Saturday, December 03, 2005

New Beginnings

I finally allowed myself to see a major fault with my short stories: I start too slowly. I have a very bad habit of setting the scene before I allow anything to happen. Bad, bad, bad. Start in medias res and let the backstory and description fall in as needed. I have known this for years, but couldn't see that I was not doing it.

I blame this on growing up with TV/movies/videos, where, most of the time, location, weather, time, etc. is shown behind the opening credits, so the audience is oriented before the action begins. With written works, that leads to boredom more often than not. Much more often than not.

Another reason is that I am very good at lyrical description and not so much at action and dialogue yet. I see my stories as they unfold instead of hearing them. I know what everything looks like and tastes like, and I convey atmosphere, mood, and setting very nicely. It's the people that give me the most trouble.

Maybe I can introduce a new style -- description-driven fiction. Since there would be no characters or action, the writing would have to tres symbolic and multi-layered. Sounds like a sure bet for a rave from the NYTBR.

Heh. Back to work. I cut the entire first scene from "A Time to Every Purpose" late yesterday. Now I have to go through and incorporate those details that were important into the rest of the story without dropping bricks all over the place.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bad Breath and Bat Wings

dragon
DRAGON

You are the dragon. A dragon,
in western lore, is a giant lizard with wings.
It usually has the capability to breathe fire.
The dragon symbolizes immense power, physical
strength, and courage. The dragon has also been
a symbol of wisdom and of protection. Dragons
may also appear to be greedy as many a tale
depict them as keepers of vast hordes of
treasure.


Which mythical creature resides in your soul? (11 Results + Pictures)
brought to you by Quizilla


Damnit tambo! I have work to do!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The FUD Factor

No, not Elmer FUD, though now I can't get him out of my head ("Kill the witing! Kill the witing!" Yes I'm weird and twisted. This is your final warning.). I'm talking about Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, the Three Stooges who constantly poke at my eyes and fling cream pies about the place. Nyuvk, nycuk, nyuck!

I am revising "A Time to Every Purpose" with the idea in mind of submitting it to the Writers of the Future Contest. I keep threatening to send them something, but I always chicken out. FUD. Revision is really tough when I'm looking at a goal that seems so impossibly high. I know I'm a good writer, but am I really THAT good? Will I ever be? Why bother trying? FUD.

I guess this is an obstacle course without a finish line. You know the old adage: No matter how good you are, there's always somebody better. I'll never be as good as I want to be. That's tough to realize, but it's also a constant source of anger and determination to get better. I'll show me! I'll be the best that ever was! Right.

On days like today, when FUD weighs heavy on my mind, the temptation is strong to just chuck it. It would be so easy to just walk away. I've failed at so many things in my life, what's one more. I've cut my feet on shattered dreams more than once. I'm not going to do it, though. I won't allow myself. This dream of being a writer is such an integral part of who I am that I might as well just lie down and die if I should allow myself to just quit. No, I'll soldier on. The FUD fog will lift after a while, and I can get on with learning and practicing and submitting and filing my rejection letters.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Where's MJ When You Really Need Her?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
Spider-Man

100%
Hulk

85%
Green Lantern

70%
Batman

65%
The Flash

65%
Iron Man

65%
Superman

55%
Catwoman

55%
Robin

52%
Supergirl

37%
Wonder Woman

27%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Link from Jean.

Snitfest du Jour

Miss Snark took Sandra Scoppetone to task yesterday about her post about her editor leaving. Both Ms. Scoppetone's original post and Miss Snark's commentary on it have stirred up the dust and brought the bats winging down from the belfrey. The fan's on high and snit's flying everywhere.

I have read Ms. Scoppetone's post, and I can see both sides of the debate. Both are right, and both are wrong. I fear Ms. Scoppetone is going to pay a heavy price for this post simply based on the nature of blogs and their readers.

Most people red blogs with about the same attention and concentration that they do the Sunday comics. This is not great literature, in spite of the few bloggers who do truly believe their shit doesn't stink. Most blogs are informal and, usually, somewhat chatty, and most visitors read them with one eye and their mind on tonight's episode of their favorite reality show.

What I'm saying here is that subtlety in a blog post is not rewarded. In fact, it can cause you great discomfort, even harm. The reason is that subtlety WILL BE MISUNDERSTOOD. There is no maybe, no possibly. Subtlety will be misunderstood, and the snit will fast and furiously.

Ms. Scoppetone's post was a naturally sad reaction to losing an editor who had been very good to her and worry about her future, since she is between contracts right now. Her remarks were not, to me, excessively inflammatory, but I can certainly see how they could be, and have been, construed as snotty and disrespectful to younger editors. Her one very brief statement about how her new editor will no doubt be a good one, was a little too quick and went unnoticed.

Bloggers have to realize that they must be very clear about what they say. There are far too many middle-school minds out there just waiting for an opportunity to light a fire and pour gasoline on it at every opportunity. Stop, think, then write, and, for God's sake, don't flame the commenters. That only makes it worse.

Food Fi...Ummm...Blog Party!!!

Stationery Queen is moving up in the world. Or sideways. Or something. Anyway, she is definitely NOT the Stationary Queen. Today is the last day of the first of her life. Starting tomorrow she is a full-time professional freelance writer. Way to go, SQ! I think we should all step over to her blog and congratulate her. Pass the word.

Seeing someone leaping into the abyss in order to live their dream is satisfying to me. I really do get a charge out of it. I also get a boost of confidence and courage and hope that I will be able to do the same one day. I have taken that leap of faith before and failed miserably, but that was long ago. I was stupid(er) back then, and jumped into a business that I was not really passionate about. Not a good idea. Next time will be different.

Are you working toward your Heart's Desire? If not, why not? Life is short, don't spend your time having regrets. If you want your dreams to come true, it's up to you to work at them and make them real. What are you waiting for? What would you do if you were not afraid?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Yea, Though I Walk...

A friend of mine is lost in darkness and despair today. Please light a candle or say a prayer or do whatever you can to send her a thought of peace and comfort. If you would like to leave a thought for her here or e-mail me with it, I will make sure she gets them.

If you have never been suicidal, you cannot imagine just how heavy and impenetrable that darkness is. It weighs you down and wears you down, both physically and mentally. Light and hope and joy may abound in your life, but you cannot see them. All you can think of is relief. Please make it stop. I can't. I just can't any more. Your vision becomes so restricted that the only thing you can see is death. You stumble around in the blackness, knees weak, mind spinning, hearing only the siren song of sweet peace and surrender.

That is a horror from which most people are blessedly free. It is a horror I have lived. I was lucky. I survived. Unfortunately, the thoughts survived as well. Sometimes they rise to the surface, and I have to renew the battle to subdue them. I don't know if they will ever go away completely. The temptataion to just chuck it all, end the struggle, rest from the toil of life, is strong and seductive. "The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" Shakespeare knew. He had been there. He stood on that same precipice and looked over, the same as I have, the same as my friend does today.

People say that suicide is a selfish act. It really is the ultimate in selfishness. To the suicide, it is a means of taking control of a seemingly out-of-control life. It is the single positive act they can see to take. How heartbreaking that the illusion is so strong that many act upon it.

Life is full of surprises. You never know what tomorrow will bring. The only thing we can ever bet on is that the sun will rise again, and even that is not a completely safe bet. The thing is that hope is always there. Hope never dies. It never deserts us. It waits by our sides with the patience of eternity. Sometimes we have to have help to see it, though.

Monday, November 28, 2005

You Got Here From Where?

Today's winner in the Most Interesting Search Engine Query category is:

sex in the attic

I don't know whether to be amused, concerned, or disgusted. And, yes, Michelle, I'm still getting hits on "dangers of nair".

And Now For Something Completely Twisted...

Trapped in a Well, the new game from awesomefunny.com.

Takes Pong to new depths. Gotta love it!

Rough and Ready

Which generic smut novel character are you? (With somewhat relevant pictures!)

The Rascally Unshaven Rogue

Everybody loves a rebel, and the unshaven rogue is no exception. With your mannish stubble, sly expression, and sinful proficiency with a weapon, you have a way with women unmatched by any other, not even Shaft or James Bond.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.



Thanks, tambo! I needed a giggle.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Haiku

soft breeze strokes bare trees
dead leaves sigh relaxing on grass
a lonely bird trills