trees and ink, the vision bright in your mind, until at last……

You turn the page.

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