2/12/11

Top 5 Things I Always Write With

True, when I'm at Starbucks or other cafes, I usually don't have all of these items.  At home however, is a different story.  BTW, for some items I've made them into a link.  For example, there are some drinks listed below with my favorite links to my preferences. 

  1. A lit scented candle.  It can't be a cheap one.  It's got to be an awesome candle that has my preferences in mind.  The only thing I will substitute for a burning scented candle is simmering a scented wax tart.  My preferred company is Yankee Candle Candle Company.  I recently went to Murdoch's in Whitehorse when they had their Candle Sale after Christmas.  The candles I bought were: Vanilla Lime (awesome scent! Very mellow, but because it's got citrus in it, it won't put you to sleep.) I also got a wax tart in this scent for when the candle's done.  In my tart burner now is a Lemon Lavender scented puck.  I think it's too floral for me, it kind of makes me want to sneeze.  Lavender, if done wrong, can be very cheap smelling.  The lemon makes an already strong scent a little overwhelming.  So, if you are sensitive to scents but enjoy some...this one is not for you.  I bought two other candles, one is my traditional favourite: Sage and Citrus.  I like it.  It boarders on musky and spicy.  It's a really interesting blend.  Then I bought a Yankee candle that was titled "Aromatherapy Spa: True Bliss"   It's Tangerine and Vanilla!"  It's a really soft citrus scent.  Like a sweet orange. Yum.  The last candle product I bought was another tart, and it's quite strong.. so we'll see how I feel once I burn it; Jasmine Green Tea.  The Jasmine is very strong, so I hope burning it brings out more of the green tea notes. 
  2. My Writing Notepad. This note pad is where I store all of my ideas, prompts and "what if's" answers.  I have many portable notebooks that are pocket sized and that go in my pocket, wallet or purse.  This one, however is different.  It's more of a compendium of all of those.  To explain I'll give you a scenario:  I went to Miles Canyon this fall with my daughter and husband.  We had a ton of fun and the architecture built by the constant flow of water created a story in my mind.  A full fledged challenge created by a very strong character.  I wrote it in the little pocket book I carry around for notes.  Then, I came home and wrote it in my "Writing Notepad."  Every idea or story feed I've had since before my daughter was born is in there.  So, it's way too valuable to go anywhere with me... it stays safely tucked in my office.  The cool thing is that I got it at Starbucks the weekend before I left Prince George (pregnant) to move to Whitehorse.  On the front it says "Ideas" and then at the bottom it says, "can change the world."  I think so too.
  3. A cup of something, usually caffeinated but I've been known to have wine while writing... not often though!  This could be tea (Green or black prefered), coffee, latte or cappuccino or, a glass of a Riesling, Pinot Griggio or Chardonnay.  Right now I'm into tea:  I love Tetley's Earl Grey Tea with Vanilla.  It tastes like a London Fog without the milk... Yum yum. I think this one is self explanatory.  One make my mind go into overdrive, the other calms my mind or creates for me a slower pace.  This is great.  If I've had a day where everything is rush-rush, then I'll bring a half-full glass of wine to the desk with me maybe once a month or two.  If it's before 6, it'll be caffeinated, especially if I had a day where I've been bagged or lack sleep.  Then, I would say that if it's after 6pm (my caffeine cut off) I have a diet pop.  I love Diet Cream Soda. 
  4. A window.  True, it's something I've either got in my office or I don't but if I have a lot of natural light and an easy view out a window then I'll spend a lot of time at my desk.  Matt and I lived in an apartment in Prince George that was chest high and up.  His desk went on the end of the wall closest to the window and then I ended up in the corner near a closet.  I felt like I was in prison, hence why I rarely wrote.  The only time I wrote a lot in that apartment was in summer, I would take my laptop out onto the deck and plug it in inside.  I would sit out there with a cold drink like iced tea and watch traffic or people go by.  It was great!  Now, I am set up at my desk and The window begins right above my desk and I can stare out at the houses behind our own and just imagine what those people are doing. Or, I'll stare up at the tops of the trees and just open my imagination to whatever my muse suggests... 
  5. My Dynex Mini Optical Mouse, is the best purchase I ever made.  It's a teeny tiny little digital mouse that has a retractable cord with a USB attachment.  It's small and comes with a little bag that cinches up to fit into any computer bag.  It's so tiny! It's about the size of a fat lighter.  Mine's a little different than the one listed on the site above... also, there's a wireless option and I may go and get it!!!!  :D




What are your habits or writing must haves?

On hold until tomorrow!

So in my last blog post "Now I Know,"  I mentioned I would write a blog entry today but I am going to put it on hold.  I had a great night of watching movies and relaxing with my husband.  I'm hoping to get it done tomorrow morning, but I'm not promising anything!

For Canadians, tomorrow is Hockey Day in Canada and it's being hosted in Whitehorse!  What a celebration!  So, tomorrow morning is the opening pancake breakfast at my family's church and my husband is volunteering with the Knights of Columbus.  Naturally, I have to go and eat pancakes tomorrow!

So, I will try to get the post out tomorrow at a decent time and then you can come back and read it!  Thanks for your patience!

2/7/11

Now I Know




I hit the wall awhile back.  Not much longer after my post about regaining momentum, I lost it again.  It’s one of those things that if you don’t seize it by the horns it’s going to take off without you.  I became really scared; what if this becomes some pile of paper in the back of my filing cabinet that was a really “great idea” but never materialized?  I find if I lose the momentum I’m done.  That’s it, it’s no longer a viable script and I can never find the energy or the imagination to pick it up again.  Now if it was solely about finding the “effort” I could try as hard as anyone… problem isn’t the effort, it’s the passion.  The passion goes, the project is a goner. 

You’ll be happy to know that I reincarnated my script into something wonderful on Saturday.  Let me explain the back story first.

I write a story in a very linear, unplanned manner.  It’s the idea I begin with and then I take off with it.  I keep going…then I lose steam.  Why?  Because once the fun is done with the unique idea the world (story world) is old to me, and I’ve got a ton of new literary friends, but they’re yesterday’s news.  I begin to get bored and the passion is gone for those people within that story.

Fantastically I found out that I was en route to becoming passionless about this story (unique idea and all—gasp!) when I noticed the pattern.  I took the time to find out, why was I avoiding my friends in Citizen Vamp land?  Why was I so upset with them?

As you’ll notice I mentioned that loss of passion, but again, why a loss of passion and why now?  A little digging resulted in finding out that the story felt like it was going nowhere and I couldn’t see where my characters would end up… wait, what was that? 

BAM!  Intrigue formed!  Passion regained… where were my characters going?  I tapped my fingertips like Mr Burns in The Simpsons, the lives of my characters in my hands… (Insert evil laugh here.)

Well, I decided now was time for a little planning.  If I happened to go off on some writing tangent then it would be fine if it led to an alternate ending for my characters or stayed on track to the end.  I already had to do this,(months ago) deleting over 15,000 words to redirect the story to a more successful plot, and rein them in from a terrible aside.  The aside was interesting but completely irrelevant to the story… but, enough of that we’ve got to get back to the point.

I developed a plan.  I plotted out each scene (scared they’d all be whacked-out-of-order) and put it in a way that was a visual aid for me.  I put them aside and then took out a piece of paper that I scribbled some intentions for this work on.  What kind of layout/action sequence did I want?  I decided I liked the 3 act structure plus, people are used to following that kind of structure.  So, I looked at what I had, what did I have?  Well, I had two distinct major events with rising/developing action.  Okay, now—where’s this story going?

Well, what’s the major issue?  I identified it and then led on from there to realise that the threat/problem to my main character is actually a very limited and obscure threat.  So, what else is there? 

I went digging around to find some ideas.  I looked into my trusty writer’s pad and found a whole bunch of ideas that had developed both recently and awhile back for this story of mine.  So I found some events and some development scenes that would help.  Finally, scribbled into the corner of one very full page was a hint at what I wanted to include into this novel a couple months ago.  One word: zombies, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.. Oh yeah!  That’s where I was going! 

No, I’m not going to tell you what I’m thinking or where the novel’s going… you’re just going to have to read it—aren’t you?

In the successful process of analyzing scene by scene where I was going I had also already developed the scenes I needed (bare-bone structure) to finish the novel. I also found I knew where my character was going and was able to go back and find out what scenes I needed to change to ensure the story flowed well and worked together to get the plot organized.  In all, I started with 32 scenes all done.  Of those, I have to change, alter or add to 7 of them.  The scenes I needed to add in between and at the end to finish the story number 17.  Of those 17 some may be split into two or three and others may be tied together into one scene. 

When I finished this I realised that I have way more done then I expected out of the whole project.  Plus, having a number to achieve besides ____ words, was really freeing.  I knew I wanted it to number between 80-100,000 words, but 17 pre-determined scenes is much more manageable.    It was Saturday that I mapped out the remainder and I could finally tell myself how it would end.  Just Friday night my husband asked, “Well, how does it end?” in hopes to help pull me out of my writing funk.  I nearly pulled out my hair when I said, “honestly, I don’t know!” 

Now I do.

Stay tuned.  Friday I’m blogging on the top 5 things I can’t write without. You might be surprised to find out what they are, maybe they’ll help you?