Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wishes & Thanks

This will likely be a shorter post than normal but I wanted to say thank you to the twitter friends and acquaintances I've made since starting this blog and my writerly twitter-handle. Your encouragement means so much! I only hope that I can return the favor.

What a lonely journey writing can be. But it doesn't have to be. :) There are times in my life I've felt doubt and uncertainty and this is another one of them. Strangely though, and I don't know what it is about the goal of writing a book, there is also something that hits me as being pretentious. Ugh. I don't think it is possible to feel both insecure and pretentious at the same time, but, in my weaker moments, there it is. Ah, well. Have a goal and don't be ashamed of it, I suppose.

I've made good progress on the WIP (just a sneeze away from 60k--woo!) and I hope that you all have too. Last month I Wri-Mo-ed (highly recommend!) and this month, I'm making sure I write every day. So far, my July streak is unbroken and it absolutely feels like I make progress every day.

Sometimes I feel a bit silly blogging about writing when I am such a newbie on certain levels. This week though, I realized that the journey to completion of the first book is a one-time experience. It is something special to go from I-always-wanted-to-do-that to I-freaking-did-it. And, just for perspective, for each post I write, I read dozens more, grateful to other bloggers and writers for putting their thoughts and encouragement and advice out there. My goal is to do the same.

Today is my birthday and, as usual, makes me contemplative of the past year. I am so grateful for where I am in my life and for the love of my family. (Smooches!) What a wonderful opportunity writing has provided in enabling me to pursue something I've loved for so long, but never taken that seriously for myself. When I see young writers pursuing such careers I am amazed. Still, life hits you when it hits you and now is a good time for me. So, I keep writing, loving it, and shaking my head at myself at times that I've decided to hang out a shingle and write a book. In my day job I meet too many people who have no idea what they want. I'm grateful I don't struggle with that issue.

Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone! Happy writing & reading! Wishing you all success and resolve as you go after what you want. Dream big. Life's short.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reality TV: Same Old Table Flipping

I think I’m breaking up with reality tv.

It’s been a slow process for me because I love television. It wasn’t until I had kids that I really limited how much I would watch. We’ve tried to stick to less than two hours a day and, by default, that means I watch less too. Which is good because I have a high threshold for crappy tv, and have, at various times in my life, been known to watch stupid shit just because it was on.

My day job is stressful, as most are. It can even be numbing, at times. Part of why I’ve turned to writing this past year is that it provides me with a creative outlet. I’ve written on and off throughout my life and it has always been enjoyable. So, obviously my free time lately has been spent more on my writing.

But I still need a break. We all need something mindless at times, in this serious and tragic world. One of my guilty pleasures has been reality tv. But that time is precious and I want it to be well-spent, more bang for the buck.

Over the past few weeks, I haven’t been as excited about the reality shows I tend to watch, which at this point are half of the Real Housewives franchise. I like the friendships, the resolutions, the drama, and the alliances. Part of what I’ve loved about RHs is the way the shows have female-centered casts and show the dynamics between them. As a feminist, I get a bit twitchy about watching shows that focus on women being mean/rude/petty with each other. Although I would argue that feminism would certainly posit that women don’t have to try to be “nice” all the time. RH shows can also be pretty plastic. To be fair though, many shows are plastic, materialistic, etc., etc.

Something I’ve come to realize though, is the sheer exhaustion that comes from watching season after season of the same arguments. Yes, I apparently expect character growth out of real people, not just characters. While I appreciate women being able to show their anger, instead of just stuffing it, it still has to go somewhere (and be respectful, not threatening or abusive, etc.). And TO THE SURPRISE OF NO ONE, these shows, and their cast members aren’t going anywhere: same arguments, week after week. Lines drawn that then get crossed, only to be complained about during the painfully awful reunion shows. My tolerance level is about three to five seasons and then I move on. Hey, it’s just tv. There are a lot of great shows on that I watch (obsessively) or learn about and then figure out how to do a full-on glom of back episodes. (Game of Thrones, Girls, Homeland, and Sherlock, I’m talking about you.)

So, that’s how I’m feeling about this silly aspect of my world this week. Just to be clear: this post is about my own decision about what to watch on television. You are free to watch whatever you like, without any judgment from me. Truly. It’s a cruel world and if some show brings you a moment of joy or escape, then awesome. Find your happy.

Any guilty pleasure television shows or series you’ve left behind?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

WTF Genre Am I Writing in Anyway?

So I've been belly-deep in the WIP. Sometimes the words come slowly, and sometimes they are in a big rush. I've spent the past week making sure I writw every day. And that has been going well.


If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed some more random tweets than usual today. Goodness, do I wish I could say, witty or pithy tweets, but hey. At least I know myself. They were random. And that's because odd things were clogging up my writing. You know, little deets, like my exact setting, and time, and genre. And names. I heart naming things.

Okay, back to genre issues. I've made certain decisions about setting/time/genre and tried to push through others. I have the story in my head. I can see scenes and my characters and it plays out. And that is where my focus has been these last few weeks. Putting it into words, cranking out the novel, and not getting stuck in too many rabbit holes of research. Although they are fun.

An example of something I haven't made a final decision on is the EXACT time my novel takes place. I have an era that I think will make a good fit for the themes I want to include. I even have a century in mind, but nothing exact.

I have also, at this point, made up countries that could have existed during that time. And this is another strange place to be in. One one level, my goal is to write historical romantic fiction. And I am striving for details and as few anachronisms as I can have (just a sec: HAHA! Damn, is that hard.), because the "when" matters to me. Even though I'm not specific with it yet.

So, back to the made up countries. I'm writing about kings and queens, heads of state. I don't want to take literary license with those who existed. Other writers have done and I'm sure will do a fabulous job of that, but that doesn't interest me for this story. So, I have, in essence, place-holders of inspiration for my made up countries. I may change things. It may be glaringly obvious to others what I was using as historical anchors. And that's fine. These aren't secrets. They are, rather, ideas in flux.

The focus I am attempting to maintain in terms of story is about the main characters, Callum and Zara, falling in love. They and their relationship make up plot points, and has me pulling out my hair at times wondering about their likability, intelligence, or, in contrast, any possible doormat qualities. I like feisty heroines and Zara will get there, but for a while, she's more of a wait-and-see, feisty-heroine-in-the-making.

If you've read my side-bar, you know that I mention fairy tales. I love fairy tales. When I set out to write this story I wanted it to be a fairy tale. That conjures specific images, themes, and types of characters and I like that. What fairy tales also generally entail is the use of magic. So, I've added that in as well. At this point, it's subtle. But it's there and is one of those things I scratch my head about wondering how it adds to the story or what it shows about the characters who use it and how to make the best use of it. I'm not going to keep it if ultimately it feels tacked on. But right now, it's there and I have major plans for it. So. Yeah.

When I step back, I've started to wonder if I've entered a different genre altogether. Am I writing fantasy? Just how liberal can one be when it comes to "historical?" Why am I stuck on labels anyway? Gah.

In the mean time, I'll be writing, occasionally tweeting, and working out these questions, hoping to gain some perspective.

So my question to you is, have any of you ever wondered, genre-wise, what you were writing? As readers, have you gotten into a story that bent genres or blended them for you? Did you like it? All I know is I'm having fun and am looking forward to the process every day.