Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Month, New Goal

It's May! I almost didn't notice, since it snowed up here this week.

I'm feeling ready to stop dicking around with plotting and crank out the remaining 90% of the first draft. I know I want to do a "number of hours" goal, since those have worked well for me in the past-- but I've been dithering over the number to pick until literally right now.

I'm going with 60.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Listify Life: Week 6

Scents That Conjure Memories:

1) A certain type of cigar smoke (cheap and sweet, I'd wager). This reminds me of my great-grandfather, whom I called Nonno. He was in his eighties when I was born: an Italian immigrant barber with endless patience for listening to me prattle on. Sometimes I catch a whiff of smoke off an old man and am instantly transported back to a cloudless Autumn day in the mid-70's, walking on a stone wall with my Nonno shuffling along beside me in his bow tie and tweed coat.

2) Lilacs. The house I grew up in had lilac bushes on the property, and to this day lilacs are my favorite flower. When they're in bloom I'm constantly transported back to May days in Massachusetts, playing on my obscenely lush suburban lawn.

3) Onions, garlic, and tomatoes simmering together on a stove. Every other supper of my childhood. The kitchen of my childhood home: wallpaper with strawberries on it, deep sink where I got my hair washed once a week, and a green tile floor.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Listify Life: Week 5

Weird Talents or Skills I Have:

1) Extremely limited cartoon impressions. With a little warm-up, I can do spot-on impressions of Hoodsey from As Told By Ginger and Luanne from King of the Hill.

2) Freakishly good memory for names.

3) Writing mimicry. I hate that this is true, but my strongest writing skills are in mimicry. If you give me a sample of what you want something to sound like, I can write something that sounds just like that. I have written perfectly acceptable newspaper articles, case briefs, and marketing plans, despite having no background in journalism, law, or business.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Goddamn Act Three

Or second-half-of-act-two, if you're a three-act structure purist.

I've been fiddling around with the plot structure for Mender for weeks now. I've had a lot going on (family member in the hospital-- not The Husband for once!), and have been off any kind of regular writing routine. But now I'm thinking that's not all bad-- it's forced me to slow down and try to get a better grip on the story. It's tricky because this is the first book in a quartet, so I have story arcs for this book plus a whole bunch of threads that won't come to fruition until book 4.

What I've been doing is plotting out each arc separately to help keep everything straight. And what I'm finding is that I can work all these arc out for the first half and last quarter of the book with no struggle... but the dang third quarter is a big ol' question mark. Why do I always have such problems with that portion of every story I try to tell??

Listify Life: Week 4

I'm late with this, so I'll post one today and one tomorrow to catch up.

Words I Always Spell Wrong:

1) commitment

2) accommodate

3) traveling

4) Venezuela

5) messenger

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Listify Life: Week 3

Little Things That Make Me Happy:

1) Dogs. In my everyday, pet-owning life I am 100% Team Cat. But other people's cats are no fun. Other people's dogs, though, are the best. There's no happy like a happy dog's happy, and it's impossible for me to retain a bad mood after encountering it.

2) Watching my friend's two-year-old wave a lacrosse stick around and drop balls on his head in an attempt to imitate his seven-year-old brother.

3) The Son's Japanese Festival at school tonight. They've been doing a integrated unit on Japan for six weeks. 80 third-graders in kimonos playing xylophones and singing in Japanese, then presenting their research topics science fair style. The Son did his on Samurai.

4) The song "Runnin' With the Devil" by Van Halen. I was never a hair metal band kinda girl, but the song just makes me feel like I totally kick ass and everything's going to be AWESOME.

5) Buying books in an actual bookstore. I don't do this much any more, since I try to take as much as possible out of the library, and I order a lot from amazon because the bookstores in this area often don't have what I'm looking for, and yadda yadda. But there's nothing like wandering around in a real bookstore: finding what you're looking for, stumbling across something interesting, winding up with a pile of books to fret over and narrow down to a reasonable number, taking the just-purchased books out of the bag and admiring their brand-new perfectness. I love it all.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Listify Life: Week 2

Books I'd Like to Live In For a While:

1) My Family and Other Animals series by Gerald Durrell. These are some of my most beloved books from childhood, and my frequent comfort reads. I would love to live for a while in the daffodil-colored villa on the Greek island of Corfu in the 1930's, having breakfast on the veranda with the charmingly eccentric English expatriate Durrell family and their never-ending parade of kooky houseguests, and marveling at Gerry's menagerie.

2) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I ask you: who would pass up a chance to visit Le Cirque des Reves? No one I want to hang out with, that's who.

3) Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn. The belief system and magic in this world are just gorgeous. I want to pull my own blessing coins!

4) "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea" by Ursula K. LeGuin. Slightly cheating since it's a novella and not a novel? Whatever, it's LeGuin, so chyeah I want to live in one of her worlds. Planet O is a fascinating place: agrarian yet devoted to education, clannish yet pacifist, with foursome marriages and a religion with no gods. I'd want to live among them and produce the definitive anthropological study of their culture.

5) Castle Waiting by Linda Medley. For real, I could bring my family here and live happily for the rest of my life.