Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day Sixteen- Following their instincts....

So, I'm still pushing off my planned topic because I noticed something today when I was dropping my kids off.

It's dumping rain here... buckets. So, a lot of parents were dropping their kids off at school. Plus, our school is a nice school so we have a lot of parents that "open enroll" their kids from outside the boundaries so they have to bring their kids. The end result being that the parking lot is mad chaos in a circle for about twenty minutes every morning... and more so on rainy days.

I'd already dropped the kids off when it happened. As I was waiting in line to exit the parking lot, the first group of kids with a parent (on foot) went out of their way to cross in front of me. It happened again and again. I was watching around me and I would guess that people were four or five times more likely to cross in front of my car than other cars. I even had people choose to cross in front of me over the cross walk right behind me. I don't know what it was specifically. I'm overly cautious by nature (OCD in action) so I tend to leave a larger gap in front of me when it comes to driving and idling. Was it that? I also am not a rolling idle sort of person who eats up inches as soon as they become available. So, my brake lights were severely obvious, and I wasn't moving--was that it? What part of these people's instincts said that I was the right person to cross in front of? Their instincts were right--I'm cautious to the point of disturbing. I'm also the one that lost children in stores come to. I can't tell you how many times I've taken a child to find their parent or walked them to the courtesy desk. Children also come talk to me over other adults. What is it about me that says "safe"? When I was helping in T's preschool class, I had several kids--the first day--go home and mention me as a friend.

Instincts. They're weird. Sometimes they're logical. Sometimes they aren't, but they are there. I just wrote a scene that involved instincts of a crowd--which are even more baffling at times. Did you know that if you're ever being assaulted... instead of yelling for help... you should yell "FIRE?" I learned it in a self-defense class put on by a police officer. Statistically, you'll be more likely to have people rush to see the fire than to help. (Plus, I imagine it'll confuse the heck out of your attacker.)

I feel like instincts are key to writing three dimensional characters. Writing fast--as the NaNo opportunity provides, I think gives you even more of an ability to get into characters--to write THEIR dialogue and not yours. Every time I say to myself, "No, he/she wouldn't do that--she would do this," I mentally pat myself on the back for recognizing the difference between my instincts and my character's.

The other nice thing about NaNo is that you can go wildly off onto tangents that you might later cut, but it does get that word count up. Plus, who knows... maybe your tangent is right on your character's instincts.

If you don't feel like talking about this, the post below is empty... so you can say anything you feel like.

I'm having a bit of a Thanksgiving type of day today. I'm so freakishly thankful for antibiotics. I'm also thankful the husband replaced the tire on my car. I'm thankful for meeting Diana. I'm thankful that my parents are home from France after a year and a half and we'll get to see them this week. I'm thankful for a wood pile that is keeping my house warm. I'm thankful my kids are in school for several hours so I can find some peace and quiet. (T has been out of control. I think the strange feeling from his head wound is setting off his sensory system. He has this same problem every time he gets his hair cut.) I'm thankful for so many online and real life friends. I'm thankful that I'm meeting a friend this week for pie and a place that makes amazing pies. I'm very thankful for what sleep I got last night after so many nights of coughing and feeling like my lungs were drowning. I'm thankful for a friend that turned me onto to Castle. I love that show. I'm thankful for a laptop that makes my life so easy. I'm thankful for my husband who made the best roast in the world yesterday on a day that needed it. I'm very thankful today. I'm very thankful for the Frosting I'm about to go eat.

Have a good Monday everyone.


  1. I'm thankful for you too Wendy. I also love that your word today is plethora, and your movie is Labyrinth.

  2. Mmmm frosting.

    I'm getting a sympathetic sugar rush just thinking about it.

  3. I like the instinct thing. I've often gone back through manuscripts and noticed bits of dialogue where it sounded like me speaking instead of my characters. If I'm in the zone (really inside my character's heads) I write a lot better dialogue and action.

  4. Sometimes I've gone against my writing instincts and written a scene that didn't feel right just because I needed to write. And then I delete them.


    Frosting- yum!

  5. I like that you brought up the "help" thing. I was actually watching Dr. Phil the other day (don't laugh) and he had a guest speaker on self-defense for women and children. The number one rule is never to yell "help" because it can be misconstrued as "playful." So they were instructed instead to yell "FIRE!" or "CALL 911!" Which apparently people respond to more.

    But anyway... instinct is a powerful thing. I think some people call it "intuition" sometimes too. My mom always had a scarily accurate instinct for whenever my brothers or I was in trouble.

    Look at that long list of things to be thankful for :) I love Thanksgiving. Enjoy your frosting! I've recently gotten addicted to Duncan Hines' cream cheese frosting. Mmmmmmmmm!

  6. Huh, did not think about yelling fire rather than help. Makes sense though.

  7. Hearing all you're thankful for made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And that rarely happens on a Monday. lol So I'm thankful for your thankfulness.

  8. Diana- I have a plethora of favorite words, but that's top ten. Thank you, Three Amigos.

    L.T. Rainbow Chip... it's the pinnacle of frosting awesomeness.

    Natalie- I love when I get in the zone and the pages just seem to fly. It's the best writing rush in the world.

    Stephanie- If you're not doing NaNo, there isn't really a need, but sometimes tangents that are cut can become a backstory for you. I do have a hard time cutting things, though.

    Julie- I'd always assumed it was because people are nosy--and that's why they ran to see a fire. Intuition can be amazing--nearly paranormal. I've been told that I have fairly good intuition, but I think it's a trait of my OCD. I have a finely-tuned sense of danger.

    Natalie, hey you! Happy Monday!

    Catherine, It's rare for me to be happy on a Monday to be honest. I think it's the fact that I was so ill last week that this rush of health with the kids gone is comparatively blissful. Still, maybe having bad days so that you can have good days later on has some value. I'm thankful that you're thankful that I'm thankful. :)

  9. I'm really glad you did a Thankful montage! It grabbed my chin, came nose to nose with me and said "See? You, too, have tons to be thankful for!" (I was whining yesterday)

  10. Haha hello =] How has your monday been so far?

  11. I think I might be a little OCD myself, because I am wierdly irritated that I didn't scroll down the list of facebook status updates before commenting on blogs this evening, which deviates from my typical weeknight routine.

    Hang on, can't stand this. Will be right back!

  12. Deb, some days are harder than others to be thankful. If at first, you don't succeed--try again tomorrow.

    Natalie, I braved the rain and got grocery store shopping done--which doesn't give me a feeling of satisfaction--nor will it impress the husband. I really should have cleaned, but the kids were getting whiny about the lack of food. Oh... I did get various items of clothing that I ordered off of ebay for T who went through a massive growth spurt and was wearing weather appropriate floods.

    Amber, you have to do it in the right order or it's like dogs and cats--living together--mass hysteria. :) I'm only partly kidding.

  13. It sounds like you have a lot to be thankful for. Good for you.

  14. Thanks, Susan.

    The husband got really bad news today that might affect his job, so I feel like I tempted fate, but still....

    I hate being superstitious.

    I'm thankful I'm not.

    The odd numbers thing is a sensible precaution of some kind.