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Pride & Pensiveness

Pride & Pensiveness

      Today marks the 1000th post my dear friend, Cassidy, has made on her blog – Wide Awake, but Dreaming. One full freaking thousand. Amazeballs!
      She is an inspiration to me in many ways, but the most important way is that she is a writer. She writes.
      WRITES.
      Every day, come hell or high water, she posts a blog entry of some 500 to 1000 words. On top of that, she writes on her novel every single day. Every single day.
      I consider myself a writer. I write every day – but I am not as disciplined as she is and I strive to be more like her.
      My pride in my writing dwindles and rises in cycles. I write my personal blog every other day, I write 1000 words pretty much every day. But I haven’t finished a novel in over a year. And that’s because I “waste” (not really, but sort of) my writing time on things that aren’t really my novel.
      Anyway – while I spend the day mulling over my progress on “Inferno” and some other stuff, go read her reflections on her Millennium!
Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Shameful Admissions

      October is underway.
      I am unprepared.
      I am definitely not going to get “Inferno” done before 10/15, which means when NaNo 2013 begins, I will begin it with my WIP incompleted. And I am ashamed.
      Yes, I have been writing. 1000s of words about things that I cannot publish, nor can I even post here. But I need “Inferno” to be done. Over with. Finito. Alas, it won’t be until December 2013 at the soonest. Unless, by some miracle I *do* write 50,000 words in the next ten days.
      *sigh*
      Anyway – I have been trying desperately to choose what I am going to do for NaNo 2013 this year, because I realize now that it will end up being a *real* part of my life and portfolio and I don’t want to hate it!
      WAAAH!
      Help me, Rhonda!
      Sorry for calling you Rhonda. Is Maynard better?
      But seriously, help me!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Bad Blogger

Bad Blogger

      Yeah, okay. So I went over this recently – er, but was it on this blog or maybe on Facebook?
      Whatever – the point is…I really am a bad blogger.
      I don’t fancy myself an expert on writing. I’m just a girl who loves words and I feel like it would be disingenuous to put out posts about ‘How To’ and ‘Best Techniques’ or ‘I’m Right, You Are Doing It Wrong’. You know the type of posts I’m talking about. Lots of professional (or amateur) writers have blogs, and they act like consultants and experts (or… the dreaded, improperly used title “GURU”). Which is great for them.
      But not for me.
      And this is why my blog here languishes while I am already scheduled through the end of September on my other blog. It is just plain… hard to write about writing when I am still just… learning, evolving, speculating…
      Bah.
      I have a whole list of things I want to write about. I suppose I will need to find a way to relate American Ninja Warriors, Heroes, and Hate to writing and then… run with it.
      Wish me LUCK!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

A Change of Pace

A Change of Pace

      So, I have been very quiet this month, haven’t I?
      Its okay – I just have little to say. It has been a rather strange few weeks or so and I am sort of at a loss at the moment.
      Maybe part of it is mourning the Harper Voyager thing. I can admit that, yes? I really was getting more and more certain as each week slipped by that This. Was. Going. To. Happen.
      …and then it didn’t.
      And its cool. I know “Incandescence” needs a bit more tweaking. I’m going to try and recruit a content editor as soon as “Inferno” is done – so that I can have a professional, critical eye read it and tell me what works and what does not.
      Still, for all that I am a wee bit depressed about the WIPs, I am doing loads of writing these days. None of it ‘professional’ and all of it just for funsies with my gaming friends… but it is writing, it is fun, and I am really enjoying it.
      Now for the ‘change of pace’.
      This week I began a new shift at work. And Jack, silly man, started a new semester at college (I was supposed to do as well, but alas, money…). So we’re shifting things up, getting our ducks in a row for this new schedule we’re living, and basically – just figuring it out as we go.
      Its like, we 20-somethings again.
      …only we’re 30-somethings.
      Yikes.
      There will be new snippets and stuff in the coming months.
      I just need to complete “Inferno” first.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Colorful

Colorful

      I sort of hate the term “people of color”.
      It makes me feel like I’m segregating people, and I’m all about integration.
      Also, since I don’t “qualify” as a “person of color”, I’m left out and damn it, I’m a whole conglomeration of pale, pink, yellow, red, brown (freckles)… tee-hee. Okay, that’s petty, but sort of true.
      Its occasionally difficult, as a fantasy writer, to find that perfect phrase to describe a character’s complexion or outward appearance without coming off as cliché or politically correct or worse, racist. At least, I have come across it and found it to be troubling.
      “Incandescence” features a pretty big and diverse cast, but the three “mains” are all related and all “white”. Hannah is pale with gorgeous reddish hair and weird eyes. Michael has his grandmother’s coloring – exotically tan with big dark eyes and brown hair – but he’s still considered
Caucasian. I picture a sort of Italian/Grecian type. Like my own mother – you’d never guess we’re related since I’m all pale Irish with reddish-brown hair and she’s black hair, dark eyes, olive skin. And their great-great-grandmother, who has gone grey/white, was dark-haired, dark-eyed, and olive skinned in her youth.
      Many of the other characters at the Freehold are white. But some are biracial, or Hispanic, or Black, or Asian, or Native American, or Middle Eastern. Because this is a “real world” novel, its pretty clear that a fellow named Sreejith is likely of Indian heritage. I don’t have to beat his skin color and appearance into their heads.
      But what about Luke and Beth? Their skin color is mentioned when they’re introduced, I believe, but not again afterward. Because it doesn’t matter to the story – they are important for who they are, and what they do, not for being black.
      It makes me think of the controversy that popped up (especially from young people on Twitter) after “The Hunger Games” movie came out. No one was upset that Thresh was a “big, black dude” (semi-barbarian, and compared to an ox by Katniss). But dear Lord, when they saw that a character that they liked and empathized with was black (sweet little Rue) – they flipped out.
      And I’m not sure why – it was made very clear in the book that Rue had dark skin. Without coming out and saying it in modern US-slang (calling her black or saying outright that she was likely of some African descent)… it was apparent to Jack & I when we first read it.
      Whitewashing. That’s what they call it when we (globally a minority) privileged Americans assume all characters are “like us”. Most of my fantasy worlds include a vast variety of skin colors. Frequently, people are what I would call “shades of brown”.
      But how to get that across without repetition of “chocolate” “teak” “mahogany” “brown” “tan”… and is it offensive to use things like “white as milk” or “dark as fine chocolate”? It wouldn’t bother me if someone said I was the color of vanilla ice cream, but maybe someone who has been marginalized for their skin color would object to being compared to food?
      Its a pretty complex subject, when it comes down to it, and I’m not qualified to give advice or anything. But I think it is important to think about these things; not to get mired in them, but to really consider things like this.
      Or not.
      I mean, who am I to say?
      …aaaaand now I’ll be singing that Leah Andreone song all damn evening.

Love & Rainbows (hah!),
P.P.

Mosquito Netting

Mosquito Netting

      Oh man! The humidity here at Camp is already killing me and there are so many bugs-
      Er… wait, my imagination is running away with me. But today is July 1st and thus, the beginning of July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Its a virtual cabin-in-the-woods in which a whole slew of crazy would-be and already-are writers take on the famed November challenge (to write a novel in 30 days) in the dog days of summer.
      We’re all insane.
      But that’s OKAY! Camp is more relaxed than November – you can set your word goal down and spend more time at the lake if need be – but it is still a wonderful ‘tool’ for writers like me, who seem to work best under specific ‘goals’ or time constraints.
      This year, Jack and I are both attempting it and he’s actually signed up for a cabin on the CampNaNo page and interacted a bit with the ladies we’re bunking with. He’s also going back to school so, he’ll be a busy boy this July.
      My secondary goal, is to update the blog here each day in July (though likely not from July 14-22 as I’ll be travelling and probably away from a computer) with my progress – though, as long as I’m writing, if I forget to splash it here I won’t stress too much about it.
      Now, Day One blog is complete, but guess what? Day One writing is not… so I’m off to my bunk to apply pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, in this case) and write, write, write!
      Wish me luck!
      And someone send me some sunblock SPF +1000, I’m fair and its sunny and I’m DYING out here!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Procrastination

Procrastination

      I am a world-class procrastinator.
      Yeah, I know, *GASP*
      But honestly, between Facebook and DVR and Netflix… I’m so easily distracted by it all. Write for a few minutes – notice flashing “Soandso messaged you…” in the Chrome tab. Alt-Tab back to browser. Chat with Soandso for a few minutes. Back to writing. Oh wait – its too quiet in here. Turn on the new episode of Chopped (or what have you) as background noise. End up watching most of it. *sigh*
      But the shinies are not the only things that distract me, no. My attention also gets captured by intangibles. Lately, all this waiting for news on “Inferno” has me beside myself with anxiety. I want to both FINISH “Inferno” immediately, just in case, or not touch it in case they have notes for it. I am also stressed about money and school and an up-coming summer move (which requires a lot of money at a time when we have none) and so all I can think about is all the potentially immediately lucrative smut I should be publishing just to pay the bills.
      And so I end up in a tizzy, vacillating back and forth, and don’t end up writing much of anything at all.
      Which brings me to today. I have such beautiful intentions of writing today, but already I’m distracted by Facebook (which I closed!) and DVR (Longmire, which is almost over!) and Jack (with whom I’m collaborating).
      I think I need to really start zeroing out everything that’s not conducive to writing. Imposing a 15-minute limit on my Facebook adventures. Imposing a “TV-only-during work hours” rule. And forcing myself to waste less time every day.
      Its hard.
      Its necessary.
      I’ve got a billion stories to write and only a finite time on this Earth.
      Damn it, Penelope! As Nike used to say, JUST DO IT!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Disco Inferno

Disco Inferno

      At last, weeks of procrastination have finally come to an end.
      I’m officially back to work on “Inferno”. For better or worse, I’m going to finish this modern-day mageborn story and move on to something else. I cannot keep splitting my focus like this – I end up getting nothing done (unless you count many hours wasted on Facebook, playing Draw Something! on my phone, or watching entire seasons of TV shows on Netflix in binge sessions… which I do not).
      I did not update the word count in the right-hand column because I have removed more than I’ve added in the past few hours, but still – progress!
      I’ve run into a few continuity problems – nothing major, but it is slightly annoying that I did not catch them in the first draft.

((ARGH! The remaining 500 words of this post was lost in a connection issue – my host is experiencing all sorts of trouble today. Darn it… I’m not rewriting it, but suffice it to say: Jack is starting a new project we’re excited about, Camp NaNo in July is going to be fun, and Inferno is well on its way.))

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Summer Plans, 2013

Summer Plans, 2013

      So, its nearly Mother’s Day, which to me always signifies that Summer is on its way. I can hardly believe that 2013 is almost half-way over and I have not gotten anything (new) ready to publish this year.
      That’s right, this P.P. is a SLACKER.
      I’ve been writing, there’s no denying that. But I haven’t been finishing. What’s that line? ABC – Always Be Closing! And so I should be. I’ve got no fewer than a dozen projects brewing and I continually fail to finish them. I need to get my rear back in gear!
      I need a kick in the pants!
      I had friend lined up as accountability/cheerleader/whatever… but he dropped out after the first week and though I’ve been good about blogging (not here, *cough*) I haven’t been AS good as I ought.
      That’s gotta change.
      Taking suggestions… how do I get myself more motivated to FINISH all these things I’ve started?
      Tee-hee. First thing first, a new office chair because my hiney hates this one.
      Then: Complete Inferno. Get a cover done for Incandescence & Inferno. Plot & write “3”. Additional materials. Publish.
      Then: Going Home.
      Then: Rudabet. Light of Lun.
      Then, in 2014: Madaya, at last. YESSSSS!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory

This post was originally featured at Dominique Goodall’s blog as part of the TTC/MK VBT 2012.
———————
      I do not believe in Writer’s Block. Not really.
      Maybe I should say, its not that I do not believe in it, just that I refuse to let it grab hold of my pen and prevent me from doing what I love. Sometimes, I admit it, I get bogged down in details and feel like I might be “blocked”. When that gross, constipated-brain feeling gets me down, I close my WIP (or whatever I am working on) and take a little break.
      If a short break does not get the juices flowing again (ew… I’m really regretting that constipation comparison above right now), I turn to Free Writing. One of my favorite things to do is to sort through my Portraits folder, choose an interesting face, and just let the ink fly. Sometimes, however, even that will not loosen the bowels of my brain and I have to dig deeper.
      That is why I have about a hundred thousand (this is a slight exaggeration) text files in my possession with anywhere from a single line to a few pages of work that never really went anywhere. I love the random and chaotic. I love to shake things up and just plop out strange ideas.
      It never fails to get me unclogged and writing again.
      This exercise is the Maximum Strength Ex-Lax of the mind.
      Again, ew.
      But seriously, I definitely recommend trying it the next time you are burned out on editing or feeling as if you have Writer’s Block. Try this:

Completely free of the obligation to continue beyond the starting sentence, just start writing out a bunch of ‘first lines’. Do as many as it takes for your mental wall to crumble and you feel like returning to your project.

Usually, when I have done it in the past, I was not concerned with it being just one sentence and I freely inserted dialogue as well. The version of this exercise I found on (this website) is great. His directions are:

Free of the obligation to complete a poem or story, simply write out a bunch of first lines that are catchy and non-sensical. Aim for ten to twenty[Philip Dacey]. See examples from past students. A million butterflies rose up from South America.

      Anyway – whether you adhere to the 1 sentence limit or just go wild with micro-scenes, dialogue, whatever, I guarantee you will have tremendous fun (and likely, a hearty brainbowel movement!) with this exercise. To prove it, I’ve scribbled a bunch of my own sample starts below. Who knows? Maybe one day one of these will feature in one of my novels. Chaos for the win!
* * * * * * * * *

  1. Hoakes turned to me and belched; the malodorous cloud was so thick, so nasty, so vile, it was all but tangible.
  2. “Hello, my name is Jimmy Mac-Johnson from Mississip and I’m calling to get my horoscope read.”
  3. The ice-sheathed grass gleamed sharp and hard and crystalline, like a thousand shattered Rolling Rock bottles in the sunlight.
  4. “I never was much for offal,” she said loftily, “Though my Mee-maw made me eat rabbit eyes so that I could see better in the dark.”
  5. Bacon-flavored edible panties? I couldn’t decide to be flattered that he bought me something sexy, disgusted that he thought bacon-anything was sexy, or worried by the notion that somehow he associated me and my ladybits with fried pig parts.
  6. Sue me. Sue McDonald’s! Sue the bitch in Apartment 3A and her yappy little dog! Sue the President! Sue the world! Sue God!
  7. He was named by his mother after a week-long acid binge.
  8. Stealthily, Bandit stretched his neck as far as he could, took the cookie delicately in his teeth and then stole away into the night with his prize.
  9. Why do they call them foothills, Daddy?
  10. In Santiago, in the smallest basement cell of the largest, poorest orphanage in the city, a tiny spark changed the world.
  11. Autumn came late in Winter.
  12. Sundered shield, severed sword; ask ye not why they are broken, but why they must exist at all.
  13. She licked the spoon slowly, meeting his gaze with a startling directness. The seductive look was somehow all the sexier when she lifted a pink and orange, kitten-bedecked coffee mug to her lips.
  14. Sputtering to a stop, its inertia utterly gone, Earth hung impotently in space – its inhabitants long dead – until it was torn apart by the invisible pressures of the universe.
  15. I always liked to write death scenes for people who wronged me, annoyed me, or pissed me off.
  16. Naked, save for brightly lacquered nails and a tiny golden cross around her neck, she threw her thong at me; the other was held at the ready.

      That was weird. But fun. Right? Right…?!
      Now go forth, yon brilliant minds! Go forth into the unknown and write your own random starting lines. And who knows – maybe one of them will end up being tweaked and twisted into your next brilliant story!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

P.S. Leave a random starting line in the comments, I totally want to read them!