I have a playlist that I use when I’m writing horse-related stories. There are two I’m working on currently, one short story and a novel-length, tentatively entitled The Lady in the Tree. The playlist corresponds approximately to events and characters in the novel and shows their progression through the story.
Excellent presentation by Professor Simon Peyton Jones of Microsoft Research. He provides a seven step process. One enlightening thing he said is to start writing and *then* do your research. The process of writing can help hone what research is necessary (and prevents being bogged down in research).
Neil Gaiman does a lovely recitation of Lewis Carroll’s famous poem, Jabberwocky.
Of course, this can’t be compared to the Muppet version.
I tend to create playlists for stories I’m working on. I have a playlist on Rdio that I created for Lady in the Tree (novel) and also use for Ride Softly (short story). I was helping a friend with her writing project yesterday and we started discussing play lists we make for our characters. Here is my play list for what I’m currently working on.
Deaths seem to be hanging in the air this month. Two of my friends are dealing with the deaths of their fathers. One of them loved their father, the other not so much. Lots of conflicting emotions.
It’s been many years since my Dad died. I still miss him, especially around Father’s Day. This poem was written the day he died (October 1, 1994). I didn’t have a phone at the time, so Mom called the police. They knocked on my door that morning and told me to call Mom since there had been a family emergency.
They said you died this morning.
And yet your presence fills this room–
I can see you clearly at my graduation,
laughing at my bizarre jokes
over dinner at Calhoun’s,
and smiling (finally) at my
choice of boyfriends.
I have not tasted homemade
macaroni and cheese since
I was six when I was
presented with a conglomeration
of leftover cheeses and noodles.
I promptly presented my bowl
back to you.
You ate all of it, with a smiling face
while we laughed–
and secretly swore-off homemade
The night air is cold now and
mosquitoes light on my arm, biting–
even as they did on yearly camping trips
from here to lost and back again.
I have never seen so many ‘Jesus-Christ!’ drivers
nor passed as many gas stations selling maps.
Here, gathered among the living,
you are alive–
telling me orange doesn’t go with argyle
and not to blow dandelion seeds across the lawn.
I clean my room now–
without prompting from
black bag cleanup crews
that would obliterate loved, unused toys.
I loathed giving away,
much less throwing away
until seeing the inheritor
cherish them as much,
and pass them on to another place of joy.
I kept up with the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival for about three weeks. I was on target and felt great about being productive (without writing in tech writer voice for fiction). Unfortunately, Stress hit from various things. And writing screeched to a halt because all I wanted to do after work was either ride, play games, or vegetate.
So. I made good progress on the short story about Isis but haven’t finished it. I’m close, I just need to do it.
The Winter Writing Festival has been a big boost to productivity. I’m not writing as much on the fiction as I would like because of all of the role-play related writing I’ve been doing. Still fiction but kinda a mixture of the technical writing (explaining how to do a scenario is rather like writing a procedure) with the fiction (writing scenario descriptions, battle mechanics, etc.).
Tonight I finished a good draft of one of the scenes my co-GM and I had done a while back for WFRP 3e Eye for an Eye campaign. I’ve written the draft for the expanded dinner scene. Now I get to write up the draft for the chase sequence between the end of Eye for an Eye and the beginning of the Gathering Storm, the next module the party is doing.
I wrote over 1200 words tonight. That’s quite a haul above 500 words! Two points!
Score! I’ve been working on gaming material in addition to the short story, Ride Softly. Play-through of newly written material is worth five points. Monday we had a gaming session and a play through. Definitely a work in progress because we were carefully revising material as we went. However, it was FUN and amazing! The main idea for the boat challenge was my co-GM’s (who is friggin’ brilliant and a great mentor).
Gamers on on the edge of their seats for two hours. Happy dance!
Five points towards my point count — yay! Five points is a big landmark.
In addition to the role play files (which I’ve been updating with our play summary) I’m also back to writing Ride Softly, except this time I’m making a lot of progress. Getting the characters in there, the voice, the mood (very important), and how places smell (or taste). The good stuff that provides intuitive foreshadowing.
So, one more point for Tuesday and Thursday each, and I’m up to 17 points. Score!
Some how 500 words or so seems like such an easy goal. And I did it. I wrote 620 words tonight on Ride Softly. I could go more, but I find myself shifting out of the lyrical writing style and more into a technical writer voice. I’m stopping for the night.
Yay! I did it! One night down, 49 more to go.
I think I can do this.
One of the ladies in my writers’ group at work belongs to the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. She let us know about their Winter Writing Festival, and it sounded like a perfect opportunity. I’ve been wanting to get back into writing more fiction. I miss it. I’ve felt blocked but by stress and too many other things going on. The truth is, I don’t need to go home and watch TV. I should go home, eat dinner (in a less frantic manner), meditate, and then write. Sounds like a much more enjoyable evening, overall.
I just signed up for the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival. Basically, for 50 days you have to write enough to earn 50 points. Each person sets their goals for how they will earn points.
I have these current projects: Lady in the Tree (novel), Shadow Wolf Company (novel), Ride Softy (short story), Perseus and the Pegasi (short story), and Warhammer Fantasy role playing gaming module scenarios. My goal is to get into the habit of daily fiction writing, so I will earn points by:
- Writing 500 words per day (with Saturdays off) for fiction or RPG content: 1 point
- Sprints: 1 point
- Deep edit of 5-10 pages: 1 point
- Finishing Ride Softly (short story): 5 points
- Finishing outline for Lady in the Tree: 5 points
- Revising outline for Shadow Wolf Company: 5 points
- Finishing a play-through of new RPG content: 5 points
At the end of the time, I would like to have two stort stories to send off or several chapters.
Where did October go? I suddenly blinked and it was gone and November is looming large. December isn’t too far behind, judging by the Christmas crap that’s appearing in the stores. (Christmas crap = the tacky decorations that get shoved on unwilling consumers to encourage them to buy buy buy during the ever-extending holiday season.)
I think I lost most of October partially due to shock. October 11 was a very hard day (one year anniversary of Isis’ passing). October 12 even worse (like a morning after hangover). I took the day off and stayed home.
I’ll catch up eventually. So many good things have happened, too, among the painful memories. Kasane is in dressage lessons and is doing great. (Okay, we’ve had one lesson, but it was a very good lesson.) Our riding has been improving and our communication too, most of the time. Although I find when I’m feeling ungrounded (not fully with her when we’re working), our communication tends to take a nose dive. I recognize it though, and refocus and things tend to improve. It’s a work in progress.
The characters are playing. Specifically: one story, Ride Softly, is pounding to be written. I’m seven pages in, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you consider it’s the most fiction I’ve written in a year (much less in two sittings).
It’s Isis’ story, with a twist. When I write her scenes, I have my eyes closed and the tears stream down my face. There are two scenes that were the hardest: when she died and when her body was pulled from the paddock to the front of the barn by the tractor. The one person who has read both scenes was in tears too while reading it. My other friend who started to read it, stopped before the first scene with Isis, handed the story back to me, and said “I can’t.”
This is one of those stories that will be written, set aside, reviewed, and maybe never sent off any where. When I’ve dealt with death before, I’ve always expressed my feelings by writing eulogies or other poems. I must have four or five poems from Dad’s death and funeral. Basette has a poem, so does Ambush. Stella has a catalog of pictures and videos. Isis is the only one who has a short story. It’s like the act of writing transforms her loss into a full expression where I don’t have to explain what it was like. I can say “Read this.”
The funny thing I’m discovering is that the writing is coming back, full force. Definitely no technical writer voice in this story. I’m getting my style back with the voice of the character and finding humor in her outlook. All of these horrible things have happened to her, and she still finds humor in her friends trying to help her feel better.
This story is a pouring forth onto paper of a single event that is nearly the emotional equivalent to the horrible 18 months with 8 funerals (including a funeral on my birthday) so many years ago.
I had to put my writing on hold since last Thursday (yay sinus-migraine!). No reading, writing, or staring at computer screens except at work. The headache finally cleared up enough to consider writing last night after writer’s group.
Pausing the writing process made me feel emotionally bottled — literally like I had hit a pause button. My connection with Kasane was harder to reach for when I worked with her on Saturday and Sunday. That connection is how I sense and work with my mares. When it isn’t present, then things get wonky. It took over 30 minutes of grooming to reestablish it. (Normally that connection is immediately there.) She let me know, too. She had a PTSD flashback to Bad Trainer days and reacted in a way she hasn’t in three years because I was trotting alongside her on a road instead of trotting next to her like we were lunging (in a straight line). We worked through that successfully and she calmed down.
That episode made me realize how important getting this story on paper is.
Tonight, we write.
I’ve always been a writer, and it’s always made sense to me to deal with issues by writing. I was reading through old posts on here and discovered just how much I’ve captured of Isis’ saga on this blog. Same with Basette and Ambush, my old kitties.
A friend here at work suggested pulling Isis’ blog posts into a book to detail exactly what happened to her. Maybe others can learn from what we went through. I know sharing Isis’ story can help others. I just wish there was a happier ending.
It does help to write about these things, to share what has happened. Maybe even sharing how I process the losses of each pet or horse will help others some day deal with the same grief. Each person’s processing is different.
By day, I’m a technical writer: I write things that help people do things. I think that is also why I blog: writing is a way of handling the stress by documenting what happens in the hopes that maybe it will help someone else.
Ever realize you haven’t been writing because of what you used to write about you can’t quite face?
I’ve often complained about the inappropriate armor on female miniatures we use in gaming. Most of the time the figures are scantily clad (especially fighters). Thieves seem to be a little better. Gotta love well-endowed breastplates (aka “boobplate”).
My Dungeon Master from the Saturday night gaming group emailed me a link to a site called “Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor: ladies that kick ass and dress for kicking ass“. The site is full of images of women who look like they are dressed for combat and mean business.
One of the articles has a link to another site with a discussion about why “boobplate” wouldn’t have worked for protective armor: “a href=”http://l-clausewitz.livejournal.com/384382.html”>Why female breastplates don’t need breast-bulges.”
Very useful info when writing about armor for women.