Pandering to the Blurry-Eyed Glance

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kids-playing-13After a slow, melodious troll through the internet this morning in search of something, anything to inspire today’s post, I have come to the decision that I have nothing of import to share.

Not a drop of wisdom.

Not a speck of clever humor.

Not a single line of tirade to toss at your feet.

Nothing.

I fear this bodes ill for my writing day.

It is these “nothing” times that put a writer to the test. Spinning a “nada” into a “ta-da!” takes skill, passion and more than a “we share toothbrushes” relationship with b.s..

For example, this very post. A blurry-eyed glance at it and you would assume it held great meaning. Dramatic sentence structure, interesting and very deliberate word choices, the haughty air that permeates each grammatical turn puts on the airs of a really spectacular blog…

Oh, how wrong a blurry-eyed glance may be.

Bottom line: Putting on a show is part of the writer’s gig.

Embrace the b.s. and. fortune willing, when the time comes, it will not embrace you.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

POST NOTE: Hand-written apologies for this post will be available upon request.

Blinders On!

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toy-pictures-03I am not a horse.

This should be a simple enough concept to grasp, especially for the accused-equine in question.

Should be.

Isn’t.

Apparently for me to work effectively, the blinders must remain tightly secured at all times.

I refer to, of course, those flaps/blinkers racehorses or workhorses often wear to keep them focused on the road ahead and nothing more.  There’s no looking back at what’s coming up from the rear. There’s no looking sideways to see distractions or the competition. Straight ahead. End of story.

Well, yesterday, in a mistaken effort to start toeing my way into the big historical romance writers groups on Facebook, I made the error in actually glancing at some of these esteemed author’s postings…

*pauses to scratch the hives of abject terror now encircling my throat…*

Let’s just say it was a COLOSSAL mistake.

There were huge discussions on late 18th century footwear.

Group conversations on daily Colonial diets.

Raging debates on tri-corner hats!… (Ok, this one is an exaggeration, but I’m sure it’s there somewhere. At that point, I was cowering behind my dog hyperventilating and had lost all tactile ability.)

The point is, I was intimidated clear out of my early 21st century shoes.

So, blinders back on.

I cannot look to the side. I’ve got to run my own race, using what scraggly legs and big clumsy heart God has given me.

Period.

No, I may not be a horse. But, for pity’s sake, send me nowhere without my blinkers.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

Linguistically Kinky

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABuckle up, ladies and gentlemen. Today, we revisit issues of dialogue!

(Admittedly that exclamation point is a bit of a stretch even for the most linguisitically kinky of souls, but effort of excitement must be made by one of us. This morning, the burden is mine. You’re welcome.)

If you recall, I’ve had a bit of a struggle with the melding of technically accurate late Colonial/Revolutionary War-era manners of speech with what today’s reading audience wants out of their historic romance. (Speaking of burdens, my perfectionist/OCD-tendencies are huge, honking weights when it comes to these “technical” decisions. Just saying.)

Anyhow, most of that drama has passed as I’ve found a nice, comfy median in which to tuck myself. (Alas, there was no “Eureka!” moment I can share with you. It just sort of happened one day.)

However, the question of contractions remains. The colonials didn’t use them. Beyond the “twixt” and “tis” and like, they weren’t lazy enough to use “can’t” and “don’t.” Fine and dandy for them, not so peachy for modern day audiences.

While I’m aware many authors do stick stringently to this No Contractions clause, I do not. If a contraction makes a piece of dialogue stronger, crisper, more effectual in driving up emotion, I use it. At those moments, I don’t want the reader tripping over words. I want all their attention on the action, the romance, the angst of the story.

Is this selfish of me?

Is this right or wrong?

Am I once again making mountains out of mole hills?

Who knows? I’ll keep you updated if enlightenment suddenly strikes.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

As the Muse Suffers

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butterfly-13As a writer, I alarmed myself a little yesterday.

(I add the “as a writer” bit solely because as a person suffering from a chronic panic disorder finding myself alarmed at something is a daily occurrence. Truly, I don’t know how my dog puts up with me. Going nuclear over a butterfly landing on my arm can’t be good for anybody caught in the blast zone… particularly a little, furry muse who likes to sit on my hip while I write.)

Anyhow, back to my original statement on authorial alarm.

I had finished my 800 words on The Hushing Days and was ratcheting myself up to do my weekly “Cora’s Garden” blog on my pseudonym’s website, when a simple, passing thought waylaid me.

The culprit? Here it is… (cover your eyes if you’re particularly skittish)… “Ok, I need to start deciding on what I’m writing next.”

I thought I might need oxygen.

There has been no “next,” there’s been no “after The Hushing Days” in, like, forever. This novel has been the sole sun on my horizon for months and months and months and…

The fact that my mind could actually peek ahead to an “after” shocked me to the core.

I’m taking this as a very good sign.

I know I’m going to get this book written. Like I’ve told you before, I’ve reached that point of no return. The Hushing Days will be done.

But when my subconscious creeps out of its dark little cave and actually agrees with my conscious, alarm bells fire and I start checking my arms for butterflies.

*sighs guiltily*

My poor, poor dog.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

Gray Strokes

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Chloe Stowe:

Here’s the newest post on my penname’s weekly garden blog. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Cora's Garden:

Chive 2 Chive blossom in front of tomato cages… 3/1/15

For a week in which the sun did not choose to shine for a single day, I have little to report from my burgeoning garden.

Everything has seemed to enter a state of limbo. These little guys are well aware that they are in Florida… the SUNSHINE state. They simply refuse to do more than sit and sulk until the skies once again turn blue.

Fortunately, the deck plants that have to battle every little thing winter throws at them, are not so melancholy (i.e. stuck up). I have chives, snapdragons, pansies and a dianthus in bloom. So, I thought I’d share a few snapshots of them just to get us through the bleaks.

A word about my photographic skill… I have none.

Calling me an amateur would be gratuitous. After 7 months of having my IPhone, I have just figured out how to…

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The Guano Conclusion

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFeeling terribly inadequate as a human being this morning.

The skies here in northern Florida continue to be gray and mucky. My nursery of seedlings in their “halfway house pots” at the back door stagnate in the constant un-sun. They are bravely holding on, but apart from my singular Sweet Pea who has a freaky “I am a survivor!” kink, the plants have not grown so much as a hiccup this last gray, heavy week.

This is all understandable, acceptable even. They are plants, after all. They need sun to “breathe.”

I, on the other hand, am a human being. I should not need sun to live.

When God made us, we were given all these handy-dandy tools to assure survivability in…

1.) a cave (I guess, in case your three-hour spelunking jaunt suddenly goes fubar and you’re forced to munch on guano for the rest of your really fun life),

2.) outer space, on the dark side of the moon to be exact. Just because there have been no documented attempts at this yet, you know there’s someone crazy enough out there to do it. (SIDE NOTE: not me.)

3.) the far northern/southern reaches of the world where the midnight sun is only the printable half of the story. (You won’t find “Land of the Constant Dark” on any travel brochures.)

So, as this last week’s constant gray skies continue to suck the life-force out of me with a bendy straw, I have been forced to admit that I am rather crappy at being a human being.

Alrighty-then.

Now that we’ve got that straight, good day to you.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

After the Hanky-Panky

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women-22This one’s for all the OCD flavored writers out there. Embrace the minutia, my friends!

(For everyone else, I advise bracing yourself for a little numerical mayhem. I have no idea if the following will help a single creative soul out there, but I wouldn’t be foolhardy Chloe if I didn’t try.)

Ok, here we go…

After days of extensive administrative hanky-panky with The Hushing Days, the following hard data has come to light:

a.) My first mainstream romance novel has lost 2 of its planned 21 chapters. This was not intentional. In fact, I spent two hours searching for them under the couch to no avail.

b.) Out of the approximate 60 scenes outlined for the Revolutionary War-era drama, all but 18 now have extensive wordage attached to them. The untouched 18 are scattered randomly throughout the story like seeds in the wind. What this says about my creative process/psychological state I wisely choose not to contemplate.

c.) Despite all the technical haggling of the last few days, the story’s core 6 brothers have remained 6. Earlier, if you recall, I considered rubbing the youngest sibling out of existence (a bit of total-character-number panic, there.) Well, Leo has not only survived, he has begun to thrive in his supporting character role. Who knew?

Hopefully some insight can be gleamed from this.

But since that is probably not the case and now that I’ve completely wasted approximately 23 seconds of your life, I will bid you adieu.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

The Writing Itch

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stockvault-marathon-in-santiago-chile104229With all the tedious, methodical, BORING administrative work on The Hushing Days done, I will finally be able to return to writing the darn thing.

As I stated in yesterday’s blog, Fate has now become attached to the novel. It will be done. End of story, so to speak.

But with destiny now on board, I’ve got the Writing Itch.

No need to sanitize your eyeballs or rub your keyboard with lye, there is no dread disease or embarrassing condition attached to it. In fact, in this case, an itch is a marvelous thing.

I want to write.

I want to write now.

I want to feel the homestretch under my feet.

I want to raise my arms to the sky and feel that cheesy banner rip across my heaving chest!

*deep breath, deep breath, calm myself down*

The only trouble with this go-getter mentality is the tiny fact that I’m only 1/3 done with the book…

But it feels like so much more now that it’s all been pieced together into well thought-out chapters. The end is nigh and I can feel it. I can feel it!

*deep breath, pop a Prozac, deep breath*

So, this simple, rather irrefutable, correlation has been reached in my mad, mad writing life…

With the end of chaos, comes the Itch.

End of story, so to speak.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

The Patchwork Moon

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stockvault-red-dunes100950After a tremendous amount of work yesterday (i.e. transcribing, copying, pasting, rearranging, rearranging some more, threatening to send each of the Six Brothers out to the curb, my dog/muse threatening to send me to the curb), I collapsed last night with the knowledge that 1/3 of The Hushing Days is now complete!

Relief is mine.

(Pardon me while I smoosh it to death against my chest.)

I have reached the point of no return… and, man, does it feel good!

I think every writer reaches a point in a project where they look back at what they’ve written, assessing it as a whole not just a bunch of scenes pasted together, and realizes one of the following (depending on your analogy-preferences):

a.) Come hell or high water, the book is going to get written. Even if you croak, your ghost will come back and finish the darn thing.

b.) All opportunities to abort the mission have passed. No matter how you might try to scramble or yank, you are inescapably strapped to the rocket heading straight to the moon. Next stop, la luna.

c.) The patchwork quilt has been pieced together. While a few more blocks may or may not be added, it’s time to strap the piece to the frame and call in the quilting bee.

d.) Fate is now attached to the project. Good luck messing with that.

Yep, I’m fondling me some relief this morning.

Feel free to have a squeeze.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

The Pen & the Plow

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stockvault-snow-tractor155048For the past three days, I’ve been feverishly transcribing my handwritten scrawl into nice, clear, Arial Narrow font on my computer. It’s been a tedious process but an enlightening one as well.

As I’ve stated in the past, my method for writing is very much a hit-and-run approach. Particularly with The Hushing Days in which every scene has been outlined down in both my head and paper, I will randomly pick a scene and plow all my intellectual resources through it.

Picture a snow plow plopped randomly down in blizzard-ridden Boston. One little street gets cleared out beautifully. But before the alleyways and side streets connecting the “chosen” lane to the rest of the city are so much as touched… “POOF!” The snow plow is scoffed away. A return promised, but not until next winter.

So, as I’ve been gathering up all my little throughways and  boulevards these last three days, trying to piece the street grid of the novel back together, I’ve come to two conclusions…

1.) I would have sucked at being a City Planner. God knew what He was doing not putting this girl on that career path.

2.) There’s got to be a saner way to write a novel… (My dog/muse suggests that a saner author would be a start.)

Anyhow, the days of transcribing are coming to an end today. I’ll finally know where I stand with The Hushing Days. Whether this will end in laughter, tears or apocalyptic gridlock is anybody’s guess.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe