Archive | June 2004

Blah

Just feeling rather blue this morning, with it raining for like the tenth day in a row. I’m also being all obsessive about submissions and contracts and money stalking my email waiting for something to land, but alas, nothing. It probably doesn’t help that I’m PMS’n in a major way.

Yesterday turned out to be a great writing day. I think I’ve sewn the story together quite nicely and I’m right at the end but it started sounding kind of contrived and wacky so I stopped. I’m rethinking it and think I want to go another way so I may work on it more tonight or tomorrow. Somehow I feel like today will be a non-writing day.

I want to go home to something good in the mail. I want to be less stressed out about finances and such.

I’m going to stop now because it’s become mindless rambling and I hate that.

Oops!

So, I discovered that the two contests that I thought were deadlined July 1 are actually deadlined August 1. Hmm. Don’t know why I thought I was on such a tight deadline but way to get me to work my ass off, ha ha!

Must be the music

I’m listening to a mixed CD I made myself of some old stuff and it’s really got me in a great mood. Even the really sad stuff like Aretha Franklin’s I’ve Never Loved Another Man and Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of The Heart haven’t yet made me cry. And I’m also working steady on Instructions… after having great difficulty with it last night. It was just really hard to sit there and get the words down. They just weren’t flowing the way I needed them to. It got so bad that I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t make the contest deadline and would have to send it elsewhere upon completion, like Best Women’s Erotica or something. It would actually be good for that, so that is still an option if I don’t place in the contest. I need to recheck my deadlines but I think there’s a whole other story I need to start for a contest also with a Thursday deadline. Anyway, I don’t know what put the fire under my tail and forced the words out of me today but I’ve been going and going and I’m rather liking the story. I love when that happens.

I got a rejection from Playgirl yesterday. It was a form letter with those checkable phrases and the one they checked for me was something like “we like your writing style but have no place for you story, recheck guidelines and resubmit.” And I have no problem with that. But I didn’t have anything else lined up to send them and also didn’t have another place for that story to go so it will just have to sit for a while, but I’m simmering on other things to submit to Playgirl later. It was a good turn around on the submission, though, and at least it was something in my mailbox as opposed to stalking it and my email constantly only to receive nothing.

The Writing Process

My stories have a very weird way of coming together. They often begin as bits, as pieces of a scene, a bit of dialogue. The pieces are scattered about in word files, in notebooks, on the backs of receipts, then somehow when I’m ready, when it’s ready, I piece it all together and begin the process of merging the scenes and dialogue to make the story it was intended to be. I thought about this as I work on “Instructions for Sexing Susie,” the story I’m working on for a contest. It started as lines of scenes, then small exchanges between she and her husband, then the setting, and it just worked. From the beginning I knew the story would have this classic feel because Suzie is a classy gal with old-fashioned values. It’s almost as if it could have taken place in the 40’s or 50’s but I’m pretty sure it’s a contemporary story, just with and old-fashioned flair. I had intended to work on the story a great deal over the weekend, had even hoped to finish it, but circumstance prevented it. I supposed I could have changed the light bulb in the den myself, but I didn’t feel like standing in a chair and risk being knocked in the head by the light fixture and waking the babies. I worked a little on it Sunday morning before dear hubby poked his head and asked what I was doing. Disturbance really does something to my flow, but how do you say such things with sounding, I don’t know, like a crazy person? Maybe I’ll make myself a little sign: Do Not Enter; I’m Creating. Tee hee.

The deadline is creeping up on me fast; it’s Thursday. Last week when I was listing deadlines trying to organize myself somewhat to do stories for all these things I want to submit to, it seemed so far away. I was all leisurely with my writing, jotting down thoughts here and there. Working on two and three projects at a time. What the hell was I thinking? I can’t get anything done that way. Then again, I’m rather intimidated at the thought of selecting one project at a time, and working only on that project until it’s complete and then moving on. It’s probably because I have this habit of losing my passion for a project and I move on, then come back to it when/if I’m ready. I guess it’s some sort of weird superstition, but it’s what’s been working for me. However, I have to really crunch if I’m going to finish two stories by Thursday.

I got an email from an editor over the weekend. No acceptance or request for work, but the promise of books and money in the mail this week which I like. This book is hardback so I’ll be giddy over it for days. I can’t wait to see it, to hold the finished project in my hand and sneak off into a room and reread my story in its final form. It’s what I do. Sometimes I wretch at little mistakes I never caught. Sometimes I wretch at the entire story wondering why it even got accepted, but the last book I really enjoyed. I still love that story even with the glaring error.

I’ve been thinking about the novel as well. I’m going to jot down some more notes. It’s becomign more of a love/relationship thing than I had intended, but I’m not going to mess with the process. I’ll just let it be. I’ve run into a problem with the timeline already, though, and have to rethink a major plot occurrence.

Organization

Over the past few days, I have been drafting a plan to write and submit things to various publications. I realized that I’ve sabotaged myself in the past by missing so many deadlines. Even if I printed things up and had them all on the desk, I still somehow managed to let the dates pass me by and then when the publications eventually came out without my having even submitted anything, I was kicking myself. So, I resolve to not let disorganization be the reason I miss out on publishing opportunities. I guess it’s all a part of my attempt to bring some extra cash into the household first and foremost, but also an attempt to keep the writing going. There are a couple of contests I want to submit to, and I have strong ideas for those, I’m just anxious about how it will all go over since I’ve never written for a real contest before. I’ve had strong intentions to, but never quite made it there. I like the stories I’m working on though. Especially one with the classy lady with old time values. It got me to thinking about how my characters come to me and they look a certain way – you know, that whole thing I have with feeling pressured to color my characters black. I could go into a whole spill about that, but I won’t right now. I’ll just say that when my characters come to me for a story, I have these precise visions of them. Sometimes they’re black; sometimes they’re Italian. Sometimes they’re white women with frizzy red hair. I thought it was weird that I saw my characters this way, but why is it weird? Anyway, I recently changed the name of that one story and only then did I realize how drab the original title was. I thought I was being profound as I often do when I go with my one-word titles. The new title is nice and long but it’s interesting and I think it would make someone want to read it.

Hubby printed out the porn story for me and brought it home, but it’s not ready to be sent out. I looked over it and I hadn’t even gotten past the first couple of pages before seeing some glaring mistakes. I can’t let it go like that even if it is just for a porn mag. It’s my writing after all, and therefore my reputation. Speaking of which, I had planned to write a post on integrity yesterday, but never found the energy or motivation. It’s just been a really long, tiresome, dreary week. It’s been storming just about every night, too. I used to enjoy thunderstorms, but now all I worry about is whether or not the thunder is going to wake the kids. My daughter has slept better the last two nights. They’re getting settled into their new daycare situation and they are beat when they get home every day. They collapse at 8 now as opposed to their previous 9 PM bedtime.

So, I’m working steady, getting some writing done every day and I’m proud of that, quite proud.

Sick

I feel like poo. My son had a bit of a stomach bug on Sunday, only then we didn’t think it was a bug. We figured he swallowed something we didn’t get to in time and he began throwing everything up. Nothing horrible, just clear, spit-like vomit. We gave him a small dose of pepto, and he was fine on Monday morning. Fast forward to Monday afternoon. I started feeling queasy. All afternoon I was running back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn’t reach my husband because apparently he as going through the same thing and had gone home. I had to wait ‘til quitting time since I’m still on pro-fucking-bation at the new job. I went home and had a little bit of noodles. Gave the rest to the kids. My son turned his bowl upside down and flung it across the kitchen. Cute. But I wasn’t in the mood. I turned in about 9. Middle of the night, husband and I are taking turns in the bathroom, vomiting and the whole bit. Then daughter woke up. She did this the night before as well and we brought her into our bed. She was all over the place, laying on me, laying on him, her feet and butt in my face. I ate some bread, drank some pedialyte and started feeling better. She and I slept the rest of the night on the sofa.

Meanwhile this morning, husband is still sick and stayed home from work. Son woke up all bright-eyed and bushy tailed after a great 11 hours of sleep. I took them to daycare. He cried and slapped the teacher.

No writing to speak of, too sick, too tired. But my head aches from new ideas for the fiction book trying to fight their way out. So, I’m jotting those down as they come.

The Tortured Artist

It just occurred to me over the weekend how insane we artists must seem to regular folks. Even though I’ve been writing/creating for years, whenever I read about other artists’ experiences, like how their characters would come spend time with them and how they couldn’t rest until they cleared their heads of demanding ideas, I thought it was just them embellishing, you know, being all artsy. Well, I got little more than some notes jotted down in long hand over the weekend, but out of nowhere came another idea for a story.

I was flipping channels yesterday and stopped on one of the sports channels. There was a bull riding contest on (I’m sure that’s not what it’s called). I stopped to take a peek at it because I had been wanting to submit to this anthology and the theme has to do with cow – well – girls. And I’m no Texan. Or cowgirl. So, I thought I’d try and see if I could make something happen, and boy did I! I got this story in my brain that kept evolving and getting better, but at the same time I was sleepy, had a headache and just wanted a nap and try as I might, I couldn’t get to sleep. In my heart of hearts, I knew that the story wanted to be written, wanted to be freed from the clutches of my skull, but somehow I didn’t give in. I didn’t get to sleep either, though. And even though I was risking losing it all by not taking down the notes, I just pushed the story aside for later. I’m going to work on it this morning though. It’s really a snazzy idea if I must say so myself. I wonder if I can pull if off.

I did more character work on the fiction book I’m going to propose. I’m trying to keep things nice and steady and try to avoid going all overboard wit the characters and the story and turn it into something completely different and drive myself crazy.

The babies are finally in permanent daycare! Hallelujah! Hubby will be the one taking them and picking them up because of my hours at work. I got them ready and out the door and still had a few minutes to walk around in my gown watching the news and stuff. It was nice. Here’s

Juggling

I worked steady on the book proposal yesterday, but by the time I got home last night, I felt myself getting bored/frustrated with it, so I pulled back. I worked on a porn story instead, somethng I’ll be submitting to Hulster Fantasies. Suprisingly, I completed it in one sitting! I had most of it written out and was mainly adding detail and more plot. I was surprised at the way the story just flowed. Since my erotica is not normally so hard core, I was afraid the writing would be stilted, like I had to force out the words, but actually, I found myself liking the story. Unfortunately, the places I can submit it is limited, so it will definitely end up being just someone’s one-handed read.

I have a lot of unfinished stuff in my files, books that I’ve written chapters for, stories that I never bothered finishing. I don’t remember at what point I got bored with these things, but reading back over them months, even years later I find myself excited about them again. Maybe I can keep up the juggling act and not lose interest in all my projects. Maybe I can work on them here and there and finish them that way, all the while never getting bored with one particular project. It’s a long shot. But worh a try.

Writing and The Universe

I’m such a Today Show junkie. I tuned it late this morning because when I got work, I well, went straight to work. I turned it on just in time, however, for Ann Curry to interview author Pamela Thomas-Graham about her new mystery, Orange Crushed. Now, I haven’t been into mysteries since Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys (and some Scooby Doo) but I was intrigued that the lead character (and it’s a series) is an African American Woman. I thought to myself, hmm, a white female author with a black female main character – tres interesting. But the more I listened, I realized that the author is a black woman! Why am I surprised? Well, because she is also the CEO of CNBC. I never knew a black woman was the president over there! She did note that people are always surprised to learn that she is the President of a cable network. Anyway, this caused me to tune in even more to what her novel is about, her writing schedule, etc. Her plate is so full! She writes two hours a day beginning at 4 am! She also has kids and (I think) a husband. I feel like such a slacker now. I’m just writing here and there with just no discipline at all. I think this was just the wake call I needed. And on top of learning something I totally never knew before, I’m going to buy the whole series of books (3 so far) when I get some extra money.

She said that Morgan Freeman obtained the rights of Orange Crushed for a movie. Ann asked who she had in mind for the lead and she said she thought Halle Berry would be great. I knew she would say that. It was funny, really, because she commented that there weren’t enough positive images of AA women when she was growing up in books and movies and now that she’s out there with this power, what does she do? She rests the representation of African American women on the shoulders of Halle Berry just like everyone else. How about the other African American actresses who aren’t in every other movie where they need a black female? Give them a chance! Of course nothing’s definite and I’m sure she doesn’t have much to do with casting, but still.

Woo! I sure hopped on my soapbox, didn’t I? I enjoyed the interview, really, I did, and I can’t wait to read the books.

I also worked a lot on this new idea of mine. I hesitate to call it anything for fear of soon losing my fire. I think I’m going to work what I have into a proposal and pitch it and see where it goes. Maybe if I get some positive feedback, I’ll be even more motivated to finish it.

The Creative Process

Today I’m more convinced than ever that the creative process has no rhyme ore reason. I was on my way to work, running late as I have been for the past week taking the kids all the way across town to the sitter. Anyway, my mind was all over the place, work, etc. and suddenly I got this story idea, no a novel idea with characters so rich and alive that I began work on it as soon as I got to work. It’s an urban novel, something I never thought I’d be able to pull off and also feel good about. I’ve written up lots of notes on the characters and some of the possible scenes. I don’t want to run with it since this happens to me a lot with ideas. I call this the honeymoon stage when it seems nothing can go wrong, when I’m all infatuated and excited about the prospects, but when I get into it and the going gets tough, boy do I get going!

I did lots of work yesterday on various porn stories. The ideas just came out of no where and I’m not complaining at all. I’m just hoping that one of these longer projects comes to fruition. It would be so nice.

My husband has the new book in the Dark Tower Series, The Song of Susannah. I read the journal portion. I love reading writer’s journals. It was freaky, though. So much foreshadowing. It was like Stephen King’s life is a Stephen King Novel itself! If it were anyone else, I would wonder if the journal was fabricated or at the least embellished, but I can totally believe this. It was freaky but interesting.

I brought Bird by Bird with me and plan to do some reading on it during my lunch break. Maybe even gain even more inspiration that way.

Here’s to a creative day.