Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ResoWHAT!?! for 09

I’m post 08. I have been since that fateful day in August. After careful thought about what I want 09 to look like, here is what I’ve come up with:

1) Story ideas are FREE! But I will die of pains of regret if they are never born. My goal is simple: to continuously give birth to my stories in whatever medium or genre they choose to come. (Even if it does turn out to be romantic comedy.)

2) The continued support the Pixies on the creative journey. There is a reason why we all met that particular day. Remembering to encourage through the hard times and celebrate the accomplishments.

That is my ResoWHAT!?


"A malapropism is when you say one thing and mean your mother." (Thanks to Caetano, my nephew, whose birthday it is today.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quote for the Day

"There's a seeker born every minute."

"The trouble with you is you don't believe in what you believe."


Okay, so I admit, the above quotes come from "Fraggle Rock." What, you wanted wisdom from actual humans? You could learn a lot from a Muppet, you know. Seriously.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fortune Cookie Quote

"You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course."

A goal rant, of sorts.

One of the biggest traps an unpublished writer can fall into is the "magical thinking" trap.  The magical thinking trap tells you that one day, the writing fairy will visit you and you will sit down at your keyboard, spit out 100,000 perfect words in a weekend, sell this fabulous story to a publisher (without any pesky agent taking his or her cut) and become famous overnight.  The magical thinking trap tells you that in the meantime, you should call yourself a writer, but not to worry about actually writing anything.  The writing fairy will come, and in the meantime you can just sit back and relax.

Don't deny it - you've had this thought.  We all have, in one form or another.

Last night, I ran into a woman who told me all about the young adult fantasy trilogy she was writing.  When she mentioned she struggled with getting things actually written, I helpfully recommended a class at the Loft to provide a kick in the pants, and some much-needed camaraderie.  To this, the woman responded with all the reasons she couldn't take a class: 70 hour work weeks, volunteering, and several other commitments that left her with "absolutely no time."  She wasn't actually writing at all.

This woman fell into the magical thinking trap, firmly believing she would write the Great American (fantasy) Novel with no work on her part whatsoever.  She was completely committed to the idea, but refused to make it a priority in her life.

The saddest part is that I'm fairly certain she had no idea she was doing this.  I realized (not for the first time) how easy it is to let the craziness of life get in the way of your dreams and goals.  

One of the biggest things I've noticed about those who are highly successful at reaching their goals (becoming a published writer, a CEO, aItalicn Olympic athlete) is that these people keep their eyes focused on their goals at all times.  Even if they must occasionally take a detour, they always come back to the dream.  They make sacrifices, rearrange their schedules, get up at four am, whatever it takes.

The idea is humbling, and motivating.  I've often said I suffer from a lack of applying bottom to chair, that this is the main thing that keeps me from becoming the writer I want to be.  The nice thing about this problem is that it is easy to remedy: Sit.  Place hands on keyboard.  Type.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

On the eve of a New Year, consider what's keeping you from your goals.  What will it take to get you there?  Are you willing to make the sacrifice?  And are you willing to fail, and try again and again until you get there? 

I'll admit that the idea scares me, but I'm not going to dwell on it.  I'm just going to take one day at a time.  Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a chair that needs a bottom . . . 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lady Bug

I received the BEST Christmas gift ever! It is cute, fun and inspirational for penning great stories!! And it cleans house! What more can a girl ask for?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Death Pixionary

(Taken from the glossary of Death Pixie terms contained in the official Death Pixie manual)

Pixie Chix (n.) :Death Pixies of the female sex.
Example: "They wanted me to work tonight, but my Pixie Chix come first."

Hot Off the Brain: (adj.) Unrevised, in purest first draft form. (See Also: "page puke")
Example: "I'm warning you, this is hot off the brain. And I hadn't even had my coffee yet."

New Entry:

Protagony: (n.) The state of extreme unhappiness through which all protagonists must pass as the plot becomes more complicated.
Example: "I think I'll give Cicely about two more chapters of protagony before the climax."

(Note: In some instances, according to context, may also be used to describe the agony the author feels when trying to find a workable plot solution to the protagonist's dilemma.
Example: "God! I'm in total protagony here. How am I supposed to get Cicely and Ander back together before I wrap this puppy up?")

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quote of the Day/WisCon

"Do your best to make it happen."
-- fortune-cookie fortune taped to my laptop

I got that fortune last year, dining with fellow Death Pixies at the Chinese restaurant near our hotel during WisCon. I thought of it last night as I bought my WisCon membership for 2009. How wonderful to think about Spring on a cold December night!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Years ResoWhat?

I must confess, I am the worst at following through with my New Year's Resolutions.
In fact, if anyone would look at my sore card for New Years Resolutions, it would read unfulfilled resolutions 484,384 and fulfilled 2. I think it would be only two (and I am being kind with myself.) So, before I post them for the world (and our select audience) to read, I better think about it long and hard. To be continued....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Plotting a Series?

Does anyone know of good resources about plotting a series? I can find plenty about plotting a stand-alone novel, but not much that addresses the specific challenges of plotting, say, a trilogy-- for example, how do you construct a character arc that stretches over several books? Any tips on handling exposition when you need to remind the reader of all that happened in a previous book? I have read a lot of good series, but wonder if there is any material out there that talks about the craft of writing one. Thanks for any help you can give me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

M T Anderson/ Quote of the Day

I was sad to miss amazing YA author M T Anderson's speech at the Minneapolis Central Library tonight, but happy to catch his interview earlier this evening on MPR. Today's quote comes from that. When asked why he wrote YA he said "Some people are actually children who just happen to be grown up." I thought that was a great explanation :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Years Resolutions, Baby!

Well, Death Pixies (and allies in the blogosphere) it's that time of year again: time for New Years resolutions! What are your writing goals for 2009? Putting them in writing helps to make them concrete and helps us all to encourage each other and keep each other accountable. Post your goals to the blog, put them in the comments of this post, or email them to a friend if you're feeling shy. This is at least our third year of New Years resolutions in the Death Pixies and they are almost as important as kissing somebody at midnight. So, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


“The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of every one in us. Through contemplating these, we evoke their powers in our own lives.”

Joseph Campbell – Power of Myth

Deep Thoughts on a Snow Day

Lately, for my free time I’ve been reading, Joseph Campbell. This is not my first time through Campbell. I first was introduced to his work in AP humanities in 11th grade, studied him in college. I have to admit as an adult, his writings have become more profound. In fact, I venture to say I do understand his ideas far better
While reading, The Power of Myth, today, I was metaphorically hit by a train. In the first 10 pages of the book, Campbell talks about how important stories are to society. The plight of being human is NOT about the seeking the meaning of life but the experience of what it means to be alive.

The meaning for life and death are woven into the mythologies of a culture. There is inherent need for people to understand life and what happens after death. It is through story that helps explain our existence and understand what happens to us in our daily life.

Because our world has been demythologized we are left with particular rites of passage for childhood to adulthood. Leaving youth to emulate gangster culture, gossip girl and sex and city culture and other stories they see on television.

All of this brings to my point:
How important writers and storytellers are to our society. We have been given the gift to create worlds and to pen stories that will help people understand themselves and the world better.
We are in an amazing time period to be spec fiction writers. People are hungry for these stories!
As oracles we should use our gift wisely.

(P.S. This thought has inspired not only to write more but to actually FINISH my stories!!!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Do you write what you would most like to read or what you find most amusing to write?

These are often different for me and sometimes opposite. It's easy and fun to write horror and anything gory, but I would never, ever read it. I like to read happy endings, I like to write miserable stories where everyone dies dramatically. I come up with concepts that make me chortle while I type, but which I personally would skim. Do you have this issue? What do you do?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Joss Whedon on Heroines

Here's a link to Sheerly Avni's interview with Joss Whedon for Mother Jones (from there you can download a podcast of their conversation). He speaks to a few of the issues related to movies, television shows and comics with female protagonists, as well as the basics of telling a great story. Let's just say he's a man with a mission who's work always fulfills the Bechdel Rule.

Can't wait for the premier of Dollhouse in January!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Black Swan Turning Points

Just wanted to point out an interesting conversation going on about turning points at Jennifer Crusie's website. Crusie defines a turning point as "an event that swings the story in a new direction, moving the protagonist to change so much that she can’t return to where she was at the beginning."