Whatever

This is a tough day to write.

There is no inspiration.

There is no energy.

This is the recovery day after being sick.

You know how this day goes.

Tired of sleeping. Aches and pains still hanging around. Fed up with laying on the couch and bed. Neither are comfortable, but you don’t have the strength to sit up for any period of time whatsoever.

You are ready for solid food, but fear eating anything because, well, you know . . .

That right there is the mood this post starts from.

One more day left in my daily postings for March. What can you expect in the future? I don’t know.

Will be posting some short stories this summer. Free samples of my storytelling you could say.

While the warmer weather might possibly be approaching finally, I have to kick my focus into gear. While this is fun and allows me to just drop whatever is on my mind into the digital world, it does nothing at finishing the story that I want to publish this year.

This YEAR. October. I am doing that procrastinating thing and setting myself up for a scramble at the last minute. I still have some research to do for some possible tweaks to the tale. And I may be finishing it up down to the wire.

While I am behind on the story completion part, it is past time to start working on a cover image. I have been doing some free word thinking. Because my working title had far more to do with our own inner sinister reactions to expectations those we have for ourselves and for others as well as how expectations held by others to us and failing all of those leaves us in a very negative place.

How the heck do I portray that in an image?

So these are the thoughts on my mind while recovering from the ick from yesterday. Full of questions and no clear answer. Maybe another nap will clear the cobwebs out of my mind.

 

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Character Development

I have taken a step back from my rough draft, and the completed first edit of my WIP. There is a blandness in spots that makes it boring. Maybe my secondary characters are too “cookie cutter.” I am working on some development of those supporting characters, give them depth.

Reading how writers of stories I love write gave me varied ways and means of doing it. One that stood out was fully develop all the characters as if the story was about them. Not sure I will go to that extreme, but maybe some key characters will get more time and detail that what makes it into the final draft.

Is it easier to cut what is there back than it is to fill in holes?

There are scenes that might not make that last cut but in my mind are missing. The whole scene might not make it, but details might make it into conversations that help fill those gaps. Of course what they are I won’t know until they are written used as reference.

In my mind, this detour in the process isn’t a waste of time. Adding more time to the rewrite stage, but that is what I have learned is what happens when you work to become a better storyteller. Rewrite, practice, trying different approaches, all valid useful tools in any one’s tool box, no matter what their project is.

How to get to know characters.

How do you do it?

Myself, I have used the Proust, though really the daughter of his friend initiated the questionnaire according to the Vanity Fair’s book by a similar name Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire. I found a copy at a second hand bookstore. This particular tome shares famous people like David Bowie, Julie Andrews, Carrie Fisher, and Little Richard to name a few.

There are a few other questionnaires – those one might use in an interview for a job. Pretty much any questionnaire that one could imagine asking of a real live person. I have also pulled some psychological personality spread sheets as well. You know the ones, whether a person is outgoing or reclusive, those kind.

Who are these characters? What is their background?

How do you write secondary characters?

Distracted Brackets

So, I am a little behind with today’s post.

I nearly missed most of the basketball season. Life got busy, and I chose living each day to the fullest. Sometimes that happens, catching the scores if you catch the news or reading friends feed on social media keeps you up on favorite teams. I read tweets and signed up for teams to send me messages on final scores. Of course, Kentucky sends me during game tweets and have for years. It helped when my children were in school and had games the same nights.

Let me be honest here, I was not the only parent keeping track. There were a few parents and grandparents that during timeouts and half time would ask me the score. Now, whether this was merely to amuse them selves with the “Transplanted I BLEED BLUE Kentucky Girl at heart” or as I prefer to call them, real fans, I don’t know.

What I can tell you is that, I am not ALL about writing.

This year’s brackets were tough not only because of my lack of viewing many of the teams in other games, but also because some of these teams are new to my bracket choice. How have they performed this year? Haven’t got a clue. How have they placed in years past in their respective divisions? Don’t know. How ardent are their sixth man? How far will they travel to see their team play?

Many questions unanswered for me and the required research time, I don’t have. So this is a guess bracket. If I had the time, I would look at the scores of every game each team played. I would look at who they played, where they played in comparison. I would look at their fans and the determination of their support. All, and don’t mistake me, ALL of that goes into how I normally chose my choices.

This year, It was strictly made from the sheet. I looked at records, where is the team from, where are they playing and comparing that straightforward information for each game.

So, best of luck to all.

(COME ON KENTUCKY! PROVE ME WRONG! WIN THIS THING!)

Whatcha Doing?

Me? I am sitting here in a comfy spot, listening to some jazz, sipping a cup of tea and contemplating the rest of my Sunday. Doesn’t sound bad does it? (Ok, so if you don’t like jazz, substitute whatever type of music you find re-spiring* relaxing and inspiring at the same time.)

Sometime today, we will go for a walk and possibly make a loaf of bread. One of those productive physical therapy things that I do weekly for the arm of metal, knead bread dough.  I am toying with the idea of making a comic with an elderly couple. The hubs with various joints of titanium and the old hag of a wife with limbs of same.  I am not sure their purpose or how they would weld their super powers but it is something, as aging has become a serious influence in my life, to consider.

Last month’s brainstorming made me aware of holes and given me more character development to do. There is a nice twist that my dude and I have been discussing. *Why is it always a bad thing when family and friends like your stuff especially when yours isn’t bashful about voicing critical opinions? But then we all think that about our own families, don’t we?

One more week towards the warmer temperatures here, thought knowing in a few months sweat will be pooling and the air conditioning will be my favorite friend. Maybe we need to consider retiring in a temperate climate. But then I would miss a few days of winter snow and not appreciate how good the spring and fall scents and breezes.

Which reminds me that right now is a really good moment. I should stop thinking of anything else and just revel in it. So, I think this little writing session is done for the day and time to do just some existing. Have a good one-

 

 

Good Intentions

These daily blogs were intended to make me work on a story. For those who have been following me for years now, you remember it, it started as a blog post and then morphed into a draft written and posted in rough draft form.

Rough draft form means it was raw, ugly with all the initial spelling and grammar errors; equivalent to walking around necked in public for a writer. I was daring to show how and what it takes to write a book. An idea and its evolution, written in the initial moment words transfer from a thought to something tangible others can read (ink or digital). Might be the second, or third draft before you really start the polish process into something you aren’t embarrassed to share with others.

Unless of course you are one of the lucky few who are genius and truly gifted with the ability to be perfect. (I am not one of those, but that isn’t stopping me, and if this is your passion, your calling, it should stop you either.)

I have spent some time contemplating some changes and identifying missing pieces of the story. Even have come up with some new twists and turns that I think will make the story even more captivating.

For those not familiar the story/posts, I did a clean up edit (that still has a few errors in it) on this very blog. Here is the link the to story.  If you really want to see what a rough draft, the initial, sit down and “vomiting on the page” you can check where I moved all the posts onto a page on here as well. You will see hashtag and a number, the number represents the original posted order. You will find that some of them were actually written out of order. That rough you can read here. But don’t get the idea that this story is finished, it isn’t. The final story with a lot of hard work and hope will be self published this fall. You can then compare where it started, some of the writing process and the final product.

The one thing that I hope comes of this story and its process, that you find it encouraging to write your own story.

Reading to Write

Hand in hand with all this writing practice, comes reading. For the umpteenth time in the last several years, I am reading Mrs. Dalloway. A study one might say in a female voice of a female writer using a stream of consciousness style.

But not only books, I try to enjoy plays, tv and movies. Those that I really connect with, I attempt taking apart and reluctantly analyze (a dirty word in my vocabulary) what made this book, show, play, movie work. Sorry successful authors.

I have an exclusive readership as far as the children books go.Which is fine by me, I love my readers. I am not sure how many kids actually have read those books, but I know there are a number of adults that have given them as gifts and some have said they, themselves enjoy the stories.

So, this was a long whining introduction to what I did Tuesday night.

I wore some gloves to cut up and clean out some jalapeños fill them with cream cheese and then wrapped them in uncooked bacon. After about somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour (I didn’t clock watch, I just kept checking the baking sheet through the oven window. And popped a beer to drink when they were done.)

It was This Is Us Tuesday.

We have gotten in the habit around here of prepping for the show like we are getting ready for the most important football game of all time. (Now I know they show problems with alcoholism on the show, but we only have a beer a piece, we aren’t getting drunk-Moderation.) There is a box of tissue on the end table.

The key is the writing and the acting together make this show connection with the audience. I am in awe of the writing team. One writer is Don Roos, of the kitchen timer writing process fame, who wrote two episodes. The main man is Dan Fogelman. And he is good. A hundred years from now, I dare say, writers will be searching for information on Fogelman’s life like we do now about Shakespeare and Wilder.

Granted there is a difference between writing a story for a book verses a screenplay. But you still have to learn about timing and revealing just the right information at the right time. Dialogue is a hurdle for a lot of us writers.

Lofty goals have I. Sure hope I live long enough to get closer to them. At least there is a mountain of good writing out there to enjoy while I am learning. And a good beer.

Bacon-Cream Cheese Peppers, Beer and a crying towel.

First Thing In The A.M.

What do you do in the morning? First thing, but not getting too intimate or nosy.

I journal. Well, to be a little more precise, I drink a cup of coffee and write what ever is on my mind. A habit that was started years and years ago after a catechism lesson with my parish priest. It was the best piece of advice ever. Sometimes I drop out of the habit and when life and distractions get in the way. Eventually, out of frustration and annoyance, I end up going right back to it.

In the beginning of this habit, for a solid couple of years, I added his second tidbit. I read the Bible all the way through. NOTE – I DID NOT READ IT ACCORDING TO ANY PRE-SPECIFIED SCHEDULE. I read the books according to the order in which the general consensus dictates they were written. Other than that it was based on my gut.

Some days it might be a few verses others several chapters, sometimes only a chapter. It depended on the content and my comprehension. Over and over I was amazed at the timing factor of what I was reading and what was or had just happened in my own life or environment. That was nearly thirty years ago.

In recent years, morning readings have been about becoming a cleaner succinct writer, or psychology type material – things to help me develop characters and motivation. Or a more accurate truth — become a better editor of my own words.

All well and good, if respect is held for either or both the material and the author. This morning I forced myself to read a piece of work, that I will not name (because that would be unkind), but find full of bull poop and  believe is written to mask someone else’s work with subterfuge. At least it reads that way to me; my gut screams it. I even tried reading as if I was editing the work, making little scribbles in the margin—”BULL! What? Clarify! TOO WORDY! How does this connect to the point you are trying to make? What is your point?” My head hurt, my mood had darkened and I sat debating whether or not I wanted to waste my entire month with it. My gut said toss it in the trash. After a few minutes I tossed it on the table and starting writing this. Before this very sentence, I had indeed tossed it in the trash.

Amazing! My head ache is gone. My mood is uplifted. No meds taken, no real major change in my person or surrounding, but the sun seems to be shining brighter.

My personal quandary is wondering if my opinion, my decision makes me bad. Am I a captious hypercritic? I don’t know, but I sure feel a lot better than I did before I started writing this.

What Is A Mood Mandala?

Eh,  still not sure about this.One of the many doodling things that the bujo* community has a page thing. I have watched Boho Berry do them. They look pretty cool and  I can’t draw them. I have trouble deciding what color matches my mood for the previous day. (I like to review yesterday from today and get an overall consensus. Sometime my days start out bad and ends on a positive vibe. That isn’t the issue. Colorizing that mood is.)

I did a search on moods and emotions and found on Wikipedia this thing about Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. Problem was that my moods didn’t match up with his terms and I didn’t like his color designations for the ones that did.

Do you think I over thought that? Yep, I sure do.

So this time around I am doing my own thing – calling it what it is and deciding if it is positive or negative and using my favorite colors for those positive moods and the colors I don’t like that much for the negative days.

Ok, so maybe this additional thing is just something that eats up my time, but I was trying to figure out if there is a rhythm to my writing productivity – is the first, middle or end of the month better? Are Tuesdays always bad writing days?

Overthinking, again. Yup.

Though I will say some days writing focus is related to mood.

And terms, can I throw that in the mix of this post? I had the term edit or rewrite – I prefer the word – Tweak. Rewrite and edit  to me sounds so decisive. Mean almost. Tweak sounds more gentle. It gives what you have just that gentle nudge to be better. True, sometimes it is a hack and slash edit that ends up forcing me to do a real rewrite.

So, if I could maybe tweak my writing to where I could utilize my mood to improve my writing? Ok, that just sounds really desperate to get beyond the gazillion words that have to be written by me before I get really good. Today my mood was studious and these words were the couple hundred of those gazillion done.

 

 

 

*Bullet Journal-RyderCarroll Click this link for information 

Bohoberry that does some awesome mandala’s 

ACK!

So earlier I started the post for today, but then I set the device down and got distracted. Squirrel! I ended up doing my nails and reading.

Then I sat down to start back on the post and couldn’t find the thing. Damn there are a lot of I’s in this post, but I promised myself this was going to be a totally unedited, brainstorm post. (Sorry Grammar Police.)

At the moment in the background on my side of this post is Cook’s Country, one of my favorite PBS shows. It is distracting, they are making pork chops, yum. And they are smoked! When is supper?

Which reminds me of a radio show on NPR this morning – This American Life, if you get a chance to listen to the show that has caused thoughts to rumble around in my brain today it was episode “Five Women.” Rather than debate something that is a personal experience for women I will just say that this might be one of those experiences that males may, depending on their openness and perspective might give them some insight.What is so special about this particular piece? Well, instead of just telling about the #MeToo incident, it reveals the history of the women and their work life perspective that they brought with them.

But, my attention is distracted, there is now talk of bacon on TV and my thought process to the above blurb is lost. Might be mean it is time for supper. I sure hope so, there is a pot of chili waiting to be warmed and someone talked about making cornbread to go along with.

I listen, watch and read. Observation is my study requirement and likely of most writers. Which is why I mention the radio show, it is tough being as much a part of what I am observing as I am the observer. Separating the writer from the story is about as tricky.

Or, I could just be way overthinking.

Trying to Shine

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