Tag Archives: life

Stepped away

I’m really never not here, unless I’m away from wifi. This weekend, I stepped back and ignored everything. I’m sorting through a couple of things, and just needed a breather.

I probably missed some blogs, but I’ll be back online tomorrow. I also have the Story Empire post tomorrow, so I’ll be hanging out there.

I had a house full of company, and needed to devote some time to them. I didn’t write or do much of anything that required a computer. (I checked some baseball scores.)

Do you ever need to step back for a day?

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Somedays a diamond…

… somedays a rock.

Today was one of those days. I intended to start on some advance blog posts for a book release. I never even started.

My wife is home, and today was earmarked for paying bills. This involved going twenty miles round trip for a new checkbook register. I refuse to go out looking like hell, so there was also time dedicated to some clean clothes and such. Oh, but wait, I was out of gas too. I had to start down the road at the Maverick station.

It also involved my bank wanting to verify my email address. I checked everything and it looked good. They required me to respond to an email they allegedly sent out.

That email never arrived, and I was locked out of my account for hours. (Wasn’t in my spam folder either.)

Then it dawned on me that they also had the backup email. This is the one we dedicate to shopping and it is our junk address. My wife opened it, and there was the email. It never did come to my actual address. To add insult, I regularly get promotional crap from them at my actual email address. “Hey Craig, here’s a shiny new credit card. Hey Craig, borrow a crapton of money against your house.”

I also had to chase down some tax documents, but that went surprisingly well. I still had to talk to someone in India, but this guy knows what he’s doing. He emailed my document while I was still on the phone. Click-click, and my accountant has it.

There was also a lengthy round of manic bulldog ball playing. While this is always fun, it isn’t as much fun while covered in half-paid bills. A slobbery ball on my power bill kind of plays as a handicap.

Now about this time, I confess to some bad attitude setting in. I can take some responsibility for my lack of success.

I’ll have to take joy in the idea that Saturday and Sunday went well.

If you follow many authors on various media, you may have missed this part of the glorious author lifestyle. This is how it looks sometimes.

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Saturday Update

I had today earmarked as a big writing day. My work week was exhausting, and I needed to make a choice. I’ve learned through bitter experience that a week of hell does not lead to creativity.

It’s important to push through when we write. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to go on, even after we’ve reached a great word count. I’ve done this many times with success.

I just can’t do it after the kind of week I had. This is the one situation where I need to take a little Craig time and do something else. Last night I watched a few more episodes of Twilight Zone before heading to bed. I never even did my usual Friday blog post. I had a rare Thursday post, so I figured I was good to go.

A large part of my morning was spent reading your blogs. I left a few calling cards and made a few comments. I even reblogged one post I thought was outstanding.

The bulk of the time was spent on an alpha/beta read for a friend. These are slow going, and should be. I need to make decent notes for her without turning it into a pleasure read. It’s tough with this story, because it’s good enough to make me want to keep reading.

I was surprised to find similarities in this book and my own work in progress. I hope I handle that situation as well as this author.

Old What’s Her Face* and I are going to dinner tonight. The reading project was a nice reboot, of sorts. It put me back in the mindset to get back to work on The Playground.

I have some obligations tomorrow, but I’m sure I can wrangle an hour or two of writing. I’ve done some research on NOLA using Google Earth and have settings for my mid game. I never intended to use the Marie Laveau cemetery, but it’s only a couple of blocks away from the other site. I need a cemetery, and there is no other logical choice. I hope it doesn’t come across as tropish to use this location.

So there you have it. I was a vegetable today. I didn’t even bake bread. I hope everyone else was more productive.

* Not my wife’s birth name

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I don’t believe in Happily Ever After

I love fairy tale structure in stories. I first caught on to the idea from an author named Alexandra Sokoloff. She goes into it in some detail in her book Screenwriting Tricks for Authors. Her breakdown of The Godfather as a fairy tale is wonderful. Here is a taste of it from one of her old blog posts: here. You have to read her book to get the full gist of it all. It’s a good book, if you’re interested.

There’s one part of a fairy tale that I don’t agree with, and that’s when they all lived happily ever after. I get that it’s supposed to be a reward at the end of a story, but it feels shallow to me. I’m sure it had more impact 500 years ago when security was a much bigger deal to us. Palaces are safe and warm (in a fairy tale). Most of the rest of the world had to worry about being jumped by a tiger when you stepped outside for your morning piss.

In real life, HEA doesn’t exist. We accomplish something and it leads to the next problem. Sometimes it causes the next problem. We struggle for years to build a better mousetrap, and eureka! The new problem is how to market it, and when we’ve done that, maybe the evil Victor mousetrap people come along and set up roadblocks. (No offense intended. Love ya Victor.)

My point is that life goes on, and that means struggles. I’m not saying Snow White’s first daughter looked a lot like Dopey, but damn. Have you seen her ears? Maybe Princess Jasmine developed a gambling problem and their lives changed in ten years.

I try to write satisfying and logical endings to my stories. Sometimes I even hint at future problems setting themselves up. I don’t do this for the purpose of selling sequels. I want to illustrate that life goes on. Sure, I write science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories, but I want your suspension of disbelief to happen for the right reasons. I don’t want to go to the well too often.

There is a risk of not sewing up loose plot threads, and it’s a fine line. The truth of the matter is that evil is never truly defeated. They hunted Nazis for decades after WWII.

For me, I don’t mind a hot new relationship at the end of a story. I don’t even mind a palace on the hill. I just don’t like the idea that nothing bad ever happened again – ever.

I like to mix and match story structures. I love using the number three, mentor characters, predictions, and other fairy tale items. I just don’t buy that they all lived happily ever after.

What do the readers and writers out there have to say? I’d love to hear from you on this.

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