Dancing outside my comfort zone

Sometimes you need a writing break to read someone else’s work

I wasn’t happy with my characterizations. My characters were feeling very flat. So what did I do? I gave in to the desire to read, but instead of picking up the Mercedes Lackey I’d borrowed from my daughter, I immersed myself in “Fifty Shades of Grey, Volume 1”. I wasn’t overly impressed with the writing, to be honest, and was especially conscious of repetitious phrases (other than the ones which were intentionally so) and some stilted dialogue.

What hit me the most, though, was that it was a very toned down take off on a book I read years ago called “The Pearl”. The Pearl (A Magazine of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading) was published in Victorian England from 1879 to 1880.

I was intrigued by the unique challenges of writing an entire book from the first person POV which is something I’ve yet to attempt. My tendency is to write from the POV of third person omniscient. Whether or not this is the best option remains to be seen, which is also true with regard to purchasing volumes 2 and 3 of “Shades”.

On the one hand, the pace was decent and I didn’t find it dragging anywhere, at least not for long. On the other, there was a certain childlike simplicity to much of it, which, admittedly suited the character whose POV was being used. However, that simplicity, had me, by about halfway through the book, skimming more than actually reading. Perhaps this is simply my own lack of patience, but the story seemed to become decreasingly compelling from about the mid point on for me.

What was the real purpose for this exercise, this divergence from my own writing?

In truth, I needed to step away from my own decidedly flat characters and see how someone else, someone published and, in this case, with a movie deal would do it differently. Instead, I came away with the realization that what I really need to do is take a page from one of the members of my critique group and just sit down and develop my own characters.

The exercise didn’t yield the expected results, but it did give me a new direction to try, so I’d have to say that the operation was a success despite the fact that the patient died. But that’s what autopsies are for!

Resetting intentions

A couple of days ago, a fellow blogger, Nicola Sunny blogged about her progress since she set a number of intentions at the end of last year. It reminded me that I have intentions of my own and progress reports are a good way of staying on track. I mulled over her list for awhile, especially in areas where we paralleled. Then I took a look at the recalcitrant (and evil) scale in my den and decided to try to again replace the batteries in case the ones I’d last installed had been on their last legs. Much to my surprise (I won’t say joy), the new batteries did the trick, but the reading on the newly revived scale was less than auspicious. In the months since I have not been using it at least weekly, I’ve also stopped using MyFitnessPal to track my food intake and exercise, and have dropped back from four days a week at the gym to a weekly high of two days.

Back pains and food comas and weight gains all added up to one thing: I needed to take myself firmly in hand and get back to those better habits I’d formed but somehow drifted away from. So, this is it. I’m resetting those intentions to be healthier. I’m tracking my food, eating the ready made meals in my freezer, working back up to four days a week at the gym and, with luck, three nights a week of dancing. Because the truth is, if I’m taking care of my physical self, the rest of my intentions start falling into place much more harmoniously.

Those flat characters I mentioned? Well, increased health on my part should fill them out nicely too.

Stay tuned, right here, for healthy updates and the return of my muse in a bigger, better, stronger form.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for rude awakenings.
2. I am grateful for inspiration from others who tread my lonely but satisfying road.
3. I am grateful to be getting back into my healthy and productive routines.
4. I am grateful for messages from the Universe, reminding me that I am the only one who can take care of me.
5. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, guidance, lessons, healthy habits, gratitude, friends, love, joy, happiness, peace, harmony, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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Comments on: "February 10, 2015 Reading to write better" (1)

  1. I love reading about the craft. These books give me the insights on where to begin with characters, setting, and the link between reader and writer. Somehow I’m always amped up and ready to write after an hour reading.

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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