Monday, April 13, 2009

Writer's Block.

I don't know if what I've had recently could technically be termed writer's block, but blocked I certainly am. Blocked not only by how many hours a day Kiddlywink demands my body sleeps. And when I say demands, I mean it literally. Come nap time, which is never the same time on any given day or even only once a day, I will go cross-eyed trying to stay awake. Sometimes during toilet trips of a night I fall asleep either on the loo, sitting on the side of the bed, or as soon as I've gotten horizontal again but before pulling sheets up. I've even been known to do all three in the one trip. When it's sleepytime, there's NO denying it.

When I am awake? I'm also blocked because who knows what shape my brain'll be in! This makes it very difficult to plan/do/complete normal every day stuff, let alone any writing. Radha and Sahil gave up. They're not taking my calls at the moment. Fair enough too. I was overly ambitious even attempting to tell my brain what to produce. So for the last few months I've contented myself with getting done what I AM capable of doing on any given day.

I've kept up as well as I can with the critiques for my writing group. I've read as much as I can in the Romance section, both e-Pubs and paper books. I've even used a 6 month Netflix giftcard we were given to order from genres I would normally steer clear of. Namely old films and not just the romantic ones.

Funnily enough, as I've relaxed and taken any pressure off myself whatsoever to produce, I've started dreaming VERY vividly. The kind of dreams where I can go to the bathroom, come back to bed and pick up where I left off. Lucid dreams I think they're called, especially when I can take that dream and go on a new tangent. It's been fun, mostly. Sometimes I feel unrested when I'm done for the night because the dreams can often feel like I'm laying there awake and merely thinking things through for hours on end. It's like I go from awake to dreaming but with no awareness of the transition in between. Apparently Alaskaboy's had some amusing and weird conversations with me because of this.

He especially finds it amusing when I call out that I'm awake, in a chirpy definitely awake voice, and by the time he comes in to snuggle 20 seconds later, I'm sound asleep again.

A fairly common short morning conversation will go like this.
ME: blh blah blah blah
Him: Blah blah blah. blah blah blah?
ME: . . . .
Him: Wake up!
Me: I AM awake, I was just thinking.
HIM: No, you were snoring.
(repeat the above sequence three times in the space of ten minutes)

I can literally hear what he's saying and believe I'm thinking of the reply, but apparently I'm asleep while doing it. LOL

One of these dreams has demanded that it become a story, or at least the first couple of chapters from the Heroine's point of view. During the dream it was me and my family that the events happened to, but as of course, during dreams it wasn't actually our home or backyard etc, not even a close approximation thereof, but in the dream it was home. And I forgot some of the details and have changed some to suit this new story better, but I'm writing again because of it.

Well, a month ago I was. I wrote chapter 1a and Chapter 2a out and then got stuck again. Chapter 2 is set in a courtroom, and wasn't part of the dream either as it's from the Hero's perspective so it's all Muse inspired. Two weeks ago I eventually realised what the problem was, I don't know if the spark of an idea I had for it is valid. So I wrote an email to a good acquaintance asking if she'd be able to give me some advice. Best thing is, Mindy does write in the chicklit/romance genre and has experience with law. Bestest thing is she said she'd give it a try.

The last two weeks have been really hectic here. So busy that some of my naps have taken place in the car on the way to other places, or if I'm driving in the parking lots once I'm there. LOL So, it wasn't until this evening I managed to get back to her. Hopefully my idea isn't too spazzy or can at least be worked through/around somehow and I can write some more on this new story. If not, bummer. Will have to come up with a new second chapter.

If my muse isn't willing even if I do get the go ahead for the idea? Well, at least I'm building up ideas and stuff to work on once I'm back in good writing form again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Like This Analogy.

This quote comes from Elizabeth Moon.

It's like mother once attended a recital that included the son of friends. The son of friends was very proud of his muscles. So when he lifted his partner, he made sure he looked STRONG. My mother said he also managed to make his partner look HEAVY. Weight-lifters can grimace and grunt and drip sweat down their fronts, but male dancers are supposed to make it look easy and big strong ballerinas look like thistledown.

Writers who show the sweat marks (as in forcing readers to endure all their research) are like dancers who emphasize the difficulty of lifts and leaps.

Readers shouldn't see us sweat. They shouldn't see the rehearsal with the missed steps, the staggering, the grimaces and groans. Only the grace, only the beauty, only the music.

(Until they think "Oh, I could write like that, it looks so easy..." Then, THEN, they see the sweat, but it's theirs...heh-heh-heh.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Been Quiet Around Here.

Lately, the weather has been so ridiculously hot that I haven't been interested in doing much except sitting around with as little clothing on as possible. Oh, and drinking cool sweet things while reading. Thankfully, the reading has been for a purpose other than post holiday letdown. It's been too many months since I've written anything so I've re-read three of my favourite paranormal romance series to get back into the proper mindset. It seems to have worked because I'm brainstorming and dreaming about my stories again...even if when I sit down to write I have no words as of yet. Damn pregnancy brain!

Yes. I'm currently 16 weeks pregnant. And it's NOT been good for my writing at all!

Pregnancy brain has not only given me the ability to substitute odd words in the most embarrassing places (I'm off to the Vet's for a checkup.) but it also regularly gives me the astounding ability to talk using words of no greater than two syllables. (I can't do backstroke any more because of the thing where you float too high out of the water: And for those of you playing along at home...that would be bouyancy.) Honestly, It's like I have the world's worst and fastest case of tip-of-the-tongueitis! I know I know the words I want to find but my brain blurts out a much simpler...(thinks REALLY hard)...synonym. Phew! But that probably means I'm screwed for the rest of the week now! lol

Funny thing is, when I'm doing crosswords, brain teasers or other word puzzles, my brain works. It's only during normal conversation that I have these total brain farts. And I can visualise scenes in my head, sometimes, but then when I go to write them down...there's no words. About now I'm starting to pray really hard that my brain comes back after baby is born!

My creativity has been limited to cooking new recipes and learning to crochet. And at the moment, my husband does a better job than me at both of those too! Sheesh. Although since making wontons and potstickers/gyoza is a fiddly business, just like crochet, I'm really not surprised he does better than me at those. He's really good with fine details.

The main reason I'm writing today, other than to update you a little with what's been going on, is to publically declare my intentions to finish the kitchen scene involving Radha and Sahil. Yes, finish it. And finish it by the end of February.

Please don;t laugh too hard, a girl's gotta challenge herself once in awhile ya know! I wonder if promising to give you weekly updates will also motivate my muse to play along with this challenge....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Talk, Or Else!

For a couple of months now I've been doing Holly Lisle's How To Think Sideways Course. I'm a few weeks behind the rest of the class, but that's okay, we're s'posed to be doing it at our own pace anyway. I've been okay with falling behind. Especially as some of the topics have forced growth in unexpected areas of my life, therefore necessitating time to work through that growth.

What I haven't been okay with is feeling like I don't know my characters. One of the exercises is about getting to know a little more about what motivates your main characters, both protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). Possibly even some of the sidekicks who get a fair bit of manuscript time as well. Radha...she was a cinch. Her Compelling Need, History, Present, Philosophy, and Three Descriptors were all there. She readily answered all the questions on those topics. So readily in fact that handwriting both questions and answers caused me difficulty keeping up.

When it came time for Sahil's turn, he clammed up completely. It took me over a week to get him to inform me in no uncertain terms, "The antagonist's actions made me need to leave the country, so you have to ask him first what the hell's going on. I only reacted to what he did." Then he turned his face to the wall and pouted. When I tried to ask him the questions that were all about him and had nothing to DO with the bad guy...he flashed his fangs at me then left. Just great! You'd think a vampire would WANT to steer the conversation around to his glorious self.

So. The bad guy. He was busy concentrating on whatever his nefarious plans are, oh and with looking for Sahil. I kept trying to get his attention, but it was like there was always interference on the line. I couldn't hear him, even when he tried to contact me, and I certainly couldn't see him.

After working through the digestive upset from the other week, I've spent the last ten days in a PMS-induced state of -- I suck at everything so I'm gonna bury myself in this chocolate, cheese, steak, sauerkraut and carbs smorgasbord. It didn't help that my birthday was less enjoyable than I hoped it would be, and despite rewriting a scene to be even better than it was before, I was still stuck at the same end point I had been prior, thanks to Sahil still not speaking to me.

So, after posting that snippet three days ago, I've ignored my characters completely. All of them. In every world. And ignored the writing class also. Instead I concentrated on doing things I wanted to do, in amongst stuffing my face, of course. I did cross stitch. I sewed a pillow. I stayed in my pyjamas. I ignored the dishes. I read in different genres than usual. I checked out the websites of authors I know. I went crosseyed checking out blogs and websites. The two things I have avoided that would give me pleasure is exercise or water. When I'm out walking or exercising, sometimes their voices come through loud and clear...same with having a shower or bath. And I didn't want to give them the opportunity to blurt something out that I couldn't help hearing.

Eventually, I figured out why all the difficulty. The main character from my novel Serenade was having a tantrum. HUGE hissy fit. And the best kind of juvenile teenage hissy fit, where they're SO pissed off at you they ignore you but make life living hell for everyone else around them, until the moment they're good and ready to deign to tell you why and then you WILL listen to them and only them no matter what else is going on in your life. {laughs} But because of the aforementioned reasons, I was busy ignoring them all as well and she wasn't getting through.

Other than her emotional crap giving off vibes that prevented the Bad Guy coming anywhere near me, I didn't notice her tanty at all. Ooooh did that make her mad. Not only had I put HER story away completely, I was now ignoring her too! This afternoon I'd run out of dishes, run out of things to read and couldn't justify buying anymore, run out of interest in cross stitch and still wasn't motivated to get out of my nightie. (God! Other than my minty fresh breath I stink, and have really bad bedhair but refuse to let them win!)

Midway through boredom eating of some chocolate almond clusters, someone, and I still don't know who, suggested that maybe now BadGuy or Sahil might be willing to talk to me. I dropped the clusters, thankfully as I really wasn't interested in eating them at all, grabbed my doodle pad and coloured pens and sat down at the table. I wrote out the first question, looked at Sahil and BadGuy...and Kh'Leesha gatecrashed the interview and made it ALLLL about her.

Apparently there's been something she's been wanting to tell me for a very long time, but until her hurt had healed enough and I had the right questions to ask, she didn't know how to tell me. Right when she could...I'd shut her and her world away and was playing very happily with the new kids in town. She's happy to give back the camera focus to Radha and Co. now that she's told me the REAL reason she didn't take her prized horse with her and why she pretended otherwise.

Once she was done interfering, Brian Jameson, formerly known as BadGuy happily answered his interview questions. Sahil still hasn't answered his. But like most people who think they're God's Gift--coughvampirescough--I reckon he's waiting till I'm most vulnerable to his charms, i.e. naked and in the shower. (As soon as I hit publish on this post I'm gonna create a new land speed record getting into the shower.) Perhaps he thinks if he's extra sweet by telling me his innermost secrets while the water relaxes me I won't make him answer Radha's questions.

Like the best underworld spy, I'm going to lead him on till he's told me everything and I've given him nothing but false promises in return. Then I'm gonna promptly stick him across that table from Radha and make him answer her questions. Mwuhahahaahaha.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthday Snippet.

Since my birthday was last week here's a snippet from the first draft of my new WIP a Paranormal Romance novel with the unimaginative working title of Randy Radha. (A little background: he's Aussie, she's from L.A. and they're in a little cabin in the Alaskan woods on their honeymoon. It was an arranged marriage and she never saw him before his arrival in the US, only knew his name. At the airport it was a case of mistaken identity, she picked up the wrong Sahil and she's just found that fact out)

Radha tugged open the monstrosity of a fridge hard enough everything in the door rattled. God, she was SO hungry, and now this? Shoving aside the mountain of dinner leftovers--Leftovers! Ha! We didn't eat firstovers--she sought the perfect thing to sooth her agitation and hopefully ease her hunger. “I never even wanted to get married in the first place.” she hissed at the bag of carrots she unearthed in the back of the fridge. Pulling out two carrots, Radha propped the door open with her hip and snaked her other hand in to grab the jar of mango pickle plus the container of raita it was sitting on, just in case.

Shoving the door shut, she slapped the goodies down on the table then turned to the cupboards. Having her eyes assaulted once again by their tragic 1970's brown glory only increased her ire. She slammed open, then closed, three different drawers and she still hadn't found it. “Fucking potato peeler. It's never around when you want it.”

When Sahil wordlessly held the peeler up in front of her, a vicious pounding began in her temples. “Thank you.” she ground out through gritted teeth then snatched it from him.

She sat in her chair and stabbed at the one opposite with the peeler. “You. Sit.” Then she shaved that carrot slicker than a shearer with a sheep. When he complied, opening his mouth to say something, Radha said, “Don't. Or I swear I'll bite you instead of this carrot.” Suiting words to deeds she chomped down hard on the carrot and chewed furiously as her thoughts churned.

Sahil opened the jar of olives, chose a toothpick from the dispenser and deftly speared three green orbs with it before handing it to Radha.

“Stop it. Just stop it okay?” She took the toothpick and glared at it. “What the hell kind of person marries someone they randomly meet at the airport? Then sits around in the middle of nowhere handing them olives! Oh! Oh! And that reminds me!” She went back to wild gesticulating. “Where did you disappear to before, out here in the middle of nowhere?”

Poking on olive onto his own toothpick, he nibbled it slowly.

Sheesh! He makes me feel positively gluttonous. The raita was half gone already. She set the bowl down to take a breather. “Well? I know why I married you, at least...the you I thought I was marrying. Why did you marry me?”

His eyes never left the olive as he replied, “I was to meet my new retainer and do whatever he or she told me to do.”

Radha blinked.
What does dental equipment have to do with—Oh! “You mean, like a servant?” He thought she was a servant. That explained nothing!

“Yes. My retinue back home organized for the U.S. branch of my Family to supply a contact to help me.” Sahil nibbled the olive completely away, leaving only the pimento filling speared on the toothpick “With your help, I think I've managed to disappear even better than they could have planned.”

Appetite fled completely all of a sudden, Radha put down the remains of her second carrot and her untouched olives. “What did you just say?”

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Home Sick.

We came home a day earlier than expected. Ironically because I got food poisoning wednesday morning from the ONLY meal I ate at the hotel's restaurant.

I can see why dieters get excited about juice fasts or liquid diets. Woke up today and weighed myself and there was 10lbs of water weight gone since Wednesday. Sheesh! No wonder I'm starting to look flaccid, instead of nicely plump in all the right spots.

I probably would have been an order of magnitude better today, except I got a little carried away with my reintroduction of solids yesterday. (Yeah, Mum, I now get WHY you made me wait a little longer all those times I got sick as a kid, even though I was STARVING for more food.) All good, bland and easily digestible foods, I merely ate too much and so relapsed last night in a fashion reminiscent of Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

Famous last words, "Oh, man, my stomach HURTS!"

Today I stuck with even blander things, (plain toast no vegemite, broth and none of the chunky bits from the chicken soup I made yesterday). I even thought to cook the rice into a congee so it was easier on my stomach. Also had success this evening making some jelly/jello out of orange crush cordial plus agar agar. Hooray! Jelly's back on the menu! Was so nice to have a different mouthfeel than rice, toast, herbal tea, broth or bananas.

Here's hoping that excretory output almost completely halting is a happy sign and that I've done a good job today, no Lindaesque performances once I go to bed tonight!

Oh and I'm PISSED that when I switched from unflavoured pedialyte to grape flavoured, I'd already opened and taken a sip before thinking to read to the bottom of the ingredients list. Sucralose! Whyinhell put artificial sweeteners in something infants are supposed to drink, especially when there's already dextrose and sucrose in it? WTF! It's like giving Splenda water to hummingbirds.
And for me, just goes to show I really must learn to read to the bottom of the list, even if I assume there couldn't possibly be artificial sweeteners in it. {shudders} I hate to think of the headache/effects I'd have from drinking a liter of that in my already depleted state.

Sorry, not much to write about what work I did manage to get done while away, have had other things on my mind. Will hopefully get to that tomorrow, digestive system willing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Business Trip.

Previously, when Alaskaboy has gone on distant location shoots1 for shows/movies/commercials he's working on, I'd go along and enjoy the free trip away. Maybe get some writing in if I felt like it, but mostly going along for the scenery and the hotel pools!

This is the first time we'll be away where I'm actively going for work reasons of my own. Later this month we'd already planned on going to San Diego. A friend--let's call her, Dr. Kay-is flying in from interstate for a work convention and we're tagging a long for a visit. But now, I get additional time for what I want to do.

My very first business trip. So exciting! I've been to San Diego a few times and I have a clear sensory picture of what the place is like, but this time I'm going to research for the romance story (working title)Zed Love. I'm looking for specific things like where my characters might live; where their businesses might be located, what the police look like; varying bits of local colour; places not to go etc. All the things that help make a place come to life when reading about it.

With so much to research in such a short time I was worried whether I'd get the job done or not. Now that I have the extra five days of next week's distant location shoot, I'm also going to treat it like a writing retreat. Five days of immersing myself in writing. No internet, no t.v., no screwing around during work hours.

Too often lately I've been getting distracted by other things when I should be writing. I'm hoping these trips away will help break the rut I've settled into in regards to my work day. I've rediscovered my joy in writing, now I need to rediscover--HA! Who am I kidding, can't rediscover something you haven't had before--Okay, discover, then, my sense of writing discipline.

Self-discipline and structure I've never been really good at, so this should be interesting to see how I go now that I've got new tools in the toolbox, thanks to the writing course I'm doing. Not to mention my new found freedom to be and act like an adult. So grown up I'm actually doing a business trip of my own. LOL

Location Shot: is when they leave the set to go out and film. A distant location shot is when they go far enough away they have to stay overnight while filming at that location.