Category Archives: general

No Writing Done This Weekend

I seem to be on a bit of a break from writing. Things have been a little chaotic this weekend.

It started with my best friend’s graduation from nursing school on Saturday.

(The weather service had to pick that day to be right about the winter storm warning. )

It was a rather scary trip to campus – I nearly went into the guard rails at the end of our street and a few miles out of town I hit a bad spot and got into a spin that I couldn’t control and nearly wrecked – but I finally made it, and with lots of time to spare.

While I was waiting for the ceremony to start I checked email with my phone, and found out that a friend of mine had died unexpectedly the day before and I spent the entire ceremony fighting tears.

Then I spent the entire trip home fighting tears and and the road as it was snowing (still or again, I’m not sure).

Since my roommate and I were in separate cars, we decided to stop and have a late lunch (or early supper) on the way home. We left the campus parking lot by different routes and I sat in the restaurant’s parking lot for half an hour before I gave up and left her a voice mail that I was going to go home before the roads got worse.

(Too late — they were worse. That last couple of miles was the worst part of the whole trip.)

Shortly after I got home she called — she had wrecked her car. It was still drivable, though and she was almost home when she called me. She’s not hurt but the car needs some help. (She can’t open the driver’s side door and has to crawl across the seat for one thing.)

So, yeah. Saturday was not the happiest day on record.

Sunday was kind of a lost day, in part because I had stayed up until 4:00 in the morning because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I went to bed.

Today (Monday) is going to be taken up with painting the inside of milkweed pods to make ornaments. (The outsides have been sprayed with gold glitter paint, and, as per usual when I am around paint, so have my fingers. Now I get to add blue to the gold sparkles that I can’t seem to get rid of.)

And then I have to get cleaned up and go to a writers’ group meeting, providing I can get my car out of its parking place. (The streets were worse than the roads when I got home on Saturday and when I tried to straighten my car up a bit in its parking place I started spinning so I may be sitting on ice by now.)

Tuesday will be devoted to finishing the ornaments — Wednesday might be too, depending on how Tuesday goes — and Wednesday night is the ornament exchange. I also have to find something for the white elephant gift exchange that night. (I have several things in mind — just have to decide on one.

So, it might be Thursday before I can get into any serious writing.

By then I will be more than ready to get back into it.  I miss it.   I’ve been thinking about it, but just can’t seem to summon the energy to actually do it..

Stress can do that to you.

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It occurred to me the other day that blogging is very self-centered.  You’re writing about yourself, your thoughts, your projects, etc.  And you hope that someone else reads your posts and finds them — and you — at least remotely interesting.

But isn’t all writing like that?

You write your words — create your worlds, your characters, your stories — and you hope that someone else reads them and finds them interesting, and maybe even loves them as much as you do. (Or at least likes them a little.)

And self-centered?  You betcha!

Writing is a very selfish activity.  It’s done by yourself and for yourself.  What could be more selfish than that?

Writers seem self-absorbed, but really, we aren’t absorbed in ourselves so much as in our work.  Ever get irritated when you’re wrapped up in a good book and get interrupted?  It’s the same thing for a writer when we’re on a roll in a scene, only worse:  it’s  harder for us to get back into that groove.

(On the other hand, we’ll love you forever if you interrupt us while we’re staring at the brick wall of writer’s block — then we can use the interruption as an excuse.)

I think that the self-centeredness is one of the things that prevents people — especially women — from writing.  Taking time to do something for yourself when there are others to take care of — that’s some sort of crime against humanity, isn’t it?

One of the best things about NaNoWriMo is that it gives you permission to take that time for yourself.  If only for one month you can say, “I need to do this — for me.”

And who knows?  Maybe after that month is over and the world still exists…. Maybe… Just maybe… You’ll continue to take that time for yourself.

You should.

Your self deserves it.


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Names (And The Lack Thereof)

If you ever get a chance to see my rough drafts you would see a lot of things that look like this:

[Elf King]
[Elven King]
[King of the Elves]
[Elven King I really gotta name this dude since he’s Pash’s father]

Um, yeah.  Naming things is not my forte.

Titles are even worse than character names.  My list of Word docs looks something like this:

Book One
Book Two
Book Three
original NaNo novel
NaNo 2010
June Camp
AotA bk4
AotA Marsden and Vinadi (That one’s at least slightly helpful.)
(It should probably be noted that Book One, Book Two, and Book Three have been without real titles since 2008/2009.)

The problem is that names define things.  Once something is named, it becomes permanent and… limited.  Some of its potential is lost.  Therefore, names have to be perfect.

(I often run into this same perfection problem with counted cross stitch when it comes to choosing a fabric for a project. “Yeah, this will look good on it, but what if there’s a better fabric out there for this chart? Or what if another chart comes along and this fabric would be perfect for it?”)

Names have power.  Some cultures believed that knowing someone’s real name gave you power over them.  (Remember Rumpelstiltskin?  Only by knowing his true name could she void the deal they had made.)

Names give you power over demons, too.  To summon a demon, you have to know its true name. That is how you control it, confine it, bend it to your will.

You know…

Novels are a lot like demons…  They possess you and refuse to give you their names.


Need naming help?  Don’t look at me!  (But do look at my links page.)


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Welcome to My World!

Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to get to know me – and to let me get to know you.  Updates will probably happen on Mondays and Fridays – I’m still trying to figure out a comfortable frequency, so bear with me.  And feel free to subscribe in case I get an urge to write about writing in between those days.

So, how did all this start?

Growing up as an only child I had two best friends:  Books and My Imagination.  The three of us had a lot of adventures: I loved to read and Books and My Imagination took me lots of interesting places.

In school, I excelled in English classes, and I loved writing assignments, especially creative writing.  Starting in seventh grade or so I began writing fan fiction – Star Trek and S.W.A.T. and CHiPs, mostly – or whatever other TV program had caught my imagination at the time.

After college, my writing sort of waned.  I still “wrote” but the stories never made it to paper.

Then I discovered NaNoWriMo  — an acronym for National Novel Writing Month.  What is NaNoWriMo?  It is a month-long ascent into madness in which participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  In November of 2008 I took the challenge and wrote my first novel.

What a rush!

I had no clue, no outline, and no expectations.  And I had a blast.

I won, and I was hooked.

Next NaNoWriMo couldn’t arrive fast enough, so I kept writing. The book I wrote that November turned out to be book three of a trilogy (The Other Mages), so I set to work on books one and two.  They are still in process, and book three needs such a complete rewrite that I may as well start over, but I am working on them and they will see the light of day… Someday… Honest!)

Currently, however, I’m focused on getting Song and Sword ready to e-publish.  It was also a NaNoWriMo novel.  As an experiment I posted it chapter by chapter as I wrote it, and you can all thank my mother for nagging me to finish it.  It should be available for Kindle soon, then Nook.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

(Updated = the world will echo with my screams of triumph.)

I’ve learned a lot since my first NaNoWriMo.   Mostly I’ve learned that I work better with an outline – and the more detailed the better.

I also learned that I am happiest when I am writing, creating a story.

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