Loisanne's Blog

The meandering path of my life

Happy Nude Rear!

Another year is almost upon us. I say this as I sit here watching Evil Dead 2 with my oldest son while we wait to ring in the new year. Only 3 hours more to go. The younger child is in the bedroom taking a nap to make sure he’s ready to ring in the new year with us.

What wonderful celebration do we have planned, you ask? Actually, not a thing. We won’t even be watching the ball drop. Yeah, I know, kinda lame. The young one is all excited though. Give him a few more new years and it’ll wear off.

I know, I’m sounding very cynical this evening. Just in a mood I guess. Hey, it’s that time of the month so give me 30 minutes and it’ll change. I’m not promising it’ll be for the better though…LOL.

Aww, I’m just messing around. I’m actually really excited about the new year. I’m ready to leave this one behind…that’s for sure. It seems like everyone I know is hoping the new year will be better than this one. Well, duh, huh? I’m sure no matter how good your year was, you’d want the next to be even better. You sure wouldn’t want it to be worse, would you?

I’m hoping my new year will be better financially. I can’t really complain about anything else. It’s been a good year otherwise. I’ve still got a job (although hours have been cut), my health is good, my kids are good, my house is still standing and I got a really nice ride (thanks to my Mom). Who could ask for more? Obviously me…LOL.

I’ve got some awesome plans for my writing this year. I want to finish the first draft of my novel, continue to learn more about writing, and I’d like to try my hand at writing articles to submit to magazines. I have a couple ideas I’d like to write about already. I’m really excited about it. I really want to focus on writing more this year.

Well, time to go. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year full of exciting possibilities.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2009 Posted by | Life, Writing | Leave a comment

I dropped the ball…and I can’t pick it up.

The Universe is a Koosh ball

 

Ok, I didn’t get my Weekly Rant posted on Monday like I usually do. I didn’t even get it posted Tuesday. It looks like I’m not going to get it posted tonight either. Life has a way of getting in the way. It’s ok. It’s a good post and I would rather do it right and post it a week late than do it quickly and not get it right. So, I’m shooting for next Monday…LOL.

The closing of the year is a busy time. And since we have a new year quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish this next year. I’ve mostly been thinking about my writing. That’s what I want to focus on in the year ahead. Big surprise huh?

Well, there are a few other things I would like to focus on, but they might not be appropriate to share in here. Just kidding. Maybe.

Ok, it’s pretty obvious that I’m tired and getting silly. Since I have to work tomorrow, I’ll say goodnight.

December 30, 2009 Posted by | Life | , , | Leave a comment

I hate winter

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t as bad as this, but the recent snow storm we had (still dealing with) was bad. I missed work today. To tell the truth, it didn’t really break my heart. It wasn’t fun wondering how my car was going to get out of the lake (big puddle) at the end of my driveway though.

Ok, I’ll back up a bit. For all of you that don’t know, I live in the country, down a private gravel road. I have to confess that the road is not in the best of shape. There are only 3 houses down this road. Mine is in the middle, about 1/3 of a mile from the main road. I have a driveway leading to my house off the gravel road. It’s not too long…maybe 40 yards.  Anyway, to keep my story from being too long…LOL…I started out in the car this morning and slid and swerved all the way down my personal driveway to where it connects to the main driveway and promptly got stuck in the big, iced over mud puddle that resembles a small lake. No matter what I did, I couldn’t go forward or back.

Ok, so I wasn’t going to make it to work. That was a given. Now comes the really interesting part. I opened my door to find myself about 3 ft. from the “bank”. While this may not seem like an insurmountable distance, I was not prepared to take the risk of jumping from the car to the snow covered ground and risking falling into the icy water or slipping and falling on the snow. Call me crazy.

So, what to do? Luckily, I had my cell phone with me and I called back to the house, woke up Jared and asked him to bring the footstool and rescue me. He was a sweetheart and came to my rescue. I was very lucky that he was with me today.

And now back to the car. It sat in the “lake” all day, the water freezing around it, until this evening, after dark, my brother-in-law, James, came and helped me out. You know what he did? He took a shovel, broke all the ice from around the car, threw it off to the side and I got in and drove it out. I felt like such an idiot. I could have done that myself if I’d thought it would have worked. I was thinking he was going to have to pull me out with the truck. Oh well. Live and learn, right?

What matters is…my car is unstuck. Of course, I didn’t drive it back home. I didn’t want to have to risk another pass through the “lake” again tomorrow morning. I drove it up to my sister’s (who lives closer to the main road than I do) and parked it off to the side. I’m hoping it will be a bit easier to get going from there tomorrow. Of course, it means that I’m going to have to walk through the snow-covered field to get to it, but I can do that. I’m a country girl, right?

I guess that’s enough bitching for this evening. I got my car unstuck, I had the day off and I took advantage of the time to get a lot of my outline typed up on the computer. It wasn’t that bad of a day. It definitely could have been worse. We could have had another ice storm. Heaven forbid. I’m still trying to clean up from the last one!

Ok, I’ll quit complaining…LOL.

December 26, 2009 Posted by | Life | , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone

It’s that time of year again. Another Christmas. This year we have a white one. It’s a little unusual for Oklahoma. We’ve had some wicked weather the last couple of days though. Despite that, the sun rose this morning in a clear, blue sky to shine on the thick carpet of white snow. Beautiful.

Unfortunately, it’s a bitch when it comes to driving. We won’t be going to my Brother’s today. My kids and I will be spending Christmas at home. It’s ok with me. Being the hermit that I am, I don’t mind a bit…LOL. I’m hoping that sometime today I’ll be able to carve a little piece out for myself to get my outline typed into the computer…or even better…get some actual writing done. That would involve shutting myself away from the children and their incessant use of the TV for their movies and video games. It’s hard to think when you have “Mr. Woodcock” playing in the background. I’m one of those writers that have to have peace and quiet, no distractions, to access my inner creativity.

News: Not that it matters to anyone, but I have a dog now. It’s actually Jared’s dog. His name is Pepe and he’s a black poodle. He was staying at the kids’ Daddy’s house but he wasn’t treating Pepe very well. He was being left out in the cold without any company. So now he’s here and I have to say I’ve never seen a sweeter, more good-natured dog. He’s a welcome addition to the family. He’s defintely Jared’s dog though. He loves that boy.

You know, I may have to include something about that in my story. I think it would be an awesome addition. The more I think about it…the more I like that idea.

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe Christmas. I know that accidents happen every day, and that people die or get killed every day, but it’s a shame to think that some people’s holiday could get ruined because of something like that. With the roads around here as bad as they are, I hope everyone is extra careful if they feel that they absolutely have to get out.

Just remember…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

December 25, 2009 Posted by | Family, Life, Writing | , , | 2 Comments

Wicked Winter Weather

This weather sucks!

I hate the cold. I live in Oklahoma. It’s not like Montana…but we get some nasty weather sometimes. The weather here is pretty much my limit. I don’t think I could live any further north. It amazes me that there are people that still live in Canada. I can’t understand why they haven’t gotten the heck out of there.

I guess I’m not the only one having to deal with this nasty weather. I know someone who is without power. That sucks to the power of 10. At least I still have power. I may not be able to go anywhere (being stuck in the house with my children is it’s own kind of hell…lol) but I can watch TV and get online. Without those comforts, things might get ugly around here.

I don’t guess I’m going to make it to my Brother’s tomorrow. I don’t plan on leaving the house in this weather…unless it’s to get more wood.

Ok, I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open…this dreary weather makes me sleepy…so ciao for now.

December 24, 2009 Posted by | Life | Leave a comment

Weekly Writing Rant : What To Write?

How do we decide what to write? When we sit down with pen and paper or at the computer, where does our inspiration come from? Do we pick our stories or do they pick us? I think it’s a little of both.

As writers, I’m sure we all have an unlimited supply of ideas whirling around in our heads. Where do they come from? How do we choose which of those ideas to write about? Some people use their dreams as inspiration. Others draw on their life experiences. Some spend their time thinking up new, exciting worlds and characters from scratch. A lot depends on the genre you write. It’s all good.

So what gets your creative juices flowing? What starts the story process for you? Is it a particular plot, maybe an endearing character or striking setting that gets you thinking about a new story? We all have different motivators. What about those times when we have no motivation? All our ideas seem old and stale. We want something new, fresh, different.

Writing prompts can be the solution. Whether you’re looking for an idea for a novel or just trying to break through the writer’s block of a particular scene, writing prompts can help.

There are several different types of writing prompts. Some focus on “scenarios” like, ‘describe a room from the point of view of a blind person’ or ‘write about someone you would love to see put in jail’. While you may not actually write about those things, the 300 + list of prompts provided by Creative Writing Prompts is definitely worth looking at. Another good site that all writers are probably familiar with is Writer’s Digest. They have great prompts and much more.

Another type of writing prompt is pictures. Depending on what you’re writing about, a simple picture of tree in a meadow can yeild forth such ideas as ‘fairies that live in the tree’ to ‘a terrible tragedy of someone being killed there’ to ‘sentient trees being gateways between worlds’. Creativity Portal has a picture generator that gives you a picture a day for every day of the year. If you really want to delve into picture prompts, Renderosity could be the site for you. It’s huge galleries of user submitted digital pictures and 3D graphics are sure to have pictures that would stimulate any imagination for any genre.

Another interesting idea that I got from a writing group leader was writing prompt envelopes. You take 4 envelopes and label them “character”, “prop”, “setting” and “dialogue”. Next, you take slips of paper and write various things on them and put them in the appropriate envelopes. The group leader typed her lists, printed them out and then cut them apart. When you’ve finished filling your envelopes you can then pick one item from each of the envelopes and use them in a story. Sometimes it took a little thinking to find a way to include all four.

There are lots of ways to get those creative juices flowing. Try talking to different people about one particular subject that is relevant to your story. Do some people watching. I’ve spent some enjoyable time sitting on a bench outside of the style center in Walmart just watching people walk by. Daydreaming can be a profitable way to spend some time as well. I’ve had exciting epiphanies about my story while at work, on lunch break, staring out the window. You never know when you might get inspired.

That brings me to my next point. Always, ALWAYS, keep a  notebook handy. You never know when an idea might occur to you. If you’re anything like me, you know how easily it could disappear without a trace if you don’t capture it on paper. It’s happened to me many times. I now take my notebook with me everywhere.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Now go forth and CREATE!

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Wonderful Writing Group

What an AWESOME writing group I belong to!

We had a wonderful meeting last night. Eilis O’neil, managing editor of Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry was our speaker. She was a delightful person. She gave us some insight as to what her job entails and what happens to the stories writers submit to Nimrod. It was enlightening and inspiring. It made me want to write a short story to submit.

Eilis is not only the managing editor of Nimrod, she has also an author. Her book, The False Princess, is due to be released in July, 2010. Hopefully, she’ll get lots of sales and acclaim for it before the world ends in 2012.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself…LOL.

I, for one, am looking forward to it’s release. I plan to buy a copy, read it (hopefully, love it), and help her to publicize it a little.

It was so nice to see all my old writing buddies, and meet my new writing buddies. I was starting to have withdrawals from not being able to go to the meetings. I need my writing buddies. I need to talk about my writing. I need to surround myself with the writing atmosphere. Mmmm…can you smell it?

Yeah, I’m a cornball.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing Rant : Rejection

Have you ever had your writing critiqued and received some “not so nice” comments? Maybe you’ve submitted something to an agent only to have them turn it down. No matter the importance or the seriousness of the work involved, rejection hurts.

Rejection is also a major part of a writer’s life. No matter how well you write, there are always going to be people who don’t like it. That’s a fact of life. We’re all different and have different likes and dislikes. Trust me, it’s a good thing.

As readers we all have our favorite genres that we gravitate to. That doesn’t mean other genres aren’t any good, we just have our preferences. In a way, we are rejecting the works of genres we don’t read. So you have to realize from the beginning that not everyone will like what you write. Nothing personal. It’s just a Universal Truth.

Knowing that “writer’s rejection” is nothing personal doesn’t make it hurt any less though. To us, it IS personal. It’s understandable to feel that way. As writers, we get our stories, our inspiration, our voice, from inside us. It doesn’t get much more personal than that. We pour our souls into our writing, finding the perfect words, creating the perfect characters, describing the perfect scenes and action only to hear that no one else thinks they are “perfect”. We feel like we’ve done our best only to find out that our best isn’t good enough. We get crushed. We wonder what ever made us feel like we could write. We’re not sure if we should continue.

Sound about right?

It’s human nature to feel that way about rejection. So, how do we deal with it? The first thing is to realize that’s it’s normal to feel upset. I don’t think we ever get completely desensitized to the pain of rejection. I do believe it gets easier the further along the writing path you go. Sounds crazy, but I have to compare it to my “day job” of cake decorating. As a new decorator, I felt awful when someone wasn’t happy with their cake. I took it personal. I’ve been decorating many years now and I have a lot more confidence in my work. I know I’m good. I’m not perfect, but I’m damn good. That’s why it doesn’t bother me when some old man walks by and sneers at something I made saying, “I don’t know why someone would buy that gaudy colored cake”. I don’t care that he doesn’t like it. There’s someone out there that will think it’s the most beautiful cake they ever saw. Trust me, it’s happened.

Cake decorating is an art. Writing is an art. You can’t please everyone with it so…

You have to please yourself. That’s who you’re writing for anyway, right?

So how do we get past being upset and continue on? Try stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture. Does it really matter what this person thinks? If it’s a friend, classmate, coworker…chances are no, it doesn’t REALLY matter. If it’s a professional opinion of a teacher, agent, editor…then yes, it probably does matter. To a point. After the pain has subsided a little, maybe in a day or two, go back and see if they had any valid points that could actually help your work. Use it as a learning experience.

A year ago I joined a local writing group. The first piece of my story that I submitted met with mixed reviews. Some people didn’t like my main characters. I based those two characters on my own children. They thought my boys were awful. On the other hand, there were members who loved them and could identify with them as they had children of their own and my characters seemed very real to them. All this from one small group of people. I loved my characters, so I trashed the opinions of the ones that didn’t like them and kept the praise of the ones who did.

There was only one critique that I got that lacked any constructive criticism and that one bothered me the most. Probably because of the very fact that it lacked anything constructive. It was a comment stating that they didn’t know if a publisher would be interested in what I wrote. I didn’t see the point of that comment. This person was not a publisher and had not had any of their own work published, so I wondered where this opinion came from.

This brings me to discuss the subject of how to ease the sting of rejection when it comes to critiquing others’ work. We want to give an honest interpretation of how we see their work without hurting their feelings. Sometimes I think that’s like trying to mix oil and water. There is no easy way to point out flaws without hurting someone’s feelings or even making them mad.

Case in point, same writing group. Some members of the group received especially critical critiques from one member, causing hurt feelings and anger. There became a rift between certain members. It ended with the upset members quitting the group.

No one (hopefully) wants to be responsible for making another human being feel that way. So, we need to be careful about how we critique others’ work. Find at least one thing about the piece that you can say something positive about. Don’t say you didn’t like it…even if you didn’t. If you have grammatical issues with it, point them out AND correct them. Most likely, the person needs the advice. The same goes for comments about all errors. If you see a problem, make a suggestion about how to fix it. Don’t make negative comments that have no constructive advice to them. That’s not helpful, that’s hurtful. Writers, especially new ones, have fragile egos and need to nurtured, not neutered.

We, as writers, also need to realize that no matter what other people say, we can’t give up our writing. We can’t let others take away our passion. We have to grow a callous. We can’t give up. One of my most favorite quotes is:

For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest of these, ‘It might have been’.” by John Greenleaf Whittier.

We all want to share our work with others. We all want it to be accepted and praised. We want it to bring out emotions, to make people think, to change the world. We want it to matter. It can. It’s possible. But only if we don’t give up, no matter what anyone says.

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Weekly Rant | 4 Comments

This is my day of lucky!

Ok, so “The Love Guru” quote was a little corny, but today really was lucky.

I finally got my Mom’s car. I have wheels again. I want to jump for joy!

I have been without a car for about a month, if not more, and it sucks. Today, my Mom got her new Honda CRV and I got her Honda Accord. It’s an awesome car. It runs great. She didn’t actually need a new car, but she wanted one. This will probably be the last vehicle she buys. I know, that sounds morbid, but she’s 70. Honda’s are good vehicles and last forever. I love my Mother and hope she lives to be 100, but I’m not sure I would want her driving at that age…LOL.

Anyway, my Mom is an awesome Mom because she just gave me her old vehicle. She must really love me. I love her lots too. I don’t know what I would do without her. She’s the one person in the world that I can depend on.

So, I’m back on the roads again! It feels great too. I hate being without a vehicle. It inhibits my freedom. I hate having to depend on someone else to take me where I need to go. I hate being a burden.

Well, gotta go. It’s been a long, busy, exciting day and I’m wiped out. I just have to spread the wonderful news.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Life | Leave a comment

…and the lightbulb went on over my head.

Today I worked on the outline for book 2. I was on break, sitting in the deli area and all of a sudden I just “saw” what was going to have to happen. It was amazing. It was exciting. It was too bad I only had 15 minutes. I’m glad that I took my notebook though. I’m glad that I opened it up and started writing. I had no idea what I was going to write, but my muse must have been sitting there in my head, waiting for me to open the door and let her out. It totally surprised me.

Of course, I knew how the book was going to start…where book 1 left off. That was a no-brainer. I also had a pretty good idea where it was going to end…where someone, who shall remain nameless…dies. It was the middle part that was a little up in the air. So, I started writing down plot points that I knew were going to happen. All of a sudden, it was like the fog lifted and I could see for miles…or pages…as it were. It was clear as glass. Let me tell you, it was a thrilling moment.

Anyway, I guess the point I’m trying to get across is…you never know when or where inspiration will hit you. Chance favors the prepared mind. I take my notebook with me everywhere. Sometimes I write in it…sometimes I don’t. I don’t worry about it. Yeah, I’d like to get this story finished soon and get an agent and get published…tonight! But that’s not going to happen. This is my first real writing project and I’m still learning. It’s been a great learning experience too. I know a lot of people fuss and worry about their writing. They have a lot of fear and anxiety about it. I don’t really have a lot of that. Yeah, I have my moments where I wonder if what I write will get published. That’s mostly a lack of confidence in my technical writing skills though. I don’t really worry about it too much. No sense in worrying about it right now…I’m nowhere near sending anything to an agent.

I guess I’m a somewhat strange sort of writer, since I don’t worry much about my writing. Most writers I know worry about not finishing something or worry that it’s not good enough or worry when they can’t come up with story ideas. I don’t really obsess much about those things. I know that I will finish my book(s) eventually. I believe that my story is great and if I have trouble with the technical points of good story-writing, then I’ll get someone to help me or teach me. Yes, I sometimes have a lack of ideas when it comes to my story, but I don’t worry about that either. I think about it and if I can’t concentrate or come up with anything good, I just give it a rest and let my subconcious have it. My subconcious is my best writing helper ever. It always comes through for me. I just throw some ideas into the melting pot of my mind and ask a few questions and let it stew for a while. My subconcious stirs it all up into a tasty idea and lets me know when it’s ready. We’re a great team.

Well, time to head to bed, since I can hardly hold my eyes open. It’s been a long, busy day. The kids came back this evening and it’s been a riot. Sometimes a laugh riot and sometimes just a riot. I’m glad they’re back though. I miss them when they aren’t here. Maybe I’m just in a really good mood this evening, but I have even enjoyed the fighting…LOL. Yeah, I’m warped.

December 9, 2009 Posted by | Life, Writing | 1 Comment