Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Non-Writer Folk

I sometimes wonder what people do who don't have the desire to write. Do they watch a lot of television? Exercise more? Hit the clubs? Spend more time with family and friends?

My days revolve around my family, friends, occupation, and ice skating (aka rehabbing my ACL). But whenever I get a free moment, my mind immediately flits to the characters in my book. I'm imagining the next scene, contemplating a character's motive, thinking about red herrings, or brainstorming ways to improve my plot.

What do non-writer-people think of during their free time? What fills their minds when they're not thinking about their families, jobs, religion, hobbies, etc...? Do they think of anything else? Do us writers have a special compartment in our brain for the imaginary that other people don't?

Writers are a breed unto themselves and often only writers can relate to how another writer's mind works.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I've Been Solving a Puzzle

I apologize for my absence from Anita's Edge. The least I could have done is called and left message, at least let you know where I've been. I can be so inconsiderate at times. But, I've been busy.....


It's not a hundred piece puzzle or a five hundred piece puzzle. It  feels like someone opened up ten different puzzle boxes and spilled the pieces everywhere and I have to find every single puzzle piece. You know, the ones stuck between the cushions of the coach, the one the dog buried in the back yard (I don't have a dog...he's more of a metaphorical mutt), the piece your senile great aunt put in the freezer. Yes, I have to find every single, freakin' piece. Then I have to figure out which puzzle the piece belongs to.

By now, you've probably figure out that I'm not talking about a puzzle you buy at the toy section at Wal-Mart. Yes, this post is yet again about my manuscript. I know. I'm self indulgent.

Some people may call this process "outlining." But what I'm doing is more than outlining. It's more like I'm hosting a show of Unsolved Mysteries in my brain. As many of you know, I'm revising (more like rewriting) my manuscript, Product of an Illusion. But this time, I am being brutally honest with myself and I am leaving no stone unturned.

Step1: I took the advice of Agent Mary over at and initiated the painstaking process of writing 100 Declarative Sentences about each of my major and minor characters. This has truly been an eye opening experience and helped me solve problems in my plot, as well as discover new ideas to strengthen my story.

Step 2: Determined to not let massive amounts of work deter me from writing, I've started talking to myself in the car (I'm sure I look no weirder than people who sing in their car). I'm not writing, per say, but I vocally outline and work out character and plot problems. I record my musings on my iPhone. Later, when I have time, I listen to the recordings, type out the brilliant stuff, and fast forward through the bad.

Step 3: I'm not leaving any stone unturned. If a character does something in my book there has to be a motivation for his or her actions. Unfortunately, a character's motivations aren't always easy to read (like people in real life) so I've started a list of "unknowns." I have to turn every unknown into a known. I may not necessarily mention it in the story, but I have to know the whys, whens, and hows, since I'm the creator of my fictional world.

The puzzle-that-is-my-manuscript can be fun and exciting at times and then other times I want to flush the puzzle pieces down the toilet.

But, that's where I've been, pretending to be Sherlock Holmes in a way, hoping that one day, when this whole rewrite is figured out, I can look at my finished manuscript and say, "Elementary, my dear Watson. Elementary."*

*Although, Snopes disagrees that Sherlock Holmes ever said this line.

Monday, July 5, 2010

We'll Miss You Kiwi Lacey

Kiwi Lacey Saxena passed away suddenly June 26, 2010. She had been a part of our family for fifteen years. She was special to the Saxena family, but will also be missed by the many friends she made through out the years. Not only was she known for her insatiable love for cheese (which was most likely the cause of her untimely death) but her preference for west coast versus east coast rap. She'd bob her head and break it down any day to California Love.

Kiwi Lacey, the only potty trained blue crowned conure that I know of, enjoyed eating safflower seeds, head massages from my brother (see photo to right), and the occasional bath in her water bowl. We never needed to invest in a home security system as Kiwi Lacey always kept an eye out for perimeter breaches, immediately alerting us with an ear splitting squawk. When our dogs were alive, she would relay orders to them, and they would disperse to various look out points, then report their findings back to her.

Kiwi Lacey was also known to cop and attitude from time to time when she knew that you were intentionally ignoring her. Nobody could say "hello" with as much sarcasm as she could. She was tri-lingual, fluent in English, Hindi, and bit of what we like to call birdy-warble-jargon. And although I was never able to successfully teach her the Andy Griffith whistle tune, she was able to cat whistle well enough to make anyone's head turn. She was known to have an inflated ego from time to time when she got on those never ending kicks of "Pretty, pretty, bird" and "Good Kiwi." But she could also be incredibly sweet and thoughtful when she gave you kisses and nuzzled her head against your chin.

There are so many stories I can share about Kiwi Lacey that involve grocery store trips, walks around the neighborhood, and the never ending funny things that she said. But most importantly, I want to share how much she meant to us and how much we will miss her.

Rest in peace Kiwi Lacey.