I think sometimes the biggest struggle in this art form/business is to not take things too seriously. Not take yourself or your story too seriously. Not take problems or bumps in the road too seriously. But especially not the story, because that way lies inhibition and that deer in the headlights freeze when you come to the blank page.

Which is why I go play the exploding Diet Coke and Mentos videos. Or listen to the Village People. It’s all about lightening up, not taking it too seriously. Get into a playful and relaxed frame of mind and then you can work.

If you can’t unfreeze your brain with mental stimulation, try physical. Physical activity helps loosen up muscles and then the mind, too. Move, stretch, feel the mental kinks unwind and ideas start to flow. If all else fails, do the YMCA. It’s not possible to do that and take yourself seriously at the same time.

I read unserious books, listen to unserious music, especially kid music. The small people love to sing “if you’re happy and you know it” with lots of clapping. Play time with pets is good, too.

When I loosen up and lighten up, I can think creatively. I can see creative solutions and connections that eluded me in a tight, tunnel-vision, tense frame of mind. And when all else fails, I chant my mantra: “I can fix it in edits.” Whenever I worry that I’ve gone too far, I remind myself that it’s easy to tone something down in rewrites. But it’s really hard to fix timid writing, the mistakes that come from holding back and pulling your punches.

Today when I go to write, I want to relax. Seriously. Oh, and this helps, too! (Oh, how I love Vash the Stampede. And the Gung Ho Guns.)

Fantasm finalist!

 Fantasm Finalist

I had to be told that I was a finalist, because I didn’t go look. (Thank you, Jen!) Dangerous Games is a finalist for the 2006 Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Fantasm Awards! Woohoo! Lots of friends out there, congrats to Jacki, Lauren, Bianca, Jaci, Summer, etc. etc. For those so inclined, go vote!

Cookie me

This is one of the baby’s current sayings. “Cookie me!” Said in this sad, desperate voice, as if her world will end if she doesn’t get a cookie. Naturally, she gets a cookie every time.

We were trying to figure out how many words are in her vocabulary now and it’s pretty extensive. She’s using very simple sentences (“hold you” “cookie me”) and mostly one word at a time, but she knows a lot of them. And it seems like there are new words every day.

It’s kind of funny to go through the grocery store with her in the backpack shouting, “Flowers! Flowers!” and pointing at all the spring decorations. Meanwhile, the toddler is helping us find all the items on the list and put them into the cart. Not so long ago she was in the backpack.

It really hit me how fast they’re growing when I saw that the toddler’s head came above the handle on the grocery cart. She’s that tall? Already? What happened to the little 18 month old who would stand in front of the cupboard where the cookies where kept and point until I got her a cookie?

Fortunately, they don’t outgrow cookies. At least, I haven’t. *g*

Plotting and progress

Spent yesterday plotting. Plot, plot, plot. I got one, or at least an overview, a spine. Rewrote my synopsis so now it’s bigger and stronger. More specific. Getting a story to this stage terrific progress, where it’s developed and thought out and ready to roll. Also picked a new title, which I like and think works.

Over at I Heart Presents, Jane Porter talks about the power of romance and passion. Great stuff.

And because I borrowed from them shamelessly while rewriting my synopsis, here are two terrific online resources:

Vivian Beck’s 5 Steps to Writing a Synopsis

Lisa Gardner’s Conquering the Dreaded Synopsis