I like to randomly scrawl out all kinds of things: character names, character traits, story ideas, time periods, and even potential titles. Sometimes I have a specific idea in mind and sometimes I just really like the title.
Here’s a list of some I’m itching to find a reason to write.
Bringing him back
Under-cooked French Toast
Someone’s Eating Dry Erase Markers
A Disastrous Coronation
The Day the Clock Stopped
The Sound of Anger
Actually, This is Closer to the Truth
What do you think? Are there any crazy titles you’d love to write?
Disclaimer: I am fully aware there are many different version of the fairy-tale (including the original). I have read/seen at least 5 different versions. This post relates to the newest version starring the always wonderful Emma Watson.
Spoiler Alert: This post (and the comments, hopefully) may contain spoilers. If you are slower than a mother-of-two whose life is consumed by hockey and you haven’t yet seen the movie, read at your own risk.
Having (finally) watched the new movie, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I loved the changes to include some background story we have never had before. I loved the new songs. I also fully believe Dan Stevens (the Beast) stole the show more than I expected. This version found a nice way to tie up a few of the small plot holes the previous cartoon left open. But there are a few more. Let’s see if you have theories for these ones:
What is his name? I mean, C’mon. I get he was Prince…but Prince who? Help me.
If his father and mother are dead…isn’t he the King now?
When the enchantress casts her spell, rendering the castle invisible and forcing the townspeople to forget about them, what kind of government did they have? Clearly they “forgot” about their monarchy…
More importantly, when the two worlds recombine at the end of the spell which form of government took over?
Why did this lady choose to also ensnare the people working in the castle? She easily could’ve let them run home (like the townspeople) and forget. I’m especially thinking Chip Potts, who obviously had a father nearby. Couldn’t he have gone home with dear old Dad and been saved from the spell?
What timeline are we talking for this spell? Everyone recognized everyone else at the end. This makes sense for the people under the spell, which we know didn’t change, but does that mean the townspeople also didn’t change?
My husband and I both grew up in families with dogs. After we got married we inherited a dog, but our apartment was small and we didn’t keep her long. Then we bought our house and rescued a puppy from rather terrible living conditions. She had Parvo when we rescued her (we didn’t know that at the time) and she ended up costing us a pretty penny to fix. The vet told us she wouldn’t last long. She lasted about eight years before we had to have her put to sleep because she was very sick again.
During that eight year time my son was born (also my daughter, but she wasn’t as attached). My son became super attached to that dog. When the time came to say good-bye, it was hard on all of us. We (my husband and I) said we weren’t ready to do that to our son again. We took a “no more dogs” pledge.
Fast forward a lot of years. My son (now 11) started asking for a dog. He was adamant that he would care for it (feed it, walk it, etc). Somehow we caved…I’m still not sure how that happened. But the short version is…we got a dog! We adopted him and, as my husband says, we won the Humane Society lottery!
His name is Niko. For the record, I didn’t name him that. He came with that moniker. If I had named him that it would’ve been spelled like Nico De Angelo from the Percy Jackson series, I promise! (Isn’t that a cool name for a black dog who is quiet yet lovable?) He is well-behaved, smart, and fun. He listens to us, loves to walk, and enjoys riding in the car.
I know I’ve been quiet lately, but just remember I am probably training or hanging with this cool guy. You can forgive me for that, right?
Coming up on three years ago I wore makeup as a daily thing for the last time in my life. Why? Because I had noticed a bunch of people taking over my facebook talking about the “No Makeup Challenge” or “No Makeup Monday”. The posts were mixed. Some people raved about how much they loved the freedom and empowerment that came with the challenge. Yet others lamented about how tired they looked. My biggest take-away at the time was anger and frustration. No one was critiquing men for deciding to wake up and not wear make up. No one was using a crazy facebook trend to tell men how to wake up in the morning. Hello inequality.
So I decided to try going without it for a week. I continued to wash my face twice a day and used my moisturizing creams, but no makeup at all. I went to a job interview in a new school district without any makeup. When they offered me the job, I decided this was a great opportunity to keep it going. I haven’t looked back.
But I have wondered.
Today, I wore makeup again. I’ve worn just eye shadow once or twice for special occasions in the three years, but today I wore everything. This was my Makeup Challenge aka the Day I Wore Makeup. Takeaways:
It takes forever. Seriously. I’d forgotten just how long.
You don’t forget. I didn’t need to find online tutorials or look up tricks. I still remembered how to apply it. It’s like riding a bike. Something I also may not have done for three years, actually.
It’s HOT. Instantly I felt myself sweating right at the hair line. Then I started stressing about how the sweat would react with the makeup. I started sweating more. It was a dangerous few minutes.
Speaking of stress…I spent the entire time worried about accidentally touching my face and ruining everything. Eating, scratching, wind blowing stray hair…anything could happen!
I didn’t look prettier. Honestly, I didn’t. I didn’t catch myself in the bathroom mirror after forgetting I was wearing it and thinking “dang, I look good.”
I didn’t feel prettier. I felt hotter. I also got in my car after an event (to be fair it’s Phoenix and it was like 96 today) and I could see beads of sweat on my nose that had mixed with makeup. That’s not pretty.
I could also smell it. I swear I don’t remember this smell from wearing it daily. I guess it is a smell you don’t realize you are accustomed to until it’s been gone and is thrust up your nostrils again.
Washing it off SUCKED. OMG. I didn’t remember how hard you have to scrub your face to get that crap off. It stung. My pores felt like they were burning. It was like chopping jalapenos and then rubbing your hands all over your face. Terrible. Awful.
In short, I’m glad I made the decision to cut and run from the makeup industry.
As a parent I’ve caught myself telling my kid to think about “how they feel” quite a few times. My daughter (7) is a bit bossy (people who know her are laughing right now because I said a BIT. She’s a lot bossy. Girlfriend needs to be a CEO) and often gets in trouble for trying to micromanage her classmates. My son (11) think he’s hilarious. He often gets in trouble for telling jokes at inappropriate times. So it’s a good idea to try and make them think about the other people in these situations.
“How would you feel if a little girl in your class was trying to tell you how to solve a problem, sit in a chair, or walk in the hallway?”
“How would you feel if you were just trying to do your job and someone busted in and told a joke right in the middle of what you were doing?”
“How would you feel…”
Turns out this old parenting trick is actually a great exercise for writers. The next time you’re sticking your main character in a scene that isn’t quite working…stop. Pick a different character. How do they feel? Is there something they can do or say that will suddenly make your MC aware of this? Take that outside character and, for just a second, make it about them. It reminds us that these people are living in a real world. They’re not floating around alone. Just like us, their consequences effect others.
What kinds of things have you researched in the name of writing?
Sometimes it’s harmless stuff: what plants grow in the winter months, when are cucumbers at their best, lunar cycles, google maps locations, hair color diagrams, eye color diagrams, synonyms, color wheels, pictures of stone
Sometimes it’s stuff that probably gets me on some strange watch list: tiny weapons that could kill someone, small sharp things, how to naturally decompose a body
Sometimes it’s stuff that will make someone ask questions: signs you’re in an abusive relationship, anger management tips, signs someone is angry
Since I started this crazy journey, I’ve heard the same piece of advice a lot. Put the book down and walk away. Leave it on a shelf. Let it breathe. You can come back to it later and really look at it with fresh eyes.
So I did.
I can’t tell you when the last time I picked up my high-fantasy story (readers of the blog will know EXACTLY which one I’m referencing) and its sequel was. I haven’t looked at the outline for the third book in the series. I haven’t thought about the characters in awhile. I haven’t given it much thought at all, actually. I’ve poured my attention into other (bill-paying) things.
Then my phone rang. My favorite beta reader (oops, I’m not supposed to admit I have favorites) wanted to make sure she had the most recent copy because she’d been thinking about it and wanted to read it again.
What a good idea. I think I’ll read it along with you.
The result has been a FIRE rekindled. We are back to spending lots of time talking about why we love (or hate) the characters. I’m completely engrossed in how much she talks about their world. It’s clearly becoming as real for her as it always has been for me and that’s just…cool.
So now I’ll pass that advice on to you.
Do you have a work that is stalled out? Is it not getting the agent/publisher love that you wanted? Is the editing turning up small changes when you feel in your heart it may need bigger? Have you already made a big (ahem-point of view altering) change that you aren’t sure worked?
Let it breathe.
Give it space.
Then read it like it was brand new. It’s a cool feeling.