Friday, September 6, 2013

Best Intentions

I learned something years ago when I first started writing. Back then I was forcing myself to sit in front of the computer until I completed three pages each weekday. It was horrendous, boring, and it took me a year to finish the first draft on one novel. I never revised it or did anything else with it. Instead I went out, got a job at GEICO and worked as a bodily injury claims adjuster for five years.

Free photos: Puma at zoo
Even the puma's laughing at me!
My mistake was treating writing too much like a 9 to 5 job (well who has those anymore...7 to 5 job). When I picked up writing again last year, it was like an itch I couldn't ignore. The story was there and it flowed out of me onto the pages. Now granted that doesn't always happen. Sometimes the ideas aren't there and the words dam up inside. On those days, I'm happy if I just work on revisions or at least manage a paragraph or two.

The trick is to write every day. Not just weekdays. Every single day. Even if it's only a paragraph, I spend time with the characters, getting to know them, thinking about them. Sure I'd love to boast 2,000 words per day, sometimes I do. Writing for me is an exercise in creativity. When I try to force it, I clam up and become unproductive.

I've seen questions to authors asking why they're working on more than one series at a time or more than one manuscript. If they're like me, it's not greed driving them to diversify. There are days when my mind can't deal with the fantasy realm I created. Moving to a different manuscript helps keep the creative juices flowing. Writing short stories can do the same thing. I have three current WIPs. They all have romantic elements, but that's where the similarities end.

I expressed my intention to concentrate on the third book of Light Chronicles in a prior post. That didn't work out so well. I scrapped the first few pages and started over from scratch before realizing what the real problem was. Bitter Envy calls to me, a siren song begging me to continue Envy's plight. Dare I compare WIPs to puppies scrambling for attention. Well my dogs are cuter and fluffier, but I swear sometimes the call of the story is stronger than their loudest barks.

Perhaps I give my creative side too much leeway. Writing, like life, is a learning experience. So for now I'll give my creative side free reign. Well, except for creative side doesn't like editing much...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Finding my Playlist

So after several days of meditation (which BTW is about as close to an outline as this pantser gets), I just began putting pen to paper (well fingers to keyboard) for Light Chronicles Book #3. The only thing missing -- a playlist. I'm at a loss this time around.

I've been listening to hard rock for weeks which doesn't really fit this fantasy story at all. Putting together a playlist for my urban fantasy Bitter Envy was as simple as tuning to Octane on Sirius/XMRadio. It didn't matter much what was playing, as long as it was hard with an edge to it. I also listened to lots of Evanescence. I'd say they were the poster band for Bitter Envy. Now that I've decided to take a break from it and start on Light Chronicles, I'm stymied.

After weeks of subsisting on pulsating hard rock, I switched to Celtic to see if it inspired me. Well, it inspired me right to sleep. Did I mention, I write on my laptop and my desk is my bed? Funny thing is, I had a dream about my MC that finally settled where I needed to start this story. So the Celtic music does still inspire me even as it lulls me to sleep.

With any luck, I'll have a new playlist in place in a few days that provides motivation without the drowsy side effects.

And because everyone needs a dose of adorable one in a while, this is my Papillon, Kilala. Yes, she does realize just how cute she is. She likes to spend her days perched on the cat tree watching the outside world go by. No, I don't think she's aware that she's not a cat...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Influenced by Brave

Many people who read Shadow Fire compare main character Ashlyn to Katniss from The Hunger Games. Truth be told, I did not read The Hunger Games until after I'd finished the first draft of my manuscript. Right before I began my first round of revisions, I saw Brave. Merida and Ashlyn are very similar in so many ways: they're both fiery redheads, both are fantastic with a bow, they both love their families, and both have independent/adventurous personalities. Even after reading The Hunger Games I really don't see a similarity between Ashlyn and Katniss beyond the obvious: they both use a bow and both are chosen for something potentially deadly. The soundtrack from Brave also played an important part in both Shadow Fire & Stolen Moon. The Celtic theme fit my fantasy world so well. Most of Stolen Moon was written to the melodious Celtic strains.