Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scary Things Like Narration

So, while it's All Hallows Eve... it's also NaNoWriMo Eve, and I need to decide on a narration style.

I've settled on a topic and an audience (YA) so now it's on to deciding what type of narration I'll use.

First-- Point of View

It's natural, of course, to go with First Person narration first while listing things... so I will. Writing from the point of view of a character has it's merits. I think it's deeper and allows a more sincere connection. Also, it seems like YA books are more commonly written in this style. The quirk of First Person is that it will be biased and you'll "miss" aspects of the story just as your character does. I like the idea of writing in the First Person, and I think I'll probably go with that.

Second Person is rarely employed through the entirety of a novel--which makes it a bit of a challenge and usually I can't resist a challenge, but it's an even number, and we know how I feel about those. Second person is a scenario when the generic first person "you" is used to address a character and would be the form of Self-help books.

Third Person allows the narrator to step outside of the characters while occasionally relating their thoughts from an omniscient point of view. Third person is easier for relating what is actually happening... and creating a landscape with broader strokes. You can be brutally objective of what is going on. I've heard that Third Person is easier, but it's more difficult for me. It's easier for me to be biased and be inside someone's head.

There is also the option of Multiple Person narrative where I can use more than one first person character's viewpoint. I've done this before and switched at chapters to relate the story. I did this in the manuscript "Parallel Lives." It was fun, actually. In Third Person, I usually go from the "overall" Point of View of one character to the other. I don't stay objective very well.

Then, there is alternating Point of View. The narration would alternate between First and Third Person and while I've never done this--I really like the idea of it. This can include epistolary narration which uses letters or other written narration intermixed with a story told in Third Person. Some of the classics do this and do it well. Dracula... for example.

Okay, so... that's Point of View, but wait... that's not all of narration.

Just because you've established who will tell the story... you still have the how.

What tense will it be in?

Past tense is nice and easy. I think most novels use past tense. I think you lose a little if you write everything in present tense. I'm not entirely sure how you'd write in future tense. So, that is, at least, an easy decision for me. I've written portions in present tense (specifically dreams) and that seems "right."

Okay. Phew. Tense is done.

Wait... there's more. What about our narrative voice? That's important.

I already mentioned epistolary narration where diary entries or letters or emails are used. The book "Boy Next Door" by Meg Cabot uses entirely emails or other online correspondence to tell the story and it's hilarious and full of awesome for that.

There is also the unreliable narrator where you establish that the narrator has some reason for not giving a rational or reliable account of the story. Perhaps your narrator has extreme bias, is insane, or terrified.... Perhaps the narrator doubts their version of events because it seems too unbelievable. The age or experience of the narrator might cause an unreliable narration. If the narrator is young or naive, you'll get a doubtful narration that may even result in a satiric exposition in regards to your audience. In my Honor books, Honor has clearly flawed logic and a bias toward violence that makes her a bit unreliable as far as exposition goes. I think most First Person narration should occasionally seem unreliable. A completely rational First Person account seems flawed in itself--the cardboard cut-out version of a person.

Stream-of-consciousness is clearly my method of blogging and sometimes I'm even bordering on "shiny penny" levels of consciousness where I'm so easily distracted that.... Oh look! Something shiny! Wow. I like shiny things.

What was I saying? Oh...

So... the narration for Third Person voice varies too. Subjective... Objective... Omniscient. I tend to use Third Person Subjective. I just can't be Objective. I try, but I fail. I manage it in short stories... yay for me. Most of the classic works employing Omniscient just don't "work" for me. Pride and Prejudice being my most recent failure to get "into." It seems too detached for me, so it would be extremely unlike me to use this--especially in a YA book. However the modern version of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a brilliant use for Omniscient. Lemony Snicket is just awesome on a stick.

I guess that covers the gist of narration, but I still have to pick. Too many choices and less than twenty-four hours to pick.

Anyone else decided on this already?

As far as Halloween goes... as well as shiny things... The daughter will be a Candy Corn witch. The son will be a fighter pilot. We have a chili cook-off and a Trunk-or-Treat party tonight to attend. It should be fun. We have a lot to do to get ready--our trunk is currently scary in a whole different way.

I don't have a fever anymore--nor does the idea of moving make me want to hurl. I had some NASTY vertigo yesterday. We visited the husband's work for trick-or-treating yesterday. He works in downtown Seattle. The higher floors of his building were making me break out in cold sweats. It was awful. I swear it was like the whole building was swaying back and forth. Today, I'm still a little shaky. I don't know if I've mentioned this but I have nightmares every night due to one of my meds attempts to regulate my hormones. I started today off with a really significant nightmare of being raped in the dark while under the influence of something that made me so I couldn't move my limbs. I'm still a little shaky due to the remnants of it. Most of my nightmares are less intense, but sometimes I have a few nights in a row with really intense nightmares and it causes a stretch of severe insomnia because I'm afraid to go to sleep. My sickness has meant that I'm actually getting this weird things called "eight hours of sleep" but less sleep usually means less intense nightmares, so it'll be nice to get over this sickness.

I should eat some breakfast now that it is nearly eleven a.m.

Yay. It's Halloween.

Boo!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flashy Fiction Friday (Scary Trees, Spiders, Indiscriminately)

Before I do my weekly drop of flash fiction, I noticed I have a follower named Cinders. That is so surreal. In one of my manuscripts, featuring chat room discussions, one of the main people is named "Cinders." I did a double take this morning.

Okay, it's windy here today--and wind makes my head ache due to air pressure and allergies--so I'll keep this to mostly just posting the fiction and wandering. I wrote a letter to B's teacher today, and I swear she probably thinks I'm on drugs... and not aspirin. It was all over the place. Note to self-- Do not fill in any blanks stating that I am a writer in regards to B's teacher. It may cause laughing pee-age.

See... all over the place. Soooo... now that we've had our awkward moment. Flash Fiction. Each day we get a prompt and write madly if our heart so desires and then wander off so that others may come and worship our beautiful prose. It's a lot of fun and there are some really brilliant people posting over there. Flashy Fiction--if you're not there, you're not really living. (Well... you may be... or you might be a zombie. It could go either way.)

I'll post the days I posted and the prompt.

*Warning--the third story contains words that are inappropriate for those under the age of 13 or my mother. Jaime, don't giggle uncontrollably.*


The Prompt:

The handwritten sign on the Monroe’s front porch said:

Sorry to disappoint on this hallowed nite!
We’ve places to be and people to fright.
But…
This little black cauldron will offer you treats,
Just don’t try to trick it or you’ll get zero sweets.

p.s. We assume no liability for broken bones, bitten fingers or night terrors.

***

"Kat, your neighbors are total freaks," Blake said, looking out her window at the Monroe's house.

"Why?" his girlfriend asked, applying more black lipstick.

"They've left this cauldron full of candy on their front porch with a sign and they expect not to get robbed by the first group through."

Blake watched the streetlights turn on one by one. They were planning on hitting a few haunted houses, but a bunch of his friends hit houses like the Monroe's first.

"They are freaky, but not for that," she said as she outlined her eyes with a thick black line.

"What do you mean?"

"They're not actually gone," she said.

"What? They are. Their giant boat of a car is gone. The lights are off."

"Their kids tried to have them both sent to an old folk's home. Both of them are out of their minds and up the tree."

"So, they're inside the house?" Blake asked, squinting at the darkened windows.

"No, they're up the tree with four dozen eggs--at least. They'll pelt anyone who tries to steal extra candy. For being in their eighties--they're great shots."

A group of teenagers walked up to the front door and took handfuls of candy. Blake had opened Kat's bedroom window to listen. Their screams, as eggs flew from the tree, made him laugh.

"I think we should stick around until it's darker, Kat," Blake said as he saw some of his friends approaching the house.



The prompt:

"Careful," I warn. "I bite, you know."

***
"Prithee, Spider, give me advice,"
asked the fairy, pretty and nice.
"What would you know?" I had replied,
measuring her wings, three bites wide.
"Should I sleep in winter white with snow
and awake in Spring, ready to grow?"
"Where will you sleep, my pretty sweet?"
I licked the air, wanting to eat.
"There in the glade in the old dry tree,
others will join me, plenty room free."
"Haste ye there, my plump little fly,
winter's upon us, and the frost is nigh."
"Or perhaps I'll go off, fly to the south,"
She swiftly added, tapping her mouth.
"Nay to sleep. It's sleep you must."
Tasty wee fairies were known to trust.
"It's as you've said, dear Spider friend.
Plenty of winter for wings to mend."
A flap of wings, and the slightest trip,
my pincers so longed to tear and rip.
Wait, my love, wait for more,
One fairy gone means friends in store.
“Careful," I warn. "I bite you know.
Off you fly--here comes the snow."
Closer I creep to the old glade tree,
here they come, more fairies for me.
Fairies in a row, all bundled up neat.
Fairies all for me--a Christmas treat.




***

James sat in the small restaurant and waited with his fingers steepled. Alright, he'd made a mistake with the girl. Sure, he didn't need to sleep with her, but that was who he was--he had sex indiscriminately. If they brought in a temp, they could bloody well expect for him to sleep with her. How was he to know she was someone's niece? She certainly didn't say anything.

Looking at his watch, he acknowledged that this was much longer than he'd ever been required to wait for contact. Plus, this was a hole compared to what he was used to. You couldn't even get a decent martini for a mile. He'd have to go back to his hotel and wash the stink of humanity off him.

Plus, they'd been having a laugh at him when they sent him here in a tux. Not that he didn't tell everyone he ran into his name, but this was highly irregular to be so inconspicuous beforehand. If anyone was going to blow his cover it was bloody well going to be him. That was what he did!

He sipped the water. Swill! His water tasted like the glass had been boiled clean in his soup.

Plus, they'd never said how they'd be giving him the contact information. He'd unscrewed the salt and dumped all that on the table only to find the shaker empty. Damn and blast.

Normally, a pretty young bit of legs would escort him to a "special" table, but not tonight. No, the woman was far older than Moneypenny and fancied herself a cougar at eighty. She'd patted his rump before he sat down.

There was nothing on the placemat or the napkin. For all he knew, this was it. A wild goose chase.

Gently, he belched. He'd have gas later on. What had been in that soup? It was probably something's testicles. Yak testicles. Goat testicles. Snake testicles. Did snakes have testicles? Everything did. Pull yourself together, man.

They were probably watching him. He glanced around. If any of these other chaps were agents, they'd lowered the requirements for both hygiene and fitness. A few of the ladies were a possibility, but hopefully he wouldn't have to bed them. Well, no, he never had to, but that's what he did. That was who he was. He had sex indiscriminately.

Bother. This was just outside of enough. He wouldn't wait more than another quarter of an hour. They could simply contact him at the hotel--maybe he could find a frisky maid in the meantime.

The cougar brought him the cheque with a fortune cookie. He suspected that was her phone number on the top of the cheque and not any attempt at contact from the agency. He'd call it, but hopefully, he wouldn't have to play out the charade. He did discriminate--at times.

This was probably because he'd wrecked the last Aston Martin before he'd even found out how the missiles worked. The Russian had climbed on his lap, and she handled her curves better than he had. In all fairness, the maneuverability just wasn't up to snuff. Besides, he'd gotten some rather wonderful information that time--not for the agency, but he'd never really seen a girl be able to do that with both legs.

Ahh... the fortune cookie. Of course. They'd used this trick before. Clever. Opening it, he was forced to admit, "Well played, Q. Well played indeed." The GPS coordinates were there and the rest was as good as a signature.

"The greatest danger could be your stupidity."

He'd take that under advisement. Plugging the GPS in, he saw he'd be headed near the Sudan. His stomach protested the thought of flying right away. He belched again. Perhaps a few alka-seltzer--shaken--not stirred.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Rose by any other name would be called Tara


Above is one of my "goofing around with my new touch screen" pictures done with Paint. (I had Photoshop on my normal computer, but that computer fried. C'est la vie. It's minimalistic to have to work with a program meant for so little use. Yeah. That's it.)

So, I'm trying to pick a new name for my Dystopian's MC. Her name is currently Tara, and I don't know why I picked it because it just didn't fit her.

I've been going through IMDb looking for better names for her and for my NanoWrimo entry. I'd read somewhere recently about someone doing this, but I can't remember where. I've always previously gone through baby books... which isn't a big help for surnames... for the record. It's really fun to look up some of the bigger Hollywood movies and get down to the make-up artists and mix and match first and last names.

That's basically what I've done with my day. (I know--it's pathetic, but I'm sick, so I'm pretending it's not.)

Okay... back to my monologue on names:

Speaking of names, my son, T, has decided, at six, that he would like to go by the nickname "T.J." from now on. We haven't quite established if we're to implement this immediately or if he'll be doing this on a case-by-case basis. T was initially going to be called T.J. until he was born and we decided not to initialize because he didn't look like a T.J. He likes the way it looks-- two letters--side by side. I don't know what the expectation is, but it feels a little strange to suddenly start calling our son a different name. One of my brothers was known as "Dave" at work whereas we'd never called him that a day in his life. It was strange to hear that he was a "Dave." He didn't look like a "Dave" in my opinion. (I find it strange that we have these preconcieved notions of what "So-and-so" looks like based on names. I found out that Diana doesn't look like Wonder Woman today. I know... weird, huh?)

I don't have a nickname or a pet name even. Not really. I keep trying to get the husband to call me "bug" or really anything sweet, but he isn't like that. My mom calls me Wen-weet, and I really keep trying to get her to stop. (Wendy makes retching noises.) The kids call me "Mom" and "Mommy" and that's as close as it gets. Sigh. I call the kids all kinds of nicknames as does the husband--they're more pet names, though, not anything you'd put on a form as a "I go by this sometimes" sort of thing. (Wendy snickers to self and considers putting "Sweetie" in the next 'fill in the blank" that comes.)

I want to have a nickname. I wish it was as easy when an adult to get a nickname. Nicknames make you feel special like you mean something to someone more than you do to other people. I think other women get that, but I don't really think guys do. I shorten the husband's name (for that reason) and he gets annoyed, but doesn't say anything. He only lets me do that... which makes me feel special. I won't say all nicknames are like that or are something that one would choose, but some nicknames are like that. It's not like Wendy is easy to shorten into anything and rats on that, but still... I want a nickname.

Wow. This is so completely random.

So, as I was picking my names for my characters I was also thinking along the lines of "but they'll go by this" and picking nicknames for them. I like the process of naming characters. I also like the find and replace function for when I name people the wrong thing and I realize that half-way through.

Okay, I need to buckle down and pick a new name for Tara.... Poor thing. It's a good thing this doesn't happen in real life to people. ("Sorry... your father and I hate the name we chose for you fifteen years ago, so now we'll be calling you Penelope. Cheers.")

Okay, then... Wendy needs more sleep and to stop talking about herself in the third person.


Feeling Awarded


I received awards from both Julie and Natalie this week. Actually, the same award. I think if they both agree it MUST be true, right?

Natalie's Blog is the Sound of Rain and her posts are always so intelligent and real. I think she has a strong personality presence in her writing. I really like going over to read her blog.

Julie's Blog is Silver Lining and she always has the most soothing and beautiful music playing. I've been leaving her blog up in the background just to listen to it. Even if her posts weren't awesome... which they are... I'd still go hang out there.

The rules are:

1. Copy the Kreativ Blogger picture and post it on your page.
2. Thank the person that gave the award to you and link back to their blog.
3. Write 7 things about you that we don't know.
4. Choose 7 other bloggers that you would like to give the award to.
5. Link to the bloggers that you chose.
6. Let your winners know that they have the lovely award.

Seven things about me that you might not know, huh? I'm really secretive about my life, so this might be difficult.

1. My favorite painting is the Scream by Edvard Munch. I like the way it compresses how I feel some days into one simple image and how boldly surreal it is.

2. I have long, blonde hair down to my waist, and I have nearly my whole life. I've cut it periodically only to find out that, though the husband says "he likes me no matter what" --that really means "sure... he likes me, but can't I just have long hair, anyway?"

3. I struggle with agoraphobia periodically. (Most people know this as the "fear" of going outside or in public.) I've never gotten "stuck" inside the house for more than three or four days because the kids are good in that way... although, forcing them out into the stinking sunshine always feels a little hypocritical. Generally, I just feel more comfortable inside my house or car than outside of it, but I also really don't like other people inside my house. This is my own personal bubble and safe haven, and I don't like people mucking about in here.

4. My favorite holiday is Halloween though Cinco de Mayo isn't bad.

5. The movie the Ring scared me so bad that I don't like having the dvd in my house.

6. I talk in my sleep-- a lot-- especially when I'm on meds for OCD. The son walks in his sleep. The daughter has insomnia and giggles in her sleep. The husband is normal--darn him.

7. I once owned a Subaru SVX and I loved that car... as much as it's humanly possible for me to love an inanimate object. It oozed sex. I kid you not. That car was hot and thoroughly masculine and the strange windows meant that I got looks everywhere I went. I loved that car. It didn't fit car seats, though. Oh, and when I say that I owned this car--it was mine from my single days--not the husband's. I think he had me trade it in just because he was jealous, and he should have been--that car was so hot. No other car has really touched my soul like that car. Le sigh. (Channeling a little Pepe' Le Pew there.)

Okay, so now to pick people... which is actually hard because a lot of people have already received this award. In fact, Diana is giving this award out like candy in her blog. (I think she was thinking the same thing.) In fact... aargh... this award is everywhere. Forget it. I'm going to post some of the blogs I've found and loved and stalk, because stalking is fun.

Shelley's Blog (who posted in my blog) I started stalking. She wrote the children's book Good Night, Good Knight. I read that to my kids and immediately called my mom (who is a big fan of children's books) and insisted she check it out and buy it for the grandchildren. (Did I mention she posted in my blog?) It seems wrong to stalk a children's book author, though. Anyway... she's full of wonderful.

The Sesquipedalian's blog stretches your mind and enriches your soul in very entertaining ways. Her footnotes are hilarious.

The Faerie Castle has an Amityville toaster video that made me giggle uncontrollably.

Deb my fellow Flashy Fiction buddy's blog always makes me smile. She just was sucked into the maelstrom that is "THE NOOK."

Stephanie has a fascination with history that is amazing. It's hard not to get excited with her... so I don't even bother. I get excited. She's writing a historical fiction book on Hatshepsut.

I try to even out the estrogen by lurking on a few guy's blogs:

Bane's Blog is worth stalking.

I've mentioned Sean's blog here before, but if you're not stalking him... it's fun.

Anyway, those are off the top of my head. Fun people to stalk. Wee. Stalkers of the blogging world unite. I stalk a lot of people both online and off, so this is by no means a comprehensive list of my stalker-a-tude.

I've got a weird fever today, so I might go curl up in a little ball and attempt to get warm in front of a fire. I crashed before my kids did last night under three or four blankets... and I'm freezing again. It seems like a good day to find out more about zombies and Mr. Darcy. I need pie but unless I can trick someone into bringing me some in my corner of solitude--that wish may go unfulfilled. Le sigh.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trouble comes in fours....

Well, yes, that's not the regular saying, but three is prime and odd, and it can't possibly be bad, so I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop still.

So, the scary story contest is continuing to be won by those that cheat, but there is a soft seat in hell for people that cheat. No. Probably not. It's just a kindle. Those seats are probably already reserved for lawyers, politicians, and collection agencies. That would be nail one in the coffin.

Nail two is from yesterday's rejection which featured one of my favoritist words for a rejection AND sounded eerily like my dream. It's not them, Wendy, it's you. I've had dreams that have come true before. (Truly scary stories.) So, who knows. Diana and the husband can attest to it sounding just too close to my dream for comfort. If that means I've acquired prescience, it doesn't bode well because I'm sensing today and tomorrow are going to suck rocks. Big... hefty... gray... rocks. (Btw, I've yet to decide which spelling of the word grey/gray I prefer. I'm in my early thirties... shouldn't I have come to a decision regarding that? Yet, I waffle between. Grey for living things. Gray for non-living things is the way it seems to flow. I also haven't decided on among/amongst or toward/towards.)

The third nail came this morning. The twenty-four hour contest--and I didn't place. It's a huge contest (500 entrants) and I can't really feel bad about it. I loved the finalists' stories. It just creates this seed of doubt in my mind that maybe literary folks don't "get me" though, you know? I'll admit... my writing is a little quirky. I have two Special Needs children, and I'm dealing with OCD, insomnia and agoraphobia. Quirky keeps that shred of sanity that I so desperately need. Still, it seems like the agent/publishing blogs have been full of a mixture of bad news/good news. The bad news is, of course, the economy. The good news is that if you're stubborn, HAVE TALENT, and a marketable idea... you will triumph. Rah rah! Go team! Probably. What if I'm just too quirky, you know?

Anyway, it's unlike me to drag my tail and mope, so... speaking of good news. Since my story wasn't picked up, I'll drop it here. Also, you should go read the finalists. The first place deserved first place. Bravo. Whistle. Clap Clap Clap Plus, he's from Washington state and we always root for the home team. Go team! Yay!


The 24 hour contest, similar to Flashy Fiction, gives you a prompt... and you write a story (heavily reliant on the prompt.) It has to be under 1000 words. My entry coined the phrase "chest burster" between the husband and I.

Here is the prompt:

Weeks of obsessive tending and gentle turning ensured a blue ribbon for his biggest pumpkin next weekend. His chest puffed with impending pride as he fantasized about the envious stares of the other town folk, especially that pretty, stuck-up woman next door, who always looked through him, not at him.

The cold wind started again and he shivered, watching the sky darken too quickly. As bright, painted leaves rained on his crop, he instinctively turned his head toward an infant's cry. At the top of the hill, under the old Maple, his stuck-up neighbor was shielding a bundle from the wind, fumbling with her blouse...


Here is my story:

The Pumpkins are Wrathful

Joad stroked the pumpkin that was his pride and joy. He crouched, gazing across his field of fine crops that migrant workers had tended during the long hours under the baking sun. He was obsessed… driven, but it would all be worth it to see his pumpkin… HIS pumpkin… take first prize. His neighbor, Ms. Rose… once Mrs. Rose, would be impressed. She’d regret her snide remarks. What would she do when he won? Her husband was dead. She needed a protector. He could be that man.

As the sun was setting, a second sun slid high above the hills casting a green hue across the land. He ignored it. That was to be expected. She’d never given in without a fight. It was part of what he liked about her. Her fiery temper was hot and slick, and he had no doubt more would be coming.

A cold wind started. It blew painted leaves across the ground. They were purple. He ignored them too. Perhaps, he should have gone with a vineyard. No… too obvious. Besides, he liked the metaphor of the pumpkin and size. Hopefully, she would go along with that.

An infant’s cry pulled his gaze to the maple that separated their properties. Mrs. Rose… no… Ms. Rose was there fumbling with her blouse as she held a bundle against her chest. Would she do it? Some part of him was… well… disappointed that she’d given in so easily.

Then, the alien child burst from her chest snarling.

Joad sighed. Perhaps, he could ignore this too, and she’d get back into character momentarily.

The alien child scrambled up her chest and began choking her. Rose fell to the ground, writhing, and making gurgling noises.

“End Theater Simulation,” he called, standing up. Rubbing his face, Josh walked toward Ellie in the large green screen theater. His footsteps echoed against cyber mural screens on all sides which pulsed in anticipation. “Ellie… what the hell was that? We agreed it was my turn to pick the play this Friday. My turn.”

She stood up and smoothed her lycra suit down. “You went too far, Josh.” Gesturing down at herself, she said, “These breasts are not feeders. They’re perfect just as they are. Plus, don’t think I didn’t know where you were going with that. Rose? She was the chick at the end of Grapes of Wrath that ends up breastfeeding that old guy. I’m not playing out this sick fantasy of yours just so you can get your rocks off over Steinbeck.”

“I was King Arthur last Friday.”

“No… you were Lancelot,” she said, raising an elegantly sculpted eyebrow. “Lancelot gets the girl in the end, remember?” Ellie crossed her arms over the aforementioned breasts and smiled. Tossing her shoulder-length black hair, she took a few steps forward. Damn… but she looked good in lycra. Hot… very hot. She pressed her mouth against his briefly before stepping back. “Well, lover, it’s your choice. I’m telling you now, though, that this Joad fellow will not be getting Ms. Rose. I knew that from the moment my stage directions hung in front of me with that whole breastfeeding business.”

“It was a symbolic metaphor,” he said defensively.

Ellie grinned. “As was your pumpkin’s size. Yes… I know.” Coughing, she commented, “That pumpkin was exceptionally large, Josh.”

“Yeah… it was,” he admitted, grinning too. Then, he sighed and asked, “If I cut the breastfeeding business?”

She shrugged, wrapped her arms around his neck, and rubbed her body against his. This was why she won all their arguments. Her date plays typically were much more exuberant than his. He liked that vitality about her.

“You’re not really going to make us go to a State Fair, are you?” she asked, wrinkling her nose. “I seem to remember your pigs and horses actually have a very realistic odor. I don’t know how or why you do it.”

“It’s the experience…. It’s supposed to be like real life,” he complained. He prided himself on that aspect of his simulated play. It should be realistic. Sound effects were always slightly over-blown, but that seemed acceptable in his mind.

“Josh…,” she whined.

He relented as he always did. “Okay… no Fair. I want to keep the pumpkin, though.”

“If you need that as a… prop.” Ellie rolled her blue eyes and smoothed the lycra down her body again. She looked so great in green. Glancing up, she caught him admiring her, and a sly smile slid across her face. “Okay… no breastfeeding and give me a name that doesn’t make me feel downtrodden.”

“No one would dare trod you down.” Josh smiled and rubbed a hand through his light hair as he rethought the play. He wanted a classic. Moby Dick maybe? He thought of her comments on the pumpkin. Maybe not. He put his hand to the earpiece and pressed the ‘record’ button. The field spun around them as before, though it was drier and a faint smell of smoke hung in the air.

She was dressed in a lacy, scarlet gown that she looked over fastidiously.

He was dressed in a riding uniform, and an enormous black horse grazed nearby. In back of them, a beautiful white plantation house scrubbed the sky. In deference to his girlfriend, he made the horse unscented. Hopefully, she appreciated this as it was definitely a compromise on his theatrical principles.

“Ahh… I see our metaphorical pumpkin made the jump,” she said, looking down at the giant pumpkin.

He shrugged.

She tapped one of her pale fingers against her red lips. If she saw more of the actual sun, she might not be so pale. She was beautiful, regardless. He saw the moment the script he’d built in his mind hung in the air between them. Scrolling her eyes through the words that only she could see, Ellie tilted her head, considering.

Hopefully, she approved, but frankly… he didn’t give a damn.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I loathe self-loathing.

Oh crap. I just got a personalized rejection on Honor that seemed eerily similar to my dream. This always, despite the best of intentions, throws me into a depression spiral of doubt--until my sense of humor kicks in--or I get pie--whichever comes first.

So, I started the oven cleaning--and have recently remembered why you only clean a self-cleaning oven on days when you can OPEN YOUR WINDOWS. My life stinks today--literally. Plus, you can't just leave your oven on 900 degrees and go for pie.... (Eventually, I do start to consider fire dangerous again under the right circumstances.)

If I go take a shower and blow off cleaning and running, I can go get pie after the oven finishes and still be back in time for the kids' bus.

On the other hand, the heel of ultimate ugliness has healed and is ready for a jaunt in the running shoes. That might help get me out of this sadness "woe is me" moment.

It's not pie, though. Running is not pie... which is probably good, because pie is high in fat and no one would run if it wasn't good for you.

Oven smoke is making my eyes water... I swear... that's why I'm crying... it's not my poor crushed writer's soul.

Actually, it is the oven. Whose bright idea was this? Who lets me think on my own on a Tuesday? Someone should have put the kibash on this right away. I'm only allowed to make my own decisions on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. Wait... I ruined the heel on a Wednesday night. Okay. Saturday mornings. All other days, I'm giving less creatively stupid people veto power.

Eyes burning. Nose stinging. Cough. Choke. Cough. Choke. Tell the husband I love him. Cough. My last moments suck thanks to that rejection, Agent who knows who I'm talking about. Cough. Sputter. Dead.


Here is one of my surreal paintings. The shop on the left is for "new and rare mirrors." This just seems like it fits with my dystopian mood for the day. Everything is less crookedy in the actual painting, but I didn't feel like taking a new picture. Lazy day, remember? Slackeritude rules!

Cooking with Fire

So, I'm trying to avoid turning on the furnace, but the day started off at 28 degrees. If the husband were here, he'd light a fire. In the old days of my youth, I was a serious pyro but I've realized as an adult that starting fires is a lot of work. (I bet some of you thought I was going to say "dangerous" but you clearly don't know me well enough.) When I lived in Vegas, I used to go down to an abandoned lot and light things on fire--drove my parents nuts. I loved to start fires. In Florida, my friend and I used to start fires near her dock to burn anything we could catch in nets or buckets. (Burned jellyfish are funky--in so many ways. Also, jellyfish strained through nets do not re-form despite what cartoons imply.) Now that I'm an adult, I'm a lot less sadistic about fire... and dead things (in reality--still slightly so fictionally.)

Wow. This was a strange aside.

Well, I was just going to say that I've resolved this "heat" crisis by bundling up and intending on starting up my self-cleaning oven. So... not only will I be cleaning my oven... but I won't have to start a fire. Yay! Laziness reigns! All hail slackeritude!

I made some real progress on my WIP yesterday. I think I logged in about 5000 to 7000 words. I'm suspecting I'll finish at below the 75,000 mark for the rough draft but it'll swell with the final draft to around 80,000 words because I skip descriptions when I'm typing fast. I like to focus on dialogue and action the first run through. Next week, NaNoWriMo starts, and I came up with an idea for something new for that. I might try to finish up "Versus the Bounty" before I tackle this new project. My male MC in my Dystopian is AWESOME. He's really stepped up to his awesomeness. I have to step up with my primary antagonist today. It's time to get him hunting--possibly with dogs--no, definitely with dogs today. BAWAHAHA! I killed someone on Sunday and that was nice. That really got things moving.

See... fictionally... I'm still about killing things and lighting fires.

I should really go check my calendar to see if I was meant to accomplish anything today. So far, we're off to a rip-roaring start... as you can see. The kids were on time to school and--believe me--that's something. It was so soggy yesterday that laundry drying was taking eons, so that'll need to finish up today. Brr. Time to get to work on that oven.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Trademarks, Quotes, Pop Culture and such....

Pop Quiz: Okay, so I like to use quotes or references to pop culture in my manuscripts but what are the rules regarding that?

1. If it's a fictional metaphorical use, do you need to deal with trademarks? (I.e. The man swung on the rope as effortlessly as Spiderman.) What about things like Disney or Harry Potter? Can a character say, "Who do you think you are, Harry Potter?" or "You're about as sweet as a Disney cartoon."

2. What if you're using like a quote from another book or person as a chapter header? Besides listing your source, do you need to do anything else?

3. With pop culture, do you have to be careful when using either living or dead celebrities? Frank Sinatra makes occasional appearances in some of my books, but it's in dreams, and I'm not portraying actual events. What do you think? Does the way a celebrity is portrayed (negatively or positively) make any difference if you're not claiming it's non-fiction?

4. Also, should you shy away from using terms that are brand specific for any reason? Kleenex, Taser, Coke, Googling, etc. I guess you run the risk of being "dated" in some cases, but it sounds odd if you don't.

I don't want to clutter up things with trademark issues or deal with the nightmare of rewriting characters to avoid nastiness. Anyone have any thoughts on this?


This post is just forty-nine words long

T and B are both at school on a Monday. It's a miracle! I've got an allergy headache, but I'm still going to work on my WIP, Versus the Bounty, because I just got to the really exciting part. It's dumping buckets outside. Buckets! Have a good Monday everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheaters sometimes prosper

http://www.classesandcareers.com/collegelife/the-scariest-freaking-story-ever-contest-2009/

So, I entered this contest like two weeks ago, and it ends this week, and I was doing really, really well.

The husband said, "The way the contest is based on votes, don't be surprised if someone comes from behind as the manipulate the system." The husband even knows how to do it--to cheat the system. (The husband is very smart... very, very smart.)

I said, "No, we absolutely will NOT be cheating."

So, suddenly, this morning, this guy who had like six votes and entered at the very beginning gets over thirty votes within a few hours. It's unlikely and smacks of voting fraud. Also, I got a load of votes against me... which is sort of like kicking a puppy, but whatever.

Anyway, either way, it's a little depressing to stick to your guns knowing you're going to lose. Bah! That lame high road doesn't always win the prizes.

In other contest news, the 24 hour fiction contest I entered announces its winners this week, and my check for the Mary Shelley contest was cashed this week. Yay! I'm excited about the 24 hour fiction contest. I did it mid-September and when they said they'd get back by Halloween... I secretly hoped that was a "worst case scenario" date. Apparently not.

In other, other, other contest news, I'm planning on working on an entry for the "genre wars" contest this week.

Still, I was doing so well on that one contest. (I've got a bit of a one track mind tonight.)

Oh well. I'm going to go munch down some sour grapes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Scary Dreams

In the wee hours of the morning I decided to take a sleeping pill. (I have such intense insomnia that I have the atomic bomb version of sleeping pills. I'll be forced to sleep for eight hours--which is why I can only take them on Friday nights when there will be no church or school to wake up for.) Sometimes the end result is a deep coma of sleep with weird dreams.

So, in real life, I have Honor out with several agents and then Re: Straint out with one. Last night, I had my first writerly dream. I dreamt I woke up and went to check my email immediately.

"Gasp! No, Wendy! The horror! The horror!"

Wait for it! I check my email every day. That's not the scary part. I was just building suspense.

So, in my email box is this email with an attachment that I open up. My entire screen turns blue--like a robin's egg type of blue. It's this light, sad, pathetic blue. I scroll down to find the following note (in a font that is red and looks type-written) :

Dear Wendy,

Thank you for sending me an excerpt from your manuscript. Unfortunately, while your idea is unique and interesting, your writing is bad and will take a lot of work to make it acceptable. Please send us the rest, and we'll decide whether a rewrite is possible or whether we'll have one of our own authors write your story.

Sincerely,
The Agency

I think they also mentioned something about my characters and plot being really good. (After all, it's not them... it's me.) I thought, "What do I do? Do I drastically rewrite the whole thing? Is it okay to just sell the 'story and characters?'" I was torn whether to feel happy or sad or what? How do you deal with, "You suck as a person, but you hang out with nice people and stumble upon greatness?"

I woke up, startled, and had this full-on Ebeneezer Scrooge moment when I realized that I hadn't received this email. "It's not too late!!! Merry manuscripts to one and all!" It was horrible anxiety and conflict followed by intense relief.

I've been feeling a little anxious about my current queries. (I mean... not that you'd guess it from that dream.) I'm not sure whether to just be patient or whether I should send out more queries or what. I'm discouraged. There isn't a direct link and possibly not a reason to be, but I'm still discouraged.

My kids are currently watching Pink Panther, and wow... some of these are acid trip strange.

Okay, I need to buckle down and work on a WIP. Buckle down. Really.

Wow. Seriously. I feel like I need to wake up while watching this Pink Panther. I'm pretty sure this is another dream. It's like the whole "Pink Elephants on Parade" from Dumbo all over again. Okay... for your viewing psychosis: "Pink Outs." You can watch it and share in the strange experience of your brain going numb like an ice cream headache followed by a lobotomy.

Well, it's over, but my train of thought has derailed and gone screaming into an embankment where it exploded and there were no survivors.

I should go find a WIP to actually work and progress on.

This Post is Empty

So, it's not, and that's ironic, but I didn't want every post to be ABOUT something just in case you felt the need to tell me something completely off-topic like "Wendy, last night I accidentally glued my eye lids shut, and the pain was intense, and it made me think of some of your writing--in a good way." See--how would you fit that into comment on a post? You couldn't. It'd be awkward and weird.

I will say that I'm going to scale back on my WIPs and drawer two of them, because I think having so many available is making me struggle with completing any of them. I've been working on "Versus the Bounty" the most lately. I've hit a snag with the Chosen Changeling. I like the concept, but it's not flowing clearly. October is a rough month for me. I'm allergic to mold spores, so October and April seem to kick my tail, so I'm either sleeping because I can't breathe or wide awake because I took something that keeps me from sleeping. It's a lack of mediums. It's Friday, so I sort of wanted to take a sleeping pill, and maybe I still will. I was hoping to get more writing done. I need to complete one of these WIPs. My brain feels a bit foggy from allergies.

Honor Six is struggling because I know the end and I'm half-way through... I just don't know the part I'm at. I started writing backwards from the Epilogue with the intention of writing the whole thing in reverse. I hadn't gotten very far when I realized that I didn't know the previous chapter's emotions. So, I can't write it completely in reverse. I might need to start near the end--near where I know what happens and write forward again. Writing chapters in reverse order sounds nuttier the longer I think about it anyway.

Ugh. Maybe I'm just not fond enough of any of these stories to drown myself in them. I certainly have liked writing portions of Honor Six. I love Honor. She kicks such butt. Oh! Oh! The voice of Speedy in the Honor books in my head is Christian Slater's. He looks a little like him, too... in my head. (Let's just be clear--I don't think of Christian Slater ALL the time. special occasions and holidays, but not ALL the time.) I should be able to figure out Reeve's voice because it's so distinct in my head. Hmm.

Okay. So, here is your empty post if you have anything you want to get off your chest. "Get off your chest" not "show off your chest" just to be clear. Let's not make it awkward. The awkwardness comes later.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday (fun in caves, gooey sweet, that lovely moon, poetry)

Are you visiting Flashy Fiction yet? If not, for shame. Creativity overload. Seriously.


I've brought my week's contributions back. I know the poem is overly sentimental, but what can I say?

Actually, I will apologize for the second story which is so thoroughly sweet that some of you may need to check your sugar levels after so we don't have any sugar shock.

Okay, for the newbs, there is a daily prompt--be it a picture, some words, a quote, whatever--that our stories/poems/whatever must be based on. You write for twenty minutes or less and slap it up for everyone to praise and blow kisses at. There is some serious brilliancy going on over there on a daily basis. Come join.

Here are my contributions both humble and neurotic for this week:






I told Joe that when I crashed, I really crashed. My mom said I could sleep through anything.

Having pulled all-nighter upon all-nighter trying to get that project done, I just wanted somewhere to sleep and make the world go away.

I tried my room... that so didn't happen. Even the lock wasn't a deterrant to my younger siblings. Next, I tried the backseat of my car, but my mom still came tapping to ask me if I wanted her to take a message about a phone call. Geez, Mom... really? No, I'm sleeping out in my car in hopes that someone will call me.

Then, the sun decided to creep across the sky and paint my face in heat. What the freaking hell?

Finally, I slid into the front seat and drove. My eyes kept closing, but I needed some place safe and quiet to sleep... somewhere that no one could find me. The cave!

Joe had told me about this cave that stoners used to use before they grew up and got real jobs. He'd taken me, there and it was perfect. I even had my sleeping bag in the back. I could sleep in the cave and then get up for a brand-new day on Wednesday after a full twenty-four hour sleep. It would be glorious. I didn't even care if there were bats and bugs... as long as I got sleep that wasn't interrupted by people or sunlight.

When I arrived at the small, rocky hill that hid the cave, I stocked my knapsack with all the emergency crap my mom insisted I carry everywhere with me and threw the sleeping bag under my arm. The cave took a bit of time to find... it was rarely used for a reason. I crawled carefully through the narrow tunnel before immerging in the wide room. Dark, cool, quiet paradise. A large, flat rock seemed like it was made to be a bed... well, as much as rocks ever could. I rolled the end of the sleeping bag beneath my head slightly for a pillow.

I was asleep within minutes.

When I awoke, I had to push rocks off my sleeping bag. They were small, but holy crap! I needed to warn Joe that the cave was seriously not structurally-sound. I was lucky I hadn't been killed!

As I crawled out of the cave, my muscles felt tight from sleeping so long in the same spot, and I stopped to arch periodically. I might look like some hump-backed mutant for the day, but at least I'd be awake and alive. I should probably still pick up a six-pack of coke on my way.
Caffeine and sugar would do me good.

I pulled myself out of the cave, and the air had a funky, sweet smell to it. Gross. Pulling my shirt over the lower portion of my face, I surveyed the surrounding area.

OH. MY. HELL.

It was gone. The city... the valley... buildings... my car... All gone. It was as if a meteor had hit the spot I once lived and worked and everything. My everything was gone.I started walking and then running until I hit the city limits.

Gone. It was all gone. I'd slept through the end of the world.

"There are several possible answers to that question."-The Book of Matches

"There are several possible answers to that question," he said.

"Are there? If there are, then maybe the question was wrong," I said. Why? Was I a glutton for punishment? Was it his blue eyes? Maybe his hedge-hog spiked hair.... I'd always had a bit of a thing for guys that wore glasses--was that it? Maybe I just liked guys that weren't interested in me.

"Well, honestly, I've already been asked to the dance," he said, working on the next problem in the row.

"Why did you tell me you didn't have a date?" I asked.

"Well, I said no when she asked," he explained. "You skipped a step on the fourth equation, but you arrived at the right answer." He tapped the answer.

So, in my mind, the step didn't matter, but this is where our thought processes diverged. Wrinkling up my nose, I considered this predicament. My friends were going to mock the hell out of me. I'd asked him... Brent... and he was so far outside my social status in their minds, and now he was stalling before saying no. Why had I asked? Hopefully, he wouldn't think it was funny to tell people I'd asked and he'd said no.

"Why do you want to go with me?" he asked, moving on to the next problem.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. "Forget I asked," I said. "Look, I have practice." I tried to take my homework from him. I didn't need to actually wait around for him to reject me.

He slapped a hand down on the paper and looked at me. "Is this like some sort of social experiment?"

Blinking in shock, I said, "NO!"

His eyes narrowed. "Then... what? You were seriously asking me to the dance? No joke?"

"You know what... keep the homework. Turn it in for me tomorrow," I said, picking up my backpack, and fleeing.

What had I been thinking? My friends had already teased me for having a crush on him. He caught up with me at my car. I'd totally lied about practice, but I was fairly certain he knew that.

"Jill, wait," he yelled. "I'm sorry. I just... you're you, and I'm me. I thought it had to be a joke."

"Yeah, because I always joke around when I ask someone a million times smarter than me to a dance," I said sarcastically, not meeting his eyes.

"You're a cheerleader," he pointed out. The way he said it... hurt. It was like I was on this whole different level. He was probably guessing I got by on my looks or I'd gone the rounds of the football jocks.

Tossing the backpack inside the car, I whirled on him. "Look, I'll ask for a different tutor. We can forget this ever happened. You're smart. I'm not. I get it... okay?"

"That's not it. I don't think that... at all," he said.

"I'm not a slut," I stated. "Is that the problem?"

He blinked. Okay, clearly that hadn't been what he'd been thinking either. Wow, Jill, could you make this any more awkward?

"Yes," he said.

Whoa! Wow. He thought I was a slut? I had managed to make this a lot more awkward. I would have assumed he'd lie.

My face must have conveyed my shock, because he frowned in concern. Shaking his head quickly, Brent said, "No, I don't think that. I was saying that yes... I'd love to go to the dance with you."

"Really?"

He nodded.

"You're not just saying that out of pity?" I asked.

He laughed and said, "You're about to take a member of Marching Band to a girl's choice dance, and you think I might be doing it out of pity?" I felt flattered by his amusement.

"You don't think I'm stupid?" I clarified.

"I guarantee that up until you asked me to the dance doubts of your intelligence had never crossed my mind," he said.

"Okay," I said, getting into my car.

"Okay," he agreed. "I'm going with Jill Conner to a dance."

I was taking my math tutor to a dance. Wow.

Through my fingers I could see the clouds passing my window. The electric gridwork between the panes of glass ensured my safety. Or maybe theirs.

Through my fingers I could see the clouds passing my window. The electric gridwork between the panes of glass ensured my safety. Or maybe theirs.

"It's a cold night," the man in the next cell comments.

"The sun hasn't quite set," I tell him.

"The moon will rise, the clouds will clear, and it will be a cold night. I can feel it," he corrects, rolling his eyes. He can be so smug, but I like that about him.

We have a glass wall between us--without the gridwork, and I'm not sure what that means, but there is a small metal window through which we can talk.

"This will be your first time, but you'll grow accustomed to the moon and its phases," he says. He's been saying strange things like this all day.

A commotion outside our cubed enclosures drew my attention. The men in coats had come and gone all day. Now they were back. The last week they'd done nothing more than bring food each day, and now they brought clipboards and new faces.

"Tiberius," the speaker above us said, and I could see a tall, thin man speaking into a box near the front metal door. "Now that you have a female of your kind, we'll have more questions."

A female of his kind? They'd grabbed me from my cell and shot me full of some sort of drug that stung in my veins for the first two days. I knew they were expecting something to happen and that's why I was on display, but I was tempted to go hide in the bathroom of my cube for the night. At least there, the scientists and the man beside me called Tiberius couldn't sit and stare at me.

"Holy Shite," Tiberius says, scowling. "They think they've got the Discovery Channel, and they'll get to see some Wild Kingdom mating."

"Between us?" I ask. "There is a wall between us. You must be some kind of stud if they think that'll happen."

He grins and says, "That's not a problem."

"No?"

"Why do you think the walls are electric besides the one between us?" he asks, leaning against the outside wall that was mostly stone aside from the window.

"I have no idea what to think. Nothing has made sense since I arrived," I say, sliding down to sit on the floor. I'd spent much of the first week alternating between screaming and swearing. Still, the food wasn't bad, and Tiberius was good company. Besides, I was supposed to be serving another nickel for armed robbery. This place was better than that place... somewhat.

"You find her acceptable?" the scientist asks Tiberius.

Eww. I look up at him. I'm not sure there is a right answer to this question.

"She'll do," Tiberius says, grinning.

Well, that wasn't a bad answer. He wasn't so bad himself. Still, he'd have a fight on his hands if he tried anything in front of the white coats--even if he could get through the glass wall. The white coats nod and wander off toward a small kitchen where our meals are prepared. A coffee dispenser has been percolating there for the last forty minutes.

Tiberius leans down and whispers, "In three minutes, the moon will crest the mountains. Your skin will begin to sting. Stand to the opposite wall and wait until I can get us out of here. The pain will lessen when we're in direct moonlight."

"We're getting out of here?" I raise an eyebrow. I like his smugness because he usually is right--this time, though....

"Of course."

"How?"

"First, I'll break this glass wall between us with my claws."

"Claws?" I repeat.

He nods and his mouth twitches like he is amused. "If the window wasn't so high, I'd break through there. Instead, I'll break through our kennel's front and possibly kill a few of the white coats, and we'll be gone."

Kennel? Weird choice of words. This was all weird, though.

"Right," I say, equally amused. "You've been able to break through that electric fence all this time, and you just didn't feel like it?"

"Well, I do have to wait for a full moon... and they mentioned they'd be getting me a female right after I arrived."

My skin began stinging.

Mask
Train
Raisin

William and Jess boarded the train
It was the twenty-first century
and they were insane.

Most cars were vacant of people and wealth
and their faces were visible
well...so much for stealth.

They'd talked about masks and possibly guns
one brought some whisky
the other raisins.

But wait! Oh alas! Their plan was in ruins.
The treat they'd been snarfing
was actually prunes.

This was so much worse than forgetting the guns
now they were miserably sick
--so ill with the runs.

A brilliant blog and a few places you really should go

I was just reading a post on one of the blogs I follow, and I wanted to direct your attention there:

Sean is freaking brilliant in his posts and illustrations.

Speaking of illustrators... I find this guy inspiring.

Oh... and check out this blog's comments on Confessions of a Novel Mommy.

Well, okay, and check out this blog's post. It's full of awesomeness.

While I'm at it--I'm admitting to places I lurk.

There is cute overload. It's disgustingly cute, tongue-in-cheek humor, and make sure you check out the hover text.

Literary Lab has the most awesomest roller coaster picture ever... and a contest going on.

Plus, of course, I've been keeping up-to-date on the latest word in the way of adverbs.

Sean also mentioned on his blog how truly cool J.K Rowling's site is. Have you been there?

The husband found this site, and while it's not literary... it totally is. Plus, it's fun.

Okay. Phew. There you go. I've found a bit of perfection for all of you, so you don't have to hunt across the internet for it yourself. You're welcome. (Actually, all of the blogs I follow are exceptionally cool. You should just stalk them along with me.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Those Voices in my head

Danielle at Upstart Crow Literary brought up this topic and it's had me thinking all week. When you write or read a book (to yourself,) whose voice do you hear narrating the book? Is it your own... a relative's... or someone else entirely.

I realized that I had different voices for nearly every story I write, and sometimes, for each character. I thought everyone did. Even my third person books are like that... the narrators are definitely not me in most cases. When I read books, it's the same way... lots of different voices.

For example, Charlie from the first Sarah book is totally Dermot Mulroney. I don't know why or how, but he is. Each of the Sarahs has a different voice and, despite what my family might think, Seattle Sarah, who has OCD, sounds nothing like me in my head. Meg's voice is definitely, 100 percent, Catherine Zeta Jones. May's voice, in one of the books I'm currently writing, is Kate Reinder's (an audiobook reader.) The Master's voice in the Honor books is James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) Many of my books, the third person narrator is Johanna Parker who narrated the Mediator series of audiobooks. I can't pin down most of the other characters as easily, though. I suspect many of them are narrators of audiobooks that I've listened to, but I could be wrong.

So, only one character in all the books I've written has my voice... and it's strange to me that she does. Honor. Honor is the only character that has my voice. I think that's why that series of books I've chosen to write more than just one book using the exact same main character. (For those unfamiliar with the Sarah books... it's different main characters in each one... though they're linked and several have the name Sarah.)

Anyway, it got me thinking this week about the voices in my head... and not just in a worried way.

This non-fiction life of mine

I had two things on my mind this morning, so there will be two posts. You don't have to read both.

Hey, I'm thinking of getting rid of Twisted Tuesday since you already get slammed with my writing on Flash Fiction Friday. Thoughts?

First of all, HAPPY CAPS LOCK DAY!

So, today is one of those days, CAPS LOCK ASIDE, when I realize that I will never write non-fiction. When I was in the thick of our fight against Autism, everyone suggested that I write a book about what was happening and how life was. When my children became high-functioning, I put aside thoughts of that. The last thing I wanted was for people to know them as the children "that book" was about. It's a fine line you walk with the rest of their lives. B is over seven which means the insurance companies consider her beyond hope for neuro-developmental therapy. We could go back to the doctor and have her "diagnosis removed" because she wouldn't qualify for it today. We could also have her diagnosis dropped from her school records, BUT that would harm her chances for a normal life rather than help it. B is not cured. In fact, I'm doubtful that there is a cure, at this time, for Autism despite what celebrities and others might think.

The other reason that I'll never write non-fiction is because of T. T is having an "off-day" today. Yes, he has a stomach ache, but I finally figured out what is going on. T is very sensory sensitive, and he is in severe overload today. When he gets this way, he does two things: He cries a lot, and he becomes violent. I had to go warn T's teacher today that he might become violent and, if anything happens, to call me. T kicked most of the walls in our house this morning. He also punched things and threw things and screamed. I should have recognized this yesterday when he was head-banging against a wall (which is rare) and beating up on his sister for no reason (even more rare.) Most of the time, T takes out his aggression solely on me. He becomes so violent that it's involved a doctor's visit once for me. The sad thing is that he can't control it. He needs controlled sensory input. I also figured out why he refuses to go into the school store (which is B's favorite place.) It's too loud and small.

I used to cook, but I don't anymore. The reason being that B eats a very, very specific diet centered around bread and bread-like items. I can't make a recipe the same way twice. I can't handle repetitive behavior (I know... it's strange for someone with OCD, but OCD is not predictable.) Five years ago, I loved cooking. I loved making new and strange things. B has killed cooking for me. Each day, I'm forced to make her a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch. Every day. For three years now, she's eaten the same school lunch every day. Forcing myself to do something that repetitive is pure torture for me. Sometimes, the husband does it for me before he leaves, and that's why he is the best husband in the world. We've tried having B make her own sandwiches, but that just seems to insure that we're late for school every day. B is very... slow and sure about some things. Her dinner options are dinosaur chicken nuggets, noodles, pancakes/waffles, tacos (maybe-crunchy, no cheese), and a peanut butter sandwich. That's it. Those are her dinners. Repetitive. The husband cooks most of the time to avoid my eye lid going into permanent twitch-mode. I used to love cooking, but I don't anymore.

Having said all that, I'm used to this. I get by. I'm good. I'm not unhappy. It's about adapting, and we've adapted. Our family dynamic can be funky since we're working around a family full of issues. (Well, the husband is normal--though geeky to the extreme.) The husband has had to do the most adapting, I suspect, but he does it without complaint. He works around my OCD's demands, B's OCD and Autism, and T's Asperger's and sensory issues. If anyone has the right to complain, the husband tops the list. He doesn't, though.

So, this is my non-fiction life. I think that's why writing fiction is so imperative to me. I need to control something while burying myself in fantasy. I like creating fallible characters who still get things done and are happy. I need that. It's quiet, and it's just about the voices in my head. I even find violence therapeutic at times. It's awful, but there is also reason and resolution.

In my non-fiction life, the laundry never ends. B has been eating the same things for her entire life despite the therapists attempts to broaden her diet. T walks a fine line between enough sensory input and too much. The husband is tripping over so many issues that it's a wonder he is sane. Nothing ever ends. There is no resolution. I wake up each day knowing that accomplishing anything is just a temporary thing. The house won't remain clean. There will be another peanut butter sandwich to make tomorrow. The debt from therapy and doctors will still be following us. My life is an open-ended book with no chapter breaks that sometimes loops like a bad choose-your-own adventure.

It's not a bad life. This isn't a complaint so much as a commentary and maybe an explanation for why I am the way I am and why I write the way I write. There will be no non-fiction book in my future, and I'll need to write a chapter today of something thoroughly fictional. I'll need to crawl inside someone else's head and find their happy or unhappy ending. It's an insane sort of sanity.

I don't know how to end this other than to say: The End.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Selling Crazy to the Crazy

Greetings from the puddle that is the PNW during the rainy season. I've just returned from dropping the kids off at school, and there was a puddle in the parking lot that had WAVES in it. We had WAVES lapping up against our wheels.

T was told that unless he is projectile vomiting on his classmates--he was not to come home.

Well, yesterday, I discovered that my mother is too busy to read this blog, so I can basically say whatever the hell I want without fear of repercussions. BAWAHAHA! It sort of takes the fun out of mild profanity--I won't lie. Still, better in the blog than in front of the impressionables.

So, I've been working on Honor Six again. For those that are curious and intend on hounding me for the information, Honor and Reeve get married in Honor Seven, "Honor Bound." I think. I'm still trying to figure out the placement of "Maid of Honor," though. Luckily, while I didn't get to sleep until 2 am, I went right to sleep then instead of staying awake until four am. I need to focus on writing until I get enough sleep. Rewrites may have to be put aside.

So, last night, I went to pick up one of my OCD meds, and it wasn't until I'd opened it up to take one outside that I realized they were purple. I've been on the same meds for five years now. (Yes--it's a little sad, but thus is OCD.) These pills are, and have always been, pink. Back to the pharmacy I went. The Tech looked at me like I was nuts for complaining about my random pill sample.

I have OCD--obsessive--compulsive--what part of "you can't just throw pills in a cylinder and expect me to be okay with it" did he not understand?

Luckily, he realized immediately he was outgunned and dealing with the irrational and called for reinforcements. The pharmacist came over.

"Would you like us to make sure you have the right pills?" he asked.

Wendy's jaw dropped open. No. Yeah whatever. Slap some tic tacs in a container and that should be fine. Of course I wanted him to check.

"I've been on these pills for FIVE years, and they've always been pink," I explained.

He looked it up while examining the pills. I can see the "humoring the crazy person" going on, but I chose to ignore it.

Crazy people have rights too.

"You've always been on these pills, and they've always been that color," he said.

I laughed, because it was ludicrous. Seriously? They should have a note that pops up in my computer file while flashing "OCD" in big block letters. I think even people not obsessed with "sameness" would have noticed the color difference, though. Then, I gave him the look that said, "Go peddle your crazy somewhere else because we've already got our share."

"Let me look up the manufacturer," he suggested.

Yeah. Do that.

"Oh... that's it. This is from a different manufacturer--that's all."

My eyebrows raised. Could I let this go? Purple pills instead of pink? Would I spend the entire supply wondering if I'd been "had?" (The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, I would.)

The pharmacist cleared his throat and said, "We don't have any control over what they send us."

Crap. I brought my lame purple pills home, and I'll be forced to take them, but I won't be happy. Purple... not pink... purple. Oh, and because he had managed to make me think I was crazy, I looked at my empty RX bottle's pill description. Pink. They were pink. Different manufacturer, but they were pink. Lies--all lies. I can't believe he tried to tell me that they'd always been purple. Sell your crazy elsewhere, buddy--we're full.

There--just in case you ever have a strong desire to create an insane character. That's your dose of the reality of a person with OCD. It's a cold, cruel world filled with bastards trying to pass off damn purple pills on you.

(See--it's truly not as fun without suspecting my mother would be offended.)

In other news, my heel looks better today. Running would involve also swimming today, but I've done it. We'll see how I feel after yoga.

BTW, I should get going.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Complaining done right.

This is outside of acceptable!

First, I have T home again! He went to school, but the school called home because he has a "stomach ache" and he's home again.

I told him I was proud of him for going to school with a tummy ache and he said, "No... I have a STOMACH ACHE not a tummy ache."

"So, what? You have a more mature and sophisticated version of sickness, T?"

He rolled his eyes. (Keep in mind... he is six. The boy has drama and angst.) "No, a tummy ache feels like bubbles and wiggling inside. A stomach ache is painful."

See... this is why arguing is difficult.

Secondly, I won't be able to run today because he is home--regardless of whether or not I should.

Thirdly, I had things to do.

Fourth (ly) I now have an even number of followers, and I'm relying on you, who know that I don't care for even numbers, to keep those numbers odd at all times.

Finally, I can't figure out which one of my WIPs to work on, and I'm losing sleep over it. I barely slept at all last night again. I'm so tired.

So, now... you're thinking, "Wendy, it's odd to hear so much whining out of you." Or... maybe you're not surprised, in which case, you should lie.

This was meant to illustrate one of the key points to effective dialogue as taught to us by human nature. I once was an opitical manager and a brilliant man, the doctor I worked with, once said, "When you're listening to people's concerns and complaints, it's important to listen to the first and last thing they say. The rest of it is often filler." After I learned this lesson, it became so much easier to focus on what a person was saying vs. what they meant.

I'm passing this wisdom along to you as a lesson in creating effective dialogue. There needs to be filler. Conversations have plenty of filler crap. Still, the points that your characters feel strongly about should be in the appropriate spots.

For the record, the even number thing is bothering me and as a bonus lesson in human nature---you should also remember that people often down-play the importance of their faults and foibles with humor or sarcasm. Plus, drawing attention to flaws is often a cathartic process frequently used--especially by women. I would guess at some point that most women will admit to drawing attention to a blemish on their face. "Look! I have this gigantic zit on my face." Everyone looks, because they've been given permission. It feels like you've acknowleged it as a flaw and therefore downplayed it's importance.

There. You're now on your way to more effective complaining on paper. Congrats. The world is yours.

Now, someone else follow me because this is really chapping.