Archive for August, 2011

Posted in writing with tags , , , on August 28, 2011 by generatedanomaly

The edge of Hurricane Irene is deciding if it wants to visit the southern shore of Lake Ontario right now. We certainly have enough wind. It sends a little shudder up my spine every time we get another gust. Partly because there’s a little high-pitched creak that accompanies it.

The car is hiding along side the house instead of where I usually park. It’s safe, in theory, from the chimney should it fall and most tree branches.

I talked to one of my beta readers last night. Good feedback. The consensus seems to be that I need to be less technical in my reference to body parts. And this is where I get a little… well, I’m going to act like a writer about it. Mostly because I was “that kid” who relished knowing that the collarbone is in fact called the clavicle. The cheekbone, that’s the zygoma. The little piece that tails back toward the ear, the zygomatic arch. I’m a nerd. I make no apologies.

The real question that needs to be answered is whether my character is that kid too. If she would use those words instead of the more commonplace ones, then win for me. If not, then it’s a simple cut and replace job.

She’s been hanging out in my head for a while and, based on what I’ve written, I’m pretty sure she is that kid. She likes knowing things. Not just to know them, but to use them. Doesn’t mean things always go her way. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t look through her first novel again and see if the uses are superfluous or if they’re needed. And, if all else fails, I can always make light of it in the dialogue.

I will inform and educate with my dialogue, and the whole novel in general. This is just the teacher in me. Hell, I was teaching a coworker about sugars at work yesterday. Not overtly, simply explaining the different between the no-calorie sweeteners and sugar. I do miss standing in front of a class.

That last sentence, that one makes me giggle inside. I remember how nervous I got doing presentations in high school and college. Then I did drama club my second year at Alfred State. (I was an Aggie, only not drunk and smelling of chew.) This started breaking me out of my shell. Now, I may get nervous about a big presentation or such, but it doesn’t cause me to freeze up. This will serve me well later in life.

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I do need the part of my brain where the words live.

Posted in education, job search, writing on August 23, 2011 by generatedanomaly

I’m waiting for the day when I can say I’ve been busy because I’ve been our promoting my book, not because I’ve been working on a day job. Since I haven’t published yet, I am glad for the hours at work. I just wish they didn’t leave me feeling like I lost part of my brain. The important part. The one with all the words in it. I need that part.

I’m sure there are people who would argue against that. The world doesn’t need another writer not contributing to society they’ll say. (These people are assholes. They’re the same ones that said the President had issues with reality because he reads fiction.) Go, get a real job, do things for society.

My response is a good one. After I get done staring through narrowed eyes and resist the urge to break faces it breaks down into a long-winded diatribe. I have my Masters’ degree in education. My intent was to do something good for society, but society decided that we didn’t need to educate our children in any profound way. They passed a test! Fantastic, they’re ready for college. Except, they aren’t. Those kids coming into college this year aren’t ready. Some of them might be, but those are the kids that decided to take their education into their own hands. They’re the ones that got bored and sought out information on their own.

I should be getting ready to stand in front of a bunch of teenagers and teach them chemistry in a couple of weeks. Instead, I have no idea what I’m doing for income after next Monday. I should be trying out new labs and finding decorations for my classroom. Instead, I’m staring at my notes for short stories, crossing my fingers that something sells.

Now, I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I wouldn’t be writing. I would be. I’m a writer. It’s what I do and writers serve a function in society. They’ve replaced the storytellers of old, providing wisdom and entertainment for the masses. I would just be writing while having a steady job. I would be writing much less the first couple years while I build up my reservoir of lesson plans and materials.

I guess my point was, this country is messed up. It’s going in a direction it doesn’t want to go in, but everyone’s too afraid to say it. The outcomes are going to be bad. They’re going to be dark, and the young kids we’re turning to out of college to lead the way, they’re going to be lost because we put so many things above their education.

I’m pretty sure I’m not dead. I know I’m not on fire.

Posted in Life as it happens, Projects, writing on August 17, 2011 by generatedanomaly

What the hell is today? Wednesday? I guess that sounds right. After all, I’ve been doing something (day job, social engagement, or both) every day for a week. It doesn’t look to let up until this weekend.

I’m not complaining, only that I am a little. Computer time has been scarce. Writing time, well, I need to start making some more. Or making better use of the time I have. I did (finally) get the damned short story  I was tweaking straightened out. It only took a week, but the damn thing flows and might actually live up to the title now.

Next on the docket, er post-it note, another short story. I’m trying to decide if I want to drop the strung together project right now and go work on a couple competition pieces, or just get the project strung together then work on the competition pieces. Probably that second one since I have no idea what I’m going to write for the competition pieces and I know what I want to do with this project.

Right. So. Onward in a generally forward direction with fewer distractions. Maybe.

We’re supposed to be signing up for Planet Fitness today. Then I need something to workout in that my boyfriend will actually let me leave the house in. He’s not fond of the shorts I want to wear. Actually, he’s very fond of them, just not when I wear them in front of other people. So, that’s exciting, actually going to the gym will be the other thing, but if plot issues line up with gym hours, well that will help with the motivation to go because then I can go work out my aggression and have that happy little plot breakthrough we all want to have.

Writing it down might not help, but it makes me feel better.

Posted in job search, Life as it happens on August 10, 2011 by generatedanomaly

I need a new day job. Not that the one I have now isn’t spiffy and wonderful, because it is, but said day job ends in a couple weeks when I can no longer work as a “student worker” due to my graduated with my Masters’ degree status. I’ve filled out some applications. I need to fill out more, but the impending doom of not having any money coming in is hanging over my head.

None of the schools in the area are hiring science teachers. I’ve looked. They are looking for substitutes. I’ve put in a couple of those applications. Of course, if the day job ends up being a 8-4 or 9-5 thing, then the substitute teaching will be right out.

We do what we need to survive I suppose. That’s the scary part of humanity. Whatever it takes, we’ll do. Well, most of us will do whatever it takes. Some people roll over and give up. Not me though. I’ve come too far to give up. I’ve written too many things not to push forward with it.

I’ve reached the apply for random things and see what happens spot of the job search. It’s a bit of a scary place to be, but a lot of hiring mangers will see the Masters’ degree and automatically consider me overqualified. They’ll never look to see it’s in education and given the state of our educational system in this country, well, anything is better than nothing.

I have plans and lists and things to get done. It doesn’t help to ease the impending doom much. I can’t help but think that somehow things will work out and then I’ll have nothing to worry about. I’ll keep my optimism. It’s gotten me through so far.

The I need to post more often post.

Posted in Office, Projects, Video games, writing on August 7, 2011 by generatedanomaly

I was doing so well for a while. Posting almost every day, sometimes there was even content other people might care about and not just me talking to myself. Which, I do like doing a little too much. I’m beginning to believe it’s a writer thing, or maybe just hoping it’s not a crazy thing. I’m pretty sure it’s not a crazy thing. I don’t hallucinate and I limit my drug intake to painkillers, caffeine and, on occasion, ethanol.

So, writer thing. Okay. Awesome. I like this plan.

Speaking of plans. I finished the novel the other day. I waded through the mires of post novel mental goo by playing a lot of Bioshock 2 and have come out the other side ready to create something new.

Step one, kill the fruit fly that decided to make my desk is base of operations. It is starting to annoy me more than I thought a small fly could. There’s dead fruit in the kitchen. Go that way. Leave me alone!

Step two, once I’ve cleaned the speck of blood off my hand, is to flesh out one of the short stories I edited earlier. It needs more. The ending was rushed. It’ll be fixed.

From there, continue my not quite so fruitful job search. Work on the bazillion other projects I want to get done and find something to put on the wall on the other side of the room. I turn around a lot and I want something to look at other than the green wall. Not that the paint color isn’t awesome. I like the color. I should. I picked it. But, I like to look at bright, creative things while I’m working. Or, at least something to break the monotony.

The other thing I’ve been working on is cleaning the office up. In the process I hung some plot maps up for stories that need to be finished. I had a finishing problem a few years back. I started all sorts of projects an never finished them. They’re good ideas, solid beginnings that need more with them to make them shine. Stories that need homes. That might be a good title for a short story collection. I’m keeping it. It’s mine.

And if you look over here you’ll see something shiny.

Posted in writing on August 3, 2011 by generatedanomaly

“You’ve seen the party tricks, now it’s time to see what I can really do.”

I do love my characters. I love them even more when they speak to me on some deeper level. The thing I hope they do with other people. The thing every writer wants their characters to do.

I feel like my entire life has been showing everyone the party tricks. I’ve been just good enough at things to warrant recognition, but not good enough to stand out from the crowd.

My grades were good, but not stellar. My jobs… Well, I’ve always been really good at what I was assigned to do. If you’re good at your job you don’t attract attention. I guess I wanted to stay under the radar. Head down, power through until I figured out what it was I was meant to be doing.

We all do this. We all search and search for that thing that we’re good at and that makes us happy. The thing I’m good at, really good at, moving pieces, intricate plots, conspiracies. Oh, I do love a good conspiracy. (I blame Mulder.) They’re special with their layers of deception and their wonderful tiny pieces that move about and think they’re better than all the other pieces.

I get weird toward the end of a novel. I’m almost done with the zero draft. I can feel the end. I know what it smells like (musty with a hint of pine). I’m in that phase where I toss words onto the page in hopes of prolonging the inevitable. Another argument won’t hurt. Some more travel is fine. Oh, they can’t do that there. Let’s put them over here and make something else stand in their way. Yes. Sure. That sounds lovely.

It goes that way until I run out of reasons to prolong the inevitable. Then I write the end. I finish off the novel and wait for the feeling of emptiness to pass. Because that’s what I am. I’m empty when I finish. Everything is on the page. Every last bit is there. Then, slowly, it comes back and I start again.

This is what I can really do. I can write. I can tell a story. I can make characters dance and sing (not usually) and I’m done with the party tricks. No more sucking. I’m putting on my game face and I’m going to make it as a writer.