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!