Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Best laid plans

I was called into work on my day off yesterday. Great for paying bills but not so great for the plan to spend the day writing. I had my notes by the computer and a big glass of water to keep my brain hydrated. There was even a plan to review the bar scene(the phrase 'will it never end' kept running through my brain) so when the phone rang I was irked.

The end result was a distinct lack of time to procrastinate. I had half an hour to write before work. I knuckled down and wrote the punchline to that scene. Dialogue poured out onto the page. That was the most productive half hour I've used in some time on the writing front. Upon review today, the quality has held up to the cold winter light of the day after.

It was even more satisfying that I wrote on my lunch break. Instead of reading the book I had finally settled upon(and have since rejected because the characters didn't engage me)I wrote. Alex is back. His humour was missing. Even knowing where it had gone and why, I was missing that aspect of him. I've trudged through that scene because of it. The rejected book (see above) showed me the importance of showing the character's flaws and issues in a way that keeps the reader engaged.

This is a major turning point for Alex. My realization is his. Sorry it took so long but I've got it covered now. The sense of fun is back.

Who knew going to work would net such results?

PS Driving to work netted this image from Universal Studios - change the outfit, soften the lines of his face slightly, lighten the hair - and that's Alex - Hercules

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Reading when writing

I'm not sure what it's like for you but I have to be careful what I read when I'm writing. Yesterday I read The Great Gatsby. It was completely unexpected. I'm not sure what I thought it would be like but that wasn't it. The writing was fluid, active and captivating. The story and the characters were larger than life yet intimate. Of course I'll never write anything like it. I'm okay with that. Only F.Scott Fitzgerald can be himself. Just as there is only one Keziah Fenton.I know because I googled it.

I picked up a book to read this morning then put it back down. I did that with three others. I want to read them all, truly I do, but I don't want to influenced by story, characters or writing style while I'm writing.

I've turned to some good period dramas and watched them instead of reading. The rhythms and cadences are restricted to dialogue alone. Sage hooked me on the BBC production of North and South. I immediately followed that viewing with the final episodes of The Vicar of Dibley. Hard to believe the male lead in both shows was the same actor, Richard Armitage. Cathy thinks he's a good candidate for Roger in the Outlander series.

I think the best way to keep my mind on my own story and characters is to read nothing but research materials and stop losing myself in sexy British actors.

What do you do to keep your mind on your own writing?

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Stashaholic thinks Henry Ian Cusik would be a good choice for Jamie from the Outlander series. I'm not convinced anyone can measure up to my mental image but you have to admit, he's not bad to look at.

She's thinking about her choice for Claire. I can't comment as I am busy writing. I have a brilliant post sketched out on the bathroom wall for you and will post it just as soon as I get this scene finished. I am hopeful that it will actually be in this lifetime. Thanks to Jodi Thomas for the quote, "Triumph comes from perseverance."

Ahh, my idea of triumph...


Monday, February 18, 2008


Music is my muse.

I load up the CD player, yes I am that arcane, with music that either my characters listen to or are inspired by. The lead singer of The Tea Party supplied me with the hero's overall look in Heaven Coming Down. I was fortunate to have a one-on-one conversation with him in which we realized we drew our inspiration from similar sources. It seemed fitting to write the entire book to his music.

I've written to salsa, blues, metal rock and country. They've all been instrumental in flicking the switch in my brain to CREATE mode.

Part of the challenge with this project has been the lack of musical identity for Alex. It's not that big a deal though. Nea's music is definitive and strong. It's angry, loud and sums her up. Alex listens to instrumental. It's his music I hear every night before I go to sleep. Fitting as that's when I do most of my pre-writing. Nea may be Queen of the Night but Alex is at heart a dreamer. It's an interesting contrast to listen to their music.

Who or what is your muse?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Can't blog. Writing

Guess what I'm doing right this moment? Writing!

You'll be happy to know that all the research you did for me with alcholic beverages several months ago is finally being put to use. I've been structuring the demon's drinks with his downward spiral back to hell. Of course he's taking Alex with him. It's fun. I really should get back to it before they start doing shots and hitting on that blonde biker babe at the end of the bar. That would be a cliche. Especially if her beefy boyfriend took exception. Ooo, gotta go. I just thought of how to end that scene.

Here's something shiny to entertain you all with while you wait. Blue is my favourite colour. How about you?

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I had a bit of a breakthrough the other day during a lull at work. I picked at the current scene and asked myself what purpose it served. Bar scenes can easily be cliched, and therefore highly entertaining, just not the way the authour intended. My problem lay in the structure. I have two punchlines in that scene. By reversing their order everything is much stronger. Writing is not the chore it was last week.

I'm still plodding along. Mostly because that's my internal speed these days. Writing, walking, thinking; I'm merely taking my time. I get every where I need to and that's what counts. I wonder if I've missed things because of rushing around trying to be all things to all people. So I'm practicing more mindful interactions with life.

As Alex is my hero, I'm turning much of my subconscious focus to him. I can do that, will who I dream about or think about beneath the surface. That technique helped me throughout university. Sorry, I have no idea how it works. It just does. It allows me to expand my conscious activities. Instead of obsessing about one issue, idea or Gerard Butler, I can now think about all of them at various times of the day without fear of losing brain cells.

With all that said, I decided to take Zingera's advice and watch this 15 minutes short,Please. I had a feeling before I watched it that it was going to set something loose in my brain.

In the first two minutes the old story that P.S. I love you reminded me of jumped forward. There's some weird connection between that old manuscript and Mr. Butler. One I don't want to pursue until after Hell to Pay is finished. I almost stopped watching the short then because the pull was strong. I took a breath, shoulder checked Alex and dove back in.

The ending was a little predictable and made me want to smack the characters but that could be because something similar happened in my neighbourhood when I was a kid. Cliches are so because they imitate recurring aspects of life. Even when life goes sideways, you can often see the changes coming.

The rest of Please? Wow. It's powerful. When he talks about being a novelist, I got chills. There are days when that's incredibly true. Go. Watch it. Even if you're neither a novelist, nor a fan of Gerard Butler's you'll understand the writer in your life a wee bit better afterward.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Brain full

Usually writing gets all that extra stuff out of my brain onto the page and frees me up to think of other things. That's not happening at the moment. Daily living, or surviving the sore-throat-that-will-not-heal, has dragged so much out of me. It doesn't seem like a lot, until I try to think.

My brain is full of parents, health(mine and theirs), researching alternative therapies(theirs and mine), conventional therapies(I think you know who's), work, the library collection course, and somewhere waaaay down there Alex and Nea who aren't exactly clawing to get out.

I've tried writing at the computer, writing longhand, writing on the shower wall, writing in my notebook and writing while I walk(digital voice recorders rock). Nothing worth noting.

Maybe I'm not Wonder Woman and can't do everything. Maybe I'm missing a key element in the story and don't realize it. Maybe I need to just keep plugging away.

Honestly, I think it's a combination of the three. I'll continue opening the document and adding a few words at a time. A conversation with Elen brought me back to the basics of Alex's character. Lani Diane Richsaid something interesting about what a bad idea it was in a romance to make the hero and heroine the antagonist and protagonist. On the surface this is exactly what I've done with Alex and Nea. On further reflection I realized it is not. In the end Alex will give Nea exactly what she wants, not what she thinks she wants. Despite what the two of them think, she's not taking away anything he holds precious. He already threw it away. In her own warped way, Nea will give it back to him. Of course neither one of them realize that's what is really happening. They think they're adversaries.

Sort of like my brain and I.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Puttering along

No writing today. Not because it was Superbowl Sunday. I had my six year old niece here all weekend. She's full of enthusiasm from the moment her eyes open in the morning til the very instant they flutter shut at night. If only I could figure out how to harness some of that energy. It would solve the global energy crisis. Not to mention my own. She sucks it out of me. I have no idea how the working/writing mothers manage. She is a treasure. Truly. We had some good laughs. She taught me some interesting dance moves. High School Musical was far better than I had imagined. Both times.

Alex took a backseat to the princess but he didn't go away completely. I did manage to play with him during her bath time. We discussed the crazy aunt scribbles on the wall and that led to more insight about this current scene.

I have no idea what triggered how to write Nea's reactions to the loss of her wing. Something made me think of OH's tattoo post and it came from there.

I'm writing out of sequence again. So much on Alex's scene then over to Nea's and back again. But whatever works.

I'm motivated. My replacement copy of Wrath of Gods should be here in three weeks. I need to be free to watch it.