Monday

snoopyThis Monday snuck up on me. I’m not sure what happened to the weekend. Friday afternoon was hot. I remember that. There is no air conditioning in my car and the window don’t roll down. We had to go to appointments in the next city over so the kids and I were well done by the time we got home. Everyone went to bed early.

Saturday I went to visit my folks and my dad fixed the passenger side window so now we have at least one window that rolls down. I took a walk with my camera and took a bunch of pictures but haven’t actually sat down and looked at what I took.

Sunday we went to see Detective Pikachu. It was an okay movie. I probably would have enjoyed it more if we hadn’t missed the first 20 minutes. When we got to the theater we were directed to screen 6. So that is where we went. We waited long past the time for the movie to start. I had a feeling from the moment we sat down that something was off. Soon some nice gentlemen showed up and were really confused because we were in their seats. Turns out screen 6 was showing John Wick 3. (Which I wouldn’t have minded watching too.) Detective Pikachu was actually playing on screen 4 which was on the other side of the theater. Fortunately, our seats were in the very back as you entered so we didn’t disturb anyone else by our late arrival but it still annoyed me that we were sent to the wrong area and I was annoyed at myself for not listening to my gut.

Afterward, we stopped by the bookstore for a couple of new books. My eldest was going through emotions like bored couch potato flipping channels. My youngest found two books and was ready to go home immediately thereafter. We decided to call it a day. Everyone went to bed early last night.

This morning I awoke to the alarm going off and realized I hadn’t packed lunches or any of the things I usually do the night before. Clean clothes had to be pulled out of the dryer and random things stuffed into lunch boxes before everyone head out the door. I am pretty sure we may have even forgotten to let the dog in last night. (Not that she minded. She likes it outside at night because it is cooler and she does have a sheltered place to sleep. She came in for breakfast and wanted right back out.)

I also realized I didn’t do my usual weekend blog post which is why I am writing this on a Monday morning. I am not ready for the responsibility of a new week. I’m going to need extra coffee or something. 524px-S2e8_jake_drinking_hot_tea

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Making Mistakes

Recently I was applying a thick coating of antibiotic cream to an abrasion my eldest error-101407_1920achieved from doing something she realized (in retrospect) was a bad idea. It was while listening to her hiss in pain as she attempted to hold still that I was struck with a thought. Kids are a second chance to learn from your own mistakes.

You see, the thing she did was something I easily could have done once upon a time. I have even considered it before. However, by that time I was old enough to think the idea all of the way through and realise what the end result would probably be. She is still at the age of: “I have an idea! Let’s try it.”

Being a parent of really creative children is a joy and a challenge. They come up with some wonderful insights but they also find their fair share of trouble. Sometimes they find that trouble earlier than they are prepared to deal with it. Mostly it is because they simply haven’t learned to think things through. It can be a hard lesson to learn. Some people never learn it.

doctor-1015624_1920Bumps, bruises, scrapes, and embarrassment help encourage us to look ahead to possible outcomes. This is a good thing for self preservation but it can also be a bad thing if you only weigh the negative outcomes. There is a balance that has to be learned. Sometimes it is worth it to take the chance. Sometimes it is not. The important thing is to think about things before you do them.

I would like to say this is a lesson I know well, but that would be a lie. In some things I am good at looking ahead and going “Nope. Bad Idea. Okay, Plan B…” In other things it never occurs to me. (Hence the three novels currently being worked on all at the same time.) Sometimes I see the mud puddle and jump it without look to see what the ground is like on the other side. That is a good way to lose shoes. (I know from experience.)

If my daughter had thought things through she wouldn’t have gotten hurt. It is a lesson she has learned and will not repeat soon. It also reminded me of my own mistakes and the things I learned.

Parents like to repeat: Look Before You Leap. There is a reason. It is cliche but it is ancient silhouette-1082129_1920wisdom we try to pass on. We try to warn our offspring. Often they don’t listen to the warning and end up making their own mistakes anyway, just as we did.

One day they will grow up and pass that phrase on to their own children, who will roll their eyes and make mistakes. It is part of the learning process. However, if the same mistake keeps getting repeated over and over then the lessons aren’t getting through and it may be time for extra guidance. (Unless you are trying to make something. Then those “mistakes” turn into “drafts” or “experiments.”)

Cat in the freezer

r2d2 lunchThis morning I was packing my son’s lunch when I opened the freezer section of our refrigerator.  I was going for an ice pack, but what I got was the back half of a cat.   Get the gruesome ideas out of your head.  (You can write those thoughts down for later use if you want. I’ll wait.)   It wasn’t a dead mangled cat.

What happened, was at the moment I reached for the door handle our cat, Casper, decided to jump on top of the refrigerator. I opened the door just as his hind refrigeratorlegs came down and completely ruined his landing.   Needless to say we were both surprised.

I was also completely unhelpful as he scrabbled for purchase with cold toes.  I was too busy laughing.  By the time I thought to help, he had made it safely to his original destination.  He had also decided that the top of the refrigerator wasn’t as appealing as he thought and jumped down as soon as I closed the freezer door.

casper napFive minutes later he was in the living room pretending nothing had happened.

Sometimes I feel like that.  I will do something that seemed like a good idea at the time but then I am left wondering “what the heck?” as the world goes unstable under my feet.  Then I am left clawing my way up next to the cereal boxes, waiting for things to settle down so I can go pretend everything is normal.

Life happens like that.

A few posts ago I wrote about the Liebster Award and I cobbled together ten questions for facepalm kittenthose I nominated to answer.  Number 3 was : “What gives you inspiration?”    Now this sounds a lot like “Where do you get your ideas?”    That is a question you never ask a writer.  Writers hate that question.  I hate that question. Ideas are everywhere. Ideas are never the problem.

I know better than to ask this question. So why did I post something so similar to the dreaded “Where do you get your ideas?”.   Well, I meant something else.  Looking at it now, I haven’t the slightest idea what I meant but I know the thought behind the question question_markwas something different.  (I have vague recollections of thinking about taking walks for some reason.  Maybe I meant what do you do to recharge?  I don’t know.)

I was appalled and promptly introduced my head to my desk when I realized how that question sounded.  I had jumped to the refrigerator and landed bottom first into the freezer.  It is too late to take the question back.  There isn’t much I can do except not to repeat that mistake.  (Next time I will have someone else read over questions before I ask them.)vintage_childrens_reading_collection_poster-re1e1e6aba9b4490db9a80226b548ae57_26gc_400

Taking a page from my cat, my cold toes and I are moving on. Lesson Learned.

Bright Lights and epiphanies in editing

rowingIt is a beautiful sunny day and I am sitting on my porch as I write this.  I have missed my porch.  During the Winter it has been too cold and the Spring has been rather wet.  We have had a few good days but for some reason I haven’t made it out to the porch to write.

Possibly because of the glare.  I am having a difficult time seeing the computer screen.  White porch + bright sunlight = low screen visibility.   I have sunglasses….somewhere.  I guess I will just have to make do.

I came out here to work on my Science Fiction novel.  It has been simmering in a box for Alice_in_wonderland_1951awhile now, waiting for me to get around to the next rewrite/edit.  I have this problem with editing…I don’t like to do it.   Part of that is because I don’t really know what to do when it comes to editing.  I know something is wrong.  I can feel that it’s off, but pinpointing exactly what, always gives me trouble.   Some of this is just because I don’t know what questions to ask myself and some of this is lack of practice.  As in most things, the more you do it the better you get.

I have been reading this book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, and it has been a big help.  The other day I actually took my Sci-Fi novel out of its box and started to work on it.  First I re-read it and then I spent thirty minutes starring at the first page.  I knew stuff was wrong.  The second paragraph in was really wrong, but no matter how I turned the page or willed the answer to come to me, I couldn’t figure it out.  So I turned to my friend Jessi and said, “What’s wrong with this sentence right here?”

motivator312687f0669fbfe47c2a3fe4249375fe980cc139She read over the page and pointed out the sentence in question would read easier if I made it into three sentences and the next paragraph could be summed up in one three word sentence.  I looked at again and decide that her suggestions were Pure Genius! After that the rest of the page went smoothly.  Also, I began to notice I repeatedly made similar mistakes on other pages.

I rewrote that first page then went back to compare it to the original.  It was so very much plot holesbetter that it made me excited.  Maybe this editing thing isn’t so bad after all. 🙂

 

Overcoming perfection

I started writing a new book.  The other one is still simmering.  I may pull it out this afternoon to poke at it and see if it is ready for the next edit.

My new book isn’t actually very shinny new.  I’ve had the middle of it tucked away for awhile now, I just didn’t know what it was.  I’ve started at the beginning and am planning on writing all the way through to the end. (You know, like how a story is pretty much supposed to go.)   My problem is that I am getting in my way again.  The part I’ve already done is kind of awesome (in my personal opinion) and I want the rest of it to be awesome too.  This is a problem for a first draft.

First drafts may have awesome bits but the whole thing isn’t going to be spectacular the first time through.  That’s why it’s called a First draft.  I have to give myself permission to possibly screw it up.

It is really hard to write something that cannot be fixed later.  I know that.  I’ve written books before. (Mistakes can always be corrected in the next draft.) However, every single time I write a book I still have to force myself over that same hurdle.  It is okay to not be perfect.  Perfect comes later.

Facepalm mistakes, Sleep, and Knowing Your Characters

So I did it again.  I was writing a post and then hit the wrong button and now it’s gone.  And of course since I pretty much make these up as I go along, it has disappeared into that nothingness void that lost words go to.  I have thought about planning my post out in order to provide some sense of direction. A lot of other people do it, but I finally decided it wouldn’t be as much fun.

….So….about my post…what I had down was something about how I finally managed to get some sleep (quite a bit) and how now that I am awake and functional I don’t know what to write on.

Anyway, to continue on, I finished the latest draft of my current book and now I am letting it sit awhile and cook until I have forgotten most of what I wrote.
To hurry this along I have read three or four books.  (Among them being Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, so if this comes off sounding slightly British that’s why.)

I still haven’t managed to get my book off of my mind.  I keep trying.  However, I have this problem nagging at me that I want to fix even though I really don’t even want to look at that set of characters right now.

It is a big problem. My main character, the one the whole thing revolves around, is two dimensional.  I have to figure out how to flesh her out some.  I guess my problem is that I don’t know her as well as the others even though I should. (How can you write a book about someone and not know them?)

I often have trouble writing female protagonist.  I don’t know why. ( I mean, I am female so that should make it easy right?)  I think it might be that I get bored with them and don’t bother to put enough thought into their creation.  Which is awful, I admit, but now that I’ve recognized the problem I can take steps to fix it.

If characters bored me then they are going to bore the readers, and if readers get bored they either skip bits or stop reading.  So I am going to offer my female protagonists a cup of tea and get to know them better.  (Maybe they won’t even like tea, who knows?)