Posts Tagged ‘blog chain’

Wrapping Up The Darkness…

Posted: February 28, 2009 in Uncategorized
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So…voodoo, darkness, demons…rocks fall, everyone dies?  The QT Blog Chain was started by yours truly here, so follow the link to read through the answers to:

What do you do to amp up the conflict?  What pins do you stick in the little voodoo dolls?  How do you torture your characters??? 

I promised at the start of this to answer my own question, but now that I’m here?  It’s no easy thing.    Mary said that character torture is like slowing down to look at car wrecks, which, I have to admit, I do.  Be honest, do you?  And if you’re the type to look away…what else does that say about you? The answers were so varied– Abi used torture to create layers, Michelle shot first and asked questions later, Elana wondered if she tortured her characters ENOUGH, and Heather gave her characters "the final blow to light the powder keg."  Jess said she didn’t consciously torture them…which makes me wonder what her unconscious is planning without her knowledge 😉  Kat tries to make them their own worst enemy, to which I can relate.  Terri worries about her "social filter" (Terri needs to read The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things by JT Leroy…after that her fears will be permanently set to rest).  Everyone had a great answer, but no one seemed to answer the question how I wanted… and to be honest, I’m not sure quite what I wanted to hear. I thought maybe if I had everyone else answer it first, it would help me out, give me some direction. Maybe that’s why I didn’t answer it myself.  I wanted to see where it would go. 

*Enter long pause*   

Maybe that’s it?  Is that why I torture my characters? To see where it will go?  How far they’ll go before they break?  How far *I* can go before I break FOR them?  Kate‘s post quoted a poem by Stephen Crane, which I’m going to repost here, because I think it hits close to what I was going for….

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter-bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

-Stephen Crane

"And because it is my heart."…how much of ourselves do we put in our writing?  How many of our fears end up on the page? Not being rescued in time (as Archy pointed out).  Not being saved.  What happens after?  How do you go on? How much of that world you put on the page is a mirror? 

I also got some great quotes from everyone.  Christine said, "The journey my characters take as they confront the shadows in themselves helps them become conscious."  But my favorite is from Sandra.  "The wounds that I give them will remake them."  The question is, how?  Are they whole now ,made stronger, or are they monsters, missing parts and sewn on bits found along the way–reshaped by what’s been done in the past.  Both are beautiful, but I gravitate towards the flawed ones.  The ones that can’t ever be fully fixed, because they are missing the parts that would make them whole.  And I think that’s how I torture my characters.  I break them down.  I make them almost unfixable, and then I try to show them that the parts they’re missing can be found in others.  And I wait to see if they will seek them out.

I must say, if anything, the answers have forced ME to stretch.  Interesting things in the darkness.  That’s for sure. 

Next Blog Chain goes to HL Dyer

Also, before I go, I wanted to say thank you so much to everyone for the congrats.  You’ve been there for me so much in the past (wow…has it been years?  YEARS plural?  Really?) and understood me in ways others just couldn’t.  I love you guys.


Well, kiddies, it’s another fine day for a Blog Chain and this time the topic belongs to yours truly…hehe…(note to self: find evil laugh) …and honestly, while the last few chains have been fun, they’ve been pretty safe.  Elana covered what you do to get out of a writing funk, and Terri came after to ask if you’ve ever stepped back from writing…and what made you step forward again.  Good topics.  Fun topics.  But if you know me at all, you know I like my fun a little more…shall we say, dark

So come one, come all, step right up!  Don’t be afraid!  Give in to the darkness, reveal your guilty pleasures, the ones you hide in your darkest of hearts.  Pay a sixpense, slide behind the curtain and let’s discuss… CHARACTER TORTURE

Blog Chain Time!

Posted: February 2, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Once again, the lovely ladies of the Query Tracker/ Rally Storm blog chain offer our (very different) takes on a subject.  Terri started out this topic, so follow the link to start at the beginning of the chain!  Another link and thus, another take on the topic, will be added every day! Heather is going after me and her post will be here.

This chain’s topic is:  Have you ever had anything cause you to step back from writing? If so, what was the cause and how long did it take you to get back into the swing of things? If not, do you have any advice for other writers about not letting life get in the way of writing?

Terri was concerned that her question was too much like Elana’s (see my link in the chain here…) about how you get out of a writing funk, but I really thought they were two very different ideas.  

When I was nineteen or so, I had a life changing year.  I met the amazing  , who has singlehandedly done more for my writing than other other person in my life.  We met at the community college we were both going to at the time, and wound up taking a creative writing course together (I use taking in the loosest of terms…Lege was my "guest"…every class.  I think he even started turning in assignments).  For a few glorious months we livesleptatebreathed writing.  We reviewed others work, and used critical thinking to review.  We brainstormed.  We wrote really bad emo poetry.  It was the best of times…. . 

Then I moved cross country. 

  I’d love to say that I missed writing, that I pined for words and had oodles of backlogged stories begging to be penned (we didn’t own a computer), but really?  I found other things to do.  I fell in love with caving, the outdoors.  I camped and rock climbed and trudged up parts of Pike’s Peak, which was LITERALLY our frontyard.  I ran the children’s programs at the cave I worked at and taught kids about geology and read Stellaluna to four-year-olds.  I was young and in love and having fun.

I remember only two things written during that time.  One was a prompt that my friend Jenny and I did.  We told each other three objects that had to be included in our story.  Mine were an ankh, a train and a butterfly wing if I’m not mistaken.  The other thing I wrote was a children’s story about caving.  Someone in our caving club heard the idea and gave me a check for what seemed at the time to be a huge amount of money.  She wanted me to know she supported me, wanted me to work on the story.  It was the first time I was ever paid to write, one of my proudest moments, but I never saw a dime of it.  The money was spent by the ex for paints.  He never illustrated the book though and without that enthusiasm the project died.  In the end though, it was being told in no uncertain terms that I had a good idea that flickered some life back into the writing dream.  When I get published, she’ll be on that acknowledgements page.  I promise.

Time passed.  I wised up, broke up, packed up.  Lege offered me the empty room in his apartment and I came back home.  I still didn’t write.  It took two years or so before I realized I wanted to write a book.  That I wanted to do it for real.  At the same time, that was the way it needed to be.  I don’t think writing gets in the way of life, or life gets in the way of writing.  It may sound corny, but writing IS life and not in the inspirational Nike commercial kind of way, but in the sense that you need to experience things, shake thing up, LIVE and mine those times for all they’re worth. 

I left writing.  I came back.  It was still there.  I don’t think being able to write is something that abandons you or fades away.  It’s something you chose. Something you decide to make important.  Something you fight for, and HARD.  You scrounge minutes, half scenes scribbled at red lights and during nap times.  Life sometimes gets complicated, and we’re forced to step back from writing.  Just make sure you remember to step forward again.

It’s Blog Chain Time again, and this time the topic was picked by Elana.  The question was When you’re in a pool of writing funk, how do you get out?

Basically, when you’re bummed and your writing isn’t going as planned, what do you do to get out of it?  Personally, I’m a ponderer.  I’ll throw some tracks on repeat and zone out.  Sometimes it lasts for a few minutes, other times it lasts for days.  I’ve found that by just clearing my mind and not focusing on the problem, a solution usually comes to me in some way, shape or form.  For a long time while writing Reapers I was really unsure of one of my character’s motivations.  I knew this person was important, I just wasn’t sure how so I kept typing away, not quite knowing what the deal was but making progress. When a song I’d downloaded randomly (I liked other songs by the band) came on, everything snapped into focus and I was able to keep writing.  Sometimes, it’s not that easy, and when the rejections get to be a bit much, and the story’s not flowing, sometimes the best thing to do is something else.  That’s right.  See, there’s a whole world that I sometimes forget about, one that goes on with or without me.  It’s called Real Life.  In it are my family, who’s phonecalls cheer me up (Sorry, Elana, but when I’m bumming I totally call my mom 😉  ) and my very patient friends, who are usually game for a movie or dinner.  Sure, it’s not as exciting as torturing my characters, but sometimes excitement is overrated. 

Now, I’m not sure how this will help you.  See, everyone is different.  You’ve gotta figure out what works for you, and what doesn’t.  That’s part of becoming a stronger writer. 

Elana also requested that we post our favorite funny thing that makes us happy.  For getting out of a bad mood?  For writing? I’m not entirely sure.  The only thing I do know is that most of my favorite quotes, poems, and Youtube videos have made various blog chains in the past.  Last one in my arsenal is
Alright, kiddies! Next up in the chain is Heather!

Blog Chain!

Posted: January 6, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Well, after taking a double chain break, I’m back.  With edits to Reapers and the holidays, it was just too much.  Luckily, the QT group is pretty forgiving… 🙂 So, Abi started off the chain and picked the topic this time, which is….

  • What writing related things have you done in the past?


  • What WIPs are you working on now?


  • Do you have anything brewing for the future?


  • Are you setting any writing goals or resolutions for 2009?
  • GREAT topic!
    So the first question, what writing related things have you done in the past?  2008 began in a strange light.  The novel, my first, that I’d spent all of 2007 working on was starting to look very unshiny.  After spending so much time working on it, I was kind of lost.   I needed something new.   That’s where Reapers came in. 

    What WIPs are you working on now?  I just started to get the ball rolling on Reapers 2 to take my mind off querying…That’s right, guys.  As of this morning, I’m officially querying for Reapers!

    Do you have anything brewing for the future?  I have a feeling 2009 is going to be a very interesting year.  I’m writing away, starting querying and there’s so many positive things happening in my life.  It’s the first time I’ve felt really good about a new year!

    Are you setting any writing goals or resolutions for 2009?  Nope.  I never keep them.  NEVER.  Not even the easy resolutions that I set up JUST so I can reach them.  So this year I’m not doing any, writing or otherwise.  Plus, I’m a seat of the pantser, and forcing myself just to reach a goal usually just leads to rewriting and cut chapters.

    In the blog chain, Terri went before me and Heather’s next! And you can always go back to Abi’s post and follow the chain through from the start!  But how about the rest of you out there in blogland?  What’re you working on? Plans? Goals?

Blog it out, Emo Kid!

Posted: November 20, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Back on the blog chain, Kiddies!   Did you perhaps come here from Terri’s blog?  Are you perhaps headed to Mary’s blog (after reading mine of course)? I’m really excited about this one!  Michelle started it out and so picked the topic which was…

Share a favorite poem, quote, joke, anecdote, or anything of the sort that deals with writing, writers, the publishing industry, or the other strange and unusual tidbits that belong to our little world.

Yay linkspam!!!! Yay for being early so no one stole used this yet!

which is hysterical and pretty much how my stories get written! 

And here’s a link to part of an interview with Bob Moresco who wrote the script for the movie Crash…he’s got some great advice for overcoming writer’s block.

Then there’s the obligatory John Green writing thing, in which John proves himself as awesome as I could ever hope to be with his writing group and shows his brother (and us) a day in the life of a writer.  (sidenote…I can’t help but picture a group of my QT writer friends having pretty much this same convo…and I KNOW I’ve had many many many many of these with the (ex) Roomie)

And saving the best for last… In honor of commencing the rewrite of doom for Reapers here’s a great link to Jackson Pearce’s vlog entry: Revising Is Cake

Sorry this is all videos, but I promise they’re all well worth it!!! And for those of you who can’t watch the videos or don’t want to, I offer up only one quote.  I keep it on my closet door across from my bed so it’s the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I see before I fall asleep.  Unfortunately, it’s attributed to pretty much everyone, so I can’t give proper credit.

..forgive me for going all deep on you, but it’s the best quote I’ve found for writing in a long time, even if it’s not supposed to be. 

"It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music."

QT Bloggage…

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

Time for the blog chain again, (if you’ve come from Terri’s blog HI!) and this week’s question was posed by Archy :

Some people argue that creative people need “angst” to produce good work. Do you? What emotions drive you as a writer? 

Answers under the cut….

QT Bloggage…

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

Time for the blog chain again, (if you’ve come from Terri’s blog HI!) and this week’s question was posed by Archy :

Some people argue that creative people need “angst” to produce good work. Do you? What emotions drive you as a writer? 

Answers under the cut….

Confidence…QT Blog Chain

Posted: October 23, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Blog Chain Post time!!!  I’ve gotta say, I kinda feel like I’ve gotten off easy the last few chains.  Don’t get me wrong, they were great questions but one was on world building and my MC Eden did it for me and the other was on your writer quirks.  This one though…Kate chose the topic and well, here it is.

How as a writer do you find the balance between having too much or too little confidence in your work?

I know right?! 

I’ve been dreading this, watching the date creep closer, knowing I would have to post.  I guess that’s a lack of confidence? 😉  Okay…here goes nuthin…

The Crazy in our House…

Posted: October 15, 2008 in Uncategorized
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So, in reading over the Blog chain post about quirks I did, I realized in my frantic posting while trying to finish Reapers that I didn’t go into my full crazy.  Jess was a little paranoid that she was worse than everyone else, so this is for her.  You are NOT alone, QB!

Everyone’s a little crazy.  There are quirks everyone hides from the public.  But in the interest of honesty, I’m airing my dirty laundy. 

Writing quirks, I haz them.  Cleaning quirks, my roomie haz them.  Heather has been my best friend since about 6th grade or so, and has been there for me through everything since. That being said, I think we were both a little nervous about living together.  See, Heather and I are on opposite ends of the cleaning spectrum.  This has been an interesting adjustment for both of us.

It has bonuses.  I apparently have a self cleaning desk.  This morning I woke up and made my way downstairs.  Last night, there were 2 empty Sprite bottles, a coffee cup, possibly a few candy wrappers, two notebooks with To Do lists and agent notes on them, headphones and a paper plate on my desk.  It is a small desk.  It was veering steadily into the Cluttered column.  But sometime between 2am last night and 9 am this morning, the Self Cleaning Desk completed its scan.  It is trash free, the mouse lined up perfectly, the notebooks organized and all in their drawers.  The headphones had been unplugged. The cord wrapped around them, not hanging off the side.  I have this vision of the Self Cleaning Desk being kind of like the virus sweep the computer does while I sleep.  Sometime after the witching hour, while I’m dreaming of zombie apocolypses with a smile, the computer takes away all the evil parts of my files and restarts, only to come back shiny and perfect.  I thought maybe we’d inherited some kind of Desk Fairies who operated under the same principal and enjoyed the spoils.

Then, I found my laundry.  It was hanging, on HANGERS.  My clothes were no doubt thrown into a tizzy over this… my shirts, they know OF hangers, but so seldom reach that point that hangers are like the Yeti of the clothing world…seldom seen, but widely rumored to exist.  Knowing someone went through your t-shirts is one thing, but undies?  Without notice?!!  I was a bit…offput.  Clearly there were things to be discussed…..but….my work clothes were clean…and I had socks too.  And being as I’d been up late writing, this was kind of nice.  Hmmm….

Then  I found my case of 7up had gone missing.  I feared for its temperature.  See, if you’ve read my last post you know I like my soda warm.  It took some investigating but there it was, stored out of sight and efficiently on the counter.  Still warm.  JUST HOW I LIKE IT. 

This was the moment that I decided I could deal with her quirks ( I know, I’m so selfsacrificing right?).  Heather’s the type who will do all of your dishes because they bother her and then apologize for doing them.  She’s great.  She is the action behind all of my crazy home improvement plans.  Things get DONE because of her, while with me they would get put off until next year.  She is a good kind of crazy.

Then there’s me.  The dark half of the spectrum….which you will be getting later.  Dad came over for an unexpected visit and we got to talking so I have some catching up to do with the writing!