Saturday, February 27, 2010

Job Time is Here; Writing Persevere!

The realm of the working world has been at arms length for me for five years now. And, I have to say, I have enjoyed it tremendously! For the past four years, I have been happily writing children's stories. Now, the challenge is, how to find a part-time gig that pays fairly well (or I should say pays what I think my time is worth which is no doubt inflated because my time has become precious to me), allows a lot of flexibility so my kids don't miss out, and gives me enough time to continue writing.

The first two issues are not negotiable, of course, but the writing time can be. Or so I worry it is. How will I be able to keep it all going? Because I have to, I tell myself. And, yes, there have been lots of internal fights as well as out loud conversations with myself because come next September, when Julian climbs those school bus steps with an overlarge backpack hanging to the back of his knees, I will have a job. Some sort of employment anyways.

And, what is there really for a mom who insists on being at home when her kids get on and off the bus. Has to be the one to run them to ballet, tennis, riding and violin (and that's just Macy). Wants the flexibility to stay home when one is sick and summers fairly free so pool days are still a part of my kids' memories. NOt to mention still having some energy to take care of her husband. But, I also want, no NEED, to have time to write. I've had boughts of time where my writing has ceased due to many different reasons and I'm miserable. It's equivalent to a child who has lost her favorite stuffed toy for a bit. I feel lost.

I'm currently doing a little freelance real estate writing and it is enjoyable. Pays nothing but it does keep the fingers typing. It won't be the solution but I've decided I have to persevere. My current MC is depending on me. Her story is not finished and her story has to be told. She is one of those voices in my head I talk to. I suppose I will just have to start setting my alarm for 5:00 am again like I used to do when Julian was a baby and insisted on waking at 6:00. I can handle the lack of sleep. I will HAVE to! And, who knows, maybe I'll be more organized. That's a dream.

Okay, enough whining for me now. How do you guys do it all and keep up with your writing?

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Technique Can Turn Things Around

Is your writing suffering? Are you stuck? Is the winter bringing you down? Well, here in Virginia the Farmer's Almanac is more accurate that I would have wished this winter. We've already gotten more snow than any other winter in history! And, my kids have been home. A lot! Which means, you got it, my writing has suffered.

I'm all for any trick or gadget that can help. And, thanks Suzette at Shooting Stars for your recent post linking to the QTBlog. It includes a handy writing technique lets call The 9 Step Method, to get you motivated, organized or help you flesh out any problems with your story.

It is similar in a way to Syd Field's script writing technique. I purchased his book, Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting, last year when I read on ScriptFrenzy that script writing was a great way to learn how to show instead of tell. This made sense to me. After all, movies can't tell (with the exception of the few that have a narrator).

Mr. Field's book is indeed a real help in that way but also in giving you another tool for plotting your story. He gives you a step by step method to ensure your story starts off with a bang, builds character and drama, has a timely climax and a good ending.

Sometimes we writers need a little help clearing out the cobwebs of the creativity block in our brains. Techniques like Mr. Field's and the 9 Step Method can really jump start our writing.

So, if you've been feeling underwhelmed, or your schedule has been rudely interrupted by weather or what have you, or perhaps you're just going through the inevitable down cycle of a writer, give a technique a try. You just never know what's going to give you that kick in the hiney you so need!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

King of Characterization

I have finished Stephen King's Under the Dome! What a feat. At 1,100 words approximately, it took me quite a while. I'm a slow reader anyway, reading every word, which I know is the wrong way to read but wasn't told that before it became a habit. I savor every word like a piece of chocolate. A Hershey kiss can last me ten minutes!

Anyway, I have to say I'm not usually into paranormal enough to read that many words but Mr. King is my exception. Having only read Pet Cemetary in highschool, I took a break from his work until a couple of years ago. Nev convinced me that he wasn't the pop culture writing machine just because everyone loves a scary story but due to his ability to write well. With that in mind, I picked up Insomnia and became a Stephen King fan. Then after reading his book titled On Writing , I fell in love.

Under the Dome was a heck of a good read. Enough to have me sitting at our counter reading on Saturday mornings while Nev made breakfast. While the kids called, "Mom, Mom, moooommmm" and I would finally hear them after like the 10th time! I tune out all but the story while reading a good book.

Stephen King gets you in the begining because of his great characters. And, that's not to say they are unusual but rather realistic. Normal characters put in extraordinary circumstances. By the time I realize I'm reading paranormal, I'm hooked! I mean what do you think might happen in your town if an unseen barrier came down one day? Think everyone would handle it the same?

What is it about his characters? It's the small dosage he gives us each page, like a trail of food. We keep picking it up, not satisfied, wanting more.

Next, I'm tackling Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna . I've missed her fiction since Prodigal Summer. I'm turning a 160! Hope you're reading something consuming today.