Another first. I read the first chapter of my novel (Riveted) to my writing group today. I was nervous because Riveted is so important to me, but I’m glad I took the leap. There was generally positive feedback (good for my soul) and some very insightful advice (good for my writing). While I won’t be taking every piece of advice provided, their feedback helped to identify a few areas for work and additions that I wouldn’t have found on my own. (Thanks guys and gals.)
I have a long weekend ahead of me in which I plan to write, write and write. With luck and hard work I hope to have the second draft complete by the end of the long weekend. Whew, I guess this is the hard work part that other writers are always talking about. I’m glad to say that through the hard work I’m still having fun.
Ok, now for the zombies. Today I read a story on CBC that I had to share…There is a university in Michigan that has a course on surviving the zombie apocalypse. No joke. Apparently the course is actually focused on human reactions to catastrophic events, and the zombie thing is just a part of the course. But that’s enough to get me hooked. Sign me up. This sort of course was what I was always looking for when I took my anthropology degree.
Zombie stories are popular right now. I believe that popularity has a lot to do with our need to find heroes. Sure, zombies are fun and scary but what’s really compelling about these stories, for me, is how the humans in them react to the threat; the emergence of heroes. Finding a way to make your characters heroic can be a challenging and rewarding experience that will teach you a lot about your character and your writing.
Heroism is not the same for every person. For one person it could be leaping in front of a moving truck to save a child. For another it could be walking away from a loved one, allowing them to move on. Heroic acts can be dramatic or quiet; public or anonymous, but they make readers love the character. Zombies aside, how can you test your characters? What challenge can you give them that will cause them to re-evaluate their goals and become heroic. For thirty minutes write about the worst possible situation for your character, then make it worse and watch them react. Happy writing.
I’m not feeling very well today. My stomach is complaining about something and I’ve had trouble keeping warm for most of the day. My fingers are crossed that I’m not coming down with a cold. A cold would put a huge cramp in finishing the second draft of my novel this weekend so I’m doing two things to make sure I have a productive day tomorrow.
- I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour. (Not an easy thing to do with so much work and a self imposed writing schedule staring me down.)
- I’m going to treat myself to a favourite hot tea. (I hope the extra hydration and relaxation will help my body fight off any nasty bug that might be lurking in my system.)
My favourite teas these days are of the chocolate variety. I have three different varieties of chocolate tea in my cupboard (Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Almond and Irish Cream). I use these teas to fight colds and cravings. A warm cup of chocolate tea (while not a replacement for a bar of Lindt or Cadbury goodness while I am in a full chocolate fit) can often stop a chocolate craving in its tracks, saving my waistline. Mmmm chocolate.
I hope that by taking a little time to take care of myself tonight I can make great strides in writing tomorrow. Wish me luck.
Chocolate is all around us, a fact that brings me both despair and happiness. (Happiness for obvious yummy reasons and despair that I will ever fit into a size ten jean.) It can cover nuts, fruit and insects. You can eat it, drink it and rub it into your skin. There is even some evidence that chocolate (in moderation) can benefit your physical and mental health. Imagine what might happen if the part of chocolate that boosts our mood and makes it so popular were discovered and distilled. What if the essence of chocolate became the mood enhancing drug of choice in our population and the government was forced to make chocolate a controlled substance.
(At this point in the exercise, if you love chocolate as much as I do, please take a moment to breath. This is only an exercise, not an actual emergency. If this were an actual chocolate emergency an alarm would sound and instructions would follow. Now, back to your regularly scheduled writing exercise.)
If chocolate became a controlled substance, would you seek a prescription for cocoa? How would the population react? Would there be an underground market for the original product? Would people begin to grow cocoa trees in hydroponic labs? Spend twenty minutes exploring this strange new world, then treat yourself to a cup of tea.
Float Plane to Victoria
I was home for all of one day before I had to fly out again for work. This time to Victoria. I love Victoria. It has history, natural beauty and Vancouver Island holds many great memories from my childhood (thanks Gramma!). What I didn’t love was my manager’s suggestion that I fly to Victoria rather than taking the ferry. <Here I pout.> I wanted to take the ferry because it is nearly two hours of relaxation. Time to read and write. Time to enjoy the scenery. Time to imagine a life on one of the tiny islands. Travel by ferry offers many advantages; chief among them is that a ferry is not a tiny, single propeller plane. Is this a good time to mention I can be a nervous flier?
With the patient help of my loving husband I got over my disappointment at the lost ferry ride and the worry about the plane ride. This a.m. I boarded the above plane and flew to Victoria. As it turns out I had nothing to fear. Flying in the little Otter was actually less frightening for me than a regular commercial plane.
The logical part of my brain knows that I should be more afraid of these little winged beasts than of their larger cousins but my mind has never been one to be convinced by logic. And while there was no time to write on the plane I was still treated to amazing scenery.
My fear was so reduced by the trip that on the return trip I leapt at the offer to sit in the cockpit where I was able to listen to our pilot (and those around us) interact with the tower. All-in-all it was quite fun and I’m glad I didn’t let my fear stop me from having a wonderful new experience.
A fellow flier, curious if I wanted to share my apple.
The conversation between pilots and flight control staff follow a very specific protocol that keeps pilots and their passengers safe. The interaction between a pilot and a tower tells the pilot how high to fly, what conditions to expect and more. Imagine what might happen if all communication was regulated in this way. Walking out your front door would require a detailed plan. You would request permission and guidance on your route to the corner. How would we receive and send these messages? How would it change how people interact? Let you mind explore the idea then spend twenty minutes writing about this very regulated world.