Thursday, July 29, 2010

Update on Nature's Choice

It's a long chapter, a messy chapter, and a little unpolished, but it's up.

Nature's Choice, Chapter 10.

Someday, I will actually have something fully polished on the web, and the world will end.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Writing Tip: Cake and Editing

For me, writing and baking a cake are a lot alike. I have to do things a certain way, in a certain order, to get my story or my cake to turn out the way I want. It took me far too long to figure out how much doing things in a certain order affected my writing. The cake? That was easy. And probably a bit tastier, too.

One of the many little details about writing that I've finally clued in to is how I need to edit. The order in which my story gets edited affects how it turns out. Hugely. I don't know if this is something that other people tend to have issue with, but if you are having some trouble editing, looking for something that might help you approach the process a different way, perhaps my methodology might spur an idea. So, I share.

I edit in the order of what I think matters in my story.

For me?
1. Character first
2. Plot
3. Setting
4. Pacing and mood/tone
5. Go back over #1-#4 again
6. Polishing the prose
7. And finally, grammar and spelling.

It's a pretty simple matter why this does it for me: this is how my mind works.

1. Character
I come up with characters first, I enjoy them, and if they don't feel real to me, the rest of the story doesn't go anywhere. So when I go to edit a chapter, I need to look over every aspect of the character. Is this how they'd really feel? Is this how they'd really act? Is this consistent with their history, their personality, their previous actions in the book? Is this the diction they'd use in their dialogue? Every aspect of them gets a once over, and typically gets changed if it's really off (and if I'm not brain dead at the time. Never a guarantee). If I work on it and can't get it to 'feel' right, then it's off to the next detail with a note to come back later, and sometimes a note to a friend who might be willing to read it and help me figure out what's wrong.

2. Plot
I'll admit it, this is a shorter edit moment for me, as I don't tend to plot much ahead of time until I'm partway through the story, or not at all until the end when I go back and look it all over. But there still needs to be moments of wondering if I have to make sure something is mentioned here so that it seems natural when it comes up later in the story. Is it heading the right way, or somewhere I don't know and have to find out later. For those who plot ahead of time, I'm sure the editing process is longer here, looking it all over to make sure details and plot are mentioned and dealt with in each chapter where they need to be.

3. Setting
This is, for me, putting in the details. I like action and inner thoughts, so I don't tend to put in as many details in the first draft, and here I need to go through and make sure people can see what's in my head. What's the room like, the people, the fight, the chair. This is the one that I have to struggle with the most, and the one I tend to feel like gets neglected more when I'm in a rush. For those who are more detail oriented, I think this step is more refining than adding the details in, making sure these details work for the tone and the mood and the perspective.

4. Pacing/mood/tone
Now that the details are added in, I've got to make sure I didn't just bog things down. I go back a few chapters of the story and start reading, so I can get into the rhythm before I hit the chapter I'm actually editing. That way, I have a better sense of how fast or slow it's going, and how fast or slow it needs to be. Is the mood/tone developing the way I think it is? Is it consistent with the previous chapter? The details, the action, everything here contributes, and it can be a real challenge to figure out what needs to be changed to pick things up or draw them out longer.

5. Going back for Round Two
Without this, it doesn't work. I've changed so much now that I need to go back and make sure the characters are still in character, that the plot is still going the right way, that there are enough details, and the pacing is working again after changing anything else that needed changing.

6. Polishing
Polishing is the icing on the cake. I get rid of clunky sentences, odd word choices, phrases that are a bit ambiguous or downright strange. I think a big mistake beginning writers can make is to try to do this too early (Been there, done that. Still do it occasionally. Neglect this shamefully if I'm in a hurry.).

Polishing up the writing before the very last is, in my opinion, like frosting the cake before it's baked. Yes, we've got the cake's recipe sorted out. The batter's been mixed and poured into the pan. But we all know there's still more to do. If we put all the swirls and piping and frosting bits on before it's done, we end up not wanting to bake the darn thing properly for fear of ruining the great job we did with the icing.

I'm sure you've all had those moments. Where you had such a great line or scene that even though it didn't actually fit into the story, you loved it too much to get rid of it. Not a good thing for our stories. We've got to be able to chop them to bits before we shine them up pretty. Although as something to help preserve my love of 'scenes that don't belong,' I personally make a file of them. I may have another story someday with a strong hero and needy villain where that scene would work perfectly. Or so I tell myself. It helps ease the pain. ;-)

7. Grammar and Spelling.
The main reason I never do grammar and spelling before the end is similar to why I don't think we should polish early. All the work makes us more reluctant to do what we need to during the rest of our edits. It's much easier to cut out three paragraphs when we haven't spent ten minutes getting the grammar and spelling just right. It's easier to chop up the story when it's not picture-perfect before time.

And let's face it, grammar is something that requires the least of you, and affects the story the least, and is something anyone can help you with. A story with bad characters or bad plotting is not one you're going to read, no matter how perfect the grammar is. And you are the only one who can figure out how to change those flaws. Grammar is something that has precise rules, and you can ask a wonderful beta to help you with it, which they can do even if you were in a coma for a month and had little to say about it, yes? It's the least amount of work during editing.

And that, my friends, is how Twisted edits...when things are going well and time is limitless. In reality, some of these steps get a little truncated and it shows.

But for anyone who is having a hard time diving into their editing this week, I really do think it can help to start the edits on what really speaks to you. If the historical period is what really gets you going, then start with the setting and description. If the plot stands out to you above the characters, start with that.

I will not mention grammar, because we all know that the grammar is not what attracted you to the story. Hopefully.

But if we do the editing right, I think we can have a tale that we are not ashamed to offer up and, well...let the readers eat cake. As long as it's the cake we just spent hours and hours slaving over and prettifying and filling with sex cream.

Which came out much, much dirtier than I meant it too.

Go me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Of Health and Tomatoes

For those who may have been wondering where I've been, there's a brief update on my more personal blog, here: Twisted's Livejournal . Just a bit more crud in the health department that is clearing up, now that we've found yet another thing I need to keep out of my mouth to stay healthy. I will be known as The Incredible Reacting Gay-Romance Writer. I need a theme song or something.

However, my health is not what today's blog is about. Health fades to an insignificant dot, since I have discovered My Tomato.

I have been attempting to grow tomatoes for the first time ever this year. The plant limps along, just barely kept alive by a rather lackadaisical watering approach and the fact that I have let it roam free in my yard to forage for itself. But yesterday, it was discovered that the first fruit had begun to ripen. A pretty yellow color already, just ripe enough for a good fried green tomato recipe, so we picked it.

Then I really looked at it, and I suddenly realized that I am NOT obsessed with food as I had been thinking these last few weeks. Food is obsessed with me...

or at least with my writing.

Don't laugh. The only way to explain how this tomato turned out is a food's secret gay porn obsession. Really. The fact that this is the very first tomato from a plant that Twisted Hilarity has actually planted is so apropos that I think the world actually paused a moment as I saw it, to highlight the perfection of it all.

This, my friends, is my Twisted Tomato.

I am making THEME pictures out of this beautiful phallic thing, I swear to god. Actually, I took so many pictures of it, I could now fill a gallery. I'm obsessed. My breathing is impaired. And I am so tempted to get some GI Joe doll and make him do terrible things with this tomato, it's not even funny.

If this does not spawn something utterly cracked and wrong in my writing, than nothing will. ^_^

Monday, May 31, 2010

Updates on TLPH

For those who don't read my other blogs, the good news is that I got a BRAND NEW LAPTOP, for FREE. Awesome-sauce with a side order of neato fries. Yes, my computer was actually such a lemon that the company replaced it, for free, with their closest model. Which happens to be BETTER than the model I had.

Like I said, awesome-sauce. This has, obviously, made me a little happier about the apple company, although I'd rather not have got the lemon in the first place.

The bad news was that, as usual, my inherent inability to comprehend computers has made adjusting to the new computer a bit of a chore. You'd think something that is nearly identical would not be a problem, but nearly and I have a rather adversarial relationship, I'm finding out.

However, I am now getting the hang of it, and to make up for the lag time since the last chapter, I'm doing a Memorial Day Special: 2 chapters for the price of one.

So, here's the updates!
The Last Pure Human, Chapter 28
The Last Pure Human, Chapter 29

Enjoy your extended weekend, fellow Americans. And everyone else, I'm really, really sorry for your Monday Blues. Reeeeally sorry.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Update on TLPH

Well, update on the new chapter of TLPH:

It's not polished, as I'm rushing to get it out before computer gets stuck in the shop again - I think the annoying thing has the hots for one of the repair guys or something, with how often it breaks!

I'll be back in circulation as soon as I get it back, or sooner, if I can snake the family computer for my own use every once in a while.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Update time

And updating to Nature's Choice today. Ch 9 is up now, phew. That took a little longer, and ended up a little shorter, than desired, but I enjoyed it anyway. :-)

Friday, April 30, 2010


So, it's about time I posted updates at this blog too, eh?

Ice Wind's Bride, Chapter 8, is now up on the website:

I'm having a bit of a computer hiccup, so italics are mysteriously absent in this chapter. They'll return soon, hopefully with an apology and a good explanation. And perhaps they'll bring along a couple friends, like good grammar, while they're at it.

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Writing Tip: What to do when you don't feel like writing

It's a problem we all run into, yes? We know we should be writing, but we're tired, unmotivated, or frustrated. Or maybe we just don't wanna. So what's a writer to do in this situation?

Answer really depends, doesn't it? If the writing is a hobby, I think there are more choices. We can give ourselves a rest, putter around a bit, figure out whether we really wanted to write this story in the first place. Or try to force ourselves to write anyway.

If the writing is a job? We get to sit down, shut up, and write, because it's our job. We don't not go out and earn money at the office because we don't feel like it this week, and writing is no different. Now, maybe we've learned how our brains work and every once in a while we NEED to take a day off. Hey, we all need our breaks during the week, right? But sometimes, we get to suck it up and write, too.

So, what are some good ways to get over that hump and get the writing out when you REALLY don't want to? Author Wil Kalif has a couple methods that I like:

I've used the carrot approach he mentions before: rewarding myself with something if I do my writing. That works sometimes, but I'll admit, most of my 'carrots' involve things I have to buy. If I don't have money, I don't have much to make a carrot with. The other carrots I'd use, like 'time to myself,' only work if I can involve someone else in the endeavor as they watch my kids for me. Again, this isn't always an option. But still, it can be used effectively, especially if that motivates you.

I'd never thought of the 'stick' approach until I read this article, but I really think it is something that works better for me. Frankly, because I tend to make the 'stick' into chores that need to be done anyway and I've been putting off, so whether I end up writing or paying a penalty for not writing, I still end up better by the end of it.

His thoughts on internal dialogue seemed as though they could be a definite help for those of us who self-defeat when we don't want to write. As my own 'not writing' moments tend to come from exhaustion or laziness, it's not as much use for me.

However, here's a few more ideas that have worked for me to get the writing started when I really don't wish to.

1. The 10 minutes sprint
This stemmed from my NaNoWriMo group a couple years back. Set a timer and simply write as much as you darn well can for ten minutes. You can't stop, you can't pause, you just write like it's a competition for how many words you can get out. The best I've done was 927 words in 10 minutes. I thought my fingers were going to fall off, the sentences ran together, and I don't even know what I was trying to say in the middle, but it didn't matter. I'd written something. I scrapped most of it, and kept a little. But I continued to write for another hour, and that's what I'd been hoping to accomplish in the first place.

2. Write Part of Your Unseen Story
This has been helpful when I look at my own writing and feel that it's exceptionally craptastic that particular day. I don't want to stop writing, but every word feels like it's dragging me under in a pile of...well, crap. So what I've done is picked an event in one of the character's lives and write about that instead. This is not something I plan to put into the story, or to ever let anyone see. It's simply to bring a little fullness to that character, and their life, in my head. It often helps me relax because I know it doesn't matter how bad it is. And it tends to improve my understanding of the character, and often make me want to write more about the story, as a result.

3. Go on a Walk
Yeah, so it's a bit simple, but this is a walk with a purpose. Step out, walk in a place that works for you, whether that's your own living room, a busy street or a country lane, and think about your story as you walk. Let your mind drift, play around with plots in your head, just let your body move as your brain works on it. Walking, or any light exercise, seems to be very beneficial to revving up your thinking. Might as well use that for our stories, eh?

As a side note, if you have a problem you're trying to solve in your story, you might want to consider walking BACKWARD to think about it. This one is based on a study. No really. Check it out:

In the end, I suppose...I'd better stop writing this blog post rather than using it as an excuse not to sit down, shut up, and write my next chapter. ^_^ Good luck to the rest of your with your stories, as well!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The concept of 'Genre'

I like to be able to find stories that I want to read, like everyone else who reads fiction, I imagine. If I'm in the mood for a fantasy, I want to be able to find it. Or a paranormal story, a romance, a mystery, or even a western...I'm kind of living the latter, so I'm not as interested in those, I'll admit. But as someone who very much enjoys these stories with a gay twist, I've been running into an issue lately with e-publishers.

They don't classify things the way my mind does.

For e-publishers who specialize in stories with gay main characters, it's easy. Every story has characters with the sexual orientation I'm interested in, so I just need to look in the correct genre, problem solved. I browse their fantasy section, and there you go, a story with gay elves, right up front.

And note, I avoided the 'fairy' pun because that would just be silly. I swear, I ever write a story with a gay fairy, that dude is gonna be 7 feet tall and able to kick everyone's ass, seriously. Because the Sidhe are scary bastards. Hey, my mom's Irish, we learn to fear the fairy, eh?

Ahem, where was I? Oh, yes...classification. Here's the problem...or perhaps, maybe I should say, here's my question to e-publishers:What does a character's sexual orientation have to do with the genre of a story, in terms of plot and conventions?

Answer: nothing what-so-freaking-ever

Which always makes it a surprise, to me, that 'gay and lesbian' or GLBT is listed alongside other genres, situated with others like Sci-fi, fantasy, erotica, and romance. Somehow, I hear that song 'one of these things is not like the other' running through my head.

The other genres tell me what kind of story I'm getting. Swashbuckling, robots, romantic situations, etc... The gay category tells me NOTHING about the plot. If we were going to classify stories in a category like 'GLBT,' we should be consistent. Which means we stop looking at a genre of fiction and start categorizing by character.

The list of titles would be put into categories like this: nerdy straight ex-con, pissed-off bi-sexual biker chick, sword fighting gay narcissist, and hot bi-curious electrician.

Because that's all the gay is, wouldn't you agree? It's talking about a characteristic of a 'character,' not saying anything at all about the story itself. Now don't get me wrong, I'm HAPPY that more publishers are realizing that people LIKE to read about good characters, regardless of their sexual orientation. And sometimes because of it. *uh...raises hand as guilty for that one*

I like the fact that enough books are published for there to BE a GLBT category now in a lot of publishing houses. What I would love to see, however, is for a few more publishers to, say, expand their categorization, just a little bit, to add to our convenience. We can go to the sci-fi genre, and underneath, we could find gay sexuality, het sexuality, violence, angst, erotica, or whatever might help.

I know this is a bit more work on the publishers side of things. But in the world of the web, anything that helps a person find what they want, faster, is going to be good for business, too. If I only have to spend 60 seconds finding a fantasy with gay main characters that has romance, I'm much more likely to buy it than if I wasted five minutes hunting through pages and pages of titles in the 'gay' section.

So please, e-publishers, remember that while we love the characters in the stories we read, it's awfully hard to search for stories by 'character' and nothing else. Please, help a reader out: put in some multiple categories to search by. We'd all appreciate it. Thanks.

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's a good day not to die

Today is a good day. Really. A great day. And why, you may ask?

I ate salmon. And it was awesome.

You may have noticed I've been having a bit of a food theme in my blogging lately. It's on my mind a lot. The last 8 months have found me losing about 55 pounds, along with all my foods but 7. It's due to some surprise food issues that cropped up suddenly and nastily. Eating a 'bad' food now can sometimes result in my throat trying swell itself shut, which really kind of puts a crimp in your whole day.

But I have food I can eat, and it's not terrible food, so I can hack it. It simply puts a bit of a different perspective on the role food plays in my life, is all.

However, I seriously cannot even express how strange it is to eat the same 7 foods every single day for months at a time, and then suddenly get to have a new food. Some of you are likely familiar with this phenomenon, from various diets or fasting or MRE's. I wasn't. And it's like...well... it's like...

Let me put it this way. If you ever see some skinny bitch sitting outside a restaurant who eats a bit of food and then moans 'oh my GAWD' over and over in near-orgasmic bliss? That would be me eating the salmon. Or anything else I actually get to try next.

Seriously, not exaggerating. I think my husband was on the verge of asking me and my salmon to get a room.

I almost did, too. >_<

Instead, I finished my salmon and sat down to write down the experience like any good little writer gal would. Because it's different, and new to me, and every little thing we experience is simply so useful for a writer, isn't it? And often in the most unexpected ways.

The whole vampire liquid diet thing, for example. Just the other day, it occurred to me that I could take a look at going vamp in a totally new way. What would it feel like to lose the ability to eat food? I feel like I have the answer to that down to a visceral level.

It's kind of a cool bit of knowledge to have access to, when you look at it that way. And I'm so curious what else there is to get out of this entire experience. I guess I'll find out.

Here's wishing you some interesting and not too painful experiences that can help you and your writing and life, too!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cornflake, know thyself

I am a card-carrying flake. It's kind of like being a marine: it's not just a job, it's an adventure.

Really, it is.

--As a flake, I regularly park my car and forget where in the world it is. This typically results in 'the great hunt for the car,' which oddly resembles something like a quest in an old fable, with little old ladies giving advice, strange creatures swooping overhead in the (asphalt) forest, and feasting and rejoicing at the end.

--As a flake, I don't get a lot of jokes immediately. I tend to believe this is because I have a brain that is not fully functional in real time. More often than not, my critical thinking doesn't come into play for at least a minute after a conversation has already happened. So when, say, I'm chatting with a barber and he says, 'don't mind me, I'm deaf in one ear and can't hear out of the other,' do you know what I say?

"Oh, dear, I'm so sorry to hear that!"

And one minute later I'm hitting myself in the forehead as critical thinking analyzes that statement and whispers, 'hey, cornflake, that was a joke!' And the above example? That really happened. Poor man thought I was absolutely mental.

-- As a flake, I am pretty much guaranteed to forget people's names, regardless of how long I have known them. I have, at various times, forgotten the names of my husband, my kids, my best friends, my boss, every human being I have ever spoken to on the web, everyone I ever met, and the names of every character, band, and book title I've ever heard of. Have you ever tried to introduce someone to your best friend and you not only forget the new person's name, but your best friend's as well? Definitely an adventure, just not the fun kind. I love meeting people, and talking with people, and commiserating and sharing and just plain bitching. And when you can't remember someone's name, no matter how much of a wonderful time you had with them, it's hard for them to believe that you really enjoyed their company at all. Which, to put it bluntly, sucks all around.

It's taken me a while to accept my flakiness. I have tried to overcome it, to change it, to improve myself and eliminate it, all to no avail. My flake-i-tude seems to be here forever. All my close friends and family accepted it years ago and are kind enough not to mock me too much for it. Although I may have earned the nickname 'Cornflake' among my fellow writing buddies.

But I'm very grateful they have come to realize that my complete inability to remember jack shit is totally unrelated to how much I care about them and enjoy being with them. Thank god. I'd have no friends left if they weren't so kind!

That said... there is one thing in my life that is oddly non-flaky: stories.

I adore stories, always have. I love reading them, watching them, writing them, hearing about them second-hand. I adore storytelling, especially when romance is involved. And after all these years, I believe I have figured out where my flakiness comes from.

My brain thinks life is a story, too. One that is not quite finished yet, so you don't need all the pesky little stuff in there. So it remembers the details that are important to the story, and tosses the rest. Do heroes need to remember where their cars are parked? No. Do we care what the names of all the people our hero meets are? No. Do we need to know that oxygen is the most likely gas for an atmosphere that supports life because of how it forms bonds with other molecules?

Hmmmm, Maybe. And see...I remember that one, even though it came from just one darn paragraph in a chemistry text book I read over ten years ago. That's because it might affect my brain remembers that one (And as an aside...methane is the next most likely gas. Neat, huh?).

Yes, I'm a geek flake. A romantic geek flake. Life is weird that way.

So, what does this have to do with yaoi or writing or any such thing? Self-knowledge.

In my life, I pay attention to people's characteristics and backgrounds and emotions rather than their names, to romances going on around me, to the idea of 'going to the store' rather than 'where the hell is my car.'

In my writing, I've begun to notice that I do the same damn things. I like writing the characters, and the romances. I feel like that's something that comes much more naturally to me. The details? I tend to forget those, especially on a first draft. What color is that horse? No clue. Are my heroes in a forest or a jungle? Uh, forgot to figure that out yet. And where the hell is their car? Really, no freaking idea. What color was it again?

I have a friend who is opposite myself in many ways. That woman is a real detail person, and when she writes, I notice a lot of physical details crop up in her stories, too. That's her strength. Her settings and descriptions are always so beautifully vivid, sometimes enough to give me raging cases of inadequacy. I love her anyway. :-)

I already felt comfortable about my strengths. Accepting my flake-hood helps me remember that I'll need to go back and enter in more physical detail and plot points, for example. Or that I need to make a file to keep track of said details (eye color, height, scent).

So I would suggest, for any beginning writers looking to figure out what to improve next in their writing? Taking a look at yourself and what you focus on in your life might give you some ideas about where to start. And even if they don't, hey, always nice to take some time to get to know yourself a little better, eh?

Happy reading and writing, everyone!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Writing Tip: Doughnuts and Discovering Character

It's the beginning of the story, the scene's in your head, and all of a sudden, you hit a snag.

What would your hero do when a stranger gropes his ass and offers him a doughnut at the same time?

All right, so perhaps that's not what happens in your particular story. But for a lot of us, there will come a time in our story when we're not entirely sure how our characters would react. Would our hero take the doughnut and remove the hand? Take the doughnut and the hand both? Throw the other man down and use the doughnut as a cock ring?

It's a real conundrum.

Usually, a bit of thought, or a few false starts, will get you through this. But sometimes it can go on for days. The story stalls as you try, and try again, and still feel like your character is beyond your ability to fully comprehend.

When that happens? Try this.

Take him shopping.

Go to an on-line store, a mall in real life, a market, anything that has a lot of items. Then ask yourself a series of questions about the character and their interaction with the goods you see. The questions can be anything that you think will help reveal part of his character to you, but here's a few ideas.

1. What item would your character desperately want to buy?
2. What item would your character rather die than bring back to his house?
3. What item would your character want, but never admit wanting, to anyone?
4. What item would your character need, but not even admit to himself?

The author Jill Knowles suggested the above concept to me, along with a lot of the questions I've used. I'll admit, I've only used it a few times, but it's been very useful when I have.

Another way to get to know your character?

Explore their personal information.

Not the information you already know, or even the traits you plan to put in the story. I'm talking about the little, trivial crap that no one would even want to read about. The stuff that sits in your brain once you know it and pops out at odd moments in the story when you least expect it. Some examples?

Body - Favorite body part on HIS body. Most hated body part. Traits like allergies, freckles, moles, old injuries and scars, the way his dick curves a little to the left.

Likes and dislikes - Favorites and most hated in music, entertainment, accents, countries, morals, food, drink, morning-after scenarios, pets, political parties.

Childhood - Pets, family, friends, humiliating and exhilerating moments, education, attempts at hair cutting and sheep shearing.

Sex - position favs and dislikes, first time, last time, frequency, payment method, experimentation, reputation.

Housing - address, style of furniture, decorating scheme, lighting, country or city.

You can only imagine how long you can make this list, eh? But often, it just takes a few items on a list like this to get your brain energized, immersed more fully in the character as you make up the small scar on his left knee from the time Billy Bob tripped him in the school yard.

And the scar on his right knuckle from when he punched Billy Bob in the mouth and hit a tooth.

As always, I think what works is a very individual thing, but hopefully, the above methods may resonate for some of you and help you with a rut or two of your own. :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Writing Tip: Beets and Writer's Block

Most authors get writers block at some point in time. I'll admit, I'm still waiting for my first case, because I can't shut up to save my life and that seems to apply to my writing as well as my mouth. But I expect it'll happen eventually. And when it's nice to be ready.

So for all you writers who've been blocked, have you ever tried to take an object - any object - and imagined it in your blocked story? I mean, you simply glanced at the last sentence you wrote, copied it over onto a new sheet of paper (or word document) and popped an object into the next sentence.

Say, a beet.

Because beets are weird. They are so virulently pink that they look like something a mad scientist cooked up in his lab on a bad day when the cocaine supplies were low so he just picked a random magic mushroom to inhale. You can't deny it: beets are funky and crazy and just the teensiest bit disturbing.

But hey, in my opinion...anything that's weird and funky and disturbing has amazing potential for humor. Seriously. It's the unexpected. What could be more unexpected in a story than a beet? Or even better, a beet in the middle of a living room floor when a gay couple walks in from a hard day at work in the financial district.

How'd it get there? Neither of these two eat beets - in fact, one of the men doesn't even know what the hell a beet is, other than purple jelly from a can at Thanksgiving (yes, I'm pulling this out of the air as I speak. Just go with it.).

So...having a beet on the floor might be a little disturbing. You might have to check for intruders, or secret beet porn actors. Or a beet stalking cat who left it for you as a little present. And you'd at the very least put the beet up on the counter until you figured out what to do with it.

Then comes the next day, home from work as usual, and now there's one beet missing from the counter, and three beets on the floor. What would happen?

Could be, you look at the story and think: how the hell should I know? This is a freaking beet. What's it got to do with anything?

And maybe that's all you'll need to get over your block: annoyance over some irritating woman and her beet, wasting your time. Now you'll head back to sane-land and go write something that actually matters in your story.

Or maybe you'll keep the beet and just run with it. Like this-

"Well, there's one mystery solved."


"It wasn't a gay beet."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Well just look - there's three now. One was obviously a breeder."

Writer's block solved, all because of a beet.

But not a gay beet. I expect the little beet son is gay, though, or we wouldn't be reading about him on my blog, eh?

However, in all seriousness, if you're ever in a writing rut, something random like the beet can totally jump start things. It doesn't even need to be something that stays in the story, just something that gets the creative - possibly oddball - juices flowing. Or makes you wish you could write about your story instead of the stupid beets, and so it motivates that way. Whatever works!

Of course, there's danger down this road as well. If you don't stop yourself, soon you'll be thinking of beets more than you should. Like I just did. Sitting here contemplating male beets and wondering what, exactly, would be a beet's 'junk.' The twisty bit at the tip? Or the big, loooong green bit at the top?

Thoughts like these are a sign that the beet has outlived its welcome. Time to go, before it starts fornicating with the cauliflower.

And don't try to imagine that. Really. The image will haunt you. Forever. Rather like the beet, now.