Friday, July 17, 2015

What I Am Working On

So, yesterday's blog was posted a little after the fact. I actually wrote that in my journal a few days beforehand and had moved on to an old project already. Today, I wanted to make it clear that I don't have writer's block or anything else preventing me from writing. I was working steadily on this project I'm talking about today up until I decided to start something new for Camp NaNoWriMo and I've easily restarted it with no problems. I just couldn't write Horrophiles. I still can't explain why this is how it is, it just is.

Anyway, this thing I'm writing is going well, except I don't know if it's a novel, novella, or short story, which is why I'm calling it a thing. The working title is PB+J, because I thought it was a cute title and I wanted to see if I could build a story around it. I did.

At the heart, it's the story of three best friends: Pete, Bobby, and Jan. As kids they were inseparable, as adults they are a train-wreck and on the cusp of separating forever. Originally intended to be a part of collection focused on asking questions about sex and love, I became enthralled with the small town in which the story takes place and I'm considering creating a different collection of stories that take place there. But, first, I want to finish the first draft of PB+J.

Overall, I'm happy with where this story is going and the speed at which it's going but it wasn't always like this. I got stuck for a number of years and only started writing it again recently. Now I'm so deep in it, I don't even think about anything else (which could be the reason Horrorphiles derailed, it's just bad timing). And my playlists and inspiration boards keep me focused, just in case.

Usually, Spotify and Pinterest are time sucks. I spend hours there making boards and playlist while avoiding actual work. Yet sometimes, at least when it comes to writing, Pinterest and Spotify can be tools too.

Images for PB+J [found on Pinterest]

The apple orchards, now abandoned
Bobby and Pete, at least in fantasy
Jan and her bike

There are many more inspirational and pertinent images and quotes on the actual board but these three encapsulate some of the most important aspects of the story. If a picture is worth a thousand words, even accounting for duplicate or receptive images, I have at least 30,000 words waiting to be converted from my Pinterest board.

Songs for PB+J [found on Spotify]

I have found that when I have trouble getting into the mood or atmosphere of a certain story, having a playlist really helps me get there. It's like an instant drop into the mind of my characters, their motivation, and the direction of my story. Even I thought I was suck before, a well made playlist can grease the wheels and get them going again.

I have similar boards and playlists for all my stories, so be sure to check out my Pinterest and Spotify profiles. I even tried for Horrorphiles but it turned out I had no concrete ideas or themes to search for.  And I sure as hell wasn't going to spin my wheels when there was other writing to be done. Horrorphiles is dead, long live Horrorphiles. PB+J is next in line to rule my pen. What's on your plate?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'm not giving up (I'm just burning out)

More or less. Only in terms of NaNoWriMo and related events.

Every new writing project I start falls apart about 1k words in. I'm stuck thinking about and working on old things. It's like I have no new stories to tell, yet I can't fully embrace or let go of these old ones. They are these mini worlds I keep locked away in mental tubberware on a bookcase in my brain. I take them out every once in a while, tinker on them a bit, entertain myself with them, then lock them up tight and shelve them again.

I always mean to finish them. I want to finish them. But sometimes I just want something fresh and new to work on, be creative again, not just putting form to something I already created in my mind. I start off thinking it'll be fun. I get excited. I make plans and plots, characters and motivation. I commit to a NaNoWriMo or two. Then nothing or next to nothing.

Sometimes these stories get put in a queue. I have two series waiting on a high shelf, just out of reach. But I can't work on them, I can't write new material. I just imagine the characters, the worlds in tubberware waiting until I've finished the rest, the old stuff. Maybe I've just run out of shelf space. Nothing else will fit, not even in the queue.

I just want to write and get it out there. But everything is so long and takes even longer to write. That's why I especially wanted to build this short story collection. Get something fast out. Feel good about publishing on my blog. I suppose I could do the same for my novels, just post what I write each day, but I'm more protective of that material. Convinced someone will steal my plot, characters, or voice and kill the hard work I've already put into it. But maybe I will do that anyway. I don't know. What I do know is that I won't be doing Camp NaNoWriMo (or NaNoWriMo) anymore, I will be writing still, and maybe there is still room in the queue for Horrophiles, cause I just love the idea for it but I might need to think on it more, and somewhere in between, I'll figure out something to post on this blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Camp NaNo, Day 7

I'm still struggling with getting the words out but at least I know where I'm going now and I feel good about it. Even if the writing is crap.

See Day 1

The Horrorphiles, continued

The creaking door was like nothing she’d ever heard outside of a horror movie sound effects tract. The man behind the door was surprisingly young, dark haired, and handsome, in very classic way or at least he had that air about him, probably because of the suit. Overall, she couldn’t tell because he was nothing like she’d imagined. She thought Mr. Peabody would be old, bony, tall but stooped. She couldn’t make this young man watching her with interested eyes and a small, polite smile make sense in the current context but she had to say something soon before the silence become uncomfortably awkward.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Peabody.” She couldn’t remember ever saying Good afternoon to anyone in her life. Hello maybe, how are you, good morning and good night likely, but not good afternoon.  A humidity she hadn’t noticed before was stifling now, the wind dropped away and a stillness smothered her. She was sweaty and cold, heavy and lightheaded all at the same time. Vanessa Carlisle was going to faint.
“I’m sorry, Miss. I’m Adam Newbridge, Peabody by blood, butler by vocation.”
She wanted to laugh but when her mouth opened a hiccup came out instead and her knees gave out. She half caught herself on the door frame and Adam caught the other half of her.
“Are you alright, Miss Carlisle?”
“What?” It was still too hot and things still weren’t making sense somehow.
“You are Miss Vanessa Carlisle, right? My cousin, Mr. Peabody, is expecting you, I believe, with the Horrorphiles. Miss Carlisle?”
Then, as if a switch had been flipped, everything was as it was. The wind blew violent and jagged as if it couldn’t make it’s mind wear to go but it wanted to get there quick. The grey clouds still blocked out the sun and it was neither hot nor humid.  And she of course felt very silly, burning embarrasment reddening her arms and face.
“Yes, yes, of course. I’m sorry, I think I just turned my ankle in the drive, or it was a long car drive and I haven’t gotten my sea legs yet.” She shook her head because she was saying loads of stupid things. “I’m sorry,” she said again as she righted herself with Adam’s help. “Mr. Peabody, um, your, um cousin, didn’t mention anyone else, I thought I would be meeting him.”
She stopped just short of saying that she thought for just a minute, that she was meeting a real life Dorian Grey or Lestat because finally some rationale was kicking in.

“That’s quite all right. You see, social engagements and the like somewhat exhaust my cousin. He’s saving his strength for the event itself, I’ve been doing the planning and emailing for him, as I often do. Please come in, let’s put your mind at ease about the condition of the house. But maybe, a cup of tea first? Let’s find those sea legs, shall we?”

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Survival Tip

Here's a summer, or anytime, survival tip, especially when you've committed yourself to something, let's say a rather large writing project: Don't start any weekend plans too early or with a bottle of watermelon vodka.


If you like your vodka like you like your Jolly Ranchers, I'd highly recommend trying Smirnoff Sours Watermelon. Just maybe not the whole bottle in one sitting, on a Thursday. That's how I got myself in trouble.

You see, I started my Independence Day early, thinking I could catch up on Friday, but then I accidentally (yes, accidentally) drank too much and instead spent Friday recovering. Then I had plans on Saturday, which included more drinking, thus Sunday was more recovery. And now I'm about 5k behind.


Still this is a less busy time than November and NaNoWriMo  proper. I'm just going to have push through, type any crap that comes into my head, and just keep writing. So don't give up on me just yet, expect more words here tomorrow (and all the rest of the days).

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CampNaNoWriMo and The Horrorphiles, Day 1

Almost late and obviously short. I've apparently forgotten what writing a thousand words feels like. I barely wrote 400 but I thought I was blazing up my keyboard. Ah, well tomorrow is another day, another chance to begin again. But here you are, welcome to the beginning of my project.

The Horrorphiles.

A Welcome.

Grey and heavy clouds loomed over the old Victorian mansion when Vanessa parked in front. In a few hours they would burst their rain all over the arriving Horrorphiles but for now they were just threatening and moving fast in the constant violent wind.

She pulled her purse and weekend bag from the front seat of the car and held them in the crook of her left arm. The wind ripped the car door from her right and slammed it shut, then whipped her long brown hair across eyes. “Dammit.” She was tightly wound, ready to get the weekend started and actually have some fun with this group for a change.

In person the house was more perfect than the pictures Mr. Peabody had emailed her. The overgrown ivy, the crumbling statuary, and the dirty shuttered windows made the place looked abandoned but Gordon Peabody assured her he lived in the house full-time and the interior was in good and safe repair. It seemed too good to be true, the absolute perfect place for the Horrophiles eighth annual “Creep ’n’ Greet” and another feather in her cap for her third year as the group’s president. But Mr. Peabody. A founding member no one’s actually met was very clear that she couldn’t come any earlier to inspect the property for safety. The closest they could come to a compromise was arriving a few hours before the rest of the club.

Vanessa’s flats crunched on the gravel drive and she approached with trepidation. She was prepared for disappointment, her gut was boiling with the anxiety of it. She had a back-up plan prepared with reservations and deposits at a nearby hotel, from her own finances. She even had a phony story to save face in case of a last minute cancellation. The effort and expense was worth it if the place was dump or someone sued because they twisted his or her ankle on a decrepit step.

She released the heavy front door knocker and held her breath. She only had to get through this and then she could relax, break her own arm giving herself a pat on the back, and drink all the champagne provided by their generous host in celebration. It could all start when someone opened the door.
The creaking door was like nothing she’d ever heard outside of a horror sound effects tract.