Writing Wednesday

This entry is about the excuses we give ourselves and how it can stop you achieving. With real life examples!

I had been telling myself that What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Was as good as it was going to get. When Steve offered to review it and give me feedback I nearly told him no, because I’ve already been over it so many times. In actuality it was a lie I was telling myself so I could continue to ignore the manuscript. Basically, I was lying to myself so I could be lazy.

I was focussing on other things, I told myself. Really important things, like zoo world on Facebook. So very important. Sure I’ve been writing some short stories and Rain, but I do believe in WtWTCH? I think it’s a good, marketable book. So why had I stopped shopping it around agents? I knew it needed a re-write and I couldn’t be bothered doing that.

How do you solve this desire to be lazy? By getting motivated.

In my case it was Guardian Angel of Writing Steve coming over and giving me enthusiastic feedback that did it. Other times I have become motivated by re-reading the manuscript and seeing that it had room for improvement. Visiting the museum also helps me. You have to find your own inspiration and stop giving yourself excuses to do nothing.

No more doing nothing, says I. More writing and working towards publication.

I do have one problem this week though. Matt suggested my Halloween Video short story would be good for everydayfiction.com if I can get it under 1000 words, but at 1200 I’ve stopped cutting. I have to cut proper content from the story and I can’t see how to do it…Frustration!

Some good linky on writing:

On Twitter the other day Cory Doctorow engaged in a YA lit chat in which an author answers as many writing/book related questions as they can over a certain period of time. There was lots of awesome on display but these two tweets struck a chord with me:

* Keep writing. What you write and how you feel when you write are are largely unrelated
* Secret to writers block: write even when you’re blocked, even when it feels forced. Inspiration sucks, working rules

Pay attention and follow the yellow brick rules.

Some tips on writing a fight scene. Of which there are many in WtWTCH? and in fact, in all my books. I use my roleplaying experience to write fights. It’s awesome.

Recommended via Dan R on Twitter some good thoughts and tips on writing first paragraphs for short stories. (GHOSTPIGS).

An excellent article and example of manuscript format.

And finally the best ever thing I have ever read in regards to rejections i found this week on the Apex publications contributor guidelines page.

Keep in mind that the search for awesome stories is as difficult as writing them. If you are rejected, don’t get angry—instead, become more awesome. Write something better, and better, until we have to accept you, because we have been laid low by your tale. It really is that simple.

celebration

So, I’ve been talking a bit, all mysteriously, about upcoming life changes. It’s all official-like now, so here’s the news…

I have a new job!

I’m sticking with the same company, but switching teams. I get to stop doing those parts of my job which were getting tiresome and learn some new stuff. It starts on July 19th.

I am very happy.

Things I Love Thursday

Singing something you really love. On Saturday at the Karaoke party I had promised myself that I would sing something alone. I’ve always been too shy to sing alone in front of people, because I’ve never had any training and come from a distinctly unmusical family. I didn’t want to break anyone’s ears 🙂 Anyway, all this rock band practice has given me courage, as has Lee commenting that I’ve definitely improved over time. So earlyish in the evening I booked Jolene and got up and sung it and afterwards a couple of people told me I sounded good and I was chuffed. Later on I was moaning to Frank about the lack of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen and he pointed out that I should check for covers of his stuff. I found a Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah and signed myself up for it.

OK, so it was just Karaoke, and it was just in front of some friends, and the version was weirdly long with a long intro and a huge instrumental in the middle but OMG it ROCKED to sing that song. I know it so well, and I love it so much and I felt like I was giving a little tribute and…best experience ever. Afterwards, I was so happy. I felt like I had sung it well, that I’d sounded good. I think the Karaoke DJ said something nice about it, even. Bliss.

Sharing the joys of steak night and rocky road memphis meltdowns with dear friends.

Buffy game goodness: Following the epic game of epic on Friday night Megan doesn’t seem to be coping too well. Also I had a text exchange on Wednesday night with Ash, in which he laid his cards on the table and offered Calvin something. Something very tempting…

Writing mojo is so back. I fixed up that story that was giving me trouble a few weeks back, finished it and sent it to Matt to read, since it was written with his prompts.

Honourable Mentions: Cosy warm bed, power naps, darling friends visiting, watching things that make me laugh, new shirt that people say nice things about, compliments on my pigtails, explaining the attraction of terrible movies.

Best of Gir (Invader Zim). Also, I am addicted to this song:

Please share your own thankfulness list below…

Wednesday with some Writing stuff.

My writing mojo is finally back, I have successfully beaten back my cold. Woo!

My writing this week isn’t particularly newsworthy though. I have edited a short story, written a bunch of characters for the superhero LARP (date is set for that BTW: Sept 18th) and had an awesome session with Steve where he gave me much constructive criticism for What’s the Worst That Could Happen? I realised during the session that I have forgotten a fair bit about the book so it seems like a good time to pick it up again and give it an overhaul. The best thing about the session was how positive Steve was about my book and the characters and the way I write. I is inspired. Cheerleaders are awesome.

I didn’t really spend any time reading interesting blog entries this week, so to pad out the rest of this post here’s my answers to Gala Darling’s Curious Tuesday.

1. If it was your birthday tomorrow, what would be on your wishlist?

Time off work to attend day time sessions of the film festival. Cash to go shopping for clothes with (I am currently addicted to clothes shopping), or I guess vouchers would work. Chocolates and a trip overseas.

2. Do you look after your nails? Do you paint them? If so, do you have a colour that you keep returning to again & again?

No, not really. I sometimes get a manicure but it bugs me how quickly the paint gets chipped or ruined so I don’t do it often. I used to be fond of painting my nails camouflage style but I haven’t been bothered with that since university.

3. What star sign are you, & do you think it is accurate?

I’m Libra, and I think it’s fairly accurate. At least I think I display these typical Libran traits: artistic and drawn to beauty, unable to make a decision (constantly weighing up all options), easy going, charming, self indulgent and flirtatious.

4. What is something you have recently learned to appreciate?

This is a tough one, but my recent sickness has given me a real appreciation of my ability to write and make up stories. For so many days I simply *couldn’t*. On my darkest night I told Lee sadly that I was in fact, never writing again and I should stop even trying to pretend to be a writer. He was characteristically unmoved by my melodrama and told me to stop being stupid. Now that the cold bugs have evacuated my brain, I’m loving how I can write, and think, and create. Love.

5. What is your favourite city in the world, & why?

Well, Wellington is the best city that I know well. But then, I haven’t been to very many cities and only one or two outside of New Zealand. So I guess I’m biased.

I love Wellington because it’s small enough that there’s a lot of crossover between groups of people. There’s lots of stuff going on (quiz nights, improv comedy, film festivals, etc) so you don’t get bored. Living in the middle of Wellington has given me a feel for the rhythm of the place. I went out one Tuesday night and handed my bag of recycling to a very friendly recycling collector. When we have a fire drill we can just go to the dairy and get an ice-cream, or over the road to Burger Fuel. People get loud and drunk on Fridays and Saturdays. This morning there was screaming when I work up, which I placed as people watching the World Cup match over at Four Kings with the windows open. (My first thought was zombie apocalypse.) Besides all this, you can drive for 15 minutes from the centre of town and find yourself in the country side.
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I do have one writing related link for you though. The lovely Ellen, who I have roleplayed with and is a frequent commenter here, has been writing flash fictions on demand and posting them on her blog. There’s even a longer one that I suggested the title and word for, which I like very much. There’s something about having fiction written *for you* isn’t there? Anyway, her stuff is weird and funny and spec ficcy and you should read it.

Finally, in honour of my twitter buddy Andrew Jack…

Fall actual play 203 “Frenemies part 2” aka Megan’s worst day ever

The episode started right where the last one left off, with Alex going to find Calvin and see how he’s doing after telling Mason about their relationship. Calvin is lying on a park bench, hands under his head staring up at the sky. She leans over, putting her face into his line of vision and says Hey. He says hey back. She asks how things went with Mason and Calvin’s quiet for a moment.

Calvin: I think we need to avoid him for a while.
Alex: I’ve kind of already been doing that.
Calvin: Right. (He sits up.) Listen, I think there’s something weird about Ash.
A: You mean apart from the fact that he’s a bit of a creep.
C: Yeah.
A: Why do you say that?

Alex sits down. Calvin relates how the other night, when he and Ash had been surfing (after the second car race) Ash had seen the scar on Calvin’s shoulder from the vampire bite and got kind of…odd. Like staring really intensely and moving closer than Calvin was comfortable with. Then at The Limit the nigh before he’d been acting really strained after Megan got hurt. Alex points out that he might have just been angry that Megan had been thrown into the drum set.
Calvin: Maybe. But there’s just something about him. He gives me the creeps. And he was staring at me again.
Alex: Maybe he’s into you.
Calvin: That’s not what’s going on.
Continue reading

Things I Love Thursday

Awkward family pet photos.

Just amazing.

Jay showed me this awesome video of an owl that transforms when presented with rivals…

Steve sent me the link to a collection of images from an art show called OMG Pwn!es which features some fantastically geeky My Little Pony Mods. From the same website, I enjoyed this list of the best Batman panels ever. “Seriously. The dude loves to punch.

Honourable Mentions:
True Blood 301, the final episode of Glee, my bunny, warm blankies, naps, schnitzel, pizza, winning quiz nights parties, kareoke, parcels in the mail, pink wafer biscuits, buying whatever I want at the supermarket, dreaming about holidays and free lunch at work on Wednesdays.

And you my lovely?

Writing

My writing is still up the spout. In fact I have been crafting rather than writing. Which is awesome, actually, because making stuff is very satisfying. Plus, I’m telling myself that this is actually a holiday for my brain and when everything becomes clear again my mind will teem with ideas and awesomeness. Teem I say.

But it’s not happening yet.

Here’s some links:

Who says you need a publisher? Embrace the impossible has a great article that answers this question.

The difference between post-apocalyptic and dystopian futures. Explained and actually, yeah. I knew that. Cool. I is smrt.

Wither utopia?

Writing and chocolate.

Why are so many female characters beautiful? Are we privileging the pretty and if so why?

The art of seat-of-the-pants storytelling.

A rather awesome article from Melissa Marr about Sex in YA books and whether it’s OK.

Pukeko time

Following Craft 2.0 I am inspired. There are lots and lots of awesome crafts there that I could never make, and then there are some which seem like something I have the skillz for. I haven’t really got my writing mojo back just yet so yesterday I hauled my ass off the couch and made a pukeko.

I started drafting the pattern at 3pm and by 9pm I had a pukeko. I also went out for dinner in there, so it didn’t actually take 6 hours. I used leftover flannelette from the sheet I used to back my T shirt quilt. It’s a perfect blue. Red from my Trade Me T shirt, also used in T shirt quilt, made the bill and the lining of his wings. The legs is one old knee high sock sewn down the middle and rounded off. Finally some quilting cotton for the top of the wings, a couple scraps for the eyes and voila.

Jennitalula pukeko

As you can see, he’s hilarious. Something about the legs and the expression just cracks me up. You can see that I placed his legs one in front of the other. This is because it’s easier to sew them into the body seam that way and I like the way it looks. It kind of upset Lee though.

But who needs side by side legs? Pukekos can straddle with front to back legs no problems at all. Blankies Owl feigned indifference.

artsy shot

The hero the world has been searching for?

Bunny!

I attended Craft 2.0 yesterday with Star, Rachel and Sally. It was a good one, although it turns out that Star and I are bad influences on each other and we egged each other on. I bought two badges made of teeny versions of old books (Titled fabulously Supernatural stories for boys and Monster book for girls.) I got a little zippered purse made of a vintage vegetable print tea towel and some lovely hand made soaps. But the best thing, the thing we had to go back for was the velveteen rabbit.

He has a lovely realistic rabbit shape, all big round butt and weeny feet. The fabric is an incredibly soft piled fur of that lovely colour in between grey and blue. His feet and ears are lined with soft satin and he has a fluffy white tail.

The eyes are small, just french knots really, but I like the way it looks. The woman who sold him to me had run out of big bags, so we put him into a bit too small paper bag with his head and ears poking out. Star laughed because I was carrying him around under my arm and absently petting his head like he was a real pet. He’s just so soft!

The lovely lady’s business is called The Grin Factory. Check out the rest of the range from The Grin Factory here. It looks like she’s just getting started selling stuff on felt, at the moment there’s just a few little squirrels and mice available. I quite want one of those big dogs and a giraffe with a scarf. So cute!

Look at the way his ears stand! So adorable!

I had three envious comments on the way out of the fair “Oh, you bought the velveteen rabbit!” Apparently I wasn’t the only one who coveted him. I was a little worried that Lee would complain about me bringing home yet another soft toy but he greeted velveteen rabbit with a smile and hasn’t complained once. Thank goodness.

So yeah Fizzgig, Gizmo, Blankies Owl and Trogdor have a new sibling. Also today I found my tiger hat again. Yay tiger hat!

Things I Love Thursday

I’ve been sick with a stupid, awful cold and last week’s Things I Love Thursday was meant to be twice as long. I wrote it all out and I had all this awesome stuff in there and then my cold-infected brain published an older draft of the entry and deleted the nice one. I couldn’t cope with rewriting it *at all* but I’ll try and remember the best things that didn’t make it last week and put them in this week’s.

Leonard Cohen OMG. So Leonard Cohen is coming back to New Zealand and we got tickets and I’m totally going to see him perform again. You cannot believe how happy this makes me. Very happy.

Lovely new friends. Day of Games wasn’t just awesome for the games aspects, it was awesome for the new friends thing too. It’s awesomely happy making to transform acquaintances into proper friends.

I appreciate these new Sheldon shirts, but I am v sad that they have the Penny before the knock knock knocks. That’s incorrect. Sheldon would be shocked. I quite want the ball pit bazinga one.

It’s been fantastically cold in Wellington this last week. It has also been raining an awful lot and the combination of these two conditions tends to make me (and a number of people I have spoken with) want to hibernate. On Sunday I got a text from a lovely friend asking Lee and I to join them at Joe’s Garage for lunch/late brunch. Once there I ordered an ‘autobahn’ which is not a road but a schnitzel served with gravy fries. It was hands down, honest to blog the best ever comfort food. The schnitzel tasted exactly how I wanted it to. The gravy was delish, the fries perfectly crisp and not too salty. I have in fact been craving it again ever since. Yum.

My new hat. I indulged in a little retail therapy yesterday and bought myself a sweet little pink cloche from Glassons. It’s slightly too big, but entirely adorable and I like the way it works with my new glasses.

Hat and glasses

When I put up a blog post I then link to it on my facebook, my twitter account and my livejournal. I like it when I then click on the stats page and see that some people have already clicked through to my new post. It makes me feel popular and interesting.

Honourable Mentions:
This. Frozen coke when you have a sore throat, Glee (I am addicted, I just keep rewatching it), Ashes to Ashes (I ❤ Gene Hunt, I can't help it), Rocky Road flavour Memphis Meltdowns they are amazing you have no idea; chocolate with nuts for the shell and then a layer of marshmallow and then inside is chocolate ice cream with jelly-tip ice cream rippled all through it oh my god it's amazing. New starry PJ pants, warm snuggly merino tops, SURPRISE ROBOT SHIRT FROM AMPHIGORI OMG AWESOME, hot drinks and aloe vera tissues. Oh and quote from Dr Who: “There’s something here that doesn’t make sense.Let’s go poke it with a stick.”

And you my dear, darling friend? What is it that you are thankful for this week?