Saturday, January 28, 2012

January Chillin'

Today - right now - at 10:00 am on this Saturday morning - it is -18 F outside. Just a half hour ago it was -20.

Yes. This is Anchorage. Alaska. Yes. We are used to cold and snow. 

But - and contrary to popular belief - we in Anchorage are most definitely not used to seven (or more outside Anchorage) feet of snow in a month and consistent double digit sub-zeroes.

It's tiresome. It makes it hard to go to work, and school, and to the grocery store. My hands stung and then numbed inside my gloves two afternoons ago when I had to walk a block to meet a friend for lunch.

I used to live in the Alaska Bush. It's very cold there, and in December and this time of year, with wind chill, it is often -40 and colder. Every night you have to plug in to an outside outlet at your house the motor heater installed in your car's engine using an extension cord. A drive around town reveals umbilical-like connections between houses and the small, frozen metal-babies huddled close for warmth. 

This is the coat I wore when I lived in the Bush. 
In that cold, in the Bush, you leave your car running at the grocery store, and when you go out to eat. No one wants to risk shutting it off because it might not start again.

Three years ago I moved from that village and to the big city of Anchorage, where it rarely gets below zero.

And so far, that's been true. Until now. This winter. 

It is only January, and we've had over seven feet of snow so far, and it's still - 18, and I am bone tired of it.

(And see "You Asked for Winter, So Head North to Alaska.")

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hunted by Elle Hill: Review

Check out the review of Lesleigh Owen's - er - Elle Hill's - latest novella - HERE!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

To the Handbag Sellers on eBay:

OMG! I have been trying to find just the right handbag for weeks - and I am fed up to HERE with eBay sellers! 

Does listing the SIZE of the handbag never occur to you? Really? REALLY? 

Second: what do you MEAN that you don't ship to Alaska? What the hell! Since I'm paying the postage, what the HELL does it matter to you?

Ughhhhhhhhhh. If I didn't need a new handbag . . . 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Creating a Character

Okay. So you've decided to write that book.

Whether you're a plotster or a panster, you still have one fundamental pre-writing task: create your characters.

The first question: Who is this person? A: she is the heroine. Her name is Keira. She looks like . . . and she is X years old. She has this limitation . . . and that one . . .

Next: what will she do? A: save the world. How? And what challenges will she face, and how are those challenges exacerbated by her personal characteristics? A: well, she soon finds this guy doing bad things to this young woman. She's got a history of this - both her and her sister. It's a catalyst - a mini-climax - that pushes her out of the victim role and into the savior role.

Do you see what I'm saying? I'm obviously talking about my own first novel, but writers - take the time and do this with your own projects before you write. When you don't, your characters fall flat. If you want real readers to love them, make them real people living in real worlds. And that takes some time - and effort. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Take One Minute

Today, put aside one minute.

During that minute, put yourself in someone else's shoes. Pick someone you've had a disagreement with recently, or whom you've scorned or scoffed at. 

Now close your eyes and try to imagine what reasons would motivate them to take the position they did that upset you, or that landed them in the place you're scorning. 

Don't be defensive about this. Honestly try and imagine what was motivating them. Spend a minute imagining what you would do in that situation.

Okay. And now, when you're finished, tell me: did it make any difference to how you feel or what you think?