Revenge is the best revenge . . .

I’m struggling with a scene.

Without giving too much away (or anything at all, really), Character A did A Very Bad Thing to Character B, and Character  C is about to make Character A regret it, or at least feel an equivalent pain.

I’m not having problems writing it, but I’m a little troubled about how much I’m enjoying it.  Or perhaps I’m troubled that I’m not more troubled?

It helps, I’m sure, that in my Revenge Lib,  A is a murderer with some interesting hobbies and B is a sympathetic character (or so I’m told).  And C, while being protective of B, is still a borderline sociopath, and isn’t particularly troubled by A’s pain.

To be honest, I’m not either.  And neither is B.

I’d be worried about this, too, except I can name several sympathetic characters on stage, screen, and page whose primary motivation is to do unto others what they did to me and mine.   Half the books in the library— including most of  613.2, but probably not 641-5*—are based on it.  As are the television and comic book industry.

The cleanest revenge appears to be taken on someone else’s behalf; that way it’s not entirely selfish, which tends to erode the moral high ground.  But of course, that isn’t really revenge—it’s justice.

Justice=Good.  Revenge=Bad.

Revenge is self-destructive and harms the giver as much as the receiver.  Then again, there’s a high price to pay for justice, too.  These days, revenge can be legal and vigilantism can be justice, so the only “real” difference appears to be where the writer’s—or better yet, the reader’s—sympathy is placed.

And that can change in a heartbeat.

That’s what makes this stuff so cool.

I’m not a vengeful person by nature.**  I’m far more likely to sign a petition or march for a cause than don a Batsuit™ or go hunting for the kid who made my life hell in high school.***  My subconscious, however, apparently has some issues to work through.

As long as it works ’em out on paper,  I think I’m okay with that.


*No.  Go look.

**Though I have occasionally brought my A-game to the slanging match.  And I’ll cop to road rage, though again, I tend to use my words.  And jazz hands.

***Everyone has at least one of those kids assigned to them during the course of their school career—even those kids are allotted at least one tormentor each.  I hope.


The Deadline Learning Experience™

My personal deadline for finishing Pigeon has passed. 

 I do not have a completely typed draft.

I didn’t make it.  I’m not done.  I didn’t get to spend my birthday watching Doctor Eleven or the third season of Leverage.

But as usual, I did learn some stuff along the way:

One—  I edit as I go.  Perhaps it’s the OCD in me, but I spent a considerable amount of writing time this past month re-writing what I’d just written, squaring it away before I could bring myself to go on. And even though I didn’t get the whole draft completely done, I think I’m comfortable with that.  It’s just how I roll.

Two—  This isn’t a huge surprise, nor unique, but I spend waaaay too much time checking e-mail, my feed readers, YouTube, etc., when I should be working.  I’ve just downloaded the Freedom program that Victoria Strauss recommends, and I’m going to use it until I’ve typed everything up. 

Three—  Setting a personal deadline is just begging the universe to send me exciting little story ideas to distract me from my goal.  Sometimes I can ignore them.  Sometimes I have to pin them down on paper to make them shut up.  But I can stay focused.

Four—   Having said all this, breaks are essential for me.  I know, or know of, a few writers who claim that they can lock themselves in a room over a long weekend and come out Sunday night with a novel.  But the limit of my productive, consecutive writing time seems to be around four hours.  At that point, I need to stop and stretch, or my imagination cramps up and I end up wasting even more time.

Yesterday, after going at it from 7am to noon, I lost traction and started writing my own version of Dick and Jane Develop Aphasia.  Despite my stubborn protests that I had seven chapters to finish before midnight, my husband convinced me to take a break.  We split a pizza and ate it on the floor while watching the latest Star Trek movie, which I hadn’t seen, yet.*  I felt guilty about it, but only until Leonard McCoy showed up.

And afterwards, I completed one chapter and got a good start on another before the kids came home.  After another break—for Chinese food, birthday pumpkin pie,** and presents—I completed that night.  I didn’t manage seven—but what I did finish wasn’t total crap, or so my First Reader assures me.

Five—  Two hours after midnight, maximum, and I’m useless.  My fingers go numb, my brain misfires, and I doze off, only to find a page filled with ‘g’s and ‘h’s, all touch-typed by my nose, which has an admirable work ethic, but never learned to spell.    Likewise, there is a point where trading diet Pepsi for sleep produces a negative and somewhat surreal return.  Shocking, but true.

Six—  I wrote three times as much under this deadline as I had in the previous month.  So deadlines are a good thing . . .  with some tweaking.

And Seven—  Support, not to mention a certain amount ofconstructive nagging,   is essential.   Thanks to everyone who cheered me on and told me to stop replying to their comments and e-mails of support, already, and get it done.  Without you, I wouldn’t have made it as far as I did. 


So, I don’t have a complete draft of Pigeon.

But I’m not ashamed.

Because what I do have are twenty-two typed chapters and the raw wordage to finish the rest, scattered over three notebooks, a couple of envelopes and several e-mail drafts.  It’s all there—I scribbled the final piece at Janie’s softball game this morning and assembled my notes this afternoon.

And a learning experience™ that’s going to help me the next time.

This may not count as a win—but it still counts.


*Resisted seeing, actually.  And okay, I’ll admit, it’s good. It’s a little more slap-sticky than I’d like, and it still seems wrong that no one on Earth tried to attack that drill, no matter how powerful the bad guys’ futuristic equipment was—because desperate and futile heroics are the true essence of humanity, as was clearly shown in Independence Day—but I thought it was going to be Star Trek 90120, and it wasn’t.  Plus, you know, Karl Urban.

**I love pumpkin pie.  I love pumpkin everything.

Random Thursday: Abbreviated Awards for Random Excellence

Short post, today, as I’m coming up on that deadline.  You know the one.


Best New Catchphrase of the Week:

A few days ago, Sunny was walking around in her pink cowgirl hat and plastic Disney Cinderella heels, dragging her unicorn hobby-horse with her.

“I’m a cowgirl,” she said to my MIL.

“Really?  I don’t think cowgirls wear high heels to ride horses,” my MIL told her.

Sunny tilted back her hat, squinted up at her grandmother, and drawled,
“Some do.  Some don’t.”


Best Two-Minute Short Film Ever:

Gumball Wars from Scott Thierauf on Vimeo.

See?  Wasn’t kidding.


And the Award for the Best  Husband  Ever—Dune-Quoting Enabler Division—goes to:

I wrote until well-past midnight last night this morning—Lisa (aka First Reader of Awesomeness) is my witness, as I keep e-mailing her in the wee hours with the latest chunks of Pigeon,* and telling her I’m going to bed—and had to get up a little earlier than I’d planned to wait for the central air guy to look at our system while everyone else went off to summer camps, yoga classes, ladies’ meetings, or whatever it is they do while I’m hard at work providing the raw informational materials for a better, more literate democracy.**

I was okay with this, until I realized that the only diet Pepsi in the house was the half  bottle I’d left in the cupholder in my car. 

With dire predictions of the state I would be in when they returned, I schlepped off to my laptop to string words together. 

Two hours later, when I was trying to decide if combining the last respective bags of English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast teas would cure the pressure in my skull or start some sort of internecine warfare in the microwave, my husband returned.

With two 24-ounce six-packs of carbonated liquid gold.

“I love you,” I told them  him.

“He who controls the spice, controls the universe,” he said. “And they were on sale.”


*Yeah, I know how that sounds.

**It’s true.  I can’t help it if people use the blank sides to scribble down Farmville cheat codes.

Random Thursday: superglue, Wonderland, and a plea for help

This week, someone put superglue in the light switch slot and the toilet paper dispenser locks in the men’s room at one of our library branches.

Admit it—you just smiled or snickered a little.  Everyone I’ve talked with has had the same involuntary reaction.

It’s an act of vandalism and disrespect, and taxpayer money is going to be wasted replacing the locks and paying for the extra electricity until a city employee can pick the glue out of the switch.  We’re lucky the joyful jackass didn’t think to put any on the seats or the stall doors.

But I snickered, too.

Because the combination of bathrooms and superglue, for whatever deep, psychological reason, is comedy gold.


Just to carry the typewriter theme as far as I possibly can, it’s true that the last company that still made manual typewriters ceased production around April.

The article in The Atlantic is here.

Let us observe a period of silence.  If your mind drifts to eight-tracks, VHS tapes, floppy disks of all sizes, vinyl records, and cassette tapes, that’s all right.

If you have to ask what any of those things are, get thee to a dictionary, young whippersnapper—and you can look that up, too.


I’m proud to announce that I’ve redeemed myself from my failure to solve Jeff Somer’s Final Evolution puzzle and found a new favorite Time Suck.

John McDonald over at Making Light—where I lurk in silence because I’m clearly not in their league—offered three mini-puzzle games that are also chapters of a story set in a noirish, nightmarish, urban Wonderland:

Alice is Dead 1     Alice is Dead 2     Alice is Dead 3

Warning:  these are not for kids.  The humor is dark,  there’s some graphic violence, and the mental instability (of the characters, not the player, thank you very much) appears to be growing as one goes further down the Rabbit Hole.

I did mention that it’s noir, right?

The games themselves are fun and just frustrating enough—and the little ‘voice’ that narrates, offers, advice,and tells you not to annoy the spider, is both wry and Zork-like.

I budgeted twenty minutes for the first one last night as a pre-writing activity, and just made it.  I tried the second this morning, but need a little more time . . .


. . ._ _ _. . .

My husband rarely reads my blog, so I’m going to risk asking for your help in the comments:

His birthday is this Monday and I don’t have a clue what the kids can give him.  They’re making him cards, but they want to give him something he can unwrap.  My MIL and I went halvsies on his new laptop a few months ago for a very early gift, so I was thinking a carrying case or lapdesk or something.

My kids think this is boring and have suggested a few things that I’m sure he’d love, but none of them are possible or probable—though I cannot deny that the man  is worth a new car, the woman he married has a tighter budget.

The man himself shrugs when I ask him, as has been his tradition for the 22 years I’ve known him, so that’s no help.  At all.

We’re going shopping Saturday.

Any and all ideas are welcome!


Pigeon Update:  one scene revised so I could proceed to the two scenes completely and sent to First Reader on Tuesday (I think—it was either really late or very early).

Thirty days to go.  If I think of it as a Nanowrimo schedule, it doesn’t seem half as scary—or scary for different reasons.