Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Sound You are Hearing…

… is the sound of me losing my ever-loving MIND!!!

It’s the thirtieth!!  Of October!!  Tomorrow is the thirtyfirst!  and then NaNoWriMo starts!!!  And I still don’t have a plot!!!!  I don’t have a plot, or characters, or even the hint of an initial scene!!!  Dear gak, where has the time gone???  I want October back!  I want a Do Over!  I need more TIME!!!!

*there is the muffled sound of a crash and a body falling to the floor as MrsGrizzley collapses under the weight of her own indecision*

*stands and recovers, slightly, with a soft chuckle*

Okay, yes, I have a dramatic streak a mile wide, but I really am going nuts with this.  It’s bad enough that I even considered doing fanfiction for NaNoWriMo, which is completely within the rules but still feels like cheating to me because I don’t end up with a usable manuscript for original fiction which is what I need to be working on since it’s the only thing that has the potential of making money… and that could help with a lot of the stress in my real life.

It’s frustrating as hell to get hounded about “doing something real” when writing is real to me and it is a hell of a lot more fulfilling than anything I ever did as one more warm body on the retail floor.  I know I’m good.  I know that I’m as good if not better than most of the people already on the market.

I also know what my greatest weaknesses are.  This damn busy mind of mine keeps me distracted and unfocused, unable to complete projects even when they’re worthwhile.  I want to write.  I need to write.  I’m happier and easier to live with when I’m writing… but hell if my brain will let me focus on any one thing that isn’t a distraction in and of itself.

In two days the National Novel Writing Challenge begins… and I am no closer to beginning it than I was on October 1st.  I can’t fail a second year in a row.  I need this too much.  But while NaNo is supposed to begin with excitement and a rush of writing before the insanity of it sets in… I’m already there.

So yeah, it’s all kinds of crazy up in here right now.

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Such A Beautiful Smile…

You know, I find some odd things when I get to looking around the Internet, just following links and such.  I was wandering around the Fox News site today and ran across a story about a picture going viral, a picture of a plus-sized woman wearing a bikini.  I had to take a look.  Not because I had a need to gawk or ridicule, not because I wanted to laugh at the woman who proudly put her body and her soul in front of millions, possibly billions of strangers.

I followed the link because I’m plus-sized too, and this was something I felt I needed to see.  If you need to see it, too, here’s the link to the specific picture and her comments, which I applaud her for.

What struck me most about the picture is her smile.  Her beautiful, amazingly perfect smile.

Normally commenting on a person’s smile is a subtle form of insult.  Particularly if the person in question is female and built larger than is conventionally considered attractive.  It’s the visual equivalent of “she has such a sweet spirit” that I heard so many times growing up, words that meant that there was literally nothing else positive worth saying.  Words that stung far worse than any conventional insult could because they felt dishonest.  It was a social requirement to compliment people, even if you hated them, even if they were the most useless, worthless, rotten pieces of human-shaped offal on the whole planet.  Gosh darn it, you had to say something nice, though.

But looking at that picture… I love her smile.

There’s joy there, and self-acceptance, and a beauty that envelops the physical and transcends it in a way that makes her shine and I envy her that smile, that hard-won happiness with herself and her body.  I envy her courage in standing up and presenting herself for the ridicule that she knew was likely to result.  I envy her strength in turning the argument around on those who would so snidely insult her.

She’s a beautiful woman, with a smile that outshines the sun, and I would rather look at her than at twenty conventionally beautiful women because she’s real and she gives me hope.

I don’t have an account through that particular media, so I couldn’t leave her a message.  I can only hope that someone who does sees this and lets her know how much I admire her.  She is the sort of woman that girls need to emulate, her courage, her hope, her strength of conviction and her stubborn determination to do what is right for herself.

The great beauties of all time; Aphrodite, Helen, Cleopatra, and her.

Edit Note: I just found the comment form on her site.  She deserves all the praise in the world.

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Gosh Darnit!!!!

… Reversioning’s a pain in my hind end.

Perhaps I should explain… The Mysterious Co-Writer and I have been working on a series of stories featuring a cast of characters we affectionately dub “The Kids”.  We started working with these characters some three years ago and have been fairly consistently trying to hammer their story together ever since then.  We got some… 80 or 100k words into a rough draft through email that first year (and that wasn’t exactly easy, let me tell you) and then the first of the reversions started.

I’m not entirely certain how many variations we’ve been through, but the shipping charts alone would cover a wall.  (That’s “shipping” as is “I’m shipping these characters as a couple” not “I’d like to ship this package to Taiwan”)  We have literally explored just about every single pairing option possible with a primary cast of three girls and three boys plus assorted other hangers-on.  The main cast has had some changes over time as characters were moved in and then moved out again and the setting has never wanted to settle down either.

To say that both of us get intense delight out of the idea of “Alternaverse” wouldn’t be overstating the matter, but this is getting friggin’ ridiculous.  We both have issues with “busy minds” (and someday I really need to explain that) and we’ve got Real Life matters and relationships on both sides of the equation.  The longer this goes on the more difficult it gets.

It started out as a potential Young Adult/Teen series, and I still very much want to write one of those.  I read the Twilight books (please don’t kill me) and I just know that I can do better than that.  Heck, I could write *those* books better than they were written, in part because I actually know enough of the old stories and the old legends to make something believable.  Tolkien didn’t come up with Middle Earth just out of the top of his head, it was founded and grounded in the cultural heritage of the Anglo-Saxons and assorted other ancient peoples.  You can’t really go far wrong if you’re looking at doing right by a heritage that strong and that rich.  And I took up researching old stories just for the fun of it in elementary school or junior high when I knew the subject matter of my mother’s Mythology class better than she did.

So yeah, we tried and we tried and we tried like you wouldn’t believe to get a solid plot pieced together and then keep the characters from wandering off to explore other options… which they kept doing again, and again, and again, and friggin again!

So the decision has been made, reluctantly I might add, to reversion just one more time and age the characters out of the Teen category to aim for an older audience, simply because of some of what they face and the fact that most of them are like Destiny and Aleister from “The Firebird’s Daughter”, that is, far older than they look and they will not keep from acting like it.

This is more complicated than just saying “Okay, they’re not fifteen, they’re 18 or 20 and older…” because the setting has to change and the plot has to shift and just give some of them the idea of another reversion and they’re off and running with new options for abilities and skill sets…  I swear, they’re trying to drive the authors crazy.

It doesn’t help that I still don’t have any idea what I’m going to do for November, either.  I do this every year, I swear.  I have so many really good ideas that I simply can’t settle on one to focus on and see through to completion.  Every time I log in to the NaNoWriMo site I see that little tag at the top that reminds me that I haven’t settled on my book subject for this year and I just feel this crushing panic of not enough time and too much to do.  And November hasn’t even started yet!

So please have patience with me.  I’ve got 500 some odd words written for Chapter Eleven of “The Firebird’s Daughter” and I’m trying to settle on something for November and I’m reversioning The Kids, who will need a new working title because they aren’t kids anymore… so yeah… I’m more than a little frantic these days.  Sorry.

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Looking Forward

Well, it’s October, and for me that means that I am staring down the barrel of the biggest challenge of my whole year.  NaNoWriMo.  Or, for those who don’t know the term, National Novel Writing Month.

Each year, I spend my November attempting an insane challenge.  50,000 words in 30 days.  I’ve participated each year for the past five years, I believe, and I’ve managed to succeed at the challenge three times.  It’s a race against yourself more than against anyone else and it’s something that I highly recommend for other writers.  At the very least it’s a lot of fun to simply let the story go where it will… though that’s something I’m not particularly good at doing myself.

Last year was not one of my best.  Each time I fail at the challenge, it hurts, but it’s because of circumstances beyond my control.  The first time I failed was because the desktop computer I was using completely died on me.  I was able to continue writing on a borrowed laptop, but I couldn’t access the Internet on it.  So I couldn’t verify my word count.  So I got within sight of the finish line and gave up.  Last year… well, last year was something no one could have expected, much less blamed me for.

November had just started, I was doing really well, but had hit a snag in terms of how to proceed.  I was getting it figured out when I got a phone call that pretty well changed everything.  My father died unexpectedly.  This was within months of losing my step-father as well.  I had to make a very stressful road trip and my November was pretty well shot.

So now it’s almost a year later and I’m looking forward at another November and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do this year.  I want to succeed.  I want to reach that goal line because I think I need the success.  I need to accomplish something, even if it’s a 50,000 word manuscript of chaos and confusion.  I need to know that I can finish what I start.

I manage it so rarely.

I don’t know yet what I’m going to write about.  I might make a second attempt at the story I was doing last year.  There’s nothing in the rules that says that I can’t use the same plot as a previous year, so long as I don’t recycle any actual word count from anywhere else.  All the words for the challenge have to be written during the month of November.  I didn’t get very far into it last year, so it’s not really much hassle to start back at the very beginning and try again.  I just need a better idea of where I’m going with it and how I want to get there.

Yeah, I’m not one of the best about writing badly, which is as much the point of NaNoWriMo as reaching the word count.  For some reason the perfectionist in my soul insists on doing well at anything I make an attempt at doing.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right and it’s worth doing well.  So I insist on an actual plot, with real characterization and development, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  The whole package.

I managed it once.  The other two NaNoWriMo successes reached the word count finish line before the story could reach that end.  The one that saw the line and missed it would have had that ending, if I had completed it.  I’d like to manage it again.  For my own satisfaction.  Because I know I can, I just need to do it.

If anyone is participating in the madness, I go by MrsGrizzley there, and I’d love to have some more writing buddies.

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Ripples in a Pond

“‘Cause and effect, chain of events
All of the chaos makes perfect sense
When you’re spinning round, things come undone
Welcome to Earth 3rd rock from the Sun”
Joe Diffie (singer), Third Rock From the Sun

I wasn’t gonna write this up… honest I wasn’t.  But I’ve got it stuck in my head and now I’ve got to get it out one way or the other.  Cause and Effect.  It’s a complicated damn phenomena, isn’t it?  Toss a rock into a pond and watch the ripples spread outwards.  Toss several rocks and you can’t always predict how the ripples are gonna effect each other.  Y’ever wonder if maybe the very people trying to make something better are the ones making it worse?  Sometimes you don’t know how those ripples are going to react to each other.

You’ve got a friend, and they’re struggling, physically, emotionally, mentally, whatever.  You can see it.  You ache for them and you want to help.  It’s your friend, after all, and you care about them, want them to be happy more than anything else.  You want things to get better and you just know what the problem is.  You know what they’re doing wrong and you know exactly how to fix it.  Thing is, they won’t do it.  Your friend stubbornly insists on going down a fruitless road when you know the answer to everything.

Hell, you may even be right.  Hard telling some days.

So you do what everyone thinks is the best thing to do when someone you care about is hurting.  You confront them.  Pull the “tough love” thing.  Tell them that they have to do what you think is best.  Then you close the door and wait, secure in the knowledge that you were right and that it’s the only way to save them.

Your friend gets worse.  Bad worse.  It hurts like nothing else, but you hold the line.  They didn’t do what you told them to do and now they’re paying the price for it.

Ever wonder if you just caused that?  If maybe, just maybe, they were coping with whatever the problem was before you pulled the rug out from under them insisting that you knew better than they did how to deal with something?

What if you’re the one with the problem?  What if you’re the one just barely holding on with all ten nails and the help of your friends when you get told that it’s their way or the highway and then get shut out from the support that was all that was holding you above the maelstrom?  How do you tell someone that you still honestly care about that they are the reason that you’re worse?  How do you tell someone that it doesn’t matter if they’re right or not, that by trying to fix something, they broke it?

On the other hand, standing outside the fire of a given problem does give a certain amount of insight.  Sometimes a person might be too close to their own issues to see them clearly and sometimes a person just isn’t going to get the help they need until they’re given no other choice.  Or maybe it just takes them longer to take action.  Maybe they just aren’t the type to go rushing into getting help, even if it’s in their best interest, even if they know you’re right, even if it’s the only way.  Then again, maybe they’re so all-fired certain that they know the best answers to everything that they aren’t going to listen to you no matter what you say.

Sometimes things just aren’t clear.  Sometimes the ripples are complicated by the mud the stones stirred up from the bottom, mud that would have remained where it was, doing no one harm, until it was disturbed by something outside itself.  Y’never can tell sometimes how things are going to work out.  Life’s complicated as hell and sometimes we just don’t need more ripples tossing us about like a ship in a storm.

A whole lot of forgiveness can help.  A willingness to listen.  Trying to see things from the other side.  But that means talking, on both sides, and that’s not easy with some people, particularly if you’re so damned certain that you already know the answers, or the hurt’s already been done and neither side feels like they have the right to speak up, even if they’re your friend, even if you’re their friend, even if you both still care about each other and want to see the other happy, for their own sake.

How in the hell do you help your friends without making things worse for everyone?  Damnit, I wish I knew.  I really wish I knew.

Note: Chapter Eleven is finally making progress, but it might be a day or two before it’s written.  I’m working on it.  By the way, the Joe Diffie song is a great one.  Give it a listen sometime.  It’s well worth it. Here’s a YouTube Link.

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