Life in progress


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Aaaand … this is killing me

I didn’t sign up for the A to Z challenge (for the first time in five years) because I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to post every day. I know I’m going to be busy later on in the month but now? Now I’m itching to write something. Anything.

All the writers’ groups I’m in on Facebook are filled with posts about Camp NaNoWriMo. They’re happily discussing their works in progress and me?

I swear, the itch to write is worse than a mosquito bite that you can’t leave alone. It’s more a mosquito bite that’s so far embedded in your chest that it’s like the damned bug is buzzing around in your esophagus, and you can’t even swat it out because you can’t reach it.

That’s the best I can come up with.

So, can I write a post that starts with “B” tomorrow and not get kicked off the webz? Can I? Can I?

 


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One-Liner Wednesday – How I Roll

Once in a while I get a brilliant idea for a story–something that’s so mind-boggling, that I just KNOW it’s best-selling-novel material. I’ll be so excited that there’s NO WAY I’m going to forget this idea, but I write myself a little note, just to make sure.

Here’s one example, that’s been on my phone for almost a year:

I have no freakin’ clue what the story was going to be about.


If you would like to participate in this prompt, feel free to use the “One-Liner Wednesday” title in your post, and if you do, you can ping back here to help your blog get more exposure. To execute a pingback, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post, and paste it somewhere in the body of your post. Your link will show up in the comments below. Please ensure that the One-Liner Wednesday you’re pinging back to is this week’s! Otherwise, no one will likely see it but me.

NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, like Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

As with Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS), if you see a pingback from someone else in my comment section, click and have a read. It’s bound to be short and sweet.

Unlike SoCS, this is not a prompt so there’s no need to stick to the same “theme.”

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

#1linerWeds badge by Dan Antion

 


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#JusJoJan 2018, the 16th – Contemplation

As a writer, I spend a lot of time contemplating the stories that form in my head. At my worst, during my most creative spells, my mind blocks out everything going on around me. I become consumed, beyond contemplation, in my own world. I get to the point where I’m not telling the stories anymore, rather the stories are telling me what is and isn’t true. I’m not imagining; I’m listening.

So it’s rather a shock when my beta readers tell me I should take out a scene because it makes them uncomfortable. I don’t blame the readers; I appreciate their input and I understand their discomfort. But I’ve lost two betas at the same spot in the second book in my series, “The Great Dagmaru,” in the last week, and that makes me wonder if they’re not right. My guilty conscience for making people uncomfortable is warring with the writer in me who says the scene in question IS part of the story. It’s what happened. So changing it or removing it comes to the same result: compromising the story’s truth.

I have a feeling that if I leave the scene in, it’s either going to make or break my entire series. The readers who realized it needed to be in there enjoyed it (or tolerated it) because it made them feel uncomfortable – it’s what it’s meant to do. Those who hated it may end up hating me. Should I be hoping at this point that it will push enough buttons, whether positive or negative, to make the book go viral? On the other hand, maybe it’s not all that bad, in the hands of the right audience. Speaking of which, note to all the readers who thought The Magician’s Curse should have been categorized as “Young Adult”: the second book will prove to be distinctly “Adult.”

Stay true to your story and publish without fear, says most of me: Write to please people with a story fit for Hollywood, the part of me that wants to bow to the more sensitive readers says.

Lots to contemplate. Opinions are welcome.

This contemplative and rather undecided post is brought to you by Just Jot it January, and in particular, prompted by the word “contemplation,” provided by Cheryl! Thank you so much, Cheryl! You can find Cheryl’s JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.

 


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#JusJoJan 2018, the 8th – Pants

What I want to write about today is and isn’t pants; it’s panties. I’ll start by explaining how I got from one to the other: in a word, English. In North America, pants are the things we walk around in that everyone sees. In the UK pants are trousers, and underwear are pants. I honestly wish we could call them that here too, even though I hate the word “trousers.”

But you know what word I hate even more? “Panties.” I use it for lack of a better word when I write fiction–underwear seems such a bulky word. One that conjures, in my mind, visions of undergarments that cover from the lowest part of the butt cheek to the waist. To have the hero of one of my stories strip his lady love of everything but a pair of those would quickly transform the sexiest scene into either a comedy or worse, something that would make me gag.

I didn’t grow up calling them panties, which may be why I’m so adverse to the word. What do you think? Is “panties” as distasteful for you as it is for me? Do you have a better word?

I’ve considered having all my characters go commando, just so I don’t have to deal with it at all.

This post was brought to you by Just Jot it January, and in particular, prompted by the word, “pants,” provided by pensitivity! Thank you so much! You can find her JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.


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#JusJoJan 2018, the 1st – Drama

When I wrote my very first novel in 2004 (I think), Trixie In a Box, about a woman stuck in an elevator in a deserted building over a long weekend, I had no idea what genre to place it in. Which is partially why I still haven’t published it. If it was a movie, it would be a drama. While Trixie is enclosed in her dark metal box, her family goes through a crisis and barely notices she’s missing. This conundrum has led me to much contemplation on the meaning of the word “drama.” Why it’s not recognized and hugely popular as a literary genre is beyond me.

If you think about it, drama in movies is really simply a slice of ordinary life. Sure, something significant happens within that hour and a half, but things happen in life all the time. Unless we’re in an extended rut, we tend to go from one drama to the next. The most popular recent use of “drama” is related to angst. Often teenage angst; a negative connotation that’s made the word almost cringe-worthy.

Here’s Merriam-Webster’s definition as it relates to life rather than theatre:

3 a : a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces

  • the drama of the past week
  • dealing with some family drama
b : dramatic state, effect, or quality

  • the drama of the courtroom proceedings

So what to do with Trixie? It will take some major up-to-snuff editing to elevate (pun not intended) her to literary fiction. I do hope she’ll see the light of day (okay, that one was a little bit intended) eventually.

This post is brought to you by Just Jot it January, and in particular, prompted by the word, “drama,” provided by Ritu! Thanks so much, my dear! You can find Ritu’s own JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.


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#SoCS – Optimism

Normally, I’m a very positive human being. I like to find the bright side in everything, if there’s a bright side to find. Most of the time when I find something good out of something very very bad, I keep my mouth shut, because whatever it is I’ve found would seem insensitive. I remember once making the mistake of saying to someone whose car had been damaged in an accident that at least the guy in the body shop made some money … You can see by this how far I stretch.

But, in contrast, sometimes my imagination takes me to worst-case scenarios where even I can’t find something good. And that’s actually where my stories come from.

Imagine, for instance, something terrible happening (no one dies!) that affects everyone. All the banks close just before Christmas, for example. No one can do their shopping, and only those with cash can buy groceries. No good can possibly come of this, except, maybe for a villain!

I often write dark stories, and the strangest thing about it is that they’re driven by my optimism. I’ve wondered for years where my odd tendency for writing horror comes from. I think I just figured it out.

Thanks, Stream of Consciousness Saturday Sunday. 😛

Oh, and speaking of SoCS, I did write something on my fiction blog last night, for the first time in ages. Click here to read it.

This very very late post is brought to you by SoCS. Click the link to find all the other amazing entries! https://lindaghill.com/2017/12/15/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-16-17/


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#SoCS – Giving birth to characters

Being a writer, I’ve read thousands of articles and opinions on how we typically come up with the characters who appear in our fiction. Is there a typical way? Probably not, but being as this is stream of consciousness and I stuck that damned rule in there to say we can’t edit, … that’s all she wrote.

Anyhoo, back to the topic of characters. One of the phrases I read a lot is “giving birth to characters.” I can’t say that I do that. “Giving birth,” to me, implies that they’re brand new shells of people who rely on me to fill them up with experiences, emotions, ways of speaking, and things they’re likely to do and ways they’re likely to react at any given moment. For me, characters appear as already-formed beings. I don’t give birth to them as much as I discover them.

One of the ways I know this–one of the main ways I know this–is when they show me their accents. In this alone I can tell where they come from, whether or not they have a lot of money, their age, their demeanor. I suppose it’s not necessarily as much “accent” as way of talking. Inflection, grammar, whether or not they use a lot of cliches. That sort of stuff.

It’s not as though I have them hanging around in my head all the time. If they did, I wouldn’t get a thought to myself. Nah, they come and go. You’ll see them in my “Second Seat” series. Come to think of it, it’s almost as though I have a bus inside my head …

Hmmm… Now there’s a thought.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is a weekly prompt that anyone can participate in. Click the following link to find out how, and see all the other posts in the comment section. 🙂 Give it a try! https://lindaghill.com/2017/09/01/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-217/