Serial Killers Are Everywhere

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I’m sitting in my office, at my desk fretting over what to blog about this week. Coming from behind me, outside my window is either the sounds of a squirrel on crack, the roof coming off, or a drummer on scaffolding because I’m on the second floor. I’m trying to keep my mind away from the possibility of an intruder. Albeit, not a very bright one if he’s making that much noise on a bright, sunny day, at lunch time. However, I trust no one and my first thoughts are always to be careful. Serial killers are everywhere.

You know when you’re watching a scary movie and the character on screen decides to go look outside because they heard a crash or a gun shot and you yell at the screen, “DON’T DO IT. DON’T GO OUT THERE!”? I was compelled to look out my office window just now and thought this might be the stupidest thing I’ve done all day. But, there must be an explanation to the noises outside. We want to reassure ourselves the world as we know it hasn’t changed. We like the status quo, don’t we? And what was I going to do when I saw the rabid squirrel or the crazed drummer suspended in mid-air? Panic, that’s what. Not pretty.

Several years ago, I think before I even had kids, I was home and had somehow forgotten the roofers we hired were going to begin work. There I was home alone, footsteps pounded on my roof. It wasn’t Christmas Eve so that ruled out Santa immediately. I didn’t know what the sound was and then I heard voices! Robbers. Vandals. Serial Killers!!!!!!!! I panicked. Grabbed the phone and debated on calling 911. What was I going to say? I didn’t want to sound ridiculous and I didn’t want to go outside. I did bring myself to look out the window. Saw the roofer’s truck and passed out. No, kidding. I called myself a lot of stupid names for being silly.

I’m going to get a baseball bat. I’ll be right back.

There are disadvantages to having a vivid imagination. One of them is the stories in your head never stop. With baseball bat in hand, I investigated the noise. I opened the window, climbed out onto the ledge below and shimmied up the drain pipe to the roof above. A turkey vulture’s wing had tangled in the weather vane.

Looks like turkey for dinner.

No?

 

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Ten Ways To Screw Up The Book You’re Writing

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  1. Wait for the muse. Yup, just sit there and wait. Your muse will show up dressed in pink satin and waving a wand. The muse will tap you on the nose three times then spin in circles spraying glitter everywhere and your novel will come spilling out of your fingers onto your keyboard at a rapid rate. You’ll write the best book ever, sell millions of copies, and be adored by fans world wide. Not.
  2. Do not set a daily writing goal. If you write one word or ten thousand, does it really matter?
  3. Only write a first draft. Your mother loves your writing. Who needs to edit?
  4. Never read a book on the craft, never attend a workshop on the aspects of creative writing. You read a fiction book in the seventh grade about a girl detective. What else do you need to learn to write that book?
  5. Believing all stories are worth telling.
  6. Only give your book to your parent, spouse, best friend for feedback. They know you take anti-depressant medication. They’ll be honest.
  7. Forget everything about grammar and punctuation. That stuff just clutters the page anyway.
  8. Rely on spell check to fix misspelled words. Does anyone really know the difference between there, their, and they’re?
  9. Put your hero in a jam and have a gun magically appear to shoot the bad guys with.
  10. Spend the first fifty pages telling the reader about the hero’s life before the book begins because the reader isn’t smart enough to understand your book without your long winded explanation.

Is The Absence of a Sign, A Sign?

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I’ve been making up stories my whole life. I still remember being six or seven and writing stories in a marble composition notebook sitting at my (I probably shared it with my sister) kids’ size fake Formica table in my grandparents’ apartment. I dreamed of being an author with my name on the cover of a book, copies filling shelves, and entertaining readers they way I am when a good book grabs on and doesn’t let go.

I’ve published three books, which wasn’t easy, and wrote three others that will probably never see the light of day. Those were my learning the craft books. Give me a one sentence idea I could probably outline a story for you on the spot. Story ideas are my favorite part of writing.

Except recently, I don’t have anymore ideas. They dried up in November like mums left outside without water. I think it started when I stopped sleeping. Then Noodge 2 was diagnosed with a vestibular migraine and missed school the whole month of December. She’s still on the mend and I’m still not sleeping and there are no stories.

My friends tell me the stories will come back. Not to worry. Take some time for myself. But I wonder if I’ve written my last book?

So, how do we know when we’ve come to a cross roads? How do we know the difference between it’s time to make a change and just wait it out? Things will turn around. Or is the absence of a sign, a sign?

I suppose you take each day as it comes. What is meant to be will be. There is also the saying, “In God’s time” which is certainly not my time.

I ask you, how do you handle your crossroads? How do you get quiet and listen for the answer? And when do you say you’ve reached the end of the journey it’s time for a new direction?