Sunday, February 27, 2011

Top 10 Reasons My Manuscript Isn't Done:

I keep saying this is the week I'ma finish my manuscript! And yet it never seems to happen. These are just a handful of the reasons I could use to explain this phenomenon:

1. My characters went AWOL.

2. The dog ate my keyboard (in my house, not such a far stretch since she has eaten 2 pairs of eyeglasses, 2 phone chargers, a cell phone and dozens of pairs of socks and undergarments).

3. My niece stole all my writing utensils (a year ago this would have actually held water).

4. My monitor fell off it's stand. (This has also happened. Very inconvenient.)

5. It's too hot/cold.

6. I ran out of the good coffee.

7. I need to do laundry.

8. I can't find my desk.

9. I just need to finish reading this wonderful book. Only 76 chapters left!

10. I finally find my groove and then someone comes and knocks on my door.

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at

A friend of mine - she edits most of my drafts - tells me that the real reason is that I have ADD with a keyboard. 

The truth is that I experience technical difficulties if I don't give myself a deadline.

So I am participating in a 1000 words a Day Challenge (hosted by I pasted the badge on the top right hand corner of the blog.

Hopefully next week I'm not posting a "Top 10 Reasons My Manuscript Isn't Any Closer To Being Done".

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Googly-Eyed Monster

My clean desk lasted three weeks. And it once again looks like a bookstore, library and fifteen filing cabinets projectile vomited all over it. Which means I'll probably be spending most of the weekend procrastinating instead of cleaning it or taking my characters and moving elsewhere. Like to the bat cave! Or, more likely, to the living room. Unless actual writing is on the agenda...

Last night I went to the book store with my friend. She was finally getting around to buying a published copy of Unclean - she is one of the few unfortunate souls who has been suckered in to reading the second through to final drafts of it - and we met an employee who was working her dream job, and dreaming of having her book published. We chatted for however long the transaction took, all the while I was playing with the googly eyed toys - Yes! I am nearing 30 and still take the time to play with all the strange toys that are sitting in front of the cash in the "impulse" section. Clearly I am one of the people with limited impulse control... I didn't end up getting one - If  I had, I would be sitting here squeezing the torso of the toy until the eyes popped out instead of just sitting here writing about them. They were even on stalks. Very fancy.

But back to the conversation. The employee - a female - is 19 and for a few seconds I was reminded of myself as a writer a decade ago. That is, until we got into a conversation about the characters living in my head. She looked at me like I was insane. I believe she may have even made a comment to that effect. So I  wondered - briefly - am I the only person who admits to that part of the writing process? But, armed with a pot of coffee this morning, the tired haze being scrubbed from my mind,  I know that I have read about other writers experiencing the same thing - otherwise I would not be so forthcoming about mine...

No matter. I am comfortable living in my own little world. All the people know me there.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Excuse me, Mom, but there's a blowfly in your cereal?

As part of my outlining process, I have tacked sheets of kraft paper to my wall beside my desk. At a glance, I can view the various stages of death, any notes I have made about the new manuscript, and any comments that come to me about the plot. This is my method for outlining -- it hasn't changed in the last decade.

Over the weekend my son -- he's eight -- waltzed in, looked at the 'artwork' and said: "Mommy? What are you coloring on your wall?"

I am not big on sugar coating. I told him that it was an outline on the stages of death. He stared at it for a while, no doubt reading everything that was on there, and finally asked: "What are blowflies?"

Explaining something like the bug movements on a dead body to a child who doesn't yet fully understand how the body functions -- not like anyone really does -- is something that I would rather not have to do. Ask me anything, kid, just please don't look to me for an introduction into the wonderful world of death...

I am not that lucky. My son, ever inquisitive, peppered me with questions about the process. He can read - something he couldn't do when I outlined Unclean when he was two. This meant that he read and then asked. About EVERYTHING that was in the outline. Even the really gross things about the relaxing of muscles that control bodily functions. And at the end of the question and answer period, all he had to say was:

"Huh. That's pretty cool."

Cool? Hardly the term I would use to summarize the conversation, but he is my son, after all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

We Have Lift Off!

I found my desk this weekend and since it's already Monday, the chances of it remaining clear look great! So many little bits and pieces of paper with a thought written on them were scattered about. Most were just reminders of things that I needed to do at one point or another - a few weeks ago.

I also changed the calendar to February and took down the expired 2010 one - all that's left to do is write! And writing I have been doing!

The upcoming week bodes well for my tenants. They are pretty happy about getting out there and getting their hands dirty. No need to coax them into being co-operative - they are gung-ho and mission oriented, ready to finish the job and move on with their lives.

Last night while we were telling the story, I was introduced to two new people - who have temporarily moved in and are making themselves at home. While I, of course, knew of their existence, I didn't anticipate pissing a protagonist off so badly that she would go on home to her mama - or, as the case may be, bring mama home to my head.

Currently they are having a welcome party, and all the noise is making my head ache. Looks like an early night for me - no way to pry them away from the cold beer they were promised (and never given) a few nights ago.

Friday, February 4, 2011

We're Weekend Ready!

This dog loves the snow to an almost annoying degree. She runs around, stops suddenly, and my arm is still attached to the blasted leash while the rest of me is trying to catch up.

The plan for this weekend is to catch up on reading (yes, I am still trying to plow through the yawnfest...). I've also been working on the second part of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series and a reader has suggested I take a look at "Room" by Emma Donoghue. I'm not entirely sure what it is about, but it has been highly recommended, so I believe I will give it a go. I also plan on finding my desk - it looks as though a library AND a filing cabinet threw up on it and all the lost pens and pencils in the world suddenly materialized out of thin air - no joke - so it is time to re-organize it (which, if I actually do it, will only last until the end of the weekend).

I also plan on changing the calendar from January to February and taking down 2010's. 2011's is a lot smaller and I keep scheduling my life based on November of last year - not cool.

In between all this the dog and I have a snow date planned, weather permitting, of course, and, since the voices in my head are getting seriously annoying, I suspect I'll spend some time at the doctor's office with Andie and her big fat ancient cast.

What are your plans for the weekend? 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Not For the Faint of Heart

I received what I found to be a funny comment today, from one Ms. Katie. I don't recall the *exact* wording of the comment, as it was verbal, and she IS a real person and not just someone taking residence in my head, surprisingly. She said something to the effect of: she is waiting to get up one morning and read that there was a mass murder that took place - in my head.

And why wouldn't this be expected, seeing as how I love to hate on my 'voices'?

They have been shot, blown up, stabbed, etc, etc. Chances are, a mass murder is in their future. One of them just decides that enough is enough, they can not take it any longer, and they go postal.

So now I am wondering how hard it would be to clean blood off the walls of my skull. Would bleach work best? How tired would my elbow be after all the scrubbing? Would there be any survivors? Would it happen when the kids were in bed?

So many questions. So silly of me to try and find answers.

Instead of stressing out about such a remote possibility - it IS my head, after all, and they do what I tell them, MOST of the time - I decided to take preventative measures and locked up anything that could remotely be classified as weaponry. This happened much to the chagrin of certain trigger happy individuals who like to use each other for target practice. (Understand that they are living in cramped quarters and rarely - if ever - see eye to eye.)

I think I will have them build a gym, so they can get out their frustrations in a much safer way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yes, You ARE Wonderful!

Everyday I learn something new about the characters in my head. Today was no different. I learned that pissing off a main character would be detrimental to my physical well being - if she were actually a person and I was the one she was threatening to bash over the head with her own arm; after I tore it off.

She was having a gunshot wound stitched; being her regularly programed self and refusing to have the area frozen - with the explanation that it would be that much harder to beat the doctor over the head with her arm, after he tore it off.

Apparently, being miserable to my main characters is a running theme.

The only thing I could say that had the potential to make her feel better was at least I haven't left her stewing with a bullet in her arm for four years - like I did to Andie with her cast.

Like anything I could say would actually make her feel better.

She has decided to go on strike for a few hours and not continue on with her life, making it difficult for me to finish the manuscript, even though she knows without a shadow of a doubt that she will catch the guy who did it because she is just that damn good. She used the word 'fabulous' more times than I can count.

I have grudgingly given her the evening off to do whatever it is that SHE wants to do - with the exception of killing any other character in my head and with the stipulation that she needs to be back sometime tonight.

She is pretty stubborn, though, so we'll have to see how that goes.