Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Joy of Plot Element Labels

The chest of potions that appears early on in my first novel, Dark Elf's Warrior, has been a bit of a problematic device to myself and to some readers. I never really wanted said chest to draw a lot of focus, but of course it does, because it affects the actions and decisions of certain characters. For instance, Ronav is the one who bought the potions and needs them to carry out his ultimate scheme, but when they fall into Kyer's hands after she kills Simon, Ronav decides he wants his men to capture Kyer, and not bother with the chest. This is partly because he wishes to downplay their significance to his men. Kyer takes the chest of potions to an expert in Shael, hoping to learn what they are. That's it for book one. The chest appears again at the beginning of book two, but only plays a minor role there.

I don't want the chest of potions to become a loose end, a "plot hole" that leaves the reader dissatisfied. It has always been my intention to make them useful later on, but I haven't figured out how yet.

Now, this morning I read an e-mail from Ron in which he describes his intriguing plotline for his novel. He referred to the MacGuffin  I had heard this term but wasn't familiar enough with it to truly understand what he meant by it. This called for Online Research. Now, with a new understanding of the MacGuffin, as well as other terms such as Chekhov's Gun, I am mulling over how to solve the potion problem.

The potions in my novel are NOT the MacGuffin ("a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction.": Princeton University, Wordnet 3.0; from wikipedia) If anything, that term could be applied to Kyer's medallion, and maybe even to Kyer herself. I think the chest of potions is Chekhov's Gun, which refers to an object which appears early on, but whose purpose is not clear until later. Without even knowing this term I've always believed that if there's an item on stage that draws my attention, the characters had better use it at some point, or it's just a distraction. And that's annoying. That is where the term Chekhov's Gun comes from (Anton Chekhov, who insisted that if a loaded gun is on stage a character had better try to shoot somebody with it eventually).

In order to not leave the reader hanging with regards to the potions, I need to clarify (for myself at this point) how they will be used later. I don't write with an outline, I make stuff up as I go. Somehow, labelling the potions as a particular plot element has helped me to focus on what I need to do to avoid a terrible plot hole problem.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Satire over the head

We are quickly discovering that if we are going to show satirical movies to our kids, they need to understand what is being satirized. They didn't really "get" Spinal Tap, and though we started watching For Your Consideration, I think we won't finish that one with them. Similarly the Girl didn't quite "get" The Life of Brian last night. I think we will show them Jesus Christ Superstar. Matt suggested Godspell, but I think that just might confuse them more.

On another note, thanks to Mel Buenaventura for taking some photos of FAT Jazz at Golden Spike Days. Here's a cool couple of shots of my shoes and me spliced together.

Ok, this is interesting. That was my first time posting a photo, and I discovered that Blogger doesn't want me to put the photo in the middle of the post, only at the top. So when I move it, it does some weird stuff: It underlined the first paragraph, turned it blue (which I managed to fix) and it has taken away my power to change fonts, so as you can see my font is now different. This has redirected focus away from the photo itself, and the fact that I wished to credit Mel and tell you where you can see more of his work. He has some pretty neat stuff: check him out at Ok, there, I've put Mel's link up next to the photo. What a pain this is! I suppose there must be a way to fix it, but I don't have time to muck about with it now. See? We've changed fonts again. I can change the size, you see, but not the font itself. Isn't technology fun?

Ok, so those shoes are Wallace tartan, for those of you unfamiliar with it. The hat belongs to the Boy, but he figured I ought to wear it for this event. Thanks Boy! In the shot on the right you can see Ray Faoro, our bari sax player, and Laurie is sorta visible. Check out FAT Jazz's new work-in-progress website at Look at me go, I just figured out how to insert a link.

That is enough new computer stuff for me today. I need a lie-down.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Family and Friends. Oh, and POV. Part 2

Like I said, summer is always a difficult time for me to write.... Little to no structure to the day, the kids are around, other committments, etc. I've had no fewer than four family dinners in the last week! Not that I'm complaining about that, anyone who knows me is well aware of my love of good food, good music and my family (not prioritizing, there), but one needs a good deal of discipline to stay on track with writing with all these other things going on. I got in some ukulele practise, doing more uke/mandolin duets with Kev, which is always good for a laugh. 

Good FAT Jazz gig yesterday, (we were able to start on time, thank goodness) and then raced home to have 15 people over for lobster (sponsored by Helen, thanks Helen!) and much fun and food was had by all. I love hosting, coz it means we get the leftovers. Again, no complaints. It's a grey day today, and perhaps that means some progress.

I've been pondering point of view, and how to introduce some of the story of what's going on in the village of Nennia earlier, to lighten the "info dump" near the end. I've also gone through that section and identified some nasty examples of "telling", which should be no trick to eliminate, as well as a couple of bits I can more effectively bring out by showing the actual scene in real time. Stephanie's comments have been helpful for all this, too. She's the one who suggested I write some earlier scenes from Shawn Carver's pov. I don't think I'll do that exactly, but that gave me the idea of writing them from his daughter Sasha's pov: the Unreliable Narrator will allow me to show the reader what I want them to know, without the character understanding it, which would give away too much.

And now I must get on it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Retreat Was Successful, Now Get Back to Work!

Life gets in again... I had a very successful retreat up to Powell River. I wrote on the coach on the way there, I wrote on the ferry, I wrote in my little room in Myst and Jonathan's house, I wrote in the coffee shop, I wrote in the bakery in Lund, I wrote on the way home... They fed me, they didn't mind when I ignored them for hours, they discussed writing with me. I came home feeling stoked about book three and just getting back into writing after a long hiatus. Of course now that I'm home I have two kids and a house and responsibilities to get in the way, but I'm in a way better frame of mind than I usually am at the beginning of summer holidays.

Part of what helped me, I think, is that I stopped worrying about what I was going to write while I was away. I told myself that in order to get the ball rolling again I had to simply write and not worry about what I was producing. "The first 100 pages you write are going to be shite," I told myself, "so just get them over with, and then you can proceed." It seemed to work, because I didn't worry about what I was writing, and I managed to produce some stuff that might actually turn out to be useful. It certainly helped me with the goal of generating ideas for book three! And I even tackled a problem that affects the story as a whole and I came up with a solution.

So, onward and upward! And when Myst and Jonathan eventually open up their Writers' Hideaway Retreat destination, I will highly recommend it to all my writer friends (so long as I get first dibs).

Back to it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back into Writing... I hope

Again with this! Way too long between posts... Sorry. Well, not that anyone's been pestering me to update, so maybe my absence went unnoticed!

Election's over, Seussical's over... it's time to get my life back. I am exhausted, and I'm still not sleeping well at night, so it's kind of hard to get back into the swing of things. Seussical went extremely well and I'm very proud of the kids and the product we created. I have, for those of you bugging me about it, already told the powers that be that I will not be directing the play next year: Two years in a row is enough when you're a parent volunteer. 

I haven't done ANYTHING new besides work on the show since January. A little bit of work training SP's for Kwantlen, and a little bit of my own SP work, but virtually nothing in the way of writing. Colleen is critiquing Dark Elf's Warrior for me, so I have done a small amount of editing/rewriting here and there, but as for creating anything new.... I hardly know what that means anymore. I certainly don't remember what it feels like. So now I have to retrain myself. My creative mind has worked overtime dealing with problems on stage, and now I must turn it inward again, dig up those characters who have been so badly neglected that they've stopped even tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "Hello? What about us?" They've been really quiet lately, and I need to wake them up.

I have started by arranging a Writing Retreat to Powell River. My writer friends Myst and Jonathan will put me up for a few days, feed me (I will help, of course), make sure I have coffee and they will make me write. I will critique for them and they will bug at me and even critique for me... Even if all I produce in those few days is utter shite at least it will be something new to flush those cobwebs out. Myst might even let me throw a few more knives to work out frustration! [see my photo].

Oh, and I've recently taken up the ukulele. That's another good way to focus. My uke is bright purple with sparkles. It's pretty Rock & Roll. I can play Five Year's Time (Noah and the Whale), Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python), and Five Dollar Bill (Corb Lund), among other things. My brother and I had a most excellent duet jamming session with him on mandolin and me on uke, playing Highway to Hell, and Day Tripper and other cool stuff. Can't wait to see what my purple rock & roll ukulele looks like on stage. All I need is a wicked strap and some electric pickups.

I wish to not do that to myself again, this whole "put writing completely aside so I can do some other project that will not, ultimately, do much for me, at least, not my writing career." 

Ok? You heard it here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I can't believe I forgot about my blog. Man. I keep sitting down at the computer thinking there's something I should be doing. Should I open my novel? No, Colleen already has the last chunk so I need to wait until I get feedback from her. I know, I'll check Facebook. Ok, that's done. I can do some jobs on Mafia Wars (boy, I hate that game). What else? What am I supposed to do??

Oh yeah. The blog. Duh. Way more important than stupid Mafia Wars, but my whole circle of family and friends are addicted to it, so I keep being reminded of it. That's one of the reasons I hate it, quite frankly.

Oh, and another thing I hate? Election campaigns. It began officially today, so between now and May 12 when we get to vote for a Provincial government I am going to be inundated with talk on the radio about politics, all negative, and nothing new. Neither is there likely to be anything that makes me change the way I will vote. I hate it all.

I need to do some more research about the STV, because it seems to make sense to me, but I know there are people opposed to it. Are they opposed to it because they are afraid of how it will affect them? Or are their fears unfounded? Is there legitimate reason not to approve this system which seems to me would make better use of our ballots and give us something closer to proportional representation? I really want to know.

If anyone out there is concerned about the Single Transferable Vote, please let me know why, so that I can make an educated choice about it.

Gotta go. Rehearsal after school. Then it's off on a music retreat with 150 kids for three days. Virtually zero enthusiasm on my part. I'm just a body to make up the number of adults we need per group of kids. Send me good vibes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not punting...

But we didn't assume she was gone and replace her. We talked to her first. And were dismayed to hear excuses for her absence, with no apology, then an announcement that she would be at every Thursday rehearsal, but that she was in yet another show and would have to leave early on Tuesdays.

At this point that was no longer cool. We cast someone in the show because we feel they would be good for that part. If someone cares more about a different project, then it gives us the impression that our show is not important to them. We were fine with the actor missing a few rehearsals because we were assured the pattern would come to an end. But when the actor took on yet another project which would draw focus.... we were done. We asked her to decide which show she was going to do, making it very clear that to do our show means fully participating in every rehearsal. She chose.

Rehearsing a show isn't just about whether each actor knows his or her lines, any more than being on a basketball team is about whether a player can dribble the ball. A play is a team project, just like a sports team. This actor did not know her blocking (where she was to stand and move about on stage). She had not built any kind of relationship with the actor playing her cohort. The other actors in the play were constantly having to remember where the missing person would be standing. Not to mention the fact that she is not the only actor who was ever missing. Every once in a while another actor or two is missing because of illness, or previous committment, and suddenly there are two or three people we have to keep in mind. And as a director trying to place 50 kids on stage when folks are missing.... It's pretty tricky to imagine where the missing kids should be.

The parent asked, "So what you're saying is that you don't want my daughter in your show?" 

Nonsense. We gave her a role. We gave her a Principal role. The message we got, however, is that said daughter doesn't much care about being in our show. No actor, regardless of their role, is above the rules that we set out at the beginning. No exceptions. We want kids who want to be here, and aren't prepared to put up with a lack of commitment. If that's upsetting to someone, then maybe that's because it's the first time a person has refused to cowtow.

Making a replacement was a piece of cake, and I'm very excited to have given another girl from the cast a chance to shine; an enthusiastic girl with talent who now will learn that she has a lot to offer.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We did NOT punt a kid from the show last week...

It's important to say so. We simply asked her to choose. Every actor in the show signed a rehearsal agreement at the beginning: Rehearsal dates and times were made very clear, as were our expectations that everyone is required to be at every rehearsal unless otherwise notified. If an actor misses a rehearsal without notifying us, he/she would get a warning. If it happened a second time, the actor would be out.

In the most recent case, many provisions had been made. She was involved in another show, so at the beginning of rehearsals for Seussical we agreed that it was all right for her to miss a few rehearsals and have to leave early for some. We made this agreement based on the assurance that she would be at the last two rehearsals before spring break, and that her show would then be over and she would be fully committed to our show.

She didn't turn up to the last two rehearsals before spring break. No notice. After spring break she missed the Tuesday rehearsal. Again, no notice. Now, by rights we could assume she was gone and replace her.

More in the next installment.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Exploring the Unknown

Jumping into the pool: world of the web. More like the big scary ocean. I am afraid of drowning, getting hypothermia and being stung by jellyfish, not necessarily in that order. 

Heh. Ok, so I have two domain names, which I purchased last summer with the idea of creating a website. Easier said than done, when you have as much knowledge of this as I have. Which is none. I might as well be stepping into a front-end loader and trying to dig a hole. Actually, I'd probably be able to figure that out. 

Why is this so scary? It just means learning it. Same as I didn't know how to use Excel a long time ago, and now it's a piece of cake. And Facebook. I used to be scared of Facebook. And then I got Facebook lessons from Sue. Actually Facebook is kind of boring, when it comes right down to it.

Point is, I guess I need lessons in setting up a website, too. I need someone to hold my hand and sit with me while I follow the steps. Someone who won't mind if I phone them six times a day to say, "How do I do that?

This must be what my mom felt like when she was first learning to use a computer. She'd been a secretary all her working life, and knew how to type stuff like crazy, with a 700 word per minute average speed. But then technology took over and she had to learn how to use a computer. Then it wasn't so much about typing letters as it was about clicking and dragging and buttons and shortcuts... She eventually figured out most stuff, but still phones me once in a while wondering how to fix something that screwed up. [now that she has a Mac I hardly ever hear from her anymore, same as my bro-in-law said about me when I got mine]

I guess I'll eventually get this figured out, too, but I've dipped my toe in and it's freezing cold. I need some scuba gear. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Woke up at 5:00 for no reason. Fretting about things I have to do, or things I said to various people throughout the week which may have hurt their feelings, worrying about how to create a website and use the two domain names I own, everything feels urgent but it's certainly nothing I can do anything about at 5 am on a Saturday morning. Got up and read for a bit, went back to bed but not to sleep. Eeveennnttuuualllyyy fell asleep again and woke up at 10. I hate that! 

Shopping day, get pants for the Boy, and a birthday present. Groceries. Work on blocking Scene One of the play (the last scene to block of the first half), fret about when I'm going to set up the stage, and bring in some volunteers to help go through the costume storage. How to delegate when others don't know what I have in mind for props and costumes? How lovely it would be to have one person in charge of costumes and have that person simply read my mind. (song begins playing in my head).

Also have to go in at lunch time this week to do vocal coaching with Horton and choreography with Wickershams... Must block Scene One before Tuesday!

Boy's birthday tomorrow. Need a cake. Oh, and a present. Right.

Finished going through Book One the other day, tweaking, trying to critique it the way Colleen would... she's really preoccupied right now so I need to let her go at her own pace and everything she does is greatly appreciated. I know there's more I can cut and tweak and I truly hope the entire climax of the novel doesn't SUCK!

Coffee's nearly done, time to move.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Facebook Friends

Facebook defines "Friend" very differently from the way I do. It bugs me because I get notes from people asking to be my "Friend", and then I have a decision to make. 

Sometimes it's somebody I've never heard of or seen before. That's a no-brainer. [clicks on Ignore] I have to ask, though: Do some people say Yes to a person they don't even know? I don't get that. I think if I were going to set up a Facebook page for fans, should there ever be any, it would be a separate page where I would not put all my personal stuff and all my relationships with people I actually know. Maybe I'm missing the point of Facebook, but then, oh well.

Trouble is when someone I DO know asks to be my Friend. Well, if I am friends with you, then sure, no problem. But what about when it's someone I met once? Or worked with once or twice? Or played a single gig with? Or don't even like all that much? Well, chances are I don't really consider that person a Friend, and therefore I don't want to be Facebook "Friends" either. I feel like a snob saying Ignore to those people, but if in regular life I would refer to someone as an acquaintance, or "This person I used to know this one time," then I can't consider them "Friends."

I apologise for any hard feelings. 

Actually, no I don't.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Choices and results

So Colleen made a special phone call today to tell me that she likes the New Chapter Seventeen. With all the work I put into the rewrite she wanted to let me know as soon as possible that it was good. It remains to be seen whether the rest of that section works for her, but I am gratified that all that work paid off. I do admit that in comparison to the new version the old one was lame and didn't go far enough. The buildup is more intense and some new conflicts--inner and outer--have arisen making Kyer's relationship with her captors that much more exciting.

I am feeling the loss of the story's playfulness, though. I always liked the fact that it was kind of lighthearted. However, I didn't like the notion that one reader presented, that if I removed the sex scene the book could pretty much be aimed at children. NOT cool.

I can't have it both ways, I guess. I wanted the reader reaction to be stronger, but I can't have that without deepening the intensity, which I guess means losing that playfulness, the sense of humour. I hope it isn't gone completely. My newer readers will be able to tell me. I have to say that I like the, "I can't stop reading it, give me MORE!" reaction I've been getting.

I guess I'm on the right track.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


One more thing.... I'm listening to Monsoon House, a radio program starring Russell Peters on CBC Radio One. The woman keeps calling her dad "Daddy." This comes up a lot on TV and in movies, too, and it drives me crazy. Grown women! Even teenagers. Why?

Am I the only female who has not called her dad "Daddy," since I was eight? 

Just another thing to get on my nerves.

Elitist Art

I'm listening to CBC Radio One, as usual. Q just ended, wherein Jian Ghomeshi was speaking to a producer of a documentary about a couple who collected art over the years and recently donated the entire collection to an art museum. The producer said she struggled at first with the making of the film, because she would ask Herb and Dorothy why they purchased a particular painting, and the response was inevitably, "I liked it. It's beautiful." The filmmaker was at first horrified that these people could not articulate their reasons for liking the art. I got worried.

This attitude that one must be able to wax pseudo-intellectual about art, or music, or, yes, literature! perpetuates the notion that art is elitist. This is the wrong way to think about it! All forms of art should be accessible to everyone! I can't imagine an artist, or a musician or a writer claiming that they don't want their material to be enjoyed (or purchased!) by someone who does not have a vocabulary the size of North America to discuss it. It seems to me that artists create because it's in their souls. They hope to build an appreciative audience and likely aren't going to be snobbish about who is permitted to make it up.

The filmmaker redeemed herself by coming to this conclusion herself, and recognising that part of Herb and Dorothy's charm is just that: they love art, they love the pieces they chose, and don't give a damn whether they "fit in" with all the art intellectuals.

I make no apology for the fact that I didn't like The Great Gatsby. I didn't finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell because it was BORING. Salman Rushdie uses too many damn words such that once I finish a sentence I can't remember how it began. 

There you go. I'm not wrong. I just don't pretend to be anything I'm not.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Balance of Work and Writing et cetera

I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed these days. I don't know if I'm wearing too many hats, or if I'm not managing my time well enough, or if I'm simply overthinking things and looking for stuff to worry about. 

I have this job that has turned into way more than it was supposed to, and I still don't have assurance yet that I'm going to be compensated for the extra work. 

I'm directing a musical. I've been in lots, but I've never directed one, and I'm feeling a little out of my element. There's that niggling feeling of being out of control. There's that weight of knowing that lots of people are counting on me yet only a hope that things will come together and fall into place. I don't do well with poor attitudes, so to have kids complain about their parts, or show any signs of lack of commitment really ticks me off. What I want to do is yell at them, but because I can't do that and it takes too much time to explain to them why they shouldn't do what they're doing or say what they're saying, I mostly just brush them off, and I don't know if any message is getting through. My wonderful musical director is much better at dealing with that stuff. I DO have cool ideas of how to stage it, but I don't know how much the kids are capable of... I know they'll surprise me and be capable of all sorts of things... Maybe it's just that things are still early. Once we get up on our feet and start blocking things may start to make sense.

Then there's my writing. I am committed to making room for it in my schedule, but as I said, work is seeping in where I didn't expect it to. So far, most of the days I have set aside for writing have been at one point interrupted by a need to deal with something work-related. I try to keep breathing and staying calm and turning the dial back to writing, and have been successful to a point: it takes time though, and is frustrating to not be able to completely focus on it. I know that it's partially my fault for choosing to deal with work things. But here again is that knowledge that others are counting on me. It's a tough call.

Everything would be better if I could only sleep past 5am!

[At the Surrey Writers' Conference in October some friends and I were discussing the word 'only'. Evidently it is the most frequently misused word in the English language. Now I get all worried every time I use it! Did I do it right? Oh no! What if I've used it incorrectly! Oh well, the sky hasn't fallen yet.] 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A great day of entertainment.

I needed that. When son and I went to Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories one of the trailers was for Paul Blart--Mall Cop. It made me laugh, as so few trailers do, and I knew I wanted to see it. It took us weeks, but the four of us finally went this afternoon. It was exactly what I expected. Dumb, but funny, and it made me laugh. In fact, I'm rather embarrassed to say, one part made me cry. Isn't that dumb?? I was shaking my head at my own goofiness, but for some reason I reacted all seriously. [how can you tell I've had a stressful few weeks...?] Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I recommend it if anyone is looking for a larf.

Now, it's time to watch the Canucks. We were unable to get tickets to the Habs game here in Vancouver, and it turned out to be on Pay Per View, much to the terrible disappointment of Huge Habs Fan Son Of Mine. We considered going to a restaurant where they play ppv games, but we decided that in the long run it would be cheaper just to get it here at home. Home-made nachos are cheaper than restaurant ones, and this way we don't have to leave a tip or buy drinks. And I love curling up in my basement under soft blankets. 

So. Hockey here I come.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Workload, time management, writing

Every time I get some sort of part-time job, it becomes more than I ever dreamed it would be. This is not necessarily a good thing. I'm trying to keep a positive outlook, but I don't like feeling out of control. Being asked to do more than I expected is fine, to a point, but having all kinds of extra things added to not only my workload, but to my job description is not something I'm enjoying right now. 

I have lots on the go right now, which is fine, but I have certain expectations going into a project about what it's going to be like, how much time and how much energy it's going to take. Each time something gets added to a single activity, the balance goes askew, and that's what's happening right now. I don't know how to make it stop.

Work as SP Trainer/Co-ordinator for Kwantlen, directing Seussical at the middle school, Earth to Doris, FAT Jazz. Oh, and there's that book I'm trying to write... Getting overwhelmed here.

Ok, now I have to go because I'm expecting a work-related phone call any time now. Cheers.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Ok, here's the funniest newspaper headline I've seen in a long time: The NOW from Wednesday, February 4th, front page:

City Worker Pulls Senior From Hedge

'nuff said.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Same shite, different day

I managed to fit in a little bit of writing yesterday. This is going to be a very busy time for me, what with directing the musical at the school, work, FAT Jazz, Earth to Doris and family stuff. I've blocked aside chunks of time, and hopefully I will be able to focus well enough to be productive in those times. 

It's funny the things that occur to me. I was mucking away on a particular scene that has been plaguing me for several weeks. I left it to simmer over Christmas, and sat down to get some things moving, did a little, wrote a few lines, puzzled and puzzed til my puzzler was sore, left it, came back a while later, mucked about a bit, wrote a few lines, puzzled and puzzed...  You see where this is going, right? I didn't get back to it for a week or ten days or so, meaning yesterday. I was supposed to write on Monday, but this whole week has just been a "shmoz" as my mother would call it (find your own definition of that... I know what it means to me) and I didn't get any writing in. So there I was working on it yesterday, Thursday.

What came to my mind was this, "I like what I'm coming up with here, and the way the scene is progressing. Now, if I'd sat down on Monday to write, would it have come out the same way? Would I have written the same words? If they were different, I wonder if they'd have been better words, better lines, a better way of carrying on with the scene?"

I like to think that there's a reason I don't write on a certain day. I like to think that if I can't write on that day [ok, sorry, I'm getting distracted by the radio: they've just begun a documentary on teaching safe sex to seniors]. If I can't write on that day, then if I had I'd have produced nothing but shite. What I wrote yesterday was the best thing I could have written. If I'd waited until today, it would have turned out differently again. I kind of wonder what the scene would look like if I'd written it on a different day. Would the mood of the scene be more cheerful? or less? Would my word retrieval have been more effective so that the colour of the scene would be brighter, more intense? Or maybe it would have been yucky and boring. Maybe the only word I'd be able to produce is "sandwich" or "little." Or "the."

Thank goodness I wasn't able to write on Monday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations to Mr. Obama

Congratulations to Barack Obama. I'm getting tired of hearing about it, quite frankly, but I can't deny that this is a significant and exciting moment in history. I applaud the American people for their choice. Isn't it nice to be able to say that? Of course, unlike some, I'm cautious. I do not believe that Obama is the second coming of Christ. I believe he is a terrific orator, and he's the right person to come along and pull the United States together--as evidenced by the way people are flocking to be involved in his inauguration, and just the wild enthusiasm with which he is being greeted and accepted. I'm a little wary, though, because the whole world has their eyes on him. He's under tremendous pressure to "fix" everything. But he's still just a Guy. A man. A human. There are some who feel he can do no wrong. The world is going to learn that is not true. So let's proceed with caution.

I am most amazed by the way the American people flock to their politicians with admiration and adoration. In my lifetime I have never seen a politician here in Canada who grabbed people and drew them in like that. Are we more jaded than Americans? Are we less hopeful that one person has the ability to change our lives? Are we more realistic? Or do we simply have crummy politicians?

This IS history right before our eyes. I can't help but feel shivers and share the excitement even on my smaller scale. I share the thoughts and feelings of African-Americans who never believed in a million years that this was possible, and I try to imagine (but probably can't) what that must feel like.

I truly hope that the new President succeeds in living up to all that is expected of him. I wish him the best of luck, and congratulations to all Americans. This is all very cool.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Too Many Kates

There are too many actors named Kate. Just a few:
-Katherine (Kate) Hepburn
-Kate Hudson
-Kate Winslet
-Kate Beckinsale
-Cate Blanchett
-Kate (Katie) Holmes
-Kate Walsh
-Kate Mara
-Kate Bosworth
-Kate Capshaw
-Kate Jackson
-Kate Nelligan

There are probably others. Isn't it crazy? I get them mixed up. "Who's in that movie?" "Oh, one of the Kates." 

It has to stop!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Progress, conflict and Poo

This time the reason I haven't blogged for a bit is that I've actually been writing. I had a breakthrough on this-here mid-way climactic scene and have been working on it bit by bit, rewriting, cutting, adding... I think it's--well, I know it's much better than it was before. More intense, more suspenseful, lots more conflict.

Janak now gets a fairly nasty head wound from the ogre that the bad guys use as a distraction while they abduct Kyer. Now the head wound in itself makes him not altogether happy, of course: not only is he in a lot of pain, but he's worried about the sight in his left eye, and as he becomes more fearful of how this may affect his life, his ability to fight (work for Valrayker) etc. he becomes angrier than usual. His circumstances also have created a lovely inner conflict for Derry: As Captain of the company, his duty is to find Kyer. But as Physicker-Adept, his duty is more immediately to his patient. He feels helpless on both counts because there isn't much he can do for Janak, yet he has to send Phennil and Jesqellan to look for Kyer, and when they aren't successful, he feels terribly guilty. Phennil also chooses this time to inform the captain that he's the one who inadvertently told Kyer's enemies how to find her. The fact that Phennil remains alive at that point is a testament to Derry's self-control.

So this has all been fun fun fun, watching what happens between these guys.

Now, on an unrelated note.... People, just because there's snow on the ground does NOT mean you are exempt from picking up your dog's poo. Sure, we can see it better, but it's slippery out there and hard enough to walk without having to skirt round brown lumps, and hopefully not fall on them should one lose one's balance. I dog sat for a week and it is not difficult at all to use a plastic bag to pick it up. Oh, and then, once you have picked it up, take it to a garbage bin, don't just huck the poo-filled plastic bag into the woods.

And off I go to carry on with my day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A moment I wish I'd caught on the videocamera.

My next-door neighbours have several birdfeeders in their yard. Over Christmas they acquired a new one: a Squirrel-Proof feeder. It has a large bell-shaped hunk of bird seed covered by a broad, inverted cone of thin metal which hangs from a chain wrapped in a cylinder of plastic. This whole contraption hangs from a long branch of the severely pruned plumb tree. 

Today a fat grey squirrel crawled along the branch and hung by its feet as it tried to figure out how to get down to the cone. It grabbed onto the plastic cylinder with its forepaws and got its rear end down to join the front end. Then it hung on to the top of the cone with its rear paws as it tried to figure out how to get round underneath the cone to the delectable seedy delights beneath.

Then it slipped.

It flew down the cone, off the edge and plummeted into the snow.

God I laughed.

Squirrels: rats with a good PR Department. Anytime a squirrel suffers humiliation is a time for joy.

Catching up time after the Holidays

I've been away so long I'm not sure if my blog remembers me.

Snow snow and more freakin' snow. It's pretty but.... I'm done. Even though I'm sure it's not. Winter's not even half over, so we can expect more. I walked daughter to school today to make sure she didn't have to plough her way across the field by herself. But thankfully some other folks had been that way first.

Ok, now why am I really here? Not to complain about the snow, coz that's been done before. No, it's time to get back into the time management with which I was doing so well before Christmas happened. I have writing to fit in, rewriting, and even--gasp!--Outsidethehome-type-work! I have to write to Fleetwood Robbins, who has yet to let me know what he thought of my first 100 pages. Hopefully he will give me an opening to submit the New Improved version. Colleen tells me, "I have some pacing issues," 24 hours AFTER I hit Send.... Oh well, it's being improved anyway, that's the main thing. 

Thanks to Melanie for the reminder to write to Fleetwood. She is needing to do the same thing.

Also did some brainstorming over the holidays (not even consciously. Sometimes simply taking a break is all I need to bring forward some new ideas). Poor Janak is in trouble now. I needed a way to make at least one of the characters suffer more after the ogre attack, and it looks like Janak is going to come away with some permanent damage, poor fellow. He will take it ill, I know, coz he's just a born complainer at the best of times. It reminds me of when my dad used to say, "Quit crying, or I'll give you something to cry about!" (Which never made sense to me.... Surely I am crying because I have something to... Grown-ups just don't GET these things). In any event, Janak needs something to bitch about, so here he goes.

And Kyer's in bigger trouble, too. I'm not sure, but I think I need to have Ronav remove her from the room for his initial "discussion" with her. That could prompt some extra nastiness. I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Ok, this is getting long and I'm not really saying much. Just thinking "aloud" as it were.