Friday, December 14, 2007

Starbucks Experiment Day 3

What the hell? Monday was a big time suck of 953 words, but I came out of it with a plan. A plan that I proceeded to ignore for the next two days.

I did the 5 minutes, but after I got home, nothing. I would tell myself "Go wash the dishes if you're not going to write" and the dishes didn't get washed either. I was trying not to beat up on myself but it was still maddening. "You know what to do, now just do it!" And me not doing it is the equivalent of blowing a giant raspberry at what I have to do. What I want to do.

Thursday, it vanished. While still at work, I got the first draft of the first short project done. At Starbucks, I worked on the Educator's Guide and ended up clearing off 5 next action steps. Course, I created a slew of more next action steps but the ultimate size of each step is small. I ended up with 150 new words and two revisions I'm really happy with.

So now I'm wondering if it is the home-is-too-distracting problem cropping up again. I have the study carrel in the Library, but holiday hours don't conform well with my schedule. Working at home is my only option, I can't afford to eat out every night. So this weekend I have a new project: make the office less distracting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Starbucks Experiment Day 2

Found an outlet, set up laptop, slurped down a peppermint hot chocolate (can’t make a habit of that one), I’m here until 7pm in an attempt to beat the traffic, and now am feeling really overwhelmed. In GTD, that means it’s time for a review of the project list. But I have a shitload of projects—even the writing-only breakdown feels huge—and I’m not sure what’s the best use of my time.

On the physical side, it’s not so hard. I’ve already picked out 4 projects that will probably last me the rest of the month and the fifth is technically all the projects I have in the kitchen. I am getting the dishwasher in January, so I need to get cracking on other items. But that’s all good because projects may not take as long as I’m giving them. I’m allotting a whole month to clean up emails and make it where I can actually turn on Outlook without freaking out (not how it is currently). It may only take two weekends. I probably need to move more off the Projects List to the Someday/Maybe List. What I else saw with this review is the Projects List is a lot longer than it needs to be because I a) storing things on it that belong on another list (oops, that goes on the Wish List) and b) I forgot to erase completed projects. I’m still learning. :p

Time for my own music selection, mp3 player ready. I will give the piped-in music points for not being Christmas songs. Also need to add a folder for fantasy inspirational music. OH, that’s how you get it to play a new folder, hit the play button! I’m sure this would be a lot more intuitive if I played with it more. Need to save up and get the car setup for it.

Yeah, I’m getting a lot of writing done. *Sigh. But school is out until January, so that means 7 days to squeeze writing time out of. I need to plan in order to accomplish the most out of it. Right. So this is me planning silently, by typing and pretending to have a conversation with you who are reading this much later. (For the record, I don’t claim to be sane. I just play nicely with others.)

So the full project list with a few of their sub-projects as well.

  • Effigy Corset post (see blog folder for notes)

  • Canterbury Murder Mystery Fundraiser
    1. Is there one to adapt?

  • Thesis

  • "The Hitchhiking Highwayman"

  • 2008 AMF Educator's Guide
    1. Getting original art

    2. Add Wade's notes to Knights section.

    3. Write the Canterbury Cathedral section.

  • "Underneath the Colored Lights"

  • Letter to Mr. HandyPerson about bathtub

  • Letter to BR Mayor about public transportation (article is in project folder in tickle file)

  • Piper of Shadows Universe
    1. World building

    2. Character Clinics

    3. Create a Culture

    4. Create a Language

    5. Short story
      1. Start writing

      2. Start revising

      3. Finish revising

  • Biker Mice From Mars: Evil Jack: For Worse

  • Biker Mice From Mars: Wars Are Won: Turbo

  • Zy's Novel
    1. Create a Language for Mealte

    2. Create a Culture for Mealte

    3. Create a Language for Bekth

    4. Create a Culture for Bekth: inspired by the Sicilians

    5. Create aliens

    6. Create worlds

    7. Character Clinics for the universe

    8. "Blue Man on the Porch"
      1. Finish revising

    9. Zy's vacation story

  • Strix
    1. Character Clinics for the universe

    2. Short Story
      1. Start planning

    3. Webcomic

  • Capt. Kate's universe
    1. Character Clinics for everyone in "Covenant"

    2. "Covenant of the Restless"
      1. Start planning

      2. Start revising

      3. Finish revising

Before anyone starts yelling at me for being crazy and biting off more than I can chew, this is the Writing List. I have a Story Ideas Folder for the “this name sounds interesting” or “this news article has potential,” you get the idea. The Writing List is the collection of writing projects that are much further along the process with plot concepts, characters, setting, scraps of dialogue, and possibly full scenes. I am not writing all this stuff at the same time. (Though sometimes, I think my brain really wants to.)

My initial idea was to spend the nights in Baton Rouge working on one project and the nights I get home early working on a different one. Now looking at the list and how many of them have sub-projects and seeing all the small ones I had forgotten about, I’m not sure that is a good idea any more.

Need to apply the how to prioritize criteria to this list, but until I can do that this will have to do. First deadline is on the Educators’ Guide. Shortest are the letters. I’ve decided to write my thesis stories in the Piper of Shadows universe (unless my thesis advisor just hates it), so I need to have a robust world ready to fall into. Hell, I want that even if I didn’t have the thesis riding on it. “BMFM: For Worse” is really occupy my headspace hard. Most of all I want to start crossing stuff off the list and move the projects to their final stages: submission and publication (hopefully).

Even with dividing things into their next physical, visible actions, I don’t think I should have more than two going at a time: one small and one large, replaced with another one once completed. I’ll probably get through all the small ones before I finish the large one but at least I will feel like I’ve gotten progress.

So tomorrow, I work on the next actions for the Letter to Mr. Handyperson and the Educators’ Guide. Now I have to break down what the next actions are, after I go home. It’s going home time.

It took 953 words, but I’m not feeling overwhelmed any more.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Evening at Starbucks

Written while in Starbucks last night from about 5:30pm to 6pm.

I should have gotten the passion iced tea sweetened. I don't think it will bomb out my blood sugar, but I also don't think I'll order it without sweetener again.

Found an outlet! But I left my laptop at home. *headdesk* I feel better about being here now, scoping the place out. Nobody's too loud, there's no cast of Friends on the center couch being annoying. The tables big enough to be used as desks have already been nabbed by laptop users. And they stock bottle water and Izza Soda for me and the whole anti-coffee thing.

The only bad thing is no real food. I will have to eat before I come here and that costs me thirty minutes. It's also expensive to keep eating out. I suppose I could spend an hour writing. Traffic can only be better at 6:30pm than 6:00pm, right? But I have to leave at 6pm tonight because I still have to grocery shop.

Biker Mice From Mars: Evil Jack: For Worse

New words: 200
Total words: 3225
What I hate about my writing: I'm going to bore the readers with this scene.
The Good: Audio/visual setup reveals the obsession.
The Bad: Jack is back
Fave Jack line: And he had the video proof of just how boring it was.
What I'm looking forward to: Nookie in the scoreboard, since the POV is the sadistic loony bird voyeur take the opportunity to be raunchy!
What I'm not looking forward to: Having to edit the Voyeur scene from the POV of the sadistic loony bird to not offend my gentler readers

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

30 Days of At Least Five Minutes

Once again, November was a lousy month for me to participate in NaNo. I think I can safely participate in 2009, unless it corresponds with thesis deadlines next year. So I find myself doing my reaffirmation to writing exercises in December without the company. Oh well, writing is a lonely business and I need to workout my butt-in-chair exercise. (And everything lately is thought of in terms of exercises and workouts, feel free to substitute "session" or "practice.")

Butt-in-chair is defined simply as the time spent putting the words on paper. You spend all waking hours--and some sleeping ones--writing, but to paraphrase Laurence Block, the only time that counts is churning out the daily word count. And this is where I have problems with consistency. And so far every time I have tried to discipline myself into doing better, I flub it.

What I have figured out about myself is I do better with improving myself with something I can track. I'm more consistent with housework with a checklist, projects get finished with GTD, I keep track of money when I feel I'm going to be graded. Keeping word count tallies is good, but doesn't help me with the consistency. I usually meet the goal by having a mad dash of writing for an assignment. So after deciding I needed a better system of accountability, I went looking in my library.

Most advice books leave daily work at the you-need-to-do-it-but-everyone-is-different stage. If you're lucky, the author will cover what works for them. unluckily, most are full-time writers who can sit at the computer for a couple of hours until the word count is met. I'm not in that position and may never be. Writing has to exist in my life as a second full-time job.

What I found among the books I haven't read yet was Jerry Cleaver's Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course. "Time Management was listed in the blurbs, so I decided to read what he says about it. Cleaver sets up his book as a writing course, complete with exercises at the end of every chapter. His writing style is this-is-the-problem-here's-the-solution. No feel-good waffling and right now I want a method to apply. If it doesn't work that will be the time to modify the method.

In this chapter the techniques are tailored to helping you overcome the particular difficulties you face in making writing a part of your daily life. If you're serious about writing, you can (and should) start now. If you do, when your life opens up (if it ever does), you'll be ready and able. But what if it never opens? Well, you don't need to wait around for such an opportunity. This system makes it possible for you to do it now. (161 - 162)

It doesn't take much to hook me, I'm afraid. He calls this system the 5-minute method. Cleaver also created the Writer's Loft and the "Write Your Novel Now" Internet course. So I believe him when he says this method has been the most successful.

First step is to take five minutes out every day for writing. Now you don't start a timer and put the pen on the paper. These five minutes are to put yourself in a meditative state. You can tap into your creativeness much easier when you're relaxed instead of hearing the must-write screaming in your head. I'm having to train myself out of this screaming because it's counter-productive. I do more and better writing back when I just wrote and didn't spend all my time telling myself I had to write.

I once sat down to try meditating for 5 minutes and nearly jumped out of my skin because, in my world, you were never supposed to be doing nothing, and if you caught yourself doing nothing, you damned well better not be enjoying it. (This is all very Western. The Eastern cultures have a tradition of meditation, of letting go of the mind, or letting it settle down, to achieve an inner state of emptiness and relaxation that brings on insight, and enlightenment. Now, I'm not talking about religion or spirituality, but simple a way to reach a deeper level of your mind.) So, if the Puritan is in you, it usually helps to be aware of it and consciously tell yourself it's OK to just sit. (164)

Huge problem for me too, made worse by not having time to do butt-in-chair nor the desire to do butt-in-chair. It has been worse than my don't-wanna-exercise apathy. Cleaver's first counter to that is to spend the five minutes doing nothing but meditation. "This whole relaxing, letting go, do nothing approach should assure that you will do your five minutes, that you will put in your time, because you can never use the excuse that you're not up to doing it, that you don't feel you can accomplish anything, that you're not in the mood, or that you can't handle it today, etc., since the only thing you have to accomplish when you don't feel up to it is to do nothing, and you can't claim you're incapable of doing nothing, can you? (164-165)" You commit to doing this for "thirty days straight before you evaluate or reconsider it or debate with yourself about the value of it. (165)"

"The CARDINAL SIN in all this is skipping the 5 minutes a day (181)." But it does happen. So far I have missed one. "BUT if due to forces beyond your control, you do miss your 5 minutes, never, never,never do extra to catch up (181)." It only feeds into the feeling-guilty cycle if you do.

I suppose what comes next sounds like I'm disobeying the don't-talk-about rule right now, but I have that accountability problem. I have to commit in public to do what's best for me.

I started following the 5-minute-method December 3rd. I created a Joe's Goal for it, so I can track the chain of doing the five minutes until it reaches thirty days. This is my public commitment to following this method.

The 5-minute-method isn't the only thing to be committed to. I've been trying to fit writing time with dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays and now that classes are over, the rest of the week has opened up. But I haven't found a spot (or an outlet) where I can pull out my laptop and work while eating. Plus always getting the feeling that I should vamoose after paying the check. Tonight after I eat, I'm going to have to squash hating myself for giving airs of pretension, find something on the menu that's sugar-free and decaffeinated, ask if there is an outlet, and write in Starbucks. The coffeehouse scene is about as me as the bar scene is me, which is in the shocked-and-dismayed-to-find-you-here category. So I'm sucking it in my own fashion for my writing. At least, I can honestly say that TV is not a big time suck for me. The Internet however....

Well, time to do my five minutes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finished a section

Biker Mice From Mars: Evil Jack: For Worse

New words: 225
Total words: 3025
What I hate about my writing: It's not as hot as my other sexy scenes. It's too rushed. And it's going to have people crying foul over characterization.
The Good: Angsty getting together story
The Bad: Jack comes back
Fave Throttle line: "No, I don't. I think I'm drinking because of the surprise of that."
Fave Charley line: "There's only one way that question can be answered."
What I'm looking forward to: Nookie in the scoreboard, since the POV is the sadistic loony bird voyeur take the opportunity to be raunchy!
What I'm not looking forward to: Having to edit the Voyeur scene from the POV of the sadistic loony bird to not offend my gentler readers

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Trying out December Quinn's idea

It's called metrics. And I think I may have given the wrong impression when I block quoted December Quinn's WIP. I'm not working on anything titled Unholy Ghosts. (Too bad, I love the title.)

So here's the metrics broke down into a format to fill-out.

WIP Title

New Words:
Total wordcount:

Here you make you're own topics according to the WIP. Caitlin Kittredge's Dark Territory has more examples. I think I like this part because you get to be cheeky with the work (that's probably giving you fits) and the genre.

So I'm going to build one for the fanfic in progress. (Yes, I know original work, blah, blah. It's stuck in worldbuilding right now and since school work feels like it's stressing me out, I run to fanfics to calm down. If you don't bitch too much, it might end up being R rated one.)

Biker Mice From Mars: Evil Jack: For Worse

New words: 550
Total words: 2800 (estimating a handwritten page has about 125 words on it. I haven't started typing it).
The Good: Angsty getting together story
The Bad: Jack comes back
Fave Vinnie line: "I never got a chance to flirt with Miss Mile-long legs and firm melons. She wrapped her arms around my neck and chest and my brain shut off."
Fave Modo line: "This is gonna be a long lecture on the motivations of grown-ups. I see it already."
Fave Throttle line: "You know how Vinnie is, Charley. If you called it training, he'd never do it. Give his ego a chance to win and he'll do it all day."
Fave Hannah line: "Let's do it with the bottle now, so Uncle Throttle doesn't get more dirty."
Fave Charley line: "Vinnie didn't get attacked by pod people on your way back to the scoreboard, did he?"
Fave Jack line: oops, he hasn't shown up yet.
Best I've done: Modo spelling things out to Vinnie
What I've yanked out: Scene on Mars between Stoker and Carbine. Charley and Vinnie's date disaster
What I'm looking forward to: Nookie in the scoreboard
What I'm not looking forward to: Voyeur scene from the POV of the sadistic loony bird

Now, I think the metric should be limited to the new words from now on.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Quote from December Quinn

I'm trying something new, inspired by Caitlin Kittredge: metrics, a little chart for my books. Hopefully it will be fun.

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 2,620
Total wordcount: 31,122
The Good: A faintly sweet “getting to know you” moment
The Bad: Evil ghost stalking Chess in a dark house while a family sleeps
The Gross: Mutilated corpse’s heart beats
The rampant drug use: Snorting crushed amphetamine pills off a hairpin in a church stairway
Location: Abandoned haunted airport
Downspeech:“What you see, ladybird? You think witchy?”
I Hate My Work: I don’t think the scary scene is as scary as it should be. I think it’s stupid and pointless.

This could be an interesting exercise to do an works in progress.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Great Stuff

From Neil: Why Write?

From Wil: trudging through fog

I think I'm reaching that apathy stage of the semester, and I really don't want to succumb to it. No specific ideas on how to combat it yet.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Writing websites

The Scriptorium

What is A Word? by Chuck Rothman: though I'm ambivalent about having to do math every time I need to do a tally to see what my results are. But the final count for an editor, maybe.

The Writer's Block


If one waits for the right time to come before writing, the right time never comes. -- James Russell Lowell, poet and critic.

I'm really rusty on world-building. To the point where I had to ask myself where to start when I said "brand new world nothing I have done before." I'm currently researching to remind myself how again, after blowing a raspberry at my personal library that felt remarkably devoid of that particular issue.

So by the time I reached work, I had to ask myself why the only thing I had close to world-building is a writing science fiction book on create alien worlds (with scientific principles instead of one transplant Earth environment stretched over the whole planet with some unusual astronomy features). But what I am looking for is more creating on the fictional universe, which includes species, planets, rules of logic, the quirks that make it unique, etc. And what the hell went wrong with my brain suddenly?

If one was really a writer, then one must write, and write now, while the hand still kept its cunning, while the technique was still in one's head, while one was still in touch with one's public. -- Harriet Vane's thoughts in Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy L. Sayers & Jill Paton Walsh

So I have lost the technique. And it's really not that surprising. Putting aside the stressed-out, can't-write periods of mental commotion, I have been working on non-fiction, fanfiction (which has been universe expansion but not creation), Zy's universe (which I know but needs more fleshing out), and historical fantasy (Elizabethan that I already have a fundamental grasp on). It's probably been a decade since I've done anything from more scratch than those. I could look up an exact date, but I'm trying not to depress myself.

So I have lost the technique, and must relearn it. Being a constant student is one way to insure success.

Quote from Lawrence Block's prayer.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thesis Contenders Continued

Wow, how much a planned blog post changes with a few hours.

What I came up with while I was driving from work to yoga class after reassuring the poverty-stricken kidlet inside me that I wasn't signing up for the unemployment line (and boy did discovering THAT explain the dread I get whenever somebody toss the write-full-time grenade at me) is my purpose and drive is back. Instead of being lost between a part of me squashing it out of fear and the rest of me oblivious and thinking there's something wrong with me somewhere else, and trying everything to get the old groove back. (I'm really glad none of this stuff attacked me while I was an undergraduate. I'm pretty sure I know why it didn't, but it's a sidetrack.)

With purpose back, I had planned on writing on fiction once I got home. I have been writing but well not what I intended. I decided to limit the thesis to my cross-genre stories though I hadn't consolidated that into a theme sentence idea yet. I figure if I'm going to piss somebody on the committee off by writing genre, I should go all the way. I might even put the Elizabethan grammar into "Covenant." *evil giggle*

While cross-genre gave me a starting point with my copied current-projects-list, I realized I needed to start on something that hasn't been in my brain percolating with mostly fleshed-out characters and plot. And take it through all the steps to completion. That was as far as I had gotten. I think now I'm leaning toward the creepy paranormal guys I've been collecting descriptions of. But what to cross them with needs to be worked out (Western? Capt. Kate?).

Then I got home and saw the response to my first initial post on the thesis issue. Not what I was expecting. I was thinking I was going to get something snarky about sarcastic female protagonists and the things they do as a theme in my writing. What I got made me feel that my non-finished stories were on trial and found not worthy. And I've been responding to that feeling for over an hour now. This is my attempt to clear up any confusion, and hopefully not pick a fight because I feel that I need to defend my stories.

What I feel was said: the stories on the list have been on your sidebar forever and a day (in Internet time) and they're all you've talked about for so long, so they are all used up. ESPECIALLY the ones you want to "rework" from old shit out of the filing cabinet. THROW THEM AWAY, BURN THEM UP, THERE'S NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THEM WORTH SAVING!

Now I do know that isn't what was said or how it was meant. And the last bit in all caps is my personal demon. I lost stories when I was 12 because I listened to a literary moron and believed him when he said I was promoting Satan. I burned every manuscript and every note I had about my psychic who helped ghosts and fought with her mother that didn't want the Gift. I can't even remember her name now, and I will probably never forgive myself for it. But understand why I can make the leap from file the story away to burn it for being bad.

I've been writing nearly non-stop since I was 11 until the transaction of being an adult with a real job and the resulting fear monger inside put a big monkey wrench in the writing. From 1988 to 2004, I completed 63 stories of various lengths. 39 of those are originals. And that's not counting the resource guides, the e-book, how much I have written for classes, and anything finished since the 2004 point. Out of those 39 stories, one can still be considered work-in-progress (Zy's Novel) and two are the genesis for two new projects.

With that balance, you can see why I feel bewildered when I'm treated like all I'm working on is crap because three story ideas on the list are cannibals (and I will lump Zy's Novel in that category even though I don't think it's fair). Everybody cannibalizes themselves. That's why they say never throw anything way.

Now in Thesis Contenders, I copied my current what I would like to work on list because I was in a panic and couldn't see a common theme to anything. But I already got approval for anything written during my master's schooling is eligible to go in. That's four stories on the list. And yes, I can publish them elsewhere because this thesis is a joke.

Those four are the most recent stories I have been working on. Truth is, I've probably had less total writing time on all this stuff no matter how far back you want to take the start date. Like one of those how many years you spend sleeping over a lifetime tallies, time spent on writing has been minuscule compared to other categories.

I have not been writing my fiction. The frozen word counts prove it.

Hell, NOTHING on the list has ever made it out of beta-editing stage because that would be the point where I would freeze up and stop. Two on the list are not even written; HOW can THEY be old, tired shit? Just because I've thrown up some notes about them on a blog and admitted to building off of something I started earlier and had them on the list but barely anything written manuscript-wise for so long that means they are obsolete?

Yes, I list them constantly because I WANT to finish them. And even though I'm listing them and taking notes about them and thinking about them, that doesn't mean I have the manuscript out working on it. For the past couple of years, it really has meant I haven't been working on the actual text. My muse keeps coming back to this stuff, and I don't think I need to apologize for that. Short stories with Zy, fleshing out Strix to a real world, expanding Capt. Kate, Cynthia Towers because damnit I like her cranky ass; see the paragraph above where I talk about new story from scratch. This stuff is not mutually exclusive. It never has been.

So the problems with my list are not computing in my head. If I take a story, pull the characters from it, tweak the character dynamics, and put them down in a new plot with fresh dialogue, what's old about the resulting story? If a story is still in the after beta-reading editing stage, how is it old and tired? It's not done yet.

I'm not trying to pick a fight. Ever since I started writing, I have always had a huge list of future stories. Some on it now will probably never be written, but they stay on the list to show my evolution of ideas. I shortened that list by to what is more feasible when I created my Current Projects list for the blogs, but some stuff is still up there as "I really think it's a neat idea but it needs to percolate more."

I have also never really said work was retired based on a date. Which I will admit has probably hurt me in the recent past trying to find courage for submitting, but plenty got retired without relying on a date. Have I ever brought up "Khartie's Birth, Zion *shudder*, the Kablancs, Drug M" series, the first four mysteries I ever wrote? A lot of those 39 stories has stayed buried in the file cabinet for good reason.

My work habits with writing have always been about the point when I can say "done." There's only one thing I can say done on in the current list and that's "Underneath the Colored Lights." And it feels like abortion to say that, to file it away, and move Cynthia away. And since it's not the big relief that filing "The Chosen" away was, I doubt this is a permanent decision.

So that wraps up my defense of my baby stories. To sum up: I feel they are getting blamed for what isn't their fault. Measuring in terms of hours spent writing, they haven't gotten the attention one would think they have gotten in the time span. And it's not their fault their creator got addicted to the busy drug along with health problems, financial problems, relationship problems, daily life problems, family crisis on top of family crisis, and capped off with Katrina. (If New Orleans can constantly harp on the hurricane, I can throw it into the mix too.) It's not their fault I got fucked up in the head.

But I am working on getting better, and every day is finding out new things about myself or to change. Like changing the chi of the room, these personal changes are rippling out and affecting everything else. But I can't snap my finger and undo the damage done over years and I can't snap my fingers and suddenly be the end result of all of this. Writing has the most proof of what a screwup I am, so I'm not expecting that finding the even keel with it is going to be easy. And it's the easiest to let slide because I expect so much from myself. And if that means working on the list until I am satisfied (which does happen contrary to popular opinion), I'm okay with that. I think the stories deserve it.

Things to Think About

Series planning questions

Market in the mystery genre

Giving up by Holly Lisle

Don't know why, but they really hit home. Well, I do sorta know why. In that nagging, tingling, back of the head, gut response that tells you this is IMPORTANT but you don't want to face it.

Could it be that I'm facing quitting as a viable option in my life for the first time? (Not writing, so nobody panic.)

Could it be because I had one of those tiny, duh epiphanies this morning? This job you tolerate isn't going away. I don't have to face my childhood-self not knowing when Dad would have a job or a paycheck. I haven't even worked on the finances in weeks, but I think I need to go back some exercises and work on that one.

Writing as a career most often is not a financially stable one. At the same time I say that doesn't matter to me, there's a little girl inside me that knows there's no money for anything because Daddy doesn't have a job. And that kid is desperate and doing everything in her power to maintain the glory of the paycheck.

I'm not being fair, but I just figured out where the sabotage is coming from. She just wants to be safe and have things. Me trying to get serious and earn minuscule and uncertain money off writing scares her to death. Safer to keep me busy and blocked and keep writing as a hobby.

So does this make sense? Writing has never been blocked--once I find time to just write. But finishing and submitting has been a major wigout fest. I kept blaming an unknown stessor and tried easing off the demands I make on myself to no success. Well, of course not, I haven't addressed the real issue. I don't know if this post has sufficiently addressed it and more is necessary. Maybe a routine of steady reassurance will get my writing groove back.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thesis Contenders

So I finally found somebody else in the English department working on a Creative Writing thesis. (That I don't get to socialize with these people is my defense, and I'm sticking to it.) Thesis runs about 70 pages and you have to have enough stories to fill that. And the stories all have to fit a theme that you get to defend.


So any ideas on a common theme between any of these?
  • The Blue Man on the Porch
  • Covenant of the Restless
  • Gingerbread Girl
  • Phantom Hitchhiker
  • Strix short story
  • Underneath the Colored Lights
  • Zy's vacation story

Friday, August 24, 2007

Slight detour

After much deliberation and head banging against desk, I have decided that the scene I'm working on does not work. I cannot write Vinnie and Charley's date distengrating.

I don't think it has anything to do with me being a Throttle and Charley 'shipper, because there's another story lurking in my notes where the Vinnie and Charley pairing works out. And when I look at the later scenes--Vinnie discussing it with Modo and Charley discussing it with Throttle--they are hysterical and sympathetic in my head; something I'm not feeling about the current scene.

I feel bad about it though. One of the reasons I was including it is because I felt I short-changed readers in the Wars Are Won series. True, nobody's complained with a "you should show Charley and Vinnie break-up!" so I guess I'm just feeling sensitive for no reason. But on the other hand, funny lines from Modo. :) And now that I've made this decision, I can work on it again.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Possible market

Pseudopod, a horror audio zine that pays

Also has a sister site for fantasy and science fiction: The Escape Pod

Love the play on podcast. :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Day 48

Minimum Goals
100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Finished my class paper and it helped me meet my goal.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day 45

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

I'm finally right on target! Nothing like a deadline to get things caught up.

Title: Mustard

My sister calls him
“vampire kitty.”
You can’t even see the scar
on her face now.
And he twined around her legs
while she sat on the couch
with a dishrag on her face.
She didn’t tell us she was bringing her dog.
And he knows dogs aren’t guests.

He patrols the yard with a passion.
The neighbor’s dogs
--Labador mutts triple his size--
who dig into our garbage
have learned to run in fear.
And tails really do tuck between their legs!
while his orange-stripped
waves proudly in the air
stalking around the boundaries of the yard.

He knows my car
though I confused him
after I wrecked my white car.
I know because he hadn’t left
the kitchen window watching for me
until I walked in the door.
Now I see him as I pull in the driveway
and wave at him before he jumps down
to meet me at the door.

I didn’t raise no lap cat.
But he’s not vicious,
no matter what my sister says,
just standoffish.
Pet me on my terms
is his attitude.
He sists in front of the monitor
and headbutts my chin
and I know I’m loved.

People scratch their heads
when I say his name.
“He’s orange not yellow.”
Why Mustard?
That’s the name he had bestowed
by the drunk in Jan’s after Mustard the kitten
jumped in my truck.
The drunk gave him to me and
I took him to a better life.

Reading Diary 11

Spoon and Tree

What gladdens her is the spoon,
with its tiny saucer of remnants,
its slender shaft, scrubbed last—
and now the kitchen's clean.
Clean are the knives and forks
all akimbo in their drying cage
at the window. The spoon
leans alone toward light,
a backyard limb reflected
in its sunken belly, so a
liquid darkness tongues
its curves and bends
along its slender neck,
making the one tidying up blush
at this bed she's come upon—
refractive, gleaming, the old
dream of coupling
here portioned out
in such a strange
When the light is gone,
the immaculate house hushed,
she puts down her book
and returns, barefooted,
waking the wood planks
to the kitchen. The cupboard,
too, sighs, its ascending note
sliding wind-clean. And even
before shaking whole grains
into her midnight bowl,
she has reached out,
across the ticking, low-watt
world, her warm mouth
clamping itself wetly
around the cooled,
hard truth
of the spoon.

Sara London

I don’t know why “Tree” is put in the title, since it doesn’t appear to have any bearing on the poem. I feel sympathy for the woman character in it. I live alone, hate doing the dishes, and know the satisfaction that the kitchen is finally clean.

Okay, I think I found the tree in the spoon’s reflection. I like those lines suggesting both the amorous and the functional meanings of “spoon.” The second half of the poem confuses me. It’s still about the spoon, but not about the tree. Just about the relationship of the woman and the spoon, and not much of one either. No issues with the imagery; I can see all the actions.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Strix Notes

Human family of a vampire; I like the two characters I have in this slot, they're fun. But having just rewatched the first episode of Kindred the Embraced TV show recently and I think I know where I was inspired to throw that into my mix.

The writers of the TV show were horribly inconsistant in the first episode (and they wonder why it only lasted a season?). Luna, vampire prince of the city, explains that his oldest grandson has died. He had a son before he was embraced and that son filled the valley with grapes and children. He's heartbroken as much as a vampire in charge of a city can be. Okay, maybe the guy was his favorite grandson. Then Luna's great-granddaughter shows up and they all treat her like she's the only descendent left. So what happened to the rest? What happened to all the black-clad disapproving people at the funeral?

Still I like the dynamic and want to do it right.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Day 40

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Three poems today. And I finally got through all my feedback from the class. The short ones feel incomplete to people and I don't have anything left to say in them.

Title: Oh Go Ahead and Sulk

This is no telepathic link
between us.
Have I ever been able to read your mind
in thirty years?

Sorry, nobody gave me a memo
to a) carve the time in stone
to b) call you and dictate the plans
to c) exclude my sister who I thought wanted to come.

Besides I stayed up late
(reading Harry Potter 7)
and I have the right to sleep in
on Sunday, the day of rest.

I came in with a time we could go.
You’d rather lie in bed saying
the whole world hates you.
Chief of all your family.

You’d rather ruin my good mood
from a satisfying conclusion
from fitting into size 16 jeans again
from a beautiful day to spend time with my mother.

I can only throw up my hands.
Oh, go ahead and sulk
If that’s more fun than Hairspray.
Go ahead and sulk.

Title: Need Three More Poems

Need three more poems
for the assignment
What to write about?
Anything and everything,
doesn’t mean that
I want to write about
anything and everything.

Losing weight slowly
Fear of stroke
Fear of losing my mind
Fear of diabeties
Fear of dementia
Fear of death
Haven’t I been depressing enough lately?

Tribute to a book
Tribute to an author
Tribute to Harry Potter
Tribute to another obsession
Introduce a webcomic never heard of
Chant my love for Monster Squad
Do I want to frighten with my fangirliness?

I have to finish the assignment
Need just three more poems
Just three more poems
But what to write about?
I can’t decide
But none of the topics call to me
So you get a poem on the need.

Title: Metabolic Syndrome

My body betrayed me
Selection picked all the crappy genes
It’s not your fault
But my body betrayed me

Medicine will help
Take metformine for the high sugar
Take phentermine to supress the appetite
Take more of this, take less of that
But the medicine will help

Diet and exercise
Atkins, Sugar-busters, South Beach, measure
Walk the track, swim a mile, weightlift
You do realize even yoga hurts?
But diet and exercise

Lost ten pounds in a month
I need to lose alomost a whole me
How did a nearly whole me seak onto me
Where does it hide
But I lost ten pounds in a month

Friday, July 20, 2007

Biker Mice Wars Are Won series plans

While I was pondering the state of writing life found over in the Intentionally Left Blank post, a question came to mind. I have often said that the Wars Are Won series is over thirty stories long and I have only written five of them. So just how many of the stories are really necessary for the Wars Are Won series arc?

I found the story list with my original notes and found the series had 28 stories total. I was able to combine two main thrusts into other stories that strengths the plot points I want to make and eliminates two stories for the count. I took one out completely for the current series. It may go back in later depending on how many questions I get asked about a new character. Did some switching around of story order and what year they were set in and now have 25 stories of various lengths. Some titles may change.

  1. Shatter Your Illusions
  2. Put Me Back Together
  3. Reunions
  4. Family, Friends, and Foes
  5. Let Us Give Thanks
  1. Turbo
  2. Sacrifice of Happiness
  1. Can't Keep Hard Rock Down
  2. New York, New York or Heir of the Foot Clan
  1. Laissez Bon Temps Rouler
  2. Blind
  1. The Race
  2. Death of a Star
  3. Tala's Freedom
  4. Time Manipulates Your Heart
    1. 1947
    2. 1999
    3. 2019
  5. What Was Lost
  1. One and Only Promise I Can Keep
    1. What I Will Do For You
    2. Never Give Up, Never Surrender
    3. Let Me Promise
  2. New Hope
  3. Plutark's Enemies
  4. Invasion of Earth
  1. Baddest Mamajammers of the Millienium

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Day 36

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

584 words in the Educator's Guide. And except for formating and editing, I think that section is done.

Also did a lot of handwriting today while waiting on the stupid program at work, but I don't count until I type. But judging to my response on the topic, I may just need to do it. It's been a tough summer, trying to work through emotional crisis and subjected to the poetry. I don't see it as a step back but more a plateau before the next uphill climb.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day 32

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Title: Not Your Fault, Poetry

I haven’t been fair to you, Poetry.
Having to blame the one who never did the harm.
Eyes and memory cleared from false impressions,
and realized writhing under laughter’s lash
can only stop when I laugh back.
And that’s not your fault, Poetry.

I felt stupid and embarrassed in class with you, Poetry.
Laugh at it, let it go, start again.
There is no cosmic checklist
marking down my every mistake.
Festering humiliation poisoning my attitude.
And that’s not your fault, Poetry.

How many years have I denied us, Poetry?
Laugh at it, let it go, start again.
I’ve had enough of all that.
Laughing at it, letting it go.
I am sorry for ignoring you, Poetry.
Can we start over again?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Day 30

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

I'm still not caught up with the 100 Words. But I also have two reading diaries I need to write for this week before I can turn to fiction with a clear conscious.

Title: Enough

Sitting at my desk,
squirming under facts I preferred to ignore.
But there they are, painting a horrid view of me.
Black words on white paper
I’m not too stupid to misunderstand the truth.
Tiny, insignificant events blown out of proportion


There is a monster in me.
A screaming banshee
once unleashed frightens me.
But she hides the other monsters in me
The subtle seducer
proclaiming I’m worthless
and everyone can see it, laughing at my humilitation.
The vaporous procrastinator
avoiding everything
rather than prove the worthless charge correct.
The drama queen
wailing at and for the seducer and procrastinator
feeding off my inability to stop them
unleashing the banshee to wreak havoc.
Because if my life is ruined, everyone should share the pain.


But I have only seen the violence of the banshee
All the other monsters speak the truth
It must be true because I can’t write
so I’m stupid
so I’m a failure
so I’m a fool
so I’m worthless
and I must hide it from everyone.

My friend is right.
She says I have an ego problem
It needs to appear to be the opposite of everything the seducer says
and look out when I can’t measure up.
“But I’m a fucking failure! I have to hide that!”
“No, you make mistakes.
And you beat yourself up over them.”


I can’t live like this
I can’t work like this
I can’t pursue happiness like this
I can’t fear all this

“Fear is the mind-killer.”
The drama queen, seducer, and procrastinator blink.
“I have had enough.”
Heads turn to exchange glances of confusion.
“I let you have power over me because
I didn’t believe in me.”
Confusion shifts to fear.


Of the insecurity
Of the fear
Of the paralization
Of the hiding
Of your poison.

“I believe in me.”
Swing the door shut—the heavy steel door
blocking the voices of the drama queen
the seducer
the procrastinator
the banshee screaming I need them.
Who thought the jailer could be free?
“I believe in me.”

Notes: Finally done. Confession poetry is good for the soul. And I wasn’t going to do it because it seems like the stereotypical MFA “victim story” and I want to entertain readers. But I couldn’t work on anything else until this was written out. It was supposed to be the sequel to “I Don’t Like You, Poetry.” Maybe now I can work on that one.

Part of my problem is admitting that I’m human. I brood over my mistakes, convinced that I’m damned and doomed. And I avoid going back to the things that damned and doomed me. Instead of laughing and letting go og my embarrassment and moving forward, I refuse to read poetry so I won’t feel or appear to be stupid. It’s time to admit that, and finally let it go. And let it go everytime I do it.

And I'm caught up with 100 Words and homework! (I still need to comment on other's work for class but I can get that done tomorrow and Saturday.) Posting the Reading Diary here and then getting started on fiction!

Reading Diary 9

What About the Light on the Window?

I mean the bounced back light
that mirrors my own face
looking in, my body cast
on the dark outside
of the hotel window
like something not quite
developed, a man still
in the midst of transmission.
There are spaces, places you
can see through my body
to the parked cars
and pillars of the downtown
cloverleaf—what a beautiful word
for everyone hurrying, for the tangle
of traffic that travels my shoulders
and chest. What a shame
for the light to stream so far
and be stricken on a hotel
window in Albany, New York,
and me in the spell of my own
vain moment, as if I contained
what hurried behind me
and where they were going
and even the mechanical surf
sound of car wheels on concrete.
And even the skyline—spire,
wedge, thicket of aerials.
What a vague shape a body
makes when you're looking in,
barely more than a window
itself. What a slim thing
for the light to bounce back,
having washed so far
in little packets and waves.
I could look a long time
at the steadiness
of parked cars, the flourish
of blown paper that proves
the wind, the traffic navigating
the cloverleaf in my shoulder,
through my shoulder, the skyline
of Albany like a city inside,
but not really inside, whatever
light grants as it goes.

Max Garland

This poem is one big image that no one ever talks about, what you see through a reflection in a window. I like how it goes from the wonder of that image and the cityscape seen beyond it, to feeling sorry for the light. It fits in well with the worship-the-sun poetry I was reading a few weeks ago. One of the last quotes in the book basically said the sun is responsible for all life on Earth and how badly do we take it for granted. The poet takes what could be a vain stance “I have a city in me” and transforms it into something granted by the light in the last line.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Day 29

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Educators' Guide again. I'm hoping tomorrow, since I've got hours before my doctor's appointment, I get some poetry and fiction done. Homework comes first though, which means poetry.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Day 27

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

In the Educators' Guide. I'm pleased with it, since I lost time to dealing with pharmacy stupidity and then having to research.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Day 22

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

I got all the comments done for my homework assignment, but I really can't count those as writing. What I can count is a new draft of "I Don't Like You, Poetry." I'm still not caught up yet, but the sequel poem I decided to do for this week isn't gelling together or it is moving into another direction. It will probably take longer to figure out.

Title: I don’t like you, Poetry

I don’t like you, Poetry
You’re fine for reading alone
enjoying the images and the word play,
but together in a class?
Seeing the visions of poets tearing out translucent hair
and wondering what kind of fool scholars be we.
You remind me of all the jabs from professors:
“Why is this significant?
What does it mean?
What is the Author saying?”
“Maybe exactly what is written is what was meant.”
My answer was never right; I was never right
No, Poetry, I can’t like you
Not as long as you make me be stupid

So I will never understand the greats
surely I will understand my peers
new writers,
struggling—like me.
Their words are within my reach.
Poetry, you didn’t defend me that day as I gushed about the imagery.
As I sat in the desk with cheeks aflame
The old dead greats can’t laugh at me when I’m wrong.
My peers; how they smirk. Laughing with the lesbian poet I tried to compliment.
Is it my fault I don’t look for sex in everything?
I feel like a dried-up, prudish, spinster who will never know the joys of sex,
surrounded by Playboy bunnies.
Is it my fault that spelunking is just like lesbian sex?
Militant feminist lesbian—I’d leave her in a non-metaphorical cave somewhere!
Militant feminist lesbian—aren’t I your sister too?
But she and Poetry shut me up for years after laughing at my naïveté,
mocking my innocence instead of understanding.
No, Poetry, I can’t trust you

Day 19

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Alas, most of it on homework, and today is another homework busy day. Hopefully for Day 22, I will have some edited or new poetry to share.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Day 18

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

I really slacked off bad, but now with having to catch up on homework and getting back into the groove. Unfortunately, I don't have to time to cut paste the 623 words I wrote. I will share more next time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dealing with names

This morning I've been thinking about names. I developed a problem with character names. "Zy" and that character came first, but not her Earth name. Later, I developed a character for a Call of Cuthulu game by asking myself how Zy would have turned out if she hadn't gone to outer space. So that was the origin of Cynthia Towers.

So when I returned to Zy, I thought playing on "Cynthia Towers" was a good idea. Tried spelling "Cynthia" funny; that didn't work. "Towers" became "Tauers" and no one could figure out how to pronounce that either. So time for something new, but my naming books weren't being helpful.

I found two websites: Behind the Name: the etymology and history of first names and Behind the Name: the etymology and history of surnames. And they let you search on meanings. So I searched on moon and moon goddess for the first name and "protection, fortress, castle" for the last name.

First Name Choices
  • Selina/Selene - reminds me of Catwoman

  • Chandra - I like but trying to get away from C's

  • Pandia - sounds more like a follower of Pan

  • Arianrhod - Welsh and I like it but I can't pronounce it

  • Diana - already used for a character

  • Rhiannon - already used for a character

  • Bridget - actually Celtic goddess of fire and poetry, which sounded pretty good for the character I've called "responsible implusiveness

Last Name Choices
  • Castle/Castell

  • Wyman

  • Rattray

  • Dunbar

  • Morris

  • Tittensor

  • Yates

I settled on Bridget Wyman.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day 4

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

296 words is what I got done today. Yeah!

Jannuet sat at the wall end of the car. Zy could see her when she craned her neck to the left, but it was too uncomfortable to keep it like that. It would match the cricks in my back, she thought.

Music from a still open club on this floor throbbed in the distance, but it didn’t cover up the footsteps against the synthwood floor. Only one person entering though. A stoll scrapped on the floor and Jannuet backed into the room where Zy could see her without straining. Jannuet brushed back her black and purple hair in an attempt not to look nervous. “Where’s Sithna?”

A male chuckled and stepped into Zy’s view, humanoid dressed in a black, loose jumpsuit, dark hair, and turned where she couldn’t see his face. He stepped closer to Jannuet. “I couldn’t let Sithna come. Not when you’ve been talking.”

“Talking? I haven’t been talking. What do I know?” She took a step back, aiming for the door backstage.

He circled around her, blocking off that escape route and still keeping his back toward Zy. Zy gritted her teeth. “Jannuet,” he said conversationally, “I hate liars. Someone’s chasing me and she found this place and she found you.” He circled around Jannuet again. “And I suspect that my pursurer is not content to clean up my messes and wants to stop my necessary work. And you helped her.”

“I didn’t help anybody!”

He jerked something up from his hip. “Don’t lie to me!”

Zy and Mealte exploded out of the booth, but not before the report of laser fire. Zy scrambled to the main doors and hit the security button. The laser grid lit up in the door sill.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Day 3

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Okay, I am not going to beat myself up about missing a day. That's not what this exercise is for. Now is the time to get caught up and get my homework and writing group stuff done at the same time.

Title: Tree before a storm

What colors are in a tree?
Green, brown, and in bloom? Many possibilities
But mostly people think of green
Have you looked closely at the green?
Have you seen the different shades of that verde when the sunshine illuminates the leaves posed against a mountain of black clouds in the sky?
The new glows with aliveness, welcoming the coming storm.

That's 65 words. Time for some more writing.

Homework Reading Response One:

Elephants Are Not Afraid Of Mice by Arthur Mortensen

An elephant regarded a mouse
Who'd found a seat upon his trunk.
"My trunk is not a mouse's house,"
The paciderm exclaimed, and -- thunk!
He bashed the mouse -- red guts on bark;
A passing dog enjoyed a chew.
A pair of black flies cried -- Hark! Hark!
There is a lovely feast in view.

Had Darwin come upon this scene
He might have learned a handy lesson,
That elephants are rarely mean
But can't abide a second guess on
The subject of elephants and mice:
The mouse that roars won't roar twice.

This poem has haunted me for a while now. I hope it's not due to the violence done against the mouse. First off, it rhymes with rhythm. The next poem I try to write must have rhymes in it, because I'm feeling that I am incapable of writing that way. I know that poetry doesn't have to, but it shows such a control of form.

The vivid murder of the mouse and the title remind me of all the cartoon images seen as a child of the mouse taunting the elephant. Dumbo is a good example. This poem neatly turns that over and squashes it flat. And the last line just makes me smile. Maybe it is the violence.

Note to self: go find all that peotry terminology that refuses to stick in my head for the next response.

That gives me 139 words. So now everything else I write goes in the monthly/weekly totals.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Potential type of fae

To this day, all three shake when describing it to me. According to them, it was a humanoid of some sort. Its legs were very long as well as its feet and it was talking huge strides as it made its way down the street. Its back was bent back and its neck was very long and was bent forward. They said no human could be bent like this thing was. Its eyes were black, but it did have the whites as well. Its skin was transparent green, and it was wearing nothing but white pants and black shoes. Karl said that it looked like a dead Ziggy Stardust because the hair was bright red.

As soon as they saw it, Reggie let out a tiny gasp and then the thing instinctively looked at them and squinted. They said that it was so dark they couldn't imagine that a human could hear a tiny gasp and then immediately locate the sound. This thing did, however. It never stopped moving, and once it was past the driveway and viewpoint of the men, the clomping noise abruptly stopped. Reggie feared that perhaps it had scaled the apartment building and was now on the roof.

This description sparked my interest for some reason.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Day 1

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Actually I got 1456 words in the Educators' Guide, but because it's a paying gig, I can't share it online. Tomorrow I'll write something I can put up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The More Things Change or Hurry Up and Wait

Title: The More Things Change or Hurry Up and Wait

Hear it creak and groan?
Are you listening hard enough?
Multitasking the wait away
While the hourglass turns and turns
Only makes the supervisor angry.

Note: Trying to tell the story of the new computer system at work. It involves a lot of hurry up and wait.

I don't like you, Poetry

Title: I don’t like you, Poetry

I don’t like you, Poetry
You’re fine for reading alone
enjoying the images and the word play,
but together in a class?
You remind me of all the jabs from professors:
“Why is this significant?
What does it mean?
What is the Author saying?”
“Maybe exactly what is written is what was meant.”
My answer was never right; I was never right
Haunted by visions of men tearing out insubstantial hair while wondering what kind of fool scholars be we
No, Poetry, I can’t like you
Not as long as you make me be stupid

The old dead only immortal through their thoughts and words would be one thing
They can’t laugh when I’m wrong
Not like my contemporaries who think me
A dried up, prudish, spinster
Poetry, you didn’t defend me that day as I gushed about the imagery.
Is it my fault that spelunking is just like lesbian sex?
Militant feminist lesbian—I’d like to make sure she got left in a non-metaphorical cave somewhere!
Militant feminist lesbian—aren’t I your sister too?
But she and Poetry shut me up for years after laughing at my naïveté.
No, Poetry, I can’t like you
Not as long as you mock me.

Note: I don’t know if that is a good stopping point or if I should continue onto a third verse redeeming Poetry? After all, my hang-ups aren’t Poetry’s fault. I think I will stop it there. Come back in a sequel to redeem Poetry.

So this is my poem explaining my great avoidance of poetry. I wanted it to turn out to be Expansive, but it went confessional instead. Two separate semesters and two separate classes, but both events convinced me I was too stupid to understand poetry, poets were to make me look stupid, and I should stick with prose where I am in the club. I managed to stay away from poetry for years. My one exception was for a story and I only managed that because I told myself I would respond with “It sounds better in the original Greek” to anyone who laughed. It’s been seven years since that one.

Monday, June 11, 2007

100 Words for 100 Days

100 Words for 100 Days June 13 - Sept 20

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Is this going to be a mismash of things from me or what? I have to write poetry and reading diary posts for class, the Educators' Guide gig, and keep up with my fiction. I'm going to try to keep up with my progress here and on the Backpack page. I will post the tidbits as I can; some stuff I can't share because of proprietary reasons. But I need to forge ahead despite everything that's going on.

Five Things I Want to Write Meme

I still don't understand these meme things, and I think everyone who reads my stuff has probably done this already.

The rules:
1) Write about the top five writing projects you want to do. Books, short stories, whatever.

2) Post the rules and the link to where you got the Meme from in the first place.

3) Tag people.

So here's mine done in the order of how much I want to get it done, not the order of active work.

1). Zy's Novel is not mired but I'm having a time with completion. The 100 words challenge will probably help. Here's a quote:

“I’m so glad you didn’t come here to execute him then. The whole spaceport would be dead.”

Zy shook her head. “There’s two witnesses that saw me not kill him.”

“The racketeer’s girlfriend and a bodyguard in your pay.” Investigator Von sneered.

She let the misinformation that she was paying Mealte slide. “And would Lue Ality have any reason to lie for me if I killed Hiqurguet? You can get my records from IGA, as well as all my reports on this case. Now can you please cordon off Per 3 before the murderer jumps planet?”

“You’re actually trying to save racketeers? Doesn’t IGA teach you the only good racketeer is a dead one?”

“See, that’s the attitude they have such a problem with. The one that gets me a gun in my face when I try to find out who’s killing them and how.” The investigator scowled and Zy shrugged.

2. Strix webcomic I really do want to do this, and have no real idea if it will go any further than me wanting it. But vampires, superheroes, and family dynamics; what's not to love?

3. "The Blue Man on the Porch" Short stories I used to be able to churn out fast as least. This one has been more like pulling teeth. But the majority of the my creative writing class two semesters ago liked it (and not a lot of genre readers in that bunch), so it has potential. Here's a quote:

A blue man with a butcher knife locked eyes with her. Cyndia lunged for the rusty shotgun her foster mother kept in the umbrella stand next to the door. She rammed it against her shoulder.

The blue man had disappeared from the front door window.

Her chewing gum cemented in her mouth. The back door was locked; she always locked up when in the house alone. She moved to the back of the living room where she could see the front door, down the hall to the bedrooms, and the archway to the kitchen, and could jump out the window if necessary. She snatched the cordless phone off the coffee table.

4. Canterbury Murder Mystery A project for the Acadiana Medieval Faire, which will probably end up being a dinner theater mystery.

5. "Underneath the Colored Lights" I practically want to write this one only to use that title. Just kidding, but I do think I need to stop being clever and artificial about the protagonist.

I also realized I need to clean out the numbers' sidebar of buried projects and put the right numbers on others.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Noctem Aeternus

This is a new horror zine. I thinkthe Highwayman hitchiker story I wrote might work as a submission.

Submission guidelines

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Old vs. New

The Pocket Muse: Endless Inspiration by Monica Wood said the following on page 93 that got me thinking.
And sometimes, when I see my students reaching back through the misty years (to the stuff they wrote in college, usually), I want to grab their hands and beg them to stop. Retrieving an old subject, one that still haunts you, will work only if you begin afresh without looking back. Otherwise, you will waste energy troubleshooting some other writer's work--because you are no longer that writer.
So on April 18th, I looked at my list of stories in first draft stage.
  • Zy's Novel
  • Strix beginning story
  • Canterbury murder mystery
  • Acadiana Medieval Faire 2008 Educators' Guide
  • Underneath the Colored Lights
  • Zy's vacation story
  • The Chosen
  • Strix: Forget the Sun
  • Evil Jack: For Worse
  • Wars Are Won By Those Who Dare: Turbo
Just four items were not begun in the 1990s. Of those four, two are fanfiction (that I won't work on without finishing more original stuff) and one is non-fiction. And fiction is what I'm having issues with.

This realization fought badly with my "must-finish-the-story" drive. I had at some point gone back and edited fanfiction created at the same time or earlier. That's okay, that's what my fanfiction projects are for--trying out techniques that aren't ready for original fiction. Some how this continuous rewriting got moved to the original fiction. So why is my "must-finish-the-story" drive being triggered? Why did the idea of setting aside stuff I can't do anything more with--especially after I finished it a decade ago--make part of me throw an inner tantrum?

Zy's Novel doesn't count: it was never finished at any point I worked on it. Zy's vacation short story likewise doesn't count. Rewriting "The Case of the Hideous Medallion" started it, but now it has a new crime and place in that universe's timeline.

Strix doesn't count because I'm reworking the universe and changing formats to a webcomic if I ever find an artist.

"The Chosen" counts. I finished that novel and it was bad. Not horrible idea bad, but a-first-attempt-hide-it-under-the-bed bad. Yes, I could keep it on the list to completely rewrite it, but the rewrite never grasped hold of my brain with new characters and new situations like Strix did. Time to put it away.

"Underneath the Colored Lights" I feel more conflicted about. I finished the story, loved the imagery and characters, should be a strong regional piece and sellable, but it flopped in the beta reading stage. At that point, you are supposed to rewrite. But have I waited too long? Am I better off filing it away as a good practice attempt? Can I afford to?

I'm looking at the "Need to Submit" List, which I should change to the "Need to Retire" List. If I throw everything into the filing cabinet, what will be left to mail out in June? Okay so I'm going to let those three go out and earn rejections in June.

And to deal with the ambivalance over "Underneath the Colored Lights," here it is, published through Google Docs. Read it and answer the poll. I'll give the poll a month while I go file "The Chosen" away.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Possible topics

Commuting hell
Finding time to write vs. everything else
Freelance gigs
Taking time off

Leave a comment if you have a suggestion for a topic.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Current strategy and using the lunch hour wisely

I made myself a contract. The idea of rewarding myself with something else to write didn't originate with me. I got it from Holly Lisle. At this point, I'm willing to try anything to get my ass into the gear I think it should be. It didn't use to be like this. I used to be able to write whenever I had a free second.

Now I can't even use my lunch hour wisely. My brain doesn't want to work on writing--except that seems to be the story of my brain at all times during the day. But today I'm not listening to the lazy part of me, I'm going to write.

And it works. So why do I have to force myself to the page. I feel like such a failure when I must do that. It would make sense if I stared at a blank sheet for the entire time. "Ah! I'm blocked, that's the reason for the reluctance." Nope, story starts flowing just fine. So what the hell is up with the reluctance?

Will return to this topic with an answer hopefully.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How Do You Really Do It? Project


Let me preface this whole thing with one statement--I am a writer. Too many writing books assume the reader is just starting out and needs advice on everything. Creating a novel advice may come up, but what I'm interested in is trying to integrate all my metaphorical hats onto my head: the writer's hat, the state worker's hat, the homeowner's hat, the girlfriend's hat, the hobby/business owner's hat; all the hats the other books assume you have already packed into hat boxes and stored in the attic. I like to hope the writers of those other books have messed up hats too, just carefully edited from view.

It's not easy being a writer. Once you think you have one thing figured out, it changes. Like thinking up titles. How hard should it be to come up with a title? Usually, I can't come up with one good one, so my current novel is still being called "Zy's Novel." For this project, I first came up with "How Do You Really Do It?" followed by "Trying to Live as a Writer" and then "Living the Writing Life." Now that I'm starting it in Discipline Under Fire, I think that makes a zappy title. I finished my first story on paper at age eleven, and it hasn't gotten any easier. I'm hoping that by chronicaling my struggles, the zen of a writing life will become easier.

Regardless, you're invited along.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I, Kindra Coates, pledge to complete the following:

a). five-minutes free writing practice session everyday.
b). once scene out of Zy's Novel.

Once the scene from Zy's Novel is completed (no matter how long that takes) work on one scene from Strix as a reward.

Kindra L. Coates