Tag Archives: creativity

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Editing Roller Coaster

Editing Roller Coaster

If the writing thing doesn’t work, don’t expect me to go into comics.

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Proof I’m nuts

I’m a writer. More than that, I’m an author, meaning I’m putting my writing out there for people to view.

What’s so crazy about that, you might ask.  Oh let us count the ways:

  1. Gone are the days of the reclusive writer. If you don’t promote your work in some form or fashion, it won’t sell. I began life as an introvert. I have learned to step out of that shell. The more I did, the easier it became, but it will never quite erase that momentary dread when I “put myself out there”.
  2. The internet is a rude and judgmental monster. Have I ever mentioned that nothing puts my back up quicker than someone pointing the finger and telling another person how lacking they are? If not, now you know. As an author, I’m voluntarily handing that monster my words and thoughts. It’s sort of like stepping in a fire ant hill. Sometimes you might jump away quick enough, but more often than not you will get bitten and damn does it hurt.
  3. The “public” is extremely opinionated. Voting season is a good example of this. Everyone thinks their opinions is right (see #2). There are some writers who choose to write stories that won’t trigger the parting of the Red Sea of opinion. I write stories. Some of mine are fairly innocuous and some I anticipate might make waves. I’m a crappy swimmer. Parting the sea seemed like a good idea at the time…
  4. We court rejection. Getting a story published is like going on blind dates. More often than not you have to deal with a fair amount of rejection before finding a suitable partner. Sometimes it’s awkward, sometimes down right painful, but we keep doing it.
  5. The voices in our head aren’t the ones that are the problem. Telling someone you want to be an author is more likely to earn you a patronizing smile than encouragement. The more time that passes in between that first declaration and any amount of “success” the more likely those voices will push you to do other things, or suggest that you aren’t good enough. Silence can be just as devastating. Even when there are voices supporting you, all it takes is one loud voice to make you doubt. (See #s 2-4)

For all the other authors out there, you aren’t alone. Let your voice sing loud and true. Relish in this insanity called creativity, because it’s way more fun than so-called sanity.

***This was written especially for a fellow author, my best friend, Anne.***

Geekdom Just Around the Corner

It’s that time of year again. MidSouthCon 31 is this weekend. Once again, I shall be in attendance as a moderator. I rather hoped to achieve “guest” status this year, but there’s always next year. If you happen across me Friday evening, no I’m not impersonating a zombie. Likely I’ll be brain-dead from exhaustion after teaching a lecture at the perky, ungodly hour of 8:30am, followed by lab stuff, meetings, and somewhere in there cramming food into my gullet before making my grand entrance.

By grand entrance I mean nick-of-time mad dash to my panel.

There’s something invigorating about being surrounded by other writers and artists and discussing our craft. Every year it gives me a creative high for weeks after.

For those of you who’ve never attended a convention let me summarize what MSC offers. There are panels on various topics, from costume design, gaming, science, anime, to writing and fiction. There’s a video gaming room, a large board game area (not Chutes and Ladders, but in depth board games), costume contest, shows, art auction (for charity), and a dealers’ room with cool stuff to buy, or for the financially challenged, gaze upon wistfully. There’s also a ton of people in creative costumes.

I anticipate a fun weekend of geekery, laughter, and sleep deprivation. If you’re in the area, check it out. If you’re from farther corners of the world, be brave, embrace your inner geek and check out a con near you!

Playing Favorites

I confess. I play favorites. No, not with my kids, but with my characters. Oh, I try to be fair, but sometimes it takes a great deal of effort.
 

Sometimes the wrong character keeps putting in their two cents:

“Finn, this isn’t your story. Pipe down. You play a key role, isn’t that good enough?”

“Did you just tell me to pipe down? Be glad you’re my writer. Otherwise I might have to end your measly human existence.”

~~~~

Sometimes the plot comes to a screeching halt and the character is of no help whatsoever:

“We need to get you out of this forest.”

“Don’t look at me. You’re the one who wrote me into this darn place.”

“You aren’t helping.”

“You’re welcome.”

~~~~

More than once I’ve been well into a story when someone strides onto the scene and steals the spotlight:

“Who the heck are you?”

“Gabriel, of course. Tremble in fear at my approach.”

“I wrote you, you know.”

“Yes, I know. I’m awesome, aren’t I?”

~~~~

Is it any wonder I sometimes misplace my keys?

 

Call Me “Okay Flakey”

For the first two weeks of November I crept along, adding a few hundred words a day to that musty story  dragged out of my files. Then, much like all of my attempts to stick with workouts at a gym, I abandoned my efforts with little more than a moment of regret.

I hereby admit to being flakey when it comes to gym workouts and insane writing goals.

You know what? I’m totally okay with that.

Why?

Well, I’ve maintained roughly the same measurements, sans pregnancy and associated recovery afterward, for fifteen years. When that changes, maybe I’ll find motivation to walk no where on a treadmill in addition to walking all over campus. I must be doing something right.

I think, for me, the same goes with writing. Make it an assignment rather than a fun, creative process that flows from my imagination and the well dries up faster than a rain puddle in August. I’m well aware some folks might view that as an excuse. I would concur, if I had not already completed two short stories and three novels, the last of which just needs final revisions.

So, I’m perfectly content with my 4,000 words. I’ve a bit more direction with the story now, but my Muse popped in for a visit yesterday and dropped another story in my lap. One does not argue with the Muse.

For all those who did stick with it and wrote those 50k words, kudos! I sincerely admire your dedication and congratulate you on a job well done!

Confessions of a Creative Multi-tasker

Very rarely am I ever doing only one single thing. Sure, there are times where it looks like I’m doing one thing, but looks are deceiving. Once upon a time I sat for hours playing with Legos or  reading a book, or playing with my toys, but the days of such single-minded focus were let behind with the Legos. Even with my writing, though I have a widget on this site which displays my “progress” it isn’t really accurate. It only follows the progress of a single story, and unless I’m buckled down in editing mode, I flit from one story to another as the Muse strikes.

Pitfalls of creative multi-tasking:

  1. Plotting a scene in your head is fine, as long as you know the directions to your destination. Attempting to find a new place while simultaneously crafting a scene will guarantee at least one missed turn.
  2. It is never a good idea to cook bacon in one room as you muse upon plot twists and dry your hair in the other, even if your hair dries in a matter of three minutes. Inevitably, the bacon will be burned.
  3. Be prepared to have moments when you check back in to reality just in time to NOT put the milk in the dishwasher.
  4. When you craft that perfect one-liner dialogue and bust out laughing, people will stare.
  5. Nothing is as  frustrating as an interrupted fight scene, but remember it is best not to demonstrate said scene in real life.

Story hopping

Unless I miscounted, I currently have ten projects in my writing folder. One short story has been published in an issue of Midnight Screaming. One book and one short story are a hundred percent complete and wandering through the ruthless submissions desert. Two books are in their beta versions and one final edit away from completion. Seeing as one of those is the sequel to the finished novel, it isn’t at the top of the priority stack. That means fifty percent of my projects are at the story creation stage.

Soup King will confirm that I do not lack in focus. When I enter the phase where I’m carving and molding the bare bones of a story into a piece of art with depth, emotion, and voice I stop only when time is needed to grant me clearer focus and a fresh vision. Creating those bare bones are the hardest task though. I attempt to corral my little plot bunnies by focusing my creative energy on the stories I already have going, but once in a while those little rabbits get busy and spawn a new one that simply MUST be written. I write until my imagination engine sputters and dies. For example, in one of my stories the heroine and hero are in a space ship and she’s going to teach the hero how to read. Maybe my subconscious decided, “Okay, that’ll take a while. Let’s go do something fun while they’re playing school.”  So my brain hoppity-hops over to another story to play until the characters get themselves into a mess and little bunny leaves them to puzzle a way out. Little imagination bunny is a trouble maker. Then again, it is related to Plot Bunny, so….

Image courtesy of CafePress. They sell Plot Bunny stuff. Seriously!

I suppose it is to be expected.

Plot Bunny pounced on me in the elevator this morning and sunk in those sharp pointy teeth. The up side? I now know how book two of my Guardian of the Night series starts. Down side? The little fluffy demon doesn’t care that I’m busy with 3D-QSAR projects, chemical reactions, and cell cultures. If I don’t pacify him soon, he’ll hook up with imagination bunny and spawn more bunnies, all demanding to be written.