Birdly thoughts

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By Aplaster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Just saw a flock of geese flying west. I thought they were a strictly north-south species; wonder where they’re going. Maybe there’s a sale somewhere on something geese like.

I assume geese are very frugal.

They’re also pretty mean, and remind me very much of their dinosaur ancestors. If you watch them, you can almost see them, morphed, larger, feathered but less feathered. Perhaps their meanness is a remnant of all that they’ve lost; perhaps they know that that once they were mighty and ferocious. Now all they pack is a mighty mean peck.

And hiss. That hiss isn’t exactly cuddly.

Speaking of long-lost pasts, did you know that the closest living relative to the t-rex is…the chicken?

Now that’s a real come down. But at least we know what t-rex would have tasted like.

And possibly how they walked. Scientist put fake tails on chickens from birth to study their movement. 

Random thoughts like t-rex chickens always spark questions in me, which, in turn, spark ideas. What if? How about? Why?

And that is where stories begin. Like that flock of geese watching their pennies, stocking up on nesting material for the spring. Why not? It’ll be here any minute.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

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

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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Writing lessons from the extinct vacuum bag

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Can someone please explain to me who decided vacuums have to be bagless? What was wrong with vacuum bags, neat, self-contained vacuum bags, that kept what you vacuumed in the vacuum. Sure, to my fuzzy recollection they were always full, and you never had a spare one on hand, but is that really worse than the multi-phase, dust-respreading alternative now?

Sometimes there are changes just for the sake of change, and they don’t always add anything. Like those new dishwashers with hidden controls, the ones that look like they run on pinched fingers.

Why?

Everyone knows they must have buttons somewhere. They’re not controlled by thoughts.

Yet.

So maybe the people who invent such things don’t have the right kind of imagination. But as a writer, you do.

Unexpected consequences are really the bread-and-butter of storytelling. From choices your characters make to choices about those characters themselves to the details of their lives and environments; every single one offers the potential for a frustrating moment trying to transfer vacuuming results from the “EZ MT” canister to everywhere but the place that they should go.

Great fodder for a reader; less so in dusty, dusty real life.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

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

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Writing tips gleaned from icy truck crashes

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Well, the promised snow arrived and we are in a definite winter wonderland here in Chicago. The most notable part: the quiet. It also brings to mind my current new TV obsession, “Highway thru Hell.”

Its jaunty title isn’t the best part, believe it or not. It’s a show about a recovery tow team in the mountains of British Columbia, and it’s the best lesson of what not to do on icy roads. Because apparently trucks flip over.

A lot.

Biggest lesson? Slow down. Most of the accidents are speed-related. Slow down.

We rush so many things in life. We rush to get through things, to get to the end of things, and with that hurry, we make mistakes. We make decisions we probably shouldn’t have made. And those decisions can change everything.

That’s true of writing. We focus on our volume, on word count, on how far we can get and how quickly; I’m guilty of this practice too. You know my favorite writing tool is the timer.

Word count is such a nice metric to follow, you can graph it easily and watch your progress, but that can lull us into the belief that the goal is the finish line, not the story itself.

Watch for ice in the road. Watch for warning signs.

And slow down.

Speed isn’t everything.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

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

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

On Wanting to Throw the Manuscript into the Air and Make a Run For It

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Editing. If writing is a universe of universes in your mind, endless plains and planes of possibility, editing is the the grouchy little man who barks at you that your right little toe went off the path onto the weedy grass.

Editing is mean.

Editing is stingy.

Editing is the kind of exacting that never hands out an A in class. Never.

Editing is picking apart a sentence, putting it back together again, realizing that the grouchy little man was right, and slashing it completely. While writing might bring to mind the overwrought palace of Versailles, editing is strictly modern; it’s sleek, clean, all edges and no soft spots in which to hide.

Your inner editor, when unleashed, should feel at home as a villain in a Dickens or Bronte novel. Sparse. Austere.

Here’s the thing. We can fall in love with our ideas, we can fall in love with our language, but as writers, we have one job: to make sure readers get it. And sometimes too many ideas or too much language (or occasionally, too little) means they won’t.

So we take a machete to our work, and, as they say, kill our darlings. It’s not fun, as a rule. It’s not easy.

But it’s much the work of writing as the creation itself.

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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