Saturday, March 31, 2012

Meditation and Book Dreaming

Image by Dapino Colada
Ali Cross over at the writer’s dojo wrote a post on The Beauty Of Book Dreaming.  It’s basically an exercise to help writers reconnect with the story they’re writing.  This type of exercise is more like a meditation – also called book dreaming. 

My WIP has been a total seat of the pants - when inspiration  hits - type of a project.  Recently, I decided to revisit my work and attempt to outline the story before proceeding any further.  At first I had planned on working on my outline this weekend but since I’m not a plotter, I was dreading the drudgery ahead of me.

That is until I read Ali’s post.  Instead what I will do this weekend is dream – book dream for as long as I remain undisturbed.  I haven’t decided how I’ll go about it yet.  For starters I’m quite tempted to lounge in the tub with hot water, light some candles, have music playing in the background - possibly symphonic metal or maybe even classical.  There might be refreshments and something to nosh on within reach.  After all, I’ll be working and need to keep my energy up.  Maybe I should put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign (hand written with a sharpie and scotch taped to the bathroom door).

Next, I’ll focus on my project, breathing deeply and slowly while letting myself fall into the meditation as the “dreaming” begins. My intent will be to drop into the MC, becoming her, seeing through her eyes until there isn’t any distinction between her and I.  What will I see?  How will I feel?  Am I scared?  Confused?  Where will I go next?  And what will I do?

Meditation doesn't come easy for me so I’m hoping that this exercise proves fruitful and leads me to the next part of the MC’s journey.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Should I Include A Prologue?

What is past is prologue. -- William Shakespeare
The first chapter of my WIP isn’t the first chapter at all.  It turned out to be a prologue instead.  The first 2,153 words account for events that happened 42 years before the protagonist enters the scene in chapter one.  Most of the advice given to unpublished writers is to omit the prologue if we want to avoid the slush pile.  The mere mention of the slush pile evokes shivers in most writers, me included.

From what I understand, prologues have gone “out of style”, and to write one now-a-days is just as bad as using clich├ęs.  One of the reasons is that the information given in the prologue can just as easily be incorporated into the story.  Another reason is that writers who use them only do so as a form of padding to add word count, and when removed do not affect the story at all.

The genre I’m working with is Fantasy and it’s important to explain what happened in the past, so that it’s clear to the reader why the protagonist experiences certain events in her timeline.  Although still viewed critically by agents, rules over prologues are a bit more relaxed in the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres.  Agents and publishers understand that with all the world building taking place, which of course differs so greatly from our reality, readers would get lost without proper explanation. 

Even so, I’ve been rethinking my prologue and trying to find ways of cutting it out, by having another character explain the back story in dialogue.  But it’s not so easy to do without the information dump being an obvious information dump.  The prologue does provide a lot of background info that is definitely important to the story but it’s not all of it.  I already planned on having a character provide the extra info and if I were to cut out the prologue that would be too much info dumping.

I’m still working on my first draft so I have some time to decide whether to cut out the prologue or not.  But I’m really attached to it, so I hope it survives the re-write.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Harpy

Vain Harpy by Sandara

Wrapped in bows of false sincerity
Wearing a cloak of silky deceit
Feigning helplessness and gentle ways
She lured him with her guile
Spinning a web of artifice
Dark eyes beckoned and flickered
Ensnared in her clutches
She held him to her bosom
And lavished him with kisses

His sworn oath already given
The deception was revealed
Yet he believed his love would heal
The self-hatred of his beloved tormentor
Displeased with her skin, her color, her girth
Unsure of her beauty and her self-worth
Delusions clouded her thinking as well

Overly suspicious the malicious shrew
Unleashed her claws and animosity grew
Distortions and fabrications pushed and pulled
Contradictions and false affection confused him
He yearned and loathed conflicted
Alienated and devastated he goes on
Resigned to his cruel companion
Underhandedness and duplicity the only exchange
Vindictive and evil her skin shines clear
The harpy thrives and he lives in fear

Monday, March 12, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

I received The Versatile Blogger Award from Magaly over at Pagan Culture.  Magaly is a pretty versatile blogger herself and her blog is pretty nifty too!  Do people even say “nifty” now-a-days?    Anyway, she has a cool blog with lots of witchy stories and sometimes there’s even a princess, so check her out at:

As an award winner I must list seven things about myself and pass the award to fifteen other blogs.

Seven Things About Me

1.       Black is my comfort color.  Most of my wardrobe is black and any color I have will be in the darker hue of the color spectrum: e.g.: blood red, dark purples, dark chocolates.  Totally dislike pastels, the color yellow and most floral prints.
2.       I was in the Goth scene some years ago and I’m still Goth at heart.  Often people say “Goth is about death” but Goth embraces every aspect of life (especially its soulful and darker nature) including death, which helped me stop fearing death and cemeteries.  Prior to that I couldn’t step into a cemetery.  Now I see the peacefulness of the park-like settings and the beauty of the stones, statues and mausoleums instead of feeling irrational fear.
3.       I’m not a seamstress but I put together my Halloween costumes.  Sure, you can see the stitches from the moon but whatever project I’ve set myself to do, I make it work.  Perfect or not I’m proud of my work.
4.       Every time I read an amazing book, I think that my writing can’t compare to such great work and begin to doubt myself as a writer.  Then I get depressed and a few days later I give myself a pep talk and lift my spirits up again.
5.       I don’t drive.  It’s on my list of things to do that I never get around to doing.  I don’t even have a permit and the thought of car insurance makes me squirm because new drivers have really high payments.  Eventually, I’ll have to drive so it remains on the list – like at the bottom of the list.
6.       I’m not musically talented but I love to sing.  My daughter has an ear for music – she taught herself to play the piano.  So my singing is very painful to her, especially when I sing opera.
7.       Many years ago when I took maternity leave, my boss had a temporary assistant take over my duties during my absence.  Unfortunately, before I could return from maternity leave, the girl left on maternity leave.  My boss got rid of my desk chair.  His reasoning:  We both sat on the chair, we both got pregnant and we both went on maternity leave.  Therefore, he deduced that pregnancy is contagious.

Below are the 15 blogs who I’ve passed the award to.