Category : technique

Fellow Travelers on the Ghost Road

Don’t you wonder sometimes about sound and vision and the telling of stories? I know I’m not the only one who does.

There is a handful of living writers that I consider kindred spirits, because of their writing influences, because of their writing processes, because of the themes they touch on, or simply because what they write feels like it was pulled directly out of my own dreams. (more…)

NaNoWriMo 2015: The Wrap-Up

National Novel Writing Month has come and gone. Well, today is the last day, so it’s not really gone yet, but I finished yesterday, so it’s over for me. I did better this year than I ever have, not just in terms of actually finishing for the first time in years but in learning more about what works for me and what doesn’t when it comes to sitting my tush down to write fiction and learning more about letting my own voice come out in my writing. Here are some notes, in no particular order, on what I learned about my process and techniques. (more…)

NaNoWriMo 2015: Shaking Through

It’s now the halfway point of National Novel Writing Month. Actually, that day was yesterday, except I’m writing this yesterday and posting it today. Because I have mastered time travel. Or something. The point is, NaNoWriMo is half over and I’d like to talk about how it’s going. (more…)

Excused Absence

I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks. Because I’ve been sick. Very sick. It started with what I thought was a cold, but quickly turned into what felt like the flu. I went to see my doctor and tested negative for strep throat and the flu, and my lungs sounded clear enough to not suspect pneumonia, so despite the tests, my doctor put her money on the flu and sent me home with instructions to rest, drink lots of fluids, and stay home until I was fever-free for 24 hours. A week after that visit, I was still congested, tired, and running a low-grade fever. I called my doctor’s office and was given a prescription for antibiotics. It wasn’t until this past Saturday that my fever finally started to vanish. I spent yesterday recuperating some more and went back to work today. (But while I feel much better, I’m still coughing quite a bit and my voice is froggy like a cursed prince, so I don’t seem to be better. I swear I am, though!)

While I was out sick, I realized some things:

  • When I’m running a fever, even a fairly low-grade one, I have a very difficult time focusing on reading and writing, so I spent most of the past two weeks watching Netflix in between naps.
  • I love watching TV shows and movies at home alone, but when it comes to reading and writing, it’s very difficult for me to do it in solitude, much easier to do it at a coffee shop or other public place. Another reason why I watched more Netflix and read less.
  • When I was an undergraduate English major, I was (I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit) not very good at analyzing what I read with a critical eye. (My academic papers were not very academic, but high on whimsy and rambling poetics.)(In fact, I wrote a short paper arguing that one shouldn’t analyze works too much because it was like taking apart a watch: you could see all the inner workings, but the watch–or story–stopped functioning as it was intended to. Which is a romantic way of looking at fiction but ultimately kind of bullshit.) But when I read fiction and watch movies and TV shows now, I find myself paying very close attention to plot, characterization, description and scene setting, word use and sentence structure, info dumping and world-building, etc. I don’t pull things apart like a car thief in a chop shop, but I am more mindful of how it is all being done and I compare and contrast it to how I might do it (differently or similarly). I’m not simply swallowing stories, I’m chewing on them, letting them move over my more-sensitive-than-it-used-to-be palate.
  • While reading and writing may be difficult while I’m stuck at home, isolated and ill, it’s prime time for brainstorming on big ideas regarding stories I’m working on or planning on working on. However, I can’t say that particularly wild, trippy ideas come to me when I’m sleepy and feverish. Mostly I just cried over how miserable I felt. Fevers suuuuuuuuuck!

I got into a good routine in January of posting some content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So far, February has been a wash for that, and I think the rest of the month will also see little to no content being posted here. Instead, I want to use the rest of the month to do more writing so I can get caught up and start posting regularly again starting in March.

And now it’s time for a wee nap.

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know?

I went to an open mic salon at the Writers Place on Monday night. It was my first time reading anything in front of people in over ten years, I was feeling Tin Man rusty, and I didn’t know what to expect at the open mic, so I was just a wee bit nervous. My dear friend Charlotte went with me for both moral support and to make sure I didn’t chicken out and not read anything. (more…)