Showing posts from 2012

Last Post Before 2013

Wow has it been a long time!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season thus far!

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been up to my eyeballs in world building. I didn't realize how much there was to THINK about, let alone create!

I took a worldbuilding class by Suzane Lazear in November, then stumbled across Holly Lisle's website. And eventually her "clinics" at her teaching website. I purchased and downloaded four of her classes: Create a Language Clinic (super fun); Create a Culture Clinic; Create a Character Clinic; and her clinic on plot. This woman is amazing. She knows her shit. I say this because she has published quite a few books and a few different

So I finished the Language Clinic (which is part one in her world building class she's currently developing) and have a pretty speakable language for my world. I've also started developing other languages for other parts of the land. Of course, I'll likely only use a little bit of i…

Chuck Wendig is Hilarious (and awesome)

Just check out this article and see for yourself.

That's all I have today!

Keep writing!

Claire L. Fishback

Small Victories and Things I've Learned

Okay, so you can probably guess this post isn't about the conference, either. In fact, I'm probably not going to post about the conference, but just know I cannot wait until next year because it was so gosh darn fun.

This post is about small victories. Or large ones, even.

I recently typed "The End." on the first draft of my current WIP, Shadowland Book 1 (working title). And while this might sound like a large victory, for me it was a small one.

Since I write by the seat of my pants (also called "Pantsing" or being a "Pantser) my first draft is a mess. I know I've talked about this before, but I wanted to kind of lay out my "do it the hard way" method. Because if anything encompasses my spirit, it is "does it the hard way." (which makes me snicker snort a little).

So, I puke out my first draft and in the process of throwing it up I discover the storyline and the characters. I discover what kind of background my characters need …

Why I Run

My next post will be about the Conference... but today I wanted to focus on another part of my life. This is kind of a raw and open post sharing a little bit about me. I know I post about how far I've run in Facebook posts and it might annoy people (in which case they should just block my posts from appearing in their feed), but I wanted to write about why I run because I don't do it just so I can brag about mileage. Right now I'm running longer distances because I'm training for a race, but when I'm not training for a race, I'll still run (just not as far). The big part of it is mental health. I suffer from anxiety and depression. Running is the only thing that helps me through it without having to take brain altering medication (which I took for 3 years and the 3 months it took me to get off of it was hands down the worst 3 months of my life). Below are the other reasons why I run. I run to keep in shape. I run because I used to be pre-hypertension. I run for my s…

Tip when you're stuck: Work Backwards

This tip only works if you know what is going to happen at some point later in your book. So if you are a purist pantser, it might not work for you.

I've been stuck on my novel for the better part of a week. Maybe even two weeks (though I don't count last week because I was sick with the flu for most of it and slept a lot and watched almost all the episodes of Firefly).

I polled the Facebook community on what should happen next (gave them multiple choice options). Doing that alone helped me push through the start of the tough spot, but I came to another stuck point.

So you know what I did?

I hit enter a few times and typed in: "Stuff happens here" and kept writing as if that stuff had happened.

I worked backwards. You see, I KNOW what happens after this section I'm stuck on (this is the part in my freewrite summary where I stopped and hit enter a few times then started again "later". Kind of an "insert cool stuff here").

Once I got the creati…

CoGoWriCon Withdrawals

Wow. What a weekend.

I find myself a little grumpy today back at YODJ (Ye Olde Dae Jobb), and I believe it has to do with the fact that I spent three fantastic days surrounded by my kin and kindred. And now I'm back here. Behind the desk. Not writing, but working.

Makes YODJ seem like a waste of my time, actually.

But, I need money to pay the bills.

So, I'm having Writer's Conference withdrawals. Post Writer's Conference Depression. Whichever, I'm feeling a little down and wish the conference could have lasted one more day. But even then it wouldn't have been enough. I'd wish for one MORE day. Then another, then another. Because there's something about spending time with people who understand you, and people who are or have gone through the same up and down roller coaster called writing that gives you that sense of belonging. And anyone who knows about the heirarchy of needs, the need to belong is one of the top ones.

Though I feel blue today, I also fe…

Burn Notice: Perfect to learn the art of characterization

Fishubby and I recently started watching a series on Netflix called Burn Notice.

It. Is. Awesome.

And, every episode is the perfect example of how to tell a story. Conflict, motivation, deep characterization, everything.

I want to focus on characterization in this post.

Each character in Burn Notice has his or her own quirk that makes them different from every other character.

Sam Axe loves him some mojitos and is always good for a beer or a free lunch; and is the only character who calls Michael "Mikey".

Michael Westen's mom, Madeline, is a chain smoker (always seen with a cigarette between her lips).

Even minor characters, like Virgil Watkins, have their own distinctive "thing." Virgil, for example, can always get his hands on a boat for Fiona Glenanne to blow up.

Fiona is trigger happy and I swear that woman is always packing C4 to blow shit up.

Seymour (an arms dealer) loves his smoothies and has a useless body guard he calls Jackass.

Aside from that ther…

YODJ, Running, and More!

Life has been one big fat whirlwind lately! Hence the no contact. Sorry for the prolonged absence.

Ye Olde Dae Jobb (YODJ) has been hectic with preparations for a December 3rd Go Live on a huge project we've spent the past two years implementing peice by peice. It's only going to get busier. Which means my writing time is going to be limited. I may have to adjust my schedule to accomodate evening writing times, or get my butt outta bed to write in the morning (not likely since I love my sleep).

That being said, the current WIP has been put on hold for a couple weeks and my writing goals and deadlines are falling by the wayside.

On top of that, you may recall, I am training for a half marathon that takes place on September 30th. I got sick a couple Wednesdays ago and was off track with my training program for about 10 days. My first run in that time was yesterday and I feel like I'm back at square one, though I think I just had a bad running day. It happens. I had almost tw…

Pantsing: The Joy and Bane of my Writerly Existence

No, not pansing where you run up behind your friend and pull down their pants. I mean, writing by the seat of one's pants. The opposite of plotting.

Of course, if you're a writer, "pantsing" has become a term we all know well.

I am a beautiful blend of both pantsing and plotting. You see, I plot on a very high level. Point A-Z. I pants the rest. The rest being Point B, C, D, etc. All the little side trips my characters take on their way to the main points.

For example, in the beginning of my book, I have Marietta, young, abused housewife. I want to get her from being in the living world, to being in a coma and awakening in the Shadowland - an in-between life and death world.

In the process, I found out she has an inner alter-ego who is tough and strong and pushes her to make certain decisions.

The reason I love pantsing is because I never know exactly what is going to happen. It's a gift and a curse, however, when I have to keep rescuing my main character from al…

Pre-Training Training

I know, I know... second post in a row that isn't related to writing. But I vow to give you an update on the writing front after I exclaim about my training.

So, my last post was about training for a half-marathon and getting up early to walk my dog so I can run without her after work when it is too sweltering hot for her to run with me (I really think she doesn't enjoy running anyway, at least not at my pace).

I started my pre-training training plan on Saturday with a 45 minute run, yielding about 4.5 miles. Pretty good for my first run. Sunday was a rest or cross train day, so I rested because, to me, Sundays are meant to be lazy and I didn't have any energy thanks to a super strong Sailor Jerry and Coke I had out at dinner the night before.

Moving on...

Tonight I will be running 20-60 minutes at a moderate pace. That's what's on the pre-training schedule. I'm guessing I'll probably do 30-45 minutes. I can't imagine running less than a 5K on each run.…

Walking the Dog is a Good Thing

I'm writing today about goals again. Not writing goals. Exercise goals.

You see, I used to be an avid runner. Last year, Fishubby introduced me to mountain biking. We also do a lot of day long hikes in the summer, and have stuck to a solid two-nights a week gym regimen to lift weights.

I'm breaking free.

I vowed to start getting up early to walk our dog in the morning so I can do whatever I want in the evening as far as exercise goes.

Which is... training for a half marathon.

I know, I know. A half? Why not a full? Because, people, you gotta take baby steps.

The half I was looking at is at the end of September, but I'm not sure I have enough time to train properly and without injury, so I'm going to train as if I am going to run a half marathon. Fishubby said, even if I don't have an event to race in, do the training and then run the 13.1 miles.

I can do that. In fact, I prefer to do that. There's somethign about races and large masses of people that makes me u…

Plugging Along!

I'm on page 79 in my WIP. I love it.

I was really focused on word count, getting my daily word count, etc. My BFF and Writerly Companion, Angela Alsaleem told me, don't focus on those things. Just focus on writing the story. It will end up being whatever length it wants to be. If it ends up being a novella lenght, that's how long it is supposed to be.

I was so glad she sent me that little reminder. Because it's true. You can't force a story to be 100K words long, or 500K words long, or even 50K words long (I've heard of plenty of NaNoWriMo participants who write THE END with 10K to go to reach that 50K goal).

I just have to write it. So, I've analyzed my writing goals, and as long as I do SOMETHING each day regarding my project it counts. I'm still tracking my daily word counts on a spreadsheet because I like to see if I'm still on track or not to complete by our deadline of September 22nd (last day of summer).

Now that I don't have to write 1,0…

Update on WIP and Prayer Request

I've scrapped the beginning of my current WIP and have started anew! 20 pages in so far. Not much, but more than nothing, am I right?

In other news: Colorado is burning. It is very scary. I'm blessed to not be in one of the areas being evacuated, but I would like to request thoughts and prayers from all my readers for those who are in the evacuation areas.

Fire is probably the scariest thing in the world. It causes so much destruction, loss, and death.

My heart goes out to everyone who lives in any of the evacuation zones, and to all those who have friends and family in those zones. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

Claire L. Fishback

Just stopping in to say Hello!

It's been a while!

Ye Olde Dae Job has been super busy.

Started my project all over again, and it is SO MUCH BETTER now.

And, Hello!

Just Keep Writing,

Claire L. Fishback

3 Reasons Why Every Writer Needs a Dog

  It is in my opinion that every writer or artist would benefit having a pet of some kind, though a dog would be the best (I'm biased, of course, because I have a dog).
These are the reasons why a dog is the best pet for a writer.
1. Exercise gets the blood pumping, when the blood pumps, the brain gets more oxygen, when the brain gets more oxygen, it is easier to think, when it is easier to think, your imagination explodes in delightful ways.
When you have a dog, you are practically required to exercise because your dog needs to be walked.
2. Dogs are the best secret keepers (unless you're hiding from someone).
I was told in March to keep my new project to myself and not tell anyone about it because it steals the magic and intrigue out of the idea. Tires it out. But I get so excited I have to tell SOMEONE. So, instead of telling people about it (who, with their best intentions, tell me what I SHOULD do in the story), I tell Belle. Not only does she keep quiet and just list…

OT: Wen "shampoo free" hair care system


Okay, so I wanted to post about Wen because I just started using it and I'm excited about it so far. So excited, I can't wait to wash my hair again.

In case you don't know, Wen is a shampoo free hair care system. It cleanses, moisturizes, and makes your hair better than ever. That's the claim anyway, in my words.

I decided to try it out because my day job work associate, the B-E-A-YOOOU-teeful Carmen (we'll call her BC for short) told me that's what she uses on her hair. BC has hair to DIE for. Seriously. It. Is. Gorgeous. And always beautiful.

So I ordered the sample pack which comes with like 5 of the different flavors of the product: Cucumber Mint, Sweet Almond Mint, Lavender, Fig, and Tea Tree.

Without further ado, here is day one of my experience.

My hair type: Fine, oily prone roots (need to wash every day), sometimes dry length (from heat styling even though I don't do a whole lot of heat styling).

The Cucumber Aloe is for oily prone hair so I…

WIPs are like relationships

I just have to say it. I love my book. My current WIP. I think about it all the time. When I lay down at night to read, I wish I was reading my book. I get excited when I think about hitting the keyboard at lunchtime (or the notebook with my pen). I long to look at it. To view my notes. To re-read what I wrote the day before. To tweak it (like kissing I suppose?). To mess around with it (insert lecherous laugh, heh heh heh). To change things here and there, but not too much yet. It's still early in the relationship.

Sure, I'm only about 40 pages in, so I know there's a long way to go and plenty of time for the novelty to wear off, and the relationship to get to that comfortable stage or even to a dreaded tolerating stage (you know, when you tolerate the other person because you've been with them so long and devoted so much of your life to them that to leave them would be silly).

But if the relationship with my WIP is anything like my marriage, I know this book will hav…

Now We're Cooking with Heat from the Shadowland Desert!

As you know, or maybe you don't know, my new WIP has the working title of "Shadowland Book One."

It is a fantasy horror, or dark fantasy, or horror with fantasy elements. However you'd like to cateogorize that. The majority of the book (99% I would say) takes place in a made up world called the Shadowland.

That's all you get to know about it.

However, I did want to say that today I wrote for my ENTIRE lunch break. Almost 1 hour of continuous writing. That doesn't happen all the time (though if I really set my mind to it, I can do that every day, especially during NaNoWriMo).

At any rate, I reached the top of page 21. I started at the top of page 13. My story has already deviated slightly from the road map summary I wrote. Not by much. But some unexpected things happened. Marietta is still on the right track, but instead of travelling across the desert her first day in the Shadowland alone, she has two companions who may or may not be trustworthy.

The motto of…

Proud of my BFFWC - Angela Alsaleem

I just wanted to take a moment to share a couple of awesome reviews of my dearest BFFWC (Best Friend Forever and Writerly Companion) Angela Alsaleem's book, Women Scorned.

The first review can be found here.

Another, here.

I'm so proud of her and her accomplishments! I look up to Angela and actually request permission from her when it comes to writing my own novels. She is a stunning author and person. Kind through and through. Funny, witty, clever. She is a dream. And pretty, to boot. :)

Angela inspires me. Whenever I feel like giving up, she give me a virtual slap to snap me out of my moment of sanity (for we all know writers are all insane for persuing publication by writing and any time we think "I can't do this" it's just our sanity trying to reason with our insanity). I have known her since 2007, but it feels like a life time. She is one of my soul mates. A kindred spirit. My best friend. I would not be where I am today with my writing if it weren't…

Writing Advice and the Ugliest Dog in the World

I was reading a particularly interesting blog called ROW80 (it's a challenge blog, check it out if you want! I might participate in their July challenge) and happened across this post. And it got me thinking, once again, about that person I once was who could sit down, write "the" and keep writing until "the end."

And where did that person go?

I finally figured it out. She packed up and left when I started reading all the writing books I could and trying to incorporate all of the advice I got into my writing style.

And it never worked out.

I soon learned that books on writing, that teach how to do it, that is, often tell you how the author of that particular book does it. It might work for you and it might not. Parts of it might work, other parts might not. Even seminars about writing tell you how to do it the way the teacher of the seminar does it.

When I started my new WIP, I went into it with all the goodies and techniques I learned in the Writing Boot Camp I…

My Muse has returned, again!

I guess when you're a muse you get a lot of vacation days...

Or maybe she was avoiding me because I was attempting to write a weak female character who would then grow into a strong character and that isn't my bag and apparently isn't my muse's bag either.

I scrapped everything I've written in Shadowland Book One and started new with a new angle and my muse apparently loves the new angle because she was right there, clapping her dainty hands and cheering me on! I wrote 6 pages today on my 1 hour lunch break. I haven't sat down at lunch and written for the whole 60 minutes since probably November (during NaNoWriMo I'm a lot stricter on myself because I want to get 10 years of straight wins under my belt before retiring from that whole annual fiasco. This year is year 9).

It was so awesome and I finally have true excitement for this story! I was struggling with the "weak female lead" idea because there is just too much exciting things that need to h…

Where to begin?


It has been a while, and for that I apologize. Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes.

That being said, I'm all amped up to start writing Shadowland Book 1. Super excited about scenes I have planned. Stoked about the horrible things I'm going to put my main character, Marietta, through. And stalled out when I sit in front of my computer.

Why is that? I know where this story is going. I know a lot of what needs to happen to get through the majority of it, but for some reason, when I sit down to write, nothing.

Then I remembered some sage advice I heard or read somewhere... it goes something like "don't write your beginning until you have your ending."

What the heck? How can I even begin without a beginning? Am I supposed to write the ending first and work backwards, Memento style?

No. What it means is, your ending should be foreshadowed in your beginning. Or something like that. So, for example, in what I believe to be my beginning, my two character…

Houston, We Have a Problem

The problem is this: I am not having any fun writing my story and I can't pinpoint the reason why.

I can make any number of excuses: it's the wrong plot, it's the wrong story to write, I need to outline (I'm not an outliner, maybe I should be?), I don't like what's happening, It's taking too long for the person to get to the exciting stuff... OH, maybe that's the problem.

Then there's the fears: my idea sucks (then I refer to this but don't believe it), my writing sucks (who cares it's a first draft!), there isn't enough here for it to be a whole book, I'm just a hobby writer.

Then there's the tongue lashing from my inner editor/critic (from which the fears come): You suck, you don't have very good ideas, you aren't creative enough, you aren't taking yourself seriously (oh, that one is me), you aren't following your own advice.

I'm wondering how much of all this negativity is because of the stuff going on in m…

Music and the Creative Mind

Ooh, that could be the name of a band... hmmmm... nah, I think I'll stick with Death Guitar (metal) or Claire and the Egg Beaters (folkie, new age)

I have been listening to the same two CDs in my car for the past month and a half (or so). Lateralus by Tool, and Fallen by Evanescence. Tool has taken the front runner in "music that makes me think about my story."

Especially tracks 6 and 7. Parabol and Parabola.

But when I actually sit down to write, my last two sessions I've listened to Unearthed by E.S. Posthumous. I like the beats and the lack of vocals in this album. It gives me the ability to zone out and just write. Which, if you will recall, is all I've been wanting to do since I started this WIP. JUST WRITE.

That is my advice to you today.

Just write.

I also want to know what music inspires you with your current WIP. Do you listen to different music to think vs. during your writing sessions? Do you need music to write? Can you listen to songs with vocals?

I …

Writing Tips from C.S. Lewis

On my favorite Science-y website, io9, I came across an article about C.S. Lewis and some writing advice he gave in response to a fan letter back in 1965.

I pulled the tips from the letter because I thought they were sincere and really good advice!

Writing Advice from C.S. Lewis as seen on
1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else. 2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them. 3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean "More people died" don't say "Mortality rose." 4. In writing. Don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was "delightful"; make us say "delightful&quo…

Summarize that Story

While reading this post on one of my favorite blogs, Writers in the Storm, I happened across Janice Hardy's blog, The Other Side of the Story and the post clicking that link will take you to. I spent well over an hour perusing the blog posts Janice has posted on her blog. They are all helpful and great techniques.

I've been trying to tap into the person I used to be, but I can't help but look at the way other people do things.

You see, I have yet to find my own way. I have yet to find the perfect blend of plotting and pantsing that allows me to know what's going to happen without knowing what's going to happen.

In most aspects of my life, I tend to do things the hard way. The same is true in the way I think about my current projects. I think of them as too complex than they really are, or vice versa. Both of these things stop me from my creative pursuits. One would think, as a writer, nothing should stop me from writing, but I have this stupid fear that I won't…

That Little Girl

I read a blog by a fellow writer, Mary Gillgannon. In her first post on her new blog she spoke of her muse being the little girl she used to be. This post really resonated with me because before I grew up, before I read a hundred books on how to write like the person who wrote the how to write book, I was carefree in my creativity. I could write a story on a whim. I could start writing with just the word "the" followed by a space and then a slew of words. I wrote until I ran out of steam and sometimes I would finish the peice, and sometimes it would remain unfinished for all time.
I've kept all of those starts. Sometimes I look back at them and cringe. So many -ly adverbs. Such stilted and unnatural dialogue. But the ideas... the ideas are cool.

Sometimes I'm shocked by a bit of beautiful prose and wonder why I can't come up with metaphors like that anymore. Sometimes I blame that on a concussion I had a few years ago. For a while I couldn't think creatively…

Being True to Your Story and to Yourself


I know I've been MIA for a little while, dealing with family stuff and all that. I read an interesting post today at one of my favorite blogs, *Headdesk*. It was about being true to your story. You can read the post here.

It got me thinking about some things... mainly a thing called truth.

Not only is it important to be true to your story, but an author needs to be true to him or herself, as well. What I mean by this is to write the way you write. Write the way that makes you happy. If you enjoy barfing out a sloppy first draft and then rewriting the whole thing, go for it. If you must have a detailed outline, do it.

Me? I've been hung up on following the steps I learned at the Writer's Boot Camp I attended in March. The steps are hard. They make you think. But they've also kept me from writing my story. They've kept me from being true to myself.

I like to barf out a sloppy first draft. It's a way to get my ideas down. That's why I love NaNoWriMo. I love ta…

The Giant Crap Life Took on Me

A while back I posted about when life takes a big ol' crap on you and what to do with the resulting emotions. Well, I'd like to share with you what that crap looks like in my life.

I've started a blog in the hopes of helping fellow Adult Children of "Divorce" (I put it in quotes because my parents are not yet divorced, and the word hasn't even actually been said, but they are not together right now and my dad does not plan on living with my mom anymore). The blog can be found here.

I tried holding it all in and dealing with it in a different manner than I usually do and that turned out to be disasterous (went home early last Monday because I could not hold it together).

I'm using the roller coaster of emotions mentioned in the blog to fuel my current WIP, which is about a woman breaking free of her husband's abuse/control after he pushes her down the stairs and nearly kills her.

At any rate, if you want to check out the blog, go for it. If not, that's…

Obvious to you, Amazing to others

I just wanted to share this little video by Derek Sivers. Any time I feel like my idea is dumb, I look at this, or just tell myself "Obvious to you, Amazing to others."

Just watch it. It's great.

Keep Swimming,
Claire L. Fishback

New WIP and Goals

Hello! - funny, I have a song stuck in my head called "Hello" by Evenescence...

So, I've started work on my new work in progress and things are going smoothly so far! I've consistently written about 3 pages a day. Of course, I've only been working on it for two days, but STILL! Three pages a day isn't too shabby. I could do more, I know I could, but I think sticking to this reasonable goal is healthy for me. I don't want to stress out if I don't reach an outrageous goal. Set yourself up for success, right? ;o)

The soundtrack for my WIP is Evanescence's album Fallen. All the songs in that album can, in one way or another, relate to SOMETHING about my WIP, as well as the other two books in the "chronicle." That's right. There are THREE books vying for attention! But I've managed to decide which one to start with. It helped knowing that all three ideas could each be their own book.

All I am going to tell you about the book is the overa…

The Boy on the Bridge

The second challenge of the fourth platform building campaign is multi-faceted. There are several options. I chose to write about the picture to the left here, and I've chosen to write a 200 word story about this little boy in the red coat.

It appears I am too late to enter the contest, but I hope some people stop by anyway to read my little story!

"The Boy on the Bridge" by Claire L. Fishback (c) 2012

They called him Henry. He lost his left hand in an accident in the woods before they moved to the city by the water. They said it was an accident, anyway.

They said Henry was born on Friday the thirteenth. He was cursed with bad luck, they said. They said a lot of things like that. Blaming these accidents on his bad luck. I call it bad parenting, but who am I to judge? We share the same parents, after all.

Before the hand, he usually only suffered minor scrapes and bruises. A black eye. A bloody nose was the least of his worries. Sometimes there were burns. Once or twice he br…

I Was Not Slaughtered Over the Weekend

Some of you may recall this past weekend I was to travel out to California to meet my best friend for the first time in person. Some of you may have even thought I was crazy to be taking such a trip. A few of my co-workers thought I was nuts to go meet someone I've never met in person.

I am happy to say that Angela Alsaleem is officially my best writerly friend. We had a blast. Oh, and her book, Women Scorned, is coming out next month! I'll be sure to post when it is available and how you can get it. She is an awesome writer. Her book coming out is so horrific it comes with a warning label. I dare you to read it.

Now, about the boot camp...

The Writing Loft is located in Paradise, CA, which is a beautiful little town on the foothills of.... not sure which mountain range. To give you an idea, I flew in to Sacramento and it was roughly 2 hours to get to my friend's house in Gridley, which is about 45 minutes from Paradise.

The woman who runs the Writing Loft is Nora Profit. She …

Creative Dryer and My Muse

Remember back when I posted about my creative well being dry? Now I feel like my creative well is a laundry dryer and ideas are tossing around, tumbling through my brain! It's amazing! I feel the spark again! My muse has returned from her vacation. She's standing behind me rubbing her hands together and cracking her knuckles, ready to get to work! I love her.

My muse, by the way, is a very ethereal looking woman with black wavy hair that is always swirling around her head as if she were underwater. She wears a gauzy purple dress, likewise swirling around her.

If you've seen the movie adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, my muse looks a lot like Serafina Pekkala, only her hair swirls around everywhere. It makes sense because Serafina Pekkala is a witch. Witches can cast spells. Spells can be good or bad. Perhaps when she is around me she is casting good, creative spells, so when she leaves I am left with nothing.

That's just an excuse, of course. I don&#…

Bananas are like unstable dynamite... without the explosion

I decided to write today about an incident not related to writing whatsoever because I found it to be entertaining (I guess?)...

I have (had) a very lovely lunch bag that looked kind of like a purse. In fact, on a recent trip to Salida, CO, our housemates all thought it WAS my purse and questioned why I was keeping it in the fridge...

This lunch bag has a side pocket that is rather deep, as far as the size of the lunch bag goes. And in this pocket is where Fishubby (who packs my lunch for me every day, bless his heart) puts my banana.

I don't remember the last time I ate a banana was.

TANGENT: This one time I was eating a banana and found half a worm in it. Yeah. I kind of don't care for bananas because of that and scrutinize every bite I take if I do eat one. All around though? The texture of them gets me. So, yeah, thank you Fishubby for putting bananas in my lunch, but this is why they stay in my lunch forever and turn into unstable slow burning banana dynamite...

Okay, back to …

Not the Artist's Way, Zombies, and Writing Boot Camp!

I read chapter 1 of the Artist's Way and found this book may not be for me. It seems the book caters more toward people who weren't encourage to explore their artistic sides, or were shut down by peers or family when they expressed interest in becoming an artist. So, I will not be following the 12 week program. (Hello, this is wishy washy Claire. The side that is indecisive and doesn't stick to things!)

I had a zombie nightmare last night. They are always so terrifying to me. Especially when I wake up and the hands of sleep are still squeezing my brain into submission. In this dream, I stabbed a co-worker with a sword (he was a zombie). I'm talking, up through the bottom of the jaw into the brain kind of stab. Maybe I shouldn't be writing about this... but it was only a nightmare! Then we went into this house where four kids, all around the age of 7 or 8, were shoving their zombified mother into the oven, Hansel and Gretel style. At least I THINK the mom was zombifi…

Tagged Again! Another 11 Questions

I was tagged again! This time by KS Collier. Well Collier, here are the answers to the questions you have posed!

1. What do you write, fiction or nonfiction?


2. What are your favorite sweets?

The real question here is: what AREN'T your favorite sweets? To that I respond canolis. Every time I see canolis on the dessert menu at an Italian restaurant, I think, oooh, those sound so delicious! So I order them. The fact of the matter is, they are TOO sweet and they really aren't very good at all. They are rather disappointing.

3. How often do you write?

When I'm in the thick of it, every day. During the planning process, a few times a week. Though I always write SOMETHING almost daily, whether it is a blog post or working on my WIP.

4. Do you write by outlining first, or by the seat of your pants?

A combination. I do a little planning but not really any outlining. Then it's pants time.

5. Do you use foreshadowing to strengthen your plotline?


6. Who is your favorite author?


The Artist's Way

I picked up this book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron the other day. It was shortly after I posted about my creativity leaving me and I was pining about my well being dry. I read about this book on a website I (used to) frequent that is based on one of the tools in the book (750 Words). If you read my prompted stories from my other blog, I was using my 750 words to write those stories each day (for the three days I actually did it). That was also not the Artist's Way method.

The Artist's Way, from my understanding, is a method to recover your creative self (whether you're a writer, painter, musician, or something else) on a spiritual level. Yes, Julia Cameron talks a lot about the Creator and how the Creator is the ultimate Artist because the Creator created the world and the beings in it. As a not-so-religious-but-religious-enough-for-me kind of person that I am, I don't mind the talk about God in the book. I just want to let you out there know that the b…

Shadows Crept Across the Wall - Campaign Challenge

First Campaign Challenge!

The challenge is to write a flash fiction in 200 words or less beginning with "Shadows crept across the wall." There was extra credit to include the word orange, end with "everything faded", and to use exactly 200 words.

Here's my story!

Shadow Ghosts by Claire L. Fishback (c) 2012

Shadows crept across the wall. The same shadows I’ve seen every night since we moved into this old dump of a house. I haven’t slept for a week.

In the beginning, I tried to convince myself they were nothing. A trick of the eyes in the silent blackness filling my room. I closed my eyes, and knew better, for I no longer see the shadows slipping along the wall and disappearing into the dark corners of the room. Instead, I see the shadows’ faces.

The female frightens me the most. She has a round, purple face. It’s as if she’s held her breath far too long and her skin craves the oxygen she denies herself. Her hair is a mess of greasy tangles. Her eyes are bloodshot. I …

Can Reading Non-Genre Fiction Kill Your Genre Creativity?

I know, it sounds crazy, right? But I have to tell you, ever since I picked up the book 1Q84 and started reading it, I feel like all the creativity I had to write genre fiction has left me.

It could be other events happening in my life. It could just be writer's block. Or it could even be fear, doubt, a belief that everything I think of and write is crap. A fear that my well has run dry. Those are all things I'll have to deal with on my own.

My grandmother, Cynthia Gibbon, was an artist. I say was not because she is gone (though she does have Alzheimer's and lives in a home), but because she is no longer an artist. When she was younger, she would paint and draw fashion, and she has aa series of paintings depicting people at a roller skating rink.

My mom told me after she went to art school and took an anatomy class, she could no longer draw and paint what she loved to draw and paint. Almost as if knowing she was portraying the human form incorrectly (by Grey's Anatomy - n…

Writing Software - What do you use and why?

Writing software... it can be the bane of a writer's existence. Especially the versions in which you have to set everything up. You spend more time organizing things inside the software than you do writing.

I'm a sucker for writing software. I've tried PowerWriter, WriteItNow, Scrivener for Windows, yWriter, Liquid Story Binder, Microsoft One Note (a very cool peice of software), among others. I know it doesn't work for me, and yet, the left-brained Claire is drawn to the organizational model these softwares provide. How everything -- all of your notes, ideas, research, clippings, and trimmings -- can be stored in one location. I find it so intoxicating. It's all RIGHT THERE. Like a hard copy binder with tabs and maybe even a pencil pouch with highlighters and extra pens in various colors and sticky tabs.

Scrivener is like that. I started using Scrivener to organize what I had already written in my first draft. After a month of pounding away at the keys to produce ro…