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What's Up Wednesday: Government Shutdown Edition

What I'm reading

 MILA 2.0 has been sitting over in the sidebar since summer, and sitting sadly on my Nook for PC since I downloaded it. I want to get back into it -- I left off right when things started to pick up -- but I feel really guilty whenever I read anything that isn't related to class.

I also ordered The Weir and Other Plays and 'night Mother to read as possibles for my senior thesis. It's getting down to the wire and I can't really afford to read for fun right now.

"Senior year," they said. "It will be fun," they said...

What I'm writing

The action is picking up in Contracted. The characters are also developing in ways I didn't originally plan, and that I'm not sure I like. It's interesting, but at the same time I'm thinking, "Why did I write this scene?? She's not supposed to have feelings!!"  Feelings are hard. I don't like them. :(

Also, I don't buy the "My characters ran away with me! I'm just writing them how they want to be written!" line. I control the characters; I write the story. Writing different emotions and dynamics makes sense for where the story is now; however, it doesn't quite reconcile with my original ideas. And while I like these new developments, I don't want to totally sacrifice those. I'm afraid it will read as inconsistency. 

What else I'm up to

I am so annoyed that they broke the government like I can't even. Like if you lose a soccer game you can't just coerce the other team into giving you more points or else you'll ban soccer or something. I. Am. So. Annoyed. My parents both have government jobs, too. They won't "lose" their jobs, but they can't work/be paid until a budget is figured out, at which point they get all the pay they didn't get while the politicians were having a pissing contest. And on that note:

What inspires me right now
I'm playing Desdemona and Bianca in my friend's senior project. She's studying the villains of Shakespeare, taking the angle of, "What happens when you regender them from man to woman?" It's an extremely interesting project, and if you want to read more, my post What if Iago was a Woman? explains further. It might seem strange that I find this "inspiring," but as a Shakespeare nut I'm a sucker for tragedy, and also, good theatre is ALWAYS inspiring.

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.


  1. I hear you on the inconsistency versus character development issue. As much as plot requires pacing in a story, character development does too and it's so hard to gauge sometimes whether a character's actions are just the next step in his/her growth or completely wrong altogether. Lately, I've also struggled with not being too heavy handed when showing character growth. I agree with what you said about being in control of your characters. While I think it's okay for them to occasionally go in a slightly different direction during a burst of creativity, it's still necessary to keep a handle on them.

    Sorry to hear your parents are affected by the government problems that are going on. I'm Canadian, so I haven't been following all the details but have the gist of it, and it sounds like a terrible situation. Hope it works out for your family.

    Best of luck in your writing this week!

    1. I never thought about it as "character pacing" like "plot pacing," but you are definitely onto something there. My MC is very unsentimental and guarded, but there are moments when the pressure is too much or when she lets down her guard. I'm just afraid that those moments will read as character inconsistency or even weakness. It's hard to write more complex, layered characters and make all those layers make sense. Fortunately, this is where CP's and betas can come in.

      Canada is looking pretty good right now...Maybe I'll move north! Haha :) I'm sure the politicians will work something out. I'm just afraid of what precedent this will set for the future.

  2. As a pantser, I find my characters have a way of developing on their own... as do my stories. Now and then they go in ways I don't like and I rein them back in, but I kind of like being a little out of control. That's just the way I roll ;) I always find it so interesting how differently writers approach their stories and characters.

    The situation in the US seems mad. I really hope they sort it out soon for your parents' sake and everyone else affected by the whole mess.

    1. Yes, it is mad and ridiculous. :P

      I have pantsed this one a bit more than I usually do. I don't normally plan out character development -- I know which relationships I want to develop, but I never plan out how. So when I find myself writing something I didn't plan, I get nervous. I just need to pants more, I think. :)

  3. I agree with you about controlling your characters and them not having a will of their own. I mean, sometimes something crops up that surprises us, but ultimately that comes from our own brains and not our characters'. (Because that would be creepy.) I struggle sometimes with ensuring that my characters' actions are consistent, so I can relate to this problem for sure.

    I totally remember what it was like to be a university student and not able to read for fun. Once I graduated, it took me forever to be able to read for fun again. It was like the moment I opened the cover of a book, I'd start to nod off. Call it conditioning if you will, but university programmed me to doze off when I read. (Stupid textbooks.) Well, I hope senior year ends up being great despite all of the work. (And I cracked right up at the "That's what she said" comment. :P)

    Like my sister Erin above, as a Canadian my knowledge of the current governmental situation in the U.S. is limited, but from what I've heard it isn't good at all. I really hope that things get sorted out quickly.

    1. I sometimes struggle with wondering, "Am I writing what the character would do, or what *I* would do in that situation?" Maybe that's why people write main characters who are so much like them...As an actor, I'm also probably more conscious of that divide. Actors can put themselves and their perspective into a character, but ultimately, you can't do something totally contradictory just because it's what *you* would do. If that makes sense.

      I feel ya!! Whenever I open a book, I'm overwhelmed with anxiety. :( I really hope one of these plays will strike a chord for me, because what scares me more than not having a project is getting one that I absolutely hate.

      Thanks for the sympathies. The government situation is not good at all, no. I hope it won't get worse before it gets better.

  4. Ah, I remember those days of not being able to read for fun. I don't remember anyone telling me senior year would be fun, but that's okay because I probably would've punched them in the face, anyway. (My senior thesis almost caused me to have a nervous breakdown. So there's that.)

    I try not to worry too much when my characters do strange things if it's just a draft, because I figure that's something I can fix later and it's just part of my journey to figuring out who they are. Although my earlier drafts tend to just be glorified outlines. To each her own, I guess :)

    Good luck with senior year and writing and balancing senior year and writing!

    1. Ah, I'm sorry to hear that. Nervous breakdown was junior year for me. :P Once I get a topic I will probably be good to go. Until then... *reads plays frantically*

      It doesn't bother me terribly terribly much that my characters are doing new and odd things, because at least I'm writing! Woo! I'll definitely have to address it in editing, though.

  5. Okay, so I totally want a part in your friend's senior thesis. Also, I ordered Night Mother one year from Samuel French and LOVED IT. Oh, and just so you know, you got an official LOL snort from me on your TWSS line. That doesn't happen often!

    Have a great week!

    1. I know right?!? Her adviser sat in on rehearsal tonight...I tried to ignore him (I think it worked).

      I've just started 'Night Mother. It's very good so far. The random direction at rise about not giving them accents was bizarre, though, considering that Mama's first sentence ends with "sugar." And they say "honey" and "hon." That says Texas or perhaps Baltimore to me.

      A good week to you, too! And as for TWSS, I firmly believe that almost anything taken out of context can sound, well, dirty. ;)

  6. Glad the government shutdown did not require you to shut down your blog.

    1. Ha. No. I have also restrained my rant. Others can probably speak more eloquently on the subject.

  7. My characters misbehave all the time. I think my brain is a bad influence on them. :) And I loved your rant on the government shutdown. It almost made me snort up my coffee. (in a good way)

    And I love the regendering Shakespeare idea. I love it when you turn things on their head like this. We did an all female version of Macbeth once when we were kids.(Mostly because we didn't have any boys to coerce into the play) (We were also weird kids...I mean who tries to put on Macbeth when they're nine?!) Made for an interesting take on the story though. :)

    1. "Bad brain! Bad brain! Bad--- oh wait, that's actually kind of a good idea..."

      Kids who put on Macbeth are awesome. Just so you know. :) (It's also my favorite Shakespeare play.) My college did an all-female, regendered Macbeth the year before I came here. From what I hear of the production, it was wacky, but mostly in a good way. The grad program here is now doing Macbeth again, but they are also almost all female, so it's Macbeth in drag. I am so excited to see it this weekend!!

  8. The government stuff is really frustrating, and I am so sorry to hear that your parents' jobs are affected. Grrr. I don't have anything positive to say about it, so I'll stop there. :)

    Good luck with your writing this week!


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