Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Words of Art 9.27

Today's writing prompt asks you to come up with an original poem, short story, journal entry, etc., inspired by the picture posted below. Feel free to share your thoughts below. I'll be posting mine later because I have a crochet project calling my name.

Monday, September 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Plans?

Well, it's that time of the year again where writers scramble for 50,000 words worth of plot, characters, setting and another pot of coffee. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. When you first start NaNoWriMo, how impossible does the task feel?

Last year, I didn't start until about the second week in November so this year I'm doing a little more planning and plotting than before. I know my characters inside and out because they're the same NaNoWriMo characters I've written for the past two years. I'm fairly certain my water dwelling creatures will sprout legs and live amongst us land-faring creatures this year.

I sat down and started brainstorming chapters and how long each chapter should be. I started some research, although I admit I don't put as much research into NaNo as I do my other work.

Anyway, the point of this post is to find out how you prepare for NaNo? Do you have everything planned out way in advance? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? Is your NaNo project something you'd be proud for people to read or is it something you file away and forget about until next NaNo? Is it a catalyst for a project you plan to work on even after NaNo ends?

Words of the Week

Here are today's Words of the Week and since I'm about to scoot off to take my son to school and then head to water aerobics, I'll have to post my short story later this afternoon.

Prompt: Use the following words in an original work: short story, poem, journal entry, etc.. Feel free to share your work in the comments section below.

Floe: A sheet of flowing ice
Gibber: Speak rapidly and unintelligibly
Kudos: Praise, honor
Parable: A story told to illustrate a moral
Contusion: Bruise, Injury

Early November on the coast was already freezing. Out in the distance, a gaggle of seagulls bobbed on the water like a floe of jagged ice. It wouldn't surprise me to see ice already; it was bitter cold or maybe that was just the constant black cloud over my head doing my thinking for me again.

I gripped the old beat up copy of Ella and Emma and their adventures in the attic; the beloved parable my mother was most proud of. As a little girl, I'd read the same story and wondered how two seemingly bright little girls could get into so much trouble in an attic and why they needed so much trouble to learn the simplest of lessons. Life shouldn't hurt this much.

I was a doctor, I helped people from simple contusions to delicate cardiac surgeries. Now here I was six months pregnant, listening to the gibber of the cold ocean tides as if they held some secret I needed to know. When had life gotten so messy?

"Momma," Max said, tugging on the sleeve of my sweater. He looked so much like his father in that instant I felt my heart slam into my chest.

"It's too cold out here for us." I took his hand and started back up the beach toward the road.

"Momma sad. Max loves Momma." He clapped his hands together and looked up at me with his father's big brown eyes.

For just a moment, that was all the kudos I needed to remember just how lucky I was despite what our family was going through.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

When Life Gets in the Way

You know that wonderful feeling of anytime you open your WIP you know you can write, add to it, edit it, or brainstorm for it? It feels lovely, like you're actually in control of this creativity monster. I don't know about you all, but I thrive for that moment when it feels like it doesn't matter what time of day it is, I can write and not be totally disappointed with the words.

Then life happens and writing gets a backseat. I hate that. This past week I've been painting the ceilings in our house. No big deal right? Should only take a few days, at most. But I had no idea just how vehemently opposed to ceiling painting my shoulder and neck would be. So, it's taken more than a few days and more than a day or two of resting my shoulder in between rooms.

Yesterday, I finished the kitchen and started the living room. I would have finished the living room but we ran out of paint so I have to make another trip to the hardware store or manage to live with a two-tone ceiling for a while. Speaking of two-tone, it amazes me the difference just having the ceiling painted has done for the brightness of the room. When we bought our place, it was a real fixer-upper that looked as if its previous occupants smoked three packs a day. Take a look for yourself.

Sadly, that isn't even the best example I have to offer but I didn't take before and after pictures of the bathroom.

Anyway, we've decided to do a few home improvement projects as our finances allow us the opportunity so I may or may not get the chance to write as frequently as I'd like. The urge and desire is there, so perhaps 3am writing sessions might very well call my name if I find no other outlet during the day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday 45 (Femme Fatale)

Femme Fatale will deliberately use her charm to control men and get them to do things against their nature. She is the kind of woman capable of luring good men into crime and murder. She trusts no one, is jaded and disappointed with life. She feels power when others do her bidding and may only value herself for her body. She feels society owes her and she is just collecting her due.

She will never get her own hands dirty or implicate herself in any wrongdoing. Any man who strives for her will end up dead or absolutely ruined. Watch any film noir movie to see her in action. When she decides to turn on a lover, things get ugly and blackmail is the first thought in her mind if he's married. She would rather die than give up her looks or power and doesn't play the victim easily. Also will not sit in the shadows while a younger woman tries to take her place as center of attention.

Example: Cleopatra preferred to commit suicide rather than give up her power. This need for power is a defining characteristic of the Femme Fatale.

She is excessively emotional and attention seeking, but these rapidly changing emotions are well hidden behind a stoic, unreadable face. She has a low tolerance for problems of any kind and has no problem using her body as a weapon. She believes if men are stupid enough to fall for her wile then that's their problem and they must suffer the consequences. She is driven to prove she's not a piece of meat to be thrown around. Has a kill or be killed mentality. She is a great actress who can cry real tears on command. She will be concerned with money and power which equal survival to her.

She is unfaithful and can remain detached when sex is involved. No one knows when she speaks a lie. She can be all things to all people.

Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra

So, do you have a Femme Fatale character you're working with right now?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chain - Chain - Chain

(Did that title also make you think of Aretha Franklin?)

*From Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg*

PROMPT: Today, try a trick. Write one of the following words at the top of a page: fence, road, boil, or fall. Now without thinking or stopping, write whatever other words come to mind in a list down the middle of the page until you reach the bottom. Write a piece in which each line uses one of these words in the order in which they appear.

"I fool myself, in a good way, into dodging the pressure. I tell myself that I'm not trying to write a scene, I'm just making some notes for the day." ~~Marsha Norman


She liked to feel the grass underfoot, squishing her toes down against the vibrant green blades. It'd been a long time since she'd had this kind of privacy. In the suburbs, neighbors made it a priority to know your business and then make it gossip-worthy. Standing amid the garden, she couldn't see any other windows or houses. She was out of the city, out of the suburbs.

Whoever would have thought she'd crave living on a ranch where white picket fences weren't just some cliche accessory to make your neighbors think life was perfect? This was her new home and the thought made her heart race. Her children would like this place, she had no doubt. For the first time in her life, she wanted a dog, a companion to share the front seat of an old rusted truck.She would be happy here. This was the kind of place where a family could strive, could get back to what was really important without distractions like iPods and texting and television shows. This was the kind of place where families were secure.

The thought gave her pause as she ran her fingertips over the leaves of ivy that snaked up around the long post of a bird feeder. A halo of colorful flowers was tethered to the feeder, almost like a memorial for something lost and loved. Chewing on what was left of her fingernail, she forced herself to think about being outside, about becoming a lover of the outdoors. There was a stable on the other side of the garden, a building that looked more like a fortress than a home for horses. She took off down the path out of the garden and toward the stable, amazed at the sight of rolling hills in the distance. Great, looming pine trees dotted the perimeter to the west, separating her new property from her nearest neighbor; three miles down the road. At the door of the stable she kicked her toe into the dirt, just to watch the dusty aftermath settle on the cowboy boots she never thought she'd ever want.

The smell of roses was strong and distinct in the air, like a hundred blue ribbon stallions had graced the stalls. She swung the doors open and stepped inside, unsure if she'd find an empty space overrun by weeds or a hoarder's paradise. Jagged rays of sunlight hit the ground she walked on. As she looked around, amazed at the cleanliness before her, she took note of the one stall that seemed to be in total disrepair.

In the wood of stall beams was a sad little heart and initials carved into the deterioration. It was broken, like her heart, and suddenly all the memories of her losses came sweeping back in an uncontrollable deluge of tears and guilt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Words of Art (The Reader)

This week's photo is one I took of a painting I bought a long time ago. I found it at a yard sale and I don't know who the artist is. There are no identifying signatures on the front or back of the painting. I don't know why I bought it. It went with nothing in our home, and still doesn't, but I had to have it and now that I have it, I can't let it go either.

The object of this prompt is to write an original piece (short story, poem, journal entry, etc.) inspired by the picture posted. I'd love to read anything that you all come up with and comments are always welcome.

Today, I'm just going to write my thoughts about this painting because everything I try to sit down and write seems too stiff and rehearsed. I bought this painting at a yard sale for three dollars. I wasn't in the market for a painting and I still don't know why it had to be this one. I imagine her name was Elizabeth and I get the sense she's not reading at all. I imagine that she is hiding her true feelings as best she can. Perhaps someone is watching her and she doesn't want that person to know the thoughts swirling around in her head. I imagine she's innocent, but strong and determined, although most everyone around her seems to think she's meek and fragile. When I look at this painting, it makes me thoughtful, curious about her, about what book she's holding. I think she looks very unhappy and it makes me sad for her.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Words of the Week (Mardi Gras)

Words of the Week is a writing prompt where you're given about five words to use in an original short story, poem, or journal entry. This weeks words are;

Cavalcade: A dramatic sequence or procession.
Lampoon: Publicly mock or ridicule
Noxious: Harmful, poisonous.
Jocular: Characterized by joking
Mutable: Prone to or capable of change


She watched the parade from the safety of her apartment balcony, relishing in the barely audible sound of classical piano playing from the speakers in her living room. It didn't match the tone of the cavalcade of performers or drunken onlookers below her. It was soothing, such a stark contrast to the noxious smell of sloshed beer that wafted below.

Anyone who knew her would suspect she loathed the annual parade through the streets below, but she rather enjoyed the sight of it. People hung out with their friends and family, laughing, drinking, joking. These people were free to let go and completely uninhibited. She longed to be that way, to feel the rush of blood from a spontaneous decision she knew was probably bad for her but refused to care.

She took a drink of wine right from the bottle. That was about as wild as she was capable of. Most people were mutable, able to adapt to change, but how long had she been living in the Big Easy? She'd yet to experience anything but gumbo and live blues music.

She watched a group of guys below her apartment yelling at a group of college girls who'd just won Mardi Gras beads. Purple and green strands hung from their necks as they took another swig of something in a brown paper bag. One of the guys dared to cross the street and ask for a phone number or a one night stand. She couldn't be sure which, but the girl's answer had been no either way. Red faced, the college guy went back to his friends and of course was lampooned with hearty laughter and jokes she wished she could hear from her perch above them.

Can you use all five words in a short original work?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Black Swan

I wanted to watch the movie ever since the previews when it first came out, but my husband and son had absolutely no desire to see it. So I kept waiting for a couple hours to myself where I could settle in and order it off of pay-per-view. Last night, my husband went out with friends to watch the Mayweather/Ortiz fight and our son was spending the night with his grandparents. So, I ordered the movie and snuggled up on the couch and tuned in.

I expected to like the movie. The reviews were favorable, right? I didn't like it. I'm not sure why, but I just didn't like it, which was even more disappointing because I had expected to like it so much. I guess I wanted more insight into why she lost her mind, what exactly was it she was suffering from, why was her mother so strange, why was she a 20-something woman living in a 12 year old's room?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Look

Back in February, I got my first pair of glasses. That was a long time ago, and I'm just now mentioning it because I wasn't very excited at the idea of wearing glasses for an eternity. Don't get me wrong, I like glasses on other people. I think they can be cute and stylish, but on me, I was prepared to look like a grandmother for the rest of my life.

When I first got my glasses, I was amazed at how well I could see. I mean, I expected them to work and improve my vision but I seriously had no idea just how bad my eyes had gotten until I could see with glasses. Street signs that used to be blurry until I was right in front of them? No longer. Squinting and really concentrating on reading the guide on the tv? No longer. Having to magnify my computer screen so I could read without straining my eyes? No longer!

When I first got my glasses, I would sit and play a little game called, 'Amaze Yourself with How Blind You Used to be'. If I was a passenger in a car, I'd try to read a street sign at a stop light without my glasses, then flip them down and be thoroughly amazed at the difference. Yeah, geeky stuff like that.

Well, it's been months and I can finally wear my glasses without getting massive headaches. It took a long while and it's taken even longer to get used to getting my picture taken with glasses on, but I think I've come around and am ready to share my updated look.

Wearing glasses also led me to see how crooked my nose is so in every picture it seems like my glasses are lopsided. I swear, my nose has never been broken. I'm going to label my crooked nose as a distinguishing characteristic and embrace the asymmetry of my facial features. For a girl who is a little obsessive compulsive about even numbers, straight lines, and symmetry in general, it's definitely a bit of a challenge. But if you can't love yourself, who can you love, right?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday 45 (The Seductive Muse)

The Seductive Muse

Is strong, creative, beautiful and driven to creative projects that show the world who she is. She is able to stay cool under pressure, usually seeing the simplest solution to the biggest problems. She often desires a deep connection of love with one man but cannot give up the thrill of the chase. Needs many relationships and experiences to feel alive. Her open sexual nature and the power it gives her generally gives this kind of character a bad rap in the real world. This open sexuality often causes her problems when she looks to get married or start a family. May often find herself in the role of mistress as it is difficult for men to see her as a wife and mother, despite her charm. Sex seems to be the answer and root of all her problems.

She cares about the intimate parts of a relationship and loves being in control. She doesn't openly dominate men, but will manipulate them with her charm. She can read body language well and often tries to awaken those hidden desires in her partners and friends. She will construct a wall if she has been hurt by a lover, convincing herself that someone better is just around the corner. Friendships with other women are important, but rarely does she have a true best friend. She wants other women to express their sexuality as openly as she does, but only other Seductive Muses can truly understand her intensity and appreciate it. This also makes it harder for her to understand the other archetypes.

She fears losing her sexuality, allure and creativity. Rejection of any kind would be a huge blow to her ego, especially if it comes from a lover. She always wants to be the one who ends the relationship because her charm over men is what gives her power. Aging is her enemy. It would feel like the end for her. She may not get married but fear of isolation definitely fuels her need for people and attention. She might be afraid that other women hate her for the attention she receives, but she hates more not being the center of it. She is best suited to befriend Amazons, who are just as extroverted but also protective of her, like a big sister, and with Maidens who look up to her. If she is around other Seductive Muses, their friendships become competitive very fast.

Motivation for her is an urge to create and it doesn't matter whether she is publicly recognized for that creation or not. The need to produce things and experience life to the fullest is deeply rooted within her. She wears alluring clothes and is mostly likely always ahead of the trends. Everything about her ensemble will appear to be perfect and always has an inner glow or star quality that cannot be denied.

Developing her character arc: She will want to be recognized for her brain instead of just her beauty. She might have to learn that physical looks are temporary and superficial. She will want a true soul mate who sees her for who she really is. She will also need to learn to plan for the future instead of always living for the moment. To grow, she is best paired with one of the following;

The Woman's Man: He is capable of teaching her to value herself for her mind and spirit as well as her body.

The Messiah: He can teach her how to channel her sexual energy to advance spiritually.

The Recluse and Mystic: He can teach her to know herself deep down inside or how to be alone without fear of abandonment.

The Amazon: he can teach her how to set limits and accept discipline as a positive in her life.

Assets: Loves to be the center of attention, has a need to express herself, smart, creative, emotional, loves herself and body in a healthy way, loves to dress up and wear alluring clothes, enjoys sex, enjoys female friendships, encourages other women to be creative and sexual, inspires men.

Flaws: Is unable to do things alone, lives for the moment, never thinking or planning for the future, falls in and out of love easily, is manipulative and flirtatious, is impulsive and promiscuous, is very self-focused.


Samantha Jones from Sex and the City (Kim Cattrall)

Vivian Ward from Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts)

Marilyn Monroe

Do you have a character who fits into the Seductive Muse role?

45 Master Characters (Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters)

45 Master Characters (Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters) is a book by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I've been slowly reading it and making notes for a long time now. Basically, it divides characters into hero and villain categories and tells you what composes the character and gives you examples from movies and literature throughout the ages. It also has a great section on supporting characters and plotting tips for both male and female journeys.

I highly recommend this book for writers. I found it very informative and while I don't sit down with a copy of it every time I develop a new character, I thought the information inside was very helpful. I'll be posting some of the notes I've taken from the book to share with you soon.

Feta Cheese

So I am in the process of rewriting chapter twenty in Penalty Killer. I already had a long first paragraph rewritten and in place but I decided to start from the hospital scene and nix the ambulance scene. I erased the big long paragraph and started over.

With a new paragraph in place, I decided to go back and read it, just to be sure it flowed better than the last paragraph I had written. Imagine my surprise when the eighth sentence of my paragraph discussed the abject horror and stress of watching the feta monitor.

That's right. Feta. As in, the cheese.

You know the prickly hairs that stand up on the back of your neck when you've been away from your feta cheese too long? Apparently, so does Tallulah.

Obviously feta monitor was supposed to be fetal monitor. That's one of those mistakes that Spell Check just wouldn't pick up on. 8)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


How do you come up with titles for your work? Is it something you start off with or something you come up with toward the end? How do you know when a title fits the work you've written?

For me, I never felt like I put much thought into the title. With some of my work, I really thought about it and considered it. Those were the works which the title was an actual line used in the story. I love stuff like that. Others, were just temporary titles I never really worked on and I don't really like but nothing has seemed to stick.

So what's your protocol for thinking up a clever, catchy title?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Made two new buttons for my blog today, both for Zarya. You can check them out at the end of the blog. Zarya is the mermaid character that I've been working with for the past two (and soon to be three) NaNoWriMo years. I am quite sure there are more buttons to be made for characters I haven't introduced to the blog yet but just haven't had the chance to check through my work.

I am almost finished with the Penalty Killer chapter I am working on! Just another 500 or so words. I am just trying to figure out how I want it to end.

It is noon here already and all I've done is straighten the house a bit, eat breakfast and lunch, and write. So, I'm going to get the clothes out of the dryer, get ready to go to the gym, and hopefully get some more writing in before my evening yoga class.

Wish me luck! I've never attempted yoga before so this should be quite the experience.


A few days ago, I wrote a seven page journal entry (by hand) and today, another three pages! Then, I wrote about six pages for Penalty Killer! Makes me feel productive!

And for the record, I too, hate when people excessively use exclamation points, but I'll make an exception for the occasion.

Monday, September 12, 2011


*Do you know how difficult it was for me to leave the 'g' off the end of my post title? I don't like apostrophe'ed-losing-letters kind of stuff. I'm a lamespice, I know.*

Anyway, I'm just about to sit down and rewrite/edit a chapter in Penalty Killer. I feel like I haven't even looked at it in months, but it has probably been more like several weeks. Maybe that's what I needed. Maybe I needed to distance myself from the piece. There for a while it felt like I had rewritten/edited so much Tallulah and Gennadi that I'd somehow become disconnected from them as characters and just too entwined in the get-it-done aspect.

And of course I never make it easy on myself when I go to do a rewrite. No, no, can't have any of that line by line read with minor structure and punctuation correction. I have to rewrite it, word by word, chapter by chapter until I have a whole other document. So 350 pages of work generally becomes about 700+ in the long run. I have tried to refine my habits but I feel awkward and out of place any other way.

Also, this brings me to the point of the post I had intended to write in the first place, you know that moment when you put a finished work away and out of your mind for so long that you get kind of excited to read it again when you happen to think of it again? Well, the other day I was going through Once Upon an Ocean Lullaby and Once Upon an Ocean Nightmare to see exactly where the story ends. As NaNoWriMo manuscripts, once November is over, I tend to forget them, but with NaNoWriMo looming in the not-so-distant future, I thought I'd get a leg up on the brainstorming part of the challenge.

So I'm skimming through chapters and I get so engrossed in the story it's as if I'm reading it for the first time, which I guess, essentially, I am, but you know what I mean. Not that the story was incredible or the writing was phenomenal. I just got caught up and every now and then, it amazes me just how creative my mind can be. Not just any mind, my mind.

Even as a writer, I never consider myself very creative. Most of my stories are rooted in the real world and I embellish details to suit my mood and the characters in the story. NaNoWriMo is different. I used that challenge to step outside my normal comfort zone of mainstream romantic fiction and dove face first into the supernatural/fantasy world.

And when I think about my work in those terms, about how creative and whimsical I can be, it makes me appreciate this writer's block I've had. I know, "appreciate" isn't exactly something a writer should say about writer's block, but hear me out. I live and breathe my stories, as I'm sure lots of writers do. It has to take a toll. It has to happen for a reason, right? (At least that's what I'm telling myself!)So, instead of being ashamed of my writers block and frustrated with it, I'm going to embrace it, accept it, and (gently) push myself to at least journal and brainstorm in between bouts of writer's block.