Six Flags and the NBA…

We’ve had a bit of bad weather here in south Texas. It’s been raining pretty much all week except for today, so my brother decided to take a trip to Six Flags to experience all the Halloween Spectacular stuff–which is pretty fun, especially for the kiddos.

I had originally intended to go but had to pass because yesterday I spent the evening at the Navy Ball, and this old lady is tired and can’t possibly have two late nights in a row. So instead I decided to stay in and relax.

I’m also watching some NBA basketball, which is my first favorite sport after football. If anyone out there cares, I’m a huge Spurs fan. And although San Antonio traded their number one player, I’m still very hopeful that they will do well this season. And I hope that they demolish Toronto the two times this year they will play them.

In other news, its been a slow writing week. I had a lot going on in my personal life, and it has pulled me out of the mood to write. As we all know–it happens. We all go through it, but I’m hoping that things will calm down, and I can get back to trying to get some good writing done.

But if not, I’ll be wasting my time watching NBA games. Or trying to ignore my brother while he gives me a hard time for not going to Six Flags like I promised.

All in all, it’s not the worst way to waste my time.

Resting and its benefits

I’ve been going through the proof-read copy of my novel. It’s been awhile since I have read it that the whole thing seems new. Well, newish. Which brings me to a new topic when it comes to writing: resting.

There are some writers out there that are so quick with their writing–so full of ideas, that they develop their stories with immediacy, and then release them just as quickly out to the public. I am not one of those writers. It takes me forever to finish my stories, and then once I do, they sit for a little while.

There are many benefits to letting your story rest. The most significant is it gives you time to put distance between you and your work so that you may look upon it with fresh eyes. It’s only when we’ve put that distance that we can recognize what needs work and what doesn’t.

Personally, it helps me pick out the aspects of my prose that doesn’t match the tone I’m shooting for. It also helps with dialogue and plot, because many times, something that made perfect sense while I was writing could actually be quite confusing when I re-read it after I’ve rested my story for awhile.

So what do you guys think? Are you fans of resting your stories as well?

A little distraction never hurt…

So last week I posted about Fall, Halloween, and how it’s a great time of year, but today I watched, like, fifteen minutes of Jeepers Creepers and now I’m so freaked out I don’t think I’m going to sleep well tonight. So screw you Fall! Screw you to hell!

Just kidding. I still love Fall.

And I still love the scary stories, too. But I need to watch something to calm me down, and guess what?! Empire Records is on Netflix!

For those of you that don’t know what Empire Records is, it’s a 90’s cult classic that combines all the best things I love about that decade. Music, comedy, love, angst–this movie has a little of everything.

It’s got Renée Zellweger and Liv Tyler before they found plastic surgery and went under the knife. There’s even a young Ethan Embry who plays a goofy skater that is just the right amount of weird. And it has Johnny Whitworth, who plays a Jordan Catalano look alike, who is completely in love with Liv Tyler’s character. The music is pretty cool too (“Plowed” by Sponge is one of my favorite songs, ever).

It even touches on some serious topics like drug use and attempted suicide, but even so, not too deeply, and all in all, the movie is fluff. Massive, massive fluff.

So it’s pretty much the perfect movie to watch after being scared the heck out of. And I know it was just fifteen minutes of a scary movie and hardly any time to get properly scared, but still! It was more than enough for this poor scaredy cat.

That time of year…

Fall is finally here, and I have to say, so far I’m loving it. Texas is hot. Like fry an egg on the sidewalk hot, and the cool weather of autumn is always welcome.

But with the nice weather also comes one of the best times of the year for readers and authors: Halloween. Now let me just say, I’m not super into Halloween. I don’t dress up, nor do I go to many parties. Some years the most I do is pass out candy in a mask, and do I end up eating most of the candy? Yes, but that’s beside the point! The point is it’s Halloween time, people! And you know what I love? The stories!

You see–I can be a scaredy cat. There are very few scary movies I can watch and to be honest, the ones I do watch I spend most of the time with my eyes covered. But I love a good scary story, especially when they’re told orally.

Growing up, this was the only way stories were told. No one wrote down their tales about La Llorona or the Chupacabra. Everyone just shared the ones they had, face to face from across the table. Or under a blanket fort with the lights off and a flashlight. I can tell you that everyone had an grandpa, uncle, aunt, or cousin that saw La Llorona when I was a kid. Was it real? Who knows. But it was fun hearing the tales. All different, yet similar.

One time, my grandma told me a story where she came face to face with La Lechusa, and you know what? I believed her. Was I able to sleep that night? Hell no. Do I still ask her to tell that story now years later? Of course! It’s my favorite scary story of hers.

The story where my grandma, the badass, survived an encounter with a monster. Talk about heroes right?!

So does this time of year have you guys excited too? I hope so.

I really, really do.

blur burning candlelight candles
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Inspiration and when it strikes.

Inspiration is a funny thing–at least to me. The oddest things will inspire me to write. Sometimes its something mundane, like taking a walk outside. Something in the air will just put me in the mood to grab my laptop and type away.

Other times, it’s when I’m eavesdropping on conversations (Don’t judge me, but eavesdropping is one of my favorite things to do. And hey! If people don’t want to be overhead, then they should have their conversations somewhere private). Sometimes the dynamic people have–the camaraderie between good friends, that’s something that moves me to write as well. Because that’s actually something I try to capture with my characters. I want them to strike a chord with readers. I want my characters to feel real, and their conversations authentic.

When it comes to emotions–well this is going to sound basic, but I get that from real life. My life. I try to remember not only how I felt, but those around me in certain situations. Weddings, funerals, vigils. Church, holidays, get togethers. All the good, the bad–those are the kind of situations that I pull emotions from, and I try to transfer them into my characters.

For settings–well, it’s usually places I’ve been. I recently took a trip to DC and Virginia, and just being in Old Alexandria put me in the mood to write. If you’ve never been, it’s really beautiful. So beautiful I decided to write a novella that takes place in Virginia in a town a lot similar to Old Alexandria.

So there you go. Just a small list of the things that inspire me to write. So what kind of things inspire you?

person typing on typewriter
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The Marvel Universe

So like a lot of people out there, I really love the Marvel Universe movies. But recently I was speaking to someone and they mentioned how the movies are all the same, regardless of who the main characters are. So that got me thinking, is Marvel really cranking out the same plot with different characters and settings? Well let’s see.

Although Avengers: Infinity War is the most recent release–for this post–I’d like to focus on Black Panther. Personally, I love Black Panther. I loved Wakanda and the whole idea that there was this country that was covertly strong with high tech. Also that Wakanda seemed to have a thriving culture and a monarchy that was just and fair.

But lets take a closer look at T’Challa, the protagonist of Black Panther and King of Wakanda. When T’Challa’s father dies, he assumes the throne, as is his birthright. When Ulysses Klaue, a villain from the past pops up, it’s T’Challa’s responsibility to bring him in for Wakandan justice. Unfortunately, Erik Stevens, the “Killmonger” and T’Challa’s long lost cousin, brings Klaue back to Wakanda dead, and also to challenge T’Challa for the throne. Stevens wins, and brings chaos to Wakanda as there are some Wakandans that want to bring weapons of power to people of African descent around the world so that they may fight their oppressors, and then there are others that don’t. A huge battle ensues, and T’Challa is able to wrestle control back of the throne before the weapons are made available to the public.

So after that quick recap, I wonder, does this story bare any resemblance to other Marvel movies? A hero, a villain, the conflict? Hmm maybe Spider Man? A little bit of Iron Man, too? Maybe some Captain America and Doctor Strange as well?

But you know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s the movie’s differences that set it apart, and make it great.

And besides. It’s Stan Lee’s story. They’re all Stan Lee’s stories. And if he likes to repeat motifs, then why not? It’s not like they don’t work.

Weighing writing…

Sometimes its hard to find time to read. I’ve been working on finishing book 8 of the Wheel of Time series for years. My brother gives me such shit about it, because I started reading the series before him, was even four books in, and he surpassed me and finished the whole thing. But the truth is, something had to give–there are only so many hours in the day, and so many things we can do with those hours. I choose to write.

Prioritizing your life is hard when you’re a writer and you have a full time job, family, and all the other things in life. But it has to be done. You need to chisel out time in your day to actually do some writing. It was hard for me (and still can be), because my life is so full, but I decided it had to be done. I needed to cut the fat from my life.

The things that I had to spend less time doing were binge watching TV and reading books. Those two things took huge chunks of my time, so they had to go. Not watching so much TV isn’t a bad thing. I hardly miss it. But my books! Oh, I miss them. I miss immersing myself in someone else’s world. It’s the best! Especially when the author does it so well. But with work and life and all those other things, I have to choose writing over reading my epics.

I’m sure there are other writers that have made the same decision, and cut certain things out of their life to make time for their writing. It’s a difficult thing to do, because lets face it, sometimes writing is hard. It’s easy to be distracted and do something else. But you know its gone too far when three months have gone by and you’ve done absolutely nothing. Nothing to move your story forward. At this point, you might as well be in quick sand, trying to pull yourself from being stuck, only to sink further. It happens–you lose interest in your story, and start putting it off, and before you know it, it’s shelved.

So this is the importance of prioritizing your time to write. So many bad things happen when you don’t. So make a plan and stick to it, and you’ll be a much better writer for it.