Friday, December 28, 2012

A little more...

Hey,  everyone! ...getting ready for the new year?

Despite the decision to take a hiatus from writing and catch up on reading... I've only managed to devour 2 books so far... and write about 1,350 words on the new story, Project #6... which I have semi-jokingly titled 'SCARLIGHT' for the time being. Oh, I also wrote a fast blurb (now on the 'What I'm Writing' page) so the gist of the story is clear. And yes, the blurb completely sucks, but that's about the only kind of outline I ever write to keep myself on track. The blurb for Project #5 similarly sucks in a 'basic-statement-of-facts-and-nothing-else' kind of way.

Now, before I give you the next section of #6, here's a question:

...Would you guys be interested if I created a new page for first-draft work and just kept adding new pieces as I write them? That way, the new story would all be in one place.

I'm thinking that's a heck of a lot easier for me to take it all down when I want to... instead of hunting through the archives and removing the first draft material piece by piece (which I still haven't done for 'Brake Fluid' since I'm... lazy?)

BUT, if you really only want to read it once (or not at all), it's a moot point. After all, it IS just first-draft material... nothing great.

Anyways, your thoughts are appreciated :) Here's the next bit (repeating the final line from the last sample so it flows together properly)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

For those who celebrate it, both the religious side, and the secular side of this holiday.

No matter how you celebrate Christmas, with presents or with food, whether you're travelling great distances or staying home, I hope you all stay safe and enjoy this day off with your families :)

Take care, sleep in, and I'll be back in a few days... or maybe tomorrow.

...and yes, it's great to have internet again after going cold for nearly a week ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

No Internet until Monday

Sorry, in Vancouver now, so I will be offline until Monday when we FINALLY get Internet installed!

Have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not much, but more than a first page

Seems it's going to be a real cheery story this time ;) Contemporary, for sure. Well, almost sure. Have to see where it goes :p

Kell is pretty clear in my mind, but Jay's still a mystery.

Comments/criticisms always welcome :) It's freshly written, so I'm sure it's packed full of mistakes, though I know I did throw in one made-up word... can you find it? ...and I know the tenses are a little messed up... started in past, switched to present, and don't think I caught all the necessary fixes.

EDIT: I added a little more, and now (for sure) I know this'll lean closer to the magical realism end of things. Somehow these characters merged with a story idea that's been skulking around in the back of my head for years.

I *get* Jay now. Like, 100% get him.

...and I hope he creeps you out, just a little ;)

Friday, December 14, 2012

I said I was taking a hiatus...right?

...then last night a single sentence kept rolling around in my head, and I couldn't sleep until I wrote it down.

"We were in the cemetery counting scars when the black car pulled up."

...what I know so far:

1) male protagonist, not sure of the age yet, but in the 14-16 range
2) secondary character Kell (female) same age/grade
3) both are covered in scars/old injuries
4) they are cutting class to hang out in the cemetery, but I don't think they go to the same school
5) no idea who gets out of the black car, but whoever it is, is visiting a grave, and also spooks the main character and/or Kell in some way

...and that's it.

That's how each new story I write begins. A single sentence, and a visual glimpse of the opening scene.

No title yet, so for now it'll be known as Project #6

Now, off to another decompression treatment!'s been interesting finding out how much damage there is from old injuries... ribs out of alignment, scar tissue on my ribs, and torn connective tissue around my left collarbone (re-healed incorrectly) are the latest finds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Food & books: would you have it again?

Have you ever been out for dinner with someone, and you ask, "Is that good?" and they respond, "Yes!"

Yet you notice they are picking the meal apart, cutting it into tiny bites, and trying to hide it under the garnish at the side of the plate so it looks like they've eaten more than they actually have.

Has anyone else noticed this?  Is it just a Canadian thing to never say anything bad in a restaurant?

I'm really picky about food. I have no problem modifying my order until it's nearly unrecognizable from what's listed in the menu, or sending the food back if it's not cooked properly or if it's wrong. I figure, if I'm paying for it, they should serve what I asked for. Note: I'm not rude about it, or at least I try not to be, because I know the waiter/waitress isn't the one who overcooked my fish until it's turned into a piece of shale, or undercooked the chicken breast so it's a sickly, pink in the centre.

But let's talk about when it's not a matter of being poorly prepared. What about when something is over salted, or the mixture of flavours isn't to your taste? When it's a matter of like/dislike.

Do you tell the truth when someone asks you if it's good?

I'm notoriously honest/blunt, and I still have a problem answering "no" to that question, even if I hate what's on the plate in front of me.

So I've stopped asking.

Instead of the ripe-for-a-white-lie question, "Is it good?", I ask, "Would you have that again?"

And people are more likely to answer with a real opinion rather than a dismissive "yes".

Asking if the food is good is the same as bumping into someone you haven't seen in ages and asking how they're doing. Almost always, people respond with an off-hand, throw-away phrase, or a single word answer, then move on. It's a question that is asked out of habit/politeness, and rarely answered honestly.

With food, whether it's "good" or not is almost irrelevant. It's such a vague word that it's practically meaningless, but asking if they would pay to have the same meal served to them again...? That's specific and relevant to the person you're asking.

I've been thinking of this in terms of books/authors because I recently lent a couple books to a friend of mine. We have never exchanged books before, but she asked me to give her a couple of my favourites so she could see what I liked. I also recently cleaned out my book shelves and donated about half the books to the Salvation Army.

That's a very clear division between, "I would have that/read that/pay for it again," and, "No."

Since I'm also trying to catch up on my reading while taking a writing sabbatical over the holidays, I'm also thinking a lot about this question. Specifically, because I've read so many first, or first + second books in a series/trilogy... and am deciding whether to buy/read the rest or not.

So far, the first one I've bought (book 3 in a trilogy, I'm 2/3 of the way through) is so dishearteningly disappointing that I'm leaning more towards reading stand-alone books.

If anyone has any good suggestions, please leave a comment. I like weird, dark, and complex. YA, specifically, please. Someone mentioned "The Raven Boys" as a good one, so that might be next on my to-read-list.

...and when my friend brings my books back, I'm not going to ask her if she liked them.

Instead, I'm going to ask, "Would you like to borrow another book?"

Essentially it's the same question, but the way you ask it will usually result in a completely different answer.

...but then again, maybe I'm thinking too much about "spin"...? It wouldn't be the first time my over-analytical brain went flying off on a tangent :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Happy (belated) Chanukah

Nope, I'm not Jewish, but I'd still like to wish a Happy Chanukah to those out there who celebrate the festival of lights.

Last year, the husband and I went to the lighting of the menorah at the BC legislature, but yesterday we were in Vancouver en route to Seattle for the AWESOME Seahawks game today.

Just got home, and we're both bagged.

Time for a quick email check, then we're turning in.

G'night, all!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dead monkey... month?

I know I've been MIA recently. There's been a couple factors.

First, the preparation to semi-move (part-time) to Vancouver, and all the holiday planning involved, including scheduling around 3 Seahawks games, several birthdays, and numerous dinners/get-togethers, some of which are business related, most are personal, but they are spread across both Victoria and Vancouver.

Second, health problems acting up. Yeah, that old stuff again. Including the high levels of pain.

Third, I've just started going for decompression* treatments for some old back injuries. I decided to go because muscle weakness, tingle/numbness, and pain through my dominant arm isn't making typing a heck of a lot of fun. I'm currently banned from running, or any kind of activity that jars the spine, which disappoints me greatly as I had plans to snowboard with my bro-in-law on Boxing Day (for those non-Canadians, that's the day after Christmas). That was going to be our gift to each other -> spending a day, just the two of us, having fun on the mountain.

Fourth, I'm kinda bummed/burnt out about writing right now. I was rather disappointed in my poor showing with NaNo this year, both the word count itself, and the quality of writing produced. It was a good, stiff kick in the ego, and my knee-jerk-response is to curl up and hide for a while while the bruises heal. This means less activity online, but it also means I haven't re-read 'Brake Fluid' (like I was going to when NaNo ended), or thought/planned any further about the possibility of querying.

So please forgive my sporadic appearances online for a while, and I may take a little longer replying to emails.

How's everyone else's December shaping up? Anyone travelling to see family/friends, or hosting visitors? For those who just finished NaNo, how'd you do? Did you meet your goals? How are you feeling? Full of energy/motivation, or burnt out like I am?

* Decompression therapy refers to decompressing the spine. The bones of the spine are separated by discs, and over time, the discs can become compressed which pinch the nerves, and, if untreated, eventually the discs can rupture and the spine can fuse. Decompression therapy pulls the spine apart, which forces the discs to draw in nutrients from the surrounding tissues, thus re-inflating the discs. It's similar to traction, but instead of simply pulling the spine apart and holding it, in decompression therapy, they use a computer to change the weight/pull, and control it in measured bursts. Basically, it's a pumping motion, which allows a greater draw of nutrients into the discs. Here's a link for further information, if my explanation was hard to understand.

Sunday, December 2, 2012