Sunday, August 10, 2008

Co-Creative Writers

Co-creative writing.

This is not a creative adventure for two as it might first sound.
It's a solo gig.

This is what it's called when writers create something else in addition to their writing - something that ultimately helps the writing, either directly or indirectly.

I was reading a new author's blog and she* mentioned it was necessary for her to 'co-create' in order to write her best. This activity could be directly relating TO her work or just be a creative act WHILE she works but it has the same result. Whether it's cooking, acting or world-building, the idea is to 'play' so she can loosen up and let go of expectations she has about the characters and story in order to not force the outcome (avoiding a strained, superficial novel, not worthy of much except a complete rewrite. *shudder*).

I often read about people using music to aid their writing. It's becoming more and more popular for writers to list the music they were listening to for inspiration in their blogs and sometimes even in their books (see Rachel Caine's Music Page HERE for an example - she writes the UF Weather Warden books along with the Morganville Vampire series.) These 'playlists' are very interesting to read and listen to as it 're-invokes' the mood and atmosphere the author was surrounded by while writing and may even give you clues and 'insider-information' as to how the thought process was working at the time. I've even found a new-ish podcast that interviews authors & writers who specifically use music to aid their writing process and it's a fascinating listen. (The podcast is called Writers and Their Soundtracks and is hosted by Julie K Rose. You can find it - and listen to it - HERE.)

There's no doubt creating a playlist specifically for a novel is a form of creativity even though the music they use is not usually music they, themselves, compose (though I have found an exception in Matthew Wayne Selznick, who both compiles playlists for his novels and writes music for them which is very cool).

It's this exploration and expression in different/additional art forms as part of the writing process that fascinates me.

More and more I'm bumping into writers who paint**, writers who draw, writers who collage and writers who sculpt - all as part of their pre-writing, plot-knot picking and refresh-reboot process. Even the relatively new wave of writers-who-podcast find that creating and editing the voices, narration, score and sound effects (essentially creating an audio production) for their novels breathes life into both the existing works and provides inspiration for new ones. It's discussing these additional creative explorations that makes a whole lot of sense to me as far as process goes and encourages me in my writing too. And it's no surprise that a lot of these are organic writers.


Because I'm one of them. If given the chance I will collage settings, symbols, images, colors, objects etc into a new form to try and capture the mood, put together inspirational art boards, assemble mood slideshows, doodle costume ideas, storyboard the scene (when no one's around of course, and they don't stay on the planet long - I'd die a slow and painful death of embarrassment if anyone ever saw these!) and I have one project in particular that I've written and planned the entire 'movie trailer' to. (I'm working on those drawing skills too but until I can relax about it this blocks me rather than frees me up - yes, I've put myself on my own Works-In-Progress list!)

What's the point of it all? It helps me 'find' the story and keeps me true to that initial charged image that started me writing in the first place.

Oddly enough, it helps if I'm also being creative in other ways as well (I'm hoping drawing will join those activities soon), as if it flexes my creative muscle so that when I bring it bear on my writing, I have more creative oomph (and who doesn't like oomph!).

There definitely seems to be a 'frequency' needed for writing (for me anyway). I'm not talking about consistency of writing (though that definitely helps the word count). I'm talking about tuning in. It's not about waiting for inspiration (the days that comes are wonderful but in no way guaranteed). Instead it's about a particular way of thinking. The lack of Zzzs make it difficult to concentrate, without doubt, but there's something about a hazy brain - whether sleep-muddled or lack-of-sleep-muddled - that seems to bring a whole different sort of focus to a story and let it live a life of it's own. Any explorative creative play in the story-world (and even alongside it) helps keep me on track and seems to aid in communicating directly with my elusive Muse, quickly bypassing all the 'proper' (and dangerous) writer-ly conventions my brain wants to employ (you know, the ones that tend to end in wooden prose and destined for death-by-red-pencil).

When I create facets of my story in another form besides the novel-writing itself it seems to take on more life, become more dimensional and keeps me both
true to the real story I'm trying to write - no, SHOULD write and open to interesting possibilities.

When I'm making an effort to create in addition to (not in place of) my writing, tuning into my story - the REAL story becomes a LOT easier.

This isn't something I can methodically plan out. I just have to determine to do it, then start and see where it leads. It's exploration, it's experimentation, it's 'felt', it's organic and it's play.

When I realize other writers - professional writers - are employing these kinds of techniques in their own writing process I find the confidence to explore my own unconventional methods as I write my stories. There's always the concern that 'it's a waste of time' or 'there's no point unless you're creating something of professional caliber' but when you accept that it's part of the process it makes this 'play' not only OK but necessary. Then when the play has served it's purpose and it's time to write more words I'm already where I should be head-wise.

My only trouble then is staying awake long enough to get the words down before the images and voices fade and sleep washes away the dream...

... ZZzzzz...

*Dawn Metcalf - author of the soon-to-be-released YA urban fantasy novel 'Skin & Bones'.
** Chris Howard - author of the newly released dark urban fantasy novel 'Seaborn' (post about the novel coming soon!)
NOTE: Art is by surrealist painter Remedios Varo - click on any picture to be taken to a brief bio and a gallery of available paintings.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Double Trouble Day!

It's 08-08-08.

A very auspicious day, as far as the Chinese are concerned, but they're not the only ones with 'olympic' plans today.

Two authors - Philippa Ballantine & Tee Morris - are planning on making history and storming the Amazon charts.

So why the big deal?
Why so much trouble?

Because they can!

Both are being published by a small press*, both are releasing sequels to their award nominated books today and both are podcast novelists beloved by listeners all over the globe - thanks to their freely-available-yet-professional-quality shows and their willingness to interact with, and be accessible to, their fans.

The books are 'Digital Magic' by Philippa Ballantine and 'The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant'by Tee Morris.

'Digital Magic' is the sequel to 'Chasing the Bard' - an award nominated fantasy novel in which Shakespeare meets the world of the Fey in his own 'midsummer nightmare'. In this book, which can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, Shakespeare's time has long since passed and the Fey meet the future and a world that's barreling toward self-destruction - ours. With technology knowing no bounds and global warfare setting nightmarish horrors into motion only a touch of true magic will stop the destructive chaos. But the old art and ways aren't enough and time is running out.

'The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant' is also a sequel to the award nominated fantasy novel - 'The Case of the Singing Sword' - but the flavor is very different. Crossing over into the mystery genre with much tongue-in-cheek and classic detective tropes, there's one large - or should that be 'small' - difference. Our hero Billibub Baddings is a 4 foot honest-to-god dwarf from another universe and time, stranded in our world and making the best of it by using his talents to solve mysterious cases. In this new book Billi is asked to investigate a new baseball team and happens upon Al Capone. Suddenly the team's suspiciously good fortune smells a whole lot fishier and Billi starts opening can after can of worms.

Both books are not only great stories but are well-written and solid novels in their own right - yet both authors have chosen to share their work with listeners both through wonderfully high quality and entertaining podcast productions.

It's this willingness to put in the effort to produce excellent quality stories and storytelling for free and the very real and personal contact they have with their listeners that has engendered them such a following and it is today that all that effort will be rewarded. They're asking their enthusiastic social-networking-fan-base to show the publishing community at large just how effective good-quality podcasting can be at reaching people and why giving away content actually encourages them to buy more books.

How will we do this?

By putting our money where our appreciation is and buying their new books through Amazon on the day they become available - TODAY!

And doing it today is crucial to helping make that statement. The more orders and requests flood Amazon at once, the higher up the ranking the book goes and the more notice it gets from 'The Big Boys'**.

Today we can help make history by putting 2 small press books into the top ranks and smack in the middle of the publishing spotlight for all to see!

This is one very effective way for the little people (including you and me) to play The Big Boys' game and win! Instead of being told what to read and what we should find popular we get the chance to tell them what we want and why they should listen to us. It's high time big publishing houses give us what we really want, not what they think we want, and realize that you don't have to be a big fish to make a big splash.

Come join in! It's the least we can do for the hours of free, excellent quality entertainment they've given us. Not only will you get world class stories to add to your library but you can be part of history-in-the-making.

I promise you - it will be well worth your trouble!

*Dragon Moon Press
**Major publishing houses everywhere!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Life, My Show

Cross-posted from my Live Journal (but it looks cooler here, I promise!)

Writing prompt:
If you could make your own reality show, what would it be about and who would be on it?

Interesting. I hate reality shows, but the fact that I'm answering this at all suggests that maybe I just haven't found the sort of reality show I could get into yet... disturbing thought! Most of life, ie. reality, is quite boring - especially for those not involved! But let's face it - reality TV is not 'REALITY tv' - not really. It's heightened reality, complete with set-ups, behind-the-scenes manipulations, showmen (and women), an added soundtrack (I mean, c'mon - don't you sometimes wish you'd had a soundtrack to alert you to what was going to happen in the last few minutes?!) and a whole lot of editing.

Despite not liking reality shows I do love a good mockumentary. There have been times in my life where things have gotten dramatic enough on a day-to-day basis that it's seemed completely surreal and I've wondered if the whole situation was either a ludicrous set-up for candid camera or if I was going to wake up anytime soon. And then there's the life I've wished I was living and daydreamed about things happening to add a little more spice to my oh-so-dull day. These are the 'there's a musical in my head' days and I often wonder what would really happen if people were made to get on board and be part of my private production.

So what immediately comes to mind as a show I'd enjoy watching would be, what I would call, 'Life Is A Musical' - You see, growing up in a land far distant from the US of A, seeing the old movies, there's this sense that America lives a life of song and dance. When I finally moved to the US I must admit I wouldn't have been completely surprised had I observed people breaking into song and dance in random situations. Being that I moved to a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Hollywood, I've seen HAVE something close to this happen a couple of times now, though it never lived up to the numbers in my imagination. Now, of course, there's the wonderful improv group that does just that - surprising the populace of study halls and food courts by tunefully sharing their perspective on the woes of lectures and the tragedy of absent napkins. I love this stuff. Watching and listening to the comments of the pissed off and/or surprised observers is pretty telling about people's states of mind and I applaud the bravery of the participants. So as far as a show goes, what if there were a group of people - living and/or working in close proximity - who were required to expound their triumphs, trials, woes and daily activities in musical format? Each person would be required to initiate a musical 'event' at least twice a day or lose their place (I believe the vernacular is 'get kicked off the island'). They can plan a little and set it up but it must occur spontaneously and the other participating (and unprepared) members would be required to join in, with additional points given for making a number better/funnier/more entertaining. Essentially it would be improv theater, taken off stage and into the daily lives of those on the show and those fortunate - or unfortunate - enough to surround them at the time. The participants - starting with at least ten - would have to have enough musical talent to sing, enough comedic sense to entertain on the fly, enough movement skill to pull off some spontaneous choreography smoothly and enough sense of team work to figure out how to work with other members best in the heat of the moment for the best entertainment value. The reality TV production crew would provide creative and 'on-the-spot' lighting, musical accompaniment and help with corralling the general public when a number is in progress.

Yes - I'd definitely watch that.

So if I hate reality TV, why am I answering this writing prompt? Because I'm beginning to realize that a strong negative reaction on my part means I've got some soul searching to do. When I take the time to honestly try and figure out why I react as I do I get some interesting insights about myself.

What I've learned in considering this is that I'm not big on reality in general. No surprise there, I'm a fantasy writer after all, but the interesting thing about this that I realize I truly believe we all have the power to make our lives, and the lives of others, far more interesting than we generally do. Yes, it takes a lot of effort but that's when those memorable moments come and we are glad we were living our life - not just parked in front of a TV version of another's. Everyone has the opportunity to shine in one way or another. It doesn't mean taking center stage necessarily but it does mean taking opportunities when they're presented to us, putting our heart and soul into the moment and finding the magic in the ordinary. When we have the courage to live this way we inspire others to take what life offers and live it fully, not letting it pass them by. Our own stories are unique and interesting but if we're not interested, no one else will be either. What magic are we passing by because it's too much trouble to see? When we focus on making the most out of our every day, rather than tuning out and switching ourselves off from life, we tune in and can't wait for more. It's not more TV that we'll wished we experienced when the lights go down, it's the life we let pass us by.

What does this tell me? That I need to grab those opportunities and make things memorable when I can. Don't be afraid to sing, don't be afraid dance and above all, don't be afraid to shine. I'm the only one who can live my life and there ain't no rehearsal. It's my birthday today - another year gone, another year beginning - it's time I got with the program.

The show's happening, whether I like it or not - it's up to me whether it's worth watching or not!

Note: The pictures above are from two of my favorite shows 'Pushing Daisies' & 'Wonderfalls' - both are stylized, fantasy shows, where the most normal and innocent thing becomes the focus of something truly bizarre and fantastic, all in the middle of ongoing mysteries. In these shows, the colors are saturated, the sets are distinctly staged and the people are bizarrely unique and particular. You never know when things will take a turn for the weird, a magical moment will happen or people will break into song. A llfe like either of these would be exhausting but it's a lot of fun to watch and once it's over, you do catch yourself looking at the world just a little bit sideways and appreciating it all the more. Click on the pictures to be taken to more information about the particular show.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tweet Week - Goodbye July!

So here's the InkGypsy & 'Og' minutiae from the last week or so - 'cause everyone likes to peek behind-the-scenes...

I have made an effort to report more 'Og' news to keep Daddy in the loop with all he's busy with these days so there's a whole lot to read! (A reminder - the most recent is at the top.)

FRIDAY/TODAY: August 1st
  • Fail whale has a girlfriend...
  • Teetering on the edge of soap right now... I have little patience for sudsy shows.
  • 'Think like a fish to catch a fish' - I like it.
  • This is an odd show. I was told it might take me a while to warm up to it.. funny, considering it takes place in Alaska.
  • @jrblackwell Stardust - yeah, it had a couple of quotables - need to look up my text to see if that was Neil Gaiman or the screenwriter
  • My LJ buddies have given me lots of good stuff to read but there are not enough hours left in my day... *sigh*
  • Og: beatbox baby!
  • 18 month old rapping to Shakespeare - specifically The Othello Rap by RSC - knew those raspberry-skills would be handy for something!
  • Re previous tweet - it's the argument for there being computers in the Garden of Eden.
  • "Eve had an Apple and Adam had a Wang..."
  • Reduced Shakespeare Company on Jeopardy LOL! Love these guys.
  • OK I admit it - I never figured out the deal with the changeling boy in Midsummer Night's Dream. What happened to him? Should we care? about 13 hours ago from web
  • So the skylight isn't working today....!
  • @Nobilis Wow - that's.. extreme. They'd be the ones I was suspicious of!
  • @mudsock Do not press
  • Lock up your laptops!

THURSDAY: July 31st
  • Brain going - body can't keep up. Lying down does not guarantee I'll sleep but I'll give it a go. G'night.
  • Goodbye July and good riddance. Hoping August is much nicer to our little world.
  • OK so this drawing doesn't totally suck. Bloodhounds are harder to draw than I thought though.
  • OMG Saturn has OIL LAKES on its surface?!! I smell a new space-race in the works... *headdesk*
  • @PhilippaJane I watch cross-country wrestling (aussie rules) for that - I'm guaranteed short shorts and cute butts to distract me ;)
  • Og playing chicken with a squirrel - hmm.
  • @PhilippaJane Bullrush. *shudder*
  • @etherius Forgot to say welcome to Cali! We've got... um... 'stuff' I envy your latitudunal (!) destination. Los Strangeles is weird.
  • Listening to Whispers At the Edge & eating comfort cocoa pebbles.
  • @PhilippaJane & @TeeMonster 8 days to 08.08.08... Watching for weird things to happen today... [BOTH THEIR BOOKS ARE RELEASED ON 08.08.08]
  • On the plus side I was wearing less makeup than the clown today & Og thought it was worth getting dragged there so that's good.
  • The mailbox is not my friend.
  • Should have used the Visine BEFORE the mascara.
  • Have to go dress up to meet a mute clown now - pls let it be fun today or I might bite someone's head off - accidentally of course.
  • Worst frakkin' night's sleep in quite a while and since Og doesn't let me do much at the best of times, that's saying something! *GROWL*

WEDNESDAY: July 30th
  • Will have to finish my WS quote selection tomorrow. Zleepy!
  • MP3Mail sent after many interruptions.
  • C'mon Audacity - no more crashing please!
  • Og is thwarting my plans for this evening. *sigh*
  • Trying to explain the difference between nuts and screws to Og - believe it or not, I think he gets it.
  • @TeeMonster Unless you're wearing chainmail - apparently the electric field makes them act like puppies - I'm not kidding. Weird huh?
  • @TeeMonster I concur! As an Aussie you'd think sharks wouldn't be a problem for me but they're evil I tell you, EVIL! [RE PEOPLE BEING CRAZY DIVING WITH SHARKS]
  • Drawing chalk mermaids for @mudsock. Og is trying to wash them away.
  • Watching Og practicing his Ye Old Bamboo routine with his favorite stick.
  • @mightymur As a collector of purple appliances it's funny to think you now match my kitchen.
  • I didn't know ambulances could swim! OK - they don't, they sink but they still have little smiling Tonka faces which makes Og happy.
  • @GrammarGirl That is SO cool! Congratulations! May you be sent enough champagne to have a bubbly bath and plenty left over to drink! [HER NEW BOOK JUST HIT THE NYTIMES BESTSELLER LIST]
  • @TeeMonster Just tellin' it like it is ;)
  • @mudsock Cute! Washing the car with a squirt gun would take a very long time though...
  • @Nobilis Merci sir! Nice little podcastings on writing to fit in between things. Xlnt! [HE SENT A LINK]
  • @TeeMonster & @PhilippaJane are on Dragon Page! Go make positive comments and get people excited about 08.08.08
  • Ow. Knuckle bruise - who thought Og watching could be so hazardous?
  • @Nobilis Where be these writing excuses ye spake of? (not that I really need any more - I got me plenty!)
  • @mudsock Oh yeah - Og & I were singing along to Dr. Horrible a lot yesterday...
  • Jeri Smith-Ready podcast interview - vampire research, writing, rock n roll, her book Wicked Game - very interesting!
  • @mudsock Just as well I'm not famous - if I don't eat my words, I don't think other people should!
  • Og is feeding his cars cheerios. I don't have the heart to tell him they're on a liquid only diet.
  • Taschen's A Thousand Hounds... fabulous photo book! Og is providing doggy SFX.
  • Check out @prindiville's latest failed Supervillain! HI-larious!

TUESDAY: July 29th
  • Giving Torchwood a go again. Oh dear - who wrote these lines? Lessons in how NOT to write dialogue. Suspension of disbelief very difficult!
  • @cmpriest Happy All-About-You-Day! Wishing you nommy food, xlnt drinks, many laughs & other birthday goodness (insert birthday song here!)
  • @mudsock Music jackpot for you!
  • Scrounging change to go buy chocolate chips - cookie makin' time!
  • Og, the pasta-haired angel, is playing with penne finger puppets - it's a very stylized way of eating dinner.
  • Putting the microwave through its paces - gourmet chef am I. Dinner a la zap!
  • @the0phrastus A link to The Gatherer that works! Yay! More reading for me. Plus love the sketched title!
  • Listening to Dragon Page and chasing Og's potato puffs around the room.
  • @mudsock I commented on a little post in Urban Fantasy Fan too... [RE LITTLE STORY I EXPANDED ON WITH A TWIST]
  • My response to 'Are you prepared for a zombie emergency?':
  • Og's dream car
  • Og is coloring in helicopters with crayons. He prefers brown today and is getting close to drawing wheels (circles) by himself.
  • @mwsmedia Makes me think an earthquake alarm system would be possible with that kind of delay. Mind you it was a roller, not a true shaker.
  • @mwsmedia Wason phone to hubbie in Burbank at the time. He's like "Holy crap! Earthquake!" Og & I felt it almost 10 seconds later.
  • @mudsock Twitter tribe reports feeling quake in San Diego too.
  • @mwsmedia Og (baby) and I are out in Santa Clarita. Hubbie in Burbank - shaking lasted about 40 secs by both our estimates. [MWSMEDIA IS IN SANTA MONICA]
  • @mudsock Here's the earthquake stats update page (different one)
  • Earthquake! 5.8 Over - Og now trying to shake the doors and walls to see if he can make them move again - cutest earthquake reaction ever!
  • Just found out Joss Whedon does Shakespeare readings & plays in his backyard every couple of months. Not surprised. (Wanna go see!)
  • Just watched Dr. Horrible beginning to end on HULU It's STILL funny.

MONDAY: July 28th
  • Og is so restless my blog post will have to wait till tomorrow.
  • On the upside - a long overdue email is done :)
  • Lipstick Jungle is no Sex and the City but it'll do for a girly fix - if I could get the streaming video to work properly! Argh!
  • I do NOT feel like writing emails. But when else am I going to get time?
  • @mudsock Woo hoo! (Now you can read the rest of that chapter) [RE HOMETIME FOR MUDSOCK - HE TOOK THE TRAIN]
  • @Nobilis Laundrybots! Want!! (Do you pay them in socks?)
  • Og is demonstrating the dexterity of his toes by picking things up with them. Should 18 month olds be able to do that?!
  • @mudsock Ah= I see which song you mean now. Well= despite the different song topic I STILL think you have good taste. Compredez vous? ;)
  • @mudsock Ah. Well, you still have good taste :P
  • Neil Gaiman is writing a two-part Batman story!
  • He he - I also just googled Bechdel's Law to see what others are saying. I'm already bucking the trend apparently - such a pot stirrer!
  • @mudsock So you like too, huh? (You have such good taste!)
  • @mudsock I may have to click and listen a lot today... don't know as many as I should! [RE SITE WITH COOL LIST OF SONGS]
  • @mudsock You read my comment? How did you know where to go?[RE A COMMENT I WROTE ON SOMEONE'S POST DISCUSSING BECHDEL'S LAW FOR WRITERS]
  • @mudsock Woot! Never heard the whole thing before - me likey! Is that list songs from the show? [MUDSOCK FOUND LIPSTICK JUNGLE THEME SONG IN FULL]
  • Just wrote an unintentionally deep response to a post on 'Bechdel's Law for Writers'... think I might make a post of my own.
  • Garbage trucks passed muster so far today, according to Og.
  • Og is playing with the yodeling pickle.

SUNDAY: July 27th
  • Love the Lipstick Jungle theme song! Now, if they would only release it...
  • Looking at underwater art online. Getting the drawing bug again.
  • Washing the cars with Og - lotsa cute photo ops!
  • Og and his truck book wins... for now...
  • Listening to Chasing the Bard Ch 19 while Og serenades me. I need two sets of ears it seems.
  • One of the furry protectors updated with rabies booster - now to send the license fees to the county - keep 'em both legal.

SATURDAY: July 26th
  • Thinking about babies with scaly heads - it's a Mer thing, not an Og thing. Obviously I'm half-asleep. Time to get the other half there too.
  • @mwsmedia (re The Author's Responsibility) Amen! Enough executives kill good stories w/out us adding to the problem. Stay true! [RESPONSE TO TWEET ABOUT HIS BLOG POST ]
  • Nappies are budget killers.

FRIDAY: July 25th
  • Watching the equivalent of late night TV movies... sux not being able to sleep - too tired.
  • It's been a very long day and it's not done yet...
  • Drawing really bad looking cars in chalk - except for the porsche - that turned out cool. Luckily Og thinks they're all cool.
  • @PGHolyfield Ouch! I know EXACTLY how that feels! (ex-ballet-dancer here) Ice, ice, rest and more ice (then get up and dance again!)[RESPONSE TO TWEET ABOUT A TOE INJURY]
  • Brainstorming ideas for @the0phrastus first book, Seaborn - just released! Merpeople in an dark Urban Fantasy - want!
  • Not only the wheels of the bus go round and round...
  • Mini-Sheriff and mini-Mater are Og's new best pals
  • @jchutchins FREE LEGIT ONLINE MUSIC?! You've just made me a MINE convert - and very happy :) []
  • @etherius Are you likely to go to St Louis again? If not - drive thru - so you can say you've been there! [RE HIS QUESTION ABOUT WHICH ROUT TO TAKE ON HIS TRIP]
  • @mightymur Happy Princess Day! This year I give you the gift of royalty, um, royalties (on the 25th!) & wish you many (xlnt) martinis! [IT WAS MIGHTMUR'S BIRTHDAY]
  • ...No Gymbo appearance today :( but there were dog puppets and foam bugs to squash. Next time, no butterfly print sox for me. Og like music!
  • Og loved the maracas (predictable, right?), the drums were a hit (ha, get it?) and he was there with bells on (literally)...
  • I'm sorry, what's that day supposed to be about again?

THURSDAY: July 24th
  • Earbuds hurt my ears! Think I need a mini-version or a single headphone instead.
  • SpitTheDummy post-Adventures of AquaBoy:GreatHoseDiscovery
  • @TezMillerOz You doing a review of Vicki Pettersson's books? I was very pleasantly surprised. Just starting Taste of Night.
  • @PhilippaJane I wear my sunglasses at night... Oh dear, my 80s are showing! [RESPONSE TO HER COMMENT ABOUT WEARING SUNNIES INDOORS]
  • @mudsock funny ukelele lady
  • @PhilippaJane Kiwis!
  • @mudsock Apparently I'm not even 1 smoot tall! Guess I'm not up to the mark :P [YOU CAN LOOK UP WHAT A 'SMOOT' IS ON WIKIPEDIA]
  • @etherius Hope your journey is great and the destination worth every mile... BTW how are you tweeting while driving?
  • Listening to Talechasing w/ PG Holyfield while Og provides additional SFX and voice talent in the background - just for me!
  • Fumpr looks interesting
  • @mudsock And just what inspired your 'research'?! [RE SUPERGLUE USED DURING WAR TO STICK SKIN TOGETHER OVER WOUNDS]
  • Og slept thru his alarm - my little nightowl forgot about seeing Gymbo the clown today. Will try for a make-up class tomorrow.
  • Having to re-follow people after the last Twitter glitch.

WEDNESDAY: July 23rd
  • @TezMillerOz Funny speculation on your cover post re Pride. I had similar thoughts - pride = family in her case, right??
  • Og eating pasta - watching him turn into my 'pasta-haired angel'.
  • Listening to Zumanity s/track.
  • Just vacuumed and detailed the main bedroom, backroom and kitchen. Very difficult with clingy Og!
  • @kimidreams You can always email him through LJ.
  • (Mama) What's your name? (Og) "Ja!" (Mama) Yes! (Og just said half his real name - I'm SO proud)
  • "Dadda" (Og speak for Daddy)
  • Little Wombat books are Og's second favorite.. after all the truck and car books of course!
  • (voiceover voice) "HD makes your heroes testosteronier.." seriously?
  • Brak-bah! (Og-speak for 'tractor')
  • @mudsock Slow morning?

TUESDAY: July 22nd
  • I'm not sure if it's funny or freaky that the CIA might really work (and talk) this way. Bourne Ultimatum. Love this stuff!
  • Want! (Fail whale t-shirts & other goodies)
  • @TeeMonster Shakespeare quotations, passion, fighting, death scs... hope you're including some of these on your reel - impressive range!
  • @TeeMonster Really love your work on Chasing the Bard. I keep forgetting I'm listening to 'Tee' (that's a compliment!)...
  • I'm STILL getting fencing newsletters from Swordplay, even though I haven't fenced in, um almost 5? years now. Makes me miss it - kinda.
  • Just glanced at the time - that took a LOT longer than I thought it would. Damn! Just when the DVD player decides to work too!
  • Post: A Week of Tweets - but if you're reading this on Twitter you really don't need a summary do you?!


Want to be part of the conversation? It's free. It's easy. It's FUN! Join Twitter and follow me HERE!

Name: inkgypsy
Location: Limbo, CA
Web: http://www.theink...
Bio: Human/zombie hybrid who wishes
she had tastier brains to snack on while working,
wears socks made out of old muppets,
grows her own hair.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In the Event of a Zombie Emergency

The question:

Are you prepared for a zombie outbreak, or are you just going to wing it?

My answer:

I look prepared. I have the Zombie Survival Guide, I have blunt objects stashed near every window, I have my titanium helmet with padlocked chin-strap and a freezer stocked with brains that have the cunningly deceptive label of 'GENUS: HOMOSAPIEN' but it's not what you think. When the horde finally comes my neighbors will flee - to me. You see I'm already here. I'm ahead of them and I've lived/been undead long enough to use what's left of my rotting brain to cook up my own sweet plan. Humans are much tastier without adrenalin in their system and I plan to keep my snacks safe and warm until I'm ready to dine - to feast!

Till then I'll keep my distance - seemingly fragile and shy, scared of the sun burning my pale, pale skin. I'll wave when they see me. I'll hurry in sunglasses and hat between the car and the cool protection of my chilled interior, moaning my discomfort at the summer sun. Then when the sun goes down and the raid begins I'll open my doors with a welcome and beckon the survivors inside. They'll be so scared they won't notice the mortuary-grade make-up under my concerned expression. I'll defend them from my cousins until they feel safe. Safe and sweet. Then when all is quiet and the horde has moved on, I'll feast.

I always wanted to have guests for dinner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Week Of Tweets

Here are my tweets for the week, with the most recent first. You're also getting my half of tweet-exchanges with a brief explanation to clue you in. I've included the links mentioned too, in case you feel like checking them out:

  • Interview with 'fail whale' artist If only she got a cent for every whale sighting! [SEE BOTTOM OF POST FOR A PIC]
  • My copy of Brave Men Run just arrived! :)
  • @etherius On the up side the city is super dog friendly and lots of doggie-allowed parks (AND people DO clean up after them! SHOCK!) [DISCUSSING SAN FRANCISCO]
  • @PhilippaJane Never mind - I'll try and leave voicemail or send an email. Great Chapter though. [RE CHAPTER 18 OF CHASING THE BARD PODCAST NOVEL]
  • @PhilippaJane Ch 18 - very touching. Did Will ever write about Bess then? That had to have touched his writing in more ways than one! [DITTO ABOVE]
  • @mudsock Was that from Ruscal? Very cute - lets get one. [RE BUNNY LETTER OPENER VIDEO ON YOUTUBE:]
  • Roller skating dinosaur wood block puzzles - me and Og. Happy times.
  • @prindiville OMG that's hilarious and completely TRUE! [RE YOUTUBE VIDEO RE CREATIVE WORK FOR CLIENTS]
  • Watchmen trailer comparison of book to screen - xlnt!

MONDAY: July 21
  • LOL MyNameIsEarl - That writer's room must be a great place to hang out.
  • No DVD player - resorting to watching a free online episode of My Name Is Earl.
  • @scottsigler when in doubt send them to the bathroom... like 24 :P [RE HIS COMMENT DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO WRITE NOT-SO-SMART CHARACTER KEEPING SECRET FROM SMART CHARACTERS]
  • @TezMillerOz Ah -but see it's all about the cookie dough for us... if some gets cooked, that's a bonus! [RE HER COMMENT OF 'ME COOK?!']
  • @prindiville ...The Terrible Twosome.. see? Lame failed supervillains. Clever names are not my strong suit. (What is a strong suit anyway?) [RE ONGOING TWEET EXCHANGE ABOUT AN IDEA FOR A SKETCH]
  • @prindiville Not ignoring ur question. Just can't think of anything better than Major Lee Awful, Doc Deadbeat, Col. Mouse Tache (brain spaz) [DITTO ABOVE]
  • @mudsock Amazon delivery for you! (jealous) [SELF EXPLANATORY!]
  • We found purple Ramone!! Thus ends the 3 day hunt in a magazine holder between books. Og is verrry happy.
  • New pic on my profile page in honor of Sive's upcoming book release. (Free PDF!!!!! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou! @PhilippaJane ) [PART OF THE PROMOTION FOR HER NEW BOOK, 'DIGITAL MAGIC', BEING RELEASED ON 08-08-08 ON AMAZON]
  • A picture of chocolate chip cookies has Og in a tizzy. I know how he feels.
  • Waking up with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang & Lightning McQueen = pillow face with added tire tracks. Thanks Og.
  • Looks like all yesterday's Tweets were eaten - not in my timeline - but they're on my @inkgypsy page. Others I read last night are gone too.

SUNDAY: July 20
  • Inklings post: Scraping Bottom of Barrel for Boost
  • Spit-the-Dummy post: 18 Mnth Old Aquarian Makes A Splash
  • Zombie Kitteh
  • Can't wait for the all-singing commentary on the DVD though. What a blast! They're either very brave or completely nuts.
  • I have the Dr. Horrible s/track in my head - and now I can't watch it to help me get to the next bit!
  • Deleting a writing-prompt response. Glad I realized it was crap-alicious before anyone saw it. Gak!
  • Entering another book competition - getting desperate now I have no book allowance anymore (stupid bills).
  • Og likes Bad Horse's theme song - that's my boy!
  • @mightymur Re "Stop. It's spackle time." - LOL I can see the video now... [MIGHTYMUR WAS PAINTING THAT DAY]
  • Joss Whedon Behind-the-Scenes of Dr. Horrible - a lot of fun!

  • Og's rain machine sounded briefly like a tardis. Perhaps I'm asleep already.
  • Putting my brain cells to bed.
  • Catching up on Fangs, Fur & Fey.
  • @filboidstudge Thanks for the article! Took me a few days but I read it all. Verrrry interesting... return address: Behind the Lions -story! [RE ARTICLE LINK LIVES & LETTERS: THE LION & THE MOUSE']
  • Hair color - goes on purple and I come out blonde. Guess that's good, though I'd be OK with on blonde/out purple too.
  • @PhilippaJane @TeeMonster Really enjoyed the Dead Robots interview too - great to hear all different stuff - very little overlap. More pls! [RE PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH TEEMONSTER & PHILIPPAJANE RE THEIR BOOKS COMING OUT ON 08-08-08 ON AMAZON]
  • @TezMillerOz Watcha doin' that you have to go alphabetical through Amazon? Someone give you an impossible task? [RE A COMMENT ABOUT HER BEING UP TO 'P' ON AMAZON]
  • Blog Post 'When Nice Characters Give You the HeebieJeebies...'
  • Why does spelling 'dialogue' like this always end up with a squiggly red line when writing online?
  • @feliciaday Excellent work (fun?) on Dr. Horrible! Sorry about your death though. [RE HER ACTING/SINGING ON 'DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG']

FRIDAY: July 18
  • Our teenie houdini just figured out how to pull his t-shirt off by himself. Great.
  • Emptying the kiddie pool, one scoop at a time.
  • Listening to Brave Men Run. [A PODIOBOOK]
  • @prindiville Ooh! While Dr. Horrible is making waves, how about a sketch from 'the society of failed supervillains'? [RE HIS CALL FOR SKETCH SUGGESTIONS]
  • Please don't tell me you'll give me feedback if you don't really intend to. Waiting for nothing sux.
  • @prindiville Love the Billibub Baddings sketch! (lucky Tee :D) [RE A SKETCH OF ONE OF TEEMONSTER'S CHARACTERS HERE: ]
  • Dr Dreadful's Riposte to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog on YouTube

THURSDAY : July 17
  • Blog post: Go watch Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog
  • Twitter is NOT fixed! Where are my tweet-tribe and where are my tweets?
  • What the freak? Now I have a French dude in my timeline - what's going on Twitter?!
  • How did Bosso get into my timeline? Me no likely you crashing my tweets Bosso! Anyone else get this?
  • I just realized I wrote 'Doctor' when I meant 'Dr' - I guess I had 'Who' on the brain.
  • @prindiville Late reply - I'm 1/2 way thru Torchwood Season 1 - thx for the tip! [RE HIS TIP THAT IT GETS BETTER IN SEASON 2]
  • @mudsock Mail & chat [RE.. I CAN'T REMEMBER]
  • @TeeMonster Last book you'll ever write? Excellent. My variation - 'the only book that will ever represent you' (which to some is true) [RE A COMMENT HE MADE DURING PODCAST INTERVIEW ABOUT 'WRITE YOUR BOOK AS IF IT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU'LL EVER WRITE.]
  • @TeeMonster @PhilippaJane Excellent Tea & Chat guys! Worth every minute of the 120 (or so) there. [RE THEIR DOUBLE INTERVIEW ON THE PODCAST 'TEA & CHAT']
  • @PhilippaJane Research - you aware of this site? [RE HER TWEET THAT SHE WAS HAVING DIFFICULTY RESEARCHING TEXTS PRE-DATING EARLY 1900'S]
  • I am now a Doctor Horrible convert! (I'm late but I'm here!)
  • Also tomato rolling time - to the tune of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang of course (Og is providing the music).
  • And now it's tomato stomping time apparently - a very messy game!
  • While other kids were jumping on the Gymboree equipment Og was busy pointing out all the rips, chips and broken bits.

  • Torchwood is beginning to find its groove for me - not completely won over yet but I'm more interested now.
  • Inklings post: Why Twitter + Today's Tweets

Want to be part of the conversation? It's free. It's easy. It's FUN! Join Twitter and follow me HERE!

Name: inkgypsy
Location: Limbo, CA
Bio: Human/zombie hybrid who wishes
she had tastier brains to snack on while working,
wears socks made out of old muppets,
grows her own hair.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel For a Creative Boost

It should be no surprise that the zombification both continues and appears to have eaten at my brain, not that this has to be a bad thing...

The last time my brain was eaten I ended up creating a whole human being. (Yes, it's true. Babies eat your brains! Pregnant woman actually lose brain mass while they're gestating. No wonder I couldn't finish a sentence back then! What they forget to tell you is that the brain does regain its mass about 6 months after the baby is born. I think by then mothers are too tired to be concerned about how much space the jelly in their skull cavity takes up so they don't remember to pass this little piece of information on. By then they're worried about all the other things the baby is eating!)

So it's not all bad news. Am I carrying a months worth of luggage under my eyes? Yes. Is my hair doing an impression of a birds nest? Uh huh. Are my eyes hanging out of my head? It certainly feels like it -

- BUT! -

- there are resources available to me to help me keep functioning in a creative milieu. (That's right I actually used a fancy word and put it in the correct context. Not bad for a zombie, hey?) Though it might be a fact that you're scraping the bottom of the brain-barrel (mmm, guacamole anyone?) for ideas and inspiration it doesn't have to be a case for despair.

You see, bottom of the barrel stuff isn't always bad. There's usually something surprisingly good to be found there.

Take vegemite for instance. Vegemite is the notorious black-like spread Australians spread on their toast for breakfast. It's a thick, paste-like substance that tastes yeasty and salty and vaguely like roast beef. While it is, without doubt, an acquired taste it isn't just a weird cultural affectation. As the highest known food-source of vitamin B in the world it's actually REALLY good for you! (Don't ask me what the non-food-sources are - I have no idea.) If you don't know much about vitamin B, just know that if you don't get enough or keep enough in your body you can get sick. Very sick. Days-on-end-paying-homage-to-the-porcelain-god sick. Vegemite eaters never have to worry about this problem - thus the saying 'happy little vegemites'.

Not bad for the scrapings off the bottom of a beer barrel.

Yes. Vegemite is basically what's left in the bottom of the barrel after the beer brewing process. (Kind of makes you want to try some now, doesn't it?)

And what's left in the bottom of our brain-barrels after a grueling time can be just as 'vitamin-filled' for our creativity, if we're prepared to sample it.

Being tired, fed up, and generally run down has a way of forcing you to realize what's important to you and what you love. You retreat to those people and things that give you pleasure or relax you and you have little energy to spare for those that aren't. The Big Ones feature, of course - family, pets, yummy food, sleep - but this is also the time where you find yourself picking up books to read just to escape (not because they're 'good' for you), where you watch shows you really enjoy without having to think too much, where you tinker around with seemingly-silly things that normally you'd consider a waste of time. And this will tell you something about yourself.

Apart from people you love and your nice comfy mattress, what are you drawn to when you're tired and running on empty? What are your retreats? Do you find yourself coming home with extra chocolate-chip cookies in the grocery bags? Do you find yourself looking for re-runs of Friends, Buffy or Scooby Doo? Are you suddenly devouring Star Trek novels, romance novels or other fiction you normally consider pulp?

What do I do? I start reading masses of paperbacks in series - starting with the first one published and continuing to the next one as if they were all one big book, I browse the internet for illustrations and pictures I like to collect into an 'inspirational pics' folder and I find myself rearranging my bookshelves. And there's more than one way to convince myself I could use another piece of chocolate (mmm, chocolate....)

How is this creatively-friendly?

It tells me that I'm more relaxed when there's order around me and yet it also tells me that I get tired of being disciplined the whole time. It tells me I'm a visual person and that my imagination is stimulated by other, visual creativity (also known as 'art'). It tells me I like to be immersed in one world and not pulled in many different directions. (It also tells me I'd better stay active otherwise that chocolate weakness will start making my clothes a bit snug! But that's a whole other topic...)

And how do I use this revelatory-information? When I'm writing and find myself frustrated, the immediate things I can do to get beyond it are to organize my resources and writing scraps, snippets and files for the project, that I should try some random methods and approaches to the project to mix-it-up a little, that I need to go back to the 'charged image' (or images) that got me writing in the first place, that I'll do better if I concentrate on one project instead of many and that a chocolate break may just be the thing to relax me out of my tense state of mind and into a more relaxed and muse-friendly one.

And there's one more very important thing I can learn from this: when I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel and my concentration is scattered, there's a good chance my creativity (i.e. the portion of my brain that enables my synapses to fire together like crackers at Chinese New Year and gets me writing) could use a vitamin boost of it's own - literally. And what's the best vitamin for this? Vitamin B.

Perhaps it's time for some vegemite!

NOTE: Comics from TOONLET by Cloister - make your own webcomic!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

When Nice Characters Give You the HeebieJeebies...

Live Journal had a writer's prompt a couple of days ago that I finally got around to writing on. The question was:

Who is your favorite fictional character? Why do you love them? What fictional character bugs you?

Thinking about your personal reaction to a character in a book you're reading or a show you're watching can be very revealing - both those you love and those you can't stand.

As with all writing prompts I try to write the first thing that comes to mind, before I try to be too clever or manipulate my own responses. The answer to the character I love was no surprise, though the more I dug at the reasons why, the more I realized just why she was at the top of my list.

The character that bugged me WAS a surprise. I couldn't think of any immediately, except for Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice but I realized that was me trying too hard. I really didn't feel that strongly about him. When I did hit upon a character I didn't like, there was no doubt. This character has given me the heebiejeebies since I was a kid and it's not someone a lot of people are likely to put down. In fact this character is supposed to be a good, nice and well-loved character. Funny thing is my feelings about her are still as strong today!

We've all come across wooden heroes and heroines while the villain of the story is delightfully complex. We all worry our own hero characters will suffer from the same puppet-master syndrome and be out-shined by our baddies. We work on giving the good guys flaws while we make sure our villains have redeeming qualities to keep our readers guessing and to keep the struggle between the two believable. But it's not often we stop to think: is my good character so 'good' they're verging on creepy?

It's the ones that make you not want to pick up that book or watch that show again that can teach you something - and it's not always the bad guys. I learned a few things about myself doing this exercise and I'll be even more aware of these sorts of issues when I next delve into my writing. I want to make sure the characters I intend to be likeable ARE in fact likeable and those that aren't are still those you want to love-to-hate. The last thing I want is for my book to be the one you never want to pick up again!

If you're curious about my choices (which are NOT shown in the pictures here), go check out my post on Live Journal HERE.

NOTE: To read the article about why Annie Liebovitz is dressing people up like Disney characters click HERE to read the article and see more photos (including behind-the-scenes) or on the images above for yet more Liebovitz-does-Disney-portraits. And yes, I find quite a few of them rather creepy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creative Detour: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

It seems JossWhedon (creator and director of the TV series' Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Firefly) had a lot of fun during the recent writer's strike. Forced to halt work on his upcoming series 'Dollhouse' he got his family together and, with a few friends, wrote a 'Supervillain Musical'. The idea was to do something on the fly, for cheap but 'professionalish' (Joss' word, not mine) and make it freely available on the web to whoever wants to see it. (That is just SO cool of a famous/professional writer-director to do.)

And he did.

It's here, it's happening and it's online now!

But you don't have long to see the awesome brilliant silliness for free. Acts I and II are streaming now (or you can download for $1.99 per episode/Act through iTunes) with Act III coming out on the 19th of July. Then on July 20th, 2008 at midnight - *poof!* - it disappears, never to be seen again (until they release it on DVD with a whole heap of cool extras but that, my friends, won't be free).

Despite being done
(take a breath!)
it looks really slick
(Joss has some pretty talented [not-to-mention famous] friends...)
and not-at-all cheap.

So what is it about? We're talking about a blogging supervillain ("I have a PhD in Horribleness!"), his nemesis Captain Hammer, a pretty girl they both want, unexpected musical outbursts (with hilarious lyrics), immediately quotable one-liners, action (with snazzy special effects) and an evil master plan... apparently (Dr. Horrible is still working out the details).

This is excellent quality entertainment people!
Oh yeah - and did I mention it's FREE?!
The clock is ticking...
Stop reading, click HERE or on the posters above and GO WATCH IT NOW!

NOTE: I have no idea whose midnight this is so play it safe and GO WATCH IT NOW! (Feel like you're having deja vu? Maybe the Universe is trying to tell you something,like: GO WATCH IT NOW!)

Why Twitter + Today's Tweets

I've seen a number of bloggers who also use Twitter during the day (a real-time community micro-blogging tool) put their days 'tweets' into a little blog entry every so often and thought I'd do the same - but in case you haven't heard about Twitter yet I thought I'd do a little 'splaining for this first set of 'Tweets'.

The idea is to answer a single question with a single sentence (ie. 140 characters or less): What are you doing?

It's fun getting glimpses into the day-to-day of people you know and keeps you clued in and connected to what's going on out there. Occasionally people will tweet links to interesting and/or cool things too. It's a good way to see what real people are thinking and talking about.

Still thinking it sounds lame and that it has no use whatsoever? I beg to differ. Strangely enough this is the most powerful networking tool I've come across and one of the easiest to use (a.k.a. STRESS-FREE!). It's easy to find people and follow them, to 'tweet' directly to them (and often get comments back), I can tweet the URL of my latest blog post and have people go look at it the instant I let them know (it helps to tease them with a title of course!) and if you have a large enough group following you it's a great way to get lots of instant feedback for questions you may have (eg. anyone know of any good cafes in Baltimore?) and, just as importantly, support (eg. 'the plumbing exploded' will likely result in tweets from 'you poor thing' to 'I know an excellent plumber in your area if you need a recommendation').

If you're a writer (like me) or an artist intending to put your creative babies out into the world at some point in the future, this is a very good way to get known ahead of time and engender support. By the time you put your project up for public consumption you'll have people waiting for it and will get almost-instant feedback too. Both are very important for writers/artists to survive. The key is to a) get involved (sign up) and b) GET INVOLVED! (tweet regularly). If nothing else, you will have made some new friends and/or keep in touch with your old ones - that can only be a good thing!

So here are my Tweets from today (well, yesterday now) July 16, 2008. The most recent is first:
  • Og is recognizably humming Chitty Chitty Bang Bang... not bad for 17 months old.
  • Heri-ro-ro! (Helicopter in Og-speak)
  • My sister just spent 8 days at Club Med Bintan, Singapore. She lives in a different universe to me.
  • I hate it when my file menus disappear off the screen! Why does it do that?
  • Found an author I've been searching for on LJ - Melissa Marr. I like her writing and her tattoos both!
  • Over 5 months later the Valentine's balloon is finally starting to sink.
If you want to be part of my Twitter Tribe, you can find me here. It's free to join and super-easy to use. Tweet you later!