Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sometimes staying drunk doesn't work

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." ~Ray Bradbury

I love the above quote. I have it printed out next to my desk in my library. I have it tagged as a favorite quote on FaceBook, I have seriously contemplated adding it as a tag line on my electronic signature.

Alas, sometimes it just don’t work.

Sometimes, there simply is no way to stay so immersed in the world of writing that the arrows and rocks of the real world don’t drag you under. This is one of those weeks.

For those of you out there who don’t know, I work at SDSU (financial aid), and this is hell week. Ok, maybe not a recognized, official hell week- but it’s the week prior to the intent to enroll for all new students, the students from this year are just now realizing they’ve run out of money, and all of them are determined to take summer classes. In other words, it’s a wee bit of a mad house and I leave work each day feeling like I’ve gone thirty rounds with a trained fighter, but really was only conscious for the first ten.

My writing is pretty much on standby through Friday. Now, one would think that my writing could pull me away from the mentally thrashed edge. Except, I’m currently too damaged to do anything when I get home. The best I can muster is capture bits and pieces of scenes and snippets that bounce to the surface of my beleaguered brain from time to time. There have been a few of those, furiously scribbled down before they fade away. They aren’t much, but they are acting like a lifeline to my sanity this week. They are hope- but they aren't enough to stay drunk on.

There is a light at the end though. I have a half of Friday and the week-end all to myself for my own writer retreat at home. I'll be locking myself up, not answering the phone, just focusing on getting as drunk as possible on my writing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book release day for Lisa Shearin!

Ok our normal blogging is postponed for an important announcement- Today Bewitched and Betrayed is OUT!!! Go forth and purchase it asap- like NOW. Fun fantasy read and a really nice author.

Extra bonus points if you buy it from an indie book store!

Sorry- at lunch from work no nuff time for regular blog!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sometimes it really is all in your head

No, I'm not talking about imagined illnesses, or even paranoia. I'm talking about writing the stories you want to read.

Why do people write? There are probably as many reasons and justifications (yes, sometimes madness does need to be justified) as there are writers. Some do so because they have a story to tell them world, vital information and insight that they feel the world will be weaker for not having. Bully for them. Not trying to be snarky, and in a few cases the author may be right. But it does sound a wee pretentious to me.

Could be because I'm not writing for the same reason they are. I write because as many wonderful, amazing books that are out there (far more than I can ever hope to read) there are some stories missing. You know how it goes. Sometimes you pick up a great sounding book, start to read, then realize the author had a completely different idea of the plot that you did. You start to think and wonder why didn't they turn left instead of right (yeah- Doctor Who reference there- go look it up ;)). A whole different story could have taken place. Eventually, in some of us folks with this odd illness, we start missing the books we think should be there. Sort of like a phantom pain of a missing limb, only these limbs never existed.

Trying to badger favorite authors into writing one of these missing tomes won't really work. Most of those fine folks have enough missing tomes in their own heads, they certainly don't need other folks dumping theirs in there as well.

The only option is to make it yourself. The idea pops in your head, prompted by other books, movies, tv shows, songs, pictures, whatever. It then kicks around, bouncing in your brain as it picks up more little bits of ideas, characters, concepts. Pretty soon you're thinking that man, you really want to read that book about the Girl and the Gadget who saved the world.

Then it hits you- it only lives in your head.

So, in self-defence of the valuable and limited space inside my head, I have to write the stories down. I need to get them out so I don't forget important things like where I live, what my name is, what I had for lunch. But also so that I can read the whole story. So that I can find out what exactly happened. Who lived, who died, who got drunk and started screaming for dancing minkies (you'll have to read my book for that one ;)).

Some writers write because they want to share their insights, some of us do so to see what exactly is lurking in our heads.

The quote for today:
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Friday, April 23, 2010

Clubbing the Muse

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
Jack London

Jack may have had the right idea. So many times in writing, and in life, we wait for the magic idea, chance, or muse to lead us where we need to go. With anyone in creative endeavors it's almost an epidemic.

"I can't write today, my muse is having fits."

"I simply can NOT paint today, the inspiration hasn't come upon me just yet." Etc, etc, etc.

As a writer, (yes calling myself that in public is yet an entirely separate bucket of fish that we won't deal with today ;) we're consistently exposed to the concept of "muse". A fellow writer might mention their muse woke them up at 5am to write on a streak that lasted through five chapters. A critique partner may say their writing hasn't been up to par because their muse is off dancing the night away at some secret muse-only club.

So what really is that saying about us as creative folks? Do we really believe in ethereal beings that give us our creative ideas? I am a fantasy so writer, so I suppose if any of were to believe it, it would be my ilk. But even I don't believe that.

Or is it just a convenient way to get out of what sometimes can be a drudgery- the AIC FOK situation of the previous post? I can't do the dishes tonight, I'm not inspired?

Or do is it an attempt to wow others by referring to our creative side as something from the gods (ok work with me here- "muses", you know where they came from). A way to increase the mystery of us crazy folks who write books?

Why do we rely on inspiration to get us to buckle down and just get the work done? Has anyone seen a plumber sit back after starting a job and claim he can't finish cause his muse just fled to the Bahamas? Not that writers and other creative folks are plumbers, this house would be flooded if I tried to be one ;). But the fact is that we seem to think that we need to be inspired, or have copious amounts of time, or a wonderful quiet study to get our work done.

I say Jack London was right. We can't sit around and wait for the magic little muse faeries to come share their insight and wisdom- sometimes we have to smack them around a bit. Just to remind them who is boss.

And at the end of the rambling long post- I now go to do my 1,000 words.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The title of this post is Ass in chair, fingers on keyboard. A situation far more difficult to maintain than the average person would believe.

How hard can it be to sit. We all do that, don't even need training. Well, most of us anyway. It comes automatically. "I'm tired." One says, then being tired, finds a way to resolve that situation, hence the sitting.

I can do the sitting. I've had years of experience with the sitting. Chairs are particularly handy things to sit in, so I have no trouble with sitting in a chair.

First part is covered.

Fingers on keyboard. I'm doing that now. I do that when I'm checking email, on FaceBook, puttering about on websites. That, clearly, isn't my problem. I may type slow (yes, four finger "sight" typist here- deal with it), but I am fine on a keyboard.

So Ass in chair (check) fingers on keyboard (double check).

But nothing is being written. No wonderful words are springing forth to finish this novel. Nope, it's just sitting there- unfinished. It seems this insidious problem plaguing many authors goes far further than we expected. Not only must we AIC FOK- we must also create. Now this just seems far too unfair. I've AIC FOK, I should be done. Writing's easy, right?

No, it's not. Only a certain level of slightly mad, and very odd, people go beyond AIC FOK. They force the ideas to come out. When the ideas don't come out, they write anyway. When the fingers and mind are particularly ornery they go and babble to no one in particular on a blog. Until they finally decide- enough. Tonight I really don't want to write. I love my books, I's the writing I don't always enjoy. Now that's not true completely, it's just that sometimes, just sometimes mind you, you get caught up in the story and want to hear the end. But the only problem is that you haven't written it.

Today's quote:

Peter De Vries: "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."

That is so very very true for me and I'm sure many other writers.

Now, babbling done- I go to do my 1,000 words.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Running writer

Ok first a quote:

Raymond Chandler:
"The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them."

I like that. I've found that when I try to think too hard about writing, I can no longer write. I have to run full speed ahead, uncaring whether I hit brambles, bushes, sand traps or large un tamed bodies of water- I have to run.

It's taken me a while to realize that is my writing style. And even longer to admit it I think. It does feel a bit odd to say, well yes, I am a writer, but I have to turn off my rational brain to do so. I first had an indication of this when I did my first NaNoWriMo in 2008. As sick as it sounds, I LOVED doing huge word sprints. And I was fast. Not consistant, but fast. Then the FF &P RWA had a wonderful 60 Days to Pro- where we did MORE sprinting! Gather with some friends in chat and just RUN. Type as fast as you can without worrying about typos, grammar, syntax, anything- just run. I was very good at those too.

Apparently, my rational brain is too loud and keeps over talking my creative brain. So the only thing to do is write blind. Grab my characters, point them in a vague general direction, and say run. Run as if the raptors from Jurassic Park were after you. Out run the rational mind.

So that's my epiphany for the day...maybe even week. I'm a running writer, and I like it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Testing, this thing on?

Ok, new blog. I had one. Seriously. Didn't do much with it. Created it sometime in 2009.

I lost it.

How can you lose a blog? You forget what you called it. Then lose any information you had during the fevered week when you actually did something with it.

Extremely sad.

So here I am again.

Blog part deux...or trois if you count the one I need to rip off of my website because it never updates properly. Once I recall the admin passwords for the website.

Yes, I am a bit of a techno- infant in case you can't guess.

For those poor souls who have stumbled across this blog- HI. Who am I? Heck, you're the one who came tromping into my blog- shouldn't you know who I am? Habit of just wandering into any ol' blog? That way can lead to madness ya know.

Anyway- you've found the blogging attempt of Marie Andreas. Novelist in search of an agent and editor. I write fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk novels. I don't really do short stories, however a flash (super short) short story is the only thing I've had published as of yet. Available on Amazon (yeah that does sound cool ;))

The point of this blog will be for me to rant and ramble about all things writing. My writing, other folks writing, writing about writing. You get the picture.

So welcome to my blog- hope you see you again...providing I don't lose it again.