Thursday, June 3, 2010

Perfect Writing Spaces and Other Myths

WF's Ultimate Writing Room (Manny Subject to Change)

So, here's the thing. I've been writing lately. Like, actually setting aside time and hiding from my family and other responsibilities and WRITING. And it's been AMAZING. Except that it's also been fraught with distractions. It's HARD to write with Disney on in the background to placate the 2yo. Or hiding in my bedroom on my bed so my husband can play Handy Manny Uno with the 5yo. Even when I'm all by myself, sitting peacefully on my back porch with a nice breeze, I know that the laundry is inside, piled on the table, taunting me. *shakes fist at laundry*

Which made me wonder, what IS the 'perfect' writing environment for you? And what does your 'real life' writing environment end up looking like? Do the two ever even come CLOSE to merging?

My PERFECT writing environment would have to include my Manny. I mean, there is no way I could actually sit down and write without him. Okay, well, I don't actually ever sit down and write, but maybe if I had a Manny! *thinks about securing my Manny*

But truly, when I do write, whether for this blog or my private blog, it's usually when inspiration hits. I can't plan for these things and sometimes posts in my head are lost because the Little needs a SNACK and JUICE. Like right now....

Sidebra from couch sitting with legs outstretched on Manny's lap: Securing the Manny?? *raised eyebrow* Check.

Oh, okay, you wanted a "serious" reply...hmm. Writing Environments. Well, our "study" is a loft which overlooks the Family Room/Kitchen. Sounds and heat drift up, right? Right.

So, I'm often writing in a hot, noisy environment which includes the joyous noises of 3 kids, 1 dog and 1 TV. All of which acts as an irritant or as an excuse for Not Writing. Oh wait, now I'm being prolific. That's dangerous.

I think a well-secured Manny might be the answer. In my ideal writing world, the Manny would be tending to my children (and possibly playing some sort of sport with husband, so he isn't bored) while I am sitting at a gorgeous desk in a cool, well-lit room. Calm colors, tastefully decorated, decent sound system for the WIP playlist, and a widow that overlooks some sort of natural wonder.

In my CURRENT, NON-ideal writing world, I sit in my bonus room, which is cool and well-lit, but also has a bed (Sleep is an evil, whorish temptress), and I can hear all the loud noises my husband and children make. Meaning every time I hear a "thunk - waaaa - slam!" I am compelled by motherly duty to make sure no one has died. Especially my husband. I'm waiting for the kids to stage a coup.

Ah. I agree with a Well Secured Manny but might I suggest one of these?? A SONY Noise Canceling Headset for the "thunk-waaaa-slam" moments. See it even says "tranquility is yours...". It's like they know me at SONY.

Hubs gave me one as a Christmas present. The man knows me entirely too well.

Are you sure you didn't marry the Manny? Because my husband wouldn't go for those. If I was wearing them, how could I hear him when he needs me?? *wink*

LOL. No, trust me I didn't marry The Much Needed (Hell-oooo 2 out of 3 kidlettes are on Summer Vacay Already) Manny. But...Hubs saw the headsets and thought of his wife trying to write. The man IS smart. And after 16.5 years of marriage and 19.5 years of knowing each other, he's learned to pick up on my frustration. Kinda. He still has that faulty XY Chromosome wiring and we know that's not foolproof.

As for hearing him, well, he'll stand in my peripheral vision. He's 6'2". And eventually, I stop seeing my characters and focus on him. LOL!

Oooh, so THAT'S why. I've only been married for (almost) 8 years. He's still in denial that this is more than a passing hobby.

Don't let us non-mommies fool you. Childless writing does not necessarily mean distraction-free writing.

This might sound silly, but where I write depends on when I write. I can only seem to write early in the morning or late at night. I'm not sure if that's because there are fewer distractions then or if that's just when my creativity flows best. Anyway, if it's early in the morning, I like curling up on the couch in our living room or writing at the desk in my studio. If it's late at night, I usually write in the basement (it's not as creepy as it sounds; we have a family room down there).

I have dreams of writing in a park or in one of those book-cafe combos, but I have yet to try out either of them. My ideal, though, would be writing to the sound of the waves on the balcony of a beachfront condo. *drooling at the thought*

Cheryl, I think a Butler is in order for you. Someone to make sure that "Madame" has her writing time.

Mmm... Park-writing-dreams. I think we ALL have those, but no matter HOW ergonomic your laptop is, it just never seems plausible. And I suck at writing longhand. I have cute notebooks and everything, but my flow is just different. *sigh*

Also, I think it's interesting that you have different writing "places" for different times. I tend to plan better late at night, but I can't write effectively. I'm too tired.

I love a know those stacks of books already written are an inspiration. Plus all that delicious quiet. No shouts of "Hey, Mama!"

Of course when I go, it's for Children's Story Time. So it's a "different" experience than in my daydream. I come home with stacks of storybooks and glittery popsicle stick projects sticking out of my handbag.

Or a castle. Cassie Clare, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson enjoyed a Writer's Retreat in a castle.

Perhaps we need to re-think The Environment concept and think Getaway instead?

Did someone say Castle Getaway? Where do I sign up?

I'd be willing to take in a hot Butler... for the sake of my novel, of course.

Leigh, I am such a pen and notebook kind of gal. If I'm on a roll, I tend to turn to my laptop, but if I'm first starting a scene, a blank piece of paper is less intimidating to me than a blank screen.

*ahem* Since I'm not technically a writer (of fiction) yet, I can say this (and hope you three won't beat me down): I think you have to just do it. I've seen Maggie Stiefvater's office in her videos and it doesn't look that much different from ours. One video even features an ironing board in the background. Even Stephenie Meyer wrote while raising three small boys, and apparently she wrote a lot in the middle of the night when her baby wasn't sleeping well. (Personally, I'm amazed by this because there is no way I could pull that off. I can barely mix a bottle in the middle of the night.)

I guess writers have to find a way to make their reality the perfect spot, no matter how imperfect it is. So...yeah. *runs and hides from the three writers in the group*

Pftt. Way to ruin our dream, Rain. Way. To. Ruin. It. *wink*

*Sigh* Way to ruin my argument for a writing "nook" in our next house, Rain. Thanks.

*snort* FINE. Strike that. Here you go: You're in a room, the walls are clean and not distracting, except for the one wall lined with bookshelves, floor to ceiling. The gauzy curtains are blowing in along with the sea breeze. You think about going out onto the balcony, which overlooks a sweet little park with benches and flora and fauna, when your Manny walks in with a tall, cool. You sigh dreamily, sit back, relax, and write the next great piece of literature.

Just don't mind that ironing board in the background.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lazy Book Club for June: The Iron King

Hello everyone! We had a really great time with our first Lazy Book Club and are excited to announce that June's LBC pick is: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa!


We both absolutely fell in love with this book, and are in the midst of reading the free ebook titled Winter's Passage that bridges the gap between The Iron King and the sequel. The Iron Daughter, which will be released on August 1st, is on our To Be Reviewed list.

For links and other neat info, visit Julie Kagawa's website here.

Also, to celebrate our excitement, we're having a giveaway at the end of the month! Comment on the LBC comment form (the handy little box on the sidebar) and you'll be entered to win a mug of your choice from the Whimsical Fic-ery Zazzle store. (US and Canadian residents only. Sorry, we are losers in the shipping department. Don't think it means we don't love our international readers.)

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy of The Iron King, run over to Harlequin Teen to download Winter's Passage, and join the discussion!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reading Rain-bow: Fallen by Lauren Kate

So, I definitely picked the wrong week to read Fallen by Lauren Kate. You see, we're leaving for Africa this week so I have about 4,500 things to do, but this book made we want to leave it all. There were times I literally had to force myself to put it down.

Synopsis from goodreads:

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

First, can we talk about that cover? It's gorgeous. And intriguing. It's well done because this whole book is intriguing, really.

I love Fallen because it draws you in so entirely. Although the prologue does give a lot away (you could take @heatherwpetty's goodreads suggestion to skip it altogether) I was still reading like wildfire to find out what exactly was going on. It's a suck-you-in-book, no question. My only gripe, however, is that I still feel a little lost. Of course, this only makes me want to read the sequel, Torment (which also has a beautiful cover) RIGHT NOW. (It's due out September 28, so you may want to wait until then to read Fallen.)

Another thing I love about this book is the main character, Luce. And let me be honest, there were times I wanted to throw my book at her. She has these moments of severe insecurity when it comes to the Hot Boys on Campus (Daniel and Cam) at times I found it nauseating. But then I remembered what it's like to be young and unsure of yourself. Luce's past makes it all the more so believable that she might have trouble believing in herself. But then, there's this moment... I don't want to ruin it, but I wanted to stand up and cheer for the girl. So, if you're reading and are bothered by her insecurities, keep going, she will redeem herself.

Oh, and then of course there's Daniel and his violet-grey eyes. Oh and also Cam. (Yeah, I'm #teamdaniel) And... woah. Lauren Kate knows how to write a kissy scene - that's all I'm saying. As usual, I'll let you read about the Hot Boys on your own. *grins*

I definitely recommend Fallen, but if you're like me and have trouble with ambiguous endings, you might want to wait for Torment's release. And if you've already read it, I'd love to hear your thought - especially on the ending. Just don't forget to give a **SPOILER ALERT** if you do.

Follow Lauren Kate on Twitter

Read a fun review of Fallen at Bewitched Bookworms