Monday, November 23, 2015

Xenophobia: The Real Enemy

Sorry for not blogging last week. I was mostly Wri-Moing, but also this...

It was a very draining news week. The sort that put me into a couple totally unexpected arguments with people. I try not to get too political here, though I have very strong views and sometimes can't help myself. Easier to not do it if I am just not here...

But I do have some stuff to say. The world feels truly scary right now. Terrorist attacks, sure. They are horrible. But also this mood of people wanting to close themselves off. The waning trust. The intend for isolation.

Trump wants a Muslim registry (hello, Hitler)
Cruz says we can take in refugees if they are Christian (does he know the US religious history?)
37 governors (in spite of no legal right) say “no refugees here”...

And then I saw this.

Scary-ass white supremacists-home grown

These guys were found by the FBI, intent on blowing up black churches and synagogues. And it got me to thinking a couple things.

1)  The terrorists we grow in the US are significantly more numerous than any risk of someone from outside coming in to hurt us.
2)  These terrorists are the EXTREME of Xenophobia. They are trying to kill people who aren't LIKE them.
3)  This means by US getting all paranoid about Muslims and refugees we are behaving more like these people who are a far bigger threat to us than the Muslims or Refugees in this country will ever be.


The terrorists in France? ALL European nationals. That dropped passport was done intentionally because ISIS wants us to do exactly what we are doing. Panic and refuse the refugees a safe place. Because see... those refugees are running from ISIS. Nice trick, and we are falling for it.


I ran across a conversation on Facebook (a couple actually) about when it was reasonable to “go in and blow them up” and this is what I have to say about that.

Go in WHERE? ISIS is not a place. It is an ideology of people who are scattered throughout the world. Malala says it best:

The cost of “going in and blowing them up” is this—too many innocents and not enough of the actual bad guys, which means we activate a whole bunch of NEW extremists... we GROW them.

The only way to do this is embrace, befriend, support and love the NON-extreme people of the world, regardless of religion or race. Be inclusive. Allow them to be self determining and help them when extreme groups try to force something on them. Nothing has promoted these extreme views as much as our own fear of socialism and interference we have conducted in defense of our capitalist agenda.

So there.

See. I'm not very good at not being political sometimes. That said, try to keep in mind people come by their views sincerely. People are afraid and saying things and wanting things out of a place of fear, not because they are evil. Give your friends a break if they disagree. Talk about it, but do so calmly and with a goal of greater understanding.


I passed 45 K for NaNoWriMo, so that is cool... about ready for the final big action sequence.


I wish all my US friends a very happy Thanksgiving! May the universe grant you much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 9, 2015

That Thing You Do

This is inspired by a little conversation I had recently that got me thinking about what the absolute essential thing is that makes us love a book, and how that has inspired our writing. Is it an MC you fall in love with (whether romantically or otherwise?) Is it beautiful language? Is it the character ARC? Is it a plot that surprises? Is it elegance? Because this stuff is all a matter of taste. Even within these there are taste differences, but I think all of us have one of these elements we care about a lot more than the other. Now there are things about the OTHER elements that can make me put a book down:

No Bella; Yes Forest
A stupid MC (though a character like a Forest Gump who has wisdom even with limited knowledge I can grab a hold of—I mean someone who just doesn't think... doesn't try to. And so does stupid stuff.) I want all the STUPID to have a reason that is not just an idiocy of character. (side characters can be stupid—stupid DOES happen)

Worse than stupid is a BORING MC (think Bella Swann), though I recently read a disappointing Margaret Atwood book (Bodily Harm) with a boring MC, and what distinguished her was she was not ACTING. Stuff was just happening TO HER. Yeah, none of that, thanks.

In terms of language, I love it if it's beautiful, but if too much is too beautiful it pulls me out of the story. Sort of like life, I prefer my beautiful trickled. Otherwise it sticks to the roof of your mouth. But far worse than TOO beautiful is clunky or error-ridden. I just can't ignore poor grammar and am only a little willing to ignore a couple typos.

I like character growth, but depending on the plot, it isn't always necessary. But ME?


I like a plot with some twists and surprises but DO NOT like a plot where the twists come out of left field. I know in life some events do that, but they are the sort of events that precipitate a story. Not the sort that totally change it mid-stream. I LOVE when something happens and it makes me shout “I KNEW IT!” but one page earlier it would not have come to mind... some little seed was planted, but the hints as it grew were elegantly hidden except in the smallest of peeks.


What this means to me is I HAVE to have some sort of timeline. The big events need to me conceived before I get started. I need to be working toward them. In mysteries I actually diagram... who are my suspects, what are their motives, what clues with the MC discover to connect each of them as a potential killer? From there it is more like a puzzle than a magic act. Oh, I still surprise myself, and I let myself add or change. Plans are not set in stone. Even a written story is not set in stone—stuff can be built in later. But I need most of it to at least hit the main plot points I started with.

As to That...

I am at about the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo and it is going well. I have reached the part where it gets harder, but hey, I always know 3rd quarter is my biggest struggle. I am enough ahead that I only NEED to write about 1200 words a day from here on out, though I'd prefer to be closer to the 60K mark at the end of the month. A rewrite is worth 10-15K added in, and I really need to be over 70K when I am done.

How about all of you? What component of a book is the “must” for you? And how has it influenced your writing? And if you are NaNoing, how is it coming?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

When it Flows...

Hallo, fine friends and WELCOME to the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

You know... I've been in a bit of an identity crisis this year, doubting my abilities and floundering around... While I finished my NaNoWriMo project last year, much of it felt forced. It didn't flow easily and it will need really serious revision to get it where I want it. But FINALLY, I am feeling a story again.

Channels and obstacles, but also beauty and flow
[Did I mention how much I love NaNoWriMo? That excuse for a fresh story thing...]

Do you know how relieved I feel? Part of my fear this last year is somehow I'd “lost it”... not that I believe that is possible, rationally, but I DID lose my groove. And MAN was it rough to find the traction again... In fact I'm not altogether convinced I found it. Maybe it found me.

So my Tartish Words of Wisdom, such as they are today, is be patient with yourself. Don't give up writing. But if you go through a period where it feels hard or everything you produce just isn't quite right... it happens. And you will get back to good stuff again. Just trust and keep swimming.

Now go see some other insecure people!!!