Breaking the chains

•September 14, 2013 • 3 Comments

I don’t like writing about writing.

I don’t like talking about writing. It’s such an intensely personal experience for me, I have difficulty even trying to explain the processes that go on in my head which take things more or less from thin air to words and characters on a screen.

As you may or may not know, I’m in the midst of a whirlwind right now. I’m tearing down the life I’ve built here, moving across the country, going back home to Maine. Twenty years ago I left the I had there and took off with my boyfriend at the time to explore life in another world. I was bored and wanted to see what was out there. Don’t regret it for a sec. I’ve been through some craziness. My life was nuts for a while, then I settled down into the corporate world. Sorta. But I ended up in a strange contradictory sort of place. I was under a non-compete clause under my old employer, which basically boiled downed to the fact that I could have been fired for writing non-fiction for any publication they considered competition, and they pretty much considered everything competition. I turned down a lot of offers for various zines, just out of fear (ok, perhaps a bit of paranoia) that it would cost me my job. I recently walked away from said job, and it’s just now sinking in that I don’t have those restraints anymore. I guess I just felt like I had been on the edge of a cliff for so long, fuck it, might as well jump.

So far, so good. So what.

I’m working with Our City Radio, a company that is launching a series of online radio stations catered to the local music scene and businesses in each locale. I am loving this job This week, as the result of a good deal of internal backstory/shenanigans, I posted this article,  and my manager told me it was genius. I’m still blinking and going ‘Really? This is my job? You’re not only not firing me for this, you’re complimenting me?”

This job RULES.

I think it’s safe to say I made the right call. I needed a change.

Oddly, at the onset of this, I made a facebook post that just said ‘ch-ch-ch-changes’ because the David Bowie song was in my head the day I started making decisions. Turns out I was being a little psychic. One of the jobs I have now involves work coming into a queue, and I was advised to use an add on that alerts me when I have work. Said add on plays the David Bowie song when I have work.

Life tends to do that to me.

I’m in for an interesting year, and my boyfriend, who is on the other end of the country, is in a very similar situation. Just worked out that way.

Life is so flipping weird sometimes.

I don’t really have much of a point to this post, other than that it feels great to be breaking some of the chains that have been holding me back. Maybe those chains were more constrictive in my own mind than in my reality. Maybe I wouldn’t have been fired for contributing to a local zine. But at the time it was too risky to chance, so I never really tapped into freelance work. Now I’m finding all sorts of opportunities. I’m also going to be writing for a metal zine, and starting to give back to everything this music has given to me over the years.

We all build our own prisons. And I’ve just jumped the wall.

In the midst of moving chaos and really looking forward to reconnecting with my roots. I have friends and family up north I have hardly seen in the last 20 years. I’ve built a circle of amazing friends here, and as much as I hate leaving them, I’m so stoked to get back to me. If I can just get past the mountains-of-boxes stage … and get everything sorted out.

I’m a bit overwhelmed. I haven’t written in weeks, which has not happened for as long as I can recall. It’s temporary, and I’m antsy. But I have to get things sorted out, and I’m giving myself a break, even though I don’t want a break.

That’s all. Half drunken rambly post.

What I’m listening to (just in case you care)

Signal Boost

•September 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Author Nancy Springer just relaunched her website. I’ve been reading her work since I was a child, and if you haven’t checked out any of her books, you should.

The new site is here.

http://www.nancyspringer.com/

Change: Life’s only constant

•August 20, 2013 • 2 Comments

I’ve been a bit behind in updating, mostly because my life is under renovation right now. I resigned from my former job after 13 years. There were a lot of factors behind this decision, but what it boiled down to was really … it’s just time to move on. I don’t want to stay somewhere just because I’m afraid to leave. I don’t want to stay there, hoping to survive yet one more round of layoffs, simply because I know nothing else.

So I took a leap. I’m relocating, changing my life around. It’s scary. And awesome.

I want to focus more on what matters to me, first and foremost of those things being writing. I need to make myself mobile, so I can move back and forth between my parents, who live on opposite ends of the country.  I’m going back to Maine, at least over the winter.

I’m terrified, excited, freaked out, stoked, happy, sad … but most of all, curious.

Stay tuned …

Writer at the beach

•June 23, 2013 • 2 Comments

So, I’m on a writing spree in a beach hotel.

I come home Friday after happy hour, all happy and whatnot, only to find out that the electric company cut me off. I was two days late. TWO DAYS. And I didn’t have an old balance or anything; I had paid my last bill in full less than a month ago. I paid immediately. But, in a flex of the ‘we-are-machine-and-you-are-weak-and-helpless-pitiful-mortal-workerbee’ muscle, they don’t reconnect on weekends.

My thought process went something like this:

Brain:!@&#$^&@^! Ok, think. Too late to sort out tonight so just deal with it. Tomorrow you’re booked anyway … stay out really late? Go to Mom’s? Stay with a friend?

Muse: Beach

Brain: Price?

Muse: It’s off season. And you need to finish Seas anyway. Full moon. SUPERMOON. You are much overdue for some night beach moonbathing.

Brain: Indian Rocks.

View from my WIP is something like this:

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My bff used to manage a condo out here, and she was able to use it when it wasn’t booked. We used to get to stay at the beach house free for weeks. Then the bubble burst, and now we have to pay for the view. A night here and there isn’t the same. I’ve really missed this strip. I love IRB.

This definitely falls under the blessings in disguise category. I’ve been working on an ocean themed collection for a few years. I don’t mean I’ve only been doing that. I do a pass, leave it for a while, come back, do another pass, leave it for a while. That sorta thing. I’ve holed up for days on end with laptop or notebook while Netflixing every ocean-related doc I could find, and then not touched it again for months. It’s pretty close to done, but I have always wanted to hole up in a beach hotel and just work on it with the sound of the waves. I don’t think I could have considered the collection done if I hadn’t done this. It’s as if I wanted to give the ocean a chance to offer input.

It did.

I walked down the beach last night and found a perfect circle in the sand. Sat down for a while under the supermoon. Got some equilibrium back. Oh, and about 5 more poems, including one creepy snippet that might actually be a story. Not sure yet.

Sometimes writing isn’t about following the writing rules. Sometimes it goes far deeper than that. At least for me.

There is a secret language spoken here

The voice of the mother whispers in wind and waves

Now I just need to convince the Arabs running this place to let me check out late. Assuming the elevator doesn’t kill me. (It looks and smells like it was made in 1972.) I guess after I head home I’ll take a leisurely lunch in one of the cute little seaside cafes, go check on the kitty just in case she got through the ten million water dishes I left her, then probably take the laptop to Starbucks or B&N for a few hours. I prefer writing in solitude but whatever. I guess I’ll be coffee shop writer girl for a day. I have one rough night to get through, and my power will be back on tomorrow.

Note of grr: Some idiots were out there with flashlights despite the fact that there are signs EVERYWHERE about it being turtle hatching season and to keep the shoreline dark.

Steampondering

•May 24, 2013 • 3 Comments

I’m on a bit of a steampunk kick lately. I blame this poem, one of my nanopowrimo pieces, for it. Or, possibly the awesome steampunky clothes I saw at the Ren Faire. Or possibly the fact that I recently reread an old favorite, Paula Volsky’s Illusion, which I think arguably just might qualify as the first steampunk novel ever. (I am an avid rereader – whole other post)

I’ve been noticing something unique about the steampunk movement lately. It seems to be moving as quickly, if not more so, in the fashion, art and design worlds as it is in literature. Actually, I think it’s kind of been hijacked. I have to admit, when I see or hear the term steampunk, the first thing I think of is clothes. And jewelry. Then the brain goes to stories.

Steampunk is visual. And vague. Take a Victorian setting, add some clocks and airships or gears, some boots or whatnot, throw in a mechanical bird or two and voila! Steampunk awesomeness. (I don’t mean this as a bad thing, just sayin …. that would be my description of steampunk)

Case in point. I am working on a steampunk/postapoc/fantasy novel. I also have been toying with a full-on steampunk novella idea …. though knowing me, it would stretch into a novel probably. Also thinking of doing some steampunk poetry, or even better, a steampunk poetry collection. So I start googling. Come to find out, there are not very many markets looking for steampunk. I was pretty underwhelmed. I’m not saying there are none, just that I expected more. Lots more.

So, I checked Amazon. There were a good amount of books, but half of them were how-to guides for jewelry or whatnot. Didn’t find a whole lot of steampunk anthos either.  Only one steampunk poetry collection.

I did, however, manage to find all sorts of steampunk items and art. And jewelry. I could tag pages and pages of awesome jewelry. Sigh.

Badass steampunk necklace # 1 (want)

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Badass steampunk necklace # 2 (want)

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Steampunk Owl (want)

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Steampunk boots (want)

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Steampunk coffee grinder (want)

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Steampunk Barbie (Xmas gift idea)

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Steampunk crow (love it!)

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Steampunk corsets (want. want. want)

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Steampunk bird/plague mask thing. Storyworthy.

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Steampunk bird (love it)

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Steampunk camera

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Steampunk wedding cake

Steampunk Wedding Cakes | Artisan Cake Company

Steampunk butterfly :)

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Steampunk art … lots of that.

✯ See no Evil  by *Zummerfish ✯

My personal fave

So neat!

Steampunk lightswitch

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Steampunk door.

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Steampunk computer. Or, possibly a time travel device

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Punksteam Yoda

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Steampunk fish

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Steampunk typewriter. Ok, really it’s just flat out Victorian. But calling it steampunk makes it cooler, right?

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Steampunk hats

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Steampunk hat box (Which, alas, would probably not fit the hat. Make that a steampunk jewelry box)

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And last but not least, a steampunk Mona Lisa. Steampunk is official now.

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What’s a girl to do?

A) Write anyway

B) Shop

C) Read

D) Shop

E) Create a steampunk Pinterest Board?

F) Shop

G) All of the above …

You know you’re a writer when …

•May 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment

 

 

The Dreaded Synopsis and Other Ghastly Terrors

•May 19, 2013 • 8 Comments

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I think writing is probably very similar to other crafts in certain ways. You start out with passion and little or no actual knowledge. Through practice, study, more practice, more study, you follow the age-old path from apprentice to journeyman to initiate to (one hopes) mastery. It’s a long process, and if you don’t have a deep-rooted love for what you’re doing, you may reach a certain point, you  may even start making some money, but then you’ll probably either abandon it, stagnate, or worse, go backwards. I think the same could be said for a lot of things; sculpting, carpentry, sewing, painting, designing clothes … in general, that learning curve is pretty much the same no matter what you’re doing.

Writing’s a labor of love. Somebody (I think it was Stephen King) once said you have to write like a million words before you write anything decent. I believe it. If you don’t love writing, chances are you won’t get that far. I have tons of notebooks and typewritten fanfic-ish pages about 80′s heartthrobs and metal bands that literally make me wince when I read them now. But that was my learning ground. I very rarely wince at recent stuff, unless I find I went somewhere too personal with it. I may not love everything I’m doing now, but I don’t have the urge to burn or delete that stuff either.

I guess every now and then you just level up.

There’s a pretty wide chasm between theory and practice when it comes to a lot of the standard writing ‘rules’. Write what you know. Show, don’t tell. BIC. Raise the stakes. Kill your darlings. Conflict, conflict, conflict. Etc., etc. etc. You can know these things, and apply them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re applying them right. At least not at first. Every now and then some piece of writing lore or some mantra or bit of advice you’ve heard a million times just clicks and hits home. And every now and then you figure something out for yourself.

I just figured something out for myself.

In the age-old bloody debate between outliners and brainstormers, I fall on the side of brainstormers, usually. (Everything I’ve done has had a different process -I wrote one thing backwards, for instance- but that’s a whole other topic. It’s safe to say I’m a brainstormer.) I’m not sure it’s the best approach, as it frequently leads to me painting myself into corners, getting stuck, facepalming, etc.,  but for me writing to an outline takes the life out of it. I think that’s one of those things that just falls under ‘to each their own’ and there is no right or wrong way – only the right way for the individual.

I have to finish up five queries and synopsis over the next week or so, including two for incomplete WIPs. Usually I never do any of that stuff until I am done. But hey, opportunity knocks, so here I am today, writing the dreaded synopsis for something I’m not quite finished with yet. I’m several drafts in and at 105k, so the bulk of it is behind me, but I’ve still got missing pieces, worldbuilding to do, and plot holes you could drive a truck through. In other words, what I have left on this are the kind of key points that may not mean a lot more work word-count wise, but need to be just right in order to tie everything together.

Did I mention I hate writing synopsis?

Guess what? The damned thing just helped me fill in a few key gaps and sort out some pacing and sequencing issues, and just moved me a helluva a lot closer to nailing the Final Battle.

Lightbulb moment.

The next time I find myself headdesking while I am a good portion of the way through a project  that’s when I need to write the synop. Because then the crafty storybuilder advicey stuff that’s soaked into my brain over the years will just fill in the gaps.

I’m pretty sure that somewhere out there some author already said that in an interview. I probably even read it. But it didn’t click until I experienced it.

Suddenly I no longer hate writing a synopsis. Well, not as much anyway.

Methinks I might have just leveled up …

The other ghastly terror? There’s a huge palmetto bug lurking somewhere in my apt. I’m sure at some point tonight my neighbors are going to hear a bloodcurdling scream coming from my apt. Sometimes I really really really really really hate living in Florida. Its wildlife is NOT OK. I HATE THOSE THINGS!!! Blech. Shudder.

Ok, I’m done now. Carry on.

 
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