Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Silly me. I looked at my two weeks off from my day job for the holidays as two solid weeks of writing time. Figured I'd have tons of time between the visiting, the cleaning for guests, the cheer and the fun. By this point I expected to be half-way done with a first draft for a new piece.

Yeah. And the North Pole's not melting, too.

I spent the first week throwing spaghetti at the wall.

What? You don't know that metaphor? Let me 'splain. No, that takes too long. Let me sum up: My mother read somewhere that, in order to tell whether the spaghetti was cooked enough or not, you could take a piece and throw it at the wall. If it stuck, it's ready. If it doesn't stick, it needs to cook longer. Behind our stove there was a scrubbed spot on the wall from where my mother always tossed the piece of spaghetti. It was fun watching her fling it and taking guesses as to whether it would stick or bounce or slide.

When I start stories, I'm always reminded of my mother flinging those strings of spaghetti at that spot on the wall. I start writing fast and furiously, letting the story form on the page, getting to know the characters, discovering their troubles and, in general, just immersing myself for a few minutes in their world. If everything goes along smoothly, I keep writing, not coming up for air until I'm well over a thousand words in. That's a story that's ready to be told. It's a keeper and will get written right away.

Sometimes, however, the spaghetti doesn't stick. I'll write a few hundred words (if I'm lucky) or a few thousand (if I get suckered) before the story dries up and either the characters stop talking or the plot won't reveal itself or I just get bored with it. I have files and files of these not-done story starts and whenever it's time to start a new book, I rifle through them to see if any of them are done yet. I'll pull up each file, write a little more on it and either a) keep going 'cause it's ready to be written or b) throw it back into the pot to simmer a little longer. New York Moment and Kara's Captain both took more than one throw at the wall before they stuck, same with Submission Revealed. So I've learned never to throw out any un-cooked piece of spaghetti -- sometimes the story just needs a little more time before it's ready to reveal itself.

So I've spent the entire week throwing spaghetti. Not until Monday did a piece stick and now I'm 2000 words into it and still going. I'm aiming for novella length with this one -- a bit darker than I usually write, though. Keep your fingers crossed and your eye on the spaghetti water!

Sidenote: you'll see I added Steve Duprey's blog to my blogroll -- be sure you check out his work if you haven't done so already. He's got another post up with a tribute to his sister that's incredible.

Play safe!
Diana

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

video

Thought I'd share my favorite Christmas song with everyone. Managed to talk the composer into making a recording of it today -- Merry Christmas!

Diana

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I need to point this blog to another today. Cait Miller blogged over at Sizzling Scribes' and her point is a good one: we far too often forget those who have to work on holidays. I know I've needed emergency care on a day when everyone else has off and I'm sure some of you have, too. Cait, besides being an amazing erotica author, works as a delivery nurse in the UK and her suggestions are good ones. I know I'll be gathering a plate of cookies for the local emergency personnel this Christmas, and I encourage you to do the same. What a great way to say "thanks" to those who keep us safe when we forget to take care of ourselves.

And to all for whom tonight is a special night -- Happy Hanukkah! :)

Play SAFE!

Diana

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An interesting article here about how romantic comedies affect our perceptions of our real, everyday relationships. As I read through the article, I was reminded of the wife of a friend of mine who complained that her husband, "didn't sweep her off her feet" anymore after ten years of marriage. When I tried to explain to her that marriage didn't work that way, that the "being swept off one's feet" emotion existed only in the early stages of a relationship, she got mad at me and yelled into the phone, "He just needs to read a good romance and he'll understand!"

That conversation has stayed with me for years. The woman ended up leaving her husband for someone new -- someone who ignited that longing to be "swept" along and I spent a great deal of time wondering if the books I wrote were somehow to blame for her poor understanding of the ups and downs of a long-term relationship.

But then I remembered that most romance books end at the altar. Those heady moments of first love, the joyous discovery of each other's foibles, each one overlooking the other's small imperfections and seeing only the greater good -- that's the part of the relationship we find exciting. That's what we want to read about. Over and over and over.

Are we, however, doing a disservice to couples everywhere? The article and study are being done in Britain (although anyone can participate in the study. I think I'm in -- I answered all 14 screens of questions only to have my Internet hang up when I tried to enter my email addy. Not sure it went through or not), but no matter where you are, the romance genre will find you. And once it does, the question remains -- when you pine after Mr. Darcy or Phillip Townsend, are you ruined for all the real men and the real work of real relationships?

Play safe,
Diana

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh, what the heck, I'll give this a go one more time.

Give what a go? Blogging. You see, I've pretty much decided people fall into one of four categories: Those Who Blog, Those Who Comment on Blogs, Those who Barely Notice Blogs, and Those Who Don't Know What a Blog is. There might be a few middlin' categories in there, but those four cover it for me and I know I'm firmly in the second category.

Reading blogs and joining in the discussion is, for me, a great way of expressing my opinions. In Real Life (RL) I tend to be the quiet one in the corner who listens, but who, by the time she's got her sentences straight in her head, the topic's moved on. And so I remain the quiet one in the corner, keeping my opinions to myself.

But online, I can take my time -- think through my answer (and even spell check it!) before I join in. Sometimes I'll write and close the window without sending because I decide what I have to say doesn't really further the topic, but at least that's my option. I'm not cut out simply because I want the time to think before I speak. I can read the post at hand, go away and think about it for a while and then come back and express myself clearly. Definitely a plus.

So why not be One Who Blogs? Time, mostly. Blogging well takes time. And time always seems to be at a premium lately. I work full-time, write erotic novels part time (and have a straight fantasy as well as a historical that keep clamoring for my attention), I have a family I love to spend time with -- and blogging just adds one more thing to do into an already busy life.

I know, I know -- others find the time, why can't you, Diana? I have no good answer to that one. Which is why I'm giving this a go again. I'll do my best to write at least one new post a week. And if no one reads it, well, that's okay, too. It's good exercise for my mind. And if you DO read it -- leave a comment now and again? So that I know you're there? In fact, which category do YOU fall into?

Play safe,
Diana