Nancy H. Doyle

Easy reading is damned hard writing. N. Hawthrone


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Loved One of My Inspiration

Yes, I’m still here, blog friends! I was going to do a #weekendcoffeeshare, but since the link-up is closed I’m posting this anyway. If you’re not familiar with #weekendcoffeeshare go to part time monster and investigate this fascinating phenomena. 

coffee

If we were having coffee I would tell you this isn’t your average writer’s block. And, it’s probably going to take more than a huge jolt of java to break through the monster stall in my brain. But, thanks in advance for the listen.

The urge for words seems distant now, almost as far away as the stars, disguised by uneasiness and cloaked in acute sadness. I tell myself that I will want to write again, that I haven’t come full circle and I believe I haven’t but, I admit, this is different. This is loss of mind power, of inspiration, of physical confidence.

Some days it feels like grief, like the of loss of a love, of a family member, or a cherished animal companion. The worst of it is, I know I’ll never see the loved one of my inspiration again…at least not in it’s prior form.

Honestly though, I don’t want my creativity to return in it’s old form – not really. When you’re truly obsessed with a thing, like writing or painting, I’m not sure you can be objective enough to see what you’re doing. I know I wore the first-timer rookie blinders with every keystroke.  Perhaps I should think of this change as a new range of vision. When I begin again, my view will be a wider angle, a panorama of words, paragraphs, chapters. I’ll see the timeline of my novel clearly and watch as the story flows and weaves itself from year to year, encompassing two generations of my world and the people who live there.

There are still holes in the story line, of course. Some of them are big enough to swallow a tank, but I know where they are now. I have time to fill them or erase them completely. Now that this pesky publishing thing is no longer an issue, I can do whatever I want and write whatever I want. In a way, that’s liberating.

At this moment my mind is only fit to read other people’s novels because they have already done the hard work. I don’t have to suffer and sweat over a hot keyboard, I have only to open the pages of their hard labor and be amazed. They created these stories just for me, for my amusement and inspiration. In the next weeks and months I’ll read for enjoyment with the knowledge that among these words is the spark I need.

Read. That’s one of Stephen King’s rules for writers. And, speaking of The King, I’d love to talk to him about long medical recoveries and its effects on creativity:) Anybody have his cell number?

How is your writing adventure going?

 

Photo credit: ultrakml / Foter / CC BY


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Dawn Mosquitoes are Swarming

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Hi ISWG members!  If you’re not a member of this wonderful group, click the linky to the right to join us.

As usual, I need help.

I’m still struggling with the synopsis for my second novel. I won’t start writing before I know where the heck I’m going. Honestly, I never thought my idea would collapse in the middle. Something is wrong. If my synopsis doesn’t start coming together, I may have to spend some time at the thirst aid center in Leadville, CO.

Does it really matter if my plot smacks of Indian Jones and Jake Sully twisted up in a mangled mash up of adventure? Three weeks ago, when I created the outline, I loved it. It felt right, comfortable, tellable. Like a plunge into cool water, or maybe a stroll in the early morning grass. Except, I forgot about the dawn mosquitoes,  the half-baked, hackneyed plot suckers.

So, what in heck’s the problem? We all know there is a finite number of plot templates. Right? Seven seems a popular number, but the exact amount is discussed ad infinitum on the internet if you’re interested.

  1. [wo]man vs. nature
  2. [wo]man vs. man
  3. [wo]man vs. the environment
  4. [wo]man vs. machines/technology
  5. [wo]man vs. the supernatural
  6. [wo]man vs. self
  7. [wo]man vs. god/religion

That about covers it.

As humans, I think our basic needs and desires predetermine the threads of our thoughts. Isn’t it  only the particular manner of telling a story that makes the difference? So obvious. But not so easy. Why is this so hard?? What am I missing?! Should I can my original idea? How about zapping my two wonderful new characters? Am I lacking conflict? Honestly, I don’t know what to do.

Enough whining. I’m heading for The Manhattan Bar:)

stars-th


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4 Good Legs

gallows humor

noun

humor that treats serious, frightening, or painful subject matter in a light or satirical way

The last six months I’ve learned a lot about the expression gallows humor.

Honestly, I used to cringe when I heard folks joke about disability, disease, or disaster. It took me a while to understand this dubious humor was a way of whistling in the dark, of making the inconceivable manageable. (Of course, I’m not talking about sick or cruel comments.)
My dog Abbie and I are disabled. My problem is temporary, but hers is not. My current pain is intermittent, and her initial pain was incredible. I still have my leg, and hers is gone forever. blue-rng-paw-print-th
Recently, I took Abbie for a walk – for the first time since last November. My husband watched us from the window, ready to rush to our aid if necessary. When we hobbled in, he was smiling. When I asked him why, he said, “Woman with cane walks three-legged dog. Between you two, you have four good legs.”
I burst out laughing and kept laughing the rest of the night. The relief was amazing. Suddenly, my problem was moving into perspective. Finally, after months of suffering, I began to understand how lucky I am and how courageous our beautiful dog is. She sets an amazing example for everyone, and I can only attempt to emulate her good nature.
So, in spite of hardships, keep your head up, wag your tail, and lick someone’s face every time you get a chance!
jason-edwards-dog-duke-lays-on-a-big-sloppy-wet-tongue-kiss-dog-show-in-morro-bay-10-may-2009-best-of-bay-pooch-pageant-is-a-dogs-mouth-really-cleaner-than-a-huma
How do you keep your sense of humor in tough times?
Photo by Foter
Art by Clkr


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xenophobia

x – Are you fearless? human-rights-day_l

Some events we never forget, and these experiences work their way into our stories. For me,  xenophobia, fear or contempt for foreigners or foreign cultures, is such a memory. Xenophobia is the vicious mirror-mage of racism. After years gave me distance,  I used my brush with evil as a template for characters and situations in my science fiction novel.

Science fiction is a perfect forum, with its diverse universe and varied species and cultures. Some of my people display xenophobia like badge of honor, others wear it with shame, and still others fight against it. Two of my main characters fall in love in spite of it. Sometimes, the lies of xenophobia  can be exposed with humor, helping everyone learn some compassion. But, usually, the truth remains as dark and brutal as watching the KKK  march  in  full regalia down the main street of the town I grew up in. Of course, that was then and now our town is  a bright, sophisticated destination for arts and entertainment.However, like everywhere in our 21st century world, xenophobia still lurks like a hibernating virus. When writers bring these dark impulses to the surface, it reminds us all no one is immune to these potentially destructive thoughts and actions.

Will you speak against the dark side through your characters?  What memories from your past, good or bad, influence your writing?

Are you fearless?stars-th

 

Photo credit: Catching.Light / Foter.com / CC BY


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Volatile Vortex

1194986475730032167air_stefan_bazelkov_01.svg.thumbV- After tonight, only four days to go! A to Z is a much needed exercise in discipline for me. I’m ready to start working on my new novel, thanks to this writing extravaganza.

I am an IT foot soldier on the front lines at a local community college. My coworkers, IT folks and professors, make sure computers remain our servants and not the other way around. We have two weeks left until semester end, and everyone is looking forward to the summer off. There is, however, an undercurrent of unease. For about two years now, software has evolved with pandemic speed and the hurtling vortex  of change finally caught up with us. Can we keep up? Will we wash up on the shore of progress, like some digital flotsam and jetsam? I’m not talking about changes to  the software, I’m talking about more and more new software, changes in the popularity of software and the looming power of the Cloud. These changes have profound effects on higher education.

And, to make it worse, the major software (Adobe CS6) we use in our classes has increased in price from $5,000 to $20,000 a year.12284211311154772712sheikh_tuhin_Label_Icon_svg_thumb Yes, you read that right. All the other softwares cost more now, a lot more. There may be a grassroots revolution brewing in freeware, but that’s a conversation for another blog.

These events make me wonder – how much new information can the human mind absorb before it balks? How many changes, adjustments, and slicker and better software can we afford? And, is this multitude of bells and whistles necessary to teach students the basics?

We’ll keep it current and cool with iMacs and Cintiqs but, really, how much fantastic new software is too much?


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Night Talk

N – It’s blog time. This nightly blog is becoming a habit, a good one. In fact, with this blog I’ve completed one hundred posts!stars-th

So, how did I end up blogging in the first place?

Several years ago I attended a course for writers given by a literary agency. I had promised myself I would NOT start attending conferences, spending tons of money I don’t have to listen to agents and authors talk about themselves. But, a friend persuaded me to go, and fifty bucks later there I was, crammed in a tiny room in a local synagogue basement.

It was an amazing two hours. The advice was invaluable. I asked about internet presence, and the agent said I absolutely needed at least a blog and preferably a website. That information alone was worth my hard-earned money.

Blogging has been a tremendous source of joy for me. Many writers and artists are solitary creatures, and a blog forces me to communicate. It opens an incredible world of creativity, opinion, and some really gorgeous travel photos. Blogging offers such a wealth of beauty and information, I’m proud to be part of it – albeit in a small way. I’ve made new friends all over the world, I’ve been amazed and charmed,  annoyed and offended. But never bored.

And the nameless agent who inspired my blog? She has the honor of being the first agent to reject my novel query! I don’t hold it against her, though. She opened a fabulous world of information for me, and I’ll always appreciate it.

And, she was the first dent in my new car. What a relief that’s over. 1206561194340298058Chrisdesign_Future_car_svg_thumbWho or what inspired your first blog?


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Mighty Mighty MOJO

M– Wow. Half way through A to Z Blog Challenge! Keep going!

Words, with their mysterious origins and myriad of meanings, have always fascinated me. My bookcase is crammed with dictionaries, thesauruses, combinations of the two, a battered copy of The Dictionary of American Slang and, on my iPod, Slango Lite lurks misfiled under weather apps.electric-book

So what does MOJO mean?  Lately, I’ve lost my writing mojo. I figure if I put its definition down in words, mojo will return to me. (Your basic magical thinking!)

Dictionary of American Slang – 1975 – mojo  n. Any narcotic. Addict use. (Yikes!)

Oxford America Writer’s Thesaurus – 2004 – noun – informal – magic, voodoo, hoodoo, wizardry; charm. (Pretty straightforward.)

Slango Lite – 4/14/13 – The word was not found in the database. (So much for apps.)

m-w.com – 4/14/2013 – a magic spell, hex or charm resulting in a magical power.  (I’ll settle for a magical power.)

But,  writing has nothing to do with magic spells.  The real magic is in the writing.  Loss of mojo only means you work harder. You stare at the screen, pound the keys and invoke the power of words. Eventually, you find the right combination of letters that will unleash the reader’s imagination. True that. Even so,  I would like to wave the wand over my words once in a while and watch them fall into place like flecks of gold leaf on the page.

What magic do you use to write your best work ever?

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