Friday, February 27, 2009

Blog Chain Blatherskite

Yes boys and girls, it's that time again. My highly intelligent, well educated and overly talented blog chain writer buddies are certainly showing they have a darker side this time around.


This one was the brain-child of recently agented (congrats) Leah Clifford ( Elana J was before me ( and since I am the last link in this chain, start back at the beginning with Leah for her wrap-up!

Here's our question:

What do you do to amp up the conflict? What pins do you stick in the little voodoo dolls? How do you torture your characters?

In some of the previous responses, it seems my writerly friends are much nicer than I. Can you imagine NOT hurting your characters? Well, some did like their characters so much that it was hard to do for them.

Hurting my characters was a problem for me in the beginning, but not in the way you would think. I, uh, was going to kill almost all of my characters, leaving Margaret, the MC alone and miserable. In fact, I even had her death scene at the end planned. I imagined horrible deaths.

*Sword through the gut, but it would take a few hours to die...

*Beaten to a pulp with head bashed in, surprisingly quick death, but really gory scene...

*Horrible death giving birth all alone...

*Father dying slowly, gasping for breath, in excruciating pain from poison...

*Snapping of the neck, that was short and sweet and well deserved...

*Dying alone, old and weak...

My writing teacher told me in no uncertain terms, "You can't kill off all your main characters!"

"Oh yes I can. It's my book, and I can kill anybody I want."

"Then you will not be commercially viable."

"Who cares? I'm writing this for me! And I am killing everyone!!!"

Yeah. How many of you guys laughed? Who the hell doesn't want to be commercially viable? Needless to say, after a while (I don't like to admit when I'm wrong), I had to tell this wonderful teacher that he was right and I was wrong. That wasn't the only thing I had to admit to being wrong about. That poor man got several emails after the class had ended. I may hate to admit I'm wrong, but I will do it.

So, we have established that I do want to be commercially viable. That being said, my historical WIP became a Historical Romance and I did still kill off a few characters (only three). I also learned that I can follow a formula while writing (I had to take out some of my sex scenes...funny thing about fidelity in a romance, a rape scene...he got his neck snapped anyway, and I didn't entirely kill Patrick...he still got stabbed and I still got to write my almost death scene).

Okay, so I have to keep my dark side in check. I call it my "social filter" while functioning as a person in the real world.

How about you? How dark and evil are you really? How's that social filter?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Environmental Writers Block

How many writers are so OCD, they can't possibly be creative unless everything is in place? Quiet, music playing, right frame of mind, etc.

Show of hands please?

Yeah, I raised mine. I have been giving writing, and the reasons that we don't, much thought of late. I have decided that, for me at least, there are two types of writers block. The conventional type that you often hear writers talk about, you see it in movies, you think about it when someone mentions dreaded writers block. NO IDEAS. Then there is what I have deemed environmental writers block. For whatever reason, your surroundings are just not conducive to the creative process. I'll break it down:

Conventional Writers Block-
*The voices went away
*The creative juices aren't flowing
*You can't seem to form a coherent thought
*No plot worth writing comes to mind
*Burning out due to revisions (AKA I want to hurl my PC out the window)

Environmental Writers Block-
*Kids always needing this, that or the other
*Phone ringing
*Laundry piled up
*House a mess
*Shopping needs to be done
*Dinner to be made
*Bills to be paid
*Shows to watch on the DVR
*American Idol is on (or insert your own reality weakness here)
*Any other thing that goes on in your daily life (illness, PC crash, school functions, etc.)

As you can see, the list for environmental writers block has plenty of room for you to add your own household detractors. I do know it's possible to want to write so badly, that you can block out anything. I have actually written a short story, that was published, at the playground inside Burger King amid the interruptions of my kids, and the squealing of the other rugrats there. It can be done.

I guess what I am trying to say here, more for myself than anyone, is where there is a will, there is a way. Period. Sometimes you have to take a step back, and only you can decide when that time comes, but when you really want to write, I am going to list things that I have found effective for me.

*Headphones (with or without music)
*Writing at night when everyone is in bed
*Wake up and write before anyone else is up
*Tell others when you are writing to only interrupt if the house is burning down
*Hyper-focus (if you are ADD/ADHD you'll be able to do this - trust me, I know)

If anybody else has a handy trick to keep environmental writers block at bay, please feel free to share!

As for me, I am going to get back to my writing...

Friday, February 20, 2009

100th Post!

Who knew? 100 posts. Just think, if I was actually a GOOD blogger, I would be way past that number. Alas, I am sporadic at best. Like my husband says, I am "consistently inconsistent" (yes, that should be on my tombstone)!

First, let me start by saying that I am still PISSED about my PC crashing. That being said, let me add that I can not stress enough how important backing up your information is. The pictures, documents and general information I had saved on my PC was astronomical. I still think of things daily that were on that darn thing.

Moving on to the "life goes on" portion of my post, despite taking my turn with the flu this week, I have started back on my current WIP. It's slow going, but I'm getting there. I had to download a few essential songs to the new PC, and I am ready to rock! I'm also a hopeless Facebook addict, as I know so many of you guys are too (I see how much you are on there, so don't try and deny you guys aren't just as addicted).

Now I am going to end this by thanking all of my blog chain buddies for putting up with my PC/life issues and to thank all my bloggy friends for sticking around! LOVE you guys (and I am so not a huggy-type person)!!! Off I go to try and catch up on the blogs I've neglected to visit.

:) Terri

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Blog Chain Blatherskite

It's my turn to pick the topic on this blog chain round, even though I missed the last one, which Elana started ( ) and ended with Abi ( ).

Since I missed the last chain entirely, I was stupid enough not to go back and see what the topic was (Homer Simpson "Doh" could be heard as I slapped my head).

***Unfortunately, it was pretty dang close to the one I picked, so there will be an alternative question for the members who don't want to just copy and paste their last post in their blog.

Have you ever had anything cause you to step back from writing? If so, what was the cause and how long did it take you to get back into the swing of things? If not, do you have any advice for other writers about not letting life get in the way of writing?

Oh dear God, where to start? I have neglected my writing on many occasions; here lately it’s gotten really bad! I think I should just make a list of issues of late, much like you would a grocery list.

1. Two of my daughters were diagnosed with a genetic birth defect which causes a Mal tracking Patella. The oldest is in a full leg brace, and between fights with the insurance company, Doctors and pharmacy, it’s been very emotionally draining.

2. My 13 year old son just got his first car (yes, I said 13), a 1976 Camaro. It’s a fixer-upper and he has done nothing but pester me to go to this store looking for this, that or the other for the car.

3. My husband has been laying off people at his work. Unfortunately, two of the men are disgruntled and have decided to lay in wait for my husband outside our house once that we know of so far.

4. My PC crashed and I lost about 7 years worth of pictures, documents, songs, etc.

5. We had an ice storm that caused my kids to be home for 3 days cooped up in the house.

6. I’ve had a viscous sinus infection that doesn’t seem to want to go away.

7. My cat got out and almost sliced his foot off (no idea how) so got to spend two days at the vet.

8.I had another BIRTHDAY (yuck) and turned 39.

9. Oh yeah, did I mention I have five kids???

This is just the last month. I have neglected my blogging, my writing, pretty much anything that I do for myself, because I have been so mentally taxed. I refuse to write more until I get a new PC. Even though I was able to wipe mine and reinstall Windows XP, there are still issues, and I think it’s only a matter of time till it quits working all together, so I haven’t even uploaded my writing folders back to it.

I often wonder how writers can keep it up even when life happens. I know many say that it is an escape, but I haven’t been able to take advantage of that escape for a few months now. Hopefully getting a new PC will light a fire under my butt, till then, I will just have to cheer on my fellow writers! YOU GO GIRLS! Check out Leah's ( ) post next!

*** Alternative question: Do you brainstorm with a friend when you are plotting, or do you prefer to be the only one who knows what your characters are going to do?