Coffee Shops

photo 2~2I’ve always felt like coffee shops and writers should team up. I mean come on! They sell coffee and tea. We (for the most part) live off of these beverages like they were creativity-battery-packs (or is that just me?). I propose a coffee discount for writers! Who’s with me? Yes, local coffee shop which I shall not name, I will haunt you every day and recommend you to my friends. All you have to do is show me a little loyalty love.

I suppose if I was a little more courageous, a little less discreet, or business oriented I might actually approach said coffee haven with an offer. But I have this disgusting feeling that they would smile awkwardly at me while they turn me down flat.

I guess I could look at this way: when I purchase a cup of wonderful beverage at one of these fine establishments I am paying for an office, internet access, and a stimulating environment. Still, coffee shops. You don’t know what you’re missing!

Some day…

I Don’t Always Get Inspired, But When I Do…

It’s 2:30am. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some inspiration–you know, the kind that sends tingles down your spine because it’s so darn good.

I remember ploughing my way through my first novel. I got stuck about every ten pages. I would set it aside for months. When I came back I would gut it: chop scenes, add scenes, change names. Sometimes I would start completely from scratch. It was an ugly battle. I could barely come up with one solid, character-driven, plot-worthy idea. I was terrified that I only had one story in me. That I would never have a good idea again.

These days (as in the last 2.5 years) I am getting new ideas left and right. Now I complain about having to finish one project before starting on a new one.

But there is a difference between an idea that steals upon you gradually through people you know, places you’ve been, or bizarre circumstances, and the idea that pops up in pre-packaged glory! Those probably come once a year if I am lucky. I guess I’ve had mine this year, because one came to me at 2:30am earlier this week. I’ve been taking a lot of steps lately to get serious about my writing career and it has me excited. My mind was so full of characters, story, possibility, and responsible planning that I couldn’t sleep. Then at last I saw the light. It was like the fog had lifted. It was warm and clear and bright. (Okay, I’ll stop ;P )

Anyway, this little gem of an idea is for a short story, which could conceivably turn into a novel in the future. But I have enough on my plate and I only need a few thousand words to capture the heart of it. Keep your eyes peeled and you may see it pop up in the next few months!

In general, I think I’d prefer to be inspired around 8:30 in the morning. I’m just saying.

 

Smart Houses

So I was watching an episode on hulu when a commercial for Iris Home Management System popped up. I was a little alarmed. I spent the next twenty minutes watching youtube videos on all the “smart house” options out there (I know Samsung has one too). Unfortunately I couldn’t find the short commercial from hulu, but at the bottom is a youtube link if you are interested. The clip I saw showed this smart house turning on the sprinkles and letting the dog out before the woman was awake. Then it turned the coffeepot on. I don’t remember what else.

Now there is one side of me that would get very excited at this. I imagine if someone offered me the opportunity to live in a smart house I might jump at it. I’ve always wanted to travel into the future! And I have to admit it would be extremely convenient to have my house make me coffee, turn my lights on and off when I need them, lock the door, and start my washing machine for me. However, my initial reaction was a little less positive. I’m not sure I want my house to stop being four walls and a roof and turn into my iPhone. Granted, I am very sentimental about houses. The ones I grew up in were simple wooden structures with tin roofs. 🙂 I think there are a million terrifying SciFi movies with artificial intelligence taking over the world for a reason (or at least people hacking into any and all “secure” systems). For instance, I’m definitely not an expert on how these things work, but what if someone was able to access my smart home network? They could have a lot of power of my family.

Any thoughts?

Keeping Options Open

One of the best things I’ve learned to do as an author is to keep things open, leave holes in relationships, and leave questions about the past. Early on I had this bad habit of stating everything straightforward, exploring all aspects of a relationship from the beginning, and tying everything up in a nice little bow. I like closure and definition. But what I learned is that there was little room for growth. I found myself having to constantly introduce new characters or running into dead ends with the plot. The ability to throw out hints and questions that I don’t even know the answer to is remarkably freeing! First of all, it makes the characters, plot, and setting more realistic. Second, it gives me so much material to draw off later! I love coming to a climactic moment and realizing I’ve already hinted at the solution sixty pages ago! It makes me feel clairvoyant. Obviously, that’s not what’s happening here.

I have learned so much about storytelling through practice, study, and real life experience. Due to a slew of failures, I have learned to second guess myself when writing a scene–especially if it comes early on in the plot. I have learned to detect when I am revealing too much information, or when the characters feel so comfortable that there is no room for growth. I pause and ask myself: how can these two have conflict? Do they really know each other that well? How can they learn from each other? I also credit my real life experiences. I have recently had a lot of opportunity to understand conflict and what really motivates people to behave the way they behave. It has helped my writing tremendously.

So if you are a writer I encourage you: even early on, write in some open ends. Throw in some hints, some implications, and some questions. You may not explore them later, but you may find them extremely handy when you are developing plot twists.

Some Former “Theories” About Space

I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “crackpots.” The universe is a little bit mind boggling at times and it can be difficult to make sense of. I have a huge imagination and I have had some crazy thoughts enter my head too!

I like the theory about the water vapor and ice because it makes me look at the world from a different perspective. It’s more mythological, and I do love mythology!