Saturday, January 30, 2016

Story Ideas: Tam Lin for Wolves? Beauty and the Beast for Beasts?

I started thinking yesterday about how I could take the old tales I love so much and flip them.  I've done quite a bit of drafting with altered myths, and once or twice tried out flipping a classic tale (I've got the ideas for a Jungle Book-esque tale called A Rat in the Twain House I'd like to sit with for a while), but generally, these don't go too far.  Why?  I wish I knew!

But yesterday, I started thinking... what if I retold the ballad of Tam Lin from a wolf's perspective?  A young female wolf comes upon a handsome stranger, a wolf of pure white, and falls in love with him only to discover that he's the captive of the faerie queen?  I'm not sure how the details would work, but I had a wonderful unfolding of the climactic scene where the heroine must hold fast to her love as the faeries transform him from one form to another.  If she can hold him, he is free - if not, their souls are forfeit.  I can only imagine her horror when the queen turns her one true love into a human man... for to a wolf, that would be the most horrific form imaginable...

Or perhaps, a Beauty and the Beast from a wolf's eyes.  The protagonist is captured by what appears to be a most brutal human male in exchange for the life of her alpha, and is forced to remain with him... but eventually, she discovers his secret: he is a werewolf who fears and loathes his wolf form, and only her love can make the curse bearable.

It's lovely fun to play with stories that are hardwired into our minds and hearts.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stress, Stress, Stress...

I've been stressed at work lately... so stressed that it's awfully hard to detach from the work and live outside in the world.  And stress, as so many of us knows, has no regard for boundaries to begin with.  I truly envy those people who are able to find solace in a hobby or passion that shuts out the stress; it isn't that way for me.  The more I try to find relief, the more persistent the stress seems to become.

I force myself to make time for things that the gurus and TV doctors and real world doctors swear will help.  The trouble is, I really don't want to do any of them.  I joined a gym and exercise, which I hate doing.  I get regular mechanical chair massages at the same gym, my reward for going through the motions and making my body move.  I sketch or color, sometimes, though I've discovered that those "relaxing" coloring pattern books actually stress me out to no end; I fret over staying inside all the lines and getting every detailed hole filled in, and my fingers wind up cramped and my shoulders wind into knots. I go to bed earlier... and earlier... to the point that my ten year old son now to bed after me most nights.  But getting enough sleep is supposed to help, yes?  I pet my cats, which is supposed to lower my blood pressure, but that just reminds me that I don't, sadly, take my dogs out as much as they'd like - which is to say at all, cold-averse weather wimp that I am.

And I try to make time to write.  Ah, time to write.  THAT should be a stress reliever.  That, at least, is one thing I've always been good at - escaping into my own dream worlds, visiting with my imaginary people.

But not now.  Now, the words desert me when it's Time to Write, leaving me staring at the page or screen with a direct line to Writer's Block Superstore on speed dial.  Guilt comes calling - I should be writing; I made this time for writing, and I should be using it - then anxiety - why can't I write?  Will I ever be able to write the way I used to?  To find relief in writing?  WHY CAN'T I WRITE?  Finally shame joins the party, sadistically gleeful - I'm just not disciplined enough to write through this, and other writers are, and that's why THEY get published and I don't.  

It's enough to make a girl wish she didn't have time to write to begin with.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Blogging for Writers

I'm slowly working my way through a new book - Blogging for Writers.  It's convinced me that, to be a valid professional writer, I need a blog.  It makes sense - I need someplace to send readers and potential publishers and agents to see my work, my thoughts, my "stuff."  What stuff exactly, I'm not a hundred percent sure yet.  That's in a future chapter, the author promises.  But a blog is something I need, and something that may get my writer's block chiseled down into something sculpturesque rather than wallish.  For that reason alone, I'm going to give it a go.

I'm just not sure, however, whether this is that blog, or whether I need to start again in another forum... WordPress, maybe?  Can I do what I want to do with a blog on Blogger?  Do I even really know what that is?  Right now, my concerns are pretty basic.  Can I get a landing page for a decent "About Me" blurb, for example, rather than using that Google template I currently have?  (Answer - Yes, I can... and yes, I did!) Do I need more interactivity?  Is my title too long, too vague, too... I dunno.  It's me, but does it convey the right sense of who I am as a writer?

As the King once pontificated in Rogers and Hammerstein musical form, "Is a puzzlement."