Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Don't fake it

I'm not a high energy zooming around town kind of person. I'm also not a social go out to coffee shops and swap ideas with my critique group kind of writer. In fact people don't normally know when I'm working on a new story. At the most, if someone asks, I'll give them a word count. I just don't like talking about my writing until I'm ready for people to see it.

Recently I've been thinking about trying to get out and do more. Send stuff to my critique partners before it's completely finished (they seem comfortable sending that kind of stuff to me). But every time I try to do that it makes my skin crawl and I'm afraid I'll break out in hives next.

Is some of that fear?


I get the same fears even after I've cleaned and polished my MS before sending it out. The difference is, after I send out the finished MS I feel better. It's done. It's out there. I have presented the best face I could.

When I send out unfinished work I feel exposed and vulnerable. That puts me on edge and makes me much less likely to take criticism well (constructive or other wise).

So what do I need to do about this? Keep pushing and exposing myself until I get used to it?  Pretend I like doing this? Fake it?


I need to respect my self and my proses.

Does that mean be lazy and never push myself? No. That's not it either. Each of us has a comfort zone. A way we like to do things. A way we are good at doing things. We need to test the limits of that zone. Push them, expand them. But that doesn't mean leap out of them and force ourselves to fit into someone else's mold.

Everyone has to work to find their own proses. That alone is hard. Then you face pressure from others to fit into their mold. Most times it isn't even hostile pressure, just well meaning friends who are just trying to help. It's hard to stick to your guns and respect yourself, but in the end it pays off. You end up knowing yourself. Your strengths and weaknesses. You will know what you can do and how to do it. That alone can be half the battle.

Monday, April 30, 2012

You Are Here

*WARNING* Lots of geeky Lord of the Ringsness coming.

Several years ago I took the Eowyn Challenge and walked the distance from Hobbiton to Rivendell. Then I decided to keep going. I made the long trek south, down through the mines of Moria and into Lothlorien. In the breaking of the Fellowship, I followed Frodo and Sam through the Dead Marshes and Shelob's lair. We came into Mordor and I made it with them all the way to Mt. Doom(!) (I even did the bonus miles of the flight back to the Morannon. Frodo and Sam were lazy and slept through it, but I walked the whole way).

Yesterday I added up all my miles and realized that it was done. The quest is over, the Ring is destroyed! Yay! It only took 1980 miles of walking, sweating and grumbling.

(This is the map I've been keeping track of my progress on)

But just because the quest is done doesn't mean I'm done ^_^

My plan: follow Frodo and Sam all the way back to the Shire, then to the Grey Havens. Then maybe I can hitch a ride on one of those cool elven ships 8-)

I'll update you on my progress as I go. Right now though I better get moving if I'm going to get to Aragorn's crowning in Minas Tirith on time...

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to decapitate someone... and other topics not to be discussed in public

So a writer friend of mine was asking me about decapitation the other day. As a taxidermist that's not really that unusual of a subject for me. She had a character that needed to decapitate someone. I've removed the heads from quite a few critters* in my day, so I was happy to explain it to her.

Then I realized we were standing in a room of people, the majority of whom didn't know me or that I was a taxidermist and not some ax killer (side note: while you can remove a head with an ax, I prefer surgical scalpels). Not wanting to be a total coward I just lowered my voice a little bit and kept going, but I can only imagine what we would have sounded like to some random stranger.

I get the same feeling when I'm checking out books at the library when I'm researching mental illness and insane asylums.

I just hope our muses appreciate the socially embarrassing sacrifices we make for them.

* Just for the record, no, I have never cut off a human head. Wanted to a couple times, but...

Image from SXC

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lucky 7

I've been tagged by the awesome Asa Marie Bradly.

The game goes like this:

1.) Go to your current WIP…

2.) Go to the 77th page…

3.) Go to the 7th line…

4.) Copy and paste the next 7 lines…

Here goes. This is from my WIP "Beneath a Broken Sky"

“Well, I just offered you a sack full of gold and you barely blinked. A week ago you would have jumped at the chance and grabbed it with both hands.”

“No. I definitely want the Lakinas. I’m just tired. I’ve been going all through the night to catch up with you.”

“You can track me at night?” Quin asked. He didn’t think he left that obvious a trail.

She chuckled and he saw a bit of her old humor returning. “Just because your human eyes can’t see at night doesn’t mean I can’t. That and I knew about where you were going.”

And that's it. Not a real exciting part :-/ Oh well.

Now to find others to tag *evil grin*

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flash fiction challenge

So Kayla Beck ( @kaylabeck ) challenged me on Twitter to write a 200 word flash fiction piece. Here it is in all its hastily written glory. Length: Exactly 200 words ^_^


There. The dress was done. I sat back from the hunched position I had held as I sewed. The embroidered stitches laid out before me perfectly. They ran along the hem of the gown, more then just a trim. It was a masterpiece: the Queen’s Castle perched atop the rolling green hills of the up land in spring, banners flapping in the breeze. I ran my fingers over the tiny white sheep grazing in the meadow.
Once Master Seamstress Ora saw how well I had done, how tight and skill my work, she would promote me to journeyman. Then from there I would work for the finest lords and ladies. I would be called into court. I would ware a gown of silk, embroidered by my own hand.
“Are you all done?” Mistress Ora said coming to look at my work.
“Yes.” I said, triumphant.
Ora pressed her lips together. How could she frown at my work like that?
“What’s wrong?” I demanded.
She lifted the gown from my lap and the long folds twisted and fell as she held up the shoulders. To my horror, my embroidery disappeared, flipping to the underside.
“You sewed it on the wrong side.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First draft of the year

I've started writing my first story of the year. This is a story that I started last year and stopped when I got stuck. Now I've come back to it, but I've had to make some hard choices to make it work.

This is the tricky part about rewriting a broken story. You really have to let everything be on the chopping block. Even things you love or things that you always thought were going to be in the story. To make it work, everything has to be able to be changed.

And I have changed just about everything. I kept my magic system, my hero and a couple locations, that's about it. Just about everything else had to change in one way or another. Now I'm hoping that those changes will make everything flow better.

I say "hoping" because I'm doing some twisted version of pantsing and plotting at the same time. The beginning is a bit fuzzy (though it's getting better because that's what I'm working on writing right now), some stuff in the middle is plotted out, as is the very end, but there's a huge gap towards the end where I have no idea what is going to happen. Hopefully it will come to me as I get to it.

And speaking of getting to it, I've decided to try a new plan for my writing time. I just finished listening to an RWA Conference lecture called "Fast Draft" (Candace Havens was the speaker). The idea is to do 20 pages a day for two weeks and you'll have a rough first draft. I do like the idea, but I've found using page numbers or word count as goals intimidates me and I freeze up and get nothing done.

So my plan is to do two solid hours of writing every day. One in the morning and one in the evening, or both in the morning, I don't care. I will get those hours in. No excuses. No whining.

Before I gave myself three months to finish this manuscript, but hopefully with this new plan I can fly through this draft and get it done a lot faster... Hopefully.

I'll be posting hours/word counts on Twitter and do a weekly update here (if I remember :-P).

As of today I have 5,119 words.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Swordsmanship for Writers Class

That's right, I'm going to be teaching another of my Swordsmanship for Writers classes for the Idaho Writer's League in a couple weeks.

The class will be on the 19th (Thursday) 6:30 to 9:30 at the Lutheran Church of the Master. Directions can be found on their web site here.

I think it's going to be a great group and I'm excited to do another of these classes. I might even have the new cutlass that I ordered in by then. Shiny :-D