Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Musings: Rey and the Naysayers

Warning: this blog post will include some spoilers for "Star Wars: the Force Awakens."  If you don't want to know, you might want to skip this post.

Spoiler space for those who are curious...

I'm not kidding, spoilers ahead!

Okay??  All right.  I've been reading about how some people find Rey too perfect.  The term "Mary Sue" has been bandied about.

Sexism charges have been laid against these people.  "It's because she's a girl!" these people say, dismissing the critics and going back to how awesome Rey is.

There is no question that Rey is a great character.  She's multi-talented.  She can hold her own and doesn't need to be rescued.  She's got the Force, for crying out loud!

But is she too good to be true?  Is she unrealistic as a character?

Please remember that we are talking about a character in a movie that includes faster-than-light space travel, Wookies, and the mystical Force, so it should be obvious that we aren't dealing in reality here.

Any hero (or heroine) in the Star Wars universe is going to be larger than life.  Luke Skywalker was a farm boy who could shoot a blaster as well as a Stormtrooper and a crack pilot off the bat.  No one complained that Luke was unrealistic in his abilities - at least not to the extent that people were rushing to defend him as I see many defending Rey.

I've heard the complaint that Rey is perfect.  I'm not sure I agree with that.  She has her own set of flaws and weaknesses.  When first confronted with her destiny, for example, she says "no way!" and runs off alone in the woods, WHEN THERE ARE BAD PEOPLE OUT THERE LOOKING FOR HER.  Finn had said they'd probably been tracked to the planet but she goes off by herself anyway, not telling anyone where she is going.  That certainly doesn't strike me as a perfect move.

And before Rey fans cream me, her having flaws is not a bad thing.  It makes her human.  It gives her room to grow as a character.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they explore her abilities and weaknesses in the next film.

Rey is a good fit for the Star Wars universe.  To deny that because she's a girl...well, that's silly.  And while feminists and I generally don't agree on much (which is another post for another time), this is one case I cheerfully side with them.

Rey is awesome.

Get over it.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Musings: A spoiler-free look at "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Okay, I am going to attempt a spoiler-free review on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."  With that in mind, I'm going to be keeping an eye on comments to make sure none of them contain spoilers (purists might want to play it safe and not look at the comments just in case one gets by me).

So I've seen this movie twice - once in a normal theater, once in IMAX.  Both times 3-D, because, it's 3-D.  The fact I've seen it twice should give you a clue about how I feel about this movie, but just in case it doesn't, read on...

If you liked the first film that came out (and if you didn't, why would you go see this one?) you are going to love this movie.  While it doesn't quite capture the initial "Oh, wow!" of the first film, TFA manages to put together a film that is enjoyable and hearkens back to the humor and drama of the first film.

J. J. Abrams is a fan of the franchise, and it shows.  From the first scene onward, you can tell he and the people working with him love this galaxy far, far away.

The new actors work well in their roles and our old friends are good to see.  Because I managed to stay (relatively) spoiler-free there were a couple of surprises waiting for me in the film.  I liked that.

The film holds up well to a second viewing and I would not object to a third.  It's not perfect - but it's wonderful entertainment.  You definitely get your money's worth.

So, why are you still reading this?  Go see this movie!  <grin>

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Musings: Two new movie trailers...

So I got to see two new movie trailers this week - one for "Independence Day: Resurgence" and the other for "Star Trek: Beyond."

The "Independence Day" one surprised me, I didn't realize a sequel was coming out next year.  I liked the first film and still remember it though it has apparently been nearly 20 years since it came out.

I'm not sure lightning can strike twice in this case, and the movie is hurt by the fact that Will Smith will not be in the sequel (I've heard 2 different reasons for that).  But a number of the original cast came back for this one so I'm curious to see how it goes.

Then there is the "Star Trek" trailer.  I am a fan of the Trek universe, and probably don't hate the reboot as much as others seem to.  But as to the trailer...
Hmm...there may be a spoiler here so if you just don't want to know, this would be a good time to quit reading.  I'll add some space...

7...I'm not kidding bail now if you don't want to read it...

Okay, why are we destroying the Enterprise?  In the third film?  Just like the original movies?
Yes, it looks impressive, but...WHY?

In spite of that there were some fun moments in the trailer that give me hope the film will actually be enjoyable.  It also comes out next year.

Anyway, are there any films you are looking forward to?  Let me know!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Musings: The Problem of a Blank Mind

Here it is, time for me to post something for you to read on Monday, because I want to blog every week...and I got nothing.

It's probably due in a large part to fatigue.  It's certainly not that I've been in stasis for a week - a lot has happened, both to me personally and to our nation as a whole.

But somehow I can't bring together coherent thoughts about it.  At least not at the moment.

Writers have this happen sometimes.  We're supposed to create something but when we consult that portion of our brain, it's a blank slate.  All the brilliant ideas we had up to that point while lying in bed or eating breakfast?  They've gone into hiding for some strange reason.

What do you do in a situation like that?  When the muse has gone AWOL and you're staring at a sea of white on your computer screen that you're supposed to fill with little black marks?

You write the next sentence.  And the one after that.  And...well, you get the idea.

Sometimes it's a struggle.  Sometimes you have to change things up, toss in something new to shake up the story and get the juices flowing again.

But you keep writing the next sentence.  And the next.  Because you're a writer.  And that's what you do.  It may come down to one WORD at a time, but you keep on keeping on.

Either that or quit and become a professional video game player. <grin>

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday Thoughts: The Conclusion of Nano and a New Book Out!

Yes, this should be Monday Musings, but by the time I finished writing I was exhausted.  And it completely slipped my mind.  So please forgive me for being late.

I finished up this year's Nanowrimo at 25,074 words.  While it's only half of the 50k I was aiming for, it is my best month this year and better than I did last in last year's Nano.  So I'm calling this a win on my side.

On the plus side as well I am working on a novel that has fired my interest, even if I'm at the stage where it all seems like garbage (every novel hits this stage when you write, you just push through it) and I hope to finish this one by early next year.

Speaking of novels, I have a new one out.  TWO WEEKS IN GUYANA is available as an ebook in all the usual spots and should be available as a print book shortly.  I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Musings: Nano, Day 23

Here's the thing: I'm not going to make 50k.

As I said last week, I'm not as upset about it as I could be.  This could well be my most productive month this year.  And I'm still interested in this project, even if my timeline is a mess (long story).

But making 50k would've been nice.

But while doing this, I've also managed to get a book to the proofing stage, which means it's almost ready to be launched.  Hopefully that's something I can report on next week.

While I plan to get a bunch of writing done this week, it's also about family.  I will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner.  We will have 8 people and 6 (yes, 6) dogs at our house.  Pray for us! <g>

And I hope all of you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Musings: Nano day 16

By this time I should've passed the halfway mark on Nanowrimo.  That's 25,000 words for those keeping count.

If you look at the small applet above this post, you'll see I just passed 15k.  Which means I'm over 10,000 words behind.

Part of me is a little frustrated.  I really wanted to hit the 50k mark this year, and the odds of my doing that are steadily shrinking.  It is still doable at this stage if I can push myself - but at this point I'd have to average 2,304 words a day to make it.  That's a lot of words per day, especially with the fact this novel seems to be slowing down my writing pace for some reason.

But part of me is not unhappy so far.

The last time I went over 10k in a monthly wordcount was July.  And I'm looking to break 20k if not more by the time November is over.  Given my poor showing the past few months, that's a victory.

And I'm really getting into this story.  It has been a while since I actually finished a novel, though I have a couple I've worked on over this year.  This novel could well be finished by the end of the year - a good thing.

So I will keep pushing on.  I may not hit 50k, but to  me whatever I end up with this month will be a success.  Let's see how far I go.  :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Musings: Day Nine of Nanowrimo

Well, as you can see on the tracker on top of this page, I am approaching 10,000 words.

The bad news is I am behind.  By this time I should have something like 15K words written - a 5,000 word deficit.

The good news?  I have already written more this month than last month.  And with discipline and hard work, 5,000 words just isn't that far behind.  Not with 21 days still to go on this thing.

So I haven't given up yet.  Tomorrow I'll crawl out of bed early, fix myself some coffee, and write.

Because Nano or not, I am a writer.  That's what I do.  :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday Musings: Newsletters and Nanowrimo!

If you look on the left side of my home page you will see there is a place to sign up for my newsletter.  It will be a very occasional newsletter - no more than once a month - and I promise not to spam you or give my list to anyone.  So if you want to learn about upcoming publications and the like, sign up!

It is also November, which means National Novel Writing Month.  As in years past, I am participating with a novel I first got the idea for back in 2008.

In 2010 I started to write it but gave up after less than 4,000 words, thinking I wasn't yet a good enough writer to pull it off.

Well, it's been five years.  I'm giving it a shot.

If you are doing Nano and want to be my buddy my name over there is bookwormlady.

Have a great week!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Musings...a brain meltdown

So I was going to wait and post tomorrow but this IS supposed to be "Monday Musings."

The problem is I just returned home from a week of being inundated with information.  I attended a writer's workshop on the Oregon Coast for a week.

This wasn't about craft, though we were constantly reminded that the writing was important.  This was focused on the BUSINESS of writing, something a lot of writers don't pay a lot of attention to.

My husband Don was with me and managed to take more notes than I did.  I typed my fingers off and it will take a few days to process it all.

But already I'm making some changes.  I'm working on a production schedule.  I'm planning to get up early in the day (ugh!) to get the writing done first off.  And I'm looking at what kind of a writer I want to be.

A great week.  But man, I'm tired.  Talk to you later!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday Musings on Tuesday: Out of Town

I meant to post yesterday, but I am currently in Lincoln City, Oregon attending a writer's conference and ran out of time and energy.

I will be here until early Monday, when I will return to Sebring and what passes for normal in my life.  I expect to be a lot smarter when I get back then I am now.

It's great to meet new people and renew relationships with old friends.  And Don is with me, getting a glimpse of this aspect of my writing life..

I'll have more to say about all this next week.  Until then, back to the workshop!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Musings: The power of the word

So if you read my weekly column, you will know that one of the things I mentioned was my wonky internet service.  If you don't read my column, let's just say that my Internet has a nasty habit of not working sometimes.  It is frequent enough to be annoying.

And yes, I have called tech support.  They give it a try, but it never seems to stay fixed.  This as raised the ire of those living with me in the Ware household to the point they suggest I dump our current ISP and get a new one.

This is not something I want to do, if for no other reason my main email address is with this ISP and changing it is a hassle I'm steadily trying to avoid.

So, the column appeared on Saturday.  Today, I get a phone call.

It is from my ISP.  They are concerned about my problems.  They intend to send over a tech to address the issue tomorrow.

I was surprised.  I was polite.  And, I'm a little scared.

You see, I didn't expect anything to come from those words.  Okay, maybe some people saying they enjoyed the column, but nothing like this.

It reminded me that words have power.  The things I type that get published, whether in a column or a short story or even a novel, can influence others.  And I want to be careful with that, because I certainly don't want to send anyone down a wrong path because of what I've written.

Today my words might have helped me solve a problem.

What will they do tomorrow?

Monday, August 31, 2015

An opportunity

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted.  Let me offer you an opportunity to have fun with other writers and maybe learn a thing or two about the craft...

Don't know if I'm going or not but you might want to check it out!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A new tactic: Dedicated writing computer

I had heard for years that a great thing for a writer was a computer totally dedicated to writing.  Take a computer, strip off anything remotely distracting, and poof!  Your writing production would improve before you knew it.

I resisted this advice.  I had one laptop which I did all kinds of things besides writing on.  I couldn't just strip everything off it - it was also my travel computer and I needed it for Internet and other things.  My desktop computer is a gaming computer and there was no way I was converting that.

But I kept hearing, "get a cheap computer and convert it."

After hearing this advice yet again two weeks ago in an online workshop I'm taking I decided to bite the bullet.  My two conditions: it had to be very cheap, and I had to be able to pay for it using money from my business - no taking money from household funds.

Well, I cheated a little.  I have a line of credit associated with my business account.  I tapped a portion of that to use towards the purchase of a laptop I found locally for under $250.  It was new and it did have the drawback of having Windows 8.1 on it, but it would suit my purposes.

I also bought a cheap copy of Microsoft Office and an inexpensive case.  Total expenditures came to just under $400.  (This did not include anti-virus software I was forced to put on the thing even though it would rarely if ever go online.  Let's hear it for unexpected expenses)

After downloading the few things that needed downloading, I disabled the wifi and made sure it would be a pain to turn back on.  I checked to make sure there were no games on it.  I didn't even put my music on it, though I occasionally like to listen to music while I write.  I figured that's what my iPod is for.

So I've had it about 10 days.  What do I have to say about it?

Well, I don't know if it's the only factor, but I've written every day since then (except the day I got it - I spent that time setting it up).  Granted, sometimes it's only been a few hundred words, but this week clocked out to be my best in terms of word count in a while.

And my brain is starting to figure out that when we fire up THAT computer, it's to play with words.  Not to surf the net, go on Facebook, or play Minecraft.  That's our writing time.

So I think so far it's been a rousing success.  I'm looking forward to all the words I'm going to write on it.

If you're easily distracted, think about getting a computer just for writing.  It's helping me - it might help you too.

In the meantime, happy writing (or, if you aren't a writer, happy reading!).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spinning plates...

Older readers of this blog might remember seeing at one point of time or another a guy spinning a bunch of plates on top of poles.  He'll get a few going, then has to run back to the first plates and keep them spinning before they wobble and fall down.  The poor man keeps running back and forth to keep all the plates spinning so none of them fall and break.

That's what I feel like these days.

I want to write new fiction.  I have a project I want to get into shape to get to a copy editor.  I have at least 2 projects that I want to self-publish that need to be formatted first.

My house is a wreck.  I have people who need me for various things and responsibilities that need to be filled.  My list of "Shoulds" is a mile long.

Plus I am somehow supposed to "promote" myself.  I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet and how much is too much (I don't want readers of this blog to hate me for constantly flooding them with "buy my stuff!  buy my stuff!").

No wonder I'm tired!

Anyone have any advice on how to keep the plates spinning?

Monday, February 23, 2015

A great day for up and coming writers...

This will be a fantastic time for people wanting to improve their writing and advance their career.  I wish I could be there but I will be out of town.  Check it out!