Any time’s a time to blog?

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So I’m a little early for an appointment, and I figured now would be as good a time as any to get a blog post in. With the A to Z blogging challenge coming up, we may need to find little nooks and crannies of time to get our blog posts done. 

Why not?

April’s challenge isn’t just about getting words into our virtual spaces. It’s also about finding ways to do things even though they may be difficult. So here I am, sitting in my car, blogging away because now is the time I have.

That’s the way it goes sometimes, and doing things like this challenge allows us to find these little corners that we otherwise might think of as wasted space.

Do I have all the links in that I might want in this post? Not at the time of writing, but there’s always later. Heading into April, it’s good to remember it doesn’t have to be perfect.

It just has to get done.

Which I am, with time to spare.

Gearing up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge

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So as the A to Z Blogging Challenge barrels toward us, I’ve been tidying up odds and ends with one of those to-do lists that’s about 75% aspirational. Are the to-dos to-done?

Nobody’s a perfect list-crosser-offer. What’s that, hypothetical reader? You always finish all of the to-dos on your list?

Well, that’s easy for you, isn’t it, given your hypothetical state, I would think.

Here’s the thing about A to Z. It doesn’t have to be your whole life, and it it doesn’t have to take up all of your time. But you do tend to find yourself telling yourself you’re just going to visit ONE MORE BLOG.

Or put off editing by writing one. Not that I’d ever do that. Ever.

What’s that, hypothetical reader? Frequently?

At least it’s on the list. Speaking of, it’s back to it.

 

Check out  my full-length novels,  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), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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Oh, Monday. And NaNoWriMo. And Other Assorted Bits.

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It’s taking up storage room here, so I figured, hey, why not use it. Last year’s fall colors.

So I thought I had the most genius solution to my storage problem: Instagram. Oh yes, thought I in my too-old-for-the-app naivety, Instagram will solve my problems and give me another social media outlet!

Only.

Well. Turns out the only pictures you can upload on Instagram are from your phone.

There are some work-arounds, but I think I may be heading back to flicker. Or follow my Inner Laziness Guru:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/144440142@N04/30655029766/in/dateposted-public/

And just give WordPress more money. I mean they’re totally counting on it, right?!

Ironically, though, I had to use Flickr to embed that photo, because I couldn’t do it directly from Canva for some reason, which is where I made it. And by “made it” I mean typed those words.

Proof of my Monday: I literally hit “publish” when I meant to save a draft. SAVE A DRAFT.

Arrghh.

Still working on this post, I’ll update it when it’s finished.

And here we go!

ANYWHO, (hmm, was that a little channeling of Aunty Ida?) The balloon drops on NaNoWriMo tomorrow, and I think I’m jumping in. Last year, for the first time since I started doing NaNoWriMo, I didn’t hit 50,000. So I don’t know if I’m starting with a chip on my shoulder or a monkey on my back.

I can’t decide if a monkey on my back might be fun. We could become best friends and solve crimes together!

On a completely unrelated note, I think I know what I’m writing about for NaNoWriMo.

This photo comes from NectarConsulting.Com. I have absolutely no idea why, or if they made it. But I'm pretty sure that's no a monkey, but a baboon.

This photo comes from NectarConsulting.Com. I have absolutely no idea why, or if they made it. But I’m pretty sure that’s no a monkey, but a baboon.

I’m hoping to have the next Galapagos post up, uhh, someday. Meanwhile, if you don’t hear from me, the technology has gotten me. Please send help and chocolate cupcakes. Heavy on the chocolate cupcakes.

Check out  my full-length novels,  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), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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Monday Morning Magpies

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Rubens Peale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Rubens Peale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve got a little case of the Monday Morning Magpies. Well, maybe not a little one. Maybe kind of a big one.

What are those, you say, hypothetical reader? They sound like a minor-league baseball team, or maybe an indoor soccer league?

Why thank you for thinking I’d be so sporty, hypothetical reader! You always know the right thing to say. But no, not that at all.

My eyes are falling on everything and anything shiny. Oh look! An email! Oh look! A tweet! Oh look! Another tweet! That’s more tweets!

You get the idea.

I meant to use my go-to grounding technique, the humble to-do list, but something grabbed my attention before I grabbed the pad and pen. I’m pretty sure it was coffee, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

Didn’t quite catch that, hypothetical reader? Why not do it now? Because right now I’m blogging. See? The blogging? Of the blog?

In the genius words of a genius writer, so it goes.

Often this kind of distractibility precedes a spate of creativity. I think it’s my brain’s way of preparing to catch the ideas as they scatter, darting in all directions to collect them like some kind of video game. It’s a signal to get the net ready, because when they go, they go.

It’s times like these that my mind forges strange connections, stockpiles “what ifs.” That harvest moon isn’t only for crops.

I think the writing season has begun.

In or near Chicago in October? Come see “Me Inside Me Presents: Witch, Please,” on October 1, 8, 22 and 29 at Donny’s Skybox Theater at 7 pm. Tickets available at SecondCity.com.

Check out  my full-length novels,  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), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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Our Show is Coming! Our Show is Coming!

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Well, you may have seen a post or two about the sketch comedy writing I do…awkwardly, for me, sometimes, but I do…and we have another show opening soon! October 1, in fact, in Donny’s Skybox Theater at Second City, at 7 pm!

We run for 4 weeks, though we have a break on October 15. So our show dates are (everyone get your calendars ready!) October 1, 8, 22, and 29. What’s the title? Where’s the poster?

We all need a little mystery in our lives, don’t we?

So I’ll be revealing those tantalizing details later, but for now, I need to talk about my non-writing task for the show: Props.

Yep, guys. I’m back on props duty, and I think I’m being far too casual about it. Maybe it’s the procrastination side of me, which could, quite possibly, be both sides. Maybe it’s because I might have it under control; I placed a big order on a one-day sale and saved $20, covering a big percentage of what we needed in the process.

And maybe it’s a little bit of that magic “I’ll get it done.” Because I will.

I assume.

Anyway, I’ll be breaking out the hot glue, the cold glue, and the glue that, if it gets on your fingers, you just have to live with your new hand.

Meanwhile, gather your thirteen dollarses, because you’ll be able to buy tickets very soon!

 

Check out  my full-length novels,  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), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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Characters are Everywhere (Writing Prompt)

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IMG_0995You might remember this stingray from yesterday’s post of photos from the Shedd Aquarium. At least I think that’s the same lovable dork.

S/he got me thinking about inspiration, and, more specifically, inspiration as it applies to characters. I can’t tell you whether the personality I see in this photo is simply a product of my human experience anthropomorphizing a stingray, or if it’s just an animal who loves his/her gig.

I’ve got to say, I think s/he loves her/his gig.

That aside, it really doesn’t matter, because the inspiration exists no matter what the objective reality. This stingray is a character.

I’ve got an edge in converting him/her to character status, as I write science-fiction, and alien species can abound. But even if I wanted to take the essence of the spirit I see, I could work that energy into a cozy, for example, or a fantasy, or even a romance (though probably not a main character. Then again, why create limits?).

Inspiration for your characters is absolutely everywhere. You don’t even need a human to spark you into bringing someone fictional to life.

Which gets me to the point of this post (yes, yes, hypothetical reader, I love to meander).

Writing Prompt: Use this photo to create a character, and write about the character in any form you choose. 

If it’s short enough, feel free to post your results in the comments (and I know I have some microfiction visitors 🙂 ). If you think it’s too long, go ahead and post a link. We’ll visit.

Have fun!

Oh, and if this stingray doesn’t do it for you, feel free to use any of the photos from yesterday to grab a character. We’re not picky, are we hypothetical reader?

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Check out  my full-length novels,  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), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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Cracking Characters to Push Plot

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By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s so humid here today, it’s like sitting in a sponge. I have to run the air even though it’s not that warm.

Sorry, planet Earth.

As you know, I’ve been having my writing struggles this week. I’ve gotten some fantastic tricks and hints from everyone, though (thank you!) and amazing support from others who know what it’s like to try to chip your way through a writing wall.

And I think I know where the problem is. It’s my characters.

I’ve written before about how plotting nearly always comes back to character. What do your characters want? What will they do to get it? Who are they? How do they see the world? What are their secrets?

My WIP is wall-to-wall with characters, but I haven’t taken the time to get to know them. Bad writer.

In a cozy mystery, someone has to want something or not want something or want to hide something enough to kill over it. How can I get to the heart of it if I don’t know my characters well enough to see what motivates them?

I repeat my self-scolding: Bad writer.

So I’m going back through my cast of characters to get to know them a little better. And for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation, with a plot that won’t resolve, it’s never a bad idea to go back to the source of all plot points.

Your characters.

Check out  my full-length novels,  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), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!