Friday, January 29, 2010

Odds and Ends

J.D. Salinger passed away this week. I would feel remiss as a former English teacher if I didn't at least mention it, especially since I devoted an entire blog to the late Robert B. Parker earlier this month. I only read one of Mr. Salinger's books, Catcher In The Rye, and not in high school when most kids seem to read it. No, I didn't read it until years later, when I was well out of college and not even teaching anymore. I didn't love it, but I appreciated it. Still, the man was an American institution and I am sorry that he is gone.

As far as my own writing goes, I have hit a wall. Not a literal wall, although I have not ruled that particular activity out, but a figurative wall. Otherwise known as Writer's Block. It happens. The good news is I am still ahead on my daily word goal, ahead by a significant amount even, but I still hate the stalled feeling.

Part of it, I think, I can attribute to a weird turn the story took. It's not a particularly happy book to start with, but this rewrite seems to be slightly moodier and darker (at least to me) than the first draft. Back in 2008, I stumbled across Diana Gabaldon's novel Outlander and while I liked the novel enough to read every other book in the series, I took issue with a scene where the hero takes it upon himself to punish the heroine (a modern day woman stuck in the 1700s, in case you haven't read the books) and tans her backside with his belt. She tries to fight him but he overpowers her. And the days following the incident, she's mad at him. But then she stops being mad at him and starts feeling bad for being mad at him and then comes to understand why he had to beat her with a belt. I took issue with that too. I mean, I was mad for days about that and I wrote in my book diary "I don't care what time period I am magically transported to, I don't think I'd let anyone claiming to love me tan my backside with a leather strap."

Now flash forward to my Second Nature revision. No, my heroine has not had her backside tanned with a leather strap by someone claiming to love her. But a situation has come up in Second Nature that has made me think of Outlander and my irritation with the heroine and has left me maybe understanding Gabaldon's heroine better than before.

Which may not make any sense to anyone not in my head but, without going into details on Second Nature, I guess it's going to have to stay at that. At any rate, the revelation has been interesting and strange and unexpected and I have spent a lot of time pondering where my characters are going and where they might end up.

All this pondering is killing my daily word count.

The other part of my wall I am attributing to the fact that I seem to have misplaced a major character, which is never a good thing. The last I saw him, I'd sent him on a walkabout of sorts, intending to put him on the Road to Redemption, only now I don't know where he's gone. As strange as it sounds, he's gone AWOL and despite my best pondering efforts, I have yet to find him. So if anyone sees a good looking fallen hero type meandering around anywhere, send him my way, would you? I'd be ever so grateful.

So until my characters get their acts together, I've been perfecting my Wii crossbow skills (I mean, not exclusively or anything. I've also done a lot of reading this month...not to mention putting up with half naked British tourists.) Have you played this game? It's called Link's Crossbow Training and it's awesome. So much better than that stupid Twilight Princess game. Of course, it could just be my inability to get out of the stupid Twilight Princess village (AKA level subzero) that's making me think the game to be dumb. I do always try to keep an open and honest mind...

But Link's Crossbow Training is different. It's fun. Even if Joe is annoyingly good at it. I think he has all but two of the high scores on the practice levels. Heather has the other two. I think the only way I'll get any high scores is to delete their profiles but fortunately for my compatriots, I am too nice a person to actually go through with it.

Instead I shall search for score boosting cheats on the internet.

There is one level of Link's Crossbow Training that I do NOT enjoy. Not in the least. This would be the level with the big freaking spiders.

I do not like spiders.

Turns out that I do not like computer generated spiders coming up behind me and attacking my avatar either. Or dropping out of nowhere onto my little computer generated avatar head.

Turns out I scream when that happens. I scream a lot. And loudly too.

And yes, maybe once I did get freaked out by some graphic I thought was a giant spider but turned out to be something not a spider instead.

Turns out I scream then too. Heather can attest to this although she's a good enough friend that I'm sure she'd lie about the experience if I asked her to.

Anyway, I think that about does it for me today. I have to make some treats for obedience class tomorrow. Hope everyone out there enjoys their weekend.

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