About Me

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I am nothing. I am a single grain of sand amongst billions. I am a single voice within a crowd. I am human, I am god, I am here, and this is what I have to say:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thought of the Moment

Since tomorrow I will be leaving for a week and can't guarantee I'll have much blogging time if any at all; I thought today would be a good time to share with you something that has been weighing heavily on my mind for several days now.

Though I haven't been sharing any of this particular project, I have been hard at work on a fantasy novel for some time now. If pressed to express my feelings on this novel, I would say it is my love child. While working on it there has been numerous ups and downs. There have been times where I just could not put my thoughts and ideas into words, and there have been times when the story wrote itself and felt like I was not creating, but merely dictating someone else's actions. I'm not sure if that's common for all writers, but it is certainly part of the writing experience for me. Rough waters or smooth sailing, I'm dedicated to finishing this novel.

Now, as some of you may know, Carrie Eckles very recently gave me a spot on her blog Prompt Romp where I gave some of my thoughts on writing prompts and shared a small scene of a science-fiction story that I had come up with after reading one of Carrie's prompts.

That prompt, and the small scene I wrote opened the door to an entire universe of story ideas I had never considered before. In fact, since writing that scene, I've come up with several different short story ideas for what could very well be an ongoing series with these characters and in this world.

I've been working on it everyday, and it's been a very enjoyable experience. However, I haven't spent one moment sitting down and actually writing my other novel. I feel like I am betraying myself and betraying my story.

Like an adulterer every time I sit down and work on this other series, no matter how smoothly it flows and natural it feels, I feel guilty. Which brings me to my questions:

How do we as writer's balance multiple projects? Am I really betraying one project for another? Is this guilt and self-loathing justified?

I want to finish both projects as soon as possible. I can divide brain power and spend time thinking about both stories, but unless I mutate and suddenly grow two brains and another pair of arms, however, I know it is physically impossible for me to work on both projects at once. Are my feelings of betrayal natural?

I don't have any answers of my own, but I'm really curious how other authors handle working on multiple projects. Am I alone in feeling like this? Do you just pick one project and dedicate yourself to it until completed, or do you flip from one project to the next as the muse strikes?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Original Work Update---Serious Attachment part 2

Hello, everyone, thanks for coming by. As always, call me nosey, but I really want to hear what everyone is thinking. So if you feel inclined please leave me some comments at the bottom of the posts.

Before I post the conclusion to "Serious Attachment" I just wanted to request that, if you haven't done so already, please read yesterdays blog. I had a small announcment there as well as a really great guest blogger sharing her opinions on character creation. Now, I've got some projects calling my name this morning so I won't waste anytime.


“. . .I’m telling you, Steve. It was really bizarre.” Rachael was laughing with one of her co-workers in the backroom of their store. “I mean I never even talked to this guy when we had class together, it’s really strange.”
Steve chuckled along with her. “What a dope. Still though, that’s kinda weird finding all those cigarette butts on your step like that.”
“Nah, not really. I’m unlisted, so it’s not like he looked up my address or anything. My neighbor’s a drunk, he does that kinda thing all the time, did I ever tell you about the time I found him asleep on my lawn one morning?”

The next day she had off of work so she slept in late. She had turned her phone off before going to bed and when she was ready casually began to check her messages.
“You have seventeen new messages.”
She raised an eyebrow as she sat on her couch listening.
“First message: *click*. Second message. *click*”
It went on and she just began to delete them, then a voice held her finger from the key.
“Hey, Rachael, it’s me, Josh. Not nice of you to turn your phone off on your boyfriend.” Laughter. “I’ll see you later, darling. Hugs ‘n’ kisses. *click*.”
“Message erased.”
She suppressed a shudder just as a knock on her door startled her to jump. Hastily she moved the curtain aside and glanced out the window. An unfamiliar car was parked in the street in front of her house.
She moved to the doorway and glanced through the peephole. Suddenly her blood ran cold. Goose bumps raised on her arms and legs. She nearly gasped. Standing in front of the door was none other than Josh, smiling. His dark hair, mottled and unwashed, was sticking about wildly. He pushed at his black framed glasses with a finger as he stood facing the door.
Rachael backed away slowly and crouched on her knees, hoping to be out of sight, her breath caught in her lungs. Just then her cell phone began to ring. Splitting the quiet, stillness of the air. She wanted to run for it to shut it up, but instead crept as quietly and as quickly towards it as she could. She silenced the ringer and hesitantly put it to her ear.
“Hello?” She whispered.
“Hey, love.” Came the familiar, pleasant sounding voice that sent a shiver down her spine. “Are you home, I was hoping to hang out today.”
She hesitated. She could feel her heart pumping in her chest,. She could hear it’s beats loudly and imagined them echoing through the walls. She wanted to silence it. Cowering in the corner behind the couch she found her voice, but only whispered.. “Uh, no. . . I’m not.” Her mind was racing. “A friend of mine came and picked me up.”
“Oh that’s too bad. I really wanted to see you today, feels like I haven’t seen my girlfriend in days.”
“Josh, I’m not your girlfriend. I’ve been seeing someone for awhile now. I don’t know what gave you this idea, but you seriously need to stop. It’s creeping me out. Don’t call me anymore, okay?”
He laughed off her words without missing a beat. “Don’t be silly. When do you think you’ll be home?”
“I am not being silly, damn-it!” She said still trying to remain quiet. You seriously need to stop. Good bye!” She hung up the phone and quickly shut off the ringer.
A shadow of a figure crept in front of her window, blanketed out by the curtains. She leaned further back into the corner, holding her breath. She touched the button to call her work.
“Ritger’s Hardware, this is Steve. How may I help you?”
“Steve, it’s Rachael.” She whispered.
“Heeeeeeeeey! What’s up girl?”
“Shh, not so loud. Steve, I need your help, that guy is lurking outside my house.”
He laughed. “What guy,” then remembered, “oh, are you serious?”
Another shadow crept along behind another window of the room.
“It’s not funny. I told him I wasn’t home, and now he’s outside, I dunno what he’s doing, walking around my house or something. Please, can you get here?”
“Nah, Rach, sorry, It’s just me and Jim right now, no way he’s letting me out. You better call the police or something. I gotta get back on the floor, we’re busy. I’ll come by when I get off. Things will be alright. Bye.”
She waited a minute and then dialed three numbers.
“Hello. . . Police. . . Yes this is an emergency.”

They told her there was not any units available immediately, but to stay inside and they would send one within an hour. She sat for an hour and a half not daring to move. Cringing at the sounds of hands rustling at her windows, or tugging at her door. She prayed that all were locked. The shadow continued to dart from window to window and then it disappeared. She thought she heard the sound of a car driving away but she could not be certain over the sounds of her own breathing. Her knees were aching from where she had been crouched and her palms were sweaty as she tried to phone the police once more.
The unit was on it’s way. She sighed and waited a few more minutes. She had not seen or heard anything for awhile. Her legs were aching so badly. She choked down her fear, and gritting her teeth, stretched out her legs. She felt better knowing that the police were on their way and risked a quick glance out the front window. The car she had seen was gone. She breathed a sigh of relief and pulled the curtain away to get a better look around. A hand stretched from the side of the window and slammed into the pane, making her jump back with a gasp. The phone fell from her hand.
“Hey, Rachael! Let me in! I wanna talk to you.” He began to beat on the window frantically. He moved to her doorway and began to beat on it repeatedly. She froze on the other side, afraid that he might break in. “Hey, come on!”
A car approached, she heard the brief flick of a siren.
The beating stopped. She looked out the peephole, he was moving away from the door. She waited a moment and opened it slowly. He was approaching the officer his hands clasped behind his back.
“Young man, I’m sorry, but I need to ask you to leave.” The officer was saying.
Rachael thought she caught a glimpse of something flash in Josh’s hand, she opened the door and stepped onto the porch.
He spoke, but she could not hear what was said.
The officer’s response however, was loud and clear. “Then I’ll have to lead you out in cuffs, come along now.”
Josh turned around and smiled so brightly at Rachael that she froze.
“I love you.” He said, and turned upon the policeman.
A knife was in his hand, she saw it now. She tried to scream out a warning to tell him to stop, but everything formed on her tongue and died at once. All she could do was gasp and watch as the officer reacted quickly.
Two explosive sounds deafened her senses. Josh fell backwards with his glasses flying away from the twisted smile frozen upon his face. Rachael slumped to her knees. The two explosive sounds reverberated through her ears.
She stared ahead fixedly, but could barely see. The officer was down beside the body, doing something. He was speaking into the radio at his side, but the words were lost on her. She pressed her palms into her face harshly and pulled them away. There was wetness on her palms. Was she crying? She couldn’t tell. Her knees were knocking together so violently she thought she might fall. There were voices speaking, but all she could see was that twisted smile frozen behind the tears and obscuring her vision.

Personally, I think the conclusion isn't all that well written or exciting, but I learned a long time ago that I am usually pretty self-deprecating when it comes to my own writings so I've tried to turn that negative voices volume down. What did you think of the ending?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Carrie Eckles from Prompt Romp Guest Blog!!!!

Ah, another Monday. Where did this month go? Well, I’ve got a mix of good news and bad news for everyone today so we’ll start with the bad news.

I’ll be going away for a week this Thursday and it is likely, that I will not be doing much blogging until I return on July 9th. So, it’s probably not that terrible of news I just wanted to give you a heads up; I’m not going to be around much after Wednesday. And now here’s the good news:

Carrie Eckles of Prompt Romp and I have exchanged guest blogs for one another. For those of you that don’t know Carrie, much like myself, has just started up a new blog. Though I must admit, hers is much cooler a premise than mine.

What she has been doing for almost two months now is updating her blog regularly with writing prompts to help kick-start a writer’s brain and get away from that wicked devil we call writer’s block.

I just recently used one of her prompts to start a short story series that I can see myself working on for a long time to come. Be sure to head over to her blog Prompt Romp to check it out and read my thoughts on writing prompts.

Carrie is also the author of the delightfully amusing blog Artful Procrastination I hope everyone takes some time to check out her blogs and enjoys them even half as much as I do.

Below are Carries thoughts on character creation:

Character creation is one of the most frustrating aspects of fiction writing; it’s also one of the most fun and most rewarding. To some people, creating vivid and memorable characters comes naturally. To others, it’s a chore that they just want to get done so they can write their amazingly cool and totally awesome plot.

Creating characters doesn’t have to be a chore. When you understand what makes a good character, creating one is as simple as writing your own name.

Character Conception
Character conception is, obviously, the first phase of creating a character. The idea for the character might just randomly pop into your head one day and the character might be so compelling that they necessitate the need for a good plot and story; on the other hand, you might have a really good story to tell and need to create a character to drive it. Whatever the reason, you conceive your character idea.

During the conception phase, you should know a few basics about your character. You don’t necessarily have to know their name, but you do have to know their function in the story. What role do they play to help the story progress? Knowing the answer to that is the key for continuing to develop your character.

Once you have the basic function of the character mapped out, it’s time for the really fun stuff.

Naming a Character
To me, naming the character is one of the most exciting parts of the process. More often than not, I scour etymology websites until I find a name that suits my character. That may seem like a lack of creativity, but really, I believe a name is one of the most important things about a character.

Basically, your character has to have a memorable sounding name. If they don’t, your readers will never remember it. Think of the most famous names in literature: Dorian Gray, Albus Dumbledore, Frodo Baggins, and Elizabeth Bennett. What do all of these names have in common? A) They fit their characters and B) they fit the world their characters live in.

Take Dorian Gray, for example. His world is meant to portray that excess of aestheticism; therefore, he must have a name that has the flourish of the aesthetic movement. It’s commonly accepted that Oscar Wilde took the name from the Dorians, who were a tribe of ancient Greece. The surname Gray could be seen as a hint, alluding to the moral grayness of excess: how much is too much? And when does it all become ridiculous?

A name that fits the character, and compliments them, is very important for crafting a name that’s memorable and important.

Character Relevance
One of the most important things to ask yourself is this: Is my character relevant to the story? Examine that question and understand what it truly means before you answer that. Basically, what I’m telling you to ask yourself is: Does my character matter? Do they add to the story? Is there a reason readers should care about them?

If you’ve answered yes to all of those questions, you’re well on your way to crafting a memorable character. That is, you are only if you answered truthfully. This is the part of the character creation process where you have to be honest with yourself. By being honest, you can see your characters the way your readers (and publishers) most likely will.

If you answered no to any of those questions, revise your character (or your story) until they go hand in hand and complement each other. In the end, you may have to make a choice: save your character or save your story. Personally, I’d go for the former. Good story ideas fall down like rain; good characters come once in a blue moon.

Thank you very much Carrie; that was very well said and insightful! I particularly liked your thoughts on naming, for me personally naming a character was always the hardest part. Often I just throw letters together and hope it sounds okay, I’m a little embarrassed to admit.

I’m curious what are some ways that everyone else fleshes out their characters?

Be sure to check back in here tomorrow for the conclusion to my "Serious Attachment" story.