Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Not Writing Guilt

I haven't written a word in about a month. Before that, it was sketchy. I was working on revisions, halfheartedly. Mostly I have been letting story problems tumble around in my head and reading more.

My creative juices have been exhausted with a move. In the last two weeks, I have washed every dish, bowl, cookware, silverware and other kitchen gadget and accessories I own. I washed every piece of fabric in the house, from pillows to towels to clothing to jackets I don't even plan to keep. After sanitizing everything I own, I have to find a place for it to live in our new house, which is another challenge. To add to the chaos, I got a new computer on Mother's Day, and have been trying to make that transition. Getting a new computer is like a death to me. I have to lay the previous computer to rest and set up the new one. I hate that process. For months while still working on "Divided Moon," I was working with a computer that would shut down after 20 minutes of work, yet I would insist I was not ready to change computers, not until the work was done.

In spite of all this chaos, I have niggling guilt in the back of my brain for not writing. I have a fount of ideas, and actually recovered a notebook filled with plot, character sketches, a timeline and scenes for a horror novel I was too afraid to write before. I think I am ready now, if only I could get my house and office in order.

It will come, and I remind myself that a writers' downtimes are periods of collecting data. I have definitely been collecting data in the last few weeks. No words on the page, but ideas are bubbling as I examine my WIP, this lost WIP, my goals and other writing related things that don't involve actual writing.

I suppose I write this piece to remind myself, and all writers, that we are working, even when we aren't. Banish the guilt of not putting words on the page every day, as contemplation of story problems and planning other projects is also work. I also remind myself that when life gets in the way, I should pay attention, because it could be fodder for work. We have to live in order to know enough to create.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: Cinder

This is no fairy tale. Cinder, the debut young adult novel by Marissa Meyer and the first in her Lunar Chronicles series, is a clever, futuristic retelling of Cinderella….except I like this one better.  This Cinder doesn’t need a prince to save her, although one is making his intentions clear. She has a plan of her own that is interrupted when she has to save Earth.

Many elements of the fairy tale give the story a familiar feel. Cinder has an evil stepmother who puts Cinder to work and prohibits her from attending the ball. She has two stepsisters, although one of them is heartbreakingly charming. Cinder is dirty, not from cleaning the ashes from the fireplace, but because she is a mechanic and working with grease. Then there is the ball, and a twist to the lost shoe I saw coming, but loved all the same.

What is different is this story takes place in the future, when gasoline cars are ancient relics. Cinder isn’t entirely human, but a cyborg. I am not a frequent reader of science fiction or fantasy, so I wasn’t sure if I should know what that is. As far as I could tell with Cinder’s focus on her gloves and boots, she has some metal parts.

The story is predictable at times, which is fitting for a fairy tale retelling. We all know how the story goes. Yet there are surprises in every chapter that make this a light and enjoyable read.