"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, November 29, 2007

FUN FRIDAY - Quest for fun

I'm making it a personal goal to have more fun in my life. So each week, I'll report in something fun I've done. And not to confuse anyone - I have a great, wonderful life. I think I've just gotten out of the habit of seeking out fun.

For our purposes, we'll go with the below definitions:
  • 1. A source of enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure.
  • 2. Enjoyment; amusement.
  • 3. Playful, often noisy, activity.

And now for my fun.

It's been a pretty rough week at work. Wednesday my company had some deep layoffs (thankfully, my job is safe). But of my group of 150, 50 are gone. Friends I've worked with for years. So coming into the office on Thursday was a bit emotional. But as I sat around the lunch table with about eight coworkers Thursday afternoon, we started talking about some random things. Teenage partying. Parties we remembered from when we were younger. One coworker relayed a story of how when he and his wife had gone out to dinner, the Freshman girl across the street had a party (her parents were out of town). My coworker and his wife returned home to find their mailbox stolen. The wife stormed over to the party, barged in, and demanded, "Where is my mailbox?" By the time he finished telling the story, we were in stitches, and, as I'm analyzing my fun-having times, I realized I was having fun. We'd been having tough emotions around the office, and the light-hearted laughter was just what we needed.

So what was your fun this week?

Monday, November 26, 2007

What's your definition of FUN?

Recently my husband asked me if something I had done was fun (I think it was knitting).
My response? "I enjoy knitting, but I'm not sure if I'd call it fun."

This prompted us to have a discussion on what the definition of fun truly was, and when the last time we'd done something fun had been.
When fun came to mind, we both pictured laughing, hanging out with friends/family. This seemed to be our standard definition of fun. There was almost a sense of frivality associated with fun.

But, we decided, we needed to come up with a new definition of fun.

Is writing fun? I love doing it. So does this make it fun?
Is knitting fun? It's relaxing. Does this make it fun?
Is going to the movies fun? No one is talking? We're all just in the dark watching the big screen. Is this fun?

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tooth Fairy ... Unmasked!

Thanksgiving day my 6-year-old lost one of his front teeth. Whoo Hoo! As we were traveling (Chicago/Indiana), we put it in a zip-loc and decided to bring it home with us for placement under the pillow. After all, we didn't want the tooth fairy to get confused.
After getting home Friday and unpacking, we placed the tooth in our tooth box and carefully placed it under his pillow. Then we relaxed for the evening.
Dinner come. My son asks a few questions about the tooth fairy. How does she decide how much to give? Where does she put the teeth?
Then he says, "Who is the Tooth Fairy?"
We ask, "Who do you think?"
He looks right at me. "I think Mom is the Tooth Fairy."
"Did someone tell you that?" we ask.
"No," he says. "I thought of it on my own."
So I 'fessed up. After all, the idea of a strange old woman sneaking into his bedroom at night can't be a comforting one anyway. But I swore to him he can't tell all the kids at school, and he can't tell his little sister when she starts to lose teeth.
Then he disappeared upstairs for a couple minutes and came back down.
"Mom, I think the tooth fairy visited you," he said.
I followed him back upstairs and he had me look under my pillow. He'd taken some treasured coins from his coin collection and put them under my pillow. He wanted to do something nice for me. I insisted I couldn't take the coins, so he gave me some of the jewelry his grandma gave him as pirate booty. I wore the earrings today!

Will Santa be next?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Motivation Matrix

Characters need motivation. And not only do they need motivation, they need plausible motivation.
For example, you can't just say "He wanted to kill her." Sure, it's motivation, but why does he want to kill her? Did she destroy his career? Steal his wife? Embarrass him in public?

So on this note, in planning my latest project via Excel, I've added a new tab. Sure, in each of my character worksheets, I have motivation for each character. But I realized I need to see all the motivations together. And in doing so, I could more easily see how each character's motivation worked for or against the others.
So think about your WIP. Think about your characters. Do they all have a valid, substantial reason for being? If not, can you think of one? No? Do you need the character after all?

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bragging about the kids - Part 50

One small thing I have to say. My daughter is only 3 years and 2 months old, but she can write (very well) her whole first name. Couple disclaimers here. Her name is only four letters. Two of the letters are the same. One is an O. But still. Even the other parents at daycare commented this morning on what a great job she did!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The rest of the year

We always think about New Years as a time to set goals. And there's nothing wrong with this.
My only question - Why wait?
Looking at a calendar, I see we have roughly 50 days left in 2007. 50 days! I can accomplish quite a bit in 50 days.

Sit down today and make a list of five goals you would like complete in the next 50 days. Make them reachable. Make them realistic! And make them fun!

How about one of those home projects you've been putting off for the last ten years? Put it on the list. Seriously, how much time will it really take to get done. Too long? Then make your goal to begin work on it.
Not ready to commit to eating like a monk for the next 50 days? Then how about exercising 4 times each week. Make a chart and keep track of it!
How about Christmas (or Holiday) shopping done in the next two weeks? List out today who you need gifts for and what and then get shopping!
Been pouring over a new book idea in your mind? Make your goal to get those ideas down on paper (or computer as in my case). This doesn't mean you have to have a completed first draft done by December 31st. Or maybe you want that to be your goal. The good news is that you can decide. You can pick today and get started!

There's nothing like accomplishing goals to make you feel great about yourself!

So what are your goals?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Mind of a Six-Year Old

Raising children and writing for children, I often try to put myself in their shoes. What are they thinking? What do they want? Why are they upset? And much of the time, this works OK. But then, every once in a while, I'm reminded of just how far away my mind really is from that of a six-year-old boy.

Take for example this past Friday. I picked my son and his friend up from school and drove them to my house to play. On the drive home, my son picked up the book I'd left on the passenger seat to read. Egyptian Mythology.

"Look!" my son says to his friend, holding up the book. "This statue is naked."
"Let me see!" his friends calls back, demanding his turn to look at the book.
And so on until we got home, at which point they insisted upon bringing the book into the house.

This does remind me of growing up and finding the random copy of National Geographic around the house. We'd flip through and happen upon a picture of a woman with no shirt on from some tribe in Africa. We'd giggle. We'd flip back to the picture. We'd giggle some more.

I guess not much has changed in thirty years.

Friday, November 02, 2007

What to do between writing projects

I've been thinking a lot about the next book I'm going to write. Trying to collect all my thoughts and ideas. Brainstorm about plot and character development. And if I've learned anything from my last book, it's to take the time at the beginning to think about as much of this as I can. Make sure my characters have motivation and conflict.
Also, I'm heading away for a week at Thanksgiving for a visit to Chicago and to see the in-laws. Visiting in general does not promote a writing atmosphere, and it's always good to take time off.

Combine the two above, and what do you get?

The perfect time to knit something for my daughter. She's all about superheroes, so I'm going to take a darling knitted dress pattern and modify it to make it black with yellow trim and a yellow Batman emblem in the middle.

To me it sounds like the perfect project. Why? 1) I can knit on the plane (and I have no idea why security lets knitting needles through, but they do). 2) I can knit in the car. 3) I can knit while socializing with the family. 4) My mother-in-law is the one who taught me to knit in the first place. 5) I can think about my next writing project and jot down quick notes while knitting.

So I'm off to Michaels this weekend to pick out my black and yellow yarn.

What do you do between writing projects?