Posts Tagged With: Writing

Sum Sunday, July 21, 2013

Thoughts:

  • You know in movies and TV shows, when they’re looking for someone and they look in their bedroom, and the bed is made, and they say, “She never came home last night, her bed hasn’t been slept in”?  Couldn’t it just be that she made her bed before leaving this morning?  How can they tell the difference?  (This has bugged me for years.)

This week in stupid politics:

  • I really try not to get political here, but this really deserved to be highlighted.
  • Utah State Senator Aaron Osmond is trying to end compulsory education in the state of Utah.  “Some parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system,” Osmond wrote. “As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.”
  • So, ending compulsory education is going to magically make parents take responsibility for raising their child?
  • Although, I suppose this would be awesome news for some parents, the ones who struggle to hide and explain away signs of abuse.  No more lying about Timmy falling into a doorknob!  Just keep him locked in the closet, and no one will know he’s missing!

Writing Progress:

  • eh…
  • I spent the beginning of the week on a good writing sprint, then died at the end of the week.  I just can’t seem to get a feel for anything these days.  (More on that in a later post.)

New on Zazzle:  On Bended Knee

What’s Making Me Happy this week:

  • Kids react to “Controversial” Cheerios Commercial. I love how all the kids are very confused about the controversy.

What’s making you happy this week?

Advertisements
Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday, July 14, 2013

Screwdriver

Thoughts:

  • Say you have a flathead screwdriver in your hand, but then you notice that you’re dealing with a Phillips screw.  Why do you now need to change to a Phillips screwdriver?  I mean, the flathead screwdriver will still work (assuming the tip isn’t too wide for the screw).  I never really understood that.  Of course, I’m just as likely to use a butter knife for all my screwing needs…  (Oh, wow….)
  • After listening to a podcast this week where they talked about the movie The Heat, I’m dying to see it.  It doesn’t come to our local theater here until the end of September.  Boo!

Writing Progress:

  • I’ve been doing well this week, keeping up with the Magic Spreadsheet, writing every day.  Yes, indeed…
  • I’ve been reworking a story idea I had years ago – wrote about 15-20k words with my usual MO (strong beginning idea, no middle, rush to the end).  So far, I feel pretty good about it.
  • Random crazy search terms this week:  “Hot Mexican Men,” “Popular Handguns,” and “DEA information.”

What’s Making Me Happy this week:

  • I’m really happy I’m not in the US right now, to be perfectly honest.  Between the abortion circus in Texas and North Carolina, the recent Supreme Court decisions, and the Zimmerman trial, I’m quite glad to be thousands of miles away and not have to hear about it nonstop.  It’s bad enough hearing the bits I do hear…
  • On the flip side, I’m quite happy living in Finland.  According to this recent article in The Atlantic, Finland is home to “people who have for decades opted for equality and security over keeping more of their paychecks.”  I think that’s kind of boiling it down too much, but I’ve often noted that this is more of a “What’s best for everyone” state than a “What’s best for me” state.  The article goes on to say that Finland is “inarguably one of the world’s most generous – and successful – welfare states, the country has a lower infant mortality rate, better school scores, and a far lower poverty rate than the United States, and it’s the second-happiest country on earth.”  There are arguments that Finland has a smaller population than the US and is much less diverse, in terms of race, distribution of wealth, and political views.  All of this is true.  But it’s a damn good country to live in, regardless.

What’s making you happy this week?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Sum Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thoughts:

  • I’ve been trying out a low-carb diet for about a month now. Low carb, not no carb, which means all I’ve really done is cut out the bread, pasta, and potatoes, and not worry so much about the rest. Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:  (1) I have no, repeat NO, cravings. At all. Not for sweets. Not for bread. Nothing. I have always wanted a small sweet after a meal. Not anymore.  (2) I have far more willpower than I thought I would have, probably because I don’t have the cravings. A piece of bread is served with just about everything here in Finland, and I just ignore it. I might notice that it looks like really good bread, but I don’t actually try to find out. I don’t normally have much willpower, so this has been an interesting change…  (3) Without the bread and starch, I’m much more of a lightweight. Two glasses of wine and I’m a little buzzed. Nothing to soak up all that alcohol, I guess.  (4) The one thing I really do miss:  Beer.
  • We had a lovely visit/vacation with Stephen’s parents over the last two weeks, and spent some time both in Stockholm and Helsinki. I’ll be posting about the trip within the next few days.

Funny Sh*t Online:

Writing Progress:

  • ………………

New on Zazzle:

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • We have a dryer! An American couple recently moved back stateside, and we inherited their dryer. I’m excited about it for two reasons.  (1) When getting ready to go on vacation, we don’t need to think ahead 2-3 days to make sure everything is washed and has enough time to dry.  (2) Hopefully, no more crispy towels and tees. Seems that the 100% cotton items get really crunchy with line drying, and I really hate that feeling. I still plan on line drying most of our things, but the towels and tees – into the dryer they go!!

What’s making you happy this week?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thoughts:

  • Stephen’s parents arrived on Monday, and we spent a few days around Rauma before taking the ferry to Stockholm, which is where we are now.  Leaving tomorrow morning for Helsinki, looking forward to more good times!

Writing Progress:

  • *snort*

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • I went out to the Woodland Cemetery in Stockhom yesterday and spent a few hours walking around.  I was at the top of this hill and I saw a deer walking through the headstones.  I didn’t have my zoom lens with me, so I took a photo, hoping I could crop it down if I needed to, then ran down the hill and over to where I saw the deer.  I walked through the hedges, took a photo.  Took two steps, photo, photo.  Three steps, photo.  I figured I’d do that to get as close as possible without spooking the deer.  As it turned out, I could get pretty close – I could have probably gotten closer than I did, but I didn’t see a need to.  He kept his eye on me, but continued munching on the flowers on a grave.  It was very cool.

Deer in Cemetery 1

Deer in Cemetery 2

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday, June 23, 2013

(A few days late, because our internet wasn’t working so well…)

Thoughts:

  • I’ve really sucked at blogging lately, haven’t I?  Which is sad.  I have a couple of Sicily blogs half written, at least 3 kitchen challenges to post, a couple of crafty posts, and I still have half written posts from our trip to France and Ireland (a year later…).  I really need to get to posting…
  • I did an image search for “bread aisle” this week (another weird writer search) and this guy “Asher Roth” kept coming up.  Who the hell is Asher Roth?  According to wikipedia, he’s “an American born rapper from Morrisville, Pennsylvania.”  His debut studio album is titled “Asleep in the Bread Aisle.”
  • Is the use of third person pronouns in front of the person you’re talking about rude? By this, I mean something like the following scenario:  You and your spouse are eating dinner with another friend.  Friend says he likes your favorite TV show, which your spouse doesn’t like.  You turn to your spouse and say, “Now, see, he likes that show.”   I watched the MSNBC interview with Russell Brand and read several comments about it, and some people say that yes, this is very rude.  I do it all the time, and I’ve never considered it rude.  I’m wondering if it’s an American thing?  Or maybe it’s just a case of it being rude because you invited this person to the studio to interview him, and instead of talking to him you’re talking to other people. Please log your view on the poll:

Writing Progress:

  • Not much to report this week.  New story idea popped into my head, and I’m trying to decide what direction to go.  I know it’s wrong, but we have family in town the next couple of weeks, so I doubt I’ll get any writing done, mostly because my head is too busy with other thoughts.  We’ll see.

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • Is there anything in the world more uplifting than a baby (or two) shrieking with laughter?  These two are having entirely too much fun with their new found “toys”:
Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thoughts:

  • The search history of a writer is really something to behold.  I’d love to know what kind of dossier the PRISM program can put together from a writer’s information.  I remember this fun drawg on the blog c’mere, and I think of it every time I do some crazy search.  One day this last week I searched the following terms:  “Assassination attempts on the President,” “Undetectable poisons,” and “Ukranian word for penis.”  Yeah….

Funny Sh*t Online:

Writing Progress:

  • I’ve been listening to this podcast that keeps mentioning a “magic spreadsheet” for writing, so decided to check it out.  It’s kept on Google Docs, and it’s basically a point system to get you to write every day.  I decided to give it a go…then promptly missed three days.  I’m going to keep trying, though, and I hope it makes a difference.
  • I spent most of this week working on a scene outline and back story for a new novel, tentative title:  Assassin. I’ve been bouncing ideas off Stephen all week to see how it looks outside my head, but I still have some kinks to work out.

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • Adobe put together a stunt to promote Creative Days on June 11. “The Adobe pranksters – a photographer and a Photoshop wizard – installed both the digital ad board and several cameras in the stop, then waited for unsuspecting bus patrons to notice themselves get digitally retouched and morphed every which way in real time.”  Very cute, and it happened at a bus stop in Finland!  Embedded video below-
  • 20 hours of sunlight.  Midsummer is next weekend, and then the days will start getting shorter again, but in the meantime, we have very little darkness around here:
Official sunrise on Saturday, June 15th, was 3:56am.  This photo was taken at 3:30am.  Although the sun set at 11:15pm the night before, the time inbetween is officially twilight, as it never really gets dark.

Official sunrise on Saturday, June 15th, was 3:56am. This photo was taken at 3:30am. Although the sun set at 11:15pm the night before, the time in between is officially twilight, as it never really gets dark.

****

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday – June 9, 2013

Thoughts:

  • Last night, I requested that we watch the movie Dune.  It’s in our DVD library, I had never seen it, and I had it in my head that it was similar to Stargate, which I enjoyed.  
  • …It wasn’t.  I hate myself for requesting to see that movie.

Writing Progress:

  • I got a wild hair this week to make one of the ideas in my head into a screenplay instead of a novel.  I’ve never been interested in doing a screenplay before, but the more I thought about it, the better I liked the idea.  Then I thought about it some more, and there’s one particular scene in the beginning of the story that…well, would be ruined if it was film (because it’s kind of a big reveal at the end), so now I’m back to thinking it would be better as a book.  
  • But the whole thing got me thinking about screenplays, and…I don’t know, maybe I’ll give it a go one of these days.

What’s Making Me Happy this week:

  • I’ve been trying to get into running again after the winter.  After my knee injury from…what, 4 years ago?…I’ve had a hard time with any distance over about two miles, when doing more running than walking.  Well, yesterday, I actually did 2.5 miles in 31 minutes.  And I didn’t have any pain in my knee (and even my shin splints were better than they have been over the last couple of weeks).  I was really excited with my time and pace – and I hope to get better.

New on Zazzle:

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday – June 2nd, 2013

Thoughts:

  • Why do people agree to correspondent interviews on The Daily Show when they know they’re just going to be ridiculed? Do they not know what The Daily Show is about (and which way they lean)? My favorites are the ones where the interviewer feeds the interviewees rhetoric back to them, and they do the whole “…*blink*…that’s not…I mean…What I mean is…”, and then they double down. Seriously, this show has been around long enough for them to know better. Unless they’re idiots. Which most of them probably are….
  • Those who know me know that I have a very odd, very specific fear. I’m afraid of driving over bridges over water. It’s not a fear of heights – heights don’t bother me. And I don’t know that it’s necessarily a fear of bridges, because highway overpasses and “mix-master” type bridges don’t bother me. But driving on a bridge over water – an expanse of water more than about 15 feet – is my irrational fear. Walking over it – not a problem. The water itself isn’t a problem – I love being in and on the water. I recently read an article that actually named this phobia – sort of. Gephyrophobia:  a fear of bridges. Now, to be clear, I don’t go out of my way to avoid them. I don’t have to take a tranquilizer to go across them. I don’t have a panic attack, at least not in the truest sense. I just get really tense and freak out a little, inside. It’s worse when I’m driving – I do better when someone else is driving. Probably because I can just close my eyes and not have to see it. The main problem, again, isn’t the height – it’s more a fear of being trapped in a car that is going under water. Is there a named phobia for that? Until there is, I guess I’m just a Gephyrophobic…

Writing Progress:

  • I spent a lot of the week working on the concept for the new book, working out the characters, the main plot line, doing a bit of research. I also wrote a short story that I really like, and it gave me some confidence again in my writing – something that I will admit had faded this year. I’m thinking about working on a novella, and self-pubbing that through Kindle Singles. Just a thought swirling around in my head right now, nothing more…

Photo of the week:  

  • Stephen and I went to the Rauma Water Jumping World Championship today out at the nearby campground. Bicyclists rode down a ramp and jumped into the sea. It was fun to watch, and I’ll be posting a few more photos later this week. Here’s one for now:
Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

What’s Making Me Happy This Week:

  • GeoGuessr. It gives you a random photo from the google car, and you try to determine where you are. Some are easier (photo shows a “Welcome to Melbourne Australia” sign) and some are way harder (surrounded by trees). The higher your score, the better you did. I’m completely addicted.
  • Russian dashcams provide unlimited entertainment, but it usually involves scary crashes or meteors flying across the sky. I came across a different one this week, though, and it’s the “softer” side of Russia. I *love* all the big burly men stopping their car to help little old ladies and animals across the road (although the bit with the baby in the road freaked me the hell out!!).

What’s made you happy in the last week?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday, May 26th

Random Thought:

  • When you do a small home improvement project over the weekend, how many times, on average, do you go to the hardware store?  For me, it’s probably 3-4 times, including the “Oh crap, I got the wrong thing” trip, the “Shoot, I don’t have this item” trip, and the “Argh, I ran out of <whatever>” trip.  So imagine, if you will, having the only hardware store in town not only closed on Sunday, but only open 10am-2pm on Saturday.  Welcome to Rauma, Finland.  Whenever we need to go to the hardware store, we have to make a concerted effort to get moving a little earlier than normal on Saturday…and that’s tough, I’ll tell you!  And if we need to make a return trip…well, it’ll be a few weeks before we finish a project.

Writing Progress:

  • I gave up on the Novel (Working Title:  Again) this week.  Not for good, I hope to get back to it one day, but for now, I was sick of spinning in circles, getting nowhere with the plot.  Going over it day after day, not able to come up with a way forward, was depressing and disheartening, so I finally decided enough was enough.  I was making myself miserable, and damn it, writing was supposed to be The Job I Loved, not torture.  So I’m done with that.
  • Which gave me the freedom to start something new.  An idea that’s been swirling in my head for a while now, about a woman who comes home for her father’s funeral only to find an empty coffin.  Where’s her dad?  And why did he disappear?  I’m in the very early stages of writing down notes and ideas right now, trying to determine where the plot will go.  I’m going to make an active attempt at a detailed outline.  We’ll see how it goes.

What’s Making Me Happy this week:

  • This happened a while back, but did you see the live lip-dub proposal Isaac arranged for his girlfriend Amy?  He’s done a bit of a follow up, and…well, it was raining…on my face.  (Embedded video at the bottom of this page.)
  • For some reason, I keep thinking about the photos my friend Jen posted of her completed nursery.  It’s a beautiful room, calm and simple and not filled with bears/clowns/lambs/birds or painted bubble gum pink or baby blue.  Its a room that can easily grow and change, just like the baby will, but that doesn’t need to.  Plus, how can you not like a room that includes a print above the changing table that says, “I love the shit out of you”?  As an added bonus, she framed a cross-stitch I did for her of a peacock, and she used a pillowcase I sent her that my friend Raumalainen made.  Overall, I’m sure Jen and her baby will both be very happy in that room.

New on Zazzle (image available on many items):

Greek Temple Stretched Canvas Prints
Greek Temple Stretched Canvas Prints by EmbraceLifeBInspired
Check out other Sicily Canvas Prints at zazzle.com

Zazzle is currently having a Memorial Day Promotion:  15% off all products.  Enter the code 15OFFPRODUCT at checkout!

And…the promised video (grab a tissue):

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Joys of Writing – Setting the scene

Show, don’t tell.  Writers and students are told this over and over again starting in third grade.  It’s one of the hardest things we do – creating a scene and putting the reader into it, rather than just relating the scene to them.

I spent the afternoon working on some descriptive scene exercises.  The street was lined with oak trees became: “Spanish moss draped across the canopy of branches, creating a pergola of oak over the street.”  The cornfield was dead became: “Dry, sun-burnt husks wilted on the cornstalks in the late summer heat.”  Linda broke the plate became: “Linda stared down at the white porcelain shards that now created a mosaic within the kitchen sink.”

Then I turned to my current WIP, to take an example of Telling and reworking it to Show.

And I couldn’t find an example.

And that bothers me more than it should.  Because I know there are instances where I’ve done it.  I’m just completely blind to it within my own work.

The WIP is going…well.  But not.  Well, in that I’m Getting There.  Not in that I’m not going to make the deadline I promised myself (and my husband) several months ago.  And that makes me feel a bit like a failure.  Which, of course, affects my writing.  Which further affects the deadline.  Vicious cycle, and all that.

Just keep on keeping on, right?  I’m trying not to get distracted with other writing tasks.  Right now I need to fully finish the story.  Not go back and change my character’s eye color in all the scenes (which will happen).  Not go back and add in descriptive details of the setting (which will happen).  Not go back and check for adverbs (which will happen).  It all needs to be done, but I’ll get halfway through and just have to do it all over again.  Assuming, of course, I actually ever finish the damn story.

I’m really bad about that.  I have polished beginnings for half a dozen books…and none of them are finished.  It’s the endings I need to work on.  The endings I need to actually write.

I’ve always heard that when it comes to editing, books tend to decrease in word count. I don’t have that problem.  I add.  Well, I subtract, too, but I add in a lot of description.  Eyes, hair, make and model of car.  In my first draft, I don’t consider that stuff to be super important (unless specifically tying into the plot).

Hmm…does that mean my first draft isn’t my first draft, but instead is more of a detailed outline?

Wait…does that make me a (gasp!) plotter?!

*sigh*  Back to writing…

So, how about some great advice on Showing, not Telling?  Here are 5 articles that might help you out:

Is there a source you’ve found online to help with writing scene description?  Please share!

Categories: On Writing, Writer Sara Johnson | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.