Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bootstrap up, Princess.

I sat at my computer for nearly half an hour, trying to get something written for the posting this week. The blank space and the blinking cursor just staring at me, mocking me with every second that ticked by. Each flash of the cursor reminded me you're stuck, you're stuck, you're stuck. Stupid insensitive cursor.

Excuses started running through my head: the insomnia has been hounding me again, the winter weather has me kind of blue, my beloved dog isn't doing so well. How can I create (cue dramatic flourish, add a beret or a white scarf) when all of this is going on around me, sapping my artistic spirit, silencing my muse? How can I be expected to work when I don't feel like working?

And then the ol' logic center kicked in: because if I expect to be treated like a professional one day, I have to start acting like one now. Editors aren't going to expect any less than any other employer just because my job entails writing a book. Deadlines aren't going to apply to everyone else but me. If I'm going to be taken seriously, I'm going to need to stop whining.

Sigh. It's too bad, though, because I look pretty snazzy in a beret. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Of Method and Madness...and Bad Guys.

So I'm stuck.

I'm at a critical point in my plotting process, a must-happen series of events, otherwise the rest of the project won't have the necessary impact later on as events unfurl. And I'm stuck.

Not that I'm lost. I know what I need to have happen, it's all up there in my head, waiting. The thing is, the events are being carried out by my antagonist. And he's a very bad man. Evil, really. And it's some very bad stuff that he's doing. Irredeemable things. Things that make my skin crawl. I'm dragging my feet because I don't want to climb into his dark little skull.

The adage "write what you know" usually doesn't fail me. I mean, I may not know exactly what it's like to find myself on a international search for the one thing that is going to save all mankind, but looking for my wallet or keys can sometimes feel tantamount. :) Seriously, though, most things in the human emotion and experience gamut can be applied to most of the things I write. Most everyone can identify with love, loss, joy, sorrow, anger, etc. Even the little not-so-nice things people do (lie, steal, cheat) can be relate-able. But this is a point of view that is completely outside normal.

The one and only time I've had exposure to a person remotely close to what my antagonist is like was a very uncomfortable and frightening experience. The thought of purposely thinking in a similar manner leaves me a bit uneasy. Hmm, maybe I'll just bust out a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and hope for the best.

Oh, well. I guess that's the price to pay for a good story. Now I just need to treat this like a band-aid: grip it and rip it. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Write ME, dammit!

I've been draining myself the past couple of weeks. The novel I'm working on is a horror piece that started in NaNoland. I don't know why I started it. I'm not a fan of the genre anymore. My teenage angst has long since gone the way that teenage angst tends to go, so I no longer need the credit of Lovecraftian readership (although awesome at the genre, too much for me now). I don't enjoy the feeling of discomfort that the tension and the visualization elicits. But that's the story that wants to be told, and I'm going to do right by it and finish.

My unease with the genre got me thinking about stories that just won't be quiet. The type that pop up and try to hijack another story when you least expect or want it anywhere near you. The type that, despite your best effort, you find yourself thinking about when you should be concentrating on anything but. The type that seem to have a life and existence of their own, and won't quiet until they are committed to paper. I've heard various artisans talk about similar methods with their mediums, ranging from paint to stone. So I don't feel so odd when I view a story in that context.

That's not to say that all one has to do is sit at the computer or pen in hand and type or write away until all is completed. How sweet would that be? I've spent the most time and effort on this piece than any other one before it, even projects (labors of love and pets) that I've been writing on longer.

I think, though, that this one is different because of the amount of time and effort I've put into the crafting of it. I've felt the most professional with this one. And I think that it's given me good ideas and work ethic to go got back and blow the dust off of all the other stories that didn't have such a demanding nature.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is there something wrong with my brain?

Okay, no one that knows me gets to answer that. But I have to admit, sometimes I wonder. There are many points in my daily life that give credence to my theory, but today had to be one of the most shining examples.

I had to get up at six this morning so that I could make the hour drive over to my neurologist to have a VER (visual evoked response) test. Basically, I sat in a dark little room with a bunch of electrodes glued to my head and watched a little dot in the middle of a black and white checkerboard patterned television screen. The electrodes recorded brainwaves as my eyes did or did not do whatever they did. And instead of thinking about the test, I'm sitting in that little room pondering all the things that could possibly be gleaned from those lovely little brainwaves (and yes, there was brain activity, for those who are feeling a wee bit snarky). If the tech were adept enough at interpreting them, could she have translated the data into what I thought, how I felt? The thing lasted for forty five minutes, and that's all that I could think about. And for some reason I found myself thinking about a scenario with similar equipment and all sorts of fun dystopic shenanigans.

As more time passes, I find my mind taking on these little excursions. Considering the goal I'm working to reach, I really don't think that the rampant and pinball-like imagination is a bad thing, just takes a little bit to get used to, I guess. Now if I can only harness it more reliably.