Monday, November 26, 2007

This is for TessaD

The top five reasons I haven't updated my blog in more than a month:
  1. I've been busy compiling this list naturally.
  2. Ever since Britney lost custody of her kids, I haven't been able to put two words together.
  3. I've been working on solving not only all of the world's socioeconomic problems but thought I'd give world peace a shot while I was at it. Of course, I can't even control my own road rage, so this may take a while.
  4. I bought a new Nancy Drew computer game and can't possibly blog while the Case of the Crystal Skull remains unsolved. Whatever would the Hardy Boys think of me?
  5. My muse has recently relocated to Siberia and I'm currently saving up for a plane ticket and one of those furry hats.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Just a short post to send out a "WAHOO!!!!" to TessaD who a mere few days ago got The Call! No, not that annoying one from Verizon asking if you want to upgrade your phone service....The Call....the one where your dreams come true :) Congratulations Tessa!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I'm Back - Sort of

It's been quite a while since I last posted for reasons that lean toward my natural inclination of the whiny so we'll bypass them. I wish I had more to report from a writing standpoint, but I haven't even thought of my WIP in the past month except for the occasional pang of guilt for not having written so much as a period in all this time. I think my progress meter has plans of suing me for neglect and abandonment. I'm heartily ashamed. I'm just not ready to write yet. Even in spite of all my pep talks and self recriminations, I just can't do it. Defeatist attitude, I know, but that's where I am at the moment. *sigh* I don't even have a witty one-liner to end this post with (damn it, but I did manage to end it with a preposition).

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Don't Have To Like You

I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a character whose morals lean obviously more on the ambigious side likeable or if not likeable at least fascinating to follow. And since I spend a much more embarrassing amount of time watching television than I do reading, of course I'm going to use TV as an example. There are two shows in particular that caught my attention with their previews: Damages on FX and Saving Grace on Lifetime. Both feature strong female characters as their leads and both characters are certainly not heroines in the typical sense that we think of them. They're not even nice half of the time.

On Damages, we have Glenn Close who plays a hardnosed lawyer who seldom ever loses a case and will go to just about any lengths to see this doesn't happen. And I'm not talking about your everyday underhanded tactics either. In the very first episode, she has someone's pet killed to manipulate a witness into testifying for her. I was horrified. And yet I couldn't stop watching. Yes, she had this ugly, heartless side to her. And then cut scene to her at home with her family and you find she's just as single-minded and forceful there too. But, there is a glimmer of warmth that shines through this hard exterior hinting at something deeper underneath. The interactions she has with her son especially drew me in because it's so easy to feel her frustration in dealing with an obviously troubled child compounded by the fact that she can't steamroll over him like she does everyone else in her professional life. She's not likeable in the normal sense but I love watching to see what she'll do next.

And then we have Saving Grace. Okay, this is not going to be as thoughtful because quite frankly it was all I could do to get through the first episode. Grace is guilty of all your normal sins i.e. smoking, drinking, sex, running stop signs, ripping the tags off mattresses, double-dipping the guacamole at parties, etc. I didn't like her from the second she came on screen and she's not even the worst of the two. She was being bad just because she could. Okay, maybe that's not fair. She does have some deep dark pain about a sister who had passed way, but by the time they got to this part (which I honestly can't recall the details of) I just didn't care what made her act the way she did. It's a highly rated show from what I could tell so yet again maybe this is just another purely subjective thing.

In the case of Damages, Glenn Close isn't really the heroine or the villian of the story. Somehow she manages to be a mixture of both (I'd give you a fractional amount here but math makes my head hurt). I think that's why her character is so fascinating. She's not really likeable but she's compelling and that's what matters the most. And yes, this is television we're talking about and a lot of credit naturally belongs to Ms. Close for bringing this character to life. But what are books but mini movies in our heads (oh dear, God, I hope it's not just me). I touched on this topic in a previous post about having a heroine who's not all that likeable. I guess I don't really have anything to add except the live technicolor example I listed above about what makes this work and what doesn't. Did I just say technicolor? I think maybe I need to get out of the house more.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Legend Of Justin Bobby

Okay, if you're not a fan of The Hills the title will probably mean nothing to you. For the uninformed (hah!), it's basically a reality show that follows a group of well-to-do twentysomethings on their quest to.....ummm.....that's a reality show about a group of rich young people as they try to.....well...... see there's this young group of people who.......uh...actually I don't know what the hell the show is about. It's a show about nothing but not in the same cool way Seinfeld was about nothing. Literally, they sit around and stare at each other.....a lot........ in between a lot of boy/girl, girl/best friend, boy/girl/best friend drama. That clear it up for you? Oh well. All you really need to know is one of the secondary characters (though it's a reality show, characters are definitely what they are, in my opinion anyway) Audrina is going through her own boy/girl drama with said drama starring the aforementioned Justin Bobby. Think about the really cute guy who used to live next door to you....okay now picture his slightly creepy, dirty-haired, younger brother. That's Justin Bobby. His only good points so far are the ability to burp at inappropriate moments and dispense fortune cookie wisdom to an enraptured Audrina. Poor girl. I don't think she could get a clue if Colonel Mustard himself hand-delivered it to the conservatory......with a candlestick.

So, you may be wondering, what has this got to do with writing? I'm so glad you asked. Besides Justin Bobby's other obvious talents, he did get me to thinking about secondary characters and their relevance or lack thereof in a good story whether it be television, movies, or books. They can serve to balance out our hero/heroine by shedding some light into a side of their personality we might not otherwise see, other times they can help drive the main plot along, or sometimes they even star in their own subplots. Ah, but here is where Justin Bobby comes in. What if instead of helping all they end up doing is inviting themselves over, cleaning out your fridge, and running up your cable bill ordering WWE Smackdowns? Okay, I have no proof that Justin Bobby is guilty of such things but I can only imagine what happens when the cameras stop rolling. But I digress. I've thought about my own past manuscripts...okay one completed manuscript and several in progress, and wondered how well my secondary characters held up under close scrutiny. To be honest, most of them were not really all that well thought out. They just inserted themselves into the story as I went along and before I knew it had gone from bit player to bona fide sidekick/secondary character. One of them even ended up becoming a significant plot point for one of my main characters that I hadn't intended in the beginning. This worked well in some cases and in others they are in apparent need of some fleshing out. There is at least one definite Justin Bobby in the bunch that should I ever decide to continue on that manuscript again, I would have to rethink.

And so what have we learned at the end of this somewhat rambling post? Clearly I'm in desperate need of some Masterpiece Theater.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Think I Need to Get A Life

Over at Christopher Park's blog he was discussing the importance of constructing an author's bio. He linked to Anne Mini's website where she breaks down what actually makes for a good bio. Yikes. I hadn't seriously thought of this before mostly because I am nowhere near to sending out a manuscript to anyone who would care how witty and articulate my life has been thus far. But still, seeing as how I'm currently not writing on my WIP, I thought I'd take it as a form of writing exercise. Here's a few of Ms. Mini's (I just love saying that) points:

  1. A bio should be an entertaining overview of the author’s background, an approximately 200-250 word description of your writing credentials, relevant experience, and educational attainments, designed to make you sound like a person whose work would be fascinating to read. Uh, I grew up in a small town in Ohio, went to community college, and write under the pseudonym of Nora Roberts?
  2. Start with whatever fact is most relevant to the book at hand...... Seeing as how my current WIP is about monsters, I suppose I could mention my lifelong romance with Bigfoot. I'm not sure it's going to work out though. Ever since The Enquirer outed his lair in Butte, Montana, he never calls anymore.
  3. You will also want to include some of your quirks and background oddities, especially if they are relevant to the book. If my quirks and oddities aren't apparent by now, I'm certainly not going to list them.
  4. Mention any past publications (in general terms), columns, lecturing experience, readings, as well as what you were doing for a living at the time that you wrote the book. Well, there was that letter to the Editor I wrote for the Sunday paper extolling the virtues of chocolate as a medicinal vitamin and how it's about time the health care system started paying for it.
  5. You need not limit yourself to your professional achievements, either, in your quest to sound interesting. Adding a quirky hobby often works well, as long as it is true....So I guess it's okay to mention my weekend forays into iguana tossing. Hah! I knew I wasn't disturbed....just interesting.

Upon further reflection, I don't suppose I'm quite ready to write my bio quite yet.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nicholas Cage....Bear Suit....Oh My!

Warning: The following post was written well over a week ago and most likely makes no sense whatsoever. It's been a long few weeks here in anotheraspiringauthor land and I'm frankly too tired to think of something else. You have been warned.

It's been some time since I've posted one of my famous (okay, maybe famous only to me) hopelessly outdated movie reviews. And boy is this ever a doozy. I watched The Wicker Man last night and now can only wish I'd listened to my inner voice and turned it to the Paint Drying Channel instead. I have six words for you: Nicholas Cage in a bear suit. That pretty much sums it up. Oh, you need more? Well, I suppose if I must, though I seriously doubt I'll be able to do justice to this truly horrible movie. And what's so sad about the whole thing is there was some definite potential for a good story. Nicholas Cage (hereafter dubbed Bear Man) plays a California cop who pulls over a station wagon for the terrible offence of a baby doll accidentally falling from the roof of their car. He stops them on a dangerous hill and proceeds to lecture the mother and daughter about safety, blah, blah, bratty blonde girl tosses the doll back into the street, blah, blah, blah he goes after it and then the station wagon is creamed by a semi-truck for no apparent reason. And let me tell you, the blah, blah, blahs were probably the best part. He mopes around for several days until out of the blue he receives a letter from an ex-fiancee begging him for help to find her missing daughter. Though he hasn't heard from her in many years, and though anyone with half a brain, let alone a supposed experienced police man, can see that not only is the daughter in question his daughter but the letter is also an apparent set-up, he drops everything and rushes up to Washington State where he has absolutely no jurisdiction to help his damsel in distress. He flies out to remote obviously female-dominated island where he proceeds to flash his badge around and yell at anyone who will listen to him. Okay, frankly I'm boring even myself. Cut scene to annual festival where offerings are made to "The Goddess" to provide good crops for the coming year (apparently grocery stores are in short supply here) and everyone running around in animal costumes (hence the bear suit) and the errant daughter finally being located. Bear Man eventually figures out what we've known for hours: ex-fiancee has tricked him into coming to the island to become the "real sacrifice" for the ritual. The only true satisfaction I received at this point was watching him burn to death inside the head of the 10-story "Wicker Man" as he screams like a girl for several long minutes. Now, normally I'm not this bloodthirsty but take my word for it: He had it coming. I read on IMDb that this is actually a remake of a 1973 Edward Woodward (loved The Equalizer) movie. Maybe I should have rented that instead.

And so at the end of all this what have I learned? I had to walk away from this bad movie with something didn't I? Naturally. It did make me think about my current WIP and making sure it contains no Nicholas Cage in a beart suit moments i.e. plot twists that just scream slap me upside the face with it why don't you? This book is my first "real" attempt at a carefully thought out plot and I'm not sure how adept I'll be at gentle foreshadowing, etc. In the meantime, I've officially sworn off all Nicholas Cage movies. I still haven't forgiven him for Ghost Rider, but The Wicker Man was definitely much, much worse.

Monday, August 6, 2007

How Another Aspiring Author Got Her Groove Back

Well, no, as nice as it would be there unfortunately was no hunky, obscenely, younger man involved. Give me a minute to lament that fact for just a while ::time passes with some truly woeful sighing:: Okay, got that out of my system....for now anyway. And truthfully I haven't gotten my groove completely back but I'm working on it. I've been slowly making some changes in my work life that I hope will be more conducive to creativity in my writing life. This is taking some time, but I can feel freedom already starting to tickle my brain (maybe that explains the random outbursts of laughter that have strangers giving me wide berth lately). I know I can't wait for the perfect situation in which to write. However, I certainly can do my damnedest to make life a bit easier on myself. I want to write. I need to write. I've just felt so spent lately emotionally I barely have much left to give even to the blog. Well, hell. That was certainly dramatic wasn't it? I need to get over myself and just do what I know I need to do. Sitting around waiting for things to change have done nothing to further my writing or further myself as both an author and as a person. I know this. Maybe saying it out loud, yet again, will finally get it through to the other voices in my head. They could even stage a group intervention and kick my ass into gear.

Btw, a huge congratulations to Tessa Dare for signing with an agent! Here is a wonderful example of an author who has not only the talent but the perseverance and drive to become a bestselling author. I have no doubt in a very short time, we will be seeing one of her books gracing the shelves of our favorite bookstores. Way to go Tessa!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

You Can't Judge a Book By It's Cover - Unless It's Harry Potter

I've seen a lot of reviews lately about one of the paranormal romances I'd recently read that had a heroine I just didn't care for. The book is actually getting good reviews for the most part, but that's not what caught my attention. It was the fact that they referred to it, not as a romance, but as urban fantasy. Okay, color me befuddled. Maybe this distinction doesn't matter to some people but it makes a big difference to me. I like romance. I even like romance mixed in with vampires and other of the walking undead or not quite human whatnots (I think that's the technical term anyway). But urban fantasy is a horse of a different color (what do you know - I got to work in a Wizard of Oz reference). And I don't mean by that that I wouldn't read it. However, I would have different expectations going in than say a traditional or semi-traditional romance. In my opinion, most of their worlds are a darker place to roam and accordingly their heroes/heroines are too. The rules of romance -- or at least the ones I personally like to read -- are also sometimes different. Boy + girl = happilyeverafter isn't the case as much anymore. Of course a big part of that might be the increasing number of series we now have following the same character in a several book arc. Personally, I don't get it. After investing a few days of reading with these characters I want, no demand, my happilyeverafter. I don't like to be kept dangling. I love when other characters from the book get their own spin-offs but the main hero and heroine need to end up on a happy cloud of floating bliss. Call me an optimist or a dreamer but damn it that's why I read in the first place. I realize I'm probably in the minority on this as it's purely a matter of personal preference. And of course they're going to shelve these books under the Romance section where they'll get the most notice. I suppose as an aspiring author I should be more aware of these distinctions. *sigh* Here I am 30+ years old and still have to do my homework.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday -- I Wish

I'm sitting here on Monday and I have absolutely nothing to say. "So why post?" you might ask. Ahh...good question. I'm trying to practice writing through these dry spells. Oh sure, what's in it for you, the poor reader who has to sit through my nonsensical rambling about only God knows what? charming company? Or sadly, you might not notice a difference. *sigh* But since this hasn't degenerated as of yet into "Another Whiny Author", I'm going to try to keep it on the positive side. Oh, sure, it's been almost an entire week since I've written, not that I'm counting mind you. So what's a writer to do when inspiration has apparently left the building?.........You didn't really think I'd have the answer to that did you? I tried watching A Haunting on the Discovery Channel but all that did was scare the hell out of me (why, oh, why does no one on that show ever leave the lights on?!). I tried talking to my little kitten, but all he did was yawn and go to sleep. Apparently the angst of the modern day writer are of little interest to him. What a snob. And of course, I read all my usual writing blogs, but all those articulate and relevant postings did was depress me. Oh, hell. I went degenerated to Whiny after all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Me....Writing Shakespeare?

I have much to report after a long, Harry Potter-induced haze of a weekend. I saw the new movie on Saturday and then read the new book for a minimum of six hours straight on Sunday. I've also unfortunately taken to calling my best friend and kitten Hermione and Ron respectively. My car will also hereafter be dubbed Kreacher (it has both the dirt and the attitude). I'm not going to post a review as it has already been done by multitudes of other bloggers and probably a lot more eloquently than I. But I will say this: It was awesome. Now on to more important news. I have finally named my book! Granted, this will probably change should by the Grace of God I ever be published, but until then I can now refer to it as something else besides the ever imaginative title of "My Book". I'm calling it Much Ado About Monsters, that's MAAM to you and me from now on. Of course, the abbreviation is just icing. I can only hope Shakespeare will forgive me. My second bit of good news is I'm actually almost finished with Chapter One! If that doesn't call for an exclamation point, I don't know what does!! So there!! Hopefully Chapter Two will flow much easier but even if it doesn't, at least now I have an extremely heavy Harry Potter book to fling at my computer.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Don't Know Who's Bringing SexyBack, But It Ain't Me

Okay...I'm going to admit something here. It's not pretty and it might even be a little pathetic but here goes: ::takes deep breath and clears throat:: "Hello, my name is Another Aspiring Author and I love Justin Timberlake." There, I said it. Judge me if you must. Of course, I'm probably too old to enjoy his music so much, but I can't seem to help myself. I absolutely love his new CD. It's the best collection of dance music I've heard in a long time (aside from Thriller of course). And you know the main reason I'm so enraptured by it? Because I have absolutely no rhythm at all. Can't dance to save my life. Oh sure, I do a pretty good head bob. Unfortunately, the rest of my body gets all confused and I end up looking like a drunken marionette. But when I listen to Justin's CD I feel like I could dance if I really wanted to. The music pulses through me right down to my toes and I forget for a little while how uncoordinated I really am. I think a good book should have the same effect on its reader. The story should take you outside of yourself so you forget your own shortcomings and insecurities. You become the hero/heroine as they do things you'd never imagine you could do yourself but maybe for a moment suddenly feel might be possible. Of course knowing the characters have the same self-doubts as we have also helps draw us in even more. It's a balancing act between the reader's reality and their dreams. I hope I can incorporate this into my own book. Now if only I could learn the Funky Chicken.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Slow But Not So Sure

I've been piecing at my book over the last few weeks and have finally gotten up to the whopping page of 11. I'd be ashamed if I wasn't so disgusted with myself. And it's not like I haven't had time to write. Oh sure, there were lots of blog posts to read, Alchemy scores to beat, and Lindsay Lohan headlines to sneer at, but other than that plenty of time to really get into the rhythm of my book. Except I haven't. I've been concentrating on everything (and by that I mean nothing important) but my story. And it's not because I'm not excited about it. I'm excited right up until the point I actually sit down to write. Then suddenly all the wonderful words that sounded so great in my head scatter to the four winds (okay, I don't actually know that there are four winds, but it sounds poetic). What am I doing wrong? Wait. Don't answer that. I'm not sure I want to know. Let me just wallow in a blanket of self-pity and doubt for a few minutes. ::indefinite amount of time goes by with much wailing and pulling of hair:: Well. That was certainly fun. Okay, I can get over this. Writing is 50% perseverance (this statistic brought to you courtesy of the voices in my head) after all, so technically I'm halfway there, right? Just nod your head comfortingly and back away slowly from the blog. It ain't pretty to watch an author cry.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Will Work for Chocolate

I saw a link recently to my blog where someone (presumably another hopeful author) had performed a google search trying to find out an author's yearly income in cold, cruel dollars. Unfortunately, they didn't find the answer in my post but it did bring back fond memories of my more naive days when I actually thought all you had to do was sell one book and you'd be golden. Doves would descend from the heavens with bits of chocolate draped in their beaks to bestow upon me while hundred-dollar bills rained down to litter my front yard like annoying leaves. Hey, I didn't say it was smart, just naive. I'm not sure exactly what started this myth. Perhaps the countless Daniel Steele novels turned into Sunday night movies. I know I watched them even if I didn't read her books. Of course that's only one name out of hundreds of authors who are still plugging away at their day jobs and writing on the side. Good authors. Authors who you know will be around for a long time. It could be depressing if you let it, and you know what, sometimes it's okay to indulge. Go ahead. Sigh loudly. Roll your eyes like a teenage girl and say it's not fair. Okay. Got that out of your system? Don't feel bad. We all do it at one time or another. Of course our ultimate goal is to write for a living, but if that's the only reason you're doing it I'd advise you to stop now. You have to write not only because you want to but because you have no other choice. It has to fill something in you that nothing else can. I don't even know if it has a name, but I can feel it every time I sit down with my book. I wouldn't give that up for any amount of money. George Clooney, maybe, but that's another story.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I Can't Believe I Said Critter

Believe it or not, I've been writing quite a bit over the weekend. I took a 14-page synopsis and chopped, slapped, cajoled, and browbeat the angry critter to fit into 11 still too long pages. Only problem is the synopsis wasn't mine. One of my friends, who is a wonderful fantasy writer, is preparing to start the querying process but wanted to get all her ducks in a row before sending anything out. I guess this tells you how new she is if she was asking me for who has only one novel finished (and not even a very pretty one at that) who can't seem to get off page seven of her own new who keeps referring to herself as an annoying pronoun. What really rankles me is how easy this was to do. But of course it would be. After all it wasn't my poor baby being sent out into the cold, cruel world to be ripped open, sneered at, and thrown in a dark corner without even cab fare to get home. But then again, maybe I'm just sensitive.

I've been thinking a lot about critiquing partners lately and how important they can be in the writing process....or at the very least in the querying process. My friend and I traded off chapters from our respective books as we were writing, offering our thoughts for whatever they were worth. Trouble is that though we both enjoyed each other's books, we generally don't read in the particular genre the other writes in. I know good writing is good writing no matter what, but I think familiarity with a given genre certainly helps. She'd never been much of a romance fan (she writes straight fantasy), so I took it as a compliment that she actually enjoyed my story, contemporary romance though it is. I've never read much fantasy aside from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (and let's be honest that had everything to do with Viggo Mortensen), but I thoroughly enjoyed her story as well. And even though I helped her clean up her grammar and make sure her names and descriptions stayed consistent through the book, I feel I've been the most help to her now as she prepares her query letter and synopsis. An extra set of eyes as well as a truly objective opinion are invaluable when it comes to tweaking these things to within an inch of their life. As writers, we're often too close to really do them justice. We'd sooner give up a toe than cut a sentence we know is imperative to the story. But what do you do when they all seem just as important? You find a good friend/writer who isn't afraid to be brutal and get a little ink on their shirt. And you feed them lots of chocolate....lots and lots of Dove's Chocolate Truffles. Hmmmm...I wonder if that was too subtle?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The No Review Book Review

I picked up three new books this past weekend from my most favoritest place ever (hah! take that grammar police), Borders. I have dreams of *ahem* accidentally being locked in there one night (and yes by accidentally, I mean hiding in one of the bathroom stalls until everyone leaves). I bought two mystery books by J.A. Konrath (how can you not love a cop named Jack Daniels?) and another paranormal romance that again I won't name because surprise, surprise it just didn't do it for me. Not to repeat myself (not that I ever would, not that I ever would), the writing was good and the story fast paced, but I had trouble rooting for the heroine. She was funny. She could kick ass. And I just didn't care. Of course, I realize this is an entirely subjective thing. A heroine I might identify with could bore the hell out of someone else and vice versa. But for me, I need to have either sympathy on some level for her or at the very least empathy. I had neither. And this naturally got me thinking about the heroine of my own book (pay no attention to the progress meter on the right.....hey, I told you not to look). What if no one else likes her but me? Of course, I have to like her, otherwise I wouldn't get past writing the first page. But nothing will keep the reader from slamming the book shut if she just doesn't do it for them. I know. I know. I can't really control this. I can only write a character I find enjoyable, interesting, and a whole slew of other adjectives I don't have room for. The key I guess is translating that character I know and love in my head to shining vitality onto the page. Okay, I'll admit it. I just wanted to say "shining vitality". So sue me. You get the point.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

You Want Me to What?!!!

Blinking Cursor of Doom. That is my new favorite phrase. Okay, I didn't come up with it. I read it in the comments trail over at Nathan Bransford's blog. But how appropriate. I couldn't write today because that fiend Blinking Cursor of Doom wouldn't let me. Damn you Blinking Cursor of Doom - I could be a bestselling author if not for you! Okay, okay. I won't say Blinking Curse of Doom anymore. ::whistles nonchalantly:: Blinking Cursor Doom. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Anyway, an interesting topic a commenter over there brought up was self-promotion and how in this day and age an author can't merely write a wonderful book and be successful. They must also be adept at marketing themselves through networking, blogs, websites, running contests on aforementioned sites, nurturing relationships with booksellers as well as building readership through whatever means necessary. ::cue creepy organ music:: This might also involve *gasp* public speaking. Wait, I'll give you a moment to recover. Hell, I need a moment to recover. Public speaking? That's right up there with skydiving and standing naked in the middle of Wal-Mart for me. I don't even use my name on this blog for God's sake. If I can't write in plain view how can I possibly speak in plain view? Not that this is a set in stone rule, but think about the authors you read who are successful. I bet almost all of them give workshops at writer's conferences, give readings of their books at public venues, give speeches, guest blog on other widely read blogs as well as helming their own, and I'm sure a hundred other things I haven't thought of. So, the question is are you ready to do that yourself? I want to be successful but quite frankly don't know if I can do some of these things. There are a lot of blogs I frequent but seldom do I leave comments. I'm just too shy. One of the reasons for starting this blog was to get some practice articulating myself in a public forum......not that I'm a guaranteed anyone but me and my mom (Hi Mom!) will read this but still I'm putting it out there. You have to start somewhere I guess.

Btw, Blinking Cursor of Doom! Bwahahahaha.............

Monday, June 25, 2007

Do You Write What You Read?

I used to be a voracious reader, scarfing down new books like M&Ms (this message brought to you by the New M&M's Dark - chocolate the way it was meant to be). Then gradually life started to get in the way and I read less and less. I also wrote less and less. Coincidence? Of course not. Only I was too thickheaded to notice at the time. I read because I loved to get lost in the story not because I thought I'd actually learn something from it. I mean reading is supposed to be fun not educational for goodness sake. Blame it on my inexperienced, wide-eyed youth. Hmm...not buying that are you? Okay, blame it on plain old stupidity if you want. Either way, I missed out not only on a whole slew of new authors and good books, but also the chance to be inspired by really great writing. We are what we read right? Or is that eat...damn, I always get my mother-type cliches mixed up. Anyway, I've slowly been trying to rectify this but find I'm having a difficult time trying to figure out what to read. I'm interested in everything from mysteries to paranormals to traditional historical romances. And of course, there's the oft-told advice to read extensively in the genre in which you write. I actually took this to heart over the weekend and picked up a paranormal that looked interesting. I won't name the book because quite frankly it wasn't my cup of tea. And it had nothing at all to do with the writing. The story was a bit too dark for my taste and the heroine didn't strike the right chord with me. Again, this had nothing to do with the writing. The author did an excellent job with the pacing and tension not to mention wonderful worldbuilding (there's that word again). And I realized that even though I probably wouldn't buy another book in that particular series, I could still learn a lot just from a writing standpoint. I'm determined not to give up. Even if the writing had been bad, I guess it would have been a good lesson in what not to write. Of course, if I wanted that, I could just re-read some of my old manuscripts.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is the Face the Thing?

As you may have noticed by the pitiful progress counter posted on the side bar (sorry, alliteration's got my tongue again), I'm not making much headway with my book. Yes, I had a thrilling breakthrough and finally got that first page written. I even went on to write three more after that. I'm beyond happy to have accomplished this. But, (you knew there had to be one somewhere), I feel like I'm not quite capturing my heroine the way I want to. And part of the problem is I can't visualize her enough in my mind. I know what makes her tick, her past history, her flaws and strengths. I don't spell all of these out as I like to learn more about my characters as I go along, just like the reader does. Sometimes they surprise me in nice ways. The problem is her face isn't clear enough for me. Everything from her hair to what shoes she wears says something about her and her personality, and I've got that part down. I just can't see the rest. I remember reading about other authors who like to pick actors to base their characters on to star in these "roles". And I think this is a great idea. I've actually already picked an actor I think embodies the look and experience of my hero. I'm not merely looking for a pretty face but that special something (can I be any more vague?) that I feel captures the spirit of the character. Trouble is, I'm stalled on my heroine. So as I'm sitting here typing this, I'm also flipping through a magazine hoping "the face" will jump out at me. ::cut to about 20 minutes later:: I think I found her! She has the action going on behind the eyes that I've been looking for. I hope this works. I'm closing my eyes now and picturing her with my hero. Uh, could you maybe come back later? I think they really like each other.

So how about you? Do you know what your characters look like from the get go or do you make it up as you go along?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tag, You're It

I've been tagged by the wonderfully talented and generous TessaD (and if it sounds like I'm sucking up, I am - seriously, did you see the nice things things she said about me? And I wasn't even paying her). Anyway, I'm supposed to tell you eight interesting things about myself. Eight!? Sheesh. I may have to make up a few. Here goes:

  1. My sister and I had our hair cut regularly by a former Navy barber until we were in high school (our dad). Trust me, it wasn't pretty and I have the pictures to prove it.
  2. I almost always read the end of a book before I start it, unless it's a mystery. It there's no happily ever after, I'm not interested.
  3. I'm fascinated by television shows about real life hauntings and ghosts, but I can't watch them at night if I'm alone. They might be watching too.
  4. I love to watch people falling down: America's Funniest Home Videos, strangers, family, friends. It doesn't matter. If they fall, I will laugh. I don't know how I haven't been slapped more.
  5. I won't wear a bathing suit in public, ever. The last time I did was probably 1982.
  6. I have approximately seven stuffed monkeys sitting in my bedroom as we speak. And they all have names. I think I might need help.
  7. I was named after a Native American friend of my dad's.
  8. I'm seriously addicted to the Nancy Drew Mystery computer games. Another aspiring author, girl detective.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ever since America's Next Top Model aired it's last intellectually stimulating episode, my Wednesday's have been barren and empty. No more Tyra to correct my posture or tweak my strut or do whatever it is she does that makes me alternately laugh and cover my eyes. Fortunately as fate would have it, while channel surfing I stumbled onto my new favorite show. It's called Creature Comforts and it cracks me up. There's actually not much to it. They take real live interviews from various people across the country discussing everything from body image to flying. Nothing special about this in itself...but here's the catch: Instead of showing the people giving the interviews, you hear their words coming from different claymation animals. I couldn't stop laughing. And this got me thinking about why this was so funny. Yes, I'm a sucker for claymation of any sort but seldom does it make me shoot Diet Coke through my nose. And then I realized it wasn't what they were saying so much as how they said it and who was saying it. For instance they had a female pig talking about body image while her mother (also a pig) stood in the background throwing in "helpful" mother-type comments from time to time. A talking pig and her mother. *snicker* Okay, maybe I've been watching too much Nickelodeon.

This also got me thinking about the characters we create in our books and how, if we're not careful, they turn into nothing more than Talking Heads (and no, I'm not referring to the 80's band, though I'll wait if you feel the need to hum a few bars of Burning Down the House). Talk Heads pop up when all you have are lines and lines of dialogue without much else to enhance the scene. Good dialogue of course is essential as long as it serves to move the plot along or shed some insight into the minds of our characters. It doesn't always require dialogue tags or action. But, again, it's not so much what our characters say as how they it. A look, an expression, a tiny movement, even the background of the scene, can all serve to enhance the dialogue and put a frame around it. What a character is doing while they're speaking can reveal just as much about them as a person as their actual words.

So what's my point after all this rambling? Tune into Creature Comforts Mondays at 8:00 pm on CBS. You might learn something. Or shoot soda out of your nose. Either way, somebody will be entertained.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rocky's Got Nothin' on Me

I did it.....I did it....I did it! Did I mention that I did it? Oh, okay. Might of blacked out for a minute there. I wrote my first page! ::brief pause while some extremely bad dancing commences around my living room, out onto the porch and into my neighbor's yard:: ::another brief pause while I convince said neighbor not to call the police::

I realize one page isn't a lot but it's a start. And thanks to the helpful advice from my blog readers (and since there's only three, you know who you are), I conquered my fear of that hateful, smug, blank page and marked it up but good. *sigh* I finally have a writing breakthrough and my grammar goes all to hell. Oh well, can't have everything.

At least now I have my starting point. It's weird how a single page can free you (or at least me) to feel like it's actually possible to write the rest of the book. I know there will be more problems to come. Definitely more hand wringing and embarrassing self pity with much wailing to the heavens. But these too shall pass. They always do, one crisis at a time. For now, I say let the celebration continue.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Stage Fright

My last few posts have dealt with my wonderful new book that I am soooo excited about. I've done research, worldbuilding, created backstories for my characters, tried to find the perfect names for my hero and heroine, and tossed it around in my head until we're both dizzy. I've even come up with an actual plot that consists of more than just boy meets girl, boy likes girl, they talk and fall in love and stuff (Don't laugh...I have half written books pretty much like this. Don't make me show them to you). And I still haven't written a damn word. I haven't even written Chapter 1 across the page yet cause if I do then I really have to start writing. Why mess up a perfectly pretty pristine page? (Say that three times fast....go ahead, I'll wait). So what do I do? Okay, that was a rhetorical question. I know what I have to do. Write. Even if I thinks it's bad. Even if I know it's bad. It will get better. I know this. You know this. So why am still still sitting here staring at this post instead of writing? Oh right, cause I'm a big scaredy cat. Shut up and pass the milk.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Which Came First, The Idea or the Egg?

I've always been interested in other writers' processes and the journey by which they go from idea to finished manuscript. Of course, I realize what works for them won't necessarily work for me, but a little experimentation could be an excellent book starter, especially if you're of the procrastinatory (is that a word?) persuasion. Typically, I start with a scene that's popped into my head for no apparent reason, possibly the result of a chance phrase I've heard or a clip from a movie or maybe even dementia....whatever. I then build around this paragraph or so I've scribbled down, gradually getting to know my characters and where the story is going pretty much as I go. And what, you might inquire, has this process netted me thus far? I'm so glad you asked. I have three partially finished books cowering beneath my bed and one finished, though highly unpolished, manuscript locked in a closet refusing to come out until I give it something pretty to wear. Drama Queen. Obviously, this isn't working for me at all. I firmly believe there is no set in stone "right way" to write a novel. However, there are many "wrong ways" to do so, or at least wrong way for me. The above scenario is a perfect example. In someone else's hands this could work perfectly. Alas, I'm not someone else. I'm just little 'ole me and I need to figure out a way to work with that. Presently, I'm involved in some serious prewriting for my new book. Usually, this merely involves a list of each character's physical description, their families, a half-hearted stab at their past histories, etc. I know, I know. Lazy writing won't get you anywhere. As I mentioned in my last post, I've started with the worldbuilding before even trying to flesh out my characters and what makes them tick. To my surprise, the worldbuilding has actually helped my characters to start taking a more defined shape. Motivations and conflicts are springing up almost on their own from this world I'm creating. ::slight pause while a loud round of "Doh!"s are heard round the blogosphere:: Okay, okay. I deserved that. Better later than never, right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Worldbuilding Schmorldbuilding

As I mentioned before, I've decided to start a new book. I'm excited and just a little scared about this because I'll be entering uncharted territory, at least for me. My new book is going to be partly set in a fantasy world and of course that means I have to build this place from the ground up. I'm afraid I'm not one of those people wonderfully gifted with the automatic knowledge of what such a place should look like. So I've done a little research about the basics of worldbuilding and man does it seem intimidating. I found a page with a list of questions to ask yourself when you start this wonderful fantasy land. Frankly, I'm thinking about going straight back to bed, curling up in the fetal position and sucking my thumb for awhile. Or, maybe I'll just list a few of the questions that I found:

  1. Are the laws of nature and physics actually different in this world, or are they the same as in real life? Physics? Are you kidding. I barely made it through Geometry in high school.
  2. In which geographical areas will the story take place? I was thinking Peoria sounded nice....if only I could figure out exactly where that is.
  3. How much land is in each of the equatorial, temperate, and polar zones? I didn't understand a word of this question.
  4. Is magic legal here? Pretty much. Except that pulling a nickle out of your ear trick. No one likes that.
  5. Is there a "trade language" that facilitates commerce between countries that don't speak the same tongue? I thought maybe Pig Latin might work but I always forget which letters to rearrange.
  6. Are there actual gods/godlike beings? I figure since I'm writing this story that'd be me. Oh, the power. Bwaahaaahaaa.
  7. What is the basic style of government: feudal, aristocratic, oligarchy, absolute ruler, democracy, what? Hah! I'm still trying to figure out what makes up Congress.

My stomach literally hurt after reading these questions, and believe me there were many, many more I haven't listed. Who knew there was so much to worldbuilding? Oh, you did? Show off. Okay, I can do this. It might take a little longer than I thought, but I can't keep letting intimidation hold me back. And if you think about it, anytime you write a story there's always worldbuilding of some kind. This will just be a lot more involved. I wonder if I can call my new land Not Quite In The Middle Earth. I'm sure Tolkien won't mind.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

To Write or to Rewrite, That Is The Question

For the past few weeks I've been thinking about my first completed novel and ways I need to integrate a much stronger conflict into the story. I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head but overall haven't been able to bring myself to actually sit down and do it. The more I've thought about it, the harder it is to even visualize changing the story which is ridiculous because I know the book needs work. I don't have children of my own but I imagine it must be like someone coming up to you and saying "I hate to mention this but your child is ugh-ly". You'd probably bitch-slap them right? But wait a minute, what if they have a point? Okay, it's hard to imagine any child warranting that harsh a description but you're telling me maybe they don't need the dirt scrubbed off their face and a comb run through their hair? If only my book was so easy to fix. I feel in a lot ways I'd be going backwards to stop and repair it now. Tightening sentences and enhancing descriptions are one thing, all first drafts need that. Mine needs a complete face lift (hopefully not the scary Burt Reynolds kind), maybe even Botox injections and at this point I'm just not sure it's worth it. I've learned a lot since I first started writing and wonder if this new knowledge wouldn't be best served wrapped around a brand spanking new story. I've had the germ of an idea for a storyline written in my "book o'thoughts" for a while now and have finally decided to try and flesh it out and see where it goes. That's all I have, just an idea. There's a vague outline of the hero and heroine (kinda like the chalk outline of a murder victim at a crime scene which is neither here nor there but makes for great visualization) and not much else. I'm willing to see where it goes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Moment of Silence

As you've probably heard many times over (it's been pretty much everywhere except perhaps written in the sky, and the week isn't even over), Miss Snark has decided to hang up her sarcasm and helpful advice. I really have nothing to add to what's already been said except I, too, will miss her sorely. I was still new to the whole blogging thing when I first stumbled across her website. Anyone who writes knows how lonely this can be if you don't have friends or family with the same interest. Their eyes usually roll back in their heads as soon as we mention anything about writing. Finding her blog meant finally feeling a sense of kinship with other people out there who had the same passion as I did and that's all they talked about! It was wonderful and frankly a bit scary. I knew I wasn't the only aspiring author in the world but somehow only in an abstract kind of way. At Miss Snarks' I found hundreds of other writers, all with the same goal as I had: to be published. I lurked and listened and watched quietly as they discussed the craft of writing, bandying about words I had never heard before. GMC, ARC, TSTL. Was this some kind of secret language only truly great authors could understand? I continued to listen and gradually (I'm talking glacier gradual) became less intimidated as I read and learned. I'm nowhere near being the writer I should be, mostly because of my own insecurities and lack of discipline. But I'm also not as alone as I used to be and for that (as well as her wonderful advice), I'll always be grateful to Miss Snark.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. Granted, no one but me is reading this but that was kinda the point to starting the whole I could maybe learn a little discipline of some kind when it comes to writing, maybe even find my voice again. I know it used to be around here somewhere. I don't think I've seen it since 2005. Definitely not a good year for me, or at least it didn't seem to be at the time. Now, I think it was just what I needed only I didn't know it. And what's all this blathering really saying about me? Um....I'm easily distracted? No? Oh, right. I have no focus and I've let myself lose my voice which is the kiss of death for a writer. There are many, many good, even great writers out there, but only one me with my distinctive voice. Sometimes it whispers to me as I'm going about my day....usually when I don't have access to pen and paper. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I do get where I can write it down, poof! Gone! Even as I re-read my blog postings, only a tiny bit of my true self is shining through the words. I'm frustrated, mostly at myself for not having the witherall to work through this. There's a writer in there somewhere. I just know it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

So How Much Does A Good Plot Go For These Days?

I've spent the past several days thinking about my book and the fact it doesn't have any real conflict. I'll be the first to admit plotting is not one of my strong points. I hear other writers talk about having so many ideas for books they couldn't possibly write them all and want to hide in the nearest dark hole. Where do they get these ideas? Is there a secret black market out there somewhere where they're bought and sold? And if there is, why don't I know about it? I mean, really I don't both kidneys. Okay, probably not. So what's a writer to do if that part of the process doesn't come particularly easy for her? I know I can make the writing itself stronger by learning to take out passive verbs, showing not telling, etc but can I learn to plot if that's not a particular talent of mine? I'm not sure. Obviously I have to do something because let's face it, a book with a smooth ride from start to finish is just plain boring. So I'm working on it, and by that I mean running the story over and over in my head and thinking what can make it harder for our heroine to achieve her goal but still keep with her character? And then I got it! Granted, it's one small part of the plot but I'm getting those butterflies I usually feel when I'm excited about writing again. It's been a while since I've felt them.....too damn long. Maybe I'll never write intricate plots like Nora Roberts. I don't have to. I just have to write well and most importantly write what excites me as an author. I don't expect to get it overnight but I do expect to get it eventually.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Continuing my recent trend of hopelessly outdated television and movie reviews, I've got a new one that's a good example of what not to write. I caught The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift this weekend and quite frankly I've been sorry ever since. I normally don't care much for movies about cars or racing, but this had Lucas Black in it who was so adorable in American Gothic and Sling Blade, two of my favorite shows of all time. Of course, he's all grown up now, looking very manly (which just seems wrong for me to notice), Alabama accent in full force. I didn't expect a riveting storyline, but I thought there would be a story of some kind. The whole movie was just a string of cliches stitched together from start to finish. No coherent plot, no real purpose or motivation for our angry hero (and I use that term loosely), just characters moving from scene to scene waiting for an excuse to race cars and sneer....a lot. I'm guessing the writer got mixed up when he thought about the GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) and figured the four-wheeled variety would be more interesting than the real thing.

And after I got done completely shredding this movie in my head and mentally excusing Lucas Black since I still love him, I thought about my book and its GMC. I mean, it does have one right? Of course, I didn't know about such mysterious terms when I wrote the book and with it being my first completed novel it was bound to need work, but the essentials should be there. I love my hero and heroine. I love the side characters. I even love the deplorable villain. But wait! Do I love them because I already know them inside and out or do I love them because I actually managed to translate that knowledge to the page? Let me see: Goal, check. Motivation, check. Conflict,, not so much. I know my characters have inner conflict and my heroine definitely has huge stakes to lose. But my hero? Nope, nada, nothing. He's great. He's wonderful. He's the perfect man. He's boring as hell. Oh, dear God, what was I thinking? Curse you Fast and The Furious! I was determined to learn nothing from you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pow! Right in the Kisser

So there I was minding my own business strolling nonchalantly to the mailbox when Pow! It hit me. Mixed oh so innocently between my Visa bill and one of those damn troll catalogs, that horror of horrors, a rejection letter. How did I know it was a rejection letter, you might ask? I hadn't opened it yet, after all, and my x-ray vision has been on the blink lately. Hah! Who needs super powers in a case like this. The letter fairly reeked of rejection......"Go ahead and open me so I may mock you some more." Naturally I obeyed. As any aspiring authors knows, one must bow at the Altar of Rejection many times before ::cue heavenly orchestra music:: one bright, sunny day when the planets have aligned just so in the universe and peace and harmony reign, a perfect white dove will fly down from clouds to........well, he'll probably poop on your head, because hey, it's a dove. But in the meantime, you may actually get the e-mail that says you don't completely suck and yes, I would absolutely adore to read more of your absolutely fabulous novel. Please pony express it over here as soon as possible. Okay, so this probably won't be happening to me anytime soon. I am still a newbie writer and this was only my third rejection letter out of three queries I had sent. ::author ducks and clings to the floor while heavy books are flung at her head:: I know, I know. Three queries are nothing, minuscule even. When I've sent out 30 queries and been rejected each time then maybe I've earned the right to cry a little about it. But only for a little while. In the meantime, I keep writing and writing and writing and writing. Why is it so hard to take our own advice?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

I Like the Way You Talk

I saw Sling Blade for probably the hundredth time this weekend. I know, I know. Given that it's Easter weekend, I probably should have watched The Greatest Story Ever Told (good movie, but seriously, Jesus in a Page Boy?). There's just something about Sling Blade. It grabs me from the opening credits and draws me completely and totally into its world. The tone and mood are set as much by the understated dialog as by the haunting soundtrack. Each song is as integral to the story as the characters themselves are. And what I love most about it is sometimes you're not even aware the music's there. My favorite part is when Carl finally decides what he has to do to insure Frank's happiness. An amazing guitar riff punctuates this scene, building higher and higher until he knows he can't put off the inevitable any longer. My heart races and my breath quickens every time I watch this, even though I already know the outcome.

This got me thinking about my own writing and wondering if I could just as seamlessly weave a soundtrack into my stories. One of my favorite authors, Michelle Rowen, creates an actual soundtrack for each of her books. Maybe we can't hear the music as we're reading her novels, but we can certainly feel it. It's in the dialog, the tone, and even the pacing of each scene. I'll admit it. I'm jealous. My soundtrack at present is more like an out of tune radio stuck playing old Barry Manilow songs. But, I'm still working on it. And hopefully one day soon, someone will tell me, "I like the way you talk".

Friday, April 6, 2007

Maybe I Shoulda Paid More Attention in English Class

In between my schizophrenic channel surfing last night, I ran onto an interesting program on PBS. It was called "The American Novel". They read and reenacted excerts from several critically praised books I had heard of (I didn't daydream all the way through high school English) but quite frankly had never read. According to the show, each book and their main characters had the same thing in common: the pursuit of the American Dream, or at least his or her own version of what that means. In Sister Carrie, for instance, the heroine moves away from her small town in search of that great American cliche, A Better Life. From what I could gather, in the beginning apparently this meant acquiring an expensive new coat (a requirement for any true social climber worth her salt), and could be purchased for the low, low price of her virtue. Of course, I may have misunderstood this as I was also flipping back and forth between America's Next Top Model. I don't believe, however, Carrie was forced to wear extensions or be berated for her "dead eyes". Anyway, this got me thinking about my own American Dream which is naturally to be a published author. After watching the show last night, here is why it probably won't happen:
  1. Many brilliant authors aren't appreciated in their own time. Okay, so maybe I'll never be brilliant no matter how many years I live on this earth. But damn it, I want a four star review on now while I can bask in it, not 30 years down the road. Somehow, I don't imagine F.Scott Fitzgerald is sitting up in the great beyond, thinking well at least they like me now.
  2. Great writing comes from great suffering. Personally, I don't like suffering and pain. It hurts me.
  3. Alright, I'll admit it. I don't have a third reason. I switched the channel after an hour to watch Medium and the sight of Jake Weber in his boxers completely wiped any thoughts of classic literature out of my head.
So, at the end of all this rambling, what truth did I really come away with? To achieve your American Dream (and I'm assuming it's the same as mine if you're reading this), Apply Butt to Chair and get on with it. Didn't you read the post below?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

ABCs of Writing

So, I was doing my usual morning ritual of blog surfing and came across a great post by Elizabeth Hoyt over at Romantic Inks about the ABCs of writing. Very simple concept really....just Apply Butt to Chair. Not the first time I've heard this and certainly won't be the last (I think Nora Roberts has this tattooed somewhere on her body). So, if it's so easy why aren't I practicing it? And why isn't my book finished yet? Why aren't my 12 books finished yet? Oh, most of the time I do actually manage to get my sorry behind into the chair, but the writing part? Not so much. I even open Word, scan through the last page or so of what I've written, and then proceed to stare off into space contemplating the great mysteries of the universe (or at the very least that mystery defier himself, Sanjaya and how the hell he's still on American Idol). Not very productive and yet I continue to follow the same routine every day. I console myself with the fact that if I can manage even one word each time I do this, my book should be done in time for my retirement in 40 or so years. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

You Mean I Have to Think of a Title Too?

As I'm writing this and editing the rest of my blog set-up, I realize I may have to change my name. For some reason, Whiny Aspiring Author seems much more appropriate. Of course, I don't mean to be this way, but I imagine none of us do. How many times have we told ourselves or our friends "I'd finish my book if I only had more time" or "Life is just too crazy right now"? While I agree that a certain frame of mind is needed to write, or at least to write well, this isn't always possible. If we wait for the ideal situation in which to finish our wonderful, undiscovered novel for the ages, get ready to do a hell of a lot more internet surfing. And while I do enjoy most of my procrastination methods, there is only so much Brickshooter Egypt a person can play. I guess this is the main reason I decided to start blogging. I don't truly imagine a lot of people will even read this, but maybe it can serve as a kind of kick in the ass I need to get myself in gear. And this isn't really just another method of procrastinating.....I mean technically I'm still writing. That's my story for now, and I'm sticking to it.