Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Good Writer Never Stops

Photo by Denny S. Bryce

I actually thought about stopping - writing. In the years I've been writing stories, novels, books, fan fiction, I never once thought about stopping. But I'd like to blame the winter - this one has been a bitch. Too much snow. Too many conflicts and anger and frustration. I haven't had enough time to kick back and enjoy. Also, I've been so single-minded about my novel - the manuscript I submitted in July - first 30 pages and a synopsis to St. Martin's Press, I've lost some of my joy for writing, I think. I realized it the other day. I took a week off - that stretched into two weeks, and during that time, I took a look at some of my old stuff. And I discovered, or rediscovered, that I need to be less hard on myself, and here I go again, journaling, instead of writing a blog about something that's not just me.

But I'm working on having opinions and articles I'm willing to write about. I do have loads of opinions, but I feel hampered by the writer me and the working girl me.

Anyway, I've spent most of the past 24 hours watching TV. The Good Wife has been getting a lot of press and last night I watched the first episode to see what it was all about. Well, 17 episodes later (thank goodness for iTunes), I'm a fan. And once again what made me a fan? The writing. Complex characters. Unexpected decisions. And plots that just make you go - whoa! So I'm thinking fundamentals. I need to write, and worry about whether or not it's the next great whatever after I've gotten out a story. Or at least that's my mood tonight.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breaking Free of Exposition and Other Sad Tales

Photo by Denny S. Bryce

I've been remiss with my writing lately. Or I've been writing, but not satisfied with the results or I've reached a brick wall when it comes to ideas for the never-ending vampire saga, which is not really about vampires. Somewhere in the middle of the madness, I'm going to figure out exactly what it is I want to say and say it.

But believe me that's more difficult to do than you can imagine.

I write and write and the more I write the more I just don't know what it is I'm writing about. I get so caught up in figuring out who my characters are than putting these people into situations that they have to deal with - it's crazy. I've got a 70,000 word manuscript and I swear only about 35,000 words have to do with my main character dealing with a situation in a action, goal-focused way.

Okay, the real question is how can I break free of writing backstory? I want to put my character into the scene, into the action, into the midst of all the shit, and let her fight her way out. But I keep going back. Trying to answer the same questions. Who is she? What is she? How does she look? What's on her mind?

That's just not good. Anybody have any tips? I need to stop writing backwards and start the story in the middle of the action.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Depression, Muscles, and "Did My Tooth Just Fall Out?"

Photo by Denny S. Bryce
Orlando, FL, February 2010

My best friend and I were having our semi-monthly Friday lunch. Both of us are in the same industry - making bucks organizing other people’s lives - well, we’re also both over 50 (and my admitting that much is a dead giveaway that I’m clearly more than a bit over!) But yesterday, on our way to lunch, we were in a very cheery frame of mind, laughing about some silly comment I’d made about my day, when something small, white and almost pearly, appeared to fall out of my month. We both paused, looked at each other with a shocked expression on our faces, and I said, “Did my tooth just fall out?”
“Girl, no.” She shook her head, then frowned. “I don’t think so.”
“Shit,” I said. “I know I’m getting old, but Christ, I hope my tooth didn’t just fall out.”
Of course, it wasn’t my tooth. A stone from my dangly, fancy earrings had fallen off. But it’s just been one of those years - or at least the past six months - where my first thoughts immediately jump to the bottom of the list - and if it has to do with my body -- something failing or falling off is expected.
It’s been one of those periods in life when every move is an ache, and the thought of exercising, a sure journey to pain and suffering.
And yeah, I’ve been to the doctor -- we both have -- and we’ve had check-ups, and know the deal so to speak about our respective health issues - but that’s not the point.
We have to face the fact -- we are aging. It’s right there - smacking us in the face (wrinkles and dark circles included), we don’t look the same and we can’t do all of the things we used to do.
But we act and think pretty much the same as we have since we were eighteen years old. (Yeah, this friend of mine and me have been buds practically since high school).
Well, we’ve decided to find time to take better care of ourselves - successful career woman shit aside. I'm exploring exercise plans (‘right, exploring:)...and am getting started with my Saturday by getting on a treadmill.
Then I’m going to spend a week avoiding meat, and watching my salt intake. I read that another good thing to do is to avoid ‘white’ foods - sugar, flour, rice, cheese, if it ain’t showing me color - it ain’t going in my mouth.
What does all of this have to do with writing? You’ve got to have energy to write. I’ve been sitting on my ass for most of every day for the past six months, working. And not all of that time (okay, very little of it) has been spent moving forward fast enough on my novel. So I’m going to put it down for a few weeks and start working on a new story. Just to give myself a break from feeling like I’m not being productive. 
Long way around just to give my self a pep talk, huh? 

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