25 November 2015


I'm behind on a lot of things. The dishes are piling up to an obscene amount. I'm ridiculously behind on all of my TV shows (I also watch way too many TV shows). I was supposed to blog on Monday but that didn't happen. Don't even ask about writing. I know, I wasn't really writing before, but now I don't have the time or the brain capacity to do so. But at least I have a good reason.

I started my new job last week and it is exhausting. I wouldn't necessarily say it's more physically demanding than my previous job, it's just that my body isn't used to working this hard anymore. After work every day my feet and my back hurt so much that once I lay down it's hard to get back up again. The very first night I actually went to bed at 8:30. Luckily since then it hasn't been as bad but it's still a lot to get used to.

So there's a lot of adjusting to do. I'm still getting used to the whole working thing. I think once I adjust to the schedule and (hopefully) overcome the exhaustion, maybe I can get back into a routine with all of my other stuff. I just don't want to push myself too hard just yet. I don't want to force out a blog post if I don't have any ideas and don't really have the time to do it. So I'm thinking my posting will be a little sporadic for a while. If I come up with some good ideas I'll definitely try to post. Or even better, if I have some writing progress to report. But for now I'm just going to take it easy.

Luckily I have today off so I'm mostly going to try to catch up on the dishes and TV, and maybe try to squeeze in a little writing. I do have to work tomorrow though (boooooooo!) so I hope everyone else has a good Thanksgiving!

11 November 2015

When Vagueness Goes Wrong

When we choose to be vague about something that we write, it always leaves things open to interpretation. Maybe that's what you want, and maybe it isn't. People may be able to figure out what you actually meant, they may just stare at it scratching their heads, or they may take it in the entirely wrong direction.

Ok, that paragraph may seem a little vague in itself. Usually you have to have a really good reason for being vague. It most likely shouldn't turn up in your fiction, unless, for instance, if your character is doing it on purpose. It's perfectly fine to confuse other characters but confusing the reader may be a bad choice. If the reader isn't in on it, or if you don't give an explanation for being vague, it may just make things confusing.

But there are times where you may need to be vague, but that can also go wrong. Take my blog post on Monday, for instance. When I was talking about my idea for a weird scene, I decided to be vague about what it was actually about. This was pretty much for one reason: censorship. Well, ok, spoilers, too, but that was more about who was involved in the scene rather than what. I didn't want to say what was happening because I figured it would make some people uncomfortable. While I'm totally fine with adult content in my books, my blog probably isn't the place for it. So I figured vagueness was the way to go. And that's where I went horribly wrong.

This is where vagueness can get you into trouble. I mentioned that my weird scene involved a character texting a family member while "something else" was going in. Now, I was totally fine with people having absolutely no idea what I was talking about. The point of the post was to talk about the idea of writing weird scenes, not about explaining what this weird scene was about. But at some point during the day I had a slap-myself-in-the-face kind of revelation.

I felt like people assumed I meant my scene was taking place in a bathroom, to which I would say, EW! Really, I'm open to writing about most things, and I've certainly written scenes that take place in a bathroom, but never involving the most common things one would do in there. Because, like I said before, EW! I can't imagine a scenario in one of my stories where that would be necessary. Some things are better left unsaid, really. As far as I'm concerned, my characters don't go to the bathroom. What I meant was that something sexual was happening, but I just didn't want to say it (because fiction-writing me is a lot braver than blog-writing me).

But maybe I'm wrong and people actually understood what I meant. Some of the comments were vague as well so I have no idea what my readers were actually thinking. Maybe I just overthink things waaaaaaaaaaay too much (what else is new?). But I'm also thinking bigger picture here. When you purposely try to be vague, you leave whatever you are saying up to interpretation. So readers can take it whatever way seems reasonable to them. If you're fine with people being clueless, that's one thing, but they could also take whatever you're saying in the entirely wrong direction. So we have think if being vague is really worth all the trouble.

Have you ever written anything vague? Did people take it the wrong way?

09 November 2015

Embrace the Weird

Before I get to the actual post, I'd just like to thank everyone for their well wishes last week on my job hunt. I have good news! I got the full time job that I applied for!!! I have orientation next Monday and then start the next day. It's the 11-7:30 shift that I talked about, and I get every other weekend off, so I don't think this will cut into my blogging time. I think I will be taking next week off blogging, though, just to get situated (and work through all of the anxiety...). I'll probably still post this Wednesday (or Friday...or both...) but if not I will be back on the 23rd!

But anyway, onto writing stuff!

I recently had an idea for a scene, and I thought it was a little weird. Ok, technically, it was just part of a scene--the very end, actually, and it was in Book 3. I know, I'm getting way ahead of myself but I just can't help it. But I figure by the time I get around to actually writing the book, I'll probably have it completely figured out and that will make it easier to write.

About this weird moment--well, I don't think I should share the details because it's a bit inappropriate. Let's just say it involves a character texting a family member while...something else is going on. Hopefully you get it. If not, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that my first response to this idea was, "It's too weird! No one would actually do that!" But at the same time, it kind of felt right for the character. It was weirdly bizarre, but in a fascinating and entertaining sort of way.

So what do I do with this scene? Forget it or just go with it?

My initial response was just to forget about it. A million different thoughts cross my mind all the time when it comes to these stories, but I don't always use all of them. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked this moment, not in spite of its weirdness but because of it. Sometimes people do weird things, and those things are usually more entertaining than the normal, boring, or everyday moments that are more likely to occur. So if it's weird, but still believable, why not use it?

What really made sense was that the moment felt right for the character. It actually seems like something he would do. There's actually a scene in the first book that has the same kind of weirdness (it involves lemon bars...I won't get into it...), and I really love that scene. It works in the moment. And if something works, then there really isn't any reason to get rid of it.

The thing about weird scenes is that they definitely won't always work. They have to fit the story, the characters, even the particular scene that they're in. Yes, these moments can seem strange, but they also have to be believable. But if your only reason for not using a particularly weird idea is just because it's weird, then maybe you should rethink it. Sometimes your instincts are right, and those weird scenes can turn out to be something great.

Do you ever come up with weird scenes? Do you try to make them work or get rid of them?

04 November 2015

Rambling Insecurity

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click the link to learn more and sign up!

Like with most of my blog posts lately, I have no idea what to write about. Sometimes it just feels like my brain has stopped working. Or sometimes I feel like every idea I come up with is something I've written about before (I couldn't even tell you how many times I've written a post about not having ideas).

Which isn't to say I'm not incredibly insecure. I've just probably already mentioned all of my insecurities several times before. I still haven't actually written anything for quite some time. I keep trying to motivate myself to just write something, even if it's something silly or pointless or short or poorly written. Just something.

I'm hoping things may actually get easier once I have a real job again, which will hopefully be soon. I had not one, but two job interviews on Monday (the insecurity over that could take an entire post). I applied for a full time position, but by the time they called me they only had part time, but I interviewed anyway. Only yesterday I got another call that the full time is available again, so I'm hoping I get that. It would be an 11-7:30 shift, which I would love since my last job sometimes had me working until 1 or 2 in the morning. Plus that still gives me plenty of time in the morning to blog, which I was afraid I'd have to cut back on if I worked full time again.

But anyway, my real point is that if I have an actual full time job, then all of my free time can be exactly that: free. I can do whatever I want. I don't have to worry about having to spend every second trying to make money just to pay my bills. So I will actually have more time to write.

I don't know yet if I should say my time trying to break into freelance work was a failure or not. Maybe it's just not what I really want to do. So maybe it's a better idea just to have a regular job and work on what I really want to write in my spare time. Then maybe some day I can make enough money to only do that (if I'm really really lucky).

But I think for now I just have to take it one step at a time. I'm pretty sure I've said that before.

02 November 2015

Jordan Takes Over: Be a Rock Star

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. I apologize in advance.**

Hey, guess what! Sarah has a job interview this morning so I get to take over! Oh wait, I was going to do that anyway...yeah, yeah, first Monday, blah blah blah. Hey, SHUT UP. Trust me, you don't want to make fun of me, because then you'll end up on my bad side and that is not a place you want to be.

Anyway. Most people have a thing. You know, that thing that you're really good and that you actually love to do. I'm sure for most people reading this, writing is your thing. For me, it's music. You may know what your thing is the second you're born or it may take several years to figure out. And if you're really really lucky, you can find a job that involves your thing. But even if you can't, you should never let that passion take a backseat, or even worse, slip away.

Luckily for me, I will only have two jobs in my lifetime. I started working at a music shop when I was in high school (selling instruments, maybe giving voice lessons...we're still working out the details...writers...ugh). Second job: rock star. You think I'm kidding, don't you? Just wait until you see all my future Grammys. So both of my jobs involve the thing I'm passionate about (one slightly more successfully than the other, but you get the idea).

But it wasn't always going to be this way. I'm not usually one to give up control in any situation, but when it comes to this Book 3 nonsense, I had zero say in the initial plot line. But that's not the issue here. Before the idea for this book came about, we didn't have any idea how or even if my books would end. But all of the ideas never involved me actually becoming a rock star, which is just plain stupid. I mean, come on, you've got a fictional character who should be a rock star, then you make them one. Right?

Which leads me to the bigger picture here. If you've got this thing, this passion, then you should be utilizing it to the best of your ability. Now, maybe everyone out there isn't lucky enough to become a rock star or a bestselling author. Maybe that's not even what you want. But whatever it is that you want to do, you should be doing. Don't let it take a backseat to stupid life--you know, stupid jobs, stupid relationships, stupid everything. Even if you just have a few minutes every day to work on that thing that you're passionate about, you should be doing it.

So do your thing. Be a rock star. Don't let your whole life be one boring mess.


26 October 2015

The Listing Hop

To celebrate eight years of blogging, Bish Denham is hosting a blog hop! All we have to do is make a list. Well, I love making lists, so I hopped right on board with this one. Happy blogiversary, Bish!!

Ok, while I really do love making lists (writing this blog post is on the top of today's to-do list!), it took me forever to come up with something for the hop. I just wanted it to actually be interesting and possibly writing related. Last week I talked about how I was thinking about some scenes from Book 3 and how if those particular scenes were inspiring me the most, it was ok to work on them, even if Book 3 isn't my main focus. Since it's almost November, for a split second I thought, "hey, why don't I try to write Book 3 for NaNoWriMo?" and then immediately realized what a horrible idea that was. So, here they are:

Reasons Why I Should Not Try to Write Book 3 for NaNoWriMo

  • I haven't outlined Book 3 yet (I know, I don't outline, but for the sequels I'm trying to get ahead and be organized about it)
  • I haven't written Book 2 yet 
  • What I really should be working on is the third draft of Book 1 (yeah, yeah...)
  • There are probably a few things I need to figure out for Book 1 that will be important in Book 3
  • Ok, probably Book 2, too
  • I have zero understanding of how the music industry works and since that's the subplot of Book 3, I should probably do a lot of research first
  • I still haven't come up with a name for Jordan's band (!)
  • Most of my characters don't have last names yet: Eric (ERIC! He's been around forever and I haven't given him a last name! Shame!), Adam, Ben, ok, pretty much everyone...
  • I still need to change Joe's first name. Can't commit to a new one. (It may be Max. Maybe. Possibly.) 
  • Ben's wife needs a name, too. (Karen? I don't know...)
  • I still have not come up with an accurate way to describe Adam's hair 
  • I've got way too many characters who feel like popping in for just one scene and I need to figure out what else to do with them (I'm looking at you, Ethan, Paul, Emma, Anthony, Allison, Abby, Ben)
  • Utilizing said characters will make this the longest novel ever
  • Actually, I probably need to write Emma's side book first, too
  • At this point the plot is comprised of just a whole lot of sex scenes and I need to tone it down (they can't ALL be so important that I can't skip over them but try telling that to my brain right now)
  • There's just no way I'll have time to write a whole novel in a month
  • I've never ever won NaNo and I don't think it will happen this time, either
  • I'm crazy, but not that crazy

All right, I'm done. I didn't think I actually had that many reasons. So yeah, not happening. Hope everyone tackling NaNo does not have a list like this!!

21 October 2015

A Commitment on Top of a Commitment (on Top of Another Commitment...)

This post has ZERO to do with writing. Except for the fact that I'm writing it. That still counts, right?

I've been engaged for almost two years. Whenever you tell someone you're engaged, the immediate response is, "SO WHEN'S THE WEDDING?" which I actually find super annoying. I have no idea when I'm getting married. So why do I have to feel so awkward telling people that? Why does it even matter? I can't exactly tell people "well, I don't have any money for a wedding but I don't really just want to run to the courthouse for a marriage license either." On the other hand, I'm kind of getting sick of not being married, too. So where's the compromise?

I think I've always known that I wouldn't want a big wedding, and not just because I can't afford it. I'm a very introverted person and I hate being the center of attention. And being a bride is pretty much the epitome of being the center of attention. I really don't have that many friends and there's a lot of drama with my family, so I feel like having a big wedding would be more hassle than it's worth.

So I've been trying to figure out forever what kind of wedding I want. It hit me when my fiance and I were talking about going back to Las Vegas. We went last year and he had been once before and we both love it there. We've been wanting to go back for a while and we've often joked about getting married there (because that's what you do, right?). But then I started to take the idea seriously. It felt like a good compromise--having an actual wedding ceremony but not having it be a huge deal. I'd say we're 90% on board with the idea but we haven't actually said "this is what we're going to do."

Well, it may be time for a commitment. I figured if we did get married in Vegas I would want a short dress and I found one online that I really liked. It was relatively cheap but I figured I would hold off until we made a decision. Well, I just looked at the dress again and right now it's on sale for $99.99. Holy crap. If I want this dress, I should definitely buy it now. But it's not just the dress. I have to commit to the whole thing.

If I buy this particular dress, it means the Vegas wedding is definitely happening. I do love the dress but I can't picture actually wearing it anywhere else. If I wait, the price could go back up or even worse, they may run out and I'll have to find something new. On top of that, I really really really want to lose a lot of weight before I get married. So I have to figure out what size to order. If I get a size that's too small for me right now then I absolutely HAVE to lose weight in order to fit into it. But if I get a size that does fit me now that means I can't lose any weight at all (which I would hate).

So committing to a dress is way more than committing to a dress. I have to commit to actually cracking down and losing weight. And I have to put my foot down and say this is the kind of wedding I want and I don't care what anyone else thinks. Oddly enough, I think the actual commitment of marriage is probably the easiest part for me to commit to. It's everything else that's complicated.