Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dear Santa...

Every Christmas, the entire population of Portland engages in mass wishful thinking. This year, for the first time in maybe ever, our wish came true... snowed!

Cozy as we were inside, the moment we saw the big flakes coming down, my sweetie and I knew there was only one thing to do. Scarves, gloves, hats, and two dogs on leashes later, we were outside basking in the wonderment. Here are Ginny and Inja, (aka Virginia Pearl and How Now, Brown Cow, aka Blondie and Brownie, aka the Most Wonderful Sweet Girls in the World) racing through the snowflakes.

Good thing we carped the diem, too, because a short while later, it was over. A couple of hours after that, all had melted...*sigh* But it was magical while it lasted. Thanks, Santa!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Cheer Bonus Pack

If you believe in Santa Claus—or wish you still did—check out this beautiful Christmas essay by Kerry Madden. (Kerry is the author of two wonderful young adult novels, Gentle's Holler and Louisiana's Song; her next, Jessie's Mountain, will be available on Valentine's Day, 2008.)

Ever wanted to write a novel, and wondered, "Just how does one do it?" Then skip on over to Libba Bray's blog. (Libba is the author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels; the final book of the trilogy, The Sweet Far Thing, will be released tomorrow. Libba has more comedic talent than the entire population of most small countries, and she's also an accomplished dramatic novelist, which means I would hate her if only I didn't admire her so damn much.)

More on my own adventures in novel-writing next week...for today, it's eggnog, calling family, lolling on the couch watching hours and hours of costume drama DVDs, and spending quality time with my sweetie (who gave me the most gorgeous earrings even though we agreed not to get each other anything, and I would be mad at him if only I didn't adore him so damn much.)

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


At the beginning of a new project, I’m in love.

The idea is not only brilliant but emotionally gripping. The main character…oh, I could swoon over her, she’s so alive and complex and unique. Snippets of dialogue and scenes start writing themselves in my head. The settings are Technicolor bright. Everything is exciting, busting with possibilities.

This euphoria lasts until I actually start writing.

When the project is contained entirely in my head, it’s perfect. The moment I sit down and commit words to screen, though, that sense of shiny-apple newness wears off faster than the bath I just gave my dog. Because once the work actually starts, problems start poking their ugly little fishy snouts into my vision.

Exactly how was I going to manage the—? Which point of view—? If you have main character X doing this, then she can’t go there, because—No, maybe she can, if I just—Why was she doing that to begin with? Wait a minute, now I’m confused. Where are my notes?!

This is never going to work. This idea is stupid. Whoever said I could write, anyway? Oh, look, Star Trek is on. Aliens with funny foreheads, now
that’s a good idea! Maybe I should write science fiction instead. Yeah, science fiction, that’s it.

Get. Butt. Back. In. Chair.

Stare at computer screen. Type a few words. Delete them. Hunt for my notes. The notes don’t help. The vision in my head is still there, but trying to capture it feels like catching butterflies with a sledgehammer.

This is when a writer is confronted with Two Choices.

1) The sledgehammer.

2) Hold onto the dream of perfection forever.

If I choose 1), trying to club this thing onto paper, I know that my perfect dream of a book will sprout warts and grow twisted limbs and disappear, for long stretches, only to reappear looking like something out of Tim Burton's nightmares. But…it’ll be real, it’ll be out in the world. It will exist.

If I choose 2), the vision stays in my head. Forever perfect, and never taking on a life of its own. And I get to go back to work full-time.


Where did those notes go, again…?