Archive for the ‘New stuff’ Category

It’s twenty days into November.  I feel as though my brain is in hyper-drive.  My story is moving so quickly I can’t seem to keep my fingers typing fast enough to keep up. These are the days when I wish bio-connectivity to my laptop was possible.  Then all I’d have to do is think and it would type the words automatically.

I understand that my brain doesn’t think in words and the amount of processor power and training to understand this fevered mess I call my mind would be overwhelming to build.

But still, there are days when I wish it were so.

According to my word count, I’m 67% of the way through my novel.  If my novel ends at 50,000 words.

I’m just going to tell you now, so we can be honest with each other.

I don’t think it’s going to end there.  I’m two thirds to my goal finish and we’ve just found out that Stevie is involved in the mystery some how.  But more importantly, Lee’s disappeared.

Every muscle in my body aches.  I feel what Stevie’s feeling right now.

I don’t know if it’s capturing your attention or not, but I’m so involved right now, I couldn’t stop if I tried.

I think my heart would burst.

I want to know what’s going to happen.

But more than that, I need to know…

Keep watch, will you?

‘Cause I’m goin’ in!

Stevie excerpt...

Stevie excerpt…

Where do you leave off writing for the day?

Apparently, for me, it’s in the middle of a car crash scene.

I know, it’s crazy.

After reading it, my girlfriend asked me, “What happens next?”

Say it with me, kids, “I don’t know!”

I have an idea and I’m not too happy with it, personally.  But, when I start writing in the morning, we’ll know for sure. So, today’s excerpt is from that moment.

It reminds me what someone once told me.  Life is a series of moments.

One moment today involved bugs. It was slickly terrifying.

One moment included a pink and silver 1970’s Holiday Rambler Vacationer Camper, a crusty old man, and firewood.

Another moment included blood.  Not a good way to have a moment, I would say.

But, for Stevie, this is her current moment.

What’s your moment?Leaving...

For those of you following NaNoWriMo, according to the calendar, today marked 10,000 words, if you have written every day at 1,667 words.  I’m happy to report that I’m actually at 10,171 words this evening.  I’m still trying to decide if I want to continue or not, because the story, at least as far as I can see at this point, is unfolding quite nicely.  Stevie and Lee have had their first kiss and people seem to be vanishing without a trace and leaving their belongings behind at the camp.  Two characters I never thought would play a vital role have come to the forefront. They have this chemistry with each other  that makes me laugh and endears me to them.  I hope you’ll like them, too.

I had a very interesting question today.  A close friend of mine said, “Lee is going to die, isn’t she?”

I replied, “I don’t know.”

She huffed and exclaimed, “I need to know!”
I exclaimed right back, wide eyed, “Me, too!”

It’s true, I don’t always know what happens next.  Ultimately, I have control where the story goes, but in the end, the characters control the outcome just as much as I do.  Do I control the characters?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

I don’t really think I do.  I just picture them in my head, they take on a life of their own and tell me what they will do.  Based on that, the story unfolds.

So what happens in the next 10,000 words?

I don’t know.

But I can’t wait to find out! How about you?

Stevie Excerpt 3

Excerpt from Stevie

Today is the start of NaNoWriMo where authors commit to write 50,000 words in 30 days. A mean feat for many, including me. To be honest, I’ve been remiss in writing lately, so this is going to be my kickass kickstart to get back to me. To what I love most. Writing stories that scare me and hopefully, you too.

Someone made the statement a while back that I write horror stories. I have to politely disagree. Do my stories have an element of fear and horror in them? Certainly, they do. It’s a story that needs to be told, however. A story of someone who has fear and has choices. Because of the choices they make, they may either be consumed by what they fear or they overcome what they fear.

Stevie1
Isn’t that what our daily life is about? Facing our fears and either being consumed by them or overcoming them?
That’s what I write. Stevie is a story of a woman who is faced with a choice. Be consumed by her fear or face it. Is she strong enough? I honestly don’t know right now. But, together, you and I, my reader, we are going to find out.

I’m giving you my partial playlist of music I use to write. I thought you might like to listen to some of these as our journey starts. If you have suggestions for me to add to my playlist, comment below.  I would love to add new stuff.
I’ll be posting updates and excerpts along the way.

Shall we begin?

As the great Stephen King says, “Take my hand, dear reader.” Let’s go see what happens.
Marlie’s partial playlist –

Styrofoam Bible – Sympathy for the Devil
Suck Soundtrack – The Winners – Suck
Against All Will – All About You
Slash – Anastasia
Godsmack – Awake
Digital Dagges – Bad Intentions
Redlight King – Bullet In My Hand
Digital Daggers – Can’t Sleep, Can’t Breathe
Pentatonix – Daft Punk
The Pretty Reckless – Heaven Knows
Icona Pop – I love It
Apocalyptica – I’m Not Jesus
Santana – Into The Night
OneRepublic – Love Runs Out
Florence + The Machine – No Light, No Light
Serena Ryder – Stompa
Stone Sour – 30/30 – 150
Shinedown – 45
Eyes Set to Kill – Little Liar
FFDP – Bad Company
FFDP – Wrong Side of Heaven
Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
AHS Soundtrack Feat Jessica Lange – Gods & Monsters
AHS Soundtrack Feat Even Peters – Come As You Are
TWD Soundtrack – Fink – Warm Shadow (Dactyl Remix)
SOA Soundtrack – Curtis Stigers & The Emerald Forest Rangers – This Life (Celtic Remix)
SOA Soundtrack – Battleme & The Forest Rangers – House of the Rising Sun
Suck Soundtrack – The Winners – I’m Coming to Get You
Suck Soundtrack – Styrofoam Bible – Sympathy for the Devil
28 Days Later soundtrack – John Murphy – Rage
Shinedown – Cut The Cord
Halestorm – Amen
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs – Zero
Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy
Digital Daggers – Just Beneath The Flames
Halestorm – Gonna Get Mine
The Doors – People Are Strange

It’s morning in Idaho, USA and I’m contemplating what it feels like to start a writing stint. So, for those of you who don’t normally write 1,667 words every day, the below graphic gives an idea of what that means.

For many of us, it’s like running a marathon. Well, it actually IS a marathon, of sorts.

Today is that last day of sanity until December. My family has gird themselves with NaNo armor. Such as treats to throw at me when I’m growling in my office. Whispers of encouragement are being prepped for when I cry my eyes out because the words will NOT come. And finally, coffee, because, well, coffee.

It’s the dawn before the story begins. All is quiet and my love has just brought my first cuppa this morning.

I say, let’s do this, NaNo. Let’s do this, my buddy’s. 

But, most of all, let’s do this, my readers, because in the end, this is about you and giving you what you want. A story that grabs you, takes you with her, and leaves you, changed.

  

I remember the smell of processed sugar beets mixed with the meat processing plant and swirling around me as I hastily got out of my car.  It reminded me of coming home from a week long summer camping trip to realize that someone had accidently left the steaks out on top of the freezer in one hundred degrees.  There is no description to give you a sense of what that smells like.  If you’ve never experienced it, be happy.  Even a ghost of the smell is enough to engage a gag reflex.

I mentally closed off my nose and breathed shallowly.  Everyone around me, as we treked into Wal-Mart, was doing the same.  Head down, mouth pinched into a tiny breathing hole, and shoulders raised as if to protect yourself from the onslaught of malodor.   Some women even wrapped their headscarfs aroudn their faces.  

But, the smell wasn’t the whole reason I hastened inside, however.  I wasn’t as desparate to remove myself from the smell as I was desparate to relieve my screaming bladder.  My urgency was foremost on my mind as I scissor-walked through the sliding doors and into the cool, loud world of Wal-mart.  

 

I had just come from a meeting that had taken longer than I’d anticipated.  We’d chatted like old friends and laughed while we drank coffee after coffee, then switched to water.  I drank three glasses of water and three cups of coffee in an hour and a half.

My urgent  issue didn’t raise it’s ugly head, though, until I was in the car, on the freeway heading home.  My bladder’s communication must have been a little slow that day.  When it decided it was ready to empty itself, there was no gradual escalation.  One moment I was rehashing how my meeting had gone and the next moment, I was hunched over the steering wheel begging my  bladder for time, just a little more time to get to the restroom. I tried to keep my thighs squeezed together and hoped the kegel exercises worked.  Thankfully, there was an exit and a Wal-Mart.

As I walked inside, I prayed there was no one in the place.  I turned left and saw the bathroom halfway down the row of checkout stands.  My prayers weren’t going to get answered that day.  It was a feeble prayer, really.  When is Wal-Mart ever silent?  I took a deep breath as I surveyed my path.  There were seven lanes of people between me and that restroom.  This was an obstacle course of customers at checkout.  It would be a marathon to reach my goal.   

I could do this.  I would do this.  My scissor walk became a scissor fast-walk.  My vision narrowed to the pinpoint of light shining on the sign, Restrooms.  The finish line would be the last stall.

I swerved around the mother with two kids in tow and one in the cart, yelling at the toddler to put the gum back. 

I side-stepped the older couple as he bent to help his wife put bags in the cart three feet too far from the register and halfway into the walkway.

I shouldered past the teens loitering as their friend purchased energy drinks.

My resolve was waning.  I started muttering to myself.  

I can do this.

I will do this.

The restroom is right there.

My goal was within reach! 

I was going to make it!

The relief I felt at reaching my goal was seconded only by the relief as I closed the door, wrestled with the slacks and finally, sat down to pee.

My sight expanded.  I felt as if the weight of the world was being lifted from me.  It brought a little moisture to my eyes.

I finished, wiped, and flushed.  

I felt new and light.  As if the world couldn’t get me down.  I had won the race to the restroom.  Now I could concentrate on driving back to the city and to my next meeting.

I opened the door, adjusting my jacket, and walked to the sinks.  My mind registered a strange set up for a restroom.  But my joy overtook my mind’s warning signals and I bent to wash my hands.  I felt my relieved smile stretch the previously pinched corners of my mouth.  

I had made it.  No embarrassing accidents for me.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman standing in front of something.  At first, I couldn’t wrap my mind around what it was.  She was standing open legged, but out of courtesy, I didn’t look directly at her.  I glanced up in the mirror.  

I saw everything at once.

That wasn’t a woman standing at the wall, it was a man standing at the urinal. 

The horror of the situation fell on me like a hatchet from a slasher movie.

I had used the men’s restroom.

Not only had I used the men’s restroom, I was standing at the sink washing my hands as a man was using the facilities at the same time.

Had he been there before?  Did I just notice him?  I realized he must have come in while I was sitting in the back stall, head full of cloudless, blue sky relief.

He was looking at me in the mirror.  We locked eyes.  I heard the sound of a stream flow turn to a trickle, then die.  The shock was obvious to us both.

I had no idea what to say or do.  I stayed bent over the sink. The water stopped flowing over my hands.  The silence was broken only by muted sounds of shoppers outside the restroom. 

I did what any woman would do.

I straightened up.

I smiled.

And before I turned to quickly dry my hands and leave, I said, “Sorry, I had to pee.”

His face continued to reflect slack-jawed shock as I strode out of the restroom hoping to go unnoticed.

But today, my luck would not hold.

Apparently, he hadn’t come to this store alone.  His other half was waiting with a cart full of groceries and a child on her hip.  She looked at me then up to the men’s sign and back at me.  The look of shock, accusation, and suspicion in her dark brown eyes was a reflection of her boyfriend’s inside.  The child chortled and cooed.

I did what any woman would do.

I squared my shoulders and said, “I didn’t see anything.  I swear.”

And before she could answer or react, I strode out of the Wal-Mart and vowed never to return.  The smell of rotten meat and processed sugar beets embraced my retreat.

The picture you see in the post was taken by my girlfriend during our trek to see my brother who had just had a massive (read – widowmaker) heart attack.  His wife isn’t a widow, thankfully, and I got to see his shining face and hug that burly chested solid frame of his.  We also had some amazing talks about wakeup calls and the like.  That’s another post, this one is about the picture.

I am a writer, therefore, when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.  So, of course, when my girlfriend showed me this picture, I went straight to the writerly part.  She was so excited because when you zoom in on the picture, there is apparently my visage standing among the trees.  Next to the car.  Right there…no, right…there…  Okay, so it’s really hard to see.  But once you see it, you can’t not see it.  If that makes sense.

I realized characters are often like that.  We search and search the photo we have in our head, trying to find that one character who pops out and makes the scene understandable.  Once we find them, we can’t lose them, they are easy to see.  But until then, we just keep squinting and zooming and cursing under our breath.  Because these characters are really us or rather a portion of us.  We are trying to find ourselves in the landscape of writing.  That one single character who embodies the idea of what the scene is about.  Not necessarily the whole novel, just that one scene.  That one character.

This last week, I found one of those characters.  His name is Stanley Myers.  He’s a minor player in the novel, Leather, but his role is important.  He’s the first to be sacrificed.  I don’t really like Mr. Myers.  As character’s go, he’s not a likable fellow, but he’s important for this scene.  So he is important to me and hopefully to you, reader.  

I’m in here, honest!

 I’d been searching for him for quite awhile.  I knew what he looked like.  I even pictured his hands.  Long, bony, with nails perfectly trimmed.  But I didn’t actually see him until this weekend.  Now, I can’t NOT see him.  He’s come to the forefront of my writer’s mind and I have to finish his scene.  

It won’t end well for him, unfortunately, but maybe you, reader, might enjoy his demise.

I would love to read your thoughts on characters, fictional and not, and how you search then find them.  Are they memorable?  Do you wish you could no longer see them?

See you on the other side of tomorrow in Ridge Falls… it’s already too late.

M.

I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. Not for any reason except I say these words to myself often. I realized I hear them all the time, too, but never stopped to really think about what they mean. As a writer, that’s a horrible state to be in. Not thinking about the meaning of words. It’s akin to walking naked into a coffee shop, ordering a hot latte, then proceeding to pour it all over yourself. You realize first that you’re naked, second that you’re in a coffee shop with lots of other folks, and third, it hurts.

It hurts more than normal.

Here are the words in a sentence, then I’ll break down what they mean to me in three #Blogs

Here it is –

I would, if I could and I should, but I won’t.

Would. Could. Should.

This third word – Should

It’s taken me longer to write this final post than I anticipated.  I learned something about myself in these past few weeks. Every time I started writing this post, my inner critic took over.

It said things like, “Who are you to think you’re an expert? You’re a ranch raised, nobody Okie with delusions of knowledge.  You’re a peddler of illusion. You should go back to the ranch, little broomstick cowgirl.”

“Do you really think people care what you say? You don’t have a degree in psychology.  What makes you think you can speak on the subject of fears, phobias, and angst?”

But the best one was this, “You should be doing something productive.  You should be working at Walmart as a greeter because this writer thing is too big for you.  You should just quit.”

That’s right.  I ‘should’ on myself.  I was covered in the brown, slimy fecal word, should.  The damned stuff got in my eyes, my ears, up my nose, and in my mouth.  I’m honestly showing you how it feels to believe the shoulds.  The words I tell myself so I don’t do the work that makes me happy.

Isn’t that strange?  Work that makes me happy is the work I shy away from.

Actually, when you struggle with self esteem, I believe this is what happens.  I believe the words I’ve typed above go through many people’s mind.  But that’s not why I wrote them out.  I wrote them out, so I can see what is holding me back.

Shining the light into the darkness, so to speak.  This final post is about the word, Should.

I use it constantly.

If I look at its use in my own life, I see that I stop myself from doing the things that are sometimes painful to start.

I say, “I should be working at Walmart as a greeter, that’s a much more noble profession than writing because it brings in a steady paycheck and regular hours.”

Here is the truth –

“I shall be doing all things writerly because it makes me happy, but beyond that, it brings peace.”

Yes, I said, peace.

I write what scares me because it brings peace to my soul.  The words spill out onto the page in fearful, sweat-dripping, can’t breath descriptions of what scares me.  My vivid imagination helped me survive a myriad of downright horrific situations, and it also helped me survive boredom, teenage angst, young adulthood, and now helps me write.

However, during the time I didn’t write, my vivid imagination was covered in a thick layer of black filthy ‘shoulds’.  That time was a dark age in my life when I reacted, hurting myself and many, many others through one addiction or another.  I sometimes thought of it as an empty slot where I could “insert current addiction here.”

A friend of mine called it “Earth School”.  My grandmother called it “The School of Hard Knocks”.

Some might say it was good fodder for my writing career.

I say, maybe, but I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.  Experience is a double edged sword. The scars aren’t always easy to bear.

So this ends the three words I never thought hurt.  Would, Could, and Should. 

Now, I’ve replaced them with new words. 

I can.  I will.  I shall.  New words for a new chapter.  I think it’s gonna be a helluva ride.

All my love to you on your journey, my friends.

M.

What are 3 words you never thought hurt?  I would love to hear them.  Post them below and don’t forget to share this.

I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. Not for any reason except I say these words to myself often. I realized I hear them all the time, too, but never stopped to really think about what they mean. As a writer, that’s a horrible state to be in. Not thinking about the meaning of words. It’s akin to walking naked into a coffee shop, ordering a hot latte, then proceeding to pour it all over yourself. You realize first that you’re naked, second that you’re in a coffee shop with lots of other folks, and third, it hurts.

It hurts more than normal.

Here are the words in a sentence, then I’ll break down what they mean to me in three #MondayBlogs.

Here it is –

I would, if I could and I should, but I won’t.

Would. Could. Should.

This second week’s word – Could

If you look up the word Could at dictionary.com this is what you see
verb
1. a simple past tense of can.

Simple.

Past tense.

She could lose weight.

He could be a real husband.

They could learn to drive better.

I could be a better mom.

I could write more on my novel.

I could look better.

My mind translates the word into a judgement.

She could lose weight if she drank more water and exercised.

He could be real husband if he quit staying late at work.

They could learn to drive better if they were born in this country.

I could be a better mom if my husband made enough to send our kids to private school.

I could write more on my novel if I gave up seeing my kids and wife.

I could look better, if I took these pills.

We use the word to judge others so we don’t feel so bad. Inside our heads it’s automatically translated into these words.

My insecurities are so big, I’m sure everyone can see them.

If I don’t redirect or misdirect everyone’s attention, I will be exposed for a fraud that I feel I am.

Besides, no matter how bad I am, I’m not as bad as that person.

If I want to feel better, I’ll just go to the local Walmart and watch what walks through the door.

Redirection. Misdirection. All with the use of a simple past tense word.

The truth is I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I look at my own behavior and I cringe. Then I say, “I could do better…”

There it is again. That word. So, I have to redirect my misdirection.

Instead I say, “I can do better next time.”

“The good news is, we get a choice with every moment.” – Sheli G.

I learned this quote in an amazing workshop last year.

Don’t judge me!
Some of us take a while to learn the lesson!

What are your thoughts?  How do you use the word – Could?

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