Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Writing: Energy Management v. Time Management

Via Gilsworth, Stock Exchange
"How do you find the time?" is a question often asked of writers.

I think it's the wrong question.

We all get 24 hours a day. (Unless you know something I don't.)

The time is there to be taken: 30 minutes to an hour during lunch. 20 minutes sipping coffee in the morning. The hours that you spend watching television, playing video games or vacuuming the living room (does it really need vacuuming again?). The downtime you have at work. Your bus commute. The times you hide out, from your spouse or kids, in the bathroom.

The time is there.

The energy, however, may not be.

When I'm overtired, I'm not at my best. I might be able to get out a few sentences that are worth something, but most of what I write feels (and reads) like crap.

Despite the romantic image of the writer penning prose late into the night, fueled by near lethal doses of caffeine and not too little inspiration, it doesn't usually work. (Though it might be enough to get you a shitty first draft. A really shitty one.)

Via Stock Exchange
I've been trying to rectify the energy issue over the last few months. I've set a loose, but fairly consistent exercise plan consisting largely of yoga (something I very much enjoy) with interspersed trips to the apartment gym for jogs on the treadmill and weight lifting.

There's been a lot of improvement to my flexibility. Obvious improvement to my energy. I've been writing more (if not necessarily better). Though I'm still battling the demon of Not Enough Sleep.

What say you? Is it a matter of time? Or a matter of energy? And what do you do to address either issue? 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Saturday Shorts Challenge 4-26-14

"Doctors make the worst patients." 

Write a 50 word story about that little drop of wisdom. Link up or, if you don't have a blog, leave your story in the comments.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Am a Work In Progress

I was invited by my fellow blogger Joe Scott (Mostly Harmless Drivel) to participate in the My Writing Process blog tour. (I don't do these blog-tag things a lot, though I tend to enjoy them when they come along.)

1) What am I working on? 

Aside from my grad school application letter?

Well, if you know anything about me, you know that I always have multiple projects going at once. But I'm trying (and failing?) to work on The Devil's Water (a working title) the novel I started with this past year's NaNoWriMo.

I've been missing my characters since I had to stop at about 30,000 words. (Due to real life issues.) I want to know more about them, their individual stories.  I want to see my two main characters interacting with each other. I want to get to the end of my tale and see what happens.

One of my main characters popped up on my blog, in the piece: One Night in LA. That takes place about 10-15 years before the main events of the novel (if it takes place at all).

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

Umm. It's mine? The writing style? The sexual fluidity of (at least one) of my main characters?

It's a story about a father and a son, a brother and a sister, artists and musicians, sacrifice(s) and love. Along with some weird supernatural bits.

Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't want to guess about the difference/sameness of the novel until I get it into something resembling a....well, a novel. At the moment it's mostly a collection of ephemeral images in my brain: a lot of style, little substance.

3) Why do I write what I do? 

I write because a character has a story to tell.

I also love horror, fantasy and slash fiction, so when I can mix them up, I'm happy.

I write what makes me happy. Not necessarily what will "sell." In fact, "writing to sell" is one of the quickest ways for a project of mine to end up in the trash. That happened to me last summer when I received an invitation to submit another story to a publication after my first submission (a piece I'd been shopping for a while) was rejected.

(This is also why I have no intention of turning fiction writing into a day job.)

4) How does my writing process work?

Ideas come to me at random. Sometimes they're inspired by an image, a song, a movie. Other times they bubble up out of the ether.

I may immediately put pen to paper to sketch out the idea.

Or I may roll it around in my brain for a while, imagining the story, putting myself into the body of the main character(s), trying to see and feel what they experience.

Then I put pen to paper. Or, if it's a big project (like The Devil's Water), I get nervous and start questioning my every ability, including things like basic grammar skills. (My Inner Critic pulls out all the stops.)

I'm slowly learning that for big projects, I must break them up into sections, treating each chapter like a short story. Sometimes even smaller chunks is better. It hasn't yielded any polished novels or novellas yet, but we'll see how it goes.

I'm also reintroducing myself to the art of longhand writing. I've spent so many years writing on a computer that I've forgotten the zone I can slip into when writing with pen and paper.

Maybe it's because there's no annoying blinking cursor on a sheet of college rule, daring me to fill up the blank screen as fast as I can. Or maybe it's because I can scribble notes in the margins and draw arrows and cross out things without that overwhelming feeling of permanence that comes with making changes in a word document (despite the fact that I tend to use the track changes feature).

While this current project might not be entirely written longhand, it's definitely gong to be a big part of my approach. I'll let you know how it goes.

You're It

Well, the idea of this tour was to tag other people to join in. As of this posting, I could only find get in touch with one other blogger (so many of those I follow have gone on hiatus!) who was game and who hadn't participated yet.

Say hi to Meg Hart. Meg blogs about a little bit of everything, from writing (and publishing) trials to daily life, all with warmth and humor at Hart Stories by Meg, While you're over there, check out her House Cat Confidential blog and see what goes in the mind of some suburban house cats. Meg'll be responding to the above questions next Monday (the 21st), but don't wait until then to check out her work.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Act Your Age?

I'm 31 this year, but the point still stands.

Well, except for those days where I feel like I'm about 16, mentally.

At the risk of being a tad narcissistic, happy birthday to me.

The next few weeks may be a bit sparse as I battle with my muse and my inner demons (see: inner critic) working toward my sparse, but very much achievable, word count goal for Camp NaNoWriMo.

Wish me luck. (I need it!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Almost Adult Conversation

"Tell me again.” Nick’s voice is soft, wary. The same incredulity he’s used against people on the stand.

Sam swallows, finds his throat hot and tight. He actually hadn't meant to say it out loud, probably never would have if it weren't for the damned blindfold. Something about not being able to see took away his filter, allowed him to say all manner of things. Some that would make a sailor blush.

And others that made his loquacious lover drop into a stunned silence.

But…was the revelation really that surprising?

"I love you," Sam says.

The bed dips as Nick sits on it. His fingertips pass in front of Sam's mouth and Sam presses a quick, tongue-damp kiss to the pads, feels more than hears Nick's sharp breath. If he could see through the silk of Nick's tie, he's pretty sure he'd find the man staring at him the way he does the cases that cross his desk: intrigued, determined to peel away the layers and reveal the truth of the matter.

"You love what I do for you. To you."

"I do love the way you hurt me." Sam shifts, feeling the ache in his muscles, his bound arms. "And the way you make it better. The way you give me what I need."


"And I love how you react when I give you what you want. How you touch me, curl around me when we fall asleep.” Sam pauses, considers, forges ahead. “I love that you went into human rights law and that you sing in the shower when you think I'm not listening and that you cook me breakfast even though you said the smell of bacon makes you gag."

Nick's hand lights on Sam's throat, toying with the black chord of his necklace and the plain silver band—that Nick had given him months ago—hanging from it.

Sam turns his head, lays his face against those broad fingers. "I love the way you smell when you've been outside.” He darts out his tongue, licks along the meat of Nick’s palm, the soft, tender wrist. “I love the way you taste. And I love the way you feel when you come. The sounds you make, the way you grip me, like I've taken you completely apart."

A half choked noise, and Nick's hands catch in Sam's hair, fingers tugging the knot in the tie, brushing it away from Sam’s face.

Sam blinks into the light. "I love that we put each other back together, better than we were before.”

A smile catches the corners of Nick’s mouth and Sam takes a deep breath. “I love you.” It’s harder this time, looking into the deep amber of Nick’s eyes.

And easier.

And when Nick presses close, mouth seeking the sensitive skin at the juncture of Sam’s neck and shoulder, his tongue spinning out soft words of agreement, hot words of encouragement, and his fingers digging just so into the curve of Sam’s hips, it’s totally worth it.

For Inspiration Monday's challenge "complimentary compliments."

And Studio30Plus's prompt using the third definition of "love" - sexual passion or desire.

Questions, comments, constructive criticism? I welcome them in the comments section.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014



The class stared. Miss Hana stared.

Tommy, turning Elmo-red, his hand on the cheek Claire had kissed (and then licked, just to get her point across), looked at her like she’d sprouted a second head, covered in green slime. His eyes were shiny; he looked like he might puke.

Cooties were a big problem this time of year.

Well, that’s what he got for pushing her face into the sandbox.

Later, in the principal’s office, a smiling Tommy and his mom passed her.

Claire licked her hand, wiggled spit-slick fingers at him, and watched him run out the door.

For VelvetVerbosity's 100 Word Challenge: Smack.

Linking up with Fiction Friday at Nikki Young Writes.

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