Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson


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I said that last time. It became a pastime.

Bonus points! I got you here using Hamilton lyrics!

Seriously, though: we’re moving again. Last time I told myself it was our last move for a long time, but it hasn’t really been all that long. So it goes. Onward and upward, and hopefully this time will be the last time for a great many years.

I’m excited for it, but it’s put a cramp in my writing style. Today was a good day, though. For the first time in many weeks, I had a few uninterrupted hours to write so I took advantage of it. Getting back in the swing of this story felt so good.

Honestly, I’ve tried not writing and I just get cranky and depressed. It’s better for me (and for the world around me) if I take the time I need to be creative.


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Also, my hair is a mess

First, a personal aside: growing out one’s hair is always fraught with peril. I keep thinking why not just cut it super short again? Then I won’t have to worry. But I don’t.

I figured I’d update the progress on my beloved manuscript. I’ve been cruising along since May 19, when I went out, guns blazing, determined to write at least 2000 words a day* until I got to 60,000 words. That would bring me to a finish on 6/17. Not bad for a month’s work!

Today my word count is 52,671. I’d like to pretend I’ll finish ahead of schedule, but I’m a little off the mark in terms of where I should be with my (now a little fluid) outline. I confess, 60k seems a bit skimpy for a complete manuscript and I knew I’d have to give myself leeway. It’s easier to edit out a scene than to come up short and have to try to fight for words in the revision stage, so I’m okay with this.

The biggest news is that I’m having so much fun working on this story. I’ve mentioned this is my 4th rewrite and they’ve all been good. At this point it’s almost like writing fanfiction about my own work, which is illegal amounts of fun.

So here’s the bottom line: surprisingly, I’m not as afraid of revision as I used to think. This is me, cheering myself on with my little Go Writer flag.

*In case you can’t tell, I am hugely motivated by word count goals.


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Dream of a Different Flavor

Two nights ago, I had a dream about Jeff Buckley. Thank you, subconscious, reminding me of the anniversary of his death today. I don’t spend my day in mourning for someone I never knew, although I’m one of an untold number of people whose heart was touched by his music, his voice, his presence. My subconscious repeatedly insists on trying to convince him not to move to Memphis, but by the light of day I always wake to find I’ve failed once again.

A few lovely articles:

My Hero: Jeff Buckley, by Benjamin Wood

Jeff Buckley: ‘Either Cursed, or the Luckiest Man Alive’ by Ted Kessler

An Interview with Jeff, by Daryl Mason


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Waiter, there’s a goat in my soup.

Oh no, wait: there are goats in my yard.

goats goats goats

Every year, the park district contracts with a nearby goat farm to clear out the weeds and long grasses and other fire hazards. Today is goat day! They arrive in two batches on long-bed trucks and stay in the park until it’s grazed to the ground.

Because we live closest to the park, we also do a trade with the goat keepers. In exchange for the goats reducing the weeds and grasses in our back yard, we keep them supplied with water (and the shepherd with electricity for his trailer). It’s a win/win.

I happened to look out and saw these fine specimens trying to climb the tree to get to the fresh juicy leaves. Have at it, kids (ba-a-a-a-d pun).


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Death is like that.

“Dead?” said Sophie. She had a silly impulse to add, But she was alive just an hour ago! And she stopped herself, because death is like that: people are alive until they die.

–Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle

A lot of people like to make mother-in-law jokes. I’ve heard a few good ones: What’s the definition of “mixed emotions?” Watching your mother-in-law back off a cliff in your brand new Mercedes. That one was probably my favorite. My mother-in-law Molly liked that joke.

I didn’t have the mixed emotions about her. She lived five minutes away and I visited her nearly every day. She told me stories and secrets and gave me the details of her life she never shared with either of her sons, and I loved her. She passed away in her sleep this weekend at the age of 96. I hope she’s in a place free of pain and concern, and that she knows we love and miss her.


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Shaking Things Up

Today I took a long look at one of the ways I’ve been defining myself and decided it’s time to drop a self-imposed restriction.

For a long time I’ve been defining myself as not liking fantasy as a genre. But when I look at what I enjoy most I realize I’ve read all of A Song of Ice and Fire and will read the rest of the books whenever GRRM writes them, and I’ve watched all of Game of Thrones and April 24 can’t come soon enough: there’s some hardcore fantasy.

What am I in the middle of in my downtime: Dragon Age: Inquisition and Heroes of Dragon Age. Guess what? Fantasy.

What was my first favorite book series? The Lord of the Rings. More fantasy!

It’s time to come to terms with this. I admit it now. Fantasy is an awesome genre. My intention when I started this post was to say it’s a great genre, but I can’t write it. Wrong! Which stories have I had published? Both fantasy.

Also, almost all the scifi I love best has elements of fantasy woven into it. There’s a slim line, actually, between a lot of fantasy elements and a lot of SF elements. Think Cylons as an army of Orcs, or Last Exile’s Silvana as Galactica or the Enterprise… things intertwine in so many ways. This is probably patently obvious to everyone already. About time I threw off the shackles of thinking of fantasy as something it isn’t and embracing it on an intellectual level for everything it is.

I could probably write for pages and pages about romance-as-fantasy, but I’ll quit while I’m ahead. You’re welcome.


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Reply Like No One’s Watching (Writer Q&A)

It’s been a long time since I was tagged for a writer Q&A. This one comes courtesy of my writing friend Jessica (@thatfatauthor on Twitter and tumblr) – go check out her blog. She also has a weekly podcast on the writing life on Soundcloud.

I’ll wait so you can check it out.

dancing girl

Good! Thanks, Jessica. Now, onto the questions and answers.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in the shower or having to eat the same thing every time you write)?
I think of good ideas in the shower, but don’t really write there. My biggest writing quirk is having to make sure the kitchen is cleaned up and tidy before I start to write. Otherwise I’m back and forth doing that before I can focus on writing.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
This is one of my favorite questions! Thanks to the magic of the internet, I know people all over the world. Right now I’d love to have the ability to teleport, so I could bop around the planet visiting my friends.

That’s the selfish answer. What I should really say is the ability to help create world peace.

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
Welsh. Then my accent would match my name.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Just one? I want to go everywhere. I guess if I have to narrow it down, I’ll say Paris. At midnight. In the rain.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled for a book?
The one most likely to get me on some sort of watch list is weapons schematics. My favorite is the detailed analysis of Jupiter’s moons.

If you could only choose one, would you go back to the past or go to the future in your lifetime?
My first reaction was oh, I’m never one to look back. I guess the real question is whether I’d choose to relive part of my past or just visit it. Yes, there are things I would do differently, but I don’t really have any regrets. If it was just a question of visiting, I’d visit the future. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to shift permanently to either but I guess if I had to pick, I’d go back. There are always ways to improve on what I did (or to make different and hopefully smarter choices).

What is the closest thing to you on the left side of your keyboard?
My phone.

What punctuation mark best describes your personality and why?
To find out, I took this quiz (sorry if that’s cheating). Apparently I’m a dash. It says: You are always full of new ideas and fun thoughts. Inventive and resourceful, you know how to keep yourself and those around you entertained.

I’ll go with that!

If you could be a character in any story you’ve ever written, who would you be and why?
This is a really tough question! Most of the characters I write are full of both flaws and secrets, so it’s hard to pick just one out of that wonderful bunch. I think, though, that I would either be Charlie, the shape-shifting dragon woman from The Case of the Bloodstone Dragon because she’s so damn enigmatic and surprising… or Jesse from my as-yet-unpublished rock & roll romance, because she gets to live the dream… although not in ways you might expect.

What is your best scar? Tell the story of how you got it.
I’m going with surgical-scars-don’t-count because their stories are rarely exciting. Instead, I’ll go with the nice thick crescent moon scar on my left leg, which I got from actually slamming a car door into my leg back when the corners of doors were sharp little affairs. I didn’t even notice at the time, until I looked down and saw my calf and shin bathed in blood. It’s one of those wounds I probably should have had stitched up but never did.

It either happened that way, or I got it from the blade of a katana that time I was being chased by samurai back in Edo-era Japan, and I brought it with me when I was reincarnated. Take your pick.

This concludes the Q&A portion of the night’s entertainment! Thank you, Jessica!


Tag, You’re It:
@ep_birdsall
@kadiebleu
@stormowl7
@Blondewritemore
@jennyleeSD
@sharischwarz
@EveMessenger
…and anyone else who’d like to play along.

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog and Twitter in your post.
2. Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided.
3. Nominate up to 10 other bloggers or Twitter followers
4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nominations.

My questions for you:
1. It’s the old stranded on a desert island question! Which three books do you take with you?
2. Which author or authors would you cite as your inspiration?
3. What are some of your other creative pursuits beyond writing?
4. Tell me about the last TV show you binge-watched. What did you think?
5. How did you get your start in writing?
6. Do you remember the first story you wrote? Can you recap it?
7. Fast-forward 60 years into the future. What does society look like to you? (This is a big question, so feel free to narrow it down as you like.)
8. What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure genre to read?
9. Do you consider yourself to be an extrovert or an introvert?
10. What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to aspiring writers?

Thank you for reading and for playing along. Write well, write often, and have fun!