Monthly Archives: May 2014

Character Shirts

No I am not going to try to sell you shirts I made about my books on CafePress or something.  I was just lying awake last night thinking about what I want to write next for The Dreamcatchers, but I am having a little trouble despite my “Change Something” plan.  Mainly because it is very hard to juggle three main characters.  You know what with the unique personalities and equal page-time (my book version of screen time).  It’s hard to make sure they all have a fairly equal impact on the course of events.

Normally when I’m lying awake at night, I just make up stories about lovable hitmen.  This time I decided to make up a little exercise for myself.  I decided to make some T-shirts for my protagonists.  There would be three each, mainly because three seemed like a good number.  The first would display each character’s greatest fear.  The second would display each character’s greatest desire.  The fun thing about that second one was that I decided to go with a desire the characters themselves might not even know they had.

Why did I choose T-shirts?  Because you can’t fit too much on a shirt.

Full Story

See?  If you try that, you’re only going to get part of the story.

Part of the Story

Since I am notoriously bad at censoring myself, I thought limiting my ramble-prone brain to the confines of a T-shirt would help me….somehow.  No I don’t know why it’s necessary to keep things concise.  It’s just a stupid, insomnia-induced writing exercise, okay?

So, T-shirt 1.  Greatest fear.

Shaina

Afraid to Fail

Cady

Afraid to Try

Eric

Afraid to Slow Down

Second shirt.  Greatest desire.

Shaina:

Confidence Shirt

Cady:

Courage Shirt

Eric:

Closure Shirt

No I wasn’t trying me to make them all start with C, but I’m tickled that they do.

The third shirt was hard.  I just chose three because it’s usually the go-to number for lists and exercises.  At first I was just going to choose a few words that belonged to the characters, but that had me revealing things I wasn’t ready to.  Things I wasn’t even sure about permanently attributing to these characters yet.  So in the end I did something a little different.  I decided to draw stick figures on the shirts.  The figures were placed in a way that I thought would encompass these characters without the use of words.  See what you think.

Shaina:

Shaina's Shirt

Cady:

Cady's Shirt

Eric:

Eric's Shirt

So that’s that.  You might not know much about these characters but now maybe you know a little more?  Without even having to read anything about them.  That’s kinda cool right?  Anyway, feel free to try the Shirt Exercise yourself.  It’s actually a really good way to get you to think, get those creative juices flowing.

That’s all I’ve got.  I get all my best (or is it worst?) blog ideas at 1 AM it seems.

Byyyye!

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Humor, writing

Probably Justifiable Homicide

As many of you probably know, I am a waitress at an Applebee’s.  Some of you might want to ask the question, “Do you have any interesting stories from your time working as a food slave?”

I am so glad you asked!

Yesterday my shift started at 4:00 in the afternoon.  I was one of two people to show up on time.  The other two (i.e. the people who were going to share the burden of the early diners) were both late.  But more on that later.  One of my first tables was a middle-aged couple.  Nothing wrong with that.  The wife was a little flighty.  A little “Okay I want this but without this and with this thing on the side,” if you know what I mean.  But it was fine.

Because we weren’t busy, their food came out in maybe five minutes.  Because we weren’t busy, I checked on them intermittently throughout their meal, ran a drink refill to their table when they needed it, etc.  But boy did they take their time eating.  The husband eventually finished, but the wife was still going, picking at her potatoes like someone had bet her she couldn’t make one bite last half an hour.  But whatever.  Not a problem…usually.  Except remember how some people were late?  Yeah…I picked up two extra tables that I should not have had, and they came at about the same time.  However, I had already dropped the check off at my middle-aged couple’s table, so I didn’t see the harm in quickly stopping to take the drink order of one of my new tables.

Apparently there was harm, because my couple didn’t like waiting two minutes for me to grab the credit card off the table.  They actually flagged down the hostess and had her bring it to me.  She interrupted me at the table I was at to tell me they were complaining.  I was honestly baffled as to why.  People have waited longer than that for me to bring a glass of water out to them – no complaints.  Luckily the table I was at understood, so I ran off to run the credit card (and take off a $5 coupon mind you), and when I went back to their table….no one was sitting there.

At this point I was really confused.  You’re not supposed to give me your credit card then attempt a dine ‘n’ dash.  So I was spinning around in a slow circle trying to find them when the husband waves me over from a different table that is right by the door.  I go and give him his slip and tell him where to sign.  He’s already wearing his sunglasses and I guess he’s sent wifey out to the car to wait for him.  He signs the slip and as he’s walking out the door I pick it up.  A picture of it is below.  Because I’m nice I blacked out all the semi-personal info.  Please note what he wrote on the tip line and also the total of the check.

Douchefag

Yep, that’s a $2.00 tip he didn’t feel I deserved because….??  Um…I really don’t know.  I have messed up before.  I have.  I left one table waiting fifteen minutes once because they weren’t in my section so I forgot all about them.  THAT was bad.  Really bad.  But they still tipped me about 8%.  This guy?  His whole meal went fine.  And both he and his wife were taking their sweet time eating.  But I leave them waiting for three minutes at the very end so I can juggle a couple extra tables?  What bothered me the most was that this guy walked out of the restaurant thinking he’d schooled me.  So I decided to blog about it to make me feel better.  Thanks for reading that rant.  I drew a comic for you (unrelated to this story) as a reward for sticking with me this long.

Writer's-Block-Strip-41

 

2 Comments

Filed under Humor, Uncategorized, writing

Change Something

In my last post I promised that I would talk about my strategy for battling Writer’s Block TM.  I am not going to give you a link to my last post because there is already one hanging out over this post.  (Hint: It’s the one that says “Death and Writing”)

So…my strategy.  It’s pretty simple.  Whenever I get stuck, I try to change something.  Easy, right?

WRONG!

No, I kid.  You’re probably right.  But seriously no it’s not that easy for me.  See if you’re just joining my blog you might not know that I’ve already written The Dreamcatchers twice.  But…now you do know that.  Let me also tell you that it was pretty difficult.  And writing this third version has been the hardest attempt of all.  Because I’m sitting there thinking, Okay, this scene has to go exactly like this.  That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it’s going to be.  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

You see where I’m going with this, right?  I get so set in the way I think it’s “supposed to be” that I forget to stop and say, “Hey, I can change anything I want.  I’m the freaking author!”  So when I get stuck on something, that’s exactly what I do.

For example:

The setting: A dream in which three characters are playing their way across a life-size game board.

The scene: One of the characters is challenged to do a thing.

What it used to be: My main character did the thing.

What I decided to change it to: One of the supporting characters does the thing.

And you know what?  It worked.  It actually improved the flow of the story, in my humble opinion.  I’ve been making a lot of little changes like that to help keep the ball rolling.  Some big changes have been made, too.  And hey, I don’t even know if it’s going to work out in the end.  I might have to edit those changes out later, or change the changes to something else.  But for now it’s helping me get words on the page, and that’s great!  Because that’s my goal right now.  To write and write without worrying so much about nitpicking and harping on every little detail.

I would highly recommend this strategy to anyone who finds themselves getting stuck in the mire.  Really think about what you’re writing and how convinced you are that things have to be exactly the way they are.  You might be surprised at how much better the story works when your wizened old grandpa character is changed into a twenty-something female stripper who goes by the pseudonym “Pretzel Twist.”

Hope that helps!

Byyyye!

P.S. 21,600 words, all handwritten, and counting (I know because my hand felt like it was going to fall off so I took a break to type up everything I’d written.  I did not painstakingly go through my notebooks and count all the words.)

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Humor, writing