Sunday, March 16, 2008

Princess Mary and Me

For once, I know exactly what it feels like to be in Princess Mary of Denmark's satin shoes. The Australian-born crown princess's husband, Frederik, reportedly lost his wedding ring during a scuba trip off the Florida coast. The ring was forged from the first gold nugget ever found in Greenland. A search party has been scouring the ocean floor since January, plus (attention, treasure hunters) there's a reward for whoever finds the ring.

What does Fred's lapse have to do with me? Mr. Authorness also lost his wedding band in January. Our search party was called off long ago. It's either still buried under several million grains of sand at our local beach or in a hock shop. When he lost it, the first thing I thought of was Apollo 13. (I didn't think to throttle Mr. Authorness first, 'cause that's just not in me.)

Marilyn Lovell, wife of astronaut Jim, accidentally dropped her wedding ring down the shower drain the day the doomed ship was launched. Bad omen? Yup. Fortunately, the crew returned safely after their harrowing ordeal. And since Mr. Authorness isn't due to orbit the earth any time soon, I think it's best not to worry about superstitions. At least I know what to buy him for our anniversary on April 1st.

So, Mary, if you're reading, don't stress about the ring. It's the marriage that's important, not the symbol.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Writing Challenges...

...and Why Blogging Is Great for Your Productivity.

A lot of people, especially Mr. Authorness, thought I'd transformed into a crazy cat lady over the past 12 or so days. Exhibit A: The Secret (Nine) Lives of Us blog I started for my neighbours' kitties (see previous post). Every move those cats made was fodder for the blog. The result was an anthromorphosised view of what I think cats talk about, but I soon realised the blog was an interesting writing exercise.

One of the big challenges for me was to try to make every post a mini-sitcom. Each one needed a story arc, defined characters, and most of all it had to be memorable for my target audience--in this case, the cats' owners.

Formatting it like a play tested my ability to write dialogue without tags or descriptions, something I often get bogged down with. What I've learned from that is when I write first drafts for novels, I can just run long streams of dialogue and fill in the narrative details later. So next time, if I'm stuck for words, I'll try to get into the heads of my characters and write down what they say. Just keep moving and dig deep, no matter how silly or lame your internal editor thinks the story is. Dig long enough and you'll hit gold eventually.

What kinds of writing challenges do you set for yourself?