Thursday, February 28, 2013

Busy Hands and Silent Brains

There has been a lot of emotional stuff going on in my family this week. Because of that my brain has been a bit too taped by reality to delve into my fictional worlds and accomplish any kind of writing or editing progress.

But 9:00 still rolls around and the young person in me refuses to let the old person in me sleep. So what do I do with time and a taped out writer's brain? Why I sew of course.

Sewing actually takes a very small chunk of my mental power and yet it keeps my hands sufficiently busy. It's rhythmic and repetitive. It can let me shut down without quite giving in to the day.

As I sit and sew my strands of braided rug together, forming a black, white and blue snail that continues to grow I'm wondering...
Do you have a busy hands hobby that you fall back on in those times when you need to silence your brain?
Busy Hands and Silent Brains

There has been a lot of emotional stuff going on in my family this week. Because of that my brain has been a bit too taped by reality to delve into my fictional worlds and accomplish any kind of writing or editing progress.

But 9:00 still rolls around and the young person in me refuses to let the old person in me sleep. So what do I do with time and a taped out writer's brain? Why I sew of course.

Sewing actually takes a very small chunk of my mental power and yet it keeps my hands sufficiently busy. It's rhythmic and repetitive. It can let me shut down without quite giving in to the day.

As I sit and sew my strands of braided rug together, forming a black, white and blue snail that continues to grow I'm wondering...
Do you have a busy hands hobby that you fall back on in those times when you need to silence your brain?

Friday, February 15, 2013

After The End


I just typed ‘The End’ on my follow-up book in the Born Series, Revolution of The Born. Yes, I do type it every time. I also delete it when a certain majority of the editing is complete.  But after you’ve written 70-100 thousand words, those two really help.

The question is, now what?

Generally speaking the story is never over for me. No matter how many characters are left or how this portion of their story has ended, there is always more. Their voice still plays and they wake up tomorrow to face another day in their literary world. The story goes on, whether or not it is to be written.

So now that I’ve typed ‘The End’ there is only one thing to do. Begin again.

When I’ve just finished a book and I know there will be a sequel to it written at some point, I have to go on. I need to capture their voices as they are today. I need to glimpse that next part of their story and feel the continuity of it as it continues in the next book.

I think this step really helps me as a writer. It helps me be invested in the rest of the story. It helps the next book blend seamlessly with the current one. It also helps the feeling of loss recede as I leave voices I love behind and move on to the next story and new characters (or return to old ones.) I know I’ll be back and when I’m ready to come back and continue I’ll have a voice there, waiting to speak to me and take me back to that place.

Sometimes I write follow up books back to back, but generally I don’t. The next part of their story usually requires time to simmer and develop before I can come back to it with the fervor to finish. I don’t usually have a problem recapturing the pace or setting, even the plot is already forming as I walked away, but it helps to ‘feel’ the characters where they were. There is usually an emotional element to the end of a story and that drives the characters forward. It’s that emotion I want to commit to words while the feeling is fresh inside me.

So after the end I always go back to the beginning and save a file that will be opened in six months or a year. The End is never where the story ends. Not for me.

So, writers, what do you do after ‘The End’? Do you begin the continuation of their story? Or do you move on to new characters and fresh voices right away?

And for the readers, do you like to feel the continuity between follow up books as if the story picks up right where it left off? Or do you approach each book as a new story all its own that has only been built on the elements of a past story? Do you like each book in a series to stand alone? Or rely heavily upon past knowledge?

 

Happy reading and writing everyone!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Musings from the Laundry Pile


Recently my husband switched from a work environment that was super casual to one that is considerably more formal. He’s going from a jeans and henley company to slacks and button down shirts.

For me this also means a change. I will be going from ironing 3 shirts every six months to, well, ironing on a regular basis.

I grew up when home-ec classes had been replaced by sex-ed classes, however my mom was sure to school me in the finer art of ironing. I spent many a Saturday afternoon doing my share of my dad’s slacks and button downs. Yet after a decade of little or no ironing I have to say that it is something a girl can get used to living without.

So, as I stood over the hot iron and prepared my first batch of work clothes for my husband, I thought about what this change would mean to me.

Saturday and Sunday nights ironing isn’t exactly something I would jump at. If you told me I would never have to iron again, I’d be happy. And yet standing there as my feet got sore and my back tired, I had a different feeling about the task at hand. I felt connected.

I realized that maybe I’ve been missing out on something in the casual world we live in. Connection. Because other than using our medical coverage or being in charge of spending the daily earnings, I really haven’t had a personal connection with his work. Now suddenly, there I was, a part of what he was about to do. I was taking care of little details that affect his appearance, thereby influencing perception, thereby adding to his work life. I was once again connected to the man who goes to work every day in an office I rarely see, and I realized that maybe in our drive to be casual we are once again undoing the fabric of our homes. Because as simple as pressing heat into a piece of cloth may be it’s just one way I can support my other half. I am a part of his every day. A little bit of me goes with him and I am aware of that as I stand until my heels ache and my muscles are sore.

Suddenly this reintroduction of ironing to my weekly routine felt a lot less like a chore and a little more like a job. It had value and in that value was a connection I had been missing.

Sure, if you told me tomorrow that I could toss out my iron, I wouldn’t cry. But still, in a strange way I really like being a part of my husband’s work life. It feels good and I’m kind of glad I get to do it once again.

 

Or maybe the heat and steam just went to my brain. We’ll see after another week or two of musings over the ironing board…