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Archive for 'writing inspiration'

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Sometimes you kick yourself

I have this book that’s been poking at me for a long time. It’s not anything to do with anything else. I read a bit of it at Miscon a couple years back and folks there have been asking for more. Haven’t had time to work on it and I’m not sure when I will. But that’s not the only reason I haven’t touched it. The fact is that I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t know what’s happening with some of the things. I wrote three chapters and stopped, and the second chapter doesn’t fit.

I realized, just now, a few seconds before starting that post, that I don’t actually HAVE to know where it’s going to write it. I mean, I could try just exploring and seeing. These days, that’s not a waste, because I can always self-pub if no one wants it. The thing is, I like these characters and this story. A lot. It’s definitely romantic, and more of a lighter, dreamier urban fantasy. I wanted to get at the sense of wonder of magic in the real world, rather than the grittiness and danger.

But it does have spiders. Lots and lots of spiders.

So I’ve decided that in the little spaces between projects and such, I’m going to write on it. I’m going to explore and have fun and see where it takes me. And enjoy the ride.

Friday, June 12th, 2015
Some word meanings in Path of Fate

I dug this up recently. It’s my worksheet for names in the Path books. You’ll notice that Kebonsat’s name was originally Nomaksat. My editor didn’t care for that name and so I came up with something more workable. Kegonsat doesn’t have any specific meaning. I didn’t use all these and some I modified. But I figured you might want to see some of the background on the books.

I wanted names for Kodu Riik and Patverseme that were linguistically close, but unique. I drew words for each country from Latvian and Estonian dictionaries, and did some modifications to make them work for me as I went. Some stuff is straight out made up, but a lot wasn’t.

path word meanings

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
The wild book in progress

This is from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. It’s my go-to book when writing becomes thorny. Here’s where I’m at now. She says it so well.


I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better

This tender relationship can change in a tinkling. If you skip a visit or two, a work in progress will turn on you.

A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. AS the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter in its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, “Simba!”


I highly recommend that you read this book. That you read it often or open it and read a bit here and there whenever you need a little inspiration.

Monday, February 10th, 2014
The day that got lost

This morning I started out a little late as school was canceled again (but not tomorrow!) and did some laundry, fed the children, and then got a call from the GI doc for the boy. They could see him today (after cancellation Thursday for weather) so we dropped everything and headed there. After lunch, we met with the doc to recap all that’s been done and talk about what to do next. He stopped one medication, then gave another. The boy will try it out for the few days and it will either work or not and be obvious if it does or not. He will also have an MRI and a test for giardia. Depending on results, we may be looking at an upper GI scan. So we wait to see.

I’ve been thinking about a story all night. I’m not sure what it’s doing or how I’m going to plot it out. I’m not sure what it wants to be. It’s something I’ll have to work on in my ‘off’ time, which is to say, when I’m not working on contracted things. Or taxes. I’m working on taxes this week and my two presentations. I am not sure what is going on with the story. It feels like it’s evolving, though slowly. What’s funny is that as each little appendage or bit of the story develops, I don’t know if it will work or not, or be useable or not. It might just rot off and become nothing. It might grow into something beautiful. I’m not sure if it wants to be a story or a novel. We’ll see what becomes of it.

The main character is named Esha. She’s female. The name refers to the infinitesimal moment between twilight and night, when color fades to black and gray.

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Beginning freezing

I posted that little bit  the other day of a story I wanted to work on. And then I promptly froze. It was so easy and so fun to write, and then I froze. I know a bit about the character, but not much. I wanted to just write a story and play. Emphasis on play. But then I started investing it with more importance in my head. I don’t know if I started thinking of it as a novel or what, but I got a deer in the headlights moment where I just couldn’t go forward. I had to choose what would happen and I kept thinking, what if it doesn’t work out? What if it’s wrong? What if I ruin this lovely beginning with a bad story?

I let that go on for about a day and then had a personal intervention from my friend, Sanity. It went like this.

Sanity: Don’t be dumber than you have to be. Write it. If it doesn’t work, that’s what delete is for. You know you don’t know if it will work out until you write it anyway.

Me: gibber gibber wasting time gibber gibber

Sanity: it’s not wasting time if you discover the story. Lots of stories have false starts. It’s called discovery. You do it all the time. Get over it.

Me: gibber whimper gibber whimper urban fantasy gibber whimper epic whimper whimper???????

Sanity: Oh please. Yes it could go both ways. Try it both ways if you must. But at this point, you have to start, so pick something and try it out and if you don’t like it, then go back and start again in the other. Duh. You know this. Why are you being such a baby?

Me: whine whimper whine whimper

Sanity: It’s called being a writer. You just have to deal with all the fears and self-doubts. You write well. You know it. So shut up and get in there and do it.

Me: biting my lip and trying not to whimper any more

Sanity: And no chocolate either. You can have some when you get some words down. Now. Pull up your big girl panties and go to work. Snaps whip menacingly. Before I have to use other methods to convince you.

Monday, June 17th, 2013
Bread dough theory of writing

I’ve often thought that some stories are made like bread dough, one made with a starter. First you stir in the ingredients to make the starter and feed it for awhile and let it bubble and ferment. Then eventually it’s ready and you take some of that and stir in the rest of your bread ingredients and mix and mold it into dough, and then knead it for awhile. You fold it and knead it and build in structure for rising, then you let it sit and grow and rise on its own. Then you come back and go back to kneading and massaging that structure and rebuilding. Finally you set it aside and let it be one more time before you take it and bake it.

Not all of my stories work that way, but for the story I’m working on now, it requires a lot of yeasty bubbling and rising and kneading and waiting to let it come together in my head. It’s slow and that’s frustrating, but at the same time, my head needs the time to pull the story together. Meanwhile this other story that bumped into me some weeks ago has started to get a little antsy and itchy. It will have to wait.

On a completely random note, Hot Yoga sounds like torture. When we move, I hope I can learn Yoga or maybe Tai Chi or what’s that one that starts with Q?

Packing continues apace. I’m a little bit terrified that we won’t get everything we need to do done by Saturday, but I’m rabidly working at it.

Sunday, June 16th, 2013
Jiggety Jig

We made the trip to Oregon and back in four days, plus unloaded the cargo trailer and did the Jayfest signing at Powells. Whew. I’m a little tired and yet have to get right back to work. The good news is that it looks like things are settled on the house. We close in about four weeks. Wish it was sooner. I have a bruise on the tip of my big toe. I hurt it in the moving and ow. Who gets a bruise there? Course I have a bunch of other bruises, but they are at least in reasonable places.  I also made three pairs of fingerless gloves on the to and fro trips, plus part of another. I would have gotten further with it, but I dropped my crochet hook and we didn’t stop again for hours so I could retrieve it. Probably okay, since my wrists were getting a little bit sore.

I’m a little daunted by all the stuff that has to find a place in the new house. How are we going to fit it all in? Where did all that stuff come from? Okay, a little daunted is an understatement. Freaking terrified is closer to it. But it has to be done. At least most of the bedroom furniture is in place where it’s supposed to be and so we can find clothes and a place to sleep. We don’t have much left to take out of the old place, but there is some, and then there’s the cleaning, which means getting rid of a bunch of junk.

And then there’s a whole bunch of errands and friends to see. It’s not that we won’t be back, but you know how it it. I’m actually feeling kind of sad about the whole thing, which shouldn’t surprise me, but it does a little.

I also had a bit of a breakthrough on the plot for the book I’m working on. I am definitely happy about that. And now, to go be constructive. Or maybe it’s more destructive.

Oh! And the prettiest dogwood tree grows in our yard and also artichokes do grow well in Oregon so I can grow them!!!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

As I mentioned, yesterday I finished my proposal chapters. Late last night, I finished polishing them up to send to my agent. Part of that polishing revolved around consistency. I had changed some name spellings and some capitalizations, and I had also given several names to one place. That stayed. It’s so important that people have given it multiple names and apply them depending on who they are and what their situation is. It required making some decisions, which will influence the plot and world as I go along. Amazing how just a little thing can cause such a storm later. I guess it’s the fictional version of the butterfly affect.

Today was a muddle of trying to catch up on sleep and motivate myself to get some things done. I’m afraid that muddling was more successful than anything else. This is a problem of getting the writerly crazies and diving in to the work and finding yourself worn out and exhausted and having to recover. I’m always delighted when the muse grabs me and runs with me, but at the same time, sometimes I wish it didn’t come with such side effects.

I now have to work out the synopsis for this book. Actually more than one book. But I’m not really an outliner or synopsifier, and so this is tough. I know a number of things that will carry me forward to the middle of the book, maybe more. But I don’t really know how the threads will play out. There are several major plot lines and I only know how one will resolve. The others are fuzzier and require me to, oh, write the book before I really know. yet I have to submit a synopsis. So I have to figure something out. But it makes me want to poke my eyes out with a spork.

That will be my project for tomorrow, along with chores and other business that I got behind on in the last couple of days. The chores are good for letting me think through some of the snarls of the plots. Nothing like cleaning toilets and that sort of thing for thinking. Gardening is good too, but sadly, it’s freaking cold. Meanwhile, I chomp my nails until I hear from my agent and start focusing on my other project. That’s a more contemporary fantasy and will be set in the south. I have been collecting language and habits of speech, but I would love it if you happened to know of any sayings, ways of speaking, anything that’s very southern in eating, dressing, whatever you can think of–please let me know.

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
writer neuroses

Actually, this comes under the topic of neuroses, but I’m only covering one here. The fear of running out of ideas. That includes general plot ideas as well as world ideas, characters, and even clothing and food ideas. I live in perpetual fear of this, and thus write down all my ideas as they come up and so far, my mind has never failed me. But that doesn’t alleviate the fear.

What’s funny (ironic funny) is that frequently writers get mugged by ideas that come out of the blue and demand to be written right now. Right. Now. Even in the middle of fearing a dearth of ideas, idea muggings happen. Today that happened to me. Only it wasn’t exactly a new mugging. It was one that I’d had a little while ago and managed to shunt aside and today it popped back and said, Time for me!!!! It’s a bit of a blindside and I’m trying to take some notes. It’s a hugely fun idea and could be both hilarious and action-packed. I’d have a blast writing it. But first . . . I have the other projects. Think it will wait a few weeks for me to get those nailed down a bit?

Friday, May 18th, 2012
What is True

I’m linking this to Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. It’s brilliant. It’s inspiring. And as I’m working on this revision, it reminds me what the writing is and should be about. Today, I needed this.