I don’t pretend that my life is anymore busy than anyone else’s. But my life has seemed a little overwhelming and out of control. I can’t say that it has been ‘go, go, go.’ But my mind has been. I was going to try and post last week before I left town as I had a few things that were affecting my thinking and my writing.
I love the direction of my thinking lately though, if I have a conflict with a friend or thoughts about a friend – I wonder, how do I incorporate this into my writing? Do I incorporate it? Am I breaking a boundary? How do I make a friend who is not looking good in my vision, still be endearing to a reader? Will they even know? How do I disguise them enough to take some of their traits I find annoying, endearing, or sad and not offend them?
I have been thinking a lot about character development lately and trying to work some on it. It’s been kind of fun but at times I wonder if it is pulling me away from my writing. Right now, I am not as worried about that – description is one of the areas I get challenged on in my writing group. And characterization falls under that whole realm of description. I have a tendency to allow my details to be a little more discrete and I think I do this because as I am reading the book/story – I picture myself there or I picture it as a movie and if there is too much detail, I can actually have a hard time picture the scene. But leaving things out like ‘for a 12 year old he was a little bigger and stronger than his classmates.’ Not that this is the best sentence, but it helps to identify the boy as opposed to simply referring to him as ‘the boy.’ I have to find the balance so that there is enough description to get the basics, but in certain areas I really want to be able to picture something I know.
For instance, I remember one of the first writers meetings I went to (with the group I belong to) a woman read a portion of her story and discussed the church. One of critiques was for a better description of the church – wanting to know what he was walking to in his mind. She commented that earlier in the story that it was a Nazarene Church and they all have a similar style. Now I walked away with three different perspectives there – mine which is that I had pictured the churches I know and was in a church while she read; the person critiquing who wanting the description to get the picture; and the writer who believed that by identifying the faith – all would know what the church style was. This was one of those thoughts that haunted my thoughts and still does – for me, knowing the style of the church added nothing to the story – in fact, for me it took away because now I had to picture something unfamiliar to me and in the bit picture – it had nothing to do with the story.
I have more to say on this topic, as it is tending to be a focus of mine lately, but I think that is enough for now.
This weekend was full of fun. I went with two of my sisters and one of their groups of friends down the Niabrara – which first of all, if you have never gotten to experience the beauty of it, you should. And second of all, it is just a nice relaxing time – spending 8 hours floating down a river on a tube, drink in one hand, and stopping to explore waterfalls. The Niabrara boasts the largest waterfall in Nebraska – Smith Falls – again worth the trip, if you haven’t yet been.
I had my link to the slide.com pics here so you could just watch them on my blog – but it seemed they were slowing down my system, so I don’t know what they were doing to other systems. I think I will instead just hyper-link it so you can see my Niabrara pics by clicking HERE.
I have such a cool family.
I just got him and I think he is the cutest thing I have every gotten for FREE in my life (okay that may be a slight exaggeration – but you get my point).
I stopped at my brother’s the other day and my sister-in-law was showing me these boxes that magically appeared on her porch that day. They were actually her mother’s (a friend was getting rid of a bunch of stuff – her mother realized that a lot of these things would be considered antiques and said she would take them.)I collect pigs (and have a small collection of piggy banks), so my SIL gave it to me – how cool is that.
I need someone to magically deposit a bunch of boxes full of antiques to my porch.
I had every intention of coming home this evening and writing. I am not doing so well with my goal of writing every night. Tomorrow I am coming home and cleaning the writing area first thing (I might even come home and do some of it over my lunch hour). It’s happening – I hate feeling guilty over getting nothing done.
When I was home over lunch today, I had the Sundance Channel on and saw that Grey Gardens was going to be on about 15 minutes after I left. Now I knew about this crazy aunt and cousin of Jackie O’s because of the Broadway Musical that did well at the Tony’s last year. I have the cd and had an idea of what it was about, but didn’t realize there was a ‘documentary’ movie about the two of them. So I taped it, and when I got home, I just popped it in to make sure it taped. I was trapped. I couldn’t stop watching, even to pause it and make myself dinner. I was enthralled, appalled and saddened for these two women.
Working with people who have mental health concerns makes me a little more sensitive to those who are depicted in the movies. These women were two of the most dysfunctional women I have ever seen. I believe the aunt was actually the more stable of the two, but physically, she had so many concerns. The cousin was truly one of the more unhealthy people I have ever seen depicted.
After it was over, I thought, my goodness, what fantastic characters. And then being sensitive to the mentally ill, thought ‘how horrible of you to think of them as characters.’ But…
Then it got me thinking more of whom I know – friend, relation, acquaintance who should be a character. What makes a great character. I got to thinking of the stories I have written and wondered who I know that I have written into a story. Do you know that other than myself (I think I am often in my stories, but that is because I tend to become the main character – which could become disturbing when I am working on my psychological thriller about a sociopathic serial killer.)
So that is my new challenge to myself – finding the characters in my life and depicting them on the page.
Now I know that the video appears to be sideways – it is not the video – it is your computer. I will give you a few moments to turn your computer onto it’s side. Go now.
Hopefully that was enough time. I had a niece and nephew stay the night on Saturday. They kept wanting to play on the swingset in the yard – especially the jungle bars since they aren’t allowed on the slide (it’s too high). Saturday night our fun consisted of me carrying them across the bars while they touched each one. The fun was missed out by me, but they loved it and giggled. I kept trying to get them to do it on their own, but it wasn’t happening.
The next morning, the same thing – they wanted me to carry them, but all of a sudden B said, ‘just a minute’ and did it on her own. I called her Wonder Woman and she did it over and over (probably another 10 times and I caught one of them on tape).
I think about what a great time we are in – that it is so easy to catch the little things (which is actually what the prompt is about). I tried to remember the first thing that I remember being proud of. And then I wondered, how do you catch that on paper.
I have been trying to figure what do you do when you have so little time to do it. Right now, my creativity is at a peak it hasn’t been in a long time. I have several stories that are new to me, coming to mind. I seems to spend a lot of time writing down the basics so I don’t forget it. I have had a couple of actual scenes that came to me, had to get them down – not completely sure where they fit, but pretty sure I know the story they belong in.
I have about 20 article ideas that I have been working on – at least a basis to send a query out – this is something new for me, not the query, but writing to offer article ideas.
I have three new story ideas and 3 new shorts I am working out the small stuff on. It’s exciting but overwhelming as well – I am trying to prioritize and know that I need to sit down to finish one, but I am afraid of losing the other, so I have been focusing on outlining the new ideas so as not to lose them.
I have not been as disciplined in my writing as I was hoping to be at this point. I was trying to figure it out when I do my best and most writing – it always comes down to situations when I am supposed to be doing something else and can’t do what normally pulls me away from writing (damn you television and Internet, for being so much fun). Now I am sure for most of you, this would be a ‘duh’ moment. For me, it was an ‘aha’ moment. I know what I need to do, so I have put a little extra effort into getting that writing space ready. Next it’s going to be important for me to schedule the times – I read an article recently (I think on a writer’s blog and wish I could remember who it was because I would like to give him props.)
The basis of what he said was that for him, it became more important to write something every day, not focus on getting 10 pages done a day, but to write something whether it was 3 paragraphs or 3 pages. Hmmmmm…I love this thought – he went on to say that by the end of the month, he had something like a 30,000 (or was it 60,000) book written. Time to start writing, I say it again.
These are a few of the videos I took with my camera during the storm – in the second to last one – you can hear the hail begin.
This last one – is from my dining room window after the hail had started.
On June 27, 2008 Omaha was hit with a horrible storm – they say the winds were between 110 and 115 mph. Electricity went out at about 5:30 p.m. I just got mine back today 6/30/08 @ 1:30 p.m. My sister had a lot of damage to her house and while it has not been completely evaluated – an OPPD staff and her insurance agent said the damage was enough that the house will probably have to be torn down and rebuilt.