Monday, June 29, 2009

Playing with Characters

I saw an awesome play last night at the Grange. Waiting for MacArthur by Paullette MacDougal. Some of my favorite actor friends from Orcas performed, so the acting was, of course, the best. The play itself stunned me; MacDougal's ability to take four characters and have them develop in believable and amazing ways was wonderful to watch.

As a writer, I get caught up in my characters' lives, and in the back of my mind I have to ask myself, "does this character show change?" and "is it believable?" These are important questions. Sometimes, the writing flows and the character change just happens. My own experiences must help here. Other times, I have to push them along and encourage them to change.

Yet, isn't change a challenge we all face? We must be willing to change and find the courage to show change in our characters' lives as well.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Perfect Weather

Ah, the sunny and breezy days. I love this weather. I suppose I would get tired of an entire year of this, but I cannot help but think I would love many, many days of balmy perfection.

The garden yields peas, garlic scrapes, cherries, and even a few raspberries.

I wanted to have more done on my draft by now, but I am making progress. Recently I found a voice for my protagonist, and I keep discovering more and more about her. This process of discover is worth the effort.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playing Tourist

Today I played tourist with my visiting family. The farmer's market for some strawberries, garlic scrapes and other goodies, watching the very "Orcas" Solstice Parade (complete with a hugging sun), and, finally, a picnic at Cascade Lake and a ride in a rowboat--all reminders why I love living here.

Now, back to the draft at hand!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sad Days

My sweet old cat Toe Toe is dying, and the whole house is in a gloom. She has had a long and excellent life, but it's still hard to let her go.

A picture from about a year ago.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I am getting ready to harvest and enjoy fresh garden peas—something I love every late spring/early summer. Something I love every year like the rhubarb and the strawberries. Later, it will be the raspberries and the potatoes.

I suppose every meal cannot be amazing. Sometimes, dinner is simply a means to satiate hunger. Other times, planning is taken to make a meal extraordinary. Time is well spent and the results are worth every bite.

So what does this have to do with writing?

This evening I had a writing session that moved along with moments of discovery and surprising new directions. It flowed, perhaps not effortlessly, but pretty close to it. I know every time I sit down to write, it will not be perfect spring peas from the garden or some other feast, but, at the very least, it can provide sustenance in another page of my manuscript.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Finding Voice

The project I’m currently working on started out as a screenplay. Over the winter I struggled with the story and the characters. I ended up making many changes. Finally, I found a path and things started to fall into place.

At first I thought the process of converting a screenplay into a novel would be easier than simply starting from scratch. The screenplay emphasizes plot and dialogue. I knew my novel would need a lot more detail. The first person point of view emerged. At this point, I began my search for voice. The writer’s voice, certainly, but I also needed to find the main character’s voice. Today, about 30 pages into the draft, the voice emerged.

It got me to think about the concept of voice. Here’s my thoughts: voice makes writing sing; voice makes a story compelling; voice makes a work unique.
The DNA of story.

I cannot force voice, however. It has to emerge and take on a life of its own.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SOUPUC Sydrome

We’re having an interesting discussion this week on Holly and Jolie’s blogs about sabotaging writing opportunities and procrastination techniques. It’s good to know that I’m not in this alone. According to my fellow writers, everything from shopping to trying out recipes on cooking shows can distract us. I came up with the following:

I generally sabotage myself by having a Sudden Overwhelming Urge to do Previously Undesirable Chores. I call this the SOUPUC Syndrome.

Fortunately I’m not suffering from SOUPUC Sydrome moment. The unusual heat wave makes me feel like I’m melting, and I don’t want to move.

Back to writing!