Wednesday, November 26, 2008


. . . and once again, Lucy Van Pelt suckers Charlie Brown into believing she would not pull the football away!!! Once again, Charlie Brown goes up in the air and lands on his back with a THUD! In the meantime, Snoopy is slinking up behind Linus with only one goal in mind: to steal Linus' security blanket. Across the street, Sally Brown is staring longingly at her Sweet Baboo, even though he did ruin Halloween for her by convincing her to sit in the pumpkin patch with him all night waiting for the elusive - and totally imaginary, at least to her - Great Pumpkin. Woodstock, meanwhile, is perched atop Snoopy's doghouse. He's tired. He needs a nap. He needs the comfort of Snoopy's chest rising and falling to lull him to sleep.

Okay, that's not why I'm going AAAAGGGHHHHH. Today is the day before Thanksgiving and I have waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy too much stuff to do. I've already made the brine to soak the turkey in - I was up at 6 to start the brine, it is currently decreasing in temperature. When it reaches room temp, I'll immerse the lovely bird in the brine. Oh, but wait, that's only one of the gazillion things I must do on this day before Thanksgiving. I have desserts to make, cornbread for the dressing - which must then stale overnight, cranberry sauce, go to the wine store, clean the house, oh, and get lights to decorate the holly and cedar trees outside the house, and . . . and . . . and the list goes on. Does it end there? Of course not, there is still much cooking to do tomorrow as well. Ahhhh, tomorrow, the smell of roasting turkey floating through the house. Mmmmmmmm . . .

So, in the spirit of trying to do it all, I have already written today as well . . . and not just on the blog. I hope to get some more writing done later today. I'm just taking things slowly, and hoping for the best. In the end, that's all anyone can do.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, and just Happy Day to those who don't celebrate the American tradition of overeating to the point of insensibility!!!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Tonight was . . .

. . . not a night of hugely flowing words. Tonight was a night of quality (not that everything I write isn't quality) versus quantity. The flow was there, the inspiration, and a sense that every word (okay, not every word, but almost every word, and it's my little world) I wrote had meaning and substance. It was definitely a good, if brief, writing session.

Writing during the week, at least lately - though there was a once upon a time in the way of fairy tales and happy endings time when hours were spent in front of the computer every night after work - is rarely a long-term commitment. I just don't seem to have the time, or rather I don't make the time, to sit down for hours on end and write. I do, however, treasure every moment my fingers are dancing across the keyboard and the words are flowing across the screen. Every moment - seconds, minutes, hours, etc. - of writing is all part of the journey. It does not matter if I only write one sentence each night, as long as I write.

I wrote more than one sentence tonight. I wrote many sentences that formed into paragraphs that formed the next section of my current project. I find myself content right now. I wrote when I did not think I would write - not for lack of inspiration, lack of ideas, but only for lack of time in a crazy world where I go, go, go, and go some more and then wonder where in the frak the time went! Sigh! Such is life . . .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The weekend . . .

. . . did not - thankfully - stop the words from flowing. Did I spend as much time writing as I should have? Heck, no! Do I ever spend as much time writing as I should? That would be - heck no, again! I write when I write, and do the best that I can.

There was a time - the project I'm currently searching for an agent - when I wrote with a driving obsession. I could think of nothing else except the project. I kept a pad of paper with me in the car. I jotted down notes at stop signs and stop lights. I emailed myself twenty times during the day. I rushed home from work so I could write. I spent virtually all day on Saturday and Sunday writing. I lost weight because I barely ate at night. I neglected my poor partner. I'm surprised our relationship survived the two week period in which I - as Lynn Behler commented - banged out the 50,000 word rough draft. That was probably the best writing experience of my life. I miss that passion, the drive, the all consuming obsession that highlighted the days and nights that - ultimately - led to some of the best writing (at least in my personal opinion) I have ever done, and might ever do.

Oh, what am I saying. I continue to write brilliantly. Sorry, but I'm the only one currently available to pat myself on the back. If I don't have confidence in my writing, how can I expect an agent to have confidence in my writing? I'm not, however, one of those writers (people) who believes I can do no wrong. I can write crap with the best of 'em!!! In fact, I've written my share of crap. It happens!

So, advice for new/experienced writers - write when you write and don't stress about (okay, I know, my recent blog posts don't support this) when you don't write. Not everybody is a "write everyday" writer. Some people (myself included) are "write when you write" writers. I'm just saying . . .


Friday, November 21, 2008

In two days . . .

. . . time I have written more than 5,000 words. That breaks down to approximately 2,500 words per day. Woo-hoo!

Okay, now that I'm done patting myself on the back. As anyone following this blog knows, I have experienced a period of frustration due to the fact that the brilliance that is my writing was not happening. The words were there, the ideas as well - the words/ideas just could not find their way out of the labyrinth maze that is my brain. Well, two days ago the floodgates opened and the words have flowed quite well - that sound you're hearing is me knocking on any available wood products so as not to jinx myself. The tone of the current project - very snarky - has shifted as well. The snark is still there (it's a daily part of my life and the current project is overflowing with snark), but so is a darker, more emotional tone as well. Snark is good and well, but maintaining an aura of snark throughout an entire project is not an easy thing to do. Also, the story needs the depth and emotion that is emerging in some of the sections.

This project is also emerging differently than other projects I have worked on in the past. Normally - Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter . . . The End. I'm not doing the traditional chapters on this project . . . at least not yet. I'm just writing, section after section, moment after moment, and will worry about the separation into chapters at a later point . . . then again, maybe not ever. I'll just have to see what I feel like doing when the mood strikes me.

In many ways, even though I infuse much of myself into every project, and huge chunks of reality as well, this project is the most personal of all . . . even though it is a complete - well, almost - work of fiction with no basis (well, some) in real life. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!!! The emotions - love, anger, resentment, frustration, hopelessness, devastation, a few OMG moments - are real. I've been there, done that, and have the multiple t-shirts to back up my claim. That is what is pouring into this current project. I don't know why now, and not before. I don't know what propelled me to begin writing this project. I only know the words are flowing and I'm not about to question the motivation behind the flood waters!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

The floodgates . . .

. . . seemed to open yesterday afternoon, not long after I posted the blog entry about my current frustration with the words not flowing. Well, they flowed yesterday afternoon. I don't know why. I'm not even going to try and figure out why. I'm just thankful that the floodgates opened.

Picture it: me in front of the computer, fingers poised over the keyboard, and my brow furrowed in thought. I begin to type - clickity clack, clickity clack, clackity click. CRAP. I just wrote a load of crapola!!! Delete! Delete! Delete! My brow is furrowed even deeper now. I begin to type again - clickity clack, clickity clack, clackity click. CRAP. I just wrote another load of crapola!!! Third time's the charm. I begin to write about my frustration with not writing and - voila! - I write the blog entry from yesterday afternoon. Okay, so it was not the ultimate work of fiction, but it was writing. I'm a semi-happy camper. Still, the urge to write is upon me. I stare at the computer screen. My brain is in a fever. The words are there. They just need a good hard shove to burst forth into brilliance. A title pops into my mind. I just love it when that happens. I type out the title. I begin to write - clickity clack, clickity clack, clackity click at a fevered pace. Whoo-Hoo!!! Brilliance in motion. It's my world, people, and if I want to semi-delude my self with allusions of brilliance, I'm allowed. The words flowed easily. I was snark in motion. The tone was absolutely great. I'm not sure I can maintain that snarky tone throughout the entire work of fiction, but I'll give it my best shot.

At the end of all the clickity clacking, I was happy. I was satisfied. I was . . . satiated!!!! Give me a cigarette, people. Okay, kidding on that part, I don't smoke, but the feeling was that GOOD!

So, I have the idea for the next great work of fiction. I'll follow the idea, the words, to wherever it/they lead me. Writing is a journey, and one I'm happy to go on whenever I can.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I write . . .

. . . with no meaning, no intent or purpose. I want to write. I want to put words to paper – sentences, paragraphs, chapters, from beginning to end. I want conflict and resolution. I want, I want, I want, and I want some more. The problem: the ideas flit around in my mind, but I can’t seem to put proverbial word to paper. FRUSTRATION. Why can’t I seem to write lately? Is the moon not full? Are the stars not in alignment? Has the orm officially abandoned me? Am I just not meant to write right now? Try saying that sentence three times fast.

I stare at the blank page. I type. I type some more. I don’t have the feeling. Where are the goosebumps that propelled my writing obsession two years ago? Where is the knowledge that this is it? Was it only a one time thing? Am I doomed to endlessly search for the next best thing? Am I an Afternoon Delight? Okay, so most people have never heard of that song – the one hit wonder – from my childhood. Still, it was a catchy tune. Too bad the group never went past that one tune. I can’t even remember the name of the group, but the words and melody of the song are still in my mind. Go figure.

So, have I mentioned that I’m frustrated? Didn’t I do a blog entry about this the other day? Oh, yes, I did. Dang, I’m so blocked that I’m repeating myself. SIGH!I know that – eventually – the words will come to me. I’ll have a moment of inspiration, probably at a most inopportune time (my partner hates when that happens), and the words will flow once again. Until that happens, I guess I should be content with the fact that I am – technically – still writing through my blog entries. I just long for the days of passion where I could not stop the words. I'm just saying . . .

p.s. Starlight Vocal Band . . . no wait, a quick google and it is Starland Vocal Band. Dang!

Query Letters

Here's an interesting article about query letters and the fact that some agents just aren't reading them anymore. It seems that some agents are just skipping to the "please submit first five pages" part of the query. OMG!!!

First - I hate writing query letters.

Second - I seriously hate writing query letters.

Third - have I mentioned that I hate writing query letters?

Fourth - I write query letters because agents insist I write a query letter to sell my work. I must come up with a hook and an intriguing synopsis for my query letter.

Fifth - OMG, some agents aren't reading all the hard work - teeth gnashing, nail biting, hair pulling (trust me, my hair is receding fast enough as it is, I don't need to pull out clumps of hair while attempting to write the perfect query letter), and all the other angst associated with writing the perfect query letter - I put into the query letter.

So, it seems that with all the advice on the Internet, on all the different writing and agent blogs, all the books available at your local bookseller, the art of the query letter has reached the point where some agents are tired of the query letter and skipping to the good (or bad in some cases) stuff of the requested first five pages, first chapter, first 1,000 words, or first whatever. Why? Because the excellent query letter is a clever facade, giving a false impression of an excellent writer, for - sometimes - bad writing. Go figure!!

I mean, can you really sum up the brilliance of a 70+ thousand word work of fiction in one page? Can you truly synopsisize (I know, not a word, but I'm taking the personal liberty my English Comp teacher told me I could take with my writing) 70+ thousand words into a single paragraph? How is such brilliance (no, I did not add Bailey's to my coffee this morning) compressed into one page? And, if it is compressed into one page, and an agent skips over the brilliance of the one paragraph synopsis, then what was the point in the first place?

Is my frustration showing yet? If so, sorry. I'm just in one of those very snarky moods today. I know agents get tons and tons and tons of queries every single day. I know they have to plow through them all and, for those that do, send polite declines to the majority of the queries they receive. I know that query letters are supposed to set the proverbial stage for the agent. Wouldn't it be more simple to just request the first five pages of every manuscript and just forget the query letter, the hook and synopsis? I mean, if some agents are skipping the letter part anyhow . . . I'm just saying . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The words . . .

. . . did not want to flow this weekend. The words, in fact, fought dramatically against any attempt on my part to pull them from my brain and force them onto the computer screen. The battle raged. I fought and fought and fought and fought. I stared at the screen. I typed. I deleted. I typed again. I deleted again. I struggled, minute after minute, and still the words would not flow. I persevered. I would win the battle. I won a small victory - some excellent, but brief, writing. I gave up. That was yesterday. Today was not much better. In fact, today equaled only a sentence or two.

Why? Why won't the words flow easily? Why is it so difficult to write? What am I doing wrong? Am I blocked? Is there some type of laxative I can take to make the words flow? Where is the inspiration, the orm? Where are the days of obsession when I could not stop the words or ideas? Where is the passion that drove me to distraction? Why is it so brief and ephemeral? Why does it not stay with me always and forever? Can the human mind/body not sustain such passion forever? Must I go through the periods of frustration to truly appreciate the fervor that defined my life for a time?

I have no clue. I only know frustration - today, yesterday. Does it have to do with doubt? Do I suddenly doubt my abilities? I can write. I am a good writer. I have talent. Is it all psychological, some trauma brought on by the constant wait for acceptance/rejection from the query letter I sent out? Do I base the rest of my life, the writing I love so much, on what might not be right for the agent I sent the query letter? Do I move past the doubts, the fear that I have no talent, and rely on the kindness of strangers? Okay, so that didn't make much sense. You can see how my mind is working right now. I think I need some wine.

I think I need more than wine. I need inspiration. I need encouragement. I need some sign that . . . well, hell if I really know what I need right now. Hey, at least I brought a smile to my face and, amazingly so, my fingers are currently flying across the keyboard. The blog might not be the next great work of fiction, but it is writing. I'm just saying . . .

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Writing: Talent or Learned?

This morning I received my normal (5 days per week) email from my best friend. His question to me this morning, in response to my recent prolific amount of blogging, was: do you just get "lost" when you are writing? What I mean by that is, do you get some sort of daze where it all just pours out? It certainly appears to be a gift.

My response:

I sometimes think the words flow more easily on the blog because - often - those words are fueled by anger at the stupidity of society. Sorry, couldn't resist. The blog is normally a response to something specific, where writing a novel is a combination of so many things - inspiration, creativity, plot, characters, start, finish, etc. So, writing a blog entry is normally much easier than writing twelve chapters of a book. I do, however, get lost in my writing, both blog and otherwise. It's not necessarily a 'daze'; but rather a transition to a different place. I really can't think of accurate words to describe the experience. I do think writing, no matter what other people might say, is a gift, a talent. Anybody can learn to write (heck, we all learn to write at some point), but not everybody can write well. I know, I'm probably not explaining it properly. I can play the piano - I took the requisite lessons, I practiced. I just don't play very well. My sister, on the other hand, is a proficient piano player. She took the lessons, practiced, but she also has talent. I think that the prolific writers (authors, some bloggers, journalists) have an inborn talent that transcends the writing everybody learns in school. Does any of that make sense?

So, my question to the few people that actually read this blog: is writing learned or is it a talent, i.e., is it inherent?


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What's next . . .

Well, I finished the rough draft and have set it aside for a few weeks - the requisite rest period to create the necessary distance. I have editing to do on another project while I wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait - did I mention waiting - wait, wait, wait to hear back on the query I sent out for another project. I'm not the most patient person in the world. Still, I wait and write, or wait and edit, or wait and read, or wait and blog, or wait and drink (once I get home from work in the evenings, and only one glass of wine that sometimes takes me three hours to drink), or wait and walk the boyz, or wait and do the laundry, or wait and . . . Anyhow, the current idea is to finish the first draft of another project, which means inputting the changes I made during the initial read through of the rough draft.

The road to hell, btw, is paved with good intentions. Ever since last night, little ideas have been flitting around in my mind - flit, flit, flit, and flit some more. I tried to resist those ideas (again, the best intentions); but this morning, those ideas just flitted and synapsed their way through my mind and the next thing I knew I was jotting down ideas and then the words began to tumble forth and I typed out the beginning of my next project. DANG! Okay, so now I have to do the old balancing act - edit one project while writing another, oh, and live my life. Can I do it? Of course I can, for I am Superman! Well, not really, but the latest incarnation of Superman did look good in his tights. I'm just saying . . . I'll do the best I can, edit/write, and probably just file the notes away in a folder until I'm ready to sit down and write the rough draft of the project that flitted out of my mind this morning.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I just love to write. I may hate the query (with a passion) process; but I still love to write. I may get dejected when I get the form rejection; but I still love to write. I began to write solely for me, not for any other reason, and maybe that's the key to success. Who knows? I sure as heck don't.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


Need I say more? Of course not, but I will. I spent the day completing the rough draft of my latest writing endeavor. I have - technically - done so in month (which was my goal) if I take into account my vacation. Yes, I'm taking into account my vacation. I'm finished, done, finito. The project now gets to sit and rest for a while. I always take a break before I begin the read-through/editing process. It's what works for me.

What I did today:
  • Finished Chapter Eleven
  • Started/Finished Chapter Twelve
  • Finished the Rough Draft
  • Total Words = 56,520
  • Total Days of Writing on the Rough Draft = approximately 28.

So, I've finished the rough and now I go back to the editing of another project. I've done the read through of the rough draft and need to input the changes into the computer. I'll then do another read through/edit, make the changes, do another, make the changes, and the process goes on until I feel the manuscript is ready for the inevitably painful agent search. I want to find all the little mistakes - wrong words, wrong names, wrong whatever - before I even think about querying an agent. There's nothing that irritates me - well, there are a lot of things, but it just sounded right - more than finding mistakes (wrong words, wrong names, wrong whatever) when reading a book. Mistakes like that should not happen. Somebody should have caught them. Since it is obvious that somebody is not doing their job; it's up to me.

On that note, I need to make a salad for dinner. I was quite industrious in the kitchen today, not to mention I also washed my car. I put beef stew in one crock pot early this morning, spaghetti sauce in another, and I made a pumpkin pie. I like to cook at least two meals on Sunday so there are plenty of leftovers during the week, which means I don't have to cook every night, which means more time for writing. It is all about me after all. I'm just saying . . .


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Day After Halloween

Boo! Last night was terrific. There's nothing better than a gay bar on Halloween. The costumes were great. The music - fantastic as always. Burger King was even there. Let me tell you, those commercials are freaky enough, let alone running into Burger King in the gay bar. He kept staring at people all night long. He even stood with my friends and me for a time, disappeared, stared at us, came back, danced a little, went away, and finally came back to reveal the face beneath the mask. A very good friend of mine who repeatedly told me I just don't feel like going out this year, I'm going to stay at home. Liar! Okay, it was a good lie and he freaked all of us, and most of the other people in the bar out by just staring at them. Still, a good time was had by all. The best costume of all, in my opinion, was two women wearing red shirts that had the word Revlon (as in the make-up) on the front and they both wore funny red, slanted hats. I could not figure out their costumes . . . at first. I kept staring at them, at the familiar looking red hats, and, then - a moment of inspiration - I began to laugh. The red hats were lipstick - bright red as it comes out of a lipstick tube. The women were . . . lipstick lesbians. Too dang clever!

Well, now that I've told you about last night. I'm two chapters away from completing the rough draft. I hope to complete Chapter Eleven today, and Chapter Twelve tomorrow. With my 3 day vacation taken into account, I'm still on schedule for the rough draft being complete in a month. It's been a rough road some days. I've changed a lot from the original concept. I'm still changing things as I write. I've been experimenting with the voice yesterday and today. I want a familiarity, a comfort level, with the voice. It is an experiment. It may or may not work. The editing process will be the true test of the workability of my voice experiment.

At this point:
  • Chapter Eight - completed
  • Chapter Nine - completed
  • Chapter Ten - completed
  • Chapter Eleven - started
  • Total Words - almost at 50,00

I'm off to take a nap right now. My beloved partner thought it very amusing to open all the blinds this morning and let me know he was going to take the boyz for their walk. I was not amused. I did get up, however, and stumble to the kitchen for a much needed cup of coffee. I've worked quite a bit on my writing this morning. I'm now going to nap.