Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Crazy things from a writer's mind

Writers are strange creatures. If you don't know one in real life, you may have no idea how bizarre we can be. Some things you might be able to guess. Things like:

  • We are often distracted by the characters and worlds in our heads. This means we often ignore people around us without meaning to. 
  • Everything we hear, see, and experience can and will make its way into our stories whether we realize it or not.
  • On a certain level we are gluttons for punishment. We write because we have this drive to share and we want to hear what others think. Even if it's bad. (At least this is true in my case. I'd rather hear that someone hated something I wrote than nothing at all)
  • We can be narcissistic when it comes to our stories. Ask us about one of our books and we'll talk forever.

That's all pretty basic stuff, but most of us keep the funnier stuff to ourselves. I thought I'd give you a glimpse into the odd thoughts of at least one writer.

I can "dentist" like a pro and therefore I'd make a great spy.

I've always hated going to the dentist. It's painful, the noises are awful, and sitting with a death grip on the chair hand rests leave me exhausted. And that's just for a cleaning! So how can I say I go to the dentist like a pro?

I've trained myself to go to a different place--one of my worlds.I talk with my characters, and when the noises get too much, I simply breathe. Breathe and make myself relax.

Today I was breathing, relaxing, getting through the drilling and so forth while tooth dust was flying up and landing on my face, and the thought came to me--"I'd make a great spy because I'd be able to hold out a long time while being tortured."

I mean, think about it. I have a high tolerance for pain, I know how to take my mind somewhere else, and I've perfected the technique of breathing.

In reality, I'd make a horrible spy. I can't lie to save my life, I'm clueless when it comes to reading other people, and as soon as they threatened to hurt someone else I'd cave. But, for about 30 minutes today I believed I'd be a good spy.

What crazy things do you find yourself thinking? Share with me something you'd never tell anyone. Who knows, it might make it into one of my stories one day. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG and a Brand New Year

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The new year and first Wednesday sort of snuck up on me. I know that might sound weird, but all the days have been running together. It will be nice to get back into a normal routine again. My boys went back to school today, and there's only two days left until my girls head back to college.

That means all my goals will start on Tuesday, January 9th. Why not Monday? Because I have a dentist appointment that will probably make me cranky for the rest of the day. :)

Anyway, my insecurities are definitely present. I can blame the failure to reach my goals in 2017 on working full time. However, I've quit that job. Now I will be the one to blame for not stepping up.

There is so much that I want to do. So much I still need to learn. In a way, it's easier to concentrate on reading ways to market better, or how to make your newsletter sing. I can brush up on my self editing skills, and so forth. But when it comes down to it, that's all just another way to avoid actually writing.

Case in point--8 hour drive to TN
This used to be prime writing time. On the last trip I just reread everything that I'd already written on one of my WIPs. This in itself was not a waste because I haven't worked on it in quite a while. I needed to reacquaint myself with the characters and story. However, I didn't do anything at all on the return trip. I am stuck.

Fear of not doing the story justice, not getting the emotions I feel for these characters onto the page, has me tied in knots. Part of it is a formatting issue. What's the best way to share this story from two important points of view? 3 shorter novels or 1 with separate parts.

Basically, I want someone to read it and tell me what to do. Decision making is one of my insecurities.

January 3 optional question - What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

Here's the good news. My writer's group starts back up tomorrow. I can take this story and start to get the feedback I need. Just being with these other writers also motivates me to dig back in. That in itself will be exactly what I need.

So, to answer the question. The steps I take for my plan are the same:
  • Writer's critique group every Thursday
  • Write SOMETHING every day Monday through Friday (Saturday when my family lets me)
  • Keep repeating that silent mantra when drafting, "it's okay to write crap, it's okay to write crap"
  • Focus on one project at a time (this is hard because I have 3 that are half way done at the moment and about 100 other ideas I want to work on)
How about you? Making any changes this year or will it be same as usual?

Monday, December 25, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells

From Goodreads:
NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.

The ship itself remained silent, drifting.

Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it’s an adventure she can’t refuse.

The ship isn’t vacant, as they presumed.

A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane’s head, "You are home."

Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien’s help to survive.

My Take:
***Review contains spoilers***

I loved the idea behind this story, but there were some things that kept throwing me out of the story. The F bomb. Sometimes the dialogue felt unrealistic or simply repetitive, and Jane Holloway was apparently Wonder Woman while being super humble about it. That sounds harsher than I mean it. I actually liked Jane because she didn't give up.

It took a bit to adjust to the back and forth in time of some of the scenes, but I understand why it was necessary. The switch in points of view as well as moving back and forth in time helped augment the feeling that you couldn't believe everything that was happening. Jane is being manipulated the whole time, tested, and maneuvered into making the choice the alien Ei'Brai wants her to make. He even goes so far as to give Jane the sexual encounter she'd been dreaming of having with Bergen as, wait for it, a very realistic dream. It boils down to mental rape in a way. In the end, things have worked themselves out. Sort of. Jane is now captain of the ship, several of her team look like they might stay with her for the next journey, and Bergen is just as determined to make a relationship work with her.

It was a good book. I think the things that bothered me were simply because this reminded me of another book where the captain has to "link" with the ship in order for it to work. That book however didn't use language or sex to move the plot along--and I loved that. (Anyone here know what that book might be?)

I give Fluency a 3.75 and an R rating for use of the F word and some the one scene.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
 R--swearing (F bomb), on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always

Friday, December 15, 2017

I AM SLEEPLESS: The Huntress by Johan Twiss

From Goodreads:

The plan was simple—escape, join the rebellion, find the Reader. But nothing is simple when Director Tuskin sends his Huntress after you. In this thrilling sequel, Aidan and his coterie are put to the test after discovering the secrets of Sim 299. When Director Tuskin destroys the sim system, Aidan, Fig, Palamos, and Masay are forced to escape the Mount Fegorio training complex and enter the outside world for the first time since their birth.

But when things don't go as planned, the team must band together to survive and to avoid being captured by Sheva, the Huntress.

My Take: 

It's been a year since I read the first book in the series I AM SLEEPLESS SIM 299 (read that review HERE). I found it easy to slip back into Aidan's world, even though I didn't remember details from the first book. The mystery grows, even as the pieces and clues pile up. There are things you "know", but knowing only brings about more questions. In my mind this is proof of great science fiction writing.

Aidan and his coterie barely escape from Mount Fegorio. With all the trials arising from trying to reach a contact for the rebellion, Aidan starts to experience the defects associated with his Prime traits for the first time. He has to learn how to deal with the challenge of occasional blindness and shakes while also avoiding capture by Sheva, the Huntress.

Sheva is simultaneously easy to hate and to feel a deep sadness for. I even found myself feeling bad for Tuskin, and he's evil or crazy at best. I know, I should hold my judgement until we know all the specifics of what made him the way he is. Masay is still a great big question mark in my mind. Good? Bad? What really is his agenda? We also see more of the "normal" civilization where humans and Primes sort of co-exist. There's a lot going on, making book 2 in the series more complex and full of depth without being overwhelming. A great balance.

I give The Huntress a 4.5. Now we wait for book three!

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure
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