Should a Love Scene make you cry?

Thanks to Kirsten at  www.ascenicroute.wordpress.com for demonstrating the Add Poll feature in Word Press. Check out her WP tips!Lies-and-Legends-Time-for-w

I just finished a  steamy love scene between my POV character and the completely unsuitable, dangerous man she falls for. Honestly, I almost shed a tear. Maybe all the emotion the two characters endure during their adventure finally got to me, or maybe it was  just the questionable quality of the writing:)

So, what’s your opinion on love scenes?

Disco Inferno

Just a bit of complaining about the little things in life that get in the way of writing.

postcard-couple-kissing-with-surgical-masks-b40c4-b-w (1)We’re emerging from two weeks of mind numbing illnesses at our house. My poor Rick, who is a strong and manly-man, came down with the full-blown influenza, the Swine Special, a freight train of a virus that roars through your system with the fury of a hurricane . (Of course we got shots!) For some reason the flu is raging out here. So, if you’re in Colorado, cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands – a lot.

And then, a few days ago, my lower back exploded. A herniated disc. God, who gets those? Me apparently.  Hurts like hell, but I’m on my feet – most of the time.

Hence the title of this blog. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.disco-inferno-2

Needless to say, my WIP is limping along, no pun intended. However, for the first time in days I am able to sit down at the computer, outline a scene, and claw my way back into wordland.

So, what’s the writing holdup at your house these days? 

Photos: Foter

Spellcheck Hell or Highwater

My critique partner and I are working on new novels with the usual thrills and chills! Yesterday I received her gentle rant concerning a problem fraying the nerves of writers world wide. Spellcheck.  Here, in part, are her comments:

“I’m literally a walking dictionary. Words that I’m familiar with, or their derivatives, don’t even show up on Spellcheck or are marked as wrong.”

Spellcheck in Word is different in Scrivener in iPage ad infinitum.  Some spellchecks are US English, others British English – on and on. So, you may have to spellcheck in several softwares or just go with your gut.thinking-in-mirror-image

“Thank goodness for my 1978 dog-eared paperback Roget’s Thesaurus, yellowed-pages held together by an old rubber band. It is still the best writing resource I own.”

While pondering this spellcheck mess, I stumbled on a fantastic thesaurus lurking on Scrivener.

Capture

Go to thesaurus. com and check it out. Not only does it have more synonyms that the Word thesaurus, but it has sorting options that I’ve never seen before except on clothing and shoe buying sites.

“I would much rather NOT have spellcheck’s screaming red lines pull me away from my initial intent and focus.”

Turn it off. Word, iPage or whatever you are using should have a toggle to toast the offending red lines.
How do you feel about spellcheck? Is it an invasive, dull-witted pain in the butt or the saving grace for your writing?

Breaking Dumb

A quick thought on inspiration…

stop and think pngNext time your muse deserts you and you’re banging your head against the keyboard and praying for ideas, try this: what was the worst too-dumb-to-live decision you ever made? Seriously. What decision  made you wonder, during or later, what was I thinking??  If you don’t want to face your own demons or you never made any bad decisions, ask your friends. I guarantee you’ll hear the most hilarious, tragic, and bizarre tales of human misbehavior ever.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Use the unlimited resources of your own life or the lives of others to populate your stories and novels with chaos and pathos, humor and heartbreak. Don’t forget to change the names of the crazed people involved. Also, remember, since you are the boss here, you can change the outcome, making bad decisions have great results.

Either way, it’ll be fun or frightening.

It’ll leave you thinking, holy s**t, that was a close one!

What was the dumbest thing you ever did and lived to tell about?

Photo from Foter

Hoarse Writer’s Voice

First in a series (hopefully a short series) of updates on synopsis for my second novel.

Synopsis still in the grinder. Why? WHY?

NWoman using laptopever let it be said I don’t listen to advice. I don’t always take advice, even if it’s good council, but I always listen.

First, Lynette mentioned how my POV’s snarky voice sparkled in my first novel.  It never occurred to me she might be hinting my second novel synopsis needed that same sarcastic tone and gently suggesting I need to let loose.

Then, after reading Kristen Lamb’s blog What is Writing “Voice”, I realized I’ve actually dumped my voice. Maybe writing in third person is unfamiliar enough to rattle me, but somehow my synopsis became rigid and far too serious. I am writing SFR here, not The Kite Runner.

Suddenly, like a retina-bending explosion, the truth emerged. The voice I hear in my head, the bad bold voice, isn’t there. Where the hell did it go? For some reason, it’s quiet –  replaced by nervous chatter. As you patient readers know, writing the synopsis first is new for me, but I’m still convinced it’s the right direction for this novel.  So, I’m letting the acerbic voices of my characters loose, and they’ll lead me from beginning to end. stranger-in-balaklava_l

How do your characters’ voices sound in your head? Are they the real you or someone you would like to be?

 

Photos from Foter.com

Things Unseen

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Longs Peak near Loveland, CO

Usually, I don’t blog about personal experiences other than the frustrations and victories of the writing life, but the last week and a half has been unique! I’ve darkened the door of two very different religious institutions while dodging the bolt of lightning my sassy husband predicted would strike me.

  • Day one: Lauren, my friend of 36 years, died after a short illness.
  • Day two: My sister, Liz, arrived from Florida for her first visit back to Colorado since 1974.
  • Day six: I visited the Denver Krishna temple with my devotee sister, and I participated in a joyous evening of chanting and feasting with a friendly and vibrant group of locals. All my long misconceptions about Hare Krishna dissolved in one night.
  • Day ten: I spoke a few words at Grace Place, a nondenominational congregation in Berthoud, CO, during the celebration of Lauren’s life.

After all this emotion I needed some grounding, so I plunged into research.

My sister had reminded me, with a twinkle in her eye, I was under the mistaken impression that Hare Krishna was a cult. Briefly, here’s what I found out:

Hare Krishna, in full International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON),  popular name of a semimonastic Vaishnava Hindu organization founded in the United States in 1965 by A.C. Bhaktivedanta (Swami Prabhupada; 1896–1977). This movement is a Western outgrowth of the popular Bengali bhakti (devotional) yoga tradition, or Krishna Consciousness, which began in the 16th century. Bhakti yoga’s founder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1485–1534?), advocated the pursuit of mystical devotion through repetitive chanting, especially of the Hare Krishna mantra.

So, it seems ISKCON is like many other religions, ancient and evolving simultaneously.  I also discovered the Krishna Food for Life project is the largest vegetarian/vegan food-relief program in the world. They feed anyone who is hungry from college students to  victims of war and chaos – worldwide. And, as an added  plus, no animals are harmed in this endeavor.11954241201556281584tomas_arad_heart.svg.thumb

I visited Grace Place to honor my friend and found  a loving gospel centered congregation. Its mission is community outreach which it does on many levels, from assisting young and old in the local area to advancing Social Justice Awarness (bringing forward the issue of Human Trafficking.) Its pastors and members are among the kindest folks I’ve met in many years.

I was fortunate to have these experiences and, once again, I realized how much alike we humans are, whether or not we care to admit it. We sing the praises of the life we are given in many ways, sending our faith in things unseen into the universe and beyond.

Do you have a favorite way of rejoicing?

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelightningman/7233369438/”>Striking Photography by Bo Insogna

Howdy, Ma’am

I was listening to country music at dinner the other night, a xfinity streaming station called True Country. My husband put it on, and it sure brought back a flood of memories from my brain aquifer. Long ago in a cultural detour far away, my girlfriends and I went through what we in Colorado call a cowboy phase. howdy-3_l(It’s the hats and boots, you know.) Honestly, I knew practically nothing about country music except my Dad sang with the Sons of the Pioneers in Oklahoma. Dad also saw Bonnie and Clyde pass through his dusty hometown so you have an idea of how old the music was.

Fast forward to the late twentieth century. There was a black-hat cowboy working at our drafting company.  He busted himself (his words) rodeoing, so he was stuck in the civilian world making a living.  This mysterious man recognized my curiosity about country music. He brought in personally recorded tapes (anyone remember those?) for my listening pleasure. It was wonderful discovering such unique music. I fell in love with George Straight. OMG. For weeks I listened to new tunes, stories of romance and heartbreak, everyday life and love of USA, pickup trucks and bar room brawls. The emotional voices of country and the natural feel of the lyrics enthralled me.

My music tastes moved on through a variety of styles, finally landing on ambient space music, rowdy Latin Jazz, and a few old timers – George Thoroughgood, Bob Marley, and ZZ Top. But, the other day at work, early in the morning before the boss came in, someone tuned into a country station and I found myself instinctively two stepping across the office. Drifting up from the past, the embedded dance made me smile and my co-workers laugh. Some things you never forget, no matter how far they fly away.

What music makes you dance across the office?stars-th

Photo credit: Shine20 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

xenophobia

x – Are you fearless? human-rights-day_l

Some events we never forget, and these experiences work their way into our stories. For me,  xenophobia, fear or contempt for foreigners or foreign cultures, is such a memory. Xenophobia is the vicious mirror-mage of racism. After years gave me distance,  I used my brush with evil as a template for characters and situations in my science fiction novel.

Science fiction is a perfect forum, with its diverse universe and varied species and cultures. Some of my people display xenophobia like badge of honor, others wear it with shame, and still others fight against it. Two of my main characters fall in love in spite of it. Sometimes, the lies of xenophobia  can be exposed with humor, helping everyone learn some compassion. But, usually, the truth remains as dark and brutal as watching the KKK  march  in  full regalia down the main street of the town I grew up in. Of course, that was then and now our town is  a bright, sophisticated destination for arts and entertainment.However, like everywhere in our 21st century world, xenophobia still lurks like a hibernating virus. When writers bring these dark impulses to the surface, it reminds us all no one is immune to these potentially destructive thoughts and actions.

Will you speak against the dark side through your characters?  What memories from your past, good or bad, influence your writing?

Are you fearless?stars-th

 

Photo credit: Catching.Light / Foter.com / CC BY

Word Wizards

vision-quest_l

W – People who write are always looking for a way to be heard. When did you begin longing for an audience? It took me about a year of pounding the keys before I realized I was on my own. For a while, I felt terrible. How would I know if my writing was any good? Why write if no one read my stuff? The old if a tree falls in the forest thing. I hadn’t started reading chapters to my husband at that point, so I was completely isolated.

Unlike painting, music, or dance, writing isn’t a social expression of art. For the most part, writers work alone. But, at some point, they need feedback. I always swore I would never join a writer’s group  but, out of the blue, through a series of coincidences, I found out about a newly forming group at a local independent bookstore. yes-would-you-like-to-buy-a-book_lAfter one meeting, I decided it wasn’t for me but, again, another coincidence brought me back to the fold. It was the best thing that could have happened for my writing.

One of the great things about a good writer’s group is everyone gets it. Each member has doubts, setbacks, and triumphs. And, as I got to know my fellow writers, I learned so much from reading and critiquing their work. I read genres I would never have touched a year before, I poured over non-fiction, and I even read poetry. Forming a kinship of compassion and honesty with other writers is priceless.

So, thankyou, my Word Wizards. Our group has accomplished so much. In the last year, four of us finished our books. One of us is selling her non-fiction book and increasing  sales every month. WIPs are still evolving. Memoirs are being refined.

Next time someone tells you about a writer’s group, consider joining up. It might be just the thing you and your writing need!

 

Photo credit: ALL CHROME / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: 0olong / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Tangent Tales

T – Tanget – a sudden digression or change of course.1197121887834365039Chrisdesign_Flying_Stars_svg_med

Ok. Admit it. It’s happened to you. You’re chatting with friends, laughing and blabbering away when suddenly another idea seizes control of your tongue and, several moments later, you’ve backed yourself in a verbal corner. How did I get here? you wonder. What the heck just happened? Instead of following a neat thought-thread from point a to z, you find yourself rattling around in point r. Granted point r is something you feel passionate about, but it led you astray. Maybe point r is a favorite cause, a fond like or a profound dislike. But, there you are. Off the track.

This happens to writers. When I write without an outline, I often end up in cave of cobwebby words and concepts, fighting toward the light, side tracked and frustrated. Usually, something interesting appears, something I can’t possibly use in the current story. It falls under the category of it’s fantastic but it doesn’t work here. Some of my best scenes turned out to be tangents and, I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t realize it until I did a huge revision on the novel.

I’m fairly tangent free now, but I always wanted to harness them. They are so full of potential and spontaneity.

stars-thSo tell me how you hog tie your tangents, or do you capture them and make them work for you?

(BTW, don’t delete those wandering thoughts. They could be the next big thing in your writing.)

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