Tuesday, June 28, 2011

World Building

Why is it that I start working on the world building for my current project and I get inspiration for the project that got shelved?
I'm wondering if it's because I finally found the zone where the creativity is flowing like the Mississippi.
At the moment I have more ideas than I know what to do with. So I write them down in as much detail as I can without getting caught up. Even though I really, REALLY want to work on some of them right away.

I'm doing everything I can to stay focused on Regulator Seven and just get it Finished. There are so many things involved in world building that I forget until I reach that place in the story. Such as 'Hmm, they live in underground hives, where exactly do they get food?' I solved that problem by having a certain amount of hive colonies dedicated to farming. Then came the transportation problem 'How do they get from one hive to another if they can't travel for long periods of time overland because of recurring severe weather conditions?'
Again, had to come up with an underground solution. Still working on it but something very similar to a subway is in the works.

My word count on book one is stuck at 26521 for the moment. That's just the meaty core of the book, the actual sitting and writing out scenes. It doesn't include all the words I've written as notes. It doesn't include the 3ring binder I started to keep up with all the details and all the pages I've filled with research. It doesn't include the pictures I've cut and collaged into that notebook to give myself a clearer picture of my characters and the world they live in. (I'm very visual)
I feel guilty when I don't sit and write but I know I have to give myself a break. I. Am. World. Building.
I need to do these things to give myself a solid foundation. It's work. It counts. Even if I enjoy it and it doesn't feel like work.

I've labeled a page for each issue that I have to deal with in creating a world.
So far this is what I have:
  1. Geography
  2. Climate
  3. Housing
  4. Social Order
  5. Government
  6. Law Enforcement
  7. Communications
  8. Transportation
  9. Economy
  10. Waste Management (in an enclosed environment)
  11. Technology
  12. Religious Beliefs
  13. Education
  14. Medicine
  15. History
  16. Art/Entertainment
  17. Clothing/Fashion
  18. Military
  19. Food/Beverages
  20. Literature
  21. Employment
  22. Weapons Technology

WHEW! That's a lot of stuff! And I know I'm nowhere near finished with the research. Good thing I've given myself a year to finish the first book.
I hope that it'll get a little easier once I get the preliminary building out of the way. Granted, the reader will never see ALL the tiny little details that make the world work. I still need them for frame of reference. So when I need to get my character from one hive to another I'll be able to write it out as if it's no big deal. Once I get done worldbuilding for book one,  I'll have all the foundation pieces in place for easy reference in writing book two.

Yes. There will be a book two. There will be short stories set within the world of Regulator Seven. I love my Main Character and the world she lives in that much. I have to write about it, if only to preserve my sanity.

Maybe it's ambitious. Just a bit. I've never once been accused of lack of vision.

Do you world build?

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Special 40th Birthday Post

A summary of my birthday so far:

Wanted to sleep late--cat woke me at 4am instead
Wanted to stay home and lounge around--ran out of propane for cooking and had to go buy more.
Only put on powder and mascara--too lazy to get all fancied up.
Fixed my hair--well, eh, I wet my hands and ran them over my mop of a coiffure.That counts right?
Couldn't find clean socks so I went sockless, in boots, with my favorite easy to wear dress--Don't Judge Me!

Stopped at the bookstore to buy myself my favorite magazine and ended up buying a cheapie book too--It IS my B-day ya know.
Narrowly avoided buying myself an overpriced, gazillion calorie frappuccino.

While at the grocery I bought enchiladas, chips and soda, cookies & cream ice cream forgot the coffee creamer and almost forgot the propane.(The whole reason I got all dressed up to begin with)---Mmmm, Birthday dinner!

Have answered back to tons of Happy Birthday wishes from friends and family and received homemade cards from my kids.
In moments I will sit down to a dinner cooked by kids instead of me. I made it easy with the frozen enchiladas, lol! I'll have ice cream for desert. (glad I resisted that frappuccino)

I can now call this the best 40th birthday ever.
Hope your day was as good as mine!

Update: to top it all off I got to watch Neil Gaiman read an excerpt of his work at Wits (online at least,lol)
Definitely the best birthday ever!


What gets you writing?
What makes you sit down and begin that new story?
Is it life experience, a chance encounter, a sudden light bulb of inspiration?
Do you wait until the muse is yammering away or do you make the decision that 'today, I am writing and damn the consequences'?

For me lately it has been anger and frustration. Life throws curve balls and you just have to take the chance and swing away. I can't change the situation I'm in without major pain and anguish for everyone involved so, for now, I swing away. I don't know if what I'm writing is brilliant or pure crap.
I'm taking that chance. Writing to relieve the pressure of emotion has always been my way, my haven, the only way to get everything out and not go punch someone in the face who truly deserves it.

I know, you laugh, I'm sure you've had that urge too! Hahahaha!
When I was young I would write poetry, then drop it in the fireplace or tear it into little pieces and flush it down the toilet. I can't explain why it was necessary to destroy my work, that would take too long here. Besides you don't need to hear my sob story, you've probably got your own.
When one of my old friends asked what I write about (years ago) I told her that if she were to read my poetry, she would never speak to me again. I was that harsh in releasing every thought onto the page, even about my supposed friends.
I never kept a diary. Too risky.

Now I write with the intention of releasing it to the world. I'm terrified.
I'm terrified of how others will judge my work. I'm terrified that what I've written will be deliberately misinterpreted.
I'm terrified that you'll hate it.

I'm also excited. I'm finally going for the home run. I'm tuning out the inner critic, that voice of a person from my past who never found anything good about me. I'll swing at that curve ball and hope to send it out of the park.
I'm saying 'today, I am writing and damn the consequences'

My muse is giggling an evil giggle in the background and wringing her hands in that evil genius way.
Concerned about my sanity yet?
Or has your muse handed you the bat and started chanting 'Swing Away!'?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Easily Distracted

Okay, so I get to the writing time, make sure I have all the things in place and the little *before writing* rituals are done, sit down, put my hands on the keyboard aaaaaand.....uh, what's that noise?

Type a few words,
Why does it smell like that in here?

Type a few more words,
I hate that song, gotta change it.

Finish typing the sentence,
Seriously, what is that smell?

Begin typing the next sentence,
Ooh, gotta make note of that for the other project!

Finish next sentence,
Did my phone just beep? wonder if I got a message.*checks phone for the umpteenth time*

Type a few more words,
I can't stand it! What is that noise?!

This happens every time I start writing. Even when I have the crazy inspiration I need to get through the next few chapters. Yes, even when the muse is yelling at me to WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! I wonder if I'm the only person this happens too? Surely not.
Once I get focused I'm fine, I'm in the ZONE. I can write when the wind is screaming around the R.V. in an attempt to blow us over. I can write with the kids fighting, the t.v. blaring, two different radio stations and another t.v. blaring, the cat fussing and the phone ringing every five seconds. Oh, and let's not forget TweetDeck, e-mail, and Facebook notifications popping up.

But until I get to that zone of total focus I am so easily distracted it's not even funny. It doesn't matter what's going on around me. Peace and quiet or chaos and destruction. It takes me a while to find that space in my head, that quiet, undistracted place where I can hear my characters clearly.
The only thing for me to do is tolerate the annoying little things that annoy me and just keep typing. Even if the first few paragraphs are complete and utter drivel. I have to trust that I will find that zone eventually and hope that the words that flow out are as brilliant on review as they seemed to be when I was blindly writing them.

So I keep typing. (ooh, look, the bunnies are out!) and typing (blech, my coffee's gone cold) and typing (did my phone just beep?).

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Chat With The Muse

Do you see your muse as an actual person?
I do. 
We have a very stormy relationship. Sometimes we get along great. The writing flows along, pouring out of my imagination and onto the screen with nary a thought to the outside world. Other times, well, I'll just say she gets all pouty and refuses to help.
On those days it seems nothing I do will please her. Tempting chocolates? nah. Strong coffee and lots of quiet time? nah. A change of music and a quick reread of a favorite paperback? Nope. What? did you get your rag or something? *stink eye directed at me*

I can even see her perched on her cushy, gold velvet covered, imaginary ottoman. Arms crossed, half turned away from me, with a pouty look on her face. 
What did I do this time?
I have no idea. Honest.

So what do I do to get her back in the mood? I can try to ignore her. Doesn't work, I just get more frustrated. Dammit, we have work to do!
Seduction?( would you like a glass of wine, dear? how about a foot rub?) Again, no.

I try conversation, instead. Breakthrough! This is how we get back on track. Communication.
Sometimes the muse wants to talk about things other than work. Like when I'm going to take her somewhere interesting. (We're not so young anymore, my sweet, strip clubs and wild bars for body shots are out of the question)
So I came up with a list of conversation topics to help keep the lines of communication open.

1. Why in the world do you dress that way? (she likes to shock people and get attention)
2. How did you become a muse? (that was an interesting story)
3. What's the best thing about being a muse? (manipulation)
4. Who inspires you? do you have a muse? (she refused to answer that one)
5. When is the best time for you to be inspiring? (varies)
6. Where is your favorite place to go when your not with me? (she only smiled at that one and got all dreamy)

I'm sure you could (and should) come up with your own conversation starters for when your muse stops talking. Don't forget that they need breaks and vacations too. 
On the other hand, don't let your muse bully you either!
You're the writer, the muse works for you.