Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Accent on Accents

Who isn't a sucker for an accent?  My first love was Davey Jones of the Monkees, and while I was initially attracted to his smooth, hairless chest, I was forever conditioned to coo over British accents. 

This intense love affair lasted until I was 9, when I got taller than him.  But really...those soulful eyes (okay, maybe they're a little ooky, but they seemed soulful when I was six), that hairless little chest?  What's not to adore?  And the accent.  Oh. My. Gosh. Made me a Daydream Believer.  Until stupid Marcia Brady hornswoggled him into kissing her.  Slut. 

And then there was Bond.  James Bond.   Roger Moore, Eh.  Not so much.  But that Scottish Bond, shooeee.  And look there, bottom right of this composite...he's got a seriously long gun.  Not as wide-barreled as you might hope for, but a skilled operator doesn't need...oh, well, you get the analogy.  Or metaphor.  Whatever.  Sean 


And then there is the Irish accent.  Sigh  Did you see Liam Neeson in  The Good Mother? Nell?  Darkman?  Okay, maybe the Jedi mind tricks made you forget those movies, but I've been a Liam girl for years. 

Now back to the English Accent:  The blue-eyed Bond, Daniel Craig.  And there's this scene where he's tied nekkid to a chair and...well, Tiffany, that scene's for you.  I'll do the kiss it and make it better scene. 

Let's not forget our own good old American Boy accents, especially those southern boys.  Tommy Lee Jones is my personal fave.  Yeah.  That's him.  How cute was he, even way back before he was Loretta Lynn's husband or a Man In Black?

And East Coast Boys are hip.  Yo, Adriane! 

But my absolute favorite accent is the Spanish one.  Not the Mexican Spanish one, the actual Spanish Spanish one.  Just saying the words "Antonio Banderas"  makes my rrrr's roll around in ecstasy. 

I once worked with a man from Spain.  He sounded just like Antonio B on the phone.  He looked more like Andy Sipowicz crossed with Archie Bunker, but if you just listened, he was like Viagra in pink. 

What accents do it for you? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Name That Villian Contest

Okay, enough with the maudlin introspection of yesterday.  I'm dusting of the NaNo project for partial display next month, and I realize that I have to name my villian.  The tentative name I have for him is so stupid that I can't even type it out loud. 

Here's the 411:  I have a bad guy who is masquerading as the best friend of the hero--the ultimate Freinemy--and the Cute Kid is the only one who knows he's really a bad guy.  The problem is, the Cute Kid spends alot of time in her own private Idaho, so when she tries to tell people about the villian, everyone just chuckles and pats her on the head.  Of course, she doesn't know the real name of the villian, because that would totally not work for this story.  She has her own name for the villian, but I can't decide what that should be. 

There are already so many great villian out there that it would be easy to steal someone else's name and bastardize it.  Heck, the Cute Kid is only 8, she doesn't have to be totally original.   I could spend the whole day Googling villians, but I don't have all day, because I'm not done with my Christmas shopping.  But here are a few of my favorites:
Okay, this last one isn't really a villian picture, although given Miley Cyrus and the Bong Incident, it might count.  I was actually looking for Gaston from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and came upon this guy, who is/was Miley's beau.  He could tie me up and hold me hostage any time.  Ahem. 

ANYWAY.  I need help!  Should we have a contest?  What should I offer as a prize? Okay, here's the deal: you think of names for my villian, I'll go home and dig around in the basement for action figures. I'll  see what I have, and send the winning villian namer the action figure of their choice. 

Oh, and in case you didn't get my Private Idaho Reference: 

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Computer Ate My Short Story

My New Year's Resolution this year is to finish something.  Just. One. Freaking. Story.  I put my Great American Romance Novel on the back burner, and have even set my NaNo piece aside in favor of a sweet little short story that I started a couple of weeks ago.  I figure that if I can finish a short story, I might have enough momentum to plug away at the longer stuff.  I mean, it's not like I have a deadline looming or anything.  I am hearing Rob Schneider in my mind saying, "You can do eet!"

I spent five hours in the car on Friday, driving with my kids to Chicago so we could spend the weekend shopping and sightseeing with the dad.  We are not big conversators while driving.  The kids actually read all the way up, so I had alot of time to think.  I took time out to be totally freaked out by the windfarm between Indianapolis and Chicago, but the rest of the time I thought great thoughts about what to do next with my little short story. 

I got up Saturday morning, all psyched to write while the rest of the family slept in.  I booted my laptop, plugged in my memory stick, and got a blank page with the message:  Replace existing file?  And oops!  yep, I clicked "Yes".  And there it went.  If only I'd had the Pac Man being eaten music, it would have been perfect.

It's not like I can't rewrite it.  I will.  I actually put together an outline immediately, so that when I get over my dismay, I'll be able to recreate some of those brilliant ideas that I had already typed up, and to flesh out the brilliant ideas I had on I-65.  But boy, what a bummer.  This is not the first time this has happened to me, either.  I had another big chunk of writing disappear when I lost a memory stick a few months ago.  Fortunately, I had emailed an earlier version to my CP (Hi, Mary!) and she sent it back to me.  But dang! 

You'd think I'd never heard the 'back up your data' warning.  I just thought that I was being wise by keeping everything on a flash drive rather than the hard drive, which I know is going to go soon. 

That's what I get for thinking!  So that's my Happy Monday story for the week.  It's all uphill from here. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nerdly Geekily Hot

My boyfriend Tim McGraw was on Ellen yesterday (I know, I mentioned that yesterday, but I thought it bears repeating).  Tim is not necessarily someone that I automatically look at and go, "OMG, he's so HOT".  I mean, look at him: 
   The goatee thing is hot.  But really...he's not terribly tall, he's got a receeding hairline, average brown hair, and he's totally eclipsed by that skanky blonde he insists on hanging out with (just kidding, are actually a very elegant, cool chick.  Now get away from my boyfriend).  And he's wearing nerdy glasses there.  He wore them on Ellen yesterday.   But he's just so darned cute, especially when he's not wearing that dorky cowboy hat: 
I mean, really, kids.  EVERY country star can wear a stupid cowboy hat.  That's how you know they are a country star and not, say, a rapper. 

But take away the cowboy hat and Faith Hill, and you probably wouldn't look twice at him if you were in line behind him at Kroger.  He's just kind of, average, albeit in a nice looking way. Except I bet he smells good.  You might notice that.

Last night on twitter, there was a lively chat ( #wtflitchat) about nerds and dorks in smutty romance.  The question was, can a dork be hot?  Well, I guess first you have to define "dork".  This is the Urban Dictionary definition: "Someone who has odd interests, and is often silly at times. A dork is also someone who can be themselves and not care what anyone thinks."
Whereas a nerd is, "One whose IQ exceeds his weight".
The consensus during the chat was that dorkiness is an issue of social skills, where nerdiness has a more intellectual quality.  The two can certainly cross over. 
I think there are alot of hot, dorky nerds out there.  I mean, who doesn't want to secretly do Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory? 
  Okay, maybe that's not a good example.  But I'm sure he appeals to some of us.
The point is, that intelligence and humor are WAY sexier than alot of other, more concrete measures of studliness like the Ab Harness Scale or the length and breadth of...well, you know.   The idea is that, underneath that average exterior lies an interesting person, willing to take chances and try new things. 
And let's face it.  The sexy librarian is NOT a new concept: 

Marian.   Madame Librarian. 
Even if she did wind up being Keith Partridge's mom and driving a dorky school bus...Hey!  There's that dork concept again. 
I'm pretty sure if asked to describe ourselves, most of us would be more likely to go with "nerdy, boring, average" rather than "Hot, sexy, vixen".  At least to the outside world. In our own minds, we have that naughty ne'r do well Music Man/ Con Artist trying to seduce us out of our corsets. 

The same goes for guys, right? I mean really...Clark Kent, in his glasses and conservative suit, or Superman, running around in tights with his junk on display? 

One of my favorite Sexy Nerd books is Strange Attractions  by Emma Holly, which stars a nerdy physicist (model for Sheldon?  Probably not);and Tiffany Reisz's Seven Day Loan has a very nicely naughty librarian.  Whimper. 
 Vicki Lewis Thompson wrote a whole Nerd series.  What are your favorite nerd stories?  What nerd or dork (or heck, Geek, even) do you really want to see put down his duct taped glasses? 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Snow Day and the Pointless Blog

We got quite a few inches of snow here last night--woo hoo!  I'm not sure how many inches, because I've been occasionally mislead about how long...oh, never mind.  But waking up with six inches is enough to stay in bed for an extra hour, waking up to eight inches, all day.  Okay, Okay, I'll stop with the inappropriate innuendos. 

My kids are off school today, but they are old enough now that they can be left home alone on a snow day while I suck it up and go to work.  The house is usually still standing when I get home.  I do get to go in late, though, because there's this giant hill on the way into the city, and on a snow day (or a rainy day, or a windy day) the Cut in the Hill can back up for miles and miles. 

I get to watch Regis and Kelly, and now Ellen is on.  My boyfriend Tim McGraw was on Ellen this morning, totally rocking his little nerdy glasses.  Sigh. 

I miss the stay-at-home mom days when I could waste a whole morning watching talk shows and feeling guilty for not getting much done, but now I go to work and feel guilty for spending too much time blogging. It's all long as I get to feel guilty.

Okay, that's all, I'm off to find a clean pair of jeans so I can get dressed and try to get to work! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cynical Optimism and other Twisted Ideas

I have been finding myself being quite snarky where my children are concerned, lately. I think this is a twisted way of putting myself down...after all, if they are messed up, it's all my fault, so it's okay if I focus on the negative, right?  Because I'm not putting THEM down, I'm dogging my own parenting skills. 

<<Putting another dollar in the therapy fund.  Actually,  putting in five. >>

I also have a tendency to expect the worst in any given situation, because then when things work out, I am pleasantly surprised.  That's the source of the concept of Cynical Optimism. Like it?  I thought it up myself. 

I have a pretty well-developed sense of humor, if I do say so myself.  I love to laugh...and not just at other people.  I can be really smart alecky, but I am also a really nice person.  I feel terrible when I say something sarcastic and someone is offended.  . 

 <<Taking a dollar back out of the therapy fund to go buy some chocolate>>

 On the other hand, I rarely take offense when someone snubs me or says something biting.  This is either because 1) I don't think they really mean to be nasty, or 2) I deserve whatever they said.  I lose much more sleep over the stupid things I say and do than over what is said to me.

ANYWAY.  This makes me think about the all powerful and elusive VOICE in literature.  I may be wrong, but to me, this is a pretty direct reflection of the personality of the writer.  How much sarcasm is too much?  How much groveling is tedious?   Hmmm.  MAYBE, for me, it's not the sarcasm and guilt that come across when I write, but the conflict I have over these parts of me that is the thing. 

<<Puts dollar back in therapy fund, opens latest WIP instead.>>

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friends in Low Places

Continuing with my self-indulgent, overly, emotional theme, I'd like to write about country music today. 

When I was young and cool, I had a Pinto station wagon that only got A.M. radio.  My boyfriend and I were WAY too cool to listen to the one pop music station available, so we went country, since that seemed SOOOO uncool that it was Extra Cool.  Kind of like heavy black eyeglass frames (or socks with sandals).

Fortunately for my cool factor, I managed to wreck the Pinto (actually, someone else rear-ended me and I didn't blow up), and got a new car with an FM radio. A Chevette.  WAY cool, right?  Anyway, we were  able to go back to a Heavy Metal station and not have to try to make country music trendy (this was 1980.  Country was NOT cool then).

Anyway.  A seed was planted.  I passed through the Heavy Metal stage into Psuedo-Hippiness, following the Grateful Dead around and listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash and wishing I had been at Woodstock (I would have been five).  Then I got married and started having kids, and my music preferences became all Barney all the time.  Shudder.

We moved to Northern Kentucky (a HUGE cultural shock, to move 15 miles from the west side of Cincinnati).  We bought a truck.   We do NOT have a gun rack or a confederate flag, and we do wear shoes (most of the time) and have most of our teeth.  We listen to country music.

Country music feeds my romantic soul.  Taylor Swift songs make me cry:

Drew looks at me
I fake a smile so he won't see
What I want and I need
And everything that we should be

I'll bet she's beautiful
That girl he talks about
And she's got everything
That I have to live without

  Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins (my other boyfriend besides Johnny Depp).   There are so many great stories that can come from those songs.  Some of them have already been expanded into movie form.  Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks is one.   I guess most country music themes have been made into movies and books in one form or another, because they are so universal.  The Dance is another Garth tune that I love, and my hero Suzanne Brockmann gave it a nod in The Admiral's Bride

Friends in Low Places, though.  Now THAT is a great song:

 Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots
And ruined your black tie affair
The last one to know, the last one to show
I was the last one you thought you'd see there
There is nothing like a cocky, drunk ex-boyfriend to liven up a party, is there?  I read a great little Harlequin Super Romance over the weekend

I stayed up past my bedtime to finish this one. It has everything you could ask for in a hero:  Injured alcoholic veteran with PTSD, biceps and tatoos.  Very nice.  Brady shows up at his ex-fiancee's wedding, drunk and bitter.  While he doesn't exactly cause a scene, everyone knows he's there and is uncomfortable, so it totally counts towards Garth Brooks points.  The Ex-fiancee's little sister, who has been secretly in love with Brady forever takes him, home, whoops she gets pregnant, and hijinks ensue. 

The thing I liked about this novel was the total messed-up-ness of the protagonists.  Even the Ex-fiancee/older sister gets to be messed up over all this.  It's not a neat tidy story.  Older sister is jealous, new husband is jealous, Brady doesn't sober up the instant he finds out he's going to be a father.  We know they'll work it out, but the road to HEA had a lot of those great "oof" moments.

This is the kind of book I aspire to write. 

What songs inspire you? 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Imaginary Heroes

I was browsing along through this month's Vanity Fair at lunch time (thanks Jessica), about to admire pictures of my boyfriend, Johnny Depp,
When I came across this guy:  
His name is Garrett Hedlund, and he's in the new Tron movie, as well as Country Strong, and THEN he's going to be playing Dean Moriarty in the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On The Road, which so totally appeals to my once-upon-a-time-hippie-wanna-be nature that I might just have to go home and get my Birkenstocks and socks on.

Yeah, I know.  It was bad, I did it, but I'm not going to pretend it didn't happen.  I will also confess that while I do know who Neal Cassady is/was (the real life Dean Moriarty), it's only because I like the Grateful Dead song.

  I tried to read On the Road, but it was kind of like Moby Dick to me at the time.  I had to wait 25 years for the movie, but if Garrett's in it, I'm glad I waited.

Anyway.  I saw that Garrett guy, and I thought, Oh!  He could totally be Comatose Dave in WIP3!  I generally try to stay away from choosing real people to model my heroes after because once I start to learn sutff about them, I feel like I have to make that part of the story, and real people can be a little too human.  I'm still not over the whole Mel Gibson debacle.

  On the other hand, I have a tough time imagining imaginary people.  So my plan here is to avoid any and all information about my boy Garrett until after I've written about him, so that his sordid interactions with underaged girls or attacks on paparazzi dont't play into his profile.

How do the rest of you do it?  How do you come up with a face without getting sucked into a personality?     

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dead Husbands and Other Romantic Plot Devices

I mentioned briefly (maybe more than once, in more than one forum) that I use alot of dead husbands in my writing.  I have four semi-outlined and/or embryonic WIPs, and I started three of them with a widowed heroine.  What's up with that?  On one hand, it could be that I can get pretty fed up with my own hubby, and this is a not so subliminal message about a need for couple's therapy.  On the other hand, it may be that I am too conservative to have a divorced heroine, or (gasp) one who's had a child out of wedlock.  Because, God help me, I have alot of children, too.  On the third hand, I think it's easy to have unresolved issues with dead people, and there is nothing more compelling than a character with issues. 

Anyway, I've managed to trade one dead husband in for a comatose brother, and put the husband in jail (because I can't get rid of the cute kid, and besides, the convict ex-husband provides alot of good issue material), and another dead husband might just become a dead father.  I think I'll keep the third one, because he was a real dipwad, and he deserves to be dead. 

My hero, Suzanne Brockmann, has taken some similar situations and rewritten them, which I find really cool, because, well, she's my hero and she does a good job.  She's got the alcoholic actor (Hearthrob, and Robin Chadwick in the Troubleshooters series), the guy who thinks he's too old (The Admiral's Bride, and Max and Gina in TS).  Of course, seems to know what she's doing, and has written more than one story in between her similar situations. 

What kinds of things does everyone else find themselves repeating?  Themes?  Characters?  Circumstance? 

By the way, I don't often wish my husband dead.  I have gone the whole, "what if?" a time or two, where I realize that I don't know the password to our online banking account, and have no idea where the key to the safe deposit box is.  So I'll be following those paranoid fantasies along for the dipwad dead husband story.   

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Prequels and the Christmas Spirit

Okay, Prequels don't have anything to do with Christmas spirit, but I'm on a roll here, two things to talk about today.

First, let's get the writing thing out of the way.  I got my NaNo project out yesterday and sorted everything I'd written into Back Story, Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3 (which were kind of arbitrary, but at least that way I can see what I have).  I found that Back Story has at least as much crap as Acts 1,2 and 3 combined.  So maybe I need a pre-story, so that I can set some things up before I try to tell the story that I was trying to get out in the first place.  Is it overly ambitious to try for a trilogy before I've managed to complete even a short story?  Oh, who the hell cares, I'm going to do it anyway. 

I've managed to delete all of my dead husbands at this point, but now I have too many alcoholics.  As Roni and  Tiffany pointed out the other day on Twitter, dead wives are all the rage, so I may have to jump on that band wagon and work one in.  Especially since I'm just not good at vampires, shape shifters or mer-people.  I'm thinking maybe I can substitute PTSD for addiction in one of my characters.  We'll see.  I need to sit in a few more traffic jams to work this out in my head. 

Okay, so now for Christmas.  I have a real problem getting Christmas decorations going.  I just hate dragging out all of the stuff, because it's just going to have to be put away again.  Not until Easter, but still.  On the other hand, I do appreciate me some fine holiday displays.  This house down the street from our carpool friends is one of my favorites, because their Santa has a little of the Captain in him:   
See?  Just reversed. 

And I am not completely without holiday spirit at home.  I have managed to keep this Christmas cactus alive for two whole years, and this year, it even decided to bloom! 

On the left there you can see "Mushroom Man", who my daughter bought a few years ago at the Santa's Workshop thing they do at school.  Next to that is the pretty hand-thrown vase I got at the Renaissance Fair, then my Christmas cacuts in the Alice in Wonderland tea cup, and the cat tile my sister-in-law made.  I deleted the dirty sink below the windowsill.  I am slightly better with Photoshop than I am with a sponge. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taking 5; or, Balance? What the Heck is that?

On my way in to work this morning I was thinking about my weekend and how much I didn't get done:

I didn't get my Christmas tree up
I didn't get the dog pee smell out of the carpet (I think I'll have to lose the elderly dog and the carpet to take care of that one)
I didn't finish the quilt for Laura
I didn't get my NaNo project reorganized for revising/finishing
Okay, I don't need to go on, but the list is pretty long.

Then I started thinking about my to-do list:
All the things that didn't get done over the weekend
Cure cancer and peripheral nerve injuries, and if there is time, PTSD
Be a better mom
Be a better wife
Be more spiritual
Be a great writer

But then I got distracted while sitting at a stoplight, checking to see if anyone interesting had Tweeted yet this morning.

Which brought me back around to all the time I spend with social media and then how much I didn't get done over the weekend....although I did have some interesting conversations in cyberspace! 

So.  I'm practicing balance today.  I am setting my timer for fifteen minute increments and (whoops, hang on, it just went off).

Okay, I'm back. 

And I'm doing the different things I want and/or need to do in fifteen minute increments, so that maybe bythe end of the day, I'll feel like I've at least made some progress.    And instead of feeling like I'm running around getting nowhere, maybe I'll be able to cross something off the list. 

My other resolution for the week?  Leave the Crackberry in my purse when I'm behind the wheel.  Honest, I don't text and drive, but I sure do check it every time I hit a stop light.  I actually sat all the way through a light today and listened to the radio, and learned that It's Dave Brubeck's 90th birthday, so in honor of Dave and all of us who try to do too much, let's Take Five, shall we? 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Being a Responsible Crit Partner--Are you Experienced?

I have been critiqued a little (Hi, Mary!) and have done a little critiquing, but all of us are kinda new to the whole process, so I have some questions of those of you who are more experienced with this whole procedure. 

When ya'll are reading each other's stuff, how much editing do you do vs. big picture critiquing?  I have found it extremely helpful to have my CP (Hi, Mary!) pick out all the little style and grammar things that might seem okay to me because I tend to write like I talk, but are really not correct. And then, of course, she tells me if she gets where I am going with something, if my characters are sympathetic, if I have too many dead husbands, or if there is even a hint of emotional intensity in my work.  And of course, we are both on the look out for instances of purple prose.  eeeuuuw.  Keep your Throbbing Love Muscle away from my Garden of Earthly Deights. 

I'm asking because I critiqued a few chapters for a friend last night, sent them back with my comments, and haven't heard back from her.  Maybe she's sick. Maybe she's on vacation.  Hopefully she's not diving off the roof because she thinks I think her work sucks, because I really don't (and I'm pretty sure I'm not that powerful), I actually thought it was great...but I did suggest alot of little word changes. 

You'd think that someone who spends so much time blathering on the internet wouldn't be so worried about how my opinion might come across, but I'm almost as messed up worrying about her response to my response as I would be if I had to stand up and read my NaNo project right now, outloud in front of a whole RWA convention. In my underwear. 

Anyway.  Are there guidelines for this sort of thing?   I know that the whole "trying to be nice because I like you thing" is something I have to get over, but how do you know when enough is enough?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Writing Instruments and Blogs Gone Bad

I was going to title this post "Confessions of a Pen Slut" but then decided that I might get unwanted attention from search engines.  As for the "Blog Gone Bad" part, I'm just bumming because my Smilla and GI Jane posters from yesterday didn't show up right...they were there when I previewed it.  Oh well.

Anyway.  I had an hour and a half to kill last night while my middle son had swim team practice, so I snuck down to WalMart to pick up some milk and peruse the cheapo Christmas goodies (to see what tacky scented bath stuff I'll be getting from my kids this year--can I just say that Vanilla Musk is WAY not a fave?).  I decided that maybe, now that I have written 50,000 words worth of novel, that maybe I would go back and try to write a bit of a synopsis, just to make sure I had the story straight in my mind.  The whole thing had changed so much from Nov. 1 to Nov 29 that I was no longer sure I had anyone's internal or external goals or whatever laid out.  Okay, back to WalMart. Of course, I left the house without my trusty composition book/journal, so I decided to pick up another one.  And look for a new pen, while I was at it. 

For a couple of years now, I have been a big fan of the Bic Z4+, but it's really hard to find.
BIC Z4CV11BK Rubber Grip Bold Rollerball Pens It's got nice juicy ink, and it flows really nicely, a cool rubbery grip, but again...hard to find.  I also like a good ball point pen.  Not too fine a tip, and the ones I usually like are not store bought, but things I pick up from vendors at trade until the Zeiss Microscope booth next year, I'm out of luck.  Although I always love the good old fashioned Bic Ball points...the ones with the clear barrel and the little blue plug in the end that is so nice to chew on. But I couldn't find those, either!  I wound up with a Papermate gel pen, which is so so. 
Gel 2ct - Blue Medium  0.7mm
It did the trick, though...I got through some good character and plot analysis, so that when I get around to trying to put the stuff I wrote in some sort of order, I'll have a clearer idea of what I need to add and take away. 

But now I am in a quandry about the whole pen I a pen slut, that I am so willing to try new models, and not hold out until I find my beloved model? 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kick Ass Heroines

What makes a heroine really rock?  Does she have to really rock?  I mean, wouldn't we rather be able to fit ourselves into a bland little body and ordinary life so that it's easier to go along for the ride?
I thought about this last night while still basking in my Post-NaNo glow.  I was imagining that I would get up this morning, tidy things up, and send my novel off to be published (no query, agent, editor, or any of that malarkey needed).  Then I'd start spending the six figure advance I'll get for my next best-seller, which features a fairly strong heroine who has to learn to admit a couple of weaknesses to find her HEA. 

I was also wandering back and forth between Smilla's Sense of Snow 
Smilla's Sense of Snow Poster

And G.I.Jane
G.I. Jane Poster

Okay.  Brief reviews here:
Smilla:  Good book, mediocre movie. Julia Ormond spent the whole movie walking around looking pretty and miserable.  And okay, she was miserable.  But she made me miserable, too, and by the time she finally decided to get busy with Gabriel Byrne, I was like, "Run, Gabe, Run!  She's cute but she's gonna bring you down!"
Gabriel Byrne, however, was pretty hot as the somewhat backwards neighbor/hero.  Again...the book was better.

Not a big Demi Moore fan.  I hated her when she had big hair on General Hospital, and then when she married my boyfriend Bruce Willis, I really hated her.  Naming a kid Rumer? That was the end.  And she spends most of this movie delivering her lines with this dorky half smile that makes me wonder if she knew how bad she was and was trying not to laugh.  BUT!  It was all worth it, because, as she reluctantly led her team through SERE training, she got to beat the hell out of Viggo Mortensen (with her hands tied behind her back, no less) and deliver that most excellent line, in which she tells Master Chief Viggo to put her male appendage where his mouth is.  Which totally rocks the whole movie.
( how 'bout that mustache!?)
 The politics of women in combat, ehh.  I'm Switzerland.  And the movie dates itself when Demi must defend herself against allegations of homosexual fraternization (she gets all defensive and says her "good name" is being destroyed--I am NOT Switzerland on the issue of DADT, but whatever). 

Anyway.  I'm all about a strong female character, but only if she has to find her strength and deal with character flaws.  Didn't see Smilla cheer up, but then I kind of bailed on the movie before the credits rolled because the "S$^# My D*#@" scene was coming in G.I.Jane.  And G.I. Jane?  I don't know.  She was strong to begin with, had alot of attitude, she worked out alot, got stronger, got more attitude.  Ehh. 

Anyway, the comment lines are open here.  What makes a strong heroine believable?  What cracks does she need to have that let us move into her skin?

Monday, November 29, 2010

NaNoWriMo completed and verified!

Happy Dance.  Woo Hoo!  Wocka Wocka.  Hubba Hubba.  I did it!  OMG.  I wrote FIFTY THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY NINE WORDS in 29 days!  My Word document word counter says 50,356, and the nano validator says 50,289. But really, who's counting?  Well, I am, obviously, but I am not going to sweat the small stuff. 

Please to do not ask to see an excerpt before August of 2015, at which time I might be brave enough to open the file again and take another look. 

Okay.  I'm going to go get something to eat and see if I can find something tear-jerky to watch on In Demand.  I was compelled to post two things on Facebook today that made me cry--one was a youtube video by Pixar about "It Gets Better".  The other was about the medical transport teams that take injured troops from Afghanistan to Germany.  And it didn't have a happy ending.  I mean, at least, not for the kid they profiled.  Hopefully many more of the guys they transport come out okay. 

Okay, I'm done typing for today.  I really mean it.  As soon as I figure out how to put the little "NaNo Winner" thingy on my blog. 

C Ya!

You don't have to be prepared if you can improvise.

Aw, jeez.  I am less than 2000 words from the 50k mark on my nano project.  I had planned to spend my lunch time pounding the last bit out so that I can be done, but dang it, I saved the file to the wrong place.  At least, I hope to God I saved it!  It sure isn't on the flash drive I brought to work today.

I know, I could just open a new file and combine them later, but I get such satisfaction from seeing the increase in that little word count at the bottom of my document.   So plan B it is.   I will just have to see what I can do during lunch time, add them together when I get home, and then make a pot of coffee if I need to stay up late and finish up. 

I have been a girl scout leader for the past 6 years, and I am kind of an organizational mess (stay with me here, this paragraph does really have something to do with the previous one).    I no longer handle cookie sales for the troop, because it always turns into a major disaster, and noone ever gets the stupid prizes that they HAVE to have, so the girls can fill their Stupid Prize Drawers and not open them until their next fundraising opportunity.  We do alot of fun stuff, and although the girls are 13 now and not so much interested in all of the seat of my pants craft projects I come up, they still like to show up and hang out and go places.  We went caving a couple of weeks ago, and we are going to the art museum in a couple of weeks to look at wedding dresses.

We try to go camping at least once a year, and these are the days when my leadership really shines through, because I never remember to bring everything I'm supposed to have. One year we didn't even have the reservations we thought we had, so we mde friends with another troop and shared their cabin for the weekend.  Early on, I developed my own motto:

 "We are Girl Scouts, not Boy Scouts.  We don't have to be prepared because we can improvise!"

 I live by this motto, not only as a girl scout, but as a mom, a wife (you really don't want examples for that one), and a scientist.  I am the MacGyver of womanhood.  Give me a can of shaving cream, an ice cream scoop and a shoelace and I will make you a car.  Okay, maybe not.

The point is, if things don't go the way I originally hoped, I can rearrange my plans and my expectations.  The book I started to write 29 days ago is NOT the book I am going to end up with. If my heroine's dead husband suddenly becomes her comatose brother,  I can introduce him to a hot nurse who might just manage to wake him up.   Who needs a stinkin' outline?  I'm a girl scout, dammit! 

What about you?  Do you stick to the script, or do you improvise? 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grateful to be Plugging Away at it

Seems like most everyone has a nice Thanksgiving-themed post today, which I think is just great.  When I was learning to live without alcohol (What?  I know.  But I was tired of puking all the time), it was suggested that I make a gratitude list every night before bed.  I mostly have kept this routine for the past 7 1/2 years.  The really challenging thing is to make a gratitude list even when everything sucks.  I mean, when you have one of those "My dog is terminally ill, my husband is a jerk and I can't believe I married him, my real kids were switched at birth, my best friend is bi-polar, and my boss needs a stupidectomy" days, it can be really hard to make a gratitude list. 

Now, when I am feeling all spiritual and mentally well, I can sometimes be grateful for the crappy stuff that happens, because I know I'll learn an important lesson.  Yeah, whatever. 

Anyway.  About writing. Today I am grateful that I have the time to spend on my NaNo project.  I calculated that if I write 2500 words a day for the next week, I can get 'er done. I think I might be cutting that down a bit today, which would be good, because I don't know if I can get away with dragging my laptop along to Grandma's for TG dinner tomorrow. 

I am also really grateful for the eye opening pep-talk that came in my in-box this morning from Lemmony Snicket via NaNoWriMo.  I looked for a link for it on the website, but it isn't there yet, so I'm just going to copy and paste and hope that I am not violating any weird copywrite laws.  Can I just mention here that A Series of Unfortunate Events was my total favorite series to read with my kids?  Harry Potter, not so much.  Those poor, pathetic Baudelaire kids, uh, YEAH! 
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! 

Dear Cohort,
Struggling with your novel? Paralyzed by the fear that it's nowhere near good enough? Feeling caught in a trap of your own devising? You should probably give up.
For one thing, writing is a dying form. One reads of this every day. Every magazine and newspaper, every hardcover and paperback, every website and most walls near the freeway trumpet the news that nobody reads anymore, and everyone has read these statements and felt their powerful effects. The authors of all those articles and editorials, all those manifestos and essays, all those exclamations and eulogies - what would they say if they knew you were writing something? They would urge you, in bold-faced print, to stop.
Clearly, the future is moving us proudly and zippily away from the written word, so writing a novel is actually interfering with the natural progress of modern society. It is old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy, a relic of a time when people took artistic expression seriously and found solace in a good story told well. We are in the process of disentangling ourselves from that kind of peace of mind, so it is rude for you to hinder the world by insisting on adhering to the beloved paradigms of the past. It is like sitting in a gondola, listening to the water carry you across the water, while everyone else is zooming over you in jetpacks, belching smoke into the sky. Stop it, is what the jet-packers would say to you. Stop it this instant, you in that beautiful craft of intricately-carved wood that is giving you such a pleasant journey.
Besides, there are already plenty of novels. There is no need for a new one. One could devote one's entire life to reading the work of Henry James, for instance, and never touch another novel by any other author, and never be hungry for anything else, the way one could live on nothing but multivitamin tablets and pureed root vegetables and never find oneself craving wild mushroom soup or linguini with clam sauce or a plain roasted chicken with lemon-zested dandelion greens or strong black coffee or a perfectly ripe peach or chips and salsa or caramel ice cream on top of poppyseed cake or smoked salmon with capers or aged goat cheese or a gin gimlet or some other startling item sprung from the imagination of some unknown cook. In fact, think of the world of literature as an enormous meal, and your novel as some small piddling ingredient - the drawn butter, for example, served next to a large, boiled lobster. Who wants that? If it were brought to the table, surely most people would ask that it be removed post-haste.
Even if you insisted on finishing your novel, what for? Novels sit unpublished, or published but unsold, or sold but unread, or read but unreread, lonely on shelves and in drawers and under the legs of wobbly tables. They are like seashells on the beach. Not enough people marvel over them. They pick them up and put them down. Even your friends and associates will never appreciate your novel the way you want them to. In fact, there are likely just a handful of readers out in the world who are perfect for your book, who will take it to heart and feel its mighty ripples throughout their lives, and you will likely never meet them, at least under the proper circumstances. So who cares? Think of that secret favorite book of yours - not the one you tell people you like best, but that book so good that you refuse to share it with people because they'd never understand it. Perhaps it's not even a whole book, just a tiny portion that you'll never forget as long as you live. Nobody knows you feel this way about that tiny portion of literature, so what does it matter? The author of that small bright thing, that treasured whisper deep in your heart, never should have bothered.
Of course, it may well be that you are writing not for some perfect reader someplace, but for yourself, and that is the biggest folly of them all, because it will not work. You will not be happy all of the time. Unlike most things that most people make, your novel will not be perfect. It may well be considerably less than one-fourth perfect, and this will frustrate you and sadden you. This is why you should stop. Most people are not writing novels which is why there is so little frustration and sadness in the world, particularly as we zoom on past the novel in our smoky jet packs soon to be equipped with pureed food. The next time you find yourself in a group of people, stop and think to yourself, probably no one here is writing a novel. This is why everyone is so content, here at this bus stop or in line at the supermarket or standing around this baggage carousel or sitting around in this doctor's waiting room or in seventh grade or in Johannesburg. Give up your n ovel, and join the crowd. Think of all the things you could do with your time instead of participating in a noble and storied art form. There are things in your cupboards that likely need to be moved around.
In short, quit. Writing a novel is a tiny candle in a dark, swirling world. It brings light and warmth and hope to the lucky few who, against insufferable odds and despite a juggernaut of irritations, find themselves in the right place to hold it. Blow it out, so our eyes will not be drawn to its power. Extinguish it so we can get some sleep. I plan to quit writing novels myself, sometime in the next hundred years.
--Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket is the author of  A Series of Unfortunate Events. You can learn more about his work here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More is Being Revealed: My hero was raised by lesbian Llama farmers

During this quasi-desperate push to get through this whole NaNo craziness, I've been learning alot about my creative process.  I'm finding that I can't just invent background for my characters from thin air.  I had fifteen minutes this morning to write and drink coffee while I waited for middle child to finish his shower (aside:  how can he spend so long in the shower, when I KNOW I used up the last of the hot water before I got out of bed?); and I found myself writing a scene in which my hero checks his voice mail to find that his aunt has left him a message about bringing a date to Easter dinner.

 Turns out his aunt raised him.  His Aunt Janet and her lover, Aunt Stevie, who have a Llama farm in eastern Kentucky (where did I get the Llama idea?could it be here?).  Where is the lesbian aunt in my subconscious?  Who the hell knows. Although, now that I think about it, I do have a gay friend from college who had a farm for a while.  WHATEVER, Freudian issues are not the point of this post. 

The point is this:  I can't just sit around thinking about my characters and figure out what happened to them in the past.  I have to move my fingers to do find out who they are.  Interestingly enough, use my hands alot when I talk, too.  If I sit on my hands, I can't talk.  It doesn't seem to matter whether I am using a pen and paper or a keyboard, but I have to write to figure out what's going on.  Hey!  I think this might make me a WRITER! 

What about you?  How do you figure out who you are writing about? 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The NaNo Word Count and Other Important Stuff

I am woefully behind on my NaNo project.  8 days left and 20,000 words to go.  Not going to do the math on that one, I'll just keep verbally vomiting into my word processor. 

I did accomplish something over the weekend.  I can now cross "Tent camping in November" off of my bucket list.  HOLY MALOLY!  It.  Was.  Freaking.  Cold.  Of course, I didn't fight my son for the -30 sleeping bag, I crawled into the 1993 slumber party sleeping bag; but I had an extra blanket, an air mattress, two pairs of pants, three get the idea.   Then I had to go to the bathroom at 1:30 in the morning, so I had to fight my way out of this tiny tent, and the zipper got stuck, so I wound up crawling under the edge, pulling up the stakes, OMG.  Fortunately, the whole thing didn't come down on my tent-mate.  Sigh.  Hopefully I earned some Good Mom points to make up for all those hot meals I don't fix very often. 

On to today. After I checked to make sure I didn't make it on to over the weekend, I spent the morning trying to get some science done.  Every now and then an experiment seems to work, and I get all excited and hopeful for the future.  This is one of those days.  It makes me remember why I hung in there through grad school, and why I willingly work for so little (besides the freedom to blog, check my facebook page, and the university tuition remission for my kids). 

I won't trouble you with the details of my project, but suffice it to say that I got the little brain cells to grow on the little scaffolds.  Yay!  Next week I'm going to cure Parkinson's AND spinal cord injury.  The week after world domination. 

Oh, wait. I'll have to postpone the Parkinson's project because I have to finish NaNo.  Sorry, Michael J. Fox.  I'll get to it in December, I promise. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pathetically Drunken Heroes

I watched the movie Crazy Heart last night with Jeff Bridges, and it got me thinking.  What is it about the seemingly irredemable drunk that is so appealing?
Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake (do you not just love how corny that name is?), a formerly famous country singer/songwriter who is on the way down.  He's become a sloppy drunk, but still very professional.  I mean, he runs out of a show in the middle of a set to puke because he's so drunk, but he still makes it back in time to finish the song.  I loved that every time they showed him getting out of his beat to hell suburban he had his pants undone.  He spent half the movie zipping and buckling. 
It took me a while to get this, but Bad apparently had mentored county sensation Tommy Sweet, played by Colin Farrell (who didn't even get listed in the credits), and now Tommy is big, and Bad is well, bad.  A couple of times early in the movie Bad is asked about Tommy Sweet and he's all "Oh, no, I can't go there", but it's not really clear why, and then his agent calls and makes him do a show with Tommy, they get together and have dinner and everything is all peachy between them again.  I suspect there might be some scenes that got cut there, because that whole conflict kind of didn't work. 
Anyway.  Maggie Gyllenhaal shows up, they fall in love, even though he's old and stinky and drunk and has totally saggy man boobs, and she's cute and young and smart ( I love her as a heroine because she's not perfect looking, she's going to have baggy cheeks when she gets old, except she's not because she'll get plastic surgery, but whatever). 
Bad messes up, loses Maggie, sobers up, tries to get Maggie back, and well, I'll leave it at that. 
BTW, the soundtrack to this movie was great.  T Bone Burnett wrote all the songs, I guess.   I'm going to have to hit I Tunes for this one.

Marlon Brando was another good Pathetic Drunk portrayer with major issues (both him and his characters, I guess).  And nice pecs.  Until he went all Apocalypse Now, although there was still something about him...
But the movie I'm thinking of is the one with the nail clippers and the stick of butter.  You know which one I mean. I can't remember the title, and I'm not going to google it right now, I'll call you when I remember at four in the morning.  That movie was hot.  It was like, "OMG, I know I'm supposed to be freaked out, and I am a little, but wow." 

And of course, Kris Kristofferson in the remake of A Star Is Born.  I was never quite able to sit through the original, but again, there is that drunken rock star boy. 

And Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.  Now THERE was a movie with a happy ending (that was sarcasm.  I don't have the sarc mark to add).

I think that, besides the Pathetically Drunk hero in all of these movies, the common factor is the woman who loves him.  The heroine who finds and falls under the spell of whatever humanity remains in our wastrel hero.  Sure, we are hoping he gets it together, and sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't, but the heroine always manages to find her way.  She manages to stand up and say, "Hey, I love you, but I have to take care of myself and I am not going to let you fuck me up along with you."  Okay, it's been so long since I've seen Leaving Las Vegas that I'm not sure that happens with Elisabeth Shue, but it does in the other three. 

Here's the thing. In real life, there is nothing sexy about loving a man who could choke on his own vomit at anytime; and who can't be counted on for anything. Fortunately, my own beloved doesn't fall into this category of protagonist.  But there sure are plenty of drunken men (and women!)  and plenty of women (and men!)  who try to make it work.  Call it optimism, call it insanity, whatever it is, some of us must have some sort of an "If-He-Love-Me-He'd-Change" mutation in the genome.  I've been to an Alanon meeting...I know this is true. 

Well, anyway, it makes for good cinema.  Happily Ever After?  Not so much.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fifty Greatest Sci Fi Movies of All Time?

MSN has a link to this list of the fifty greatest sci fi films of all time.   I had a tough time navigating through it, the "next" button kept pooping out on me, but it was interesting to see how many of these I have actually seen, since I don't consider myself a big Sci Fi fan.  But I married a closet Trekkie, and I sure have seen an awful lot of Sci Fi television over the past twenty years.

I have seen alot of the top 25:  Star Wars IV and V, ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Terminator, T2, Total Recall (who can forget that awesome scene where Arnolds face is getting sucked apart by low atmospheric pressure?) and Star Trek 2, Wrath of Khan.  Blade Runner...whoee, mostly nekkid Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford.  And Alien and Aliens, Sigourney Weaver kicks ASS!   But there were a few that I have not seen and maybe need to check out:  "These Are the Damned" with Oliver Reed.  I just love him,  he's such a sexy bad boy. Well, he was, he's dead now, he was apparently living the part too well.    Oliver Reed.  So broody. 

and I've not seen Omega Man with Charlton Heston
Okay.  Wait a minute, right there!  Planet of the Apes was NOT on the list!  WTF?  Really?  Look at that picture...that is CHARLTON HESTON kissing a gorilla!  What a guy!  If he could go for a gorilla, he could totally have gone for me!  Okay, except I was, like, 8 when the movie came out and that would have been gross.  But do the time warp thing, and I'm totally there for him. 
And another Charlton Heston great was Soylent Green.  Who can forget that one?  I don't know who made up this list, but they are totally WHACK. 
 Although they did think to include Solaris with George Clooney. 

There were definitely more movies on thelist that I have not seen, and only wish to see if I am laid up with, say, a broken pelvis and lots of morphine. For example: 

Robinson Crusoe on Mars

I just can't wrap my mind around this one.  I mean, I can.  I get the premise. I just don't know where they got the spray tan stuff in outerspace.  Doesn't the aerosol can explode under low atmospheric conditions? 

After some blog chatter last week about Daniel Craig, naked, I am going to be lining up to see Cowboys and Aliens.  It's got Harrison Ford in it, too.    It should already be on the list even though it hasn't even been released yet.  Nuff said.
Cowboys & Aliens Poster

Writing Workshops

I think that since January and February are normally the most hideous months of the year for me I, I will try to take some writing workshops online.  I took one using the W method for plotting, which was really helpful, and then another one about writing sex scenes, which wasn't so helpful, but maybe I just wasn't "in the mood" at the time. 

I think I need to focus on characterization.  I sure hope someone has some suggestions for me.  There seems to be a wealth of options out there, and I don't know where to start.  Any thoughts? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, leaking into Sunday

So.  I spent my weekend earning BIG brownie points by taking my daughter and three other girl scouts on a wild caving adventure in Indiana.  We crawled into a big dark wet hole in the ground, got good and claustrophbic, cold, wet and dirty, and crawled back out.   Next weekend I'll be going horseback riding with an undetermined number of boy scouts.  I should be good to hibernate for the rest of the winter after that.

I was all jazzed up to get back to my NaNo writing on Sunday night.  I opened my file and started to skim through what I had done so far, and realized that I had accidentally copied 1000 words into the story twice, when I was combinig files from different documents.  DANG!  Okay, minor set back.  I was already behind, having taken a few days off to be a parent, but that was such a monday kind of a thing.  I recouped, got two-thousand words in last night.  Not caught up yet, but still better.

Then this morning, I got up and spent a few more minutes writing, in between yelling at various kids to get out of bed and get ready for school.  Yay, good start!  Until I went out to get in the car.  Which I had left out overnight, even though I have a nice warm garage that the car even fits into.  And the battery was dead.  Okay, not so bad, Hubby's Big Red Truck was home since he's out of town, and it started right up.  Damn thing's too big to fit in a parking space at work, though, so I had to use it to charge my battery and drive my own car.  Except that I couldn't find the latch to open my hood.  SHEESH!  Back in the house, get the teenager out of bed to open my damned car hood, move the truck closer, blah blah blah. 

AND THEN, I get to work only to find that my cells are dead.  Which I kind of expect, since it's science, and it's Monday.  But still. 

wah wah wah.  I'm done.  Thank you for letting me share. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veteran's Day Writing Marathon Recap

Well, I didn't manage to find any veterans to harass with gratitude yesterday, but I did spend a little time watching the Warrior Challenge on ESPN for a little while.  This was a Men in BDU's Olympics at whatever military  base that is in Germany.  The guys were competing in things like "who can load the most MRE's in a Humvee in the shortest time".  It was very cool. 

I also hit my 20,000 word mark, and my laptop survived.  I didn't do the tomtato timer thing (though I'm going to go check that out, thanks for the idea!). I did a whirlwind tour of coffee shops and other places to plug in in Northern Kentucky (which isn't a city.  It's a fancy elitist term for "southern Cincinnati".  There are about a dozen little towns in three counties that have all run together within the 275 beltway on the cool side of the Ohio River.  Not that Cincinnati isn't also cool, but Kentucky's cooler, especially since we rarely wear shoes, and it is November (a ha ha ha.  I crack myself up.). 

I hit the Starbucks at the Crestview Hills Plaza and had a  venti brewedThanksgiving blend with a double chocolate brownie, which netted me about 1500 words.  There were a surprising number of people at this Starbucks for a Thursday morning.  Maybe it was because it was a holiday, but I was shocked at the number of Ladies Who Shop hanging around, ordering a mocha java kappa delta lattes with straight faces.  There was an interesting young man sitting at the table next to me, drinking a hot chocolate, with three snapshots of people spread out on the table in front of him.  I saw him again a little later, standing in front of Bath and Body Works, just looking at his snapshots.  I wonder who the people are in the pictures? 

After hitting the 18K mark and WAY over caffeinated and chocolate-ized, I rewarded myself with a visit to Borders Books and Music and redeemed my $10 credit.  They are having a buy-two-romances-and-get-a-free-B J Daniels-Intrigue novel promotion, so I bought An Unforgettable Lady, by Jessica Bird, aka JR Ward; and Defender, by  Catherine Mann, and only spent $6.50, which totally rocks, although I now have 903 books on the TBR pile next to my bed. 

THEN I went to the Kenton County Public Library, and curled up in a chair in a sunny spot and plugged the Chevy Sprint Car of laptops back in.  I tell  you, this puppy is making some serious noise.  I've got to bring her in and sweet talk our IT pit crew chief into giving her a lube job or something.  It wasn't obvious at Starbucks, because there was enough chatter from the Ladies Who Shop to drown out the noise; but I was a little embarrassed at how loud it was while I was in the library. I cranked out another thousand words and then slunk out of the back door. 

After a lovely lunch at Jimmy John's in Crescent Springs, I made it to Reality Tuesday's coffee house in Park Hills.  This place rocks.  It's all mismatched furniture and original art and business meetings and high school kids and little old ladies.  Here I managed to hit the 20K mark between sips of an iced Chai (without the milk) and surreptitious lustful glances at the Men in Camo on ESPN. 

I had a great day, and spent some quality time getting to know my characters.  Then I hit the carpool circuit, the grocery store, and ended the day with a lovely trip to buy jeans with my twelve-year-old daughter.  I had forgotten that if the size 7 jeans look too tight, then you need to go to the size 5's, because, you know.  OMG, I have to call my mother and apologize, again, for every time she didn't kill me when she took me shopping. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Writing Day

I came into work this morning to check on my cells and wean some rats, but since it's a real live holiday, I'm going to take the rest of the day off to go hang out in Starbucks or maybe the cafe in the nearest Borders and write.  I have this urge to run around looking for veterans to thank, but that seems a little weird, so I'll just thank any that I run across naturally. 

I may also take a few minutes to look back over what I've written during this crazy NaNo time, and see if I can put things in any kind of sensible order.  NaNo a third over, and I may have almost 16,666 words written (which is about a third of 50,000, give or take a fraction of a word.  I want to be up to 20K by the end of the day.

My laptop is still making terrible Nascar noises most of the time, so I dug out my flashy thingy to save everything on, in case it implodes before I have a chance to email everything to myself.  I'm really hoping that Starbucks is noisy enough to drown out the Nascar noise.  How embarrassing! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The "Oof" feeling

I read romance for that feeling that I get, right behind my sternum, when two characters really connect, when one character exposes themself emotionally to the other, when things are intense and totally on the line.  Okay, I also like the parts of a romance that cause that "ooooh" feeling a little lower down, but really, I would read just for the "oof", and if I don't get the "oof", the "oooooh" isn't going to happen.   I don't know what to call it, besides the "oof". 

My friend Mary just sent me the first love scene from her NaNo WIP, and I got the "oof", from just a few dozen words.  That is so cool! I SO want to be able to nail that. 

How does that work?  I know that it has alot to do with the whole "Show don't Tell" thing working in sync with deep POV. 

What are the best examples of the "oof" feeling out there?  One that comes to mind is from An Officer and a Gentleman,  when Paula blows up at Zach for being emotionally locked down and she tries to leave their motel room. She can't get the door open, and he jumps off the bed and stops her from going.  He has to break his "I am an island" protocol, and admit that she's important to him.

Another favorite of mine is in Hot Target, by Suzanne Brockmann.  Cosmo has bailed on his bodyguarding job because he thinks Jane is going to be getting with another guy; and she calls him to ask him what his problem is.  He says he didn't want to be there while she was, you know, and she realizes that "you didn't leave because you don't like me, you left because you DO like me!" I'm paraphrasing, but that's the jist. Then Cosmo comes back over, and there is a long complicated scene where they are both kind of paralyzed about getting together because they both want it so bad.  Sigh.  I love Cosmo. 

And I just love me a good "oof". 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A cool blog giveaway!

Jessica Bell at the Alliterative Allomorph (which I have to look up now, because those are some big words) is having a contest in honor of reaching 400 blog followers.  Go follow her and win (or not, because I want to win!)

What's in a name?

My daughter, 12, has been writing for a few years.  Every now and then she shows me what she's written, and, while it's hard to tell how much she lifted straight from Twilight and Percy Jones (that's his name, right, the Last Olympian dude?), I have to say she has quite a dramatic flair.  She also has done some major research for her characters.  She decided that her main characters' family is Irish, just like us.  Except really, we are only about 1/8th Irish.  The other 7/8th's is pure-bred White Trash (as in, we have no idea where those ancestors came from, we think they just sprang up down in the holler).  This is not to say that I am in anyway not proud of my Appalachian heritage.  I think it's cool, and not 'trash' in the sense of being worthless.  More like 'trash' in the sense that other people might think we are ignorant and useless but we know better.  One man's trash and all that.  But I digress.

The daughter spent a couple of hours the other day on the internet choosing traditional Irish names for her characters.  And not Katie or Sean.  She came up with Ula and something that starts with a C that sounds like an intimate body part, but I can't remember the exact spelling, so I'm not going to share it right now. 

I have a hard time with names for characters.  I've tried name generators, baby name lists, the phone book.  When I try picking names out of the air, I always come up with someone that I know, and that feels icky after a while.  So for this NaNo project I'm plugging away at, I've resorted to fruits and vegetables.  I do have 'real' first names for my hero and heroine, but their last names are Apple and Orange, and the Cute Kid's name is Grape.  I just hope I remember to replace everything with Smith and Jones before I show it to anyone! 

Does anyone have a fool-proof method for picking a name?