My Cheating Heart

There’s a reason why I don’t read and write at the same time. It’s a dangerous endeavor and I risk being consumed by one love and stumbling along blindly with another. Sometimes it is not a problem and I think, wow this was easy. No need to go on a reading hiatus. I can manage life and books. I can write without being consumed by fictional characters of other novels. Then I undoubtedly come upon a hidden treasure that shakes me to the core. The characters haunt me like ghosts from a past life. They cloud over my vision so that they are all I can see. The closest thing I can compare it to is punch drunk love. You know, when you meet that someone special and your heart skips a beat? You forget to breathe because you are so captivated by their essence. You are elated and terrified that they find you half as appealing as you find them and would give anything just to be in their presence for a moment longer.

That’s what it’s like for me and a really good book. It’s why I don’t read and write. I want my work to have the same addictive, lustful qualities. I want to be consumed by my own art, so much so that everything else ceases to exist. But for me that has never been the case. I love my writing. I am good at it. But it is not easy. I wish I were one of those prodigies, who woke up with a pen in the mouth and started writing Shakespearean sonnets. Some days, I have to force myself to sit at the computer. I have to plead with the characters to come to life. I have to pray to God for inspiration. And after all of that, when I walk away with a single page of edits, I am left feeling like a failure. How can I call myself a writer?

This is why, when I want to get substantial writing done, when I am trying to meet some mental deadline (because those are the only ones that currently exist) I have set for myself, I ban reading. When you are in a serious relationship, they say, you can look, but don’t touch. Right? Well, the problem with looking is that one day something is bound to catch your attention. Something is bound to respond to your inner core, to stir up things inside of you that have been cataleptic inside of you. I pick up one book, enjoy it and toss it aside. It was fun, mildly entertaining, but nothing more. A fling. A fix. But I keep doing that and wham--out of no where I am completely and utterly infatuated with another world, new characters, new relationships. I almost wish it had never happened. I long to be free again—to be able to write my own work with no pesky distractions. There is nothing left to read anyway. I have devoured all the books in the series, the drafts, the teasers. It’s over. But breaking up is a Bitch. Hard to do. And I feel a little guilty for longing so lustfully after another. Will my lifetime partner take me back? Forgive me for straying, especially when we are so close to the happily ever after? I guess I will have to get back to you on that.

Now you think I am crazy, don’t you.

Writers Are People Too....

Just because your favorite actors may make millions a show doesn't mean the writers are. I saw a report that said the AMPTP wanted to offer writers $250 for the rights to post a single episode online for a year. Um...that is embarrassing. That means even if 2 million people download it a day, the writer is still only getting $250. What's worse, is that depending on your official title, you might be lucky to write even a handful of the 24 episodes. It really is a slap in the face considering how much the American public adores these shows. A show like Grey's Anatomy can have between 8 and 13 million viewers a night!

I like this interview because it puts a face to something the average person might not realize. The majority of these people are working class---just like you and me. And just like the crews that Leno and Conan are worrying about...the writers have families too, bills and expenses, and are out of work. This is no different from any other strike. People standing up for a fair deal, for what the need and deserve.

AMPT to the MotherF*in P!!!

You wanna know why the AMPTP had to hire a PR firm that costs more than $250,000 a month to help them "handle" the writer's strike? Because all of their talent walked out. If you are wondering whether it is the actors or the writers that bring your favorite characters to life...I'd say stop. It's like asking which came first: the chicken or the egg? And who cares. The one thin we do know is that the producers don't know squat. If they had any talent at all they wouldn't be producers.

Take a look at this clip from Writer's Guild of America (WGA) on how the AMPTP is handling the strike. And Kudos to Letterman, boo-hiss to Carson Daly, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien (whom no one watches anyway...get real).

Speechless!!! Support the Writers

If you are looking to learn more about the writer's strike check out this site and get the behind the scenes look at what is really going on.

Sweeney Todd - Trailer Official

This may be the first movie by Tim Burton that I like. Well, I said maybe. Not a huge Johnny Depp Fan either. But it looks promising. I like the musical. I love the artistic quality shown in the trailor...and sondheim actually signed off on the main cast! I didn't even know he was still alive. Anyway, hope you enjoy. If you see it Christmas weekend let me know what you think. Kind of creepy for a holiday movie, but's a musical. Oh and be prepared for lots of blood. I heard and I quote, "there's more blood squirting around than in 100 episodes of ER".

Satan's BFF? The Reaper

The Reaper? Have you seen him? No he's not running around in black with a pitchfork or cane or whatever that stupid thing he carries around is. No this guy is a white suburban slacker and he works at the local home and garden store. Confused yet. Yeah, me too.

Imagine Chuck (a hilarious parody on the Best Buy's Geek Squad) and Dead Like Me (an old showtime series?) and you've got CW's Reaper. It has its funny moments. It has it's sick and twisted moments. I watched a couple of episodes and while just wasn't a must have. Maybe it needs more attractive men. :) I mean chuck is a total cutie and Clark Kent and Lex Luther certainly make up for Smallville's rather limited plot line. Maybe all this show needs is a smooth operator.

I don't know. If you've seen the show let me know what you think. It's a little too cheesy for my likes.

Dreams Teach About Character Consistency

So this weekend has been all about the dreams. Once again they have inspired my writing. Last night I had two very different very distinct dreams. I won't go into them in any detail, because, well you probably aren't interested. But I did want to point out a couple of key things upon reflection that I have learned from my dreams.

Every once in a while a plot or a short story idea will come to me in a dream. But honestly, that is rare. And I find that when I try to write about them, the stories are never quite as vivid as the dreams. I think because dreams are very personal. What can be terrifying to you can be dull and boring to someone else. For example, have you ever had a nightmare and tried to share the horrid details with a friend only to have them look at you and say "what's so bad about that?" yeah. me too. This is the same thing. Conveying true horror on the page is sometimes harder than humor. How do you create that same since of dread? How do you make the reader afraid of something they aren't afraid of, because the character is?

But today, what I learned is all about characters and character development. When our loved ones appear in our dreams, sometimes those little traits that we hate about them can appear magnified ten times over. For example, I wouldn't call my mom cheap, but my mom is cheap. She would do anything for a bargain: Get up at dawn, drive across town, carry a bag of coupons, bring her own cups to buffets (okay she doesn't do that at buffets, but she does get a lot of refills at places).

Sometimes this is great. Way to be thrifty. But sometimes it is annoying. Are we really going to haggle over a dollar. Just pay the difference and lets go! So here in my dream as we encounter several different crisis situations, my mom's bargain hunting persona continues to get us into trouble. Even when faced by muggers, she didn't back down. It was annoying but it got me thinking. Do your characters back down in high pressure situations?

Let's say your main character is nosy. And she is taken into questioning by the police in relation to a murder she just happened to witness. And say she's conveniently appeared at the scene of several murder scenes in the past three weeks and the cops are starting to get suspicious. Now lets say the fire alarm goes off at the headquarters and people are filing out to the parking lot. Does your character mull along with the rest of them or use this as an opportunity to search for a record on a suspect that the police haven't even considered yet?

Or maybe even more direct. Your incredibly talkative and charismatic character is being held at gun point. Are they going to freeze up or continue talking even though the person with the weapon has asked them to shut it three times already? They are going to keep going, because it is part of their basic nature. They can't help it.

For me, sometimes I have difficulty here because I have three main characters and am alternating POVs with every chapter. As I edit I find that some characters aren't reacting to things the way they should be. One character is more assertive and aggressive than me and than the other two characters. I have a tendency to downplay those traits and have had to go back and make changes.

So that is my wisdom for today. Consistency is key.

Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix: What You Didn't See

It's that time again...

The Order of the Phoenix (OotP) is is going to be released on DVD soon. I completely forgot about it. I've been watching the movies on ABC Family. They had a different one on each night...and well it just looks so cool on my new plasma TV.

There are some great extras on the TV. They've been showing clips of Tonks around the set. She's funny. Then I found this story on MTV with a few video clips from the DVD as well. So take a look. It's pretty cool. I'll post one on on here--but you will have to follow the link to see them all.

Have fun.

This Harry Potter OotP Clip is Funny...

Early Morning Dreams

Do you ever lie in bed half awake, clinging to dreamworld? I do that a lot and this morning, I was thinking about the second book in my series. Honestly I haven't given it much thought. I left a lot of openings for things to come, but I didn't have a central plot. I realized though it would be stronger if I could share with an agent or editor that this is the first of two or three manuscripts I have in the same world. If it's good, they like stuff like that. I also have been going back and forth on whether or not this should be a series or a trilogy. It is definitely going to take the first two books to set up the story as I originally envisioned it in my head. I just don't know if the set up allows for it.

I mean...most of the series I read anyway there is a driving question that guides the plot. Who is the killer? What is this new supernatural bad ass? Is there a Holy Grail? Look at the Anita Blake Books. When they originally started, the character was chasing a different bad guy in each book. Now, it seems she's just existing. She used to work for the police, but we hardly ever see her do police work in the more recent books. She might stop a bad guy, but really the books are about her staying alive. More soap opera than thriller.

I guess I need to think about that a little more.

The whole point was, while lying in bed, I made some pretty significant progress on the second novel. The more i thought about it, the more it kept unfolding in my head. Finally I jumped up and ran to my office where I have blank sheets of butcher paper pasted all over the walls and just started writing with my sharpie. I was like that guy on Heroes who used to do all the paintings. He would go into a trance and paint the future on canvas. That was me. I was writing so fast, trying to capture everything in my head on paper so that I wouldn't forget. I had notes of things to add into novel one and then questions to ponder on book two. I even have a central plot.

I think.

Oh well. That's just never happened to me, but I feel like these characters are buzzing around in my head and finally telling me what to write instead of me guessing! So cool.