Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Missing

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Missing, gone, off the airwaves, definitely NOT here - If there is even a ghost of a chance I can return soon...

As it stands right now, I’m haunting the air waves, a spirit on the line that can’t reach out and connect. Thanks due to my internet provider, who doesn’t understand my predicament. Trust me, on any other occasion I’m honestly not this rude or distant from my readers. Due to my deafness I rely heavily on this form of communication.

The wireless asylum curators have been given the ultimatum to fix it once and for all or lose me as a client. In any event if that happens - I’ll have a whole lot of time to haunt up a new provider, phone company, and cable service. Ah yes, that’s the problem in a nutshell. They control every single air wave coming into my home.

Meanwhile, feel free to peruse my previous post if you haven’t already. Shattered Prose haunted up a years worth of post and bypassed an anniversary. What a way to celebrate, a mere ghost of a presence online. Here’s haunting you with a tenacious short (very short) reprieve.



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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Free Falling...

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” – Erich Fromm

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Exasperated I vigorously rub my forehead in consternation. Not again. Four visits from the cable company concerning my network connection, four different men – each performing some difficult task and assuring me this time it would work. Only to find once again I’m floating in nether space with no connection what-so-ever to the web. Pickles head perks up beneath my office chair and without warning she darts off after one of the cats.

My youngest cat, Feather, thought the cord to my USB key would make a wondrous new toy. Her thievery exposed by the click - click bounce of my USB toggle against wooden floor boards. Cord in mouth she runs pall mell toward the stairs with a dog in chase. It finally registers; my book is attached at the end of her new play toy. My work in progress is at the mercy of these two, who think a game is afoot when I join the chase. Within moments I’m back in front of my computer, the dog with a self satisfied smile getting a pat on the head. She knows she did well, in alerting me to something I couldn’t hear.

Lo and behold the connection is back. I’m online, a gift of time for however long the wireless gods deem me worthy.

My tenuous hold on this sporadic connection leaves me hesitant and wary of forging ahead on my writing for the day. I remember another moment, another day when my fingers poised over the keyboard, unsure – frightened in some small way of the direction my life would take. A year ago - truly? A year spent writing, creating, and plotting? A year in which I proclaimed myself a writer and set it down in stone on a blog for all to see and hold me accountable for…

Three books later, hours spent letting my fingers pour my minds musings out on the screen in front of me, and I swear it most certainly doesn’t feel like a year.

The question then begs of me, what would you tell your writer self of a year ago today?

I would tell her:

Go ahead and let your fingers sing across the keyboard. Stay curious and learn. Even if you don’t follow all the rules of your chosen profession, what you do learn and take to heart will be priceless.

You will have days of wanting to toss your laptop out the window, days of agonistic misery where you ponder why in the world you choose to do something that offers no instant gratification. Writing will test the very fiber of your patience.

You will also have days the words flow unbidden and you’ve lost hours at the drop of a hat. Lost minutes stolen by endless lines of prose and dialogue you won’t have with anyone even remotely human.

There will be moments you feel so utterly alone, followed by moments of clarity that you are never truly alone when faced with a head full of colorful characters taking up residence.

Most important –I now know no matter what unfolds from here on out, I can’t/you won’t imagine life any other way. From yesteryear to today, each day brings improvements, hopes, and the fulfillment of a dream. So go ahead let your fingers loose, let the words flow, for no other reason than you can’t imagine not. Jump off the ledge of your misgivings and learn to fly.

So with my faithful sidekick Pickles, a faulty internet connection, and a head full of characters – I bid Happy Anniversary to the first year of Shattered Prose. For better or worse this journey continues…



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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Mighty Red Pen

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I have a tendency to do everything back-assward. Can you imagine how that encroaches on my writing? Take for instance the first draft: Everyone knows you basically write without thought to grammar, spelling, and *blink* editing. The general rule is to get the story out of your brain and in some semblance of order on the page in front of you. Everything else comes in the consecutive drafts later on. Sounds easy enough right?

Uhm, yeah, if you say so…

For starters, I’m a free form writer. I let strange variations of plot (whatever story won’t stop nitpicking away at me until I give it a voice) flow. No outline, no clue as to where the story goes from beginning to end. In some ways I’m like a reader who picks up a book by a debut author – until it’s written the story is just as fresh and new to me, as it is for them. I love that the ending catches me by surprise or hits me out of left field.

To make things even more interesting (remember cardinal rule breaker here)…I broke the fundamental rule of the first draft and let a Beta reader work over my pages with a bright red pen. Those red marks danced circles around my words and left a macabre sight. Lines shadowed in parenthesis scolding in big red letters – REDO, echoes of – this makes no sense or this is unbelievable. My manuscript cringes in its designated binder, begging the red pen for mercy.

I wouldn’t say I’m a diehard rebel. For instance, I kowtowed to the popular rule of no edits in the first draft (which is challenging). So now, the binder sits in full view taunting me. I did read all the corrections and do take those red dashes across my prose serious. Those marks let me know in some nefarious way if I’m heading in the right direction or veered so far off the mark I’m no longer working on the same storyline.

No worries, I get my dues in the end. I get the satisfaction of knowing my Beta reader still doesn’t have a clue how this book ends. To me, that’s good writing. I managed to lay the groundwork, feeding just enough to let the foreshadowing work its magic. He senses the underlying currents with my characters and wants more.

Writers are excellent weavers. We pull the strands of words, chapters, characters and plot together, into an extensive web of enchantment and mystery. Even so, there are days those strands don’t pull tight enough or yank the web eschewed – as evidenced by the mighty red pen. So I pull the web apart and rework the strands until I can present something worthy of the spider in Charlotte’s Web.

At the end of the day I need to ask myself, is the way I write working for me? You tell me. The latest red pen declaration was, “Oh F*** me!” That would be in response to a revealing piece of the story. In case you’re wondering…yes, he did give me a flattering appraisal. His surprise turned out to be all the encouragement I needed.

The mighty red pen…where would I be without your constant challenging, encouraging scarlet scribbles across my words?

*This has been a public service message to remind me why I don’t outright kill the wielder of the RED pen (winks).