Begone, Cozy Thoughts

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Today is gray and gloomy, and is the kind of day for curling up on the sofa and watching something set in another time period, preferably produced by the BBC. But it is not that day.

Nope. Today, like the days before it, is for editing.

Yes, I’ve reached that point in the editing process, where escape into someone else’s tidy, edited world sounds much, much nicer than continuing with my own heavy lifting. But if I don’t do it, who will?

We talk about the magic of writing, the flow of writing, which, when you achieve it, is worth twice the price of admission. But we don’t often talk about the work of writing, the grind to get from idea to shining finished product. Not all parts of the process are pretty.

It’s like getting a fish from the water to the table. The steps in the middle aren’t that pleasant, but have to done if you’re going to eat the fish. Not that I’ve ever cleaned a fish. Or eaten a manuscript. I have eaten my words, though I think I may have strayed just a bit from the point here.

Getting a book from concept to finished product is an endurance race, and it’s a race with only yourself. Too many sofa days, and you never get to the end.

So take that, cozy corner.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Remember the Point

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As I sat down to write a blog post about, well, writing, I thought about the posts I’ve read about writing, and I thought about all tweets I’ve read about writing, and I came to one conclusion. We writers definitely talk about writing a lot. Like constantly. As though it was an obsession or something.

But then I wondered: how much are we actually writing?

I’m including editing in the scope of the writing process, partially because that’s where I am right now, and partially because you don’t have anything worth reading without editing. So how much are we doing?

When we’re blogging, we could be writing, although if you blog what you write, (hmm, that sounds rather obvious, doesn’t it? But you know what I mean), if you blog the fruit of your labors, then you’re ahead of the game. When we’re tweeting, we could be writing. When we’re breathing, we could be writing.

There is the stuff around the writing and the writing itself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stuff, but it grows and it multiplies until you can’t see the writing for all the stuff.

Remember the writing. That’s what it’s all for. The stuff should be the extra, not the main event, I say blithely as I finish off another blog post.

I’m going, I’m going.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Race and Writing

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If you read my work, you might notice that I don’t describe a lot of physical aspects of my characters. I generally give height if someone is unusually tall or short, and maybe any other specifically identifying characteristics, but I tend, as a whole, to leave out hair color, eye color, and, particularly, skin color, unless it is necessary for the story.

Why?

I do it very deliberately. My real-life world is a colorful one. On a daily basis, I interact with people with a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of race, religion, ethnicity, age, nationality, orientation, weight, you name it. I chose the area where I live because of its diversity; it is important to me, as a person, to have diversity around me.

Because of that, in my mind, my books are widely diverse places, stocked with characters of a range of backgrounds. But the way I imagine my characters may not be the way you imagine my characters.

People like to see themselves in the books they read, and so I try to keep their ability to do so as open as I can. The way I envision the skin color of one character may not be the way you do. If it doesn’t matter for the plot, I’d rather let you have your vision, unencumbered by mine. I try to give my characters life through their personalities, through their dialogue, through their choices and actions, and not through the color of their hair or the shade of their skin.

I suppose this works in reverse, too, with people uncomfortable with diversity mentally stripping the color from my imaginary worlds. The reality is that, though I wish everyone saw the world the way I do, not everyone does.

But if it leaves room for a person who doesn’t often see himself or herself represented in literature to find kinship in my pages, then something’s working the right way. I can’t put every kind of person in my books, but if I leave it open enough, you might be able to find every kind of person in my books, and for me, that’s a big win.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Editing Slow-Down

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Well, between the drilling–punctuated today with some enthusiastic hammering–and the migraine that’s been going since last week, my editing roll has stopped rolling. Which is a shame.

But when you are trying to type and you cannot remember how to spell “hire,” and instead, are stuck on “higher,” it’s probably an indication that editing won’t be as effective as you might have hoped. With the insistent noise today, I’m not sure it’s going to clear. Though it has to clear. I have things that must be done today.

A day of cool, perfect silence would be ideal, but cool, perfect silence is a rare commodity lately. Cool I have, as the temperatures have turned toward the decidedly fall-y, but perfect silence?

Not so much.

So I will pop my acetaminophen, and look forward toward their lunch break. I mean, these guys have to eat lunch, right?

As for the editing, we’ll see how it goes. Keep your pencils crossed for me.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Plot Points, A to G

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I’m still editing, but I figured I’d share something with you today. Maybe not something I’ve written myself, but something which is, I think, a good read. When you’re stuck in your writing, never underestimate your ability to leave clues for yourself. SloopJonB explains below.

Editing Beckons

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Gone EditingThere’s a magic spot that happens with every manuscript, where you summit the seemingly insurmountable peak of editing, and it starts to snowball.

I am finally there.

So I may not be the best blogger in the world for the next little bit, or the best tweeter, or the best, well, anything. I’ll be off and away with my manuscript, my metaphorical red pen, and this mass of a thing that is starting to pull itself together. And in the not-too-distant future, perhaps, perhaps, I will have a new book.

And how exciting is that.

In the meanwhile, if you miss me and my random thoughts, feel free to check out one of my books below. Happy writing and reading to all.

Now where’s my helmet and my eye protection? This could get messy.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

Heston Blumenthal and the Nature of Art

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A friend sent me some YouTube clips of British chef Heston Blumenthal, and I can’t get the man out of my head. The first was of Blumenthal making look-alike tableware out of food, and the second, his tricking the guests with it. Here’s that second video:

Time could disappear and stomachs can churn as you go through the videos, one clip at a time, watching this man and his unique relationship with food. Not so much with the dessert, I’d be with him for the dessert; I mean things like the dormouse lollipops covered in white chocolate. No, really.

But it brings up the question that arises time and time again: what makes art?

No matter what you think of Heston Blumenthal as a preparer of food for consumption, he is, without question, an artist. He transforms his diners’ ideas of what constitutes food. He pushes the boundaries of what food can look like, how it can behave, what the experience of eating it can be.

Even from a distance of thousands of miles, without a hint of a taste or smell, he’s created an experience for me, the viewer, in watching his diners confront and interpret his food. Above all else, I think Blumenthal is a performance artist, using a process to provoke the emotions of his audience, which isn’t limited to those people eating his creations.

Is his style all flash and mirrors? Perhaps, but if it is, both the flash and mirror are completely edible.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!