Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuck? Walk it off...


When my editor asked me about my writing habits, I told her that I include walking as part of my writing time. According to my brief research online, I'm not the only writer who does. Something about the rhythm of the walk aids meditation. The scrambled, desperate voices that harass you when you're stuck on a point in your story melt away. Other doors in the mind open and options appear. Soon, you're weaving new threads in your story or going back and filling in the missing pieces. It's sort of miraculous.

This weekend I walked for a couple hours on the beach in Santa Monica hoping that something writerly would kick in. I'm having trouble starting a new book--partly because I loved the last one too much. (All my new ideas seem pale by comparison.) Putting one foot in front of the other, I waited on my brain to catch up with me. It took awhile, but fragments started appearing to me. By the time I finished, I felt that maybe I had found my way. I plopped down on my beach chair feeling greatly relieved. Then the sun came out! It was an excellent non-writing writing day.

Incidentally, the walking technique works best when you walk alone. Just you and your little blocked brain is all the company you need.

Enjoy while the walking weather is good!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Head Writing vs. Heart Writing


I spoke too soon. No way can I write this boy book. I've tried and my characters aren't coming to life. I'm making up the things they say and moving them around, but they aren't real.

Yes, I said it. Some characters are real and others aren't. Real characters take on a life of their own. They speak to the writer even when she isn't writing. The boy I tried to write about was only an idea about a boy. And because he wasn't real, he left me to do all the heavy lifting with this story. As a result, I am exhausted.

So onward to yet another experiment. The next book might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it will have a girl in it. A girl with a beating heart! A girl to commiserate with as we ramble through the succeeding chapters! I look forward to it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One for the Boys


I'm almost done with THE AVIARY, my spooky historical fantasy due out in early fall 2011, and starting a new book--with boy main characters. This is a first for me, and you'd think it'd be easy considering just how boy-centered my life has been. I have two boys, a boy husband, a boy dog. We've had our boys' friends and other boy relatives live with us. I have seen first hand what boys do, how they speak, what they love and not love so much. But I've had a bit of a rocky start.

Now after scrapping my old beginning, I think I may be on to something. I like the boys in this book. They are going to have an adventure that is guaranteed to scare the ! out of them (and me). We're in this together for the long haul! Maybe my own boys will even read this one when it's done. (Girls will like it too, though. How do I know? I'm a girl.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Apple MacBooks are Lactose Intolerant (and other things I learned on my summer vacation...)


So I'm eating a bowl of raisin bran, browsing my email, and I spill milk on the trackpad of my laptop. Doesn't work so well after that. Kind of sickly. Now that I've got a new trackpad, I've learned my lesson: I'm using lactose-free milk the next time I spill. Maybe that will help?

Here are some other things I learned in Palm Desert:
There is nothing on TV when you want to watch it.
The show on world's worst drivers is actually pretty compelling.
108 degrees feels like 112 degrees.
Sunset in the desert is dreamy and the falling shadows make the world a living painting.
The best food in town may be found at the Cary Grant estate.
Swimming is the best medicine.

Now back to work on a working computer.