Monday, November 29, 2010


I'm smack in the middle of writing infidelity. I have a total of three projects going right now, a book that is so close to being done I could sneeze on my keyboard and finish, another book in the beginning stages, and a short story that I'm about halfway through.

So why all the projects?

I enjoy the infatuation of a new idea, the first attraction to something I could fall in love with. It's fun and exciting, learning more about my characters, finding out how they'll deal with their conflict, and how they will overcome. But once I've fallen in love, and gotten to know the characters better, writing the end is more determination than fun, more work than play.

At last years LDStorymakers, Aprilynne Pike said, "What separates a writer from an author is the person that keeps writing, even when it stops being fun." I have quoted this before. I'll probably quote it again. It's something I need to remember.

Do I want to be an author? Absolutely. Is it hard? You bet. But I also need to remember the wise words of my very wise husband. "Writing should always be fun, even when it's hard."

What are your writing struggles? How do you get through?

So let's all raise our glasses and overcome. Because no one ever said you'd get a publishing contract handed to you for trying.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Breaking Points

Black Friday shopping this year seemed more intense than ever. Perhaps due to the struggling economy, there was a higher level of desperation in the air to get those good bargains. Even though I'm a veteran Black Friday shopper (although not of the variety of camping out overnight), the rabidity I witnessed at the local large-mart was a little disturbing.

It caused me to think about people's breaking points and the aftermath. I've almost reached the place in my novel where my main character hits her breaking point, instigating some major changes in her life. Breaking points usually lead to change, either for better or worse. In my fellow shoppers, the worse were the folks who at the stroke of midnight decided to push and nearly trample people to get to a $12 scooter, the better was the guy who turned and handed me back a scooter as I fought my urge to push back on those around me.

As I approach this section of my novel, I've been wondering if the events that trigger my character's breaking point are strong enough. I think they are, but we'll see when it's on the page. Really though, after the spectacle of Black Friday, it reaffirmed my belief that there is a lot of suppressed angst in human beings, and it doesn't always take something major to bring someone to their breaking point.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's Thanksgiving so....

1) What are you thankful for?

2) Did you remember to wish the Tart a happy birthday today?

PS How come it's so hard to find a cornucopia with chocolate and potato chips spilling out?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hype VS Reality

I live in a small valley in Utah along the Wasatch Front.  We've been preparing for the BLIZZARD OF THE CENTURY for about a week. 

It came through last night.  Sadly disappointing.  I had candles and matches on every level of the house, I had located the sub-zero sleeping bags, and my daughter was wearing her head-lamp around her neck in preparation.

The hype was huge.  After-school activities were canceled, the stores were buzzing with people buying generators and indoor heaters.  Businesses let their employees go early.

And then it came.  In my little valley there was a brief dusting of snow, but we still waited.  We canceled plans and waited.  Nothing.

So, what books have you read that the hype was more than the actual product?  (We can leave out one wildly popular series.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I've been feeling overall blahsville about many of the entertainment offerings this year. Of course Harry Potter has come to the rescue with the beginning of the end, but I'm also encouraged by a few other upcoming projects. Here is my list of promising picks:

Red Riding Hood: According to EW, a "dark retelling of the famous children's tale"; my concern? "From the Director of Twilight"; still, it has Gary Oldman, who's always fun to watch

The Walking Dead: A new series on AMC starring (are you listening, Sir Kirk-a-Lot?) Zombies. Normally not my cup of tea, but it's getting great reviews and has a good pedigree with director Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) and producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator)

Terra Nova: Again from EW, "a new sci-fi series about a family in the year 2149 that travels back in time to a prehistoric era." A preview of the pilot is scheduled for May on Fox, with full series debut in September.

True Grit: A remake of the John Wayne classic normally wouldn't get my attention, but the Coen brothers are doing it and the young female lead, Hailee Steinfeld, is the niece of a friend of mine.

The King's Speech: Oscar buzz for Colin Firth, who I can't resist since he played Mr. Darcy so perfectly.

How Do You Know: I'm a sucker for a good Rom-Com and have always liked Reece Witherspoon and Paul Rudd. Writer-director James L. Brooks is usually spot on.

American Idol: New season coming in January; curious to see how it works (or doesn't) with new celeb judges Steven Tyler and J-Lo.

Pink-Greatest Hits: On my Christmas list - she does angry girl pop-rock better than anybody.

Decision Points: The memoir by George W. Bush - I'm curious to get inside his head because I feel like he didn't let us get to know him well enough when he was president.

The Pee Wee Herman Show: It's on Broadway, unlikely I will get there, but it would be way fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The dim light

Game time:
Describe your writing in three words or less.

I'll go first since I'm asking you all to do it.

straightforward, um?, um?

New game:
Describe in three words or less why writing is important to you.

Keeps me sane.

There that one's doable. Pick your own.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Am I the only one who is easily distracted by my sub-plots? I'm thinking it's because I rarely get big chunks of writing done at one time. Right now I am wrapping up a chapter it feels like I have been in forevvvver, which deals in large part with a sub-plot. I've gotten caught up in my supporting characters to the extent that I've felt like I'm losing sight of moving my main character forward.

I decided to go back to reread earlier sections of the story to refresh my connection to the plot and refocus myself. I thinks it's helped, and I'm happy to be beginning a new section and deal with some different supporting characters, before the ones I've been living with lately take over the story.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spillin' the beans about the Inkers

Many of you know that we bloggers here on Inking Cap are a writing group. We are friends and neighbors...even if one neighbor lives 9 hours away.
What you may not know (and certainly I will be watching my back for telling you this), we are also a lethal ninja force against self-doubt and the angst of writing.
Inspiration from within the group will sneak in at that moment when you think you can't take one more bad sentence and it will pick you up and kick you back in gear.

The ninja force has been collectively at work in the last month to defeat the evil of lethargy. Someone and I honestly can't remember who, although I have a vague inkling that it was the Ninja Master, (You'll have to guess which one of us that is because that secret is above your security clearance.) said, "Why don't we actually write at our meetings. Since we are all so busy let's just take a little time at the very beginning of the meeting and work on something to share."

We did 15 minute writing exercises for our first 6 months or so as a group and since last month was our 2nd anniversary!! That was a while ago. Then we morphed our schedule to discuss life, the universe, each other, our writing, and many things in between, mostly how we were all having trouble finding time to finish our projects. With the 2nd anniversary came a new and brilliant evolution in our group. WE took 1 hour of our group meeting and semi-silently wrote individually then we shared our new projects while they were raw and fresh and exciting.
It was transcendent.

I wanted to share a little about what we are doing because we have found something that is working for us and its new and fresh and exciting. With this new inspiration we have also decided to double our meetings per month. I know groups who meet once a week and some who meet like we did once a month. Whatever works for you is best. We of the ninja Inkers mostly live by the live and let live strategy of writing.

What's working for you? If you have things you love about your writing group, your pta, your ninja squad, whatever, please tell us about it. Who knows where the next great idea for evolution will come from?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feelin' Good

I am amazed.  Blown-out-of-the-water feeling good.

Why,  you ask am I feeling this great?

Let me tell you.  I was ready to cut my writing wrists.  Or maybe that is a bit drastic.  How about I was ready to end my writing relationship.  There was no love, no joy.  I wondered if I was only staying in this relationship for the parties.  I was about to walk out of this commitment like a Hollywood starlet and her husband of the week. Turn my back and never open that door again.  There were no new ideas.  No love for projects half finished.  I expressed some of those feelings here.

And then, I had a dream. (Which I hesitate to mention.  One person said "Like stephenie meyer?")  And with the dream came an idea.  And with the idea a story.  And in the story some great lines that restore my faith in myself and this writing relationship.

So I am working on my short story for LTUE.  Are you?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Back it up

I got a reminder of an important habit this week - backing up your work. When I was several chapters in on my current WIP, my husband (a forward-thinking sort), advised me to be sure to keep at least one back-up copy. My response (being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person), was to say that it was a good idea and assure him I would do it. Several months later, I did begin the habit of routinely sending updated drafts to our desktop computer.

A couple days ago, the IT guys at work had me drop off my laptop for reformatting. Although I had told them none of my files were backed up and they had said everything would be transferred to my new hard drive, when my laptop was returned, all my files were gone. Of course I had a minor nervous breakdown over all the work I was potentially in for in recreating everything, but my biggest comfort was that a backup copy of my WIP was resting comfortably on our desktop. I would have cried big, salty tears if I'd thought all of that effort was down the drain.

There is a happy ending on the work front also. Luckily, they had not wiped my old hard drive and were able to transfer all my files to the new drive.

So, the moral of this story is: save yourself some heartburn and back-up your writing regularly!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Indecision is a plague

So the other day I had a simple task to perform for my son, pick out a bike. He turned 5 this week and Grandma wanted to buy him a bike to greet him on the morning of his birthday. Well, Grandma lives 3,200 miles away, which meant I was at the store at 10:00 pm the night before trying to pick a bicycle that they would both LOVE from a meager selection at the local Large Mart. Bah.
Finally after 30 minutes of trying Debbie's patience by making her ride all of the 16" bicycles and wait for a surly, pimpled store employee, who didn't know the first thing about boy's bicycles to tell me nothing I didn't know about the poor specimens on display, I chose the least awful of the bicycles at a reasonable price and packed it home with a ribbon to match.

My son loved it. He sat right on it the next morning and declared it the supreme birthday present of all time.
Good choice right? Yeah, but I still don't love it. Good thing its not for me.

So how does this apply to writing...Indecision in life is a plague that seeps into writing as well. Writers who waffle end up with inconsistent characters and incomprehensible plots.

After the indecision at the store, Debbie tried, upon request, to help me brainstorm some plot ideas for my work in progress and guess what? Yep, can't decide about that either. The possibilities with my imagined world are endless. The romance could go from etherial to utterly corrupt or from epic to apocalyptic and I still don't know what it will become. All I know is its time to make some decisions and hope that like my son, who never knew the choices I faced to pick his perfect bike, anyone who reads the story will not know that I almost went with a completely different plot. Hopefully I pick the very best one after the eeny, meeny, miney mo.

What do you have trouble deciding about?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Are They Doing?

This picture has tickled my fancy.

What's the story here? Can you please write a short paragraph about what this sign would say?

 I want to use it as an invitation, but I can't think of what kind of party it would be for.

(The image comes from The Graphics Fairy.)  She has amazing turn of the century stuff.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Killed Pumpkins

Halloween is over and I'm bottling all of that beautiful pumpkin today in preparation for the busy holiday season. I have a running list in my head of things that can be made with it, not unlike Forrest Gump's friend, Bubba, with his shrimp. Pumpkin soup, souffle, cheesecake, pie, jelly rolls, muffins, cookies....I'm sure the list goes on, but I'll stop there. Yesterday, when I was chopping through the Jack o'Lantern faces, Grace came into the kitchen and asked, "Are you killing that pumpkin?" Why, yes, I am! How could you tell? I guess the knife through the ghoulish face was the giveaway.