Qwerty Hatred

Each morning I try to knock out about a 1000 words. Some days I fly through it, some days it is a total slog and only get 500 crap words and I’ve committed multiple literary atrocities. I struggle with the keyboard. We argue and I want to cry.

Can you tell this was one of those days? I hate you keyboard and fingers that type the letters out of order. Bwahhhh!

Alexa, play Chopin

Stephen King listens to Black Sabbath and Judas Priest while writing. I wish that I was that rocking, but lyrics get in my head.

I’ve tried typing in silence, but then I hear everyone that lives on the same floor. I start wondering about their lives and backstories and it becomes a whole other thing.

I tried the Mozart Effect, but then I think about the movie Amadeus and my friend Jeff that was maybe a little obsessive about it.

Chopin for the win! Piano and cello is good loving! The only weird association I have with Chopin is Adrian Brody’s enormous hands from The Pianist.

What do you listen to work?

All I want for Christmas

Legos. I want Legos. All the Legos.

Between writing sessions and shifts at “the real job” and the impending holidays, I’m a little stressball. Sleep-deprived, anxious, ear infection little stressball.

I’ve been eyeing this set of Legos at a local retailer for a few weeks and finally splurged. It’s better than any adult coloring book or oddly scented candles.

But with the holidays, come rampant consumerism and I’m not immune. I want more sets!

Dinosaurs and wizards and Jedi. Oh my.

Writing schedule

I write best in the morning, coffee mug in hand, before the day can overwhelm me with its needs and purposes.

I get up, pull on a hoodie, pour a cup of coffee, settle onto the sofa with Mr. Tini over my shoulder judging my words.

My current goal is 720 words a day for an 80,000 word first draft by March first. In the last two years, I’ve become very goal-oriented and deadline driven. Set a deadline and work backwards. Mr. Tini seems happy with the progress even if the new project has a Great Dane and not a wily cat.

First Review

In another life, I ran a restaurant and Yelp/Google/Facebook reviews mattered to the powers above me. Giving power to the Karens and Heathers of the world. I know that Amazon reviews can also make or break indie authors, so I’ve been nervous about my first reviews. But my friend behind Equal Opportunity Reader was gentle.

I know my reviews won’t always be something to hang on the fridge like a gold star in spelling. But my writing isn’t for everyone. I explore dark places with a high-powered flashlight.

The embeded image won’t display the words and I’m not a web designer. It is quoted below.

#justfinished — White Hell, by Parker O’Dwyer
[Turkey in picture may be less real than it appears.]
I’m hesitant to give this a traditional star rating because it’s so far out of my wheelhouse. I can count the number of thrillers I’ve read before on one finger, so once I realized what White Hell was, I had no idea what to expect or what to compare it to.

“But did I like it? Yes, I did.

“Some terrible secrets are festering in the Flynn family and just before Thanksgiving, they all burst and spill over into the little farm town of Grinnell and the neighboring city of Des Moines. The result is a trip through some very dark spaces in society with occasional glimmers of light popping up here and there to help the characters when they need it most. O’Dwyer writes very compelling sidekicks for our terrified protagonists, and the story is engaging–I wanted to know how this would end immediately after finishing the second chapter.

“Since I’m so unfamiliar with how crime fiction works, I can’t really critique the novel competently. But I can recommend it, if you don’t mind a little blood and guts with your Thanksgiving turkey. It’s a solid first effort with a well-paced story and entertaining characters. I enjoyed it despite my unfamiliarity with the genre. Well done, @parkerodwyer ! 😁

(Full disclosure: the author and I are friends IRL.)”

#bookreview #bookstagram #newwriters #selfpublishedwriters #firstnovel#womenwriters
#thriller #crimefiction #books #reading #readingisfundamental#parkerodwyer #WhiteHell #literature #Iowafiction

Currently Watching: Star Wars

“In my experience there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

We’ve been thoroughly enjoying Disney Plus. Re-watching Toy Story and The Lion King have been highlights.

As a student of story, I’ve been very interested in learning the mythology and lore of the Star Wars universe. Did some research about the proper order to watch the episodes and settled on the Machete order.

I’ve made it through Episodes IV and V, but the struggle begins with Episode II. The characters and interactions annoy me to no end. We turned it off 35 minutes in because neither of us was paying attention. BOO! Please tell me it gets better…

I have watched two episodes of The Mandalorian and it is fantastic. Not just because of baby Yoda. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

#starwars #episodeiisucks #mandalorian #anakinwhinesalot #babyyoda

Currently reading: Save the Cat Writes a Novel

“Editing sucks,” I said everyday for the past three months.

I wrote “White Hell” for my graduate thesis. Unfortunately, my thesis adviser was not invested in my success, so I floundered with the final execution. In my final weeks, I got the opportunity to work with Diana Pharaoh Francis, which changed the direction of the novel in one conversation.

Discovering a story or developing a character aren’t a problem for me. My writing struggle is in the outline and editing. How do I ramp up the tension?

Using a tool like The Hero’s Journey or Save the Cat Writes a Novel has been incredibly useful. But I view it as an editing tool.

Save the Cat helps provide the framework around which I tell a story, like a the frame of house. I’ve started working on a new novel and struggled within the first 5k words. I turned to this book for some guidance on building my hero.

This $13 Kindle book has been worth more than most of my MFA classes.

#savethecat #writertool #writerlife #editingsucks #nanowrimofail #mfagrad

Birthday: 42

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools,” Douglas Adams, “Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Yesterday I became the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. I turned 42. What better way to celebrate than to pick up some classic literature?

#42 #hgttg #dontpanic #rememberyourtowel

Magic Book

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

For an author, the magic book is the one that inspires a lifetime of toil over the page, endless hours scratching in a journal, and each commute constructing complicated story lines.

Chelsey and the Green-Haired Kid” by Carol Gorman was my magic book.

It all started in Mrs. McDonald’s sixth grade English class at McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa too many years ago. I loved Mrs. McDonald and she valued books and writers above all. So those became my values.

We read Gorman’s book then the author came to visit our class. I was smitten. Gorman talked about the book and her life and her husband, Ed Gorman. Shortly after the author’s visit to our class, I started devouring horror novels by the box-full. Mom would pick up books by Dean Koontz, Robin Cook, Stephen King, and more at garage sales or in the grocery check-out lines.

Most of my reading life was suddenly inhabited by aliens, supernatural forces, demented dogs, evil doctors and maniacal hitmen. After a few years, I began doodling and outlining my own stories. It became an addiction, an obsession.

Coffeehouse cliche

I always found the image of a writer toiling over words in a coffee shop to be somewhat romantic, even if it is a cliche.

Last night as the deadline to submit my final draft for Kindle pre-order ticked away, I sequestered myself in a small Starbucks to finish the last ten chapters. Being at home, I’m easily distracted by the cat or finishing the bag of Doritos in the pantry. My only diversion from my editing was the college age girl, obviously hot for teacher, and her tutor working on geometry.

Might have to give it a go more often. Can’t let the Doritos win. If only their coffee was better.