Monday, May 20, 2013

Music Mondays: Devilish Edition

Blame it on my watching (and beginning a rewatch of season 3-5 of) Supernatural, but I'm really feeling "devil" (or just hell) themed music lately. Here's what I've been listening to.

Everything Goes to Hell - Tom Waits

Sympathy for the Devil - Guns N Roses

Dance With the Devil - Breaking Benjamin

Devils In Boston - Samantha Crain

Monday, May 13, 2013

Music Mondays: Hyperactive Brain Edition

I had an overly long weekend which consisted of traveling to a wedding and ultimately not getting much of anything done on the road or in the hotel. This week, I'm tackling a resume/cover letter for a part time copy editing job (which I think I'd love to get but I'm not going to count my chickens) and continuing the foray into my back log of short stories. In addition to trying to maintain some level of sanity as my hyperactive-yet-somehow-lazy brain constantly gets distracted by shiny objects (video games, television shows, random story ideas...) and ultimately stalls all productivity.

Girl Anachronism - The Dresden Dolls

All I Really Want - Alanis Morissette

Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Morning Pages

Some years back, a friend of mine introduced me to the Morning Pages.

It's a stream of consciousness exercise where you write three long-hand pages first thing in the morning. No editing. No internal critics. No judgment. No sharing. The pages are your own.

I would write them, truly, first thing in the morning. Pre-coffee, sitting up in bed with the last remnants of sleep still clinging to me, the strangeness of my dreams just beginning to fall away. Most of the time, I would write about my dreams, trace the threads of them as close to their beginning as I could and follow them until the moment I opened my eyes.

When you tend to have really weird dreams, the Morning Pages can make for an excellent morgue file filler.

Last night, I dreamed that I was in some old building that had received a number of bodies from a local prison. The ghosts of the dead prisoners began causing problems, both heinous and harmless. One of them put shaving cream on my cat and shaved the fur off of her head, leaving a sort of reverse mohawk between her ears.

That's when I woke up.

My dreams have been getting stranger and stranger lately. I think it may be time to start keeping a notebook on my night table once again.

Do you write first thing in the morning? Have you done exercises like the Morning Pages? Has it helped your creative output?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Music Mondays: Endings Edition

Thanks to the Supernatural marathoning we've been doing, I'm on a classic rock kick. And, since the A to Z Challenge just finished up last week, I figured songs about things coming to an end would be fitting. So here we are. Tell me some of your "endings" or even "new beginnings" songs....

Don't Look Back - Boston

Renegade - Styx

Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan

Friday, May 3, 2013

Potentially Catastrophic Input

Because I always forget to close my laptop when I take a break from writing, the cat (one out of four) decides to help me out with my word usage.

Years ago I had a cat that loved to chew paper. I think I still have old drafts of stories bearing teeth marks.

Do you have animal companions that try to help you with your writing? What's the outcome? 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

April Recap: Thoughts from A to Z

Another spring, another A to Z Challenge finished. Another collection of short fiction to sit on my computer, taking up room, until I figure out what to do with them.

This year's challenge saw me actually planning and writing my posts ahead of time, which turned out for the best in a couple of ways. First, I came up with a number of short pieces that I really enjoyed. Here are my favorites:

Brownies and Babeldom
Mischievous brownies help around the cafe. 

Cataclysmic Platitudes
Confrontations with a street prophet.

Facinorous Hearts
A character from the pages of the Romantic Period. 

Messages from beyond.

Jejune Moments
Singing pastries.

Maelid Mine
Strange findings on opening a bushel of apples. 

Second, throughout April I was banging my head against a creative wall, trying, desperately to write a short story to submit to an anthology (after a previously submitted story was rejected, albeit kindly and with a warm prompt to submit something that might better fit the collection....hence all the headbanging).

If I hadn't written some some of those enjoyable little short fics, I might very well have been convinced to take a sabbatical from writing after the last few months. The A to Z Challenge helped keep me (relatively) sane. I'll no doubt be doing the challenge again next year, as it helps pull me out of the writing doldrums that seem to accompany spring each year.

I did finally admit defeat on the submission, having hacked through two story ideas, indulged in various doldrums, created countless paper balls for the cats to play with, and finalized a draft portion of a tale that still needs more work and - preferably - feedback from a fellow writer before it gets submitted anywhere.

There was just no way I was going to make the May 1st deadline with a satisfactory (to me) piece of work.

I did learn something from the disaster. I learned that when I'm trying to write for someone else, I tend not to like what I produce. I learned that when I'm trying to write with a deadline looming over me, I tend not to like what I produce.

And I reinforced the fact that I don't want to turn fiction writing into some kind of day job. I can turn out instructional or technical writing on a deadline, no problem; maybe because it doesn't matter if I like it so long as my client does.

With my fiction, I have to like it first and foremost (loving it would be great, but I'll settle). And apparently, in order to get to the liking-it stage, I need a little less constraint (even if it's only to keep me from sabotaging myself).

So, my goal for the coming months is to work, steadily, quietly, on several of my unfinished projects, to lose myself in the stories - the way I lost myself in those little ficlets up top - to share them with my critique partner and to not think about publishing them until I have a decent collection built up. (Because schlepping the same story time and time again gets a little old.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

100 Words: The More Things Change

12 years old, feeling grown-up pretty in a new black bikini, until a boy at the community pool calls her string bean. She spends the rest of summer in a cover up.

14, giraffe-limbed, with a bad haircut. The girls roll their eyes and talk, the boys throw things. She loses hours to the mirror, deciding just how she’d fix her flaws.

17 and she fills out the dresses she’s been admiring for years. Guys look at her in the halls. Sometimes they touch, without want or warning: sly fingertips on hair, hip, breast. She longs for a cover up.

For Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge: Pretty 

I went a little free thought with this one, just to see what came of it. Only minor editing. 
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