Finding the Words

a blog devoted to the art, craft, and frustration of writing

Robots are taking over the world… but oh, they’re so cute! April 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — itsy @ 10:17 am

Honda brought you Asimo, the charming, earnest little robot that surely wouldn’t think itself superior to humans. He so Zen and spiritual and stuff, I mean, he does yoga–he can’t be evil! If he’s the ambassador, we’ll stand by awwww-ing while they enslave us.

I came across this very awesome video from Popular Science. This is DARPA’s new pet, a mechanical mule-like-doggy-thingy. It can carry hundreds of pounds, hikes through the forest just like Fido, can trek through ice and snow, even regaining its balance when it slips on ice. (Don’t you just dig the lovingly rendered, slo-mo replays?)

What amazes me is how quickly and easily I find myself sympathizing with this poor little thing. Look at its legs! The way it scrambles! Go little robot, go, take over the world!

 

Still truckin’ March 30, 2008

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 10:02 am

It’s been ages since I’ve posted, but I’m still writing. I tried to enter the <a href=”http://www.writersofthefuture.com/rules.htm”>Writers of the Future Contest</a> (I know, L. Ron Hubbard, but it’s a pretty famous contest), but I don’t think I’m going to get my submission in time. I still have issues with revising, something I desperately need to get over. Every time I think about rewriting I just hit a wall. I’ll do anything to avoid it, even write a whole ‘nother book!

 

Countdown to Nanowrimo! October 31, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 1:05 pm

Yes, it’s that time of year again. So flex those fingers, crack those knuckles, sit your butt down, and get ready to type type type!

For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo is a challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November. No, it doesn’t actually have to be a novel, from start to finish. Write 50,000 words of a coherent storyline–that should be enough. It’s exhillirating, frustrating, teeth-gnashingly fun! I’ve done it, and finished, twice now, in 2002 and 2006. And, of course, it’s at the Nanowrimo after party where I met Ryan.

So, up until this moment, I had no idea what my story was going to be. I’m not a natural outliner. Nevertheless, in previous years I’ve started with _something_–an image, an idea, a theme, a character. This time, I had nothing, until a few minutes ago, when a scene came to me. I feel much better now. Just a few more hours now to stew over image and come up with a plot…

 

No words October 25, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 12:17 pm

I just returned from a fantastic vacation. A honeymoon, actually. Three glorious weeks in France.

I can’t complain. The only thing is, now that I sit down to write, I find¬† I have no words. I’ve made several false starts, forced myself to get”black on white.” I rather feel like a car sputtering to start.

I read somewhere that it takes a week, at least, to pick up creative steam. I suppose I’ll just have to be patient, and keep at it, until things start picking up for me again. Still, it’s disconcerting. I think this is the longest time I’ve taken without writing for the last two years or so. Even while planning for my wedding, I was writing fiction up until the day before the event.¬† I’m hoping it will give me some perspective, to not have written for so long. One thing’s certain; I sure did miss writing.

 

All written out? October 1, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 8:33 pm

Today I feel a little emptied out, as if I’ve over extended myself. It’s odd, I didn’t really write more than usual, but I feel carved out. There are few words left rattling around inside, and little desire to write. Sometimes, like tonight, it just feels a little fruitless. My candle is just one more light among thousands, and always with the struggle to be fresher, specific, clear.

 

Ack! I’ve lost it! September 28, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 8:04 pm

Okay, got a new tentative outline for my rewrite. But as I’m starting to write it, I suddenly find I’ve lost it. You know, it. The magical it. The sense that tells you what works and doesn’t work in a story.

Used to be I could just listen, or think about my story, and I’d get excited as I’d feel the suspense building as scene after scene takes the reader toward some conclusion. Or I’d feel the symmetry of my parallel story lines. I’d know instinctively when to write in this person’s POV or the other person’s, when to speed up or light the fire, and when to let it cool. I can’t do that any more.

The thing is, I’m unhappy about it, but I’m not scared. I suppose it’s because in part I’ve lost “it” before; it will come back. But I’m also beginning to feel that when I lose my grip on these things it’s because I’m learning. I’ve shed the old ways of thinking and feeling, but I haven’t yet developed my new sense. At these times I feel the urge to read and fill the gaps with good stuff. So for now, I’ll begrudgingly put aside my story, but happily take up a book.

 

Plot plot plot! September 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — itsy @ 1:40 pm

Taking inspiration and much needed (and generously given) assistance from Jade Park, I decided to work on plotting my magnum opus. I studied several books, including Martha Alderson’s Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple, Nancy Kress’s Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. Then I pulled out a stack of large newsprint, and started plotting.

I worried at first it might be awkward using this gigantic piece of paper. On the contrary, the new format was liberating, and the ball-point slid along the newsprint deliciously. I potted one of my character arcs. I made a list of scenes. I scribbled down notes. Now I’m contemplating writing a whole short story on a sheet. It’s simply fantastic, because it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like play. I never realized how constricting a computer screen could feel, or how limiting a keyboard is. With a keyboard, you can only type letters. Pen in hand, you can make all kinds of marks.