Sunday, June 6, 2010


For those familiar with my earlier fanfic writing phase (not too many of those around now o.o) I have ALWAYS used music as inspiration for what I write. Always. And I always have a secret stash of songs that fit perfectly for what I'm writing, to haul out for re-kindling muse when I need it most. I have a ton of those for this work too, and they seem to be piling up on me. While creating a playlist for myself, I decided I might as well share these songs :) Some of them are so perfect for the story it's scary, and they are all about different characters, parts or aspects of the story. And so here is a (partial) list. More will most definitely be added as the story evolves.

Character Songs

Lovers Walk - Elvis Costello
I Will Survive - Cake (yes, THIS version. It's Nish all over)
Bad Romance - Lady GaGa
Shy - Ani Difranco
Overlap - Ani Difranco
Falling Is Like This - Ani Difranco
Untouchable Face - Ani Difranco
Crucify - Tori Amos
Them vs. You vs. Me - Finger Eleven
Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground - The White Stripes
Bad - U2
Stay (Faraway, So Close) - U2

The entire album 'Lost and Gone Forever' by Guster, but especially:

Either Way
I Spy
Two Points For Honesty

Story Theme Songs

Buildings and Bridges - Ani Difranco
Out of Range - Ani Difranco
Both Hands- Ani Difranco
For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
Mahna Mahna - Cake
Mad World - Roland Orzabal
Tainted Love - Marlyn Manson (ONLY this version)
Thousand Mile Wish - Finger Eleven
One Thing - Finger Eleven
Blue Orchid - The White Stripes
Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones
Rock'n'Roll Part 2 - Glitter
Lay It Down Slow - Spiritualized

This vid for 'Two Points For Honesty (Guster)' is absolutely perfect...the pictures are great muse enhancers and a lot of them go with the theme of the story :D

That's it for now, but there'll more later, I'm sure. This is what's in my iPod at the moment though, and what I listen to to refill my muse-o-meter ^_^

Thursday, June 3, 2010


As promised, here is my All Dialogue scene. I wrote this about two years ago as a stand-alone vignette for my character Nis'ku. I would set up the scene, but that would defeat the purpose of posting it. I want to see what people think is going on and what history these two characters have. This is one of my favorite things that I've written, and I did most of it on the bus on the way home from work. On a napkin. (and it's unedited, if you're wondering about punctuation)

Hello, James...


Don't Call me that

Still so angry?

You're an asshole

Nice to know you still care; what is that, iced tea?

Yep; my break

Be my guest

god, James, you're not still drinking, are you?

And you're not...

I've been on the program ever since you...left

I didn't leave you, Nish...ka; dammit, would you stop looking at me like that?

Like what?

Like you want to kill me...

You did leave me James, you left me the second you walked into that bar!

Would you keep your fucking voice down?

Your turn

Where are you going?

To get a drink

But you already have - hey, what is that, scotch?


But you don't drink whiskey

I do now

Thought you were on the program?

Do you have any idea what day it is?

Yeahh, it's June- shit, it's our aniversary, isn't it?

You're so full of yourself

Nis'ku, you've got to stop this, you remember last time...

There's no way I can forget that James, believe me, I've tried

That was cold

Are you going to play or not?


So...where is she?


Paris Hilton

Lay off Nis'ku, she's not that bad...

How old is she, twelve? Couldn't go out on a school night, could she?

She's twenty-two Nis'ku, and going to University

Funny, I didn't know you needed a degree for prostitution these days

Alright that's enough; you want to attack me that's fine, but leave her out of this. Are you always this hostile now?

I save it all for you, James

So...did you bring her?

Ohh yeah, I just left her out in the car with the window rolled down


Well what did you expect, dumbass? Of course I didn't bring a baby all this way. She's staying with a friend for the weekend.

When can I see her?

On her eighteenth birthday

Now you know that's not fair...

No, what's not fair is you proposing to me and then going out and-

I think we've covered that...

I hope you don't think I've ruled out homicide by now

See, there's that sense of humor I missed


So did you find anyone else yet, or...

Ohh wow! That's none of your business!

Just thought I'd ask

You know, maybe this wasn't such a good idea...

I wanted to see you

That's why it's not a good idea

No, what's not a good idea is you downing your second whiskey in half an hour

I'll say confession in the morning

You're really leaving? We haven't finished the gam-

Eight ball, corner pocket


I should go

Where are you staying?

Why, you want to tuck me in?

I might be persuaded...


Had to try

I shouldn't have come

I'm glad you came

I'll...I'll call you when I get back

I still want to see her

I'll think about it

I may yet salvage parts of it, though I've decided to nix the James character in the novel. At least for now. There's to much going on already for her with Stephen and Rory. And even their involvement is in a state of flux. All that previous plotting I did in the first few entries? I'm changing a lot of it now. But a lot of it will stay the same too.

More to come!

Class Four and Five

Yes, I know, I skipped one. No post for last class.

I've run into a bit of a snag, and that snag involves a video game console.

Hereafter lies my confession: I've spent much of the past few days (week) playing Nintendo. I now hang my head in shame *hangs head*

I am, after all, the Queen of Procrastinationland, and this is that side of me rearing its ugly head.

I have all the time in the world now to write, being off work for what may end up being the entire summer, and this means that I find all kinds of other things I can be doing besides writing. After all, I now have all kinds of time to play Zelda now too :P

I realized it today, as I was finishing the Fire Temple in my all-time favorite video game 'Ocarina of Time'. It was three in the afternoon, I was still in my pajamas, and I hadn't even turned on my computer to check my email. Video games and me are a dangerous obsession...once I start playing a game, it's very difficult to tear me away from it until I've finished the entire thing. And this is especially true with this particular game.

And so, this is my confession. I'm wasting valuable writing time by playing video games. It is now Thursday night, and my weekly class came as a delightful wakeup call that I SHOULD BE WRITING MORE! Every class I go to gives me a fresh infusion of muse, and this one was no different.

Last week we discussed plotting and pacing. I loved some of the techniques she taught us for the plotting process. Because a lot of stories start with a very small thing (a scene or a thought or a concept), constructing a whole novel out of it is difficult. Having a plot or outline is useful for organizing thoughts and filling in blanks. I already wrote one outline that I've almost completely scrapped by now. I'm in the process of rewriting it again, since during the course of the class I've decided to re-order and change things to be a little more dramatic.

Now she said not all writers do this, and some just sit down and write and see where the characters take the story. I like that, but I also prefer to have at least an idea of where I'm going with the story before I get to each part of the plot.

So there's the bulleted list outline, that outlines each major event in the story so that the author has something to follow (that's what I did, and what I'll probly do again for my second outline). There's also the Scene-Sequel structure...which is what I'll be using for the middle of my novel. When she explained it, I had a clear image of Prison Break episodes - each episode begins with a 'SEQUEL 'of the previous episode, usually about the first quarter of the show, and then ends with the 'SCENE' for that episode (each episode was a mini cliffhanger). The next episode would be the sequel to the previous one, and so on. Here is what they are (courtesy of Nancy's notes):


"An event occurs, with a physical and emotional cause. The viewpoint character will have a short term goal, but face opposition. When he can't achieve this goal, his long-term goal will be put in jeopardy (disaster)"


"The impact is a physical and emotional effect. This forces the character to feel emotion (react), then think about doing something differently that will allow him to achieve his goal, and make a decision about which action to take. This action will be the next SCENE."

Thank you, Nancy. This is...indispensable advice for novel structure. I shall treasure it always.

The other big thing I took out of that class was this:

Novel Breakdown:

Beginning = 1/4
Middle = 1/2
End = 1/4

It simple,'s so incredibly useful. I never knew this before, never knew how long each section should be and what should be in them. She also gave us notes on what should be included in each section (beginning is for setting up the plot and characters, middle is the meat of the story, ending is for tying up all plots) with enough detail that it gave me the direction I sorely need.

THIS is why I took this class :D *hugs notes* I have story, and now I have structure. I may now write.

Today's class was about dialogue and how to handle it amid the prose and story.

I think...a lot of this class was review for me, and I think my 4+ years on the board gave me a lot of practise and experience with realistic dialogue. I often like to 'act out' difficult scenes...say the dialogue to myself as if I AM the characters to make sure it sounds right before I write it down (and if I'm lazy and I don't do this, it shows, and it comes out horribly).

I also like to do this one thing that she talked about, and that's writing an entire scene with ONLY dialogue, and then add the prose around it later (or not). She said that the dialogue should be strong enough to stand on its own without the other clutter around it, and I definitely agree with that. Later, I'll post up one scene I had written with only dialogue, which I love and I was thinking about the entire time she was telling us about dialog. It was a stand-alone vignette using Nish and her ex that would have absolutely no place in this novel I'm attempting, but I still love it for what it is.

We also had the opportunity to listen to her sister, Lesley Crewe, who is a published Bestselling Canadian Author :D I LOVED listening to her talk about novel writing and the business and the drive to write. How you need to first write for yourself before you even think of whatever audience you might have later. She painted a pretty bleak picture of the industry, but she was very encouraging to us aspiring novelists. I definitely want to get some of her books now and read them, the only Canadian author that I regularly read right now is Miriam Toews, so I'd love to get more Canucks on my bookshelf, and support the Canadian novel industry.

And so, I now have no excuse for not writing now. I need to turn off the Nintendo and force myself to keep to a word count every day. I need to find self discipline and focus. And I need to do it week is the last class o.o

*separation anxiety* I think I'll need to beg my classmates for contact info. Maybe we can organize a writing group :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Third 'Class'

I didn't actually make it to today's class, but I did get my assignment in on time :) It was the 'first page' of the novel which she scrutinized for content and character development. Aaaand aside from a few minor tweaks, she really liked it :D She said I had a very well developed character in Nis'ku and interesting backstory that can be peppered throughout the story.

So I'm happy :D Now my new assignment is to create a character chart, outlining my main character's 'Goals, Motivations and Conflicts' that will carry the story. I know all of these, for sure, but wording them right will be a challenge!

I'm up to it though! I will prevail :D For now, here's the 'First Page' I submitted that she liked (except for a few tweaks that I'll add later).

“My name is Nis’ku, and I’m an alcoholic.”

The room around her was quiet, but restless. Some of the others were giving her their full attention, staring at her in a way that she’d hated since the first time she spoke at a meeting, and others were looking away, staring off into space or sitting with their eyes closed, listening blindly. She looked back down at her hands in her lap, watching her thumbnail scrape back and forth across her palm in a slow, steady rhythm.

“I’ve been sober for three years and five months,” she said, tempted to add in the days, hours, minutes, seconds. She was proud of each one of them, because even now, after so long on the program, they were each their own tiny battle. Some of which she’d lost.

“That…that’s not true,” she sighed, looking away from the others, unwilling to see whatever expressions they may be showing now. “It’s actually been six days.”

The very first meeting she’d attended, then a strung-out twenty year old angry at everything, she’d used a truly anonymous name. A mask she wore at all subsequent meetings until she’d constructed a completely false self that had been safe to share. She’d construct stories about a fictional family and a fictional father who beat her, when in reality it had been her addict boyfriend who had put her in the hospital the week before. She couldn’t give him up even then, even when the police had tried to drag out of her what had really happened. She couldn’t admit to what he’d done to her, any more than she could admit that she, Nis’ku, was the alcoholic, and not the anonymous ‘Sarah’ that she had created. She’d loved him too much. Loved it too much. She still hadn’t come to the point of letting go, and so Sarah got the help and not Nis’ku, and it was a simple matter for Nis’ku to return to the bottle when Sarah finally crumbled under the weight of her own lies.

Now, five years later and sitting under the weight of accountability and her own failed confession, she wished she’d just stuck with Sarah. Or Jane. Jane was a nice, nondescript name.

Until next time! Let me know what you all think, I love feedback (good or bad!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Second Class

So I sent in my prologue and 'first line' to Nancy last week, and got it back yesterday. I'm quite happy with what she said about it, despite the fact that she said it wasn't needed. The prologue, while it was good and interesting, is kind of superfluous. When I sent it to her I told her that I was dubious about including it as a prologue, and listed my problems with it (like it's from the wrong POV, I'll be going over the same information later in the story, etc.) and she pretty well agreed with me. I liked it because I think I wrote it well, but it just didn't belong. It's back-story that should be cut.

So that's great. And she liked my first line, and I like it too, so it stays ^_^

My assignment this week is to write the first page of my novel. This will be the official start of my writing of the novel, for me, so I'm going to write as much as I possibly can. She only wants the first page though, so I'm a little nervous.

One page, double spaced, 12pt font, Times New Roman.


To me, that's like...a paragraph *lol* well, maybe three. She said that it will 'force you to be concise in your writing' and I'm all o.o thaaaat's juuuuust great. I get one double-spaced 12pt page to wow her with. Great.

On the up side, she did like the prologue I wrote (the prologue that's being scrapped), though she did have a few notes about style that I'll be paying attention to. She's also going to be watching that we take her 'show, don't tell' lesson to heart. She said (and I heartily agree) that the best way to tell a story is by not giving away EVERYTHING. Let the reader deduce things like emotions and thoughts from a character's actions. For instance, if someone's angry, don't say 'She was angry'. Instead, say 'She slammed the door, stalking towards the kitchen and ripping open the fridge door' or something like that. The reader gets it. She's angry. We don't need to become Captain Obvious ^_^

Did I mention I love this class?

We also spoke about character archetypes and how each of them behave. I discovered that Nis'ku is a blend of the Spunky Kid (Girl Next Door) and the Crusader (Rescuer) archetypes. Max, however, will be a progressive archetype: she will begin as a blend of the Boss (Trailblazer) and Seductress (Dark Lady) archetypes, and end up by the end of the novel, as the Nurturer (Caregiver) archetype. At least, that's the theory ^_^ I've already decided Rory is the Best Friend (Confidant) type and Stephen is a blend of Bad Boy (Rebel) and Lost Soul (Outcast), but haven't gotten to Holden yet. I'm thinking he will be 'book two', so I have plenty of time to figure him out ;)

All of these archetypes are outlined in a book 'Heroes & Heroines - Sixteen Master Archetypes' by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders. I wanna see if I can find it somewhere 'cause it sounds awesome. There's another she recommended that I want, 'Goal, Motivation & Conflict - The Building Blocks of Good Fiction' by Debra Dixon, but she thinks it's probly out of print o.o (I just looked for it, and it's about $200 on amazon. I kid you not)

So I have writing to do :)

...I also I have to put the garbage out. And it's midnight o.o

More later ^_^

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to the Writing!

I started my writing course 'Crafting a Novel' last week. (I am now finished work, so I actually have time to write now!) I'll be taking it every Thursday until the second week of June. I've only been to one class and I'm already inspired by it! It seems to me it'll be a good course for guidance and such. The teacher Nancy, is a published author who is willing to share with us the tricks of the trade that us budding (hopeful!) novelists need to know about the industry and the actual writing of a novel. I am most excited that she will be reading some of what we write and providing feedback on style and other things that editors and publishers look for when picking up new authors.

I'm. Very. Excited.

I am on the fence about a prologue too. It's a piece I'd written many many moons ago (in 2008 I believe) as a 'flashback' for the character Nis'ku. I have several of these snapshots of her life before her work, and I was thinking I could polish/rewrite them so they can be...perhaps interludes between crucial sections of the story. I like the way Jodi Picoult does that...her stories aren't always completely linear, she sometimes sets separate chapters in a different timeframe (orienting the reader with the date at the beginning of the chapter, I include the exact date and the age of the protagonist). They're scenes from the past that have direct influence on what's happening in the present and...I have them already written :D I'll wait to see what she says about it though, but I'm tipping towards the 'use them' side of the fence. Before that class I hadn't even thought to include them in the novel.

Sooo starting this week I'm going to give myself a daily word count. I'm thinking of starting off with 1k per day, and moving up to 2k or more depending on how well I do. I want to wait for my first 'assignment' to come back with comments (she wanted the first line of our novels) but I know that's a cop out, and I can always rewrite, so I will just write.

So that's where I'm at :) Today I had an outing of a lecture at the college, dealing with social media types and their application in the college environment (Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Alexa, etc.). It was quite interesting and I had a great time learning stuff I didn't know before :D Buuut now I gotta get to work on writing :P I'm gonna aim for 1k or 5 pages, whichever ends the thought first ^_^

Behind! Always behind!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Life Changes Hindering Writing...

So I've been away for a while. I've started working 10 hour days lately, and will be doing so until the second week of May, but there's a bright spot at the end of that time - I'll be taking some time off. It's sort of a 'have to' thing, being that my contract with the college will be over until the fall, but I'm glad I'll have some time to myself. My search for a summer job has been quite fruitless, and so I've decided to give myself a little time to reflect and possibly take a course while I figure out what to do with myself. I'll be back to work for sure in the fall, but hopefully find a second part time job as early as June or July. There just aren't any jobs right now for a unilingual English Library Technician out there :(

Also, I've been away because of sadder reasons. My hamster died this past weekend, in the wee hours of the 18th, and so I've been steadily working through the grieving process of that. I'm a lot better now than I was, but it's still taken a lot of the wind out of my muse's sails. That, combined with my extremely long working hours has made me a zombie whenever I do have some computer time, and so my novel has temporarily been put on hold.

I do, however, have big plans. I plan to work on my novel every single day, starting when my contract ends for this term (early May). I plan to spend my days writing and napping and working out on Wii Fit and walking and searching the internet for jobs in my field. I hope, by the time I do go back to work, to have at least a partially completed manuscript, if not an entire rough draft. I also plan to document my progress here, so as to be accountable to something other than myself ^_^

I've also paused in my writing for Suite 101, although I have managed to punch out two articles in the past two weeks and outline a few more for later writing. Being so tired after work has made it almost impossible to write interesting articles, but I found a few that were pretty easy to write, so I managed to publish a little. My revenue has made it up to $1.47, but I know I'll have to work on more 'moneymaker' articles than simply 'ohh, I wanna write about this topic I like' articles. That would of course, require brain power, which I'm quite short on at the moment!

All in all I'm hanging in here. I'll be back to my normal inspired self in a few weeks. Novel is quietly simmering on the backburner though, and while my muse is very tired at the moment, it's still there.