Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

moving forward... or was that backward

For those of you who dislike when I write about my writing, you will be skipping me for the next week or two as it's what's on my mind. The main reason for that is I've begun the seventh Arizona historical. It's been germinating in my head for over a month as ideas began to gel. Finally the 4th, I could not find excuses to avoid setting the first scenes. 

If you have yet to write a book, each writer has their own way of approaching it; so what I do won't necessarily help you. I write a scene, then come back and look for color and more details. Scenes all arise from the characters because I consider my books to be character driven. 

Character driven writing allows the characters more freedom to see where this or that goes. For me, these fictional people do not get to take over, as some writers claim, but I do pay attention to their point of view, which can lead to events I hadn't expected on the way to the ending I did expect. Writing a book tends to take over a life-- especially since Ranch Boss is doing some research for me and reading the sections as I finish them. I might add, he's really into the story's premise. That makes it fun for us both.

Wait, I should revise that. Beginning a book, getting my characters set into their story, is never fun for me. I am insecure when I begin, worried that I am just putting out drivel, and that I don't yet know enough to write the story. Generally speaking each morning I delay getting into it with any excuse (like writing this). In the beginning, I am doing well to write 2000 words a day but when I get more into it, it is closer to 5-6000. Somewhere around 10,000 words, I begin to have a good feeling for where it's going, which makes the writing flow. When I get to writing 5000 words a day, then it's fun for me. That should be next week...

I don't always read other people's fiction but right before bed, for the last week, I've been reading what is considered a 'sweet' romance. Giving this book a try appealed to me on a couple of levels. One was curiosity as to what a popular 'sweet' romance was about. The other appeal was the story is based in Oregon where I think the author also lives-- although I know little about her beyond she's considered to be best selling and proudly writes sweet romances.

It's been interesting to see how much emphasis is in this book on the physical attraction between the two principals. They are constantly mooning over how beautiful the other one is. In order to keep it sweet, there is no point A going into point B, but there's sure a lot of wishful thinking. For me, there is an almost boring emphasis on how beautiful each of them are. I get it. I got it in the first chapter. I do not need to have it droning on and on. Is it to make the book romantic without the sex? I am not sure what that's about.

Yes, in my books, I do have the sex but not pages and pages of it nor of them constantly thinking how beautiful the other one is. I like to have my characters working on the emotional ties that bind a couple together or tear them apart. Because I put suspense into my stories, that takes up space too as the couple must solve a problem together-- sometimes a life threatening one. Anyway, it's been educational to see what some readers are looking for-- not that I am about to be the one giving it to them.

Onto the weather report: cold, sometimes foggy, and often rainy. We had a bit of freezing rain, not quite enough to be pretty and fortunately not enough to knock out our power.

The hot water heater went out again but got caught by Ranch Boss before more water damage. He's now fixed it, but it's not a permanent solution. That will require a new hot water heater, and we are still debating what kind to get. This one is at least forty years old, which means a new one will probably need all new wiring and plumbing changes to fit.

From the earlier flooding, some of our flooring was damaged. In the kitchen that means taking up tile and laying down new-- but only when we are sure everything is stable. The hardwood floor warped a few places too but we aren't sure what we'll do about that. It's livable but not permanently. We did not contact our insurance agent on this as we carry a thousand dollar deductible, and it won't remotely get over that. Still nuisance time.

Outside, the cattle and sheep look miserable. The sheep got the last of the apples, which were still hanging on the tree when we arrived back home. The foxes have come back, but we don't yet know if they will deign to have their kits under our porch, available to them as it is now. I don't feel guilty either way as we aren't blocking them at least.

 One of our more enjoyable daytime breaks is to watch the many birds coming to the bird feeders. We banned the cats from the hummingbird-bird-fox yard, and brought the bird feeders into it. Just to watch the birds flitting around must lower a person's blood pressure-- which reading any newspaper article right now tends to risk its rising.

In terms of luxury, we bought a 60" TV. We had put off doing that because the 47" was still working. We thought we'd wait until it gave up the ghost. Then we bought the 55" for the Tucson house and that decided it. For those who have had little reason to know, they now have TVs up to 75". Hard to believe. I might've gone for the 65" except Ranch Boss convinced me that the wall bracket would not let it extend far enough to turn it to watch from the sofa. We are loving the 60".

The sofa is where we sit most evenings to watch a movie, sometimes one we've seen before. That has been our routine for the last few years. We choose a film that suits our mood, sometimes with popcorn or a small dish of ice cream with peaches but one way or another we watch something. Since Netflix streaming, we have more options. 

For anyone who has yet to discover the Miss Fisher mystery series from Australia, I might recommend them or Sherlock from England. Sherlock, an updated Sherlock Holmes to today, is probably familiar to most. Miss Fisher, set in the 1920s maybe not so much. It has what might be called a cozy mystery or just a tad noir as Miss Fisher is a very hot female of a certain age. There is a solid cast of supporting players. Sense of community always enhances my enjoyment of a film or book. When we don't watch that or one of our DVDs, we find a documentary. It is a nice way to relax in the evening before heading to bed with a book (mine these days are always on the Kindle).

We may have decided one of our issues-- the rental house in Tucson. Difficulty of communication with the new cleaning agency is making us decide we won't rent it for '17 at least and decide after that about the future. Finding it difficult to know what's going on with the ones doing the work down there makes it more stressful than it's worth. Maybe next year, we'll use it for the winter. It would give us time to make some major changes we've been considering, clean it up more, and maybe even have some fun while there. To do it would require delaying breeding so that the lambs would come in late April. We could do that maybe...

Up here, this is the bleak season, gray days, constant rain or fog, and cold-- but generally not cold enough to snow. Days for fires in the fireplace and wood stove. We are past the shortest day of the year. We are heading toward Imbolc, the real first day of spring in the Celtic calendar, Ewe's Milk to some-- like the lambs we soon expect. The first seed catalogs arrived and we talk about possible trips to make this summer. It is a time for dreaming.

"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." Albert Camus. 

I am more in what seems the invincible winter...


Tabor said...

Character driven gets me every time. I try to sell my photography on a huge site out of Australia, RedBubble and find that the most popular sales are the cartoons, the cute kitties, the teddy bears, etc. I think these are so cliche, but with an America going for the most simple minded politicians and the most simple solutions to life's complicated problems, why should I be surprised. Perfectly beautiful people are just fine in a book, but flawless people interest me not! I am dragging my way through a Baldacci book out of boredom and the people are all a bit cliche...I will try to read it and see why he is so popular. He is action rather than character driven.

Rain Trueax said...

I find that interesting also; so hope you blog about what you decide. I am amazed at the books that seem to be finding critical favor and I have to wonder why.

Facebook pretty well tells a person that the cute stuff is what people want. Maybe it's a reaction to the intense times in which we are living.

Ingineer66 said...

40 years from a water heater? I think you got your money's worth out of it. We upgraded a little over a year ago and moved the older tv to the bedroom. The bedroom tv is now a 52" which seems a little silly but I can see most of what is happening without my glasses so that is nice.

Rain Trueax said...

I just can't bring myself to want a TV in the bedroom, but we are trying to figure out what we will do with that 47".

Ingineer66 said...

We watch the news in the morning and that is about it.

Rain Trueax said...

If I was to do anything with one, it'd be DVDs but about the time we are ready to leave the couch, we're ready for bed. It's not like we have an uncomfortable spot to watch them in the living room ;)