Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blogs. (Blogs!) What are they good for?

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that writer trying to get published must be in want of a blog." -Jane Austen (Seriously. It's from one of her lesser-known works . . .)

Ah, blogs. We all have them. We all struggle from time to time with how to fill them. We love them. We hate them. We feel like we have to keep them up, (it's called a platform, people!) but some days we kind of want to set a match to the thing. Indeed, blog angst is one of the time-honored rites of passage for a writer.

Eventually, however, one of two things happens: the blog either dies a slow death, or the writer finds her groove.

I've noticed a few common types in blogs, (though most have aspects of all.) Which one are you?

1. The Advice Blog-These are usually pretty popular, because who doesn't want/need advice?

2. The Entertainer-Sometimes witty, sometimes silly. Occasionally, adorned with cute animal photos.

3. The Forum-This blog brings up interesting or hot topics of the writing world in the hopes of stirring up some stimulating debate in the comment's section.

4. The Random Pontificator/Online Journal-Random would be the operative word here.

And even the dreaded:
5. Blag (or Brog)
-Where the author makes sure to keep us up to date on his or her latest, gleaming triumph. And . . . that's pretty much the only reason they ever post.

As for me, I've noticed my blog has fallen snugly into the category of Random Online Journal. I hardly ever try to think of post topics, I just blog when I have thoughts or news or the rare rant. Whatever's on my mind. I rarely feel that intense pressure to post anymore. (The fact that my last post was almost three weeks ago is strong evidence of this.) The truth is, I've come to realize that if I'm scraping to think of a post, it probably won't be that good. And if that means I only post once a week, I'm thinking that's just fine.

What about you? What's your bloggy groove?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tapping into Fears

I grew up in Hawaii. It really is paradise, guys. White, sandy beaches, swaying palms, et cetera. BUT it also has more than its share of "creepy crawlies." Roaches, spiders, geckos, and my nemisis: the centipede. YES, they really are that big! And YES, they bite! And YES, they are PERVASIVE. Imagine those suckers crawling around in your house. Actually, don't imagine it, because it's just too disgusting/creepy.

Personal story time: I was ten years old. Sleeping peacefully in my bed. I felt a weird pain on my foot, and began to dream that someone was pounding a nail into my toes. But that didn't wake me up. What woke me was the prickly, tickly feeling of sharp, little legs creeping up my arm.

I shot up in bed, swiping the feeling away. Weird, I thought. That felt like a bug crawling on me. Then I thought: Huh, why does my foot hurt so bad?

As the waves of sleep receded, I put two and two together.

As you can imagine, this event rather traumatized me. I still am. Even though it's been over a decade since I left Hawaii, I still shake my blankets out every night before going to sleep. Just to make sure a centipede isn't curled up somewhere in there.

So, how am I going to relate this to writing? Well, guess what kind of creatures show up in Searcher? Yep, centipedes. (BIG centipedes.) I'm not saying those are my best scenes in the book or anything, but they certainly were fun to write. It's one of the joys of what we do. We take these poor characters and force them to face our fears for us. They may defeat them (Jetta cuts a centipede's head off) or fall to them, it doesn't matter. You can always tell when those obstacles come right from the author's past.

How about you? Which of your fears have showed up in your stories?