Writing What you Fear

Embarrassing to admit, but two nights ago I awoke in the small hours of the morning to a nightmare revolving around zombies. I have always wondered if it is just the writer in me, or if I dream more frequently, vividly, and with the ability to remember them than others anyway. After awaking a few times, I finally had to get up completely to try and dispel the fear that was overtaking my logical thinking. Why zombies? No idea. While the rest of the world goes on Zombie walks and enjoys all manner of movies/TV, I leave lights on and avoid them.

So there it was 5:30 in the morning, still full dark without Fall Back yet. And I finally sit up, trying to shake off the sleep and fear addled brain. And all I could hear was this licking noise from the recesses of the dark room. My cat. That’s it, out to the living room I go so my husband can still sleep. I turn on the light and proceed to do anything to keep my mind off the dream.

But I have to go back to sleep sometime.

I’ve learned over the years that my mind will quiet down if I come to some sort of conclusion. It’s not too picky on what, any ending will usually satisfy. So half-awake, half-daydreaming, I Mary-Jane an ending good enough to sleep until 9 am.

All of this leads to the true point that as I tell my good friend and writing buddy about this night, he thinks the idea is merit-able. That its writable. That I could really do something with it.

And now I have a Scrivener file for a zombie novel….What the hell?

Case and Point: Brainstorming session today in broad daylight of 7 PM, my friend suggests we watch the first episode of Walking Dead. For those in the know, I barely make it past the part where he gets out of the hospital and ends up with the guy from Snatch and son. For others, probably not even half way.

How the hell am I supposed to write a zombie novel (that I can’t even deny I am slightly curious to try…) when I can’t go out on the my porch to watch the wind whistle through the trees because of hurricane Sandy in the dark without waiting for a rotted hand to reach between the bars…

I don’t know if I can write a zombie novel, especially because doing the research for the genre may well kill any restful sleep I get for awhile. In a morbid way, I want to try. Maybe if I can write through this fear that keeps the hall light on at night for a 27 year old, than maybe I can make it through a show without walking away.

 

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The Countdown

According to the NanoWrimo website there is 09:09:36:… at the time I start writing this. Can it really be just 9 days? Wow, the time flies.

Do I have the outline I wanted to have? No.

Do I have the hordes of notes I had last year? No.

What do I have? An idea, a character, and a place to go. Discovering writing at its best.

But, I did come up with an intriguing theme as I mused last night. Speaking of which, I have absolutely fallen in love with Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Excuses podcast. I just finished the one on character death and due the briefness of the podcast (one of its finer points if sometimes you wish there was more) they left it vaguely pointed in the direction of if you kill them, kill them well, kill them meaningfully, and make it fit within your genre.

The “meaningfully” and “well” caught my attention more than the genre. I will probably be revisiting that one later. But, to kill a character meaningful and well… That seems like a tall order. So I began to dig around in my memory like a child in a closet tossing items behind me as I picked them up and examined them for likeliness of a good example. Besides, I was looking for something specific. Not a major character death. But a secondary character death that makes you cry and jump up wishing you could be the one to pull them from harm’s way. Finally, I found the gem I was looking for.

*  *  *  S P O I L E R   A L E R T   F O R   W H I T E   C O L L A R   (T V   S H O W)   I F   Y O U   C A R E  *  *  *

Second season, Mozzie is shot. Who is Mozzie you may ask, not knowing but still not caring about the Spoiler alert. He is the quirky, conspiracy theorist friend who has bailed the lead and co-lead out of many a jam. Oh, don’t worry, he complained the entire way, but he never once said no when someone needed him. Then he ends up shot, on a park bench, the gun with a silencer, and almost no one caring about the slumped over guy on the bench.

That’s meaningful. Wait, no that’s well. Meaningful is going to be that without this death the lead wouldn’t ever find out what man was actually pulling the puppet strings.

For those who know, Mozzie makes it. So it’s not my best example. But honestly I hate killing characters.

So why I am going on about this then…? Because for NanoWrimo 2012, I am going to kill a character. And I want to make the reader tear up, like I do — sappy me, watching this death happen.

Ah, but the tangent returns me to my intriguing theme: Trust of necessity and trust of generosity. You can trust someone out of need, and it goes so far. But real trust, the kind given in solid relationships, that generosity. It’s a trust that one gives for the sake of giving. Not for further ends.

And that, my friends, is how you make the death meaningful and well: Loyalty. No really, it makes sense. Look at your own examples. Hell, look how most people react when the Pet (mainly dog) has to die in a film: Old Yeller and I am Legend.

Next goal…write loyalty…. Wonder if there’s a podcast on that.

Write long and prosper. ;-P

The Art, the Book, and the Way

So a few ideas to address today:

First, yes, I am still writing. I have recently decided to change careers. And, so as if I wasn’t doing enough previously, I am now job hunting for a new career. It’s exciting and super scary at the same time. I am leaving the comfort of what I know for an unknown. And worse, an unknown that I don’t wholly feel prepared for. Either way, I am doing it. My resignation paper was turned in two days ago. I am not changing my mind now. Teaching, sad as it is to say, is for someone who cares a little less than I.

Second, the book has morphed in a series. I had the sneaking suspicion that it what is was going to do to me. Not so worried though. It may mean the the end of Ceara’s story is farther off than I expected, but it finally feels like the book is more than a one shot, shallow, cliche paranormal story. Now I just need to write it like it is that unique. Thankfully, someone new, a Nephilim by the name of Nathaniel just walked into the book the other night. So I am going to wrap up book one, set down notes and outlines for book 2/3 (November is coming on fast…), and be prepared to finally read through my first manuscript beginning to end. Ceara, Jean, Koma, and Derrick need a little more flesh on their bones before I go running off half-cocked into a deeper truth. Can I do this before the next Nano? I have no freakin’ clue.

Third, I was able to read an article about the downward spiral of the Arts. That article refers to the original Salon article here. Are we really losing so much of our respect for the arts? The sad part is it might have already been gone. The Greeks and Romans revered their art. I remember sitting in class once, Anthropology 1101 if I remember correctly, stating how societies grew and evolved. My professor mentioned that you could measure a societies achievements in their leisure. Not laziness, mind you — there is a distinction. But the ability to not have to spend every waking second never ceasing towards finding where food would come from, shelter, safety. I agree with the Etsy article point of view that too many people think that art is just a hobby. Music, painting, photography, metal working, glass blowing, we are all considered eccentric crazies that have too much free time. People see us and think, even worse for those that may do it full time, unable to get, hold, or want a REAL job. It’s the same reason I listened to my parents, went to college and received a degree in mathematics instead of trying my hand on Broadway. In the end, I’m still happy with my choices, but it has the same connotation. Now, I’m a writer, a jeweler, a photographer. I am quitting my teaching job to work a 9-5 somewhere closer to home. A job where I won’t have homework to do and I can spend my time at home with ME. The job is a means to an end. Hopefully, one day, enough people with accept self-publishing (respectable self-publishing I will add) and homemade crafts as willingly as we proudly announce our Made in the USA stickers.

Until then, fellow readers, writers, artists, musicians, dabblers, entrepreneurs, experts, and pedestrians we will continue to ply our crafts and find the little joys in the kind words we receive from friends. Coveting the thrill of compliments and critiques of strangers who at least saw our work. For now, that is good. Even if it isn’t nearly enough.

 

Starting Off

So, actually this is a little late to start off. But everyone needs a kick sometimes, and I think right now I really just need to start kicking myself — hard.

I recently delved into the world of NaNoWriMo this past year and loved every minute of the experience. Unwittingly, being a newbie to the cause, I zealously jumped in not caring that halfway through the month I was only about a quarter of the way finished with my characters. Not too bad, one would think, and as it was, I thought all was well. I hit the 50,000 word marker on November 29th basked in my glory and joy of finishing, posted on Facebook for my online love, and then told myself that a few days rest then back to the grind stone to finish the work.

It is now January 20th. I have only written 4,000 more words since that moment and I weep inside at what that means. The excuses pile up and all I wish for is another 30 days of writing bliss. Sadly, even by waiting for the next November, the Nano rules state that I must start anew, and though people that fudge the rules abound, I simply wish not to.

Therefore, after finding the most amazing independently published book I have read to date (and ranking in the top ten of best books ever for me right now), I have a new desire to finish something. Be it my publishable work, or something that simply got me started, I want those two words every aspiring author/writer wants to type: The End.

Here I will muse about the musing. Is this a stand alone novel or are my characters strong enough to carry a series? Is my heroine, Ceara, believable? Do I farm out the copyediting? to where?  Once finished, where do I go next? Can I really even finish this?

Maybe if I hold myself accountable to someone, even the ever elusive and intangible internet, something will get done. Here’s hoping.