Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reasons I haven't written this week

I've knit four scarves, two hats and one shawl.

Casey just did a head stand in order to fit the entire earth in his mouth. He used his brace slightly for leverage. Ky has the world now.

Gene Kelly in a sport coat wandering the fields of Scotland. (Brigadoon)

Cary Grant striding up the gangplank in a full suit and tie, complete with hat (Houseboat)

Fred and Ginger. Forget Dancing with the Stars - these two set the standard over seventy years ago.

All that romance, gentlemanliness and grace have made it difficult to look at my crude demon with any enthusiasm. Truth be told, those movies were great research. I need to get away from the hard core erotic word choices in some of my scenes. They give the wrong flavour for the book. These three classic movie stars may be old-fashioned but their wit and style are full of taste.

I'll get back to Hell to Pay shortly. Right after I watch North by Northwest

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Computer vacation

I've taken a serious vacation from my computer the past week. I've been editing on hard copy. There's something about all the handwritten words scribbled in purple all over the neatly typed pages. It's a visual cue that the story is gaining substance. While I still haven't settled onto one project, progress is being made on both fronts.

I don't know about you but when so much is going on inside my head, I get quieter. I can chitchat with the best of them but once it's time to get down to work, I do it. Less time is spent in my own conversations when I'm listening to my characters. I used to process out loud. The sound of my own voice often led me to some interesting insights.

I'm not sure what changed but lately I need silence. I need the peace that comes from the hearing pen scrape across the page. The crisp Autumn air fills my lungs, the rain splashes against the leaves and my brain gets to work. Perhaps it's the continued mild weather. Perhaps it's the noise in the rest of my life. Whatever caused this new working method, I have no real desire to examine it too closely. It's working. I'll switch it up if this stops.

In the meantime, don't expect much in the way of profound thoughts. I'm distracted with the work in front of me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


"Confidence - fake it til you feel it."
"If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will." Which is usually followed by "It's not rocket science. Anybody can write a book."

It's amazing to me that we even continue to write. Through life dramas, illness, jobs, and day-to-day living, authors still carve out enough time in their day,whether it's pre-dawn or past the witching hour, to create little worlds in which the rest of us can escape.

I'm sure you could sense my growing despondence with the lack of progress in my own writing career. A lot of it was generated by unrelated issues that crept into all aspects of my life. While most people were encouraging about the writing, one friend was about two sentences away from sharing the idea of monkeys producing Shakespeare, aka the 10,000 monkey theorem.

That's when I took a good hard look at why I write; at the sense of accomplishment I feel when the story is told; how powerful it is to create worlds and manipulate characters; how satisfying it is to have total control over that one aspect of my life, whether it comes to my attitude, commitment, dedication or schedule.

What drives me back to the computer time and again is not the platitudes plastered all over office walls and self-help books, but rather the need to know where my imaginary friends are going and how they're going to get there.

Both my curiosity and imagination must be appeased.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

Regardless of politics we pay tribute to these people's lives today - and every day

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I spent the afternoon at The Purple Purl with great friends. On the car ride up, a passionate conversation ensued about the sweater book. Book or film? What serves the story better? How best should it be told? Think of all the colours. They are so rich and visual.

Once there, other conversations quickly took precedence while I gave Stashaholic the opportunity to convert more wondering souls to the beauty of spinning. She had a few new drop spindles that made their way into my bag. Sadly, she made me give them back.

I pulled out my Icelandic wool and own heartier drop spindle to show my film buddy. She's always argued for the film version of the sweater book and today was no exception. How could mere words capture the textures and vibrancy of the fleece, yarn and community in which we were immersed?

I'm truly torn. There are compelling arguments for both mediums. Pen and paper are readily available; not to mention self-reliant. It's just me and my thoughts to consider. The film requires a crew and budget to accommodate a trip to Iceland for all of us.

The thing is I have the entire synopsis broken down into scenes, turning points, and character arcs which can be tweaked for either/or. Finally my friend turned to me and spewed the very words I fed her back in May at HotDocs "Write a proposal." Maybe that will help clarify the dilemma. I hope so.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


When something doesn't work it's madness to continue. That's not to say one should shift goals but rather the method by which one hopes to obtain those goals. Our local's writer's group did a wonderful experiment several years ago to increase one's productivity. We each made a list of our writing limitations (ie. I can only write on the computer as the click of the keys triggers a creative response) After examining the list our challenge was to write in as many different venues, with as many different tools(pen, paper,sand, branch,pencil, etc.) as possible. Productivity for the group overall increased and mine was shot from a cannon now that I didn't need the laptop.

I feel that I'm standing at another crossroads. For the past year I've been writing something completely different - Casey's non-fiction story. It's hard work, no two ways about it. In one sense I'm merely recording the healing process but in another I'm analyzing our interaction, studying what works and what doesn't then evaluating our roles in all of it. I can't hide behind fiction but have to stare the bald truth in the face and acknowledge the ways in which I've failed as well how I've helped triumph. Honesty is painful.

At the same time, it helps people connect to the subject matter immediately. As soon as you read first person, you're immersed in the story. As a reader and a writer, my preference is for third person. I like omniscience. I'm the person, who not only wants to know everything, often thinks she does.

In the last year as I've worked on Casey's story, while playing with another paranormal and a women's fiction, I've noticed my reading habits have undergone a huge transformation. One of my favourite books in that time frame was The Host. I was shocked at how quickly, and deeply, I identified with the main character given that it was written in first person by an alien. One of my other favourite series was Outlander, also first person. And let's not forget The Art of Racing in the Rain" - another first person point-of-view, even if it is a dog's.

All of which leads me to the conclusion that if readers aren't connecting with my third person protagonists, perhaps it's time to consider first person. That's a daunting task for someone who likes to be omniscient.