Monthly Archives: January 2014

Planner or Pantser: What kind of writer are you?

Okay, so I’ve been trying to outline the latest chunk ‘o novel text I’m working on. Trying something new, to see if it helps. And I’ve come to this conclusion: I suck at outlining. Or I suppose, I’m just really, really awful at planning things in advance. Minus the just, grander scheme and plot for what I’m working on.

To borrow terms from every author’s favorite challenge (or a college student writer’s nightmare)  in NaNoWriMo, I’m a pantser. As in the fact I fly by the seat of mine and go wherever the story takes me that day. Not that I pull down peoples pants on the playground…Okay, maybe if they really deserve it. College has bullies too you know!

I’m also kind of old fashioned, and do a first draft of pretty mush everything by hand. Lots of pretty colored gel pens litter the bottom of my backpack. And I may or may not have fixd up my mother’s old typewriter…And by maybe, I mean her name is Carrie, and I love her. And here’s a generic picture from google of her. Eventually everything gets on a computer and is formatted and all that, but it takes awhile.

So I guess my question to you, oh-blogger-sphere, is what kind of writer are you? Are you a dedicated planner with cork boards and well thought through lines that you don’t deviate TOO from (ohhh how I envy that)? Or are you the kind of person (like me) who starts out with a basic beginning, middle, and end and then tries to tie them all together with the power of caffeine, tears, and maybe a little bit of “yeah…that works…For this draft”? Are you all I-Pads and writing software? Or do you dig out the fountain pens (or totally awesome gel pens!) and scroll through e-bay for cheap typewriter ribbon? Do tell!

 

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56. Music

Phillip was by no means a musician. Beyond air guitar when he was alone in his room, and that one time his sister dragged him to a karaoke bar (he was drunk, and never again), the most musical he got was listening to the radio. But, after about ten o’clock at night, he’d sneak into the back corridors of the music hall, to the practice rooms there. With the mirrors, and the fact they were mostly soundproof, they were absolutely perfect for practicing his speeches. He had been the next one out at nationals last year, his coach had told him. This year, he was determined to make it to that final round.

So, he slipped through the student entrance, able to use his ID card to get in. He was always silent as a mouse, just in case there were still other people roaming around. He frowned as he entered and noticed that his usual room, the first one right by the doors, was occupied. No matter how much a creature of habit he was, he couldn’t very well knock and demand the person leave. Then someone would know he hid here at night. Somehow, that felt worse. Phillip shook his head, turning to walk down to the far end of the hall.

He blinked when he heard sound, turning his head to the occupied room. The door was open just a crack, enough where it wouldn’t seem like it from the inside. What was impossible not to notice, however, was the beautiful music that came through it. All that Phillip could tell was that it was a string instrument of some kind. He paused in front of the crack, trying to peek in and see who was playing.

Not that he’d know whoever they were,though. And the musician wasn’t standing near the door, so all he saw was the glow of the fluorescent light inside. He shook his head, walking down tot he far end of the hall. he paused at the last door, to catch a few more notes. With a sigh, he firmly shut and locked the door behind him.

This went on for the whole of the next week. Apparently, Phillip lamented, someone else had discovered the time of night when the rooms are empty. And they were also a fan of his favorite room. Though it made sense. Right by the door. Easy in, easy out. Whoever it was, they were always there before he arrived, and stayed until after he had already gone. He really only knew because whoever they were still, apparently, didn’t know how to work a door. Most of the time, it was some classical piece. The third night, though, he was sure he heard the cords to a pop song. It caught him off guard, the way it still fit so well. He ended up with it stuck in his head and was unable to concentrate that night.

On the last night of the week, he came in to the door completely open. It was as he was leaving, close to midnight. The sweet sound of whatever piece the musician was playing echoed through the empty hall way. The door must have come all the way open since the person never bothered to check to see if it way closed. And there was just that one door to get him out to the parking lot, if he didn’t want to wander and get lost in the concert hall. He’d have to be quick and quiet then.

A few steps in, he since. He’d had to wear his heavy boots with the rain and snow they’d been dealing with so late in the winter. The echoing of his footsteps made the music stop. Clearly, the musician would now realize that, whoever they were, they had let the door come open. He pulled the scarf up, to attempt to hide his face better.

“Hey, worry about that, man! I didn’t think anyone else was in here. Probably messed you up, huh? Juries and all, I’m just a little-”

The violist stopped, looking over his shoulder and setting down his violin when there wasn’t an immediate response. His hair was long, red, and would likely be a wild mess if it wasn’t tied to stay out of the way. His eyes were dark, almost black. they seemed to sparkle when he looked Phillip up and down.

“You are…Totally not a music major. No instrument case…Unless you’re a vocalist?”

“You’re beautiful. Shit! I mean…The music thing…violin…thing….I’m a speech major. On the team and…stuff…”

“What the hell are you…Oh! Talking to yourself ticks the roommate off?”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.” Phillip breathed a sigh of relief. “I’m Phillip.”

“Mason. So…Beautiful, huh?”

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10. Eyes

“Okay guys, that was great. Let’s take a fifteen, and then we’ll hit the second act.”

There was a chorus of “thank you fifteen” as the stage manager turned off the house microphone. From up in the light booth, she watched them all scatter away. With a soft sigh she stood, turning to exit the house left doors. She didn’t bother to flip on one of the switches on the way out. It was a small room, so it wasn’t as if she’d get lost on her way out anyway. The light from the lamp over her script was enough for her to get to the door.

“Cold up here tonight.” she muttered, rubbing her arms absently. “Gotta grab my coat.” Se left the booth, making her way down to the house of the theater.

“Hey, you left a light on up there.” the director pointed up at it when she retrieved the coat she’d left on the chair beside him.

“Yeah, it’s my stand light. I didn’t have time to put the blue over it tonight. It’ll be in for the top of the act.” she zipped up her puffy coat. “It’s that noticeable?”

“No, it’s something red. Two of them. Look.”

“Oh no, not you too. The actors have been trying to get me to believe this place is haunted all week.” she rolled her eyes, but looked up to the windows of the booth.

Near the corner, by the house right door, there they were. two bright, unblinking lights that burned red. They were rounded and oblong, looking almost like a set of-

“Oh that’s just the exit light. You know, the ones by all the doors. I’ll turn it off when I go back up. You’re a great big bunch od superstitious babies.”

“Hey, you know the stories.”

“Yeah yeah, take it up with the producer. He’s the one that booked us here.” she laughed. “They’re just stories, Will. Call places once you see your little spook go out.”

She walked back up the stairs, humming to herself as she went. It was still far too cold as she walked up, so she dug her gloves out as well.

“Heat must be busted.” She pulled them on “I’ll have to leave a note for the house manager. This place is as old as sin anyway. They should just tear it down to the ground and build a new one.”

When she re-entered the booth, she crossed to the exit sign and flipped off the little light that kept it on. Sure, the fire department would be pissy. But they weren’t there tonight, just a silly director afraid of a few old stories. She sat in her seat, frowning when she didn’t’ see anyone taking the stage yet.

“Call places!” she shouted down through the sliding window.”

“It’s still on.”

“What do you mean-”

She looked over to the door when she heard a noise that might have been a laugh.

“Very funny, Garret. You got me. Now turn it off and go to your place.” she turned back to the windows.

When the noise happened again, she turned to fully face the direction it came from. Now, level with her own wide ones, were a pair of burning red eyes.

“No. You aren’t real.” she moved a little closer to the table that had her script. “You’re…Just the product of stress, and not eating pr-ahh!”

The scream echoed through the theater and sent the director up to the booth two stairs at a time. He turned the lights on quickly, finding it empty.

“Jenna?” he walked into it, brandishing the rolled up music score he’d grabbed. “Where are you?” he looked to the tipped over chair, and then under the table, where his stage manager was curled in to a ball.

“Will, turn on a light. I can’t see anything.”

“Jenna, I did.”

“Stop messing around! Turn on a light so I can see….Will where are you…Will?”

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73. Desk

Look, I know my room is a mess, but it’s my mess. And you do not touch my mess, so help you you do not touch my mess. Not even my mother is allowed to touch my mess. Twenty-some years later and she still complains that my room is never clean. Mostly because it’s a sea of clothes. Most of them are clean, yeah. Between work and school, you want me to fold the jeans I only get to wear like twice a week if I’m lucky? Yeah, I’m going to nap instead, and we both know that.

It’s all perfectly in place, and if you even shift a single post it note, I will be at a loss for days trying to find where you put it. Because those post it notes are important! They could have a story idea. Or a home work assignment that I’ll probably do. Or the release date for the new Dragon Age game or-

Okay, maybe not that one. That was coordinates to a quest item that I really needed to find. Took way longer than it should have. Freakin’ campers. Anyway, the point remains, do not touch the mess. I like to think that, you know, busy room, busy mind.

There’s one place though. One little corner of my room that’s neat. And that’s my desk. Look, I even use coasters for my soda cans. I mean, there are a few bottles of nail polish scattered on it, and the makeup I keep saying I’m going to wake up early enough to do. But other than that, it’s clean. Bulletin board decked out in Hogwarts colors, a dry erase board calendar. Everything is perfectly organized; barely even a pen out of place.

I tell myself that it’s so I can stay focused. Organized desk means an organized worker. Deadlines met, schedules made…But my x-box is also on my desk. And so are little action figures that are DC super heroes.. Did I mention the bulletin board is Harry Potter themed?

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Accidental Brilliance

This was a cento poem that was a product of a creative writing class. We all had to write like six line poems, and then take a line from each one and construct a totally new poem. Kind of a cool idea really. But, this one was what I came up with. It’s actually really hard to tell that this was like…sixteen-ish different poets.

What I can tell you is how I felt

From the outside looking in.

Not a leap of faith,

Wind against my face and

Gradd soon fades, the greens blur and

Glow in the dark.

The stars have begun to move in and out,

Hot humid air fills my lungs;

To create destruction is to protect our freedom.

Time running out-

Stop.

This is where I can soar, edging near the cliff, fingers flying,

And I realize that part of me can never leave.

So cheer up and in the end everything will be just fine.

I walk with Kings through mountains.

She fills it with gossamer

In the palace of the stars.

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41. Rip

The blue pinstripe suit had seen better days, that was certain. And before he left the house, his wife had told him at least three times to just toss the thing. He had plenty of others after all, and all of them much nicer than the old thing. But, he affectionately dusted off the shoulder of the jacket and smiled.

“It’s my lucky suit, you know that. I wore it on our first fancy date. That nice restaurant where we sat at the Chef’s table. And for my interviews for my first big job. All of my important presentations for my masters…It’s a big day, and this is a big suit.”

She just rolled her eyes and warned him yet again that he really should wear something else. She kissed her on the cheek and grabbed the lunch she’d packed up before running out of the house.

“Big day, big day.” he started up the car, drumming on the steering wheel. “I’ve got this. No problem.” nodding his head, he took off for his office building.

With this promotion, they could finally get that house. And it would mean that his mother could stop hassling him about not having grand kids yet. It wasn’t as if they could fit a baby in the tiny apartment they currently had. The meeting wasn’t until noon, so he had ample time to sit at his desk and try not to panic. And he did an exceptional job of it too, only hyperventilating as it got closer to lunch.

“Oh you’re ridiculous.” the girl at the next cubicle over laughed. “You’ll be fine. You work hard, and you deserve it. Kay?”

He nodded and muttered a quick thank you before he strutted off to the bathroom, to have his panic attack in peace. He was much calmer as he returned, though, sitting back down in his-

*riiiiiiiippppppp*

The whole office had to have heard that. His eyes were wide. Nearly as wide as the split seam on the seat of his pants. He looked don at the clock of his computer, gasping. 2:30. No time to run home and change, not with the traffic, and his wife would be at school still.

“Hey…Nance….You still got that sewing kit?”

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53. Choke

She wasn’t like all the other girls. She wore the flowers in green and brown and purple around her neck like a badge of honor when she went out. Against that pale skin, they bloomed something beautiful. Like a lotus under the light of a full moon.

And no, she didn’t put them on display because she’d gotten away from some bad man. They weren’t some reminder that she was a stronger person than whoever left them. She was plenty strong, and she’d be the very first to tell you that.

“Tighter. Dammit I said tighter. You aren’t going to break me.”

In the office, of course, it always called for scarves. People there would ask questions. Get worried about her safety. She liked her job, needed it to pay the bills. Like for her apartment. The shitty beater of a car that she really needed to get replaced soon. And hell, dog food didn’t buy itself, and as lovely as her little mutt was, she had a feeling that Remus couldn’t go out and get a job to pay for his part of the monthlies. And a young woman her age always needs money to go out to the clubs on the weekend.

“There. That’s-Yes!”

To the local fetish club. They knew her by name. Not her name, because that was part of the fun. At least for her. Men, women, everyone who liked something a little different. Nothing was off limits, as long as you agreed. And the people were actually some of the nicest she’d ever met. The bartender had even come to her family’s summer gathering last year. Gay as Liberace, but at least it kept her parents from asking too many questions.

“Hey come out with us this weekend, girl! We’re checking out that new place down on…”

She’d just smile and shake her head, adjusting the purple infinity scarf that she’d had to run out and get as an emergency. CEO of the company was visiting, and of course it had been the day she’d slept in and ran out without one. Gemini was going to get a very stern…Talking to tonight.

“Nah I’ve got plans.”

Plans with a big, strapping man named after a constellation who had the most wonderful hands. Soft as satin, strong as an ox. And he always knew when to stop.

“Next weekend? We never see you outside of this dump. I bet you’re crazy to club with!”

“Maybe.”

 

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