Monday, August 30, 2010

Writing Inspiration

You know how certain songs remind you of the place you were when you heard them? Or smells remind you of what you were doing when you were eating that food? I get those flashes with writing. I'll be doing something normal (you know, because writing isn't normal) and something will strike me and my fingers will just itch to get to a keyboard. Right now I'm sitting here trying to get into my writing mindset and I thought I'd list out some of my writing cues.

Music is HUGE for me. I especially love story songs. The following always make me want to write a story about what's going on, or at least to continue the mood. Some of my current favs are:
1. The Genius Next Door - Regina Spektor
2. Yankee Bayonet - The Decemberists
3. Fifteen - Taylor Swift
4. Hideaway - The Weepies

My Kids
This seems counter-intuitive, since my kids are usually distracting me from writing, but childhood really is magical. Sometimes my daughter will look at me from the corner of her eye, nose crinkled with mischief, blue eyes sparkling, and it will just take my breath away. Or my son, with his dimples and curls, will say something and my heart will literally ache with love. Hopefully someday you will read my work and will see that I pretty much always will have a curly redhead and a bossy MC. Now you know where I'm getting it from. *winks*

Odd People
Do you ever notice someone when you're out and make up a history for them?  Maybe it's the really old lady with too much makeup, or a young woman who's eyes are just TOO far apart to be normal. I'm intrigued by non-conventional beauty. Perfect symmetry and Barbie-doll looks are just boring. But the ridiculously mismatched couple with more than a foot and half height difference? Oh, I just want to run home and write a story about them.

Other Writers
I love seeing how other writers work. What sort of environment do they need? How are they distracting themselves researching? What sort of music are they listening to? For example, my friend Heather set an epic word count goal a few weeks ago and tweeted this picture as part of her prep. Now I feel the need to have exactly this environment:

Except maybe I'd add wine.

So, what inspires you?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ghosts vs. Mermaids - An Epic Battle of Awesomeness

The fabulous Rosemary Clement-Moore and Tera Lynn Childs are co-hosting a contest to answer the age-old question of "Who is better, ghosts or mermaids?"

While mermaids hold a soft spot in my heart thanks to "The Little Mermaid", the answer was obvious: ghosts. I considered using cultural references to prove my point. (Is there a Mermaid Hunters International? No. No there is not. And don't even get me started on "Splash!" versus "Ghost".) In the end, however, I decided to write a short story. After reading, I think you'll agree. *nods seriously*


Moira glanced from the body in her arms to the apparition floating in front of her. “Look, I already said I was sorry. There are rules.”

Rules? You murder me in cold blood and then quote some sort of code as an excuse?”

Dropping the body, she put her hands on her hips and leveled an icy stare at him. “Okay, first of all, everything I do is in cold blood. I'm cold-blooded. You're a scientist. You should know that.

Secondly, did you honestly think that you could dive down here, take pictures of a mermaid, and survive to tell about it? Do you think we've kept our existence a secret for this long by waving hello and then sending you people back to the surface?”

She flicked her tail at him dismissively and dove to retrieve his body. Every few feet his image would appear before her, scowling, until she finally stopped and let out a frustrated growl.

“Isn't there a white light you should be floating toward or something?”

“Well, no. I'm assuming there's something I need to do here first. Isn't that how it works?”

“Don't look at me! I'm a mythical creature. We don't do white lights. When we die we rejoin the great sea-goddess in the eternal ocean.”

She hefted the body into her arms and began to swim again.

“Where are you taking me?” he asked, keeping pace beside her.

“Look, I really don't have time for the questions, okay? I'm supposed to be at a court lunch in 30 flips.”

“Oh, I'm so sorry to interfere with your charming serial killer functions.”

“Dear sweet Oceans, I told you! I can't leave evidence behind. I didn't kill you because I wanted to. I did it so that my entire race of people wouldn't be at risk. Can't you understand that?”

She stopped at the edge of the Great Gaping Maw and dropped him, watching as his body fell into the abyss.

As she began to leave, she noticed that she was having trouble breathing. It was as if something had wrapped itself around her gills. She clawed frantically at her neck, but to no avail. Within several minutes the ocean around her went black.

Opening her eyes, she watched as her body drifted down into darkness.

“Oh, hell.”

“My sentiments exactly,” the ghost-diver said from beside her. “I thought avenging my own death would free me.”

“I can see that,” she conceded. “But it didn't work. So now what?”

He shrugged.

“I don't know. Haunt someone?”

Grinning wickedly, she pointed toward her home.

“Follow me.”


See? Ghosts always win in the end. *grin*

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend of AWESOME: Update!

This is just quick little note because I really want to squee with the universe. My alone-weekend was an amazing success. See that little WIP #1 over there in the sidebar? *points to sidebar* I was able to write almost 10,000 words this weekend toward it's completion. Now, sure they're not all fab, and they're not all going to stay, but I just couldn't stop writing.

When my husband and kids came home he asked how my weekend was. As I babbled on and on about the wikisearches I did and the plot that I outlined, he threw in a casual: "I thought for sure you were going to see that vampire movie." My response? "What vampire movie?"

What. Vampire. Movie.

I still haven't seen Eclipse. I have an entire kid-free weekend, the perfect time to go by myself to the theater, buy a large popcorn, and veg out. It didn't even occur to me. This manuscript made me forget about Twilight.

This is epic. And Awesome.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Earning That Book Dedication

My husband is an amazing guy. He's a great father, an excellent provider, and very patient with my many faults in the housewife department. (No, don't worry, this isn't turning into some bad 1950's-era sitcom. He's not perfect, he's just perfect at dealing with me and my imperfections.) The biggest problem we have, actually, is that he wants to spend too much time with me. (I know, such a shame, right?) *winks*

He works a lot, and he works very long and irregular hours. So when he is home, he wants to be spending time with the kids and I. Now, obviously, I enjoy spending time with him. We are married. But sometimes I want this crazy thing called "alone time." I want to be able to go off on my own and sit and write and not feel like I'm ignoring my family. But somehow I always end up sucked into watching whatever he is watching on TV, or discussing some inane detail of our day, or doing whatever else it is that married people do when they're living their lives together.

So, a few days ago, I teased him that if I EVER finished a book, he wasn't going to be in the "thank you" page. In fact, I told him I'd dedicate the book to my ability to write IN SPITE of him. (I may have thrown in some very detailed descriptions of the many ways in which he distracts me. Which, of course, distracted us both from my joking tirade. Hey, I said we're married. We're not dead.)

And then, yesterday, he gave me the greatest present ever: he took the kids to his parents for the weekend. He has no expectations of me. He doesn't want to come home to an uber-clean house or any of the other things that I normally feel guiltily compelled to take care of when I have free time. His instructions were simple: "Eat well, sleep, and write."

And that's exactly what I've been doing. Since he left I've written about 4,000 words, have plotted out probably 3/4 of this book, and have napped. Twice. He has more than earned his book dedication.

He's also earned the right to distract me when he gets home. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Plot Bunnies In Space

I've had this nagging little plot bunny in the back of my mind for a while. It's spunky, and may have a spaceship and a hologram for a sidekick. And it won't. shut. up. So a few days ago, finally, I opened a fresh document and figured I'd get it down so I could move on. But as I typed, I found I didn't want to move on. It didn't just flow, it poured out of me. I was so excited that I even forced my HUSBAND to read a scene. And he's NOT a YA reader.

But still, I felt guilty. Wasn't I cheating on my WIP with this bright, shiny, new idea? The one that I just figured out the ending for? Shouldn't I continue with the 3/4 written work since, you know, it's THREE QUARTERS DONE? Then I remembered something the very wise (and possibly gifted with some sort of black magic) Heather told me.

When I decided to pull my fanfiction (yes, you who are new here, I wrote fanfiction) and focus on original writing, I was terrified but thrilled. Heather listened to me freak out, then talked me down and then said something like: "You could prove me wrong, but I bet you get two-thirds of the way done with your rewrite and then start something new. These things just work that way."

At the time, I couldn't imagine putting all the work into that much of a manuscript to just set it aside. I may have laughed. A few days ago I told her that she was right. And that I was really, really happy about it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I left a heroine in distress. With some aliens. #awesome