Thursday, June 26, 2014

Writing with a Soundtrack

I listen to a lot of music while I'm writing. A lot of it triggers memories of a particular era which helps a great deal. It's a submersion thing.

I do believe I have discovered, not one, but two more songs for my current WIP- Snow. Yes, I've been listening to them and not exactly sure why I was enjoying them so much or why they were haunting me even when I wasn't playing them.

It was my male protagonist, whistling the tunes in my head. Yes, the honorable Aaron Johansson, circuit judge, is whistling Dean Martin tunes. I blame Noona, his Italian grandmother. She loves Dean Martin. Aaron was marked. And he whistles when he's happy. [Must update his file.]

Now maybe I can get the tunes going in your head before I get back to work making him very, very unhappy. What can I say? It's what I do.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Character File for Aaron Johansson

I said in one of  my last posts, where I described my character sketches that I would post one from a current WIP. So I decided on the male protagonist from Snow. This is a very fluid document. Things can and do change. Would you like to meet the honorable Aaron Johansson?


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Bad Poetry in June--- So Sorry!

I knew this was coming. I knew before I ever got on the plane to New Hampshire. I could have warned you. But I didn't. So sorry.

Sunday Morning in New Hampshire

Time isn't really different here.
The sun creeps up in his usual style
Smiling over the horizon
"Are you ready for me?"
No, not yet!
Dreams, music, and poetry
Are still swimming in my mind
Crowding out coherency
Must I wake up? Be gentle, please.
Let me dream a little longer.

I have a tanka roughed out and in need of editing but I will save that and the other one for next month. There is only so much pain I'm willing to inflict on others.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Character Dossiers: What goes in my Character files

I've read a lot about character development and downloaded a boatload of questionnaires and other tools. Some of them boggle my mind. One hundred questions for your protagonist to answer? An MMPI (Multi-Phasic Personality Index) would be far more accurate and only take a couple of hours. I spent three days (on and off to be sure) doing that one for one of my characters.

Finally I came up with something of my own, with those things which helped me see the character clearer, hear their voice, know where they came from, and where they are going. Although not as detailed as those one hundred questions, it works for me and, yes, I plan on posting one of my actual dossiers later. Just for the fun of it. Care to take a look at the working file?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Kill a Heroine?

She's right. So many male writers who write love stories do kill off the heroine. I remember a best seller in 1970 called "Love Story". The book was, of course, made into a hit movie. Everyone was talking about how grown men were coming out of the theater with tears streaming down their faces. Exaggeration? No, not really. I recall seeing the movie, not being super impressed, but both of the guys (it was a double date) had traces of tears on their faces.
Sparks does it. Segal did it. Shakespeare did it. A lot of notable male authors do it. OK, Shakespeare killed off the hero, too.  Come to think of it, didn't Sparks kill off the hero in The Horse Whisperer?
But why do they do it? I mean why do they kill off heroines? Predominately, anyway. I have a little theory of my own which may or may not hold water.
One word: perfection. It's probably not the best word but it's the best word I can find and what I am thinking may be just a little 'anti-male'. But thinking back on stories I've read I cannot help but draw the conclusion. If the love interest dies she never changes in memory. She remains beautiful, loving, intelligent, and full of laughter. Back to the original word: perfect, whatever attributes she embodies. The love remains perfect. It's never tested by time, marriage, children, and age. There is weeping for her removal at the peak of her life---the 'potential' of their possible idyllic life together. As a couple, they will never bury parents or (heaven forbid!) a child together. He will never forget her birthday and she will never forget he hates green peppers. Time will be frozen while everything is still perfect.
Killing off the heroine preserves all the romantic perfection. It will never change or be challenged by life and its circumstances. It does make for a beautiful love story, doesn't it? Romance . . . love. . . tragedy.
I can't even say I will never write such a story. I might. But I will confess that even though I have said my stories do not start with a theme a writing friend recently found one. After practice pitching both Rain and Snow with her, she found one. Yes, running through the both of them and so simple I was taken aback at first--- Love Endures.
She was right. It's there. I didn't consciously start out with a theme; I was just writing a story.
No, I probably will not kill off a heroine. It goes against my nature and doesn't fit my writing or my philosophy currently. I prefer love to change, grow, and endure.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Flurry of Activity:

DFW Writers Conference

I should have a post up on the DFW Con I just attended in May. It was awesome. I didn't overextend myself and sign up for a bevy of stress-inducing and draining workshops. I signed up for a pitch session but instead of pitching Snow, which wasn't finished anyway, I had a nice natter with Margaret Bail from Inklings Literary Agency.

The workshops I attended were great. Though a series of domestic snafus I missed the pre-conference workshops I had paid and signed up for. Ugh! But I did catch Donald Maass at his presentation/workshop on Micro-tension. "Rock Star . . . legendary . . . no pressure. . ." Wonderful presenter. Those are his quotes, by the way. He made me laugh out loud then preceded to rearrange some of my thinking. And, yes, it was his pre-conference workshops I missed. Darn it!

I must have added a dozen folks to my Twitter account and it seems, in the aftermath of the conference, I've been added to a few. The fact makes me blink. My Twitter account was started for fun and I was thinking about starting a strictly professional one before the conference. Too late now.

But I must say I enjoyed and learned more at this year's conference than I did the one I attended last year. Maybe it was because I didn't overextend myself. Maybe it was because, once faced, some of my anxieties were gone. Maybe it was both. But I think it simply felt different and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Now I'm waiting on the announcement for signing up on next year's conference. And, if anyone reading this pitched at the conference, the purple Hershey's kiss scattered on the tables in the waiting area? That was me. :) An act of encouragement, support, and pure fun. You're welcome. Next year? Absolutely. My pleasure.

WriteClub 2014

Yes, I'm participated, with what I consider a vengeance. Not one entry. Not two entries. Oh, no, I had to send in three entries. I posted this self-made meme on my personal Facebook earlier this week.

Will I make it into the ring? I don't actually think so. I really don't. There were over 150 entries at last tweet. It would be flattering in the extreme but not going to happen. Funny thing. The rules stated you couldn't submit anything previously published---and this blog counts. So I had to pull out work from my project list, not my current WIP. All of them rough drafts hastily edited. But, on a cheery note, I found the courage to submit some of my writing to a bevy of professionals, which is a biggie for me.
Along with that I have applied to join a critique group. I can't talk about it right now. It's in process so I will maintain silence until I hear something. Yeah, that took either cockiness, courage, or chutzpah, too. What can I say? Sometimes I'm full of it and sometimes I hide under the table, shivering.

Off to New England

Now I am in the midst of preparing for another trip to New England next week. I will meet up with friends, many of who write. We will chatter, laugh, go new places and old, discuss books and ethics, and take pictures. I will come back with some of the latter, memories, and perhaps some new poetry. Yes, I will be writing while I am there. I need to warn them.
I will be writing and tweaking a couple of blog posts to be published while I'm gone. I'm not certain of Wi-Fi coverage everywhere I will be going.
Now there is more writing to be done, lists to make, laundry, packing, a little shopping, and, if time allows, maybe some baking. After that----------more writing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June's Bad Poetry

I have more posts waiting to be completed and published but it's June. The bad poetry continues to come out my fingertips so maybe it's best to get it done and over with this month.

Random Haikus in No Particular Order
I really don’t like
You. I don’t. What can I say?
The nights are so cold.
Reality is
Overrated. Fantasy
Sticks best to old walls.
Slowly marking days
Sunrise to sunset may be
Still too fast for me.
Remember? I wish
I could forget but I can’t.
It’s such a bother.

Hide and Seek

No, I don’t know where
But still I will look in places
I’ve found you before.
On sugar sanded beaches
By the running mountain streams
Not in the desert I think
Unless it be in the center of night
Where the Milky Way dances
Across a deep cobalt sky.
Yes, I will find you
Laughing, dancing, spinning round
Welcoming me home.
Wait for me.
Please wait.