I’m Lily. I’m borderline fetishistic about my niche interests. I enjoy gluing things to my coffee table. I make manic, masking-tape animals while watching movies because I just can’t. sit still. that long. I’m a soft-touch for animals. I love writing, but couldn’t do it full time. I’m obsessed with my husband and his luscious butt. I’m a dedicated vegetarian and locavore. I ride horsies and like math. I pump myself up in the mirror before interacting with people who make me nervous. I’m obsessed with smut. I’m a hedonist. I’m a little hungover.
You know you are writing some legitimately bad dialogue when in your head, all of your supporting characters sound like your high school drama league doing bad British accents.
My instructor is very good, especially at being a mean, heartless woman who delights in beating me to a pulp and working me until I vomit. After a grueling hour lesson, with shaking arms I helped my niece tack up her pony, and then she and I went on a nice long trail ride.
As I was driving her home, my sister rang me and begged me to wait at her house until she finished grocery shopping. She had something very important to ask me. I agreed. When I arrived, I made a snack and then promptly passed out on her couch, the remnants of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich smeared on my face.
When I awoke, I screamed and threw myself backward into the couch cushions. Standing over me was my sister, scissors in one hand, and an ENORMOUS FREAKING CHUNK OF MY HAIR IN THE OTHER.
Apparently, she’s recently become obsessed with Victorian mourning jewelry. Yes, that’s jewelry made from locks of dead people hair.
I pointed out to her that I wasn’t dead yet, and she replied, “Well, you will be. Maybe sooner than you think! It’s best to be prepared.”
So that was a thing that happened.
Here are some examples of what she wants to make:
After my morning run, a neighbor stopped me as I was just rounding the corner to make it back to my house, and she asked me if I wanted some mangoes. I took three, and oh my lord, they are delicious. Ate one as-is with breakfast and am saving two more to make this tonight:
Edited to add: OMG, it was so good! The mangoes were perfect, and I threw in a jalapeno pepper to make it extra spicy. We ate the whole thing last night.
I’m still emotionally recovering from the Vermont trip. It’s an annual business trip where my team members and I have to go present our performance to a group of advisors made up pretty exclusively of drunken, entitled old men who think they are smarter than everyone else because they used inherited money to start businesses.
I certainly enjoyed my time with the 80 year old man who decried the #metoo movement as women not allowing men to flirt anymore.
The accommodations were lovely, but shared… which essentially means that I was in a cottage with my boss and four other team members, all men.
I just have a lot of disdain for and discomfort in that world. I question whether it’s the right place for me, even though it brings me high earning potential. I’d rather make less money and feel good about what I’m doing.
Yesterday, I ran a mile and a half and rode my horse. It was a lovely day for it, and I am so happy with how far my mare and I have come since I got her off the track. She’s a fiery little thing, but she wants to please very much.
I haven’t worked on my writing at all since I last posted. I was really emotionally tapped out. I did start reading JK Rowling’s mystery “The Cuckoo’s Calling” where she’s writing as Robert Galbraith. I’m enjoying it, and her characterization is sharp, but so far I find that it’s lacking the punch that her Harry Potter books have.
Time to focus again!
Lily Fact #1: My hair straightener sees more use as a Lazy Man’s iron than it does as a straightener.
Note: It’s a lot harder to run if you’ve spent the thirty minutes immediately prior watching sad dog videos and crying.
There are some sad and unusual goings-on at my office. When we pulled up to the gate this morning, an abandoned black sedan was blocking the entrance, and there were police cars all over our office.
The car was unlocked, and inside the owner had left her purse, ID badge, and wallet containing her license, cash, etc. The ID badge had been draped over the back of the headrest. As of now, there is still no sign of her.
We work in a historic, refurbished mill nestled in a valley near a very tall bridge. I’ve worked for this company for fifteen years, and we’ve had two jumpers in that time. I hope that’s not what is happening here.
All of my very best vibes go out to this woman.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
ETA: They found her body downriver. </3
Do you ever get tired? I love my family and I love my friends, but sometimes I need to retreat into my LilyLair, and revel in the absence of others.
I read this article yesterday: “A woman’s greatest enemy? A lack of time to themselves.” It really spoke to me. Frequently, I feel like my life is a whirlwind of people that need or feel they deserve my attention. I’m going to do better at drawing firmer boundaries.
Chapter 3 of Cathy Yardley’s book “Rock Your Plot” deals with Character sketches. How do you make your characters believable and relatable, and more importantly, how does who they are drive the plot forward?
All plot flows from your character. You leave readers deeply unsatisfied when your believable MC does something stupid or out-of-character. Cathy Yardley uses the example of the super spy who opens the door without checking the peephole and so gets kidnapped or hurt.
Her recommended steps to deliver a fully-fleshed character:
- Start with a sketch: a brief blurb describing them physically. Find photos on Pinterest if it would be helpful.
- Write an exploratory biography. What sort of life experiences do they have? Childhood? Give them a backstory with an eye toward GMC – goal, motivation, conflict.
- Write out an interview with the character. This helps to find the character’s voice.
Think weaknesses as well as strengths.
What I’m reading now:
Cathy Yardley’s Rock Your Plot
Husband: What are you reading?
Lily: Fantasy book. Takes place in a future Detroit. There are dragons and stuff, but the MCs are just normal people who clean out hoarder apartments.
Husband: That is a weird, perfect intersection of your niche interests.
Lily: Yeah, Facebook recommended it to me. It knows me better than anyone.
Average morning conversation:
Lily: **Smooshes kitty face** Could this cat be any more precious?
Husband: Actually, yes.
Husband: **turns kitty over and runs a finger down her belly** For example, she could be stuffed with gold.
One of my ideas that I’ve been flirting with for a long time is based on a Nanowrimo I did back in 2008. It had a marathon-long opening, going through the MC’s childhood and first meeting with her love interest. The tone felt like a warm-mushy John Cougar Mellencamp song with magic thrown in, and it was pretty awful with a few nice bits.
That’s the idea I wanted to refine and work on using the plotting tips from Rock Your Plot, and this magical combination of dedicated time and systems-building and exercise has made me feel so prepared.
I was running this morning, and I realized that one of the main problems (other than, you know, the lack of any plot whatsoever) was that the MC was really well-defined while every other character was a cardboard cut out. They sprang into life because of little scenarios I’d envisioned the protagonist experiencing. I was using them as paper dolls to propel my MC forward. As I hatefully plonked one foot in front of the other, the backstory of the love interest as well as one of the primary conflicts unfolded. It was magic.
It’s funny. I do so much editing for other people, and these things are incredibly obvious when you’re criticizing someone else’s baby. How could I have missed it in my own ugly baby?
Important note for future knowings:
It is better to be caught eating a cupcake neatly than it is to be caught choking on the cupcake you wolfed in order to avoid being caught eating it.
Blargh, I have to go to a rich old dude meeting in VT with my boss this week. Everyone will be politely snookered, wearing khaki shorts with a tucked-in polo, and complaining about the income tax issues they have from owning residences in multiple states. Every time I have to talk to someone named Geoff or Bitsy, I die a little inside.
What I’m reading now:
I’m on ch. 11 of Rock Your Plot. Very quick, easy read. Highly recommended. It’s nothing original, but it’s clearly the distillation of the best tips the author has gleaned after reading a thousand books on writing.
What I’m reading next:
2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron.