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Week TwoNovember 10, 2006

I want cupcakes. I just saw some online, and I want some right now. Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever had a cupcake live up to the cupcakes of childhood. I don't mind much, but it's the truth.

Whew. I think I’m written out. I was going explain the above few sentences, and I don’t feel I can. Let’s leave it at this: When I really want cupcakes, I’m just better off opting for fudge or ice cream or Cadbury Crème Eggs, because I really want something sweeter. Cupcakes just SHOULD BE sweeter. That’s all.

Writing: It proceeds. Apparently, this second week is the one that gets you. And how. This is the week that you realize all your fantastic ideas have leveled off into one merely okay one. (Pssst: You need more ideas, Rachael.) And where is your conflict? (You need more conflict, too.)

I swear, I’m about to throw in a rattlesnake attack or a plane crash or a yarn drought, just to liven things up. I honestly don’t know where I’m going yet. I thought I did. But I decided I don’t like where it was headed, and I didn’t care about who the characters were while headed that way. I do believe that even if you’re writing fast and hard, you need to care about what you’re saying, you have to feel for the characters, and mine were marching over to Cardboard Cut-Out Land, and I had to save them.

So yes, she DID in fact buy two alpacas, mostly on accident. THAT should shake it up a bit.

(That is the good thing about writing – you can live out all your fantasies and not have to worry about your urban neighbors calling animal control on your ass.)

I’ve decided, though, that as much as this has been a challenge, I’m SO GLAD I’m doing it. I realize, again (how many times do I have to have this revelation in order to remember it?), that I am a writer, and I love writing. I don’t just love the having-written glow – I love the time spent writing. I can think of only a couple of other things that make me lose track of time the same way. I love that feeling of looking up and realizing that an hour has gone by, and it didn’t even feel like five minutes. I love it when characters are talking and you’re not even really thinking about what they’re saying – you’re just taking dictation (this is not as scary as it sounds, really).

And dude, I have 64 pages in 9 days. That’s amazing. Who cares if the writing isn’t great? At least it’s on the page, and I have something to work with. I can’t work with nothin'. I have no real idea where it’s going to end, except I know it will be happily, and I’m in it for the ride, doing it to get the pages down so I have something to edit later.

This feels good. How 'bout you?



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you said it PERFECTLY, as always.
me, too.
I want cupcakes to taste the way they used to and my inner critic to just
SHUT UP already...
cuz the writing is fun and the characters are

I was thinking of rice krispie treats, but cupcakes could work too.

I'm kinda stuck. So I decided to have one of my characters die a horrible death, only no one can find the body and there's a big police coverup and I got nothing. But a lot of words- I got that, at least.

I just re-found your blog after seeing pictures of you on someone else's blog! I had missed reading-now I have to catch up on everything that has happened since your wedding!

On NaNo-forget it! I write at my own pace now, doing it last year almost killed me. But I wish you luck! It is fun if you can hack it. I'm a wuss.

She bought two alpacas by accident? One I could understand...that is hilarious.

P.S. you know who has really really excellent and super sweet cupcakes? New York.

64 pages already?! you're a rockstar.
i ate cupcakes till i was sick on election night... celebratory cupcakes! storebought, but sweet and yummy and festive. with sprinkles on.

You're doing great!

And, if you need an idea to get something flowing - - take a quick look back at your life and grab one of those moments that knocked the wind out of you and that you've never forgotten. Then let that happen to one of your characters. That always wakes everything up.

Keep at it! I want to read the finished product some day! ;}

Wow, go Rachael! These days, it takes me about 9 days to READ 64 pages. Oh and if you want to make cupcakes, try this recipe. I doubt you'll be disappointed. Bri loves to make them!

Three words.

Evil Twin Sister

i have about five pages. I have tons of ideas but no time to write AT ALL.
I am so envious, and now I want cupcakes too.

I vote for the rattlesnake attack. If anything, your readers will think it is some fantastic symbolism. I would love to read a book that has a random snake attack thrown in for good measure.
You are really doing it! I am so proud of you for living up to the challenge you have set for yourself!
How's Lala doing on her album?

heh. when you wrote in your post, "I swear, I’m about to throw in a rattlesnake attack or a plane crash or a yarn drought," I read "yarn donut." heh. heh heh heh. there is something very funny about a yarn donut. or maybe it's just all the cold medicine I've been taking. heh. huh.

Conflict? Use that psycho member of the HOA and his crazy email messages; you can use his real name and have him found in a compromising situation...with an alpaca (poor alpaca) or kill him off. Talk about living out your fantasies without someone calling the cops on you.
I recently had the best cupcake of my life. It actually made me pause and take a moment to create a mental snapshot so I would remember the cupcake, the coffee, the sunshine, the park, my husband's out of character suggestion to have cupcakes with our coffees. Next time you're in Seattle, try the cupcakes at Espresso Vivace on Capitol Hill.
I'm thoroughly enjoying The Whoreshoes Get Lucky, thanks for the tip!

Your blog is energentic! been reading you for a bit now, just dropping a line to say i like it here. And I'm SOOoo envious of your Central Park Hoodie. I keep seeing it on you in pictures, it must be every bit as comforting as it looks.

Rach! You are my inspiration! Seriously you have kept me writing just knowing that you are blowing the words off the page. I'm just so darn proud of you (imagine me pinching your cheek right now)!

I love writing for the same reasons. Characters live and move and breathe in me (many of them, which is why I role play) and I'm just a way for them to move in my world.

Cupcakes.. I have had the most amazing cupcakes from this place caled Crave here in my town. They live up to the childhood memories!

Yarn drought? Oh, the horror!

Love your blog!!! Your little family is so cute! Love the doggies.

64 pages is amazing! And hey, nothing's bad with alpacas in it, heh.

There's this place here in Portland named Saint Cupcake which makes pretty good cupcakes, should I feel an urge. Although, really the frosting is the star on those. But what I really miss is the Buttermilk chocolate cake from the defunct bakery that used to be near my house. Unbelievably good, rich, chocolatey wonderfulness. Oh yeah, and frosted with chocolate ganache. Better than any cake I ever had as a kid or since. Sigh.
Sorry, random stream-of-consciousness for the day.

Oh, man, man, man, I totally got the chills when you said the thing about taking dictation 4 your characters! That has SO TOTALLY been happenin' 4 me, and I look back at what I wrote and go, whoah! How'd I do that? I can identify with a lot o' what you're saying. I'm injectin' more and more o' myself into my characters to save 'em from 2-dimensionality and cardboard cut out land. I hear ya! cool, man, cool.

64 pages ROCKS! You're totally jazzing me up about writing again. I need that kind of inspiration because I have a lot of writing to do.

Mine is far less exciting, but I do like it. I like looking at the data and making the connections and seeing the possibilities and playing with the ideas.

The hard part is getting the time set aside to do it. The long stretches of time in warm socks and sweaters with lots of tea where I can just write.

So I need to learn to take what I can get and just do. I need a nanowrimo for academics. Or I could just shut up and start writing.

If you need technical advice on the rattlesnake attack, I'm a herpetologist and animal behaviorist.

You ever read Stephen King, "On Writing?" I love the way he describes creating your characters, following them around in your head, and writing down what they say and do. When your characters are having a conversation, you're not writing it -- you really are taking dictation. Fictional characters are like the SIMS -- once you create them, they take on a life of their own and you wake up in the morning and find out who went and got trashed last night.

No wonder people think we're crazy.

In Bird By Bird Anne Lamott gives you permission to write the "Shitty First Draft". Do you know how liberating it was to give myself permission to just write and not worry about it being good? That comes later. The most important thing is to write. Speaking of Stephen King, I just finished On Writing. He got blocked on The Stand and that's when he killed off half of his characters.

I think the alpaca should start talking. That'd shake things up.

Welcome to week 2! I'm still playing catch up. It really does get better. I just blew up a mountain to give my guys something to talk about...

And if you're really in trouble, add ninjas. they always get things roling.

I don't know if you are an icing girl- I figure you must be, but I don't want to assume- but my version of cupcake perfection is to slice it in half horizontally and then put the icing in the middle. This way, you could add a bunch of icing, and kind of override the non-sugarynesss (come on, the cake tastes pretty bland, in comparison, although I'm sure there's the equivalent of 6 cups in each cake batch) of the cake. C'mon, you know you want some red velvet with cream cheese icing....

Wait, maybe that's me.

Might I recommend a carrot cupcake from Ladyfingers on MacArthur and Vernon? There is definitely something exciting about eating something in the form of a cupcake that is usually a slice.

On No! not a yarn drought- I am shaking in my boots- too funny. I love your discription of how you feel when you are writting.

The cupcakes at the little cafe next to Purl are my nemesis - because they are perfect and exactly the cupcakes of childhood.

And I eat them way too often.

Oh, you evil temptress! Cupcakes! CUPCAKES! Have you ever had a cupcake baked in an ice cream cone? They're pretty good. It also makes me think of 'birthday cake ice cream', which is locally made at a shop near where I live. It is all things good about childhood... turned into ice cream.

I do the same with my painting. I don't get hungry, I don't get tired, I don't know where the world goes once I'm working. Such a delicious thing.

I was doing fine, and then I didn't write all weekend. Gah.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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