Jan 25

Names’n’Things

I found this Web site through Christian Marcus Lyons’s blog. These things can be scarily accurate sometimes, though the part about being upbeat is somewhat far from the mark. That’s why I believe in hidden meanings and forces byond our current comprehension or ability to explain.

Here is what it said about me:

You entered: carter lee nipper
There are 15 letters in your name.
Those 15 letters total to 84
There are 6 vowels and 9 consonants in your name.

What your first name means:
English Male Cart driver, cart maker. A surname sometimes used as a first name.

Your number is: 3
The characteristics of #3 are: Expression, verbalization, socialization, the arts, the joy of living.
The expression or destiny for #3:

An Expression of 3 produces a quest for destiny with words along a variety of lines that may include writing, speaking, singing, acting or teaching; our entertainers, writers, litigators, teachers, salesmen, and composers. You also have the destiny to sell yourself or sell just about any product that comes along. You are imaginative in your presentation, and you may have creative talents in the arts, although these are more likely to be latent. You are an optimistic person that seems ever enthusiastic about life and living. You are friendly, loving and social, and people like you because you are charming and such a good conversationalist. Your ability to communicate may often inspire others. It is your role in life to inspire and motivate; to raise the spirits of those around you.

The negative side of number 3 Expression is superficiality. You may tend to scatter your forces and simply be too easygoing. It is advisable for the negative 3 to avoid dwelling on trivial matters, especially gossip.

Your Soul Urge number is: 3
A Soul Urge number of 3 means:

With the Soul Urge number 3 your desire in life is personal expression, and generally enjoying life to its fullest. You want to participate in an active social life and enjoy a large circle of friends. You want to be in the limelight, expressing your artistic or intellectual talents. Word skills may be your thing; speaking, writing, acting, singing. In a positive sense, the 3 energy is friendly, outgoing and always very social.

You have a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged; a good mental and emotional balance.

The 3 Soul Urge gives intuitive insight, thus, very high creative and inspirational tendencies. The truly outstanding trait shown by the 3 Soul Urge is that of self-expression, regardless of the field of endeavor.

On the negative side, you may at times become too easygoing and too optimistic, tending to scatter forces and accomplish very little. Often, the excessive 3 energy produces non-stop talkers. Everyone has faults, but the 3 soul urge doesn’t appreciate having these pointed out.

Your Inner Dream number is: 9
An Inner Dream number of 9 means:

You dream of being creative, intellectual, and universal; the selfless humanitarian. You understand the needy and what to help them. You would love to be a person people count on for support and advice.

Copyright © 2006 Paul R. Sadowski (http://www.paulsadowski.com)

Jan 21

Subs Galore

I currently have 12 short stories in submission. To the best of my knowledge and belief, this is the most I have ever had out at one time. Here’s hoping some (or all!) of them can find a home.

Work on Washed in the Blood v.2 continues. I have finished revising through Chapter 2 and am beginning Chapter 3 today. You may notice the progress meter jump significantly from time to time. That’s when I copy and paste from v. 1 to v. 2. It will also go retrograde occassionally as I rearrange and delete as necessary to make things fit.

Revision is a lot more like real work than composing was. So many details to keep up with. Consistency flaws to set right. Subplots to weave in. It’s really hard for me. I would much rather be concentrating on creativity than the nuts and bolts, and it’s hard sometimes to keep from jumping over to work on another project.

What is keeping me going is the opportunity to exercise creativity in adding scenes and editing the existing scenes to make them stronger. That part is really fun.

I’m starting to dread the second revision, though. That’s where things get down to strictly nuts and bolts. The story has to be complete by then and pretty much set in stone. I foresee major battles as my Muse decides that this or that has to be done to enhance or improve things. I’ll have to fight to keep out of the endless revision cycle.

Maybe I can promise myself work on a new project as a reward for getting this one done and out the door. I have several in the idea stage that I can get excited about very easily.

Enough chatter. Work calls. Mayhem must ensue.

Jan 16

Winter Makes Its Usual Brief Appearance

Freezing rain is falling. Sleet is forecast. Fear fills every heart and panic assaults every mind. Never mind that the temperature will remain in the upper 30’s tonight. Bread and milk must be bought.

Of course, many of us also remember that fateful day in 1972 when we were supposed to get a couple of brief snow flurries with temperatures remaining in the 40’s all day. We wound up with 18 inches of snow on the ground. For the Deep South, that’s a disaster of monumental proportions.

We’ll see. As long as I get home tonight, I’ll be fine. Firewood is stacked and ready.

Jan 13

Plot Cards Finished

85 scenes in 15 chapters. That is subject to change without notice. I suspect the finished book will wind up with somewhere around 90-95 scenes.

Next up is to adjust Version 2 to reflect the scenes that are gone. That will significantly reduce word count, but give me a good foundation for moving on into the actual rewrite.

Aside from the timeline problems, I also identified and fixed (I hope) some other inconsistencies. I don’t think I have one person in two places at the same time or any more long stertches of time unaccounted for.

Each step completed cinches my excitement up a little bit more. I can do this. I will do this.

Jan 10

Tightrope Spiderweb

It occurs to me, and by no means for the first time, how many tightropes writers have to walk. Narrative vs. dialogue, famliy time vs. writing time. art vs. commercialism–these and many, many more besides. We live in a spiderweb of balances and trade-offs, walk fine lines as a matter of course.

Even more fun is that these balances constantly shift and change according to time and tide and who knows what. In particular, the balances change according to each particular work. every novel, essay, story, book has its own peculiar set of requirements that cause the sands to migrate under our feet.

There really is no One True Way to write. There is not even One True Way for me to write. The madness’s methods change. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but habits do drift across time. What works for me today will probably not work this time next year.

I have to constantly remain on guard against becoming tied to any one way. Staying flexible means better and more consistent work, paradoxically. By keeping the methods fresh, I keep the words fresh (and the plots and the characters, etc.). I have to remind myself that progress requires movement. Sliding along my spiderweb of tightropes is a necessity of my writing life.

What tightropes do you walk?

Jan 04

Wet Noodles

I found Saturday and Sunday yesterday, now Monday is the problem. It seems like the more problems I find and fix, the more there are left to do. I feel like I’m wrestling with a pile of oily cooked spaghetti. Gah!

The problem is that this a part of the story where a lot of things happen in a short time. Timing is the ral problem–fitting everything into the appropriate time span. The devil’s in the details, somebody said. I believe it.

I am making good progress in spite of myself, though. I’m considering a scene re-arrangment to see if that helps anything. This is where having plot cards really helps. I can shuffle and re-shuffle as I need to to make things fit BEFORE I start rewriting large chunks of text.

My doctor prescribed some good medicaments to help with my back problem, so this part of the process may get a little wonkier before it gets better. I’ll plan on reviewing it next week.

Onward and upward. And sideways. And upside-down and…

Jan 03

What Happened to Saturday?

I have discovered that I have an entire day missing in the first draft of WITB. Friday night melts seamlessly into Saturday night iwth nary a thought to what’s going on in the meantime. I can’t just combine Friday night and Saturday night or Saturday night and Sunday night for a variety of reasons. I need that time span to allow things to work properly.

So, where’d Saturday go? This is a real problem for the timing of certain events. Oh well, back to Holly’s Create a Plot Clinic for some ideas. I have some time to work on this today, since I’m still down in the back.

It’s bad this time. I have a call in to the doctor to see if I can get some drugs. When I start hollering for drugs, you know it’s bad. But silver lining and all that. I’m making great progress on this first revision.

Jan 01

The Right to Write

Though I am not being paid to write this review, I do stand to profit financially (by however miniscule an amount) if a reader buys a product mentioned in this review through the links provided. That being as it may, I steadfastly refuse to endorse any product I have not personally used to my own benefit.

Cameron, Julia. The Right to Write: an Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. New York: Tarcher, 1999. ISBN: 1585420093. ISBN-13: 978-1585420094.

With The Artist’s Way and The Vein of Gold, Julia Cameron established herself as a champion of the universality of creativity. She contends that everyone can be creative, and she has devoted a substantial portion of her career to teaching that theory, both through her writing and in her face-to-face courses.

In The Right to Write, Cameron tackles writing in particular. Through a series of essays, she sets out her theory that every person has the innate right to write. Cameron uses her own personal experience, as well as those of her family, friends, and students, to illustrate her points.

In a fairly small book–236 pages–Cameron covers a lot of territory. Forty-three essays cover topics as diverse as how to begin, listening, keeping the drama on the page, ESP, writing badly, and commitment, among many others.

Cameron has the ability to illuminate her topics clearly and concisely. Most of her essays cover only two or three pages and can be read sequentially or individually as needed. Her writing style is personal and lively, as if she were speaking directly to her individual readers across a small cafe table.

Each essay–called “Invitations”–also comes with an “Initiation”: an exercise closely related to the essay that aims to open the reader’s mind to new possibilities. Some of the exercises are intense and can be emotionally challenging. Most of all, though, the “Initiations” are just that: introductions to new ways of thinking, new opportunities, and permission to put pen to paper and exercise your right to write.

Possibly the most useful exercise is the Morning Pages. Cameron strongly recommends using pen and paper and sitting quietly for fifteen to twenty minutes each morning writing longhand and using stream of consciousness to open the right, or creative, side of the brain and to silence the inner critic. I can testify that this technique is extraordinarily effective.

The Right to Write is an essential part of the writer’s book collection for the occasional pick-me-up and reminder that we do, indeed, have an intrinsic right to write.