A blog about writing . . . and a lot of other things

Friday, January 27, 2012

Speaking of plots...

A couple of blog posts ago, I mentioned that I have started a new book and that the main character is an accountant.

When I start a new book (except when I'm doing NaNoWriMo), what happens is that I get a character in my head, and then that character has a lot of conversations with other characters.  They're interesting people, and I enjoy listening to their conversations with each other.  There's drama, there's conflict, there's something to listen to in my head while I ice my knee at physical therapy because ESPN just doesn't do it for me.

The problem is that it's a bit like watching an episode of Seinfeld.  There are lots of amusing vignettes, but no plots.  So I spend weeks or months getting to know my characters and trying to convince them that they have to do something more than just sit around and talk.

When I'm doing NaNoWriMo, it is a whole different situation.  I don't have time to get to know my characters and politely suggest that they do something with their lives.  I have to come up with 50,000 words RIGHT NOW, so they have to get their butts moving.  That's why this last year my fairly normal teenage girl had been stabbed, traveled to another planet, been kidnapped by ninja pirates (thanks, Meagan!), survived a bombing attack, been drowned in acid that turned her into a superhero, stole a spaceship, and saved the planet by the time I'd come up with 50,000 words.  That is desperation, people.  Jacob loved it.

Lacking the NaNoWriMo desperation, so far my main character has complained about her boss, argued with her boss, and flirted with a client.  Amusing, but none of this is going to get us anywhere.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to bring ninja pirates into it, and I'm just not sure what that has to do with public accounting.

There might be a good reason why I tend to add paranormal elements to my fiction.  What do you think?  A mind-reading CPA?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Blogger

Today I would like to welcome my brilliant daughter, Mindy, as my guest blogger.  She is in third grade and just turned nine years old.  The following is a bit of writing that she wrote for a school assignment:

Wire-Haired Werewolf from Rotten Island
By Mindy Moran
January 2012

Rotten Island is crawling with creepy creatures. The Wire-haired Werewolf’s head contains one torn-out eye, one good eye, a carnivorous mind, a bitten-off ear, and a black stripe down her nose. She loves her four short legs, despite the fact that they make her clumsy. Her lithe body would have been graceful, if she didn’t have such short legs, but she doesn’t care, she loves being as rotten-looking as possible. The Wire-haired Werewolf’s long fur is so long that her short legs keep on tripping over it.

Wire-hair likes to steal food from others, especially hard-working ones. When they don’t have any food she just eats them! She loves to climb trees, though her short legs and long fur makes it hard. Very near the long, long list of what she hates is cats. She doesn’t like them because instead of charging after prey like she does, they stalk silently.

The Wire-haired Werewolf is a horrible, predatory carnivore. Her favorite food is caribou or reindeer. She likes them because they’re hard to find and powerful. What she hates is fish, she’ll eat anything but it. Wire-hair hates fish because the (1) are slimy, (2) live in water, which she loathes, (3) because they have scales instead of fur or feather, (4) get water all over her when they thrash. I could go on and on…

A special thing that she can do is make anything wash up on the shore without being poisoned. She does this because sometimes she’s just not in the mood for fresh monster, and really in the mood for real prey. In the picture, The Wire-haired Werewolf has washed up a mouse and some nuts. When she does this, she waits to “invite it over for dinner” until it has finished the nuts. Wire-hair wishes you bad luck and a full night of nightmares. I think she likes you.

The End

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh, right. I'm supposed to be blogging...

So, my mother reads my blog.  (Hi, Mom!)  That led to a little awkwardness from my last post.  Also, my husband asked if I'd written anything else since the depressing one.  I said no, and he said I might want to write something a little perkier this time.

Everyone is a critic.

I went back to work today.  I've been excited about it since, as you know, I have a hard time not valuing myself based on my productivity.

The house that is costing me my sanity.
I was, in fact, productive today.  I'm also absolutely exhausted.  I've gotten used to running at a pretty easy pace, and there was way too much happening.  Mostly I'm to blame.  I sort of put an offer in on a house yesterday, so I was trying to handle my first day back at work - new hire paperwork, welcome backs, a pile of tax returns to prepare - along with phone calls and emails and requests for documentation.

Tomorrow will be easier.  Really.

I started a new book, by the way.  All of my books have been very slightly autobiographical, other than of course things like telekinesis and turning into blue superheroes.   You write what you know unless you want to do research, right?  So, in the new book I decided to go whole hog and make the main character an accountant.  I find the job rather interesting, and hopefully I can convey that to a reader.

Many of my main characters start as me.  Then I add lots of really cool stuff that isn't me and take away all the things that relate to me that I think are too obvious or that I don't like.  Perhaps I should try a different tactic, but it will have wait.  This one is a CPA.

What do you think?  Should you write what you know?