Sunday, August 29, 2021

What, Me Worry?

 Like most of us who tune in the nightly news, the tendency is to be overwhelmed by the scope of tragedy in the world. A world-wide pandemic coupled with a Cat 4 hurricane setting its sights on already beleaguered Louisiana, and the horrifying scenes coming out of Afghanistan make me want to bury my head in the sand until it's over. I have to keep telling myself I've done what I can to make things easier for myself and let the rest go. Worry will only tie me up in knots and I have too many obligations to let that happen. 

The same holds true for those situations that are closer to home. Health issues are plaguing my friends and family, causing sleepless nights. Again, I realize worrying about it is pointless. I've done what I can to help the situation and the rest is out of my control. 

My good friend is moving for the first time in a long time and she's got a hamster running around in her head with all the things she has to do, the questions that must be answered, the timing of everything, how much of her belongings will fit in her new place, and all the rest. I'd love to be able to take some of the burden off her shoulders, and I've done what I can to make life easier for her. The rest is up to her, and no amount of my worry will help her. 

As for my ghostwriting. I recently responded to an ad for a holiday-themed novella . I've been working on Christmas novellas for several months now and am finishing up the last of my promised ones, so why not sign up for one more? The deadline is a bit off from where most authors aim to get their holiday books into the hands of the public, but once I write the book and get paid for it, it's up to the client to market the book. Again, it's not my worry. 

So, folks, what's keeping you up at night? I hope for all our sakes, it's merely a good book that you can't put down. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Logistically Speaking

 Since I began my writing journey, one thing has become clear to me. I'm a linear thinker. I like working from an outline, even a vague one, since it keeps me pointed in the right direction. While I admire the writers who can write scenes out of sequence and fit them all together later, it's not a talent I'm blessed with. 

Long before I discovered Blake Snyder's beat sheet, I did write a story that wasn't well thought out. I had to keep revising the story line and when I was reading the final draft, I realized I'd put the Christmas celebration ahead of Thanksgiving! That's when I stopped freewheeling it. 

But my logistical nightmares don't stop with my plot ideas. Take yesterday, for instance. I needed to get gas, but as I was getting ready, I ran out of moisturizer. Fortunately, the grocery where I buy my face cream is in the same parking lot as the gas station, so I cleverly thought I'd combine both on my way home from the gym. But as I got halfway down the road, my growling stomach reminded me I hadn't eaten anything yet that morning. Since working out on an empty stomach only means I'll start getting dizzy, I decided to change things around and go to the grocery and get gas before I headed to the gym, since there was a fast-food place there as well. My plan was firmly in place, and I was combining my trips and saving on fuel and time. Good on me. 

But the line for the fast food place was wrapped twice around the building. Changing my plans on the fly yet again, I gassed up and then went into the grocery. I am expecting company next week, so I needed to get a few things for that in addition to my moisturizer. Oh, and then Klondike had their new Reese's peanut butter cup Klondikes in stock and in front of my face. To be fair, the frozen dessert aisle is a mere hop and skip from the aisle where the creams and shampoos are. While I was in the ice cream aisle, I searched for and found an elusive flavor that comes and goes from the aisles. I looked at my shopping cart and realized there was no way I could subject that ice cream to a 45-minute stay in a hot car while I exercised. So my plans for the gym were scratched. I grabbed a bag of Cheetos to eat on my way back home with my ice cream. 

See what I mean? This trip was me putting Christmas before Thanksgiving again. I suck at on-the-fly logistics. Or maybe it was just the ice cream talking. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Weekend

 No, I'm not talking about the singer, the R&B artist with the totally fake name. I'm talking about the actual weekend and when it begins. Let me explain: 

A writing buddy and I were talking about our schedules. I told her I had 3,000 words to go in my story and I'd probably finish it by the weekend. Since it was already Friday afternoon, she pointed out to me that we were already at the weekend. 

But when you're retired from the 9 to 5 world, weekends tend to lose their significance as something different from the week. I count Saturday and Sunday as work days, as a normal part of the week. So, when I say I'll have it done by the weekend, I mean 11:59 pm on Sunday. 

It may be the wrong way to look at the week, but it's my way. And, it works for me. I've still got a bit to write as I pen this blog, but hey, it's only Sunday morning! It'll get it done on my timeline, I'll do a read-through Monday and send it off. The next idea awaits. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Making Something From Nothing

With company in town last weekend, I took some time off from my computer and spent a few days enjoying my adopted state of North Carolina. One of the places we stopped at was the Ball Garden at the Sandhills Community College, where an art installation had been erected several weeks ago and was causing quite the buzz. By weaving together different sized branches and sticks, rooms were created out of nothing.


Complete with windows and doors, these various cubicles towered over us. They were quite unique and wonderful, which got me to thinking about my writing and how similar it is to this art form. 


What's that, you say? How can sticks and twigs possibly be the same as words and paragraphs?

It's very simple. The artist of this stick room creation had an idea. He or she probably sketched out a configuration of the completed work. Then, they started construction, weaving all their piles of twigs and branches together to form a completed room. And, unless I miss my guess, some of these rooms didn't turn out exactly as envisioned, but the end result was a sturdy and striking structure that is quite beautiful in its originality. 

So, too with writing. We start with an idea, and maybe put together an outline of how we imagine the work taking shape. Then, we start the construction of each paragraph, forming chapters to weave the piles of words and sentences into a cohesive unit that's sturdy, striking and quite beautiful. And, unless I miss my guess on this, too, the outline and the finished product vary to some degree, since stories have a way of veering off as they're being written, and bending at points different from what we originally envisioned. In the end, both this art installation and a new manuscript were created out of nothing. 

Then, to top off a perfectly delightful experience, I got to play with my favorite sculpture of all time. I'll have to get away from the computer more often. 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Where Are the Lines?

 I'm reading a book right now, called Lady Wallflower, by Scarlett Scott, a new to me author. It's a Regency romance, which our author community has made a most romantic period of time, unless you get too much into the weeds about it. Most Regencies are full of clever dialogue as our hero and heroine get to know each other. Sometimes things get really steamy, bordering on erotica. But what is striking me as unusual with this book is how the author creates one of the most erotic scenes I've ever read without having the hero and heroine even touch one another. 

It was one of the hottest, most erotic scenes I'd read in a long time and I waited breathlessly for the guy to finally break his iron control and touch the woman. When he did, it was just one finger, lightly touching her collarbone. I melted in my seat along with the heroine. I don't know if it was technically erotica, but it was certainly swoon-worthy. Nicely done, Scarlett!

As with so much in the publishing world these days, I think the lines are blurring. And, since I like to be surprised when I read new-to-me authors, I find it refreshing to not know what to expect all the time.