Monday, August 31, 2009

Searching for a Topic

Searching the Internet, trying to find something interesting to post about, I realized my best bet is to go with one of my hobbies.

I love taking pictures.

The photo stage left was taken earlier this summer during a trip to San Francisco. Iconic in many ways of that part of town, I just loved the contrast (although I did cut off her shoes).

This was a night sky over a still body of water. Another one of my favorite shots is water and sky.

One of the joys of taking pictures to me is framing the shot. I'm not advanced enough to control lighting, shading, etc. I'm basic. How to get the most information into a photo without making it a jumbled mess. These aren't cropped by the way.

Just a flower on the National Mall to add a bit of my favorite color.

Now it's time to get some rest.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunlight and Cactus and a Polish Poet

(Photo taken by me at the US Botanical Garden in Washington, DC)

As has been the case, I'm working on polishing the manuscript. A polish can also include a couple of new chapters and even a new character. My newest character is a Princess. Always a sign the story is moving along in the right direction when the new character can lay claim to such a title.

But when I was searching for a name to further inspire me, and some sense of historical authenticity surrounding it, I googled Poetry and Apocalypse (which will make sense if the book gets published and you read it:), and found this beautiful piece by Julian Tuwim, a Polish poet.

The Dancing Socrates

I roast in the sun, old wretch…

I lie, and yawn, I stretch.

Old am I, but full of pep:

When I take a slug from the cup

I sing.

My ancient bones bask in the sun's glow,

And my curly, wise, grey head.

In that wise head, like woods in spring

Hums and hums a wiser wine.

Eternal thoughts flow and flow,

Like time.

Kind of ideal when you're writing a vampire story, don't you think?

And by the way, the character's first name is Izabella.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Writing on the Road or What I Found on the Internet

Picture taken in 2004 during my first trip to London in October. I loved the city, and got a chance to see the changing of the guard.

I take a lot of pictures. I also am lucky enough to have done a lot of traveling, although that isn't a perquisite to taking pictures.

I got up this morning after only a few hours sleep, after writing most of the night, and decided to share some of the photos I've taken here on my blog.

We'll start with this one.

But on to the revision wisdom for today. I finished polishing chapter 5, and reworking the first four chapters - that have already been sent to the agent and the editor for consideration. They were minor tweaks, but I just had to do it. The agent sent me a note, and said I should send her updates on my manuscripts. My goal is to send her a fresh 10 to 20 chapters (I know wide gap, but only three new scenes, the rest just polishing, I swear). I plan on finishing a chapter every two days. Do you think that's doable? Well, the bet is on, people! Here we go! I'll report tomorrow - when I have finished chapter 6.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shemar Moore and other Shape Shifters

I'm pondering other books I would like to write as I work on the current set of revisions for this first book. Somewhere down the road, I'll need to explore shape shifters. And I've decided that Shemar Moore (actor pictured left) would be a perfect muse to create this otherworldly entity that through no fault of its own automatically shifts to another creature.

I believe Shemar is a shape shifter. Why? Come on seriously, who looks like this? Sure, a handful of insanely over-developed males who have no right (NONE) on this Earth to exist, except as a result of some mad curse. A punishment to all who think this is what they can be, or what they might be able to have one day.

But without the pretty face, great effect lighting and a few muscles, would you want to spend time with this? I mean think about it. The constant looking over your shoulder. The ridiculous amount of time you'd have to spend in the gym - just to feel what? Adequate? I'm telling you - why put yourself through so much pain? Would it be worth it? What real value would you have from such an experience?

Yeah, you're right. Memories. That's all I'd ask for. Just something (anything) to remember.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Heaven and Hell

This post is about the thing(s) that torture writers. You'd think it was a walk in the park - if you didn't write, you'd swear it wasn't a big deal. Got an idea for a great book? Write it down. Pull out the old sheet of paper and pen or laptop and keyboard and go at it! But for those of us who write, we know the truth about writing. It's all about heaven and hell, and sometimes (oftentimes) more about living in the nine rings of hell then anything else. Okay, I'm in revisions, thus my angst.

But how come so many people on the planet know so much about the pain and agony of giving birth to a manuscript?

What has prompted me to examine this question in all of its highly frustrating denominations? Nothing slight, I guarantee you.

It's a new Meryl Streep movie (check out stage left - facing your monitor). Or it's the fact that the movie is about Julia Child and Julie Powell and what they went through to get their respective books published, and to establish themselves as writers.

Okay, back to my point. Could it be that the writers community has the best PR on the planet. Not only do we know how much we suffer, we know that half the movie-going public also knows and they love to hear, see, or smell something that reeks of failure just before a great success is born.

Now let me state the obvious. Just finished watching Julie & Julia - and enjoyed it immensely. As I watched, I also wondered did everyone in the theater empathize with the main characters in the same spots where I laughed loudly or held back a sob? I think so. Because the general public has been educated by writers (of fiction, television, film, or whatever) about the writer's life in all of its pain and glory.

Why? Because writers of entertainment enjoy sharing their angst. And that's why everyone in the theater during the two hour movie was an aspiring author. They shared the main characters' failure and success, and that's what made the movie so enjoyable for me - the same way a good book is enjoyed - through character. (Okay, recently I was at a writer's convention and told a lie. I said I approach my books from plot. No, I don't. I do think of a situation and then I create characters to dwell in that situation - but I don't always say here's a character and now what am I going to do with him or her. Right now, I'm doing that in REVISION!

Okay, back to the main point of this post - revisions: heaven or hell? I think you know where I stand.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Catching Up

Whew! It's just been a while since I've posted in this blog. My energy has been divided into any number of directions. But today, I'm writing about letting go. It’s a writer’s prerogative to take that leap from making main characters sweet, predictable or safe. They need to go where danger and fear and risk are commonplace.

I had a dream last night (yes, I did). And it was the most outrageously dangerous dream I’ve ever had. And I’ve had my share. It involved two men, gunplay, loads of interaction of the most dominating kind, and there was no remorse.

Think about that for a moment. Ponder the implications, and then think about vampires, and shape shifters and werewolves and creatures that must exist on the edge of what makes sense. Have you written a character who has no remorse? Not across the board, but perhaps just for one action, and it's beyond no regrets...

As a writer, can you cross that line? I'm struggling with my main character during revisions because she needs a sharper edge. At a conference recently the presenter asked a question about how to approach your story through character or plot. I said through plot, or at least situation. Now, I'm writing an outline, and I want to take my plot to task while nailing character. Am I going about it wrong?



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