Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Wednesday already?

I should be sleeping
'Stead of keeping
These late hours
I've been keeping

I've been pacing
And retracing
Every step of
Every move

Okay, so those words aren't mine - they're from Emerson Drive's song "I Should Be Sleeping", but they seem very appropriate for my life right now!  I really should be sleeping most nights, but I'm far too wide awake.  Life's getting, well, busy.  And I'm dreaming about work again, which makes my week twice as long!

So instead of reading some sleepy ramblings, I'm going to recommend that, if you're not familiar with Emerson Drive, you go take a look at them, and maybe listen to some of their music.  I like it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

*twitch* *twitch*

Those of you who know me in real life know that I often joke about having OCD.  At one point, in a previous office, my co-workers labeled me with chart stickers because I organized the sheets of stickers.  Why am I telling you this?

Because it's an issue.

I find that it doesn't take much disorder for me to become, well, agitated.  I can usually talk myself down, or distract myself, but the point is, I need structure.  It's funny, because you'd think that a writer or other sort of creative person would not want structure or limits or boundaries, but I can't work without them.  I need a deadline (and preferably a close one) to get things done.  That's part of why I work so well with NaNoWriMo.  There are definite goals and deadlines, so I get my wordcount and get the story done.

When I'm crafting, I often gravitate towards knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, and sewing as 'relaxing' crafts - because they have patterns that I have to follow to make things turn out right.  I like scrapbooking and card-making, but I find that I enjoy both of those more when I have a plan, whether it's a challenge template that I've found online, or a design that I come up with before I start working.

Today, I've been dealing with OTHER PEOPLE.  OTHER PEOPLE don't necessarily get it.  They don't always understand that I need to know what's going on.  They don't understand that, when I don't have any idea when a project will end, I get upset.  When this goes on for a month or two, I can't sleep properly.  I start living on caffeine and sugar, which makes me somewhat less than fun to be around.  Overall, it sucks.

So what is the point of this long, rambling post?  If you know someone like me, please, please, please take pity on them.  Give us deadlines.  Give us endpoints.  Give us updates!  Just don't leave us in limbo.  It's bad for everyone involved.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I knew I was forgetting something!

I went out to watch a movie tonight, then came home and updated my Facebook status to reflect my feelings for the swoopy camera work, then restarted my computer so that it could do that whole automatic update thing.  Then I realized that I hadn't blogged yet!

It's late (duh), but I don't want to abandon my blogglings!

So I'll talk about the movie!

I went to see Green Lantern.  I have never read any of the original comics that this movie was based on.  In fact, the only comics I have ever read were Betty and Veronica comics, and even that was rare.  I had worried about whether or not I would like it.  A lot of the reviews were, well, not great.

It turns out, though, that I might be the right demographic for all of these comic book movies!  Because I'm not overly familiar with the stories (other than what my comic-book-loving-friends have told me), I don't have a lot of the  preconceived ideas of what the characters should be like.  I don't know how they should look, how they should act, who is a friend or who is an enemy.  Because of this, I can sit back and enjoy the movie for itself.  My comic-book-loving-friends, however, don't have that luxury.

Bearing that in mind, I ended up liking the movie.  The plot worked for me.  The actors were, for the most part, well-chosen.  I wasn't a big fan of Blake Lively, but I didn't hate her.  The effects were pretty cool, if occasionally nauseating in their swoopiness.  There was a section in the middle that started to drag for me, and I started to wonder when it was going to end, but then the story picked up again.

And, of course, if there is a gun on stage, the gun will be used.  (I can't take credit for that quote - it was totally Tanya leaning over to me at the end of the credits to say that!)  And if you don't get what I mean, you either haven't been involved in theatre, or you haven't watched this movie through to the end of the credits.

My final comment is a girly one.  Ryan Reynolds looks way better with his deep brown eyes than with the creepy blue ones!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beta and Critique Readers

Over the years, I've been part of several writing groups, ranging from informal gatherings where the topic of writing just happened to come up, to NaNoWriMo groups, to critique groups.  I've shared my work, and read others' work and given feedback.  If there's one thing I've learned, all beta readers/crit partners are NOT created equal.  Here are some of the characters I've run into:*

- The Published Writer.  You've probably run into him at some point.  He's had a short story published in an ezine.  Or he wrote a novel that was published by a small press.  Whatever it is, he has decided that he is talented.  Very talented.  So talented, in fact, that you, an unpublished writer, could never measure up to him.  Your writing will never be as good as his, because your work is not published.  Like his.  Did I mention that he takes every chance he gets to remind you that he is published.

- The Emphatic Realist.  This fellow writer doesn't quite grasp the concept of the suspension of disbelief.  At all.  He can't figure out why you've insisted on ignoring a particular historical figure in your historical romance, even though it would not do anything to further the plot.  He demands historical accuracy!  And that plane you have in chapter three - that style of plane has two rows of seats, not three.  Obviously, you haven't done enough research.

- The Genre Snob.  He doesn't read anything but one genre.  The romantic drivel you've written is completely mindless, as far as he is concerned.  And the YA project?  Why you're wasting your time on such a pathetic genre is beyond him.  Sure, it's okay for what it is, but it's not much.  Trying to get this guy to like anything that isn't in his genre is like trying to make my dog eat... umm... okay, that metaphor doesn't work.  It's like trying to get a shark to swim backwards.

- The Insecure Crank.  He doesn't think that his writing is any good.  To see your writing, which is (theoretically) good, just irritates him.  He doesn't like the thought of someone being better than him, and he will find every little error possible in your work.  He will find errors that don't exist.  He will find flaws in every character and setting.  He will find tiny plotholes and blow them into gaping chasms.  Because he thinks his work is no good, he will not let yours be good either.

Of course, not all critique partners or beta readers are one of these folks!  I have met amazing readers, people I trust to read anything I write, and to give me honest feedback.

- The Read-Everything Partner.  He will read absolutely everything that is written.  Genre, length, style - it doesn't matter.  He has a preferred genre, of course, but he won't ignore a story just because it's not his favorite style.  His best line? "It's not something I'd pick out on my own, but I liked it."

- The Grammar Snob.  He knows the English language inside and out.  He knows where each and every punctuation mark belongs.  He may not be able to correct flaws in your character arc, but he will make sure that your final draft is polished to a high sheen.

- The Gentle Let-Down.  Your story sucks.  The characters are one-dimensional.  You have no arc.  Your plot has holes that a Mack truck can drive through.  But he can still point out the good things, like your ability to place a semi-colon in just the right place, and make you feel better about having churned out a big ol' pile of crap.

*All genders have been made male for the purposes of masking identities.  If you happen to recognize yourself in one of these readers, chances are good that I'm not actually talking about you personally.  But hopefully, you recognize yourself as one of the awesome ones!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ah, Mondays.

There's just something about the start of the week that sucks.

I feel like I accomplished nothing at work today.  I mean, I did stuff, but I was filling in for someone else, so the stuff I did was her work, not mine.  I know that I have at least five boxes of charts waiting for me tomorrow morning, which equals fifty or more charts, depending on how tightly they're packed.  So there goes my morning.  And by the time I'm through dealing with them, it's time for my doctor's appointment.  Whee.

However, I am heading out tomorrow night to a writerly thing with a fellow writerly-type person, which should be fun.  Or at least enlightening.  I really want to see what the local writing scene is like outside of NaNoWriMo (which, while awesome, is not necessarily a professional endeavor).

Of course, when I started getting frustrated at work today, all I had to do was let my mind wander back to this past weekend.  I spent some time with friends who made me feel like life was a movie, and I was playing the role of sidekick (but in a good way!).  I got to watch some awesome moments that felt as if they should have been in a movie or a book, and I loved every second of it.

You know, maybe today wasn't as bad as I originally thought it was.

Also, I'm watching a terribly cheesy movie as I'm writing this, which always makes me feel better!

How was your Monday?

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Some days, I feel a bit anxious. I've got a lot on my plate right now. Between work, writing, finishing Baby Bear's present, dealing with theatre drama, dealing with construction malarky, and packing, I'm spread kind of thin these days.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with stress and anxiety. Some people like long bubble baths. Some like a nice bottle of wine. Some like a good book. When knitting isn't one of the causes of my stress, knitting helps. Lately, though, I've found a different source of relaxation - a serial killer. There's something about Dexter that is just... comforting. I know, that's a weird reaction to have. Some days, I wonder if there's something wrong with me...

And then, when I think about it a bit more, I realize it's not that weird. This show is written REALLY well! I'm on my third viewing of the first four seasons, and I'm still impressed with it. There's still stuff that shows up that I hadn't noticed before. It's all so well-thought-out.

I've read the first book by Jeff Lindsey, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and I liked it. A lot. But there's something about the tv series that feels better. Of course, it's a much longer format, which allows for more development of, well, everything. Still, each of the characters has a fully developed arc across each season, and all seasons.

So. Great writing is how I justify finding a serial killer relaxing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Sara stared down at her hands.  The sticky, red trails almost seemed to move as she watched them.

"So much blood," she murmured.  Shouldn't it be hot?  Or at least warm?  But her hands were cold, even with the blood on them.  Sara turned her hands over.  The blood was everywhere.  It had left her hands and moved towards her elbows.  It had dripped onto the floor.

No, dripped was the wrong word.  Dripping was slow, gentle, painless.  The blood had poured from Andy's body, even as she had tried to stop it.

The blood had been warm then, she thought.  It had been hot, and pulsing, and alive under her hands.  It had a mind of its own, ready to escape the confines of a body, ready to see the world.

She had tried.  She did everything she knew how to do.  Except gloves, came the thought from the back of her mind.  She should have put on gloves before touching blood.  That's what they had taught in her first aid class, so many years ago.

There was no time to find gloves, though.  Sara didn't know if she even owned any.  The only thing she could do was try to cover the gaping wound as Andy grew pale.  And scream.  She vaguely remembered screaming.

"Miss?"  The deep voice made Sara jump.  She looked up from her hands into a the eyes of someone who had seen this before.  "Please, come with me.  We need to get you cleaned up."

"It's Andy's blood," she said, her voice barely more than a whisper.  "I should keep it for him."

"Andy doesn't need that blood, sweetheart," the man said, sympathy written across his face.  "Come on.  We'll get you taken care of."

"It's Andy's blood," Sara repeated, looking back down at her hands as the man helped her up, wrapping the blanket more securely around her.  "I should keep Andy's blood."  It was easier to look at the blood than to remember how the light had faded from his eyes.

She could swear she still saw the blood moving.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movies and movie theatres

I was chatting with a friend today, and I admitted a big ol' secret.  While I love movies, I don't really like movie theatres.  Rather, I don't like watching movies in the theatre.

I know, it's weird.  Most people really like the experience - why else would it be such a popular date night?  But I don't like it.

Some of it is purely physical - that's one of the few times that I really have to wear my glasses.  There's something about the size and distance to the screen that just doesn't work for me.  Also, the broad, sweeping camera angles give me mild vertigo and nausea.

Part of it is the price.  I hate that, between the ticket and a drink and a snack, it's about $20 a person to see a movie in theatre.  If I wait a couple months, I can buy the DVD for $24.99.  If I wait a little longer, it's down to $15 or less.  So if I'm patient, I can watch a movie in the comfort of my own home, with my very tasty popcorn from my new popcorn machine, without my glasses, for less than it would cost me to go to the movie theatre.

Hmm... putting it that way, I can't figure out if I'm cheap, or just uncomfortable at the theatre.

Is there anyone else who doesn't like the movie theatre, or am I alone in this?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Signs of Summer

Is there something that signals the arrival of summer for you?

For me, at least these days, the first lightning bug is the sign that summer is here.  I saw the first lightning bug of the season earlier this week, and it just made me grin.  It didn't matter that temperatures had been in the 80's and 90's for weeks, or that my office planted the summer flowers.  It's not summer in the south until I see a lightning bug.

It's funny, because I actually had never seen a real live lightning bug until I moved to the South almost four years ago.  I'd heard of them, of course, and seen them on TV and in movies, but I had never seen one.  The first night I was outside in the summer, the whole yard was full of them.  I just stood there and stared at them, for a very long time.

I'm not a fan of bugs, usually, but these guys are special.  There's something almost magical about them, and I still find myself just standing outside at night, watching the lightning bugs flying through the sky.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things. Sort of.

Today, I took another step towards getting things back on track!  I'm always amazed at how much a show can throw off my life.  It's like everything else just stops, and I have to wait until the final curtain before I can get myself together again.

Tonight, I went out for dinner with friends.  Back in the day, we used to get together every Wednesday night for dinner and TV and board games and fun.  Of course, when I was at rehearsal, I couldn't make it, and then other folks couldn't make it, and it stopped for a while.  I think, though, that we're all interested in starting back, and that's exciting.  I like my friends, and I like spending time with them, so this is a good thing.

On the blanket front, however, I made no progress today.  I took my knitting bag to work, thinking that I could do some at lunch, but I just couldn't get myself comfortably arranged.  Working with three balls of yarn at once, I find that I need a big ol' chair or couch to spread out on, so I don't get tangled or have the yarn hanging out on the floor.  So I'll just have to knit extra fast tomorrow to get caught up with my 2 rows/day minimum.

In other news... um... well, I've got a Sekrit Projekt that I'm working on, but I can't tell you about it!  But it's going well so far, and will take some skills that I haven't used since high school.  When it's done and delivered, I'll share more. :)