The Page a Day Writers Group

Posts Tagged ‘discussion

If you’re anything like me, music is an integral part of your life.  I’m one of those people who steps out the door and wishes there was some kind of soundtrack going to greet me along with the day.  I also wish that sometimes, an entire street would break out into song like they do in a musical or a Bollywood film.  Especially since I work downtown, and that might make the whole misery of seeing endless ghost malls and the increasing number of homeless folks seem…well, just a little less dreary.

I tend to have music that I gravitate toward when I write different things, but I can pretty much listen to anything while I write because music is far less distracting than complete silence.  I can’t stand complete silence or blank walls.  I even have to sleep with a fan on at night so the white noise will lull me to sleep and keep me there.  But, sometimes, certain genres of music work better for certain pieces or certain characters.  I really got into big band swing when I was writing my first novel since it took place in 1940.

I find myself developing soundtracks for my novels.  Like I can hear certain songs and think of a particular character or scene.  For example, my bodysnatching ghost villain, Tristan Thorn, has a theme song.  It’s “He’s Evil” by the Kinks.  Every time I hear that song, I think of T.   Especially the line: “He wants your body, not your mind.”  It’s as if they’d written it for Tristan, even though that song was released when I was a tiny child.

The Kinks: "Preservation Act 2" Though this image is subject to copyright, its use is covered by the U.S. fair use laws

I’ve taken to developing soundtracks for my novels recently.  I know, it’s just another one of those things that writers do when they should be writing, but it helps sometimes.  Those songs can set the mood I need for the scene I’m about to write.  Whether it’s “Know Your Enemy” by Rage Against the Machine for the big showdown scene, or “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison when the characters start to fall in love, the music gets me where I need to go.

So, go ahead and turn up the volume or strap on your headphones.  Let the music take you.  I swear, it works!

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Being the only single member of the group, I felt it was my duty to be the one to post this one, especially with Valentine’s Day coming up.  Or, as I like to call it: The Day that Confectioners, Florists, and Hallmark Get to Make Single People Feel Worthless.

Of course, being the romance writer, I do have my Romancing the Stone fantasies, but truthfully, I would have punched Jack T. Colten in the nose more than a few times on that journey.  Trustworthy, my butt!  I only write the occasional Alpha male, and he’s usually damaged in some way shape or form.  I’m a Beta girl to the bitter end, because, as one of my colleagues at work pointed out, I’M the Alpha.

Sometimes it’s nice, being the single writer.  I don’t have children or husbands tugging at my sleeve saying, “What’s for dinner?” or “I put the dog in the microwave to dry him off after his bath, okay?”  I can keep working in peace with only the occasional need or disaster prompted by myself or the two felines who let me live with them.

I also don’t have to worry about the jealousy that can sometimes occur with the women who write romances and the men who love them.  Any man of mine is just going to have to deal with the fact that I have pictures of gorgeous men all over my house and computer.  I need to look at the men I’ve cast in my projects, and if that means staring at pictures of Clive Owen and watching video clips of him all day, so be it!

That can wear on a girl’s Honey, however.

But this also means I don’t have husbands and children to help me when I need it.  Like, fixing me a cup of tea so I can stay on that writing roll without losing the comfort of my hot, caffeinated beverage.  Consoling me when I get those rejection letters, or supporting me and saying, “We know you can do it, (insert term of endearment or parental title here).”

I also don’t have a man always available to either…

A) Ask Exactly How Men Might Think in a Particular Situation

I had a scene in a WIP with a major supporting character wondering about his employee/close friend (the hero) who is in love with his sister.  The supporting character worries that his friend will end up with a broken heart.  I know men have feelings.  They have them, they really, really have them.  I just know they don’t like to spend a lot of time thinking about those feelings unless they can do something about them (Oh, aren’t they all just darling little action heroes!). That scene is still incomplete because the supporting character is still thinking like a woman!

B) Ask Little Things about Their ‘Equipment’ and How They Feel about It, along with Their Thoughts about the ‘Equipment’ of Other Men.

For example, in This Pale Mortal Shell, our villain, Tristan (who is now a ghost), has plans to take over his brother’s body for his own use.  One of the first things he plans to do is, of course, go boink his wife.  But, I had a thought about those first few moments in the new body.  I was forced to ask men I was not totally intimate with: “If you were in another man’s body for the night, would you take a peek at the willy first?  You know, especially considering you’re about to go use it for a bit of fun?”  Though embarrassing to all of us involved in this question, the answer was a unanimous “Yes, of course I would.”  But at what cost?

Or even C) Get Inspiration for Those Naughty Sex Scenes I Have to Write.

Most would think this is the easy part, but I have been a pretty good girl in life.  Though I’ve been sexually active since my mid-teens, I haven’t had all that many lovers.  I suppose some of them were fairly creative.  Still, I would say each of my novels has at least two major sex scenes (where the act is fully described) and several ‘building the tension’ scenes where we make out and at least get a little ‘over the sweater action’, or more!  So, it’s difficult to come up with new and interesting things when one is a little rusty on the act herself.

I think I do still fantasize about meeting that perfect man.  I mean, I guess I wouldn’t write romance if I didn’t.  But at 41, and not a size 2, it’s hard to meet a man in this town.  Still, I remember that my mother didn’t meet my stepfather until she was 42(ah, the answer to life, the universe, and everything!), and I truly believe he is her true love, not my father. I also just found out one of my other colleagues just got married for the first time three years ago.  I’ve never asked the gentleman in question how old he is, but I’m certain he’s pretty well past 50.  Granted, he’s a man, and let’s face it ladies, there are more of us than there are of them in this country (52%F 48%M), but I still have hope.

I will add that as soon as this guy shows up, I’m going to ask him where the heck he’s been, then smack him ala Cher in Moonstruck and claim that he’s late!

Then we shall, hopefully, you know, live Happily Ever After…

Sorry, time for a rant…

Having just joined She Writes, I’ve come to realize how little our society values women.  Not just in the real world either, the artistic world would like to punch us down, keep us ‘in our places’.  We get no respect and a smaller amount of pay.  Remember what happened to the boys when Julia Roberts joined the $20 Million Club? (That means you get $20 mil. per picture)  In case you can’t, all the boys (Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise et al) got bumped to $25 million (Did I mention that’s per picture?).

It seems odd to me that this should be true in fiction writing since women would be the natural story tellers.  We are the caretakers of the family; we put the children to bed and soothe their pains.  We’re the ones who bake cookies for Santa and trade money for lost teeth.  We also occasionally have to be the ones to tell our male counterparts that everything will be all right, even when we’re not so certain ourselves.  Therefore, we are the storytellers.

Yet, we never make any lists or win awards that reflect what great writers we are.  Even our sisters out there aren’t supporting us!

A good friend of mine who used to be a bookseller told me she once had an employee (a budding writer) who told her no great fiction ever came from a woman.  Only men can write great fiction because women just write fluff.  Funny, considering the first known novel was written by a Japanese woman.  And I hardly think Tale of Genji could be considered ‘fluff’.  Let’s also not forget who won that contest to write the scariest story way back when.  Guys like Byron and Shelley were willing to bow down to a chick when Mary Shelley gave them Frankenstein.

For those of you who are steaming mad (like I am!), here’s something to put a little kick in your step:  Apparently, men can’t write sex scenes!  Of the 2009 Bad Sex in Fiction nominees, all eleven were MEN!  In the entire history of this award, only two women have been flagged as ‘bad sex scene writers’.  Why, even John Updike managed to win the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.  Way to go, Johnny!

Here’s a link to the announcement of the nominees (the 2009 winner was Jonathan Littel for his novel The Kindly Ones). http://blog.seattlepi.com/bookpatrol/archives/185927.asp?source=mypi

This is the Wikipedia article on the history of the award: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Sex_in_Fiction_Award#Bad_Sex_in_Fiction_Award

I personally have found few men are capable of giving ‘good sex’ in fiction…or in real life! *Ba dump bump!*

Tom Robbins really blows my arguments out of the water though.  That man writes some hot sex scenes!  Sometimes Clive Barker really takes me there, but then he sometimes takes me further than there and gives me the heebs!  I think Clive succeeds most of the time because he thinks more like a girl than a boy.  Tom, on the other hand, might very well be what so many men claim to be at parties: “a lesbian trapped in a man’s body”.  Whether he’s enjoying every minute of it is pure speculation, but I’d have to say he probably is.

I will also say that some of the guys aren’t actually trying to write good sex scenes.  I learned a lot about ‘sex in the real world’ by reading Stephen King in my adolescent years.  And sometimes, the sex should be kinda gross.  As long as it’s furthering the story, it belongs.

Sorry most of you other gentlemen can’t do it when you try.  At least you have your little awards and best seller lists to keep you warm at night.

Here endeth the rant.




Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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