Thursday, April 23, 2009

Surrounding yourself with heroes.

Books on writing are full of advice - some of it life-changing. Some are, how do I say this nicely?

Utter rubbish.

And sometimes, advice starts as one and turns into the other.

For example, when women try to lose weight, they are told to paste a picture of a slim person on the inside of their cupboard or on their refrigerator. I have always found this to be nasty, belittling, and condescending - yet another way of telling women that they are not beautiful and they will never measure up.

But we all need heroes. That's why we write, that's why we watch movies/TV, that's why we read. Everyone needs someone to show us that what we want is possible and how to get there.

So this week, I found pictures of my creative heroes and I've seeded them around my writing stations.

Obviously, I have a love for mythology and for the band Queen. Freddie, Brian, Roger, and John now live in glorious color on my laptop's wallpaper. Their music, politics, and courage never fail to lift me up when I'm feeling sluggish or stuck.

Jayne Ann Krentz
, a wonderful best-selling author (and former librarian with a background in history!) is another of my heroes. I've met her in person a few times and she is down to earth, intelligent, and has great insights on our craft. If you do not own Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, you are shorting yourself some great discussion on Romance!

Emma Holly writes beautifully sexy and emotional fiction.

I've got lots. Who inspires you?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hands on Research

By training and preference, I love research through the writer's traditional resources - print, photographs, online ready-reference.

This week, though, I got down and dirty with first hand experience. There are some things a girl just can not learn through other people's words.

Like how to shoot a firearm.

My good friend, a former Marine, graciously took me to a pistol range on Monday. There he patiently explained the handling of the four different pistols I ended up renting and shooting.

I learned what single action and double action meant, what the hammer did, how to hold the weapon, how to aim it, and finally, how to shoot it.

First came a revolver, the .38 Special. Next came two 9mm, a Sig and a Glock. Lastly, .45 Smith and Wesson.

Whenever I learn something new, the oddest things stick out at me. I didn't expect to be tossed around as much as I was. I'm not small, nor am I weak. But my thumbs and wrist still feel like they've been gnawed on!

Second, I was struck by the difference between the slow, accurate firing of the revolver and the faster, "throw a lot of bullets at it" feeling of the semi-automatics.

Handling something that has the sole purpose of killing something is an interesting mixture of fear and power. It's not unlike getting behind the wheel of a car, but with a less ambiguous reasoning. After all, a car is also transportation.

Will I ever own one? Unlikely.

Will I fire them again? Most likely.

Will I try other firearms, such as rifles? Again, most likely.

This is information I need to make my writing vigorous, strong, and real. Lots of times, writers put in characters who are not affected by their ability to kill, who almost seem to seek it out.

I've already learned this is not truthful. Those who understand the kind of power and responsibility that come with holding life and death in their hands are more likely to never want to use it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Who knew?!

Holy cow! You can turn your phone off while you're writing and call people back later!

You can even not answer your email right away.

I'm gobsmacked.