Wednesday, November 15, 2006

characters, in 50 words or less

Somewhat inspired by the American Title finalists who are being judged on their hero/heroine descriptions right now, I’ve decided to write my own descriptions (very much inspired by the enneagram workshop I am taking):

Mason: Not only does the obsessively disciplined perfectionist fall in love with someone who mocks his high standards, but he falls down on the job, forcing the man he’s been hired to protect to save his life. He’ll have to relax his standards to keep his love (and sanity).

Soren: With an anti-authoritarian streak as deep as the Mariana Trench, he nearly gets himself killed in an effort to prove his worth and gain control of his own life. Will he give up the impulsive, self-destructive behavior in time?


Boy, am I glad I don’t have to write the blurbs that go with the book. Whew.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sisters In Crime HI meeting

Sisters In Crime: A world-wide organization of 3400 members, offering networking, advice and support to mystery authors.

We are men and women, authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians bound by our affection for the mystery, and our support of women who write mysteries.

If you love mysteries, crime fiction and suspense, this group is for you!

Come to the McCully Library Meeting Room on Tuesday, November 21, at 7 p.m. McCully Library is across the street from McCully Bicycle on King Street. Parking behind library.

Meet local writers, readers, share favorite books
Meet guest speakers: authors, crime lab specialists, detectives, K-9 corps, and others
Enjoy an evening learning something new and exciting
Share the experience with new friends
Consult with others on writing and publishing questions

Questions? Call McCully Library, 973-1099 or email atkinsond001@hawaii.rr.com


I’m so excited. I’m finally in a group with actual meetings. Well, no, that didn’t sound right. I’m finally in a group that has actual meetings where I can attend them. Whoohoo. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

to outline or not to outline?

I’m beginning to wonder if I shot myself in the foot.

I didn’t outline THE PROTECTOR. In fact, I was never one to outline, period. Then I got stuck in the second half and started outlining one or two chapters ahead and it got me to the finish line.

Naturally, I thought I’d outline the next book since the outline tool worked so well for the second half of THE PROTECTOR. So I have the first half of THE GHOST CRAB outlined. That book has been on my mind since last fall, that is the fall of 2005.

Do I have to show much for it? Nope. A few chapters, measly word count. I drag my feet. I stall. I rewrite. I edit.

I wonder if I shot myself in the foot with this outline business. It’s like I often hear from other writers. They don’t outline cause it kills the story for them, it takes away the “what if?” factor and answers their questions.

Honestly, I think it’s only part of the problem. It’s not like I know the intricacies of the entire story. I have no clue still about how to get the bad guy or what would give him away. There’s plenty to discover and work with.

I think it’s time I sucked it up, sat down and just wrote the darn thing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm a Seven

We’re probably not thinking the same thing right now :-)

I’m taking this enneagram workshop that deals with different personality types and specifically their flaws (it’s all about the conflict, baby). One of the first things we did, of course, was determine what type we are.

Turns out I am a Seven sharing the spotlight with a Five and an Eight (I took the quiz).

I can’t argue with the Seven. I left home when I was sixteen. I chose a career that all but guaranteed I had the opportunity to move all over the world, I emigrated to the US, changed careers and became the first person in my family to go to college (in a foreign country) and I’ve now lived on three continents. Yep, I’m a Seven, all right :-)

I won’t argue with the Five or Eight either. LOL.

Since you’re confused by now, here the nine types:

Type One is the Perfectionist: these are the people who have very high standards for themselves and for the world. There's never any question about what's right and what's wrong—no gray areas—and there's never any question that they'll constantly try to DO and LIVE FOR what's right. Their motto is "I work toward perfection in an imperfect world," and their greatest desires are to avoid criticism and to be right.


Type Two is the Nurturer, the Helper, the Giver: who loves taking care of other people and feeling needed. They'll go out of their way to nurture everyone around them, always focusing on what OTHERS need more than on what THEY need. In fact, they'll frequently neglect their own needs and wind up feeling kind of hurt that "with all I do for everyone else, what thanks do I get?"

Type Three is the Achiever, the Succeeder, the Performer: these people are very aware of the right image. They're always onstage, projecting whatever the situation requires...you need somebody to fill a particular role, a Three will do it. Success, career, achievement are important to them...no matter what's going on around them, they're gonna look really, REALLY good.

Type Four is the Romantic, the Artist, the Individualist: these are people who love drama and tragedy and falling in love. They have BIG feelings, and they don't like feeling ordinary because that's too flat. Nothing is ever quite grand enough, long enough...they dream about the perfect love, and they're the best at offering wholehearted sympathy when you're feeling low.

Type Five is the Observer, the Thinker: they'd rather be behind a book than out there involved in the world. They like to keep back, keep to themselves, study like crazy (but always from a distance). They tend to "compartmentalize" their lives: work here, family there, one friend here, another over there.... They're proud of getting by with very little, and they're careful about guarding their time and their privacy and their personal space.

Type Six is the Defender, the Trooper: these are the people who get the job done. They're very aware of any possible threat to their well-being or the people they love; they're very aware of the rules and determined to always keep them...or to always break them. (That's the counter-phobic Six, the James Dean rebel type.) Either way, Sixes are very loyal, always on the lookout for danger, good to have on your side.

Type Seven is the Adventurer, the Enthusiast: they want to keep having new experiences, try whatever there is. They're interested in everything and everybody, at least at first glance...and they love to plan things, plan trips, plan new activities -- whether or not they actually carry out those plans. They like to keep all their options open rather than settle for just one of anything.

Type Eight is the Controller, the Aggressor, the Chief: this person is a self-confident, natural leader. They're used to taking charge, getting things done, making sure everyone gets a fair shake. They go after what they want, always keeping an eye out for the people they care about; they're strong individuals who take it upon themselves to defend the weak...kind of a Wild West sheriff mentality.

Type Nine is the Peacemaker, the Mediator: they want everyone to get along and everything to be nice. They don't like conflict; they don't like having to pick sides...even picking chocolate or vanilla. They tend to go along with the flow, whatever that might be; and instead of exploring their own preferences, they like to just kick back with TV or food or whatever's comfortable.

What are you?
(Drop me a line if you’d like to see the quiz that goes with the nine types.)

I’m still trying to figure out what my characters are. Mason’s an Eight. James is a Three. But I have trouble pegging Soren. I think he’s a Seven. But he’s a Scorpio, too, and all that passion and drama would almost point to a Two.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

It’s November, and you know what that means: it’s the National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to produce a 50,000-word novel by midnight, local time, on November 30th. The quality of the product isn’t stressed nearly as much as the quantity of words. The idea is to get that novel out of your head and onto a page. You can spent the eleven months between NaNoWriMo to edit and polish and rewrite.

I am SO tempted to participate. I don’t think I’d get close to 50,000 words. I’m simply too busy. My priority is the edit of THE PROTECTOR, closely followed by swimming (my lean & fit counselor would like the exercise to be my priority, but, sorry, that’s just not going to happen). And then there’s the workshop I’m taking on personalities and their flaws (another RWA KISS workshop).

Why would I want to participate then?

I’m a masochist. I need pain! Seriously. LOL. I have a feeling participation is exactly what I need right now: a good motivator, a goal to write towards and the opportunity/freedom to simply write, not plan and plot, to produce work and not wonder if it’s as perfect as I can get it (that’s what December will be for).

The simple truth is, I need structure and goals. I’m a competitive overachiever with a lazy streak. To dredge up a cliché: I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to. The problem sometimes is finding something worthwhile to put my mind to.

Since it’s pouring right now, I’m going to skip swimming (did I mention we don’t have indoor pools here?) today and sign up for NaNoWriMo instead.

Wish me luck.