Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writing Prompt Wenesday: Breaking the Rules

The rules I chose to break:
* unattributed dialogue is BAD
* looking in the mirror to describe a character is soooo overused and dumb.
* using cliches is a no-no. Can't you think of anything original?
* white-room syndrome. K, pick between this one and cliche for which one I broke well, and which one not so much.

This is 350 words that could be an interesting story seed, I think.

For a list of the writing prompts I share, please see my Writing Prompt page :)

Fishing for Souls

“Will she manage?”

“She may not think so, but I have no doubt.”
“I do not share your faith. She is mortal.”
“For the moment, yes. Do you plan to actively oppose her?”
“I am tempted, just to prove you wrong.”
“Ah, then this will be interesting.”
Mirelle opened her eyes and looked around, feeling out of place and time. Her heart was pounding and her fists were clenched around the downy pillow. Pricks of feathers poked through the material and scratched against the callused palms of her hands.
Taking a deep breath, she sat up. Waking into the dimly lit room was little relief from the skittery shadows that had been chasing her through her dreams. Light peeked through the bent metal blinds, afraid of entering her room fully.
She needed to get up, she could feel it. A prickle between her shoulder blades nagged at her as she stood amidst the discarded clothing littering her floor. Something was watching her. Turning, she caught the reflection of her hair in the mirror across the room. It hung above her dresser at the perfect height to mock her attempts to tame the unruly locks. An ugly color, an ugly shape, always ending up in her eyes just when she needed to focus. The reflection smirked.
Setting her mouth, Mirelle picked up a discarded shoe and hurled it at the mirror. The light hiding behind her blinds flared as the mirror cracked. Now there were hundreds of hazel eyes staring back at her. Not all blinking at the same time. Mirelle grabbed the other shoe and crossed the room, slamming it against the glass with as much force as she could muster.
Shards of glass fell like crystal tears onto the top of her dresser and bounced down onto the floor. One caught and held a ray of light, glinting like a star. Mirelle picked it up, the sharp edge biting into the skin of her finger and felt power fill her as her blood covered the edge of the glass.
She had work to do, and the mirror was merely a distraction.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blog Format

I'm debating whether or not to have a page on this blog for writing prompts.

For now, my solution is to post the flash fiction I've done that I don't mind sharing with the world as their own posts on the main blog. They're interspersed between March and April. The Writing Prompt tab has links to them. I'm going to try this out, I guess, and see how it goes. If it doesn't work, I guess I can always reformat again. I don't even know if there's an audience for this or not, so... I guess you never know until you try, right? So there's a little tab up there in the black bar that says "writing prompts". It's new. Hopefully the links work... I'm testing it to make sure.

On that line of thinking, I could have pages for artwork, caricatures, etc, too. I'm not sure that's appropriate or not. Hmm. I will play around and think on it. If anyone reads this and has an opinion, by all means share.  :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Do I Do?

You know that moment, the one where you meet someone new and they ask, "So, what do you do?" For some reason that question was on my mind while I was mowing my lawn today, and I felt like sharing my thoughts.

My first answer: I'm a mom! Yes, with enthusiasm, because without it, somehow that title seems to be one society tells me I should be ashamed of. Well. *hands on hips* I have six kids, but even if I only had one, it wouldn't change my opinion of the job. It's not an easy job, not by any means, but it's a job I volunteered for for life. As for what that entails, let me tell you some of it.

I do yardwork. I don't love yardwork. I find it relaxing when I *want* to do it, but mostly I wish the yard would take care of itself. Take today, for instance. I asked my kids why they didn't play on the swing-set anymore, and my nine year old informed me that it was because the vines were too scary. After mowing the grass around and under the swing-set, yep, there's a scary vine growing there. Very pokey-owie mean vine, that I argued with for a couple of hours convincing it that it would like the compost heap much better than the swing-set.  My 4 year old son was all over the swings and slide as soon as I'd cleared the way.

We put the swingset in front of snuffalupogus here...  It's a high-maintenance spot.

I do counseling. I have six kids who don't always get along. But not only do they have sibling issues, but they have friend issues and school issues and grade issues and worries about the future and dreams and hopes and all kinds of things that they like to share and tell. Mostly I just listen, but sometimes I dispense advice. Sometimes they even listen to it. Once in a while they spark something I feel passionate about, and they have to tell me to get off my soap-box because I won't stop talking.  I'm not sure those moments serve any purpose other than for me to realize I like to talk.

There are a bazillion other things that fall under the large umbrella of motherhood, but everyone already knows the chauffeur, cook, maid, organizer, slave driver, librarian, reader of books, and teacher titles. Mostly I forget things and then run to play catch-up because I've forgotten something important.

I also do non-mommy related things.

I have an art degree. I do portraits because I LOVE to draw people. There's something about eyes and lips and ears that I just love. And wrinkles. I don't get a lot of commissions for portraits, but I do get quite a few commissions for caricatures. I volunteer for all kinds of art things in the community and church so that I stay in practice with software. I figure if I spent all that time learning skills, I'd better not lose them.

I do footzoning. I certified in this about seven years ago and just recently my clientelle has started to pick up. I even have enough clients now that I have to keep a calendar in my purse so I can remember when I have appointments! This is exciting stuff for me!

I talk. A lot. I think there's something about being home with a four-year-old that makes me never shut up when I'm on the phone or in a car with an adult. Or at a friend's house. My poor friends :)

I write. I love to read, and I love to write. I sit and write when I am avoiding any of the above listed jobs. Because let's face it, chores and cleaning and yardwork are really never done. And there are so many story ideas that come while I'm puttering around the house, or listening to the crazy things my kids say. This world is incredible when it comes to inspiration. Writing is another way for me to talk without annoying everyone that I know and love. I posted an excerpt once.

There's always a to-do list longer than I am tall (and I'm not short), so I prioritize based on what sounds fun that day or what will impact my kids the most if I don't do it. Daughter wet the bed? Well, crap, I'm doing laundry and washing a mattress instead of catching up on blog posts and twitter.

I love what I do. I may not always do it as well as I'd like, but I keep doing it hoping that eventually I'll get better. No one has told me to stop yet (er, well, no one I actually listen to). I tell myself more than often enough that I need to do better. But now I've managed to answer to myself what I do and how I value what I do. I expect there are plenty of people out there who value things differently, and that's awesome. It would sure be boring if we were all clones.

A Query Critique!

Yes, yes, I know. I put the cart before the horse a little bit. Just a teensy tiny little bit. But, but, but it's not often that you can get a query critique from an expert for free! So forgive me please? I sent in a query to J R Johansson for her Forging Friday's query critiques. And lo, here is mine, all marked up in beautiful red for me to learn from and do better with. For those of you wondering what my story is about, well, clicky clicky on the link there and go find out! Obviously the query needs work, and thankfully I now have expert advice with which to cut, carve, and repair. 

However, I think I will let refining this particular part of the writing craft wait until after I've actually *finished* the manuscript, let beta-readers review it, and then revised it a few times and polished it up good. That way, when I'm ready to actually concentrate on the query, I have some fantastic feedback to use. I'm ever so grateful!!

--- You know, I honestly thought I'd have this book finished by the end of January. Then I was sure I'd have it done in Feb. And then cookie season hit, and I didn't write a single word. Here I am, maybe four or five chapters from the end, writing a little bit each day and editing a little bit each day. Not finished yet, but not giving up.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Too much is too much

Apparently there is a "Nope, too much" setting in my brain.

March was Girl Scout cookie month, and with that came a lot of stress and a lot of time out of doors in cold weather. With stress comes a lowering of my inner defenses, and so the inevitable thing that followed was getting sick. Which got worse because I refused to believe I was sick.

And I had a deadline for an art commission. And as per my previous post, was dealing with lots of fear.

So April started, and with it CampNaNo, which I had signed up for because I can do anything, right? Why not be able to write, edit, and draw, as well as try to maintain the house and track my kids and do Girl Scouts and everything else? My brain, on the other hand, said, "Oh, you want to write, too?? Yeah... no. Let's work through this fear and finish these drawings before we do much of anything else. And hey, how about getting over this cough?"

I am happy to report the drawings are done as of yesterday. Looking at the pictures I see soooo many things I'd fix or change, but there comes a point when when I have to say, "It's as done as I can get it done, and I can accept this level of doneness."  Re-working a picture too much just ruins it.

My head is finally clear, the cough is an afterthought now instead of all-consuming. And hey, my characters are now talking to me again and I have enough energy to go pick up the house.

It's two weeks in, Camp Nano is well on its way and a couple of my bunk-mates are over half done with their monthly goals, which is awesome!! Yay for them!! Today is April 16th, I'm starting today!! Better late than never, right? I'll get written what I get written. It may not be my original goal, but I will make progress.

I may not be able to do as much as I think I can, especially when sick. But it seems I'm happier when I listen to my body and do what I CAN do. And happy is good. :)

Here are pics of the 18x24 charcoal portraits I've been working so hard on the last month. No, it doesn't take me that long to finish a piece, it takes me about 2-4 hours per face. It's been an interesting thing, this project, because it's a church thing. And I really didn't want to mess it up, so I had to talk myself into drawing, and convince myself to sit down and do it, and I had to have faith that I *could* do it, because I really was that nervous about failing. And that was what took up most of the time: convincing myself to do it. That being said, I'm glad I did it.

I'm extremely nervous about putting these up, but here they are anyway. Women of the Book of Mormon.

Mothers of the Stripling Warriors

Daughters of the Lamanites

Queen "Lamoni" (because she doesn't have a name)

Abish (Queen Lamoni's servant) - this pic was taken before it was finished.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Writing Prompt Wednesday - The Circle of Life

This one was a chance to let my morbid show. So I did. Thought up a plot, a story, some characters that wanted to have an adventure, and killed them off at the very beginning before their story could even get started. Is it really my fault, though? They wandered where they shouldn't, and had been warned of the woods.

For a list of the writing prompts I share, please see my Writing Prompt page :)