Monthly Archives: April 2010

My Literary Boogy-man

Onward, to never-ending procrastination!

Yes, I said it. I’m procrastinating. But, to be completely honest, it’s been very productive procrastinating. Job-hunting for my DH, washing dishes, looking up potential transfer schools so I can finally finish this degree… See? Very productive. Just…not productive on what I want to be productive on. Does that make sense? And what, you ask, is that? My book, of course.

There are a thousand different ideas in my head, buzzing around and demanding to get out. (Hold on-one more procrastination on my procrastinating blog-the house smells like burned popcorn. Must. Rid. Smell.) Ok, now that I’m floating in a cloud of “spring and renewal,” (dorky name for Febreze) I shall continue. If I can manage to not be distracted. Thousand ideas! I swear, there are. I have ideas for romance, ideas for comedic relief, ideas using psychology, ideas tying in future books, ideas for character flaws, ideas for metaphors, ideas for plot twists, ideas for family backgrounds, ideas for…you get the idea. Most of them have been journaled or talked about or otherwise developed, but as soon as I sit down to the computer…

POOF! Facebook pops up. Twitter demands my attention. The blog complains of dustiness. Then, once they are sated and I am completely bored with all Internet activity, I sit down to work. …

Still sitting….staaaaaaring…. Everything that’s in my mind freezes. My characters bounce around in my head, demanding to come out, but I can’t seem to type. The chapters are pretty much written. All I have to do is tweak a few pronouns and fix a few lines and BAM! Done with chapter two. But, even with the simplicity laid out before me, my mind refuses. Right now, I’m doing this instead of exploring my MC’s obsession with humanity and  my other MC’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Grr…

Time for a Twitter break.

And…if you were wondering, no there is nothing relevant about the picture. I just thought it was cool. 🙂

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Eureka, 42, and Other Life-Changing Revelations

Ok, so my life-changing moment was not in a bathtub with a golden crown. Althought, come to think of it, it was pretty life-changing to realize that the few pounds I’d hoped to hide still make that water mark higher (damn chemistry…). And no, I realize 42 is not the answer to the universe, but it’s pretty close.

My revelation came in the form of a very depressing epiphany: There is nothing new under the sun. Yep! I said it. Every single thing that has ever been written, acted, said, or thought has been done somewhere else by someone else. Now, before you grab your torch and pitchfork, let me explain why this was life-changing. You see, for the past few weeks as I struggled fruitlessly on re-writes I had been searching for that “it” factor. You know, the one that is always just around the corner, or just on the tip of your tongue, or whatever. Then it hit me. No matter what I did, my book would be no different than any other book out there. I mean, honestly, what book doesn’t have romance and action and a hero (or nowadays a heroine) and a quest. It’s been around for centuries! There’s the Epic of Gilgamesh, clashing with the gods over humanity. There’s the Bible and its multitude of tales. There’s Homer’s works, and all the knock-off Renaissance writers who followed. Even Twilight copies something, namely The Vampire Diaries*. Ok, ok, so I’m a fan of the show (and I’m a sinner ‘cuz I haven’t read the books…yet). But still, it had to be said.

There is nothing new out there.

So here I was, little old me, worrying and toiling and struggling to find my unique “it” factor. I didn’t want my book to be like all the others. I didn’t want predictable. But, really, that’s all there was. No one’s interested in a book with no love interest. No one cares if there’s no action. No…the real unique factor is how you take what’s been said before and turn it into your own. That’s how epics like Paradise Lost and Twilight are born: the writers are inspired by an idea and run with it. (See? I told you it wasn’t as gloomy as it sounded.)

There, my friends, lies the beauty in writing. Everything has been done before. Romances will blossom, betrayal will happen. Heroes will rise, and heroines will fall. That is, in essence, what makes a story work. It is the skeleton. The flesh and blood are what make it yours. Mine just happens to be coated in black skin with florescent green tattoos and a mean sense of humor. What’s yours?

*Yes, yes…I know…the picture is upsetting. But you have to admit, sparkling vs. veins-sticking-out-of-face? Much more…”badass.” 🙂

Confessional

So, I am about to admit my incredible dorkiness. Yes, it is a terrible confession. One that just might rival World of Warcraft, but on a much less cool scale. Oh yeah…it’s bad.

For you sci-fi nerds out there, I pray you have heard of the wonderful, marvelous Anne McCaffrey. A friend introduced them to me when I was in seventh or eighth grade (and let me tell you, those dragon mating scenes? My little christian-school-girl head was shocked!) Needless to say, I was hooked. That world of dragons and hardship and mystery and magic enthralled me. I wrote fan fiction, I painted paintings. I even found a Role-Playing Game to write my own Pern. So many years later, I didn’t realize just how much it would help me.

Now before you go jumping to conclusions, let me explain what this was. It wasn’t some cyberworld with little cyberdragons and cyberpeople walking around. It was a writing group of like-minded nerds intent on taking it to the next level. Each group had its own rules, and I was in a few of them. Each one required you to build a skeleton for a character before you could even begin. You had to know what they looked like, what their personality was like, and what their history was inside and out. Only then could you venture out into the wide wide world of Pern.

As I was re-writing (yes, STILL. -_- Lemme alone…) my chapters, I was finding it harder and harder to find the voice of my story. First-person was finding a rather painful, torturous death, but third-person seemed too distant. After months of writing from within my MC’s skull, watching her from outside left me feeling like some side-line commentator. I couldn’t get back into it. Her thoughts and emotions were shielded from me and I was on the verge of throwing in the towel. Enter: Pern RPG. Oh yeah, the nerdiness never leaves you. I realized that I was so focused on the technicalities that I hadn’t taken time to re-learn my character. Instead of an outline of her looks and personality and history, I had a gender and a place. She was hollow. As soon as I made the character sheet, she came alive again. Rather than “blinking at the man,” she was “frozen with shock.” Instead of merely surviving on the pages of my screen, she began to live in my head. (Now ain’t that a scary thought.)

Anyway, my nerdiness paid off. Laugh if you want, but I’ve finally started to find my groove again. A month of nitpicking and critiquing and procranstinating and I can finally get back to doing what I love. Writing decent characters and revelling in the fact that I have just surpassed WoW.

Ok…so I haven’t…Nothing can surpass Wow. Don’t shoot!