Monday, April 25, 2016

On Writing & Critique

I suppose what has not really come across in this blog is that I am a writer. 
Not an author, mind you - at least not yet - but I write.  Essays, poetry, short stories, this little blog.... and I have, over the years, tried my hand at writing a novel.

I'm working on a murder mystery.  It's my first attempt at this genre, and I'm learning a lot that I never really thought about.  Like the fact that, if you want it to really work, you have to know equally as much about the character that is killed as you do about the killer.  I mean, you really have to get inside their heads, know what makes them tick, know what drives them to murder, instead of, say, revenge.

And you'd better know your peripheral characters too, or they will come across as nothing more that caricatures - cartoon images stuck on the wall, instead of three-dimensional beings walking through the story.

We had critique day at my writers group yesterday.  So I took the bit that I've had the most trouble with - the opening chapter.  The problem is that there are so many characters introduced all at once, it's really jumbled.  But I got very good feedback - constructive criticism and pointers on how to make it flow a little better. 

I was in a flat out panic about having someone else read my work, and having all these other writers (some published) hear it... but then I discovered that everyone else was in the same place.  We're all introverts to some extend, all a little anxious and protective of our babies.  But it came out very well overall for all of us. 

I was so jazzed after the meeting that I went home & worked on the story for three hours!  Not a lot of forward motion, but editing and rewrites to make it clearer.  I cut probably 500 words, and wrote probably 1000, so net 500 words overall.

And I went to bed... happy.  :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yet more travel updates/lists

I promise, when this trip is done, I will (may) find another topic to write about. 
I'm hoping to go from this fizzing high-anxiety to talking about lovely special bits of the trip.  I do promise some pics along the way.

Here are a few factoids about me & The Trip:

  • I've been saving for this for 5+ years. 
  • When I started saving, I didn't actually think it would ever happen, but a few fortuitous things happened to accelerate my (extended) timetable.
  • I started planning with a list that included masses of "touristy" things
  • I've ended with a list that includes only those historic and brainy things that really appeal to me, and none of the tourist things
  • I am thrilled & overexcited & a little bit terrified to be doing this.
  • I'm taking things that I am prepared to ditch on the return trip & won't break the bank to do so (cheap clothing, socks, toiletry containers, etc)
  • I've set myself what I consider a generous per diem (max amount to spend per day) and I intend to come back w/ extra cash
  • I'm taking my own pillowcases.  I can't stand the hotel ones.
  Things I'm not taking:
  • a laptop/tablet - I'm wacked out enough about getting through customs and generally keeping track of all my stuff without having to worry about additional electronics
  • fussy clothing - it's strictly black jeans, 1pr stretchy pants for the flight, tank tops & lightweight cardigans, with a glorified windbreaker-type jacket & water resistant shoes
  • jewelry - I'm taking 2 pr of very simple/cheap earrings & a watch.  I never wear a watch, but I don't want to be yanking my phone out every 5min to make sure I'm on time for ... whatever.
  • Worries -  Once I get on the plane, once my butt hits the seat, all worries about the trip will be left on the runway.

Are there things that you take & things you leave at home?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

updated Trip Updates - what's up w/ Blogger?

And the countdown to Trip Of A Lifetime continues!  Here are some updates:
  • Public transport card- purchased - awaiting delivery delivered !!!- decided to get the visitor card which can also be used on the River Cruise (!!!)
  • Shoes -  purchased - first round were fine in the store, but awful at home (FinnComfort & Waldlaufer).  Went back & got different shoes - went for comfort & am really happy.  Ended up with Clarks.  I highly recommend.
  • Cell phone - plan updated for international travel.  :-)  Whew!  Almost forgot that!
I'm gathering small items for pre-packing:  
  • liquids bag (detergent, Febreeze, shampoo/body wash, face cleanser, hair spray, liquid makeup)  
  • medications bag (prescriptions, ibuprofen, Zyrtec, Pepcid)
  • Makeup & tooth care bag
  • incontinence supplies - because Lawd only knows where the public restrooms are
  • camera & charger, book & spiral notebook & pen/pencil

Am working on printing off some walking directions from the hotel to some specific spots - because I hate to carry around a huge map book and I despise GPS. It's my first trip abroad & I'm terrified I will forget something.... important.  Gah.