Thursday, December 16, 2010

Am I qualified?


There's this writing workshop coming up in January, and I've been asked if I would like to be a guest speaker.  Um.  Okay...

I have no problem with public speaking - I used to teach, so I'm used to standing up in front of groups of people and talking about stuff for hours at a time.  I write, so I've got some background there.

But am I qualified to talk to other people about writing?

Obviously, I talk about writing here, on my blog.  But that's an entirely different forum!  Here, you all have read (or had the chance to read) about what I've done, and make a decision on your own about my credentials.  Plus, there's the whole 'never believe anything you see on the internet' rule that you can blame if I'm wrong.  In person, though... I feel like I should have a half-dozen novels published.  Or one.  Or an agent.

At the same time, though, why shouldn't I be able to get up and talk to people about writing?  Oh, yeah, because I don't know if I've got any real 'cred' as a writer.


That's where I am right now.  I'm thinking I'll say no...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not feeling it

I sat down to work on tonight's fiction, and nothing happened.  I stared at the screen, and nothing flowed.  I think there are a few things at play here:
  1. I've been mentally revising for the last few weeks.  I really do need to get it down on paper, but I'm working and reworking on both Partners and Happily Ever After.  
  2. Meliora wants to play again, but I don't know what to do with her.  I condensed several short fiction pieces into a story called Fog Rolls In, but the character of Meliora is bigger than that - I think that she needs a full-length novel.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure of what sort of plot to use, so that's simmering, too.
  3. I got a Shiny New Idea on Sunday while I was in the shower.  I really want to start playing with it, but I don't want to start a new project yet.  Why, you ask?
  4. Mercury is in retrograde.  No, I'm not generally a big follower of astrology, but in general, when Mercury is in retrograde, you're supposed to be better off finishing outstanding projects than starting on new ones.  Which leads us to -
  5. I've got a lot of other stuff on my mind that needs finishing.  Not only do I desperately need to edit Partners and Happily Ever After, I need to finish my mum's Christmas stocking (which will totally not get done for Christmas - I've been spending about three hours a night on it, and I'm only a third done), I need to finish my sister's Sekrit Surprise Present, I need to make a few more Christmas cards for people who have sent me cards (but I'm not complaining about that - please, send me more non-bill mail! I love it!), and a list of other craft projects about a mile long.  Oh, and cleaning up the apartment so my holiday guests don't have to sleep on a pile of dirty clothes.
So you don't get any fiction from me today.  :(  But feel free to go back in my archives and poke around!  Maybe check out the horrible-ness of the "Take Five" series.  I think that may get revisited soon, too.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I was wrong.

You may remember that last Sunday I was complaining about a book that I just couldn't get into: With Her Boots On by Lisa Dow.

I was wrong.

I'm not sure if I just had to get over the whole first-person-present-tense thing, or if it just took a couple of chapters for the writing to even out, but once I picked this book up again, I couldn't put it down.  I polished it off in two sittings - my lunch break, and after work that same day.

I didn't like the main character, Mel, at first.  She was whiny and irritating.  But as I got further into the book, I realized that she wasn't actually whiny or irritating.  She was frustrated and stuck, and that made her seem irritating to anyone who didn't see what was going on with her.

I loved that the book was set (partly, at least) in Toronto.  I've never lived in Toronto, but I have visited there, and I've got friends who live there.  I've been to the Firkin, where Mel and her friends gather for drinks after work.  I've met the 'artsy' types like Ursula (and also REAL artistic people - they're not all weird and new-age-y).  I've dealt with a man like Mel's boyfriend.  I've had a friend like Kit.  I know how much of a difference a dog can make in your life.  I am far too much like Mel for my own good (which may also be part of why I didn't like her at first!).

This book was a really good read.  I just had to get over my hang-ups.  If you're into books about real women dealing with the crazy stuff that happens in real life (especially the stuff that sounds like it HAS to be made up!), give this book a try.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday preparations

Yes, it's that time of year again. Life is starting to get crazy.  Wait, starting?  Who am I kidding?  You've been following my blog - starting is a silly, silly word to use.

I'm going to be taking a bit of a break from writing.  It's pretty standard for me this time of year, actually.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, I'm just coming off of NaNoWriMo.  50,000 words in 30 days is a lot.  Although, actually, it didn't feel that bad this year.  What was hard, though, was learning to work with an outline, and trying to pay attention to how I was writing.  I didn't edit as I went, but I paid more attention to word choice, pacing, and all of the little technical things than I usually do.  Granted, I frequently made notes to myself like "fix pace," and "learn more words!" - but I noticed that I was using the same word over and over, or dragging out a fast scene.  I'm starting to realize where my weaknesses lie.

That brings me to reason two for a break.  Now that I have a better idea of what I need to work on, I want to spend some time reading other people's writing to find examples of what sort of things work and feel good to me when I read them.

And speaking of other people's writing... reason number three is that my critique group has just received a piece to read and critique, so I've got that to focus on.  I'm really looking forward to reading this one - I've heard about it for a while, and I can't wait to get started.  I want to be able to give it the attention it deserves.

Finally, it's the holiday season!  I'm having houseguests soon, so I've got to get my apartment cleaned, and try to get rid of some stuff from the spare room.  And of course, there's all the crafting and baking and drinking and sleeping it off! I've got a full schedule!

But no worries - I will continue reading and reviewing on Sundays, I will do a bit of fiction on Tuesdays to keep myself in practice, and I will be a bit more personal and chatty on Thursdays.  See you in a few days!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ice Cream Sundays

Charlie waited patiently by the front door.  She knew that today was Sunday, and she knew that meant a special treat.

Every week, Charlie waited impatiently for Sunday to arrive.  She made it through the endlessly boring work days, and while she enjoyed playing in the park on Saturdays, that was nothing compared to what happened Sunday.

Sunday was special, because Sunday was ice cream day.  Every Sunday, Charlie and Sam would walk down to the ice cream store.  It was just around the corner, but they only went there on Sundays.  They would share a large vanilla cone - never anything more adventurous than that.  But there was no need for adventure - Charlie loved vanilla ice cream, and she was pretty sure that Sam did, too.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, Sam emerged from her bedroom.

"Come on, Charlie," she said, picking up a bright pink leash and fastening it to Charlie's collar.  "Let's go for ice cream."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I need to read again!

But I swear, I have a good excuse!  If you read my last post, you know that I've been sick this week.  I actually called in sick twice, and went home early once.  Yeah, I felt miserable.

Unfortunately, because I missed four lunches at work (three due to illness, one due to a baby shower at lunch), I only had one day to do any reading at lunch, and that was definitely not enough time to finish the book.

Fortunately, I'm finally feeling better again!  So I should get some more reading done this week... in addition to a pile of crafts!  Otter's not-so-secret Christmas present is almost done, and Mom's is about 1/4 done.  Woot!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The best-laid plans

I was totally going to blog about how NaNoWriMo went this year, and all the things I learned about myself and my writing.

Instead, I got sick.

I have this nasty head cold, and I mostly want to just curl up and sleep for a month.

So today's blog sucks, and I'm sorry.  Once I manage to get better, I'll write a better blog.