paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
Drat you, chapter 5! I can't say how much I hate the middle of the story. It's right about then I start losing my momentum and stall out. Chapter 5 is coming; I have about 2300 words of it, provided I don't decide to scrap it and start over. It's just coming so slow. I wish I needed just 5 or 6 hours of sleep to function optimally. That would be great. As it is, I am tired. I have the next scene all plotted out mentally and I'd love to take the time to at least get a first draft down, but I think I'm going to have to stop. I'm such an idiot, when you think about it. This is a terrible time of the year to start up such a large-scale project. Glutton for punishment is what I am. Just couldn't wait for the end of the school year. I'm a little afraid of how this chapter will turn out because it is accomplishing what it needs to, but I don't think it's as much fun as the previous chapters.

Writing Austin with his pinball machine attention shifts and constant motion is difficult. And the more I study the episodes for Mickey's character and mannerisms, the more I recognize the subtle differences in each writer's interpretation of her. For instance, in the pilot and Plan 10, Mickey is a little more cranky with Austin's quirks, and stands up to his bluster tit for tat. But in Black Cats, she assumes more of a hero-worship attitude. In Quit It and to a lesser degree, in Black Cats, she seems to entertain a rather romanticized vision of Austin, and in MAPe Over You and Now You See It, she conveys a protective and almost territorial vibe. There's no particular character arc happening--granted, we're talking about a very small sample of episodes to analyze--but simply differences among the episode writers' particular visions.

Now this is funny. Half an hour ago I was too tired to write another section of a chapter, but that didn't stop me from giving an exposition on the program at my blog.

Soooo Close

Apr. 7th, 2014 11:20 pm
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Last night I finally took the trouble to insert new ink cartridges into my printer, and I printed chapter 4 today and took it to work. Amazing how much more writing I can get done in a day if I just have a working printer. I did all sorts of editing and writing in the margins during my downtime, and by tonight, I got a heck of a lot accomplished. I'm probably one more day away from posting the next chapter, assuming I'm able to finish the current scene tomorrow.

I just introduced a new character tonight, and I'm liking him! I also did some more work on the "end tag" today, and it is so freaking sweet I just want to see it. I wish I could draw, because there is one still that I would love to see brought to life in a sketch. Alas, my brother and my sister are wonderful artists. I write. God chose to withhold drawing from my talent package.

Last night I was up until 1:30 writing. I composed a poem for Facebook at the end of it:

"I have to get to bed," I said; "When I've lost the urge to write, I might."

Pretty much sums it up for me right now. Good-bye sleep, until we meet again!

Stalling

Apr. 5th, 2014 04:48 pm
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
I've reached a roadblock in the story here at chapter 4. It's frustrating on many levels. I have the end figured out, including a terrific tag. I'm almost tempted to start writing the end while I have the urge and then go back and connect it to the rest later. Actually, that's not a bad idea. I might do just that.

The problem with chapter 4 is I haven't figured out which direction I want to go next. The possibilities are numerous, and not one is striking me as more likely than another. I'm a little afraid of introducing too many new characters and making the whole thing too hard to follow. I'm also afraid of dipping to deep into drama and sacrificing the lightness that was characteristic of the program.

I'm going to post a small part of chapter 4, that by no means encompasses the whole of what that chapter is about, but I'm in two minds about this. I was hoping to post the next chapter by the beginning of the week, but I don't know. If what I have still stands, I'm about halfway done right now. It may take a bit longer to shape this up. Now I'm going to stop rambling and get back to work.

(Incidentally, I got some great new ear buds, and I have all the cares in the world drowned out by the Von Karajan-directed version of Mozart's Requiem. Beautiful beyond words.)



Mickey smiled demurely. “Are you going to call her?”

“I have to. You heard her; she wants pictures.”

Mickey bit off a French fry and smiled broadly. “How about for a second date?”

“Absolutely not,” Austin replied. He picked up his fork and prodded apart his potato with it.

“Why not?!”

“She’s an adrenaline junkie.” He paused to take a good-sized bite. After he swallowed, he went on. “Her attention span is minutes. She’s a raw food enthusiast. She doesn’t know Handel from Copland, and she lives in Santa Monica.”

Mickey leaned back and addressed the rafters. “Good grief, Austin, wasn’t there anything you liked about her?”

“She did have an interesting odor.”

“Odor? If that’s the only thing you approve of, I guess she shouldn’t get her hopes up.” She grimaced at him and took a bite of her burger. “How come it doesn’t bother you, being alone all the time?”

“I’m not alone,” he protested, pointing at her with his fork. “I told you, I have—“

“—the entire universe,” Mickey finished in unison with him. “But don’t you ever want more than that?”

He stared at her, fork frozen in mid-air, frowned. “You know that makes no sense.”

“I’m serious! What about human companionship? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to come home to, someone who gets your sense of humor and listens to your theories?”

He broke into an indulgent smile and took another bite of potato. “Mickey, I promise you, everything in the world I need to be happy is right here under this roof.” He cast his eyes up and around the expanse of the building and ended up back at Mickey. His deep blue eyes were alight with his convictions, and they captured hers and held them.

She knew what he meant to say. She knew he did not mean what, for a terribly awkward moment, she heard him say. But that simple knowing was not enough to beat down the blush that rose on her face. She tore her gaze away from his, studied the diamond pattern on her plate, and stuffed her mouth with a handful of fries.
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
It's a late night for me. I have 3100 words of chapter 3 written, which puts me at about 2/3 to 3/4 done. I absolutely love the first couple of pages of this chapter, but I don't dare share anything from that since there are certainly spoilers involved. It was great fun writing it, though. The dialogue makes me laugh, with all the double entendre going on. I'd love to say I'll be writing all day tomorrow, being my day off, but nope. I can't. I have other obligations, so my little project will just have to wait a while. That's okay. A lot in life is about balance. I'm working on that.

My plot is getting a little messier as I'm planning ahead. Typical of me, Ms. Big-Picture, it seemed pretty straightforward until it was time to plug in all the details. I'm trying very hard to avoid 2 things: plot holes and predictability. I'm also riding that line between satisfying drama and melodrama. I'm aiming for moderate nail-biting and hard-hitting moments of squee. I'm avoiding eye-rolling and hopefully, yawning. I just might have to spend some quality time with my videos again, in lieu of actually writing, to re-center myself.

I can't adequately express how delighted I am to have a project to delve into again. Work is fine, but kind of a bore right now. Home is good, but it has its share of stress and tedium. This is a medium I feel so comfortable in. I just love to have a creative outlet to funnel a lot of nervous energy into. I'll miss it when it's done.
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
So, I spent my entire Saturday working on chapter 2, even in the face of charges of neglect from my children (but Mom, don't you want to spend time with us?), and it is done! It's not ready to post. I need an overnight to let it sit and then edit it tomorrow for consistency and accuracy, but the initial draft at least is complete. I am so excited about the direction this story is going. I have an idea where I mean to take it, but the details aren't there, so it's almost as suspenseful for me as it is for whoever reads it.

What I am going to do tonight is post a tiny snippet of it because I was particularly happy with how I wrote Austin here. Tomorrow...I'm spending some make-up time with the family...but THEN...I'm posting that chapter.


He was moving toward Mickey and her date as quickly as the hostess was leading them toward their table, and like a collision course realized too late to dodge, they all arrived at the window-side table at the same time. Tristan barely had time to utter a startled protest before Austin hooked his arm around Mickey’s at the elbow and spun her in the opposite direction.

“Excuse us,” he quipped, before turning to Mickey. “A word?”

“Who the hell are you?”

The cacophony of patrons’ voices, the piped crooning of Sinatra from overhead speakers, the clatter of dishes and flatware were nothing compared to the pounding of Mickey’s heart as Austin rose to his commandeering finest. Standing nearly nose to nose with her date, he glared, unblinking and unapologetic. “I’m Austin James, and this is my personal assistant.” He deftly caught up a basket of dinner rolls off a passing tray and thumped it on the table in front of Tristan. “Keep your hands busy with this for a minute.”
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Chapter 2 is going well. I am entertaining myself. I am keeping myself up too late. I am ignoring symptoms of stomach flu. All in all, I think productive writing is good for my mental health, if not physical health.

The next section of chapter 2 is giving me some trouble, only because I'm stalling on beginning it. Tonight I spent several hours rewriting and reworking what I had of chapter 2, and it is much more to my liking. I'm hoping I can get the whole thing done and post it by the weekend.

So far, comments have been few, but I would expect as much. I'm writing because I love to write, and because I think I have a great story to tell. Maybe I'll have to wait a while for an audience. I believe my children will want to read it. They've been showing more interest than anyone in my non-cyber life.

I went to the dentist today, which is a more painful experience the older I get. My gums are sagging in places. It must be expected, though, that a host of body parts on a forty-something lady are apt to sag. Might as well put up with it. Anyway, I spent my dentist time musing over Probe and replaying the last 15 minutes of Metamorphic Anthropoidic Prototype Over You in my head. Again, productive writing is good for my mental health.

In other happy news, my dad decided he needed a new car for his birthday so he sold me his old one for half of what the dealership would have given him. Sweet. It's kind of funny, because I look at that car and think it doesn't look like a car I would drive, but that is nothing even resembling a complaint. It's a Chrysler 300 with more power than I've handled in a car...ever, I'm pretty sure. I might have to pull out the old user's manual and learn more about this thing.
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
As of tonight, I have the first 7 pages done of chapter 1. I have had a couple of good periods of reflection and subsequent writing, and the scenes have been unfolding very nicely. It's a pretty good sign when I amuse myself. I'm on to the second part of chapter 1. I was considering how to break up chapters, and I've settled on a lesser number of longer chapters, subdivided into two or three smaller parts. Blah, blah. The mechanics of writing are less than entertaining, so I'll move on.

Tonight I roused my poor 12-year-old out of bed to check in one of the kitchen cabinets. I thought I saw bugs while I was putting away dishes. I actually thought I saw a number of cockroaches, but I was wrong. Oldest son rolled his eyes at me with good reason; my "bugs" were cute little fish on a clear-colored dinner plate which I couldn't see on top of the ordinary ceramic plates in the dim lighting. Son told me I'm probably tired and ought to go to bed. He is a very sensible and officious young man, isn't he?

I am so looking forward to writing more of my Probe fic! I wish it wasn't so late and I wasn't so tired. Generally, my best work doesn't come out of this kind of mental fog, so I'll probably just wrap up what I'm doing here, maybe play a round of Mahjong, and call it a night. I'm trying to keep focused on just the immediate scene I'm writing, instead of jumping ahead. It's hard for a big-picture person like me to concentrate on the details sufficiently. Today I brainstormed in the shower a new twist in the next scene which should make for some fun writing, as well as the end tag. No kidding, the plot hasn't thickened yet and I've already figured out the end tag.

As per the norm with me, my interest in TV has sunk to dismal lows. I assumed yesterday's Mentalist would be another rerun, but then I forgot to even check to be sure. I've hardly sat down in the family room, let alone watch the TV. Writing commandeers my creative energy and keeps TV at bay, and then there's the children. Lately, the boys have been into board games and card games. Probably the crappy weather. Anyway, I've been playing a lot of Monopoly, Taboo, and Blackjack these days.

Take Two

Feb. 26th, 2014 11:55 pm
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
I began my Probe writing project, stopped, began again. Waited. Reread. Gahh! It sucks. It's wrong, WRONG! Put it aside. Waited some more. Groused. Contemplated. Picked it up again. Wrote some more...and here we are. Take two.


“I need to run an errand.” He watched her hands, both clenching the steering wheel, and her eyes, fixed on him with an unspoken demand. He blinked. “Don’t worry. It’s on the way.” She continued to stare at him imploringly. “Drive!” he urged, and he proceeded to rummage through the glove compartment for a cassette tape.

They had crossed through and northward out of the city, and had heard all of the first two movements of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony before either of them spoke again.

“Turn here.”

Mickey signaled right and took the indicated exit off the interstate, but not without a skeptical raising of her eyebrows. “Austin, where are we going?”

His eyes gleamed and he smiled as he noted the worry lines deepening on her brow. “It’s just a quick side trip, I promise. I have to check on some geological data at a particular place, at a particular time. Now! I have a theory…” He trailed off, as he was so wont to do when theory became suddenly much more interesting to him than a day planner or a conversation.

“What kind of theory?”

“You really want me to tell you?”

“No.”

He smiled again and glanced ahead briefly. “Turn right again just past that sign.”

She did as he requested. Her job, ultimately, was to assist Austin, even if he seemed at times to work against himself. Sometimes she felt as though a bigger part of her job was just pulling Austin out of his own head every once in a while. “You know, I didn’t go to the trouble of arranging this interview today for my benefit.” She paused, waited. He didn’t answer. “This is your pet project you wanted to put out there, remember? I’m trying to help you.” She heard his sigh, barely audible, but clear evidence of his growing exasperation. That could only be called progress. In Mickey’s mind, any reaction was better than none. “I even came in extra, on my day off. Is this your way of saying you’ve decided not to be interviewed after all?”

With that, she hit critical mass. “No!” he protested, scowling. “I said I’ll do it; I’ll do it.”

“But we’re going to be late.”

Austin let out a huff, and his clipped inflection gave more indication of his mood than his words. “On a scale of one to ten, ten being most, how badly do you think our interviewer wants to talk to me?”

Mickey rolled her eyes.

“What?”

“Never mind, I know where you’re going with this. You’re probably right.”

His trademark smirk curled the corners of his mouth. “Probably?”

“She probably won’t leave just because we’re a few minutes late,” Mickey conceded, with an emphasis on ‘probably.’

“Ha! She wouldn’t leave if we were an hour late, maybe more.” Seeing the worry lines deepening across his secretary’s forehead, he quickly added, “Not that we will be.” He looked ahead out the window. “There!” he said sharply, and pointed. “See that turn off? That’s where we’re going.”
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
So much to write, but so little time. Seems to be my mantra lately. I've been skirting around my writing project, mainly settling myself in the planning process, setting up a structure, but not actually writing much. It reminds me of when I bought my laptop and then couldn't bring myself to take it out of its box for three weeks. If I could choose my personality tendencies, I'd be INFJ and get some things accomplished. Alas, I have no more power over my personality than I do over the texture and fullness of my hair, so I'm firmly INFP.

Anyway, whilst planning this evening, I landed on something interesting. In the episode of Probe called "Now You See It...", Mickey was reading off some tax receipts of Austin's and came across one for long stem roses "Every day for three weeks...Mailing address: Mattie Lou Teague." Mattie Lou Teague Crow was a locally acclaimed author in Alabama who lived from 1903 to 1999. I do believe she was Ashley Crow's paternal grandmother. Neat, huh?

I did accomplish a bit of writing over the weekend. It was a conversation between the two main characters, to be part of chapter 1. I'm not thrilled with it and will likely rewrite it, but I was pleased just to have the hour or so to write while the kids were still awake and I wasn't sleepy. Granted, I did most of my writing while holding a sleeping 5-year-old curled up in my lap. I also did some journaling.

The weekend was awesome. I found a pretty cool Myers-Briggs test on the internet and several interested children wanting to take it, so that was fun. I also got them to watch "Computer Logic" and at least the 10-year-old stuck around to watch "Untouched by Human Hands" also. I've got some great kids.

So this completes my writing efforts of the day. I figure if nothing else, I did some online journaling. Can't stay up too late as I'm working again in the morning. I have the goal of writing at least 15 minutes daily, just to get the habit up and running again. Maybe it will be not a minute more than 15. It's a start.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
I haven't posted pieces of a writing project in a long time, and the settings here on Dreamwidth have changed. I guess I'll just have to get reacquainted. Anyway, I spent some more time on my newest project, and I have a piece of Chapter 2 down. It's hard to get enough time scraped together, uninterrupted, to do any writing at all. I've been too tired to commit to any focused thinking once the kids are in bed, and I don't have the self-discipline to get myself up any earlier than I already have to just to write. So, put simply, this project may take a while to complete. On the plus side, I did some great thinking in the shower this morning and worked out an intriguing plot that I think will hold water. So without further ado, here is my introduction to the as-yet-untitled new Probe fic:



Tristan Tollman had in no way been misrepresented to Mickey. He was every bit as entertaining, as adventurous, and as attractive as she had been promised. Deep brown eyes with a mischievous glint over a lopsided smile and topped with a shock of lush brown locks curling over his collar and ears gave him a youthfulness belying his thirty-four years.

He was exactly Mickey’s type.

She didn’t mean to do it, but she stole the barest glance at her watch while her date had his head safely turned away, summoning another round of drinks from their server. Mickey's tawny ringlets of bangs lifted off her brow as she dealt them an impatient huff. It was just 9:30 on a balmy Saturday evening in August, and already she was prowling her imagination for an excuse to call it a night.

Why? She had every reason to celebrate the end of a grueling week with a little lightweight fun. Tristan was just the fix. Listen to him now, detailing his last trip to Catalina, of windsurfing endlessly from mid-morning, all day, until the last crimson tendrils of twilight succumbed to inky dusk. This was a man accustomed to the nightlife of the beach scene. He knew frozen margaritas concocted with fresh key lime and the best Baja-brewed tequila, the throbbing of steel drums until the party collapsed to sleep near dawn at somebody’s beach house, lulled by the crashing surf outside.

But Mickey’s mind was elsewhere, and the cause of it rested squarely on Austin James.
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Tonight, when the midnight hour was reached, I made my first attempt at ending the foot-dragging and penned my first words of the next project. So far I have 70 words, which will likely be cleared and restarted again anyway, but it's something. I don't mind a few false starts on the way to something worth keeping.
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Ah, Paula. Like a cool mist in a nighttime breeze hitting a hot, tension-strangled face, you have returned to the quiet joy of watching Probe again.

"If you're so smart, how come you let a computer program chase you into a laundry mat?"

"Insult it; threaten it. Pretend you're talking to me."

"Why did the millionaire choose the secretary's brain instead of the genius's when he needed a transplant?"

"Austin James...cosmic enigma...the greatest riddle of all."

Even now, after so many years, I derive a lot of pleasure out of that little show. It still inspires. It makes me want to write. I can't write right now, of course. That would be just stupid. But at least it inflates a sense of hope in me that writing will become a possibility again. I hesitate to even consider revising and completing my unfinished Probe work, but at the very least, I feel like I might still have it in me somewhere.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
I've been making pie.

Over the summer, I tackled a pie project with the home-grown tart cherries from my parents' yard and rhubarb from my yard. I tried twice, and both times resulted in gorgeously photographic products with tasty filling with crust you could chip a tooth on. It also resulted in compromised sleep, because in my mind, it makes sense to begin pie projects after all the kids are down, which is nine o'clock or so.

Yesterday I began yet another pie project, this one involving Bartlett pears from my sister's bounty. I had a recipe for pear pie I saved from a magazine some 14 years ago and never actually made, so it seemed reasonable to embark on that project after the kids went down. I actually planned ahead enough that I had almost all the ingredients handy, even 4 tablespoons of brandy I lifted off my dad when I was visiting earlier that day. No vanilla bean, but extract suffices. Who keeps vanilla bean anyway? And no lemon zest, but a dab of lemon juice was good enough.

The project resulted in a fair amount of frustration when it came to rolling out the crust dough. Yes, it was imperative that I make crust from scratch. It was a combination of too wet and too crumbly. I was using some rather foul language for me, and my oldest son decided he'd stay up and lend moral support. I ended up having to roll, scrap, and roll once more for every one of the four crusts, which irked me because I was trying so hard not to over-handle the dough and make the crust tough.

The award-winning recipe said to cover the crusts with foil 30 minutes into baking, but somebody tell me how you wrap foil around hot-as-hell crusts in the door of a 400 degree oven. I gave up on that and told everyone on Facebook "I hate pie" several times over.

In the end, the pies turned out well. They were tasty, fruity goodness with flaky, crumbly crusts that did not become overly brown. I made my husband pose with a pie for Facebook, and I brought one pie to work to share with work people.

One such person, a fellow nurse, asked why I was so intent on making pie since it seemed a source of aggravation and stress. And ever since then, I've been thinking. Why? Why do I keep making pie?

I don't know. Maybe it's just a challenge, like playing Mahjong. I just wanted to see if I could do it, and do it well. I wanted to overcome the hassles, just to have bragging rights for a day. Or maybe I'm just looking for something I can sink my energy into, something manageable and tangible to accomplish, to make me feel like something out there is attainable and finite. The reward is so beautiful. You make a successful pie, and for a day your kids think you're a baking goddess. And you get to eat something you made yourself, which makes it taste just a little bit better.
paulak_rumin8: (Austin and Mickey)
Today was good. I wish I could have logged on a lot earlier because I had witty thoughts and a higher level of alertness for recording various happenings then, and now I'm winding down and ready to shut off the ruminations for the night.

But today was good, and I don't want to waste a good mood by not recording it for posterity. So I'll take a few minutes and highlight the finer points of the day.

First thing this morning...well, after breakfast...I got on a roll and started dishing out chore assignments. School's out for most of the kids. Oldest is wrapping up a book report. Third-born is free, free, free. Kindergartener would be done but Mom and Dad haven't been motivated enough to complete the last week. C'mon, it's just kindergarten we're talking about. Second-born is my little high-maintenance project-evader, and so he's chained to the dining room table with bread, water, and the occasional potty break until he pays up with his book report and a field trip report for History.

Anyway, I exempted Second-born from chores because he has enough troubles for now. Oldest and Third-born were issued cat care and lower level vacuuming. Oldest responded to the request with predictable 11-year-old moping and agitation, mumbling under his breath on his way to the utility closet that the lower level bathroom carpet stinks and ought to be ripped out.

"So do it," I answered. And he did.

We made a project of it. Tore out the cumin-orange shag, pried out the tack strips, swept, mopped, and fixed a malfunctioning fluorescent fixture while we were at it. In the end, I had a half-bath with linoleum tiles from probably 1950, but they're in pretty good shape, all things considered. I picked up a couple bath mats from Wal-Mart to perk it up a bit. It's a terrific improvement, cost next to nothing, and the lower-level bathroom (a.k.a. the cat room) is no longer stinky.

Husband, meanwhile, accomplished more landscaping in one afternoon than in 13 years of marriage, I think. He de-weeded the front and side yards, and uncovered many non-weed, flowering flora we didn't know we had. It was enough to bring a mist to my eyes.

I went grocery shopping and kept it under $150. Not bad. And I even took the time to purchase a thoughtful gift for a niece's second birthday we're attending tomorrow. Usually we're scrambling for something reasonably appropriate in the right price range on our way to these functions.

Husband's copy of the DVD "ADD and Mastering It" arrived at our local library a couple days ago, so we watched that last night. Every time Husband puts in time researching ADD he ends up taking on some ambitious project the next day.

I'm six weeks into maternity leave and finally hitting my stride. Too bad I'll have to get back to work on the 25th. My daughter is cute, though. She said we can celebrate my birthday and my going back to work on the same day, with all the innocent joy of a child whose sentiments put re-entering the workforce following childbirth on a par with cake and ice cream and presents.

The Good Lord's sense of humor touched us a number of times this week. Knowing how conscious I have been lately about our finances, he sends thoughtful gifts our way, just to ensure my gratitude...or perhaps to stir my shame over a lack thereof. Anyway, small checks kept coming in the mail. A belated new baby congratulations, a gift from work. Then came a big reimbursement from work on my insurance deductible, which I was loosely hoping for but in no way expecting. That one caused a little happy dance. Yesterday, a local recycling factory that recently opened in town called my husband to say he won a Visa gift card in the grand opening drawing he entered. He went down and picked it up right away. Crazy, but half an hour later the place sustained a major fire that drew in 5 fire departments in the area and made headlines. I told Husband the moral is either "When you win a gift card, don't hesitate", or "If you are a company giving away gift cards, Husband may be an omen of doom."
paulak_rumin8: (cake face)

Okay, so I'm swinging back around this way since it has been a few weeks. Currently, I'm immersing myself in The Mentalist fandom. It's a strange entrance into this one. I first encountered The Mentalist via a rec for a fanvid, and I found the vid rather intriguing. That led me to Wikipedia, followed by a viewing of episode clips off Youtube, and eventually FF.net. I was really loving the concept and falling hard for the Jane/Lisbon characters when it occured to me I still hadn't viewed an entire episode. So I remedied that earlier this week and watched one on the CBS site. Wow, this really is an attractive program for me.

The only reservation I have right now is the gore factor. It's a police procedural, like CSI and Criminal Minds, which I typically find distastefully graphic in the portrayal of murders. My imagination really doesn't need nor want that much help. Therefore, I've historically avoided even venturing into such viewing, regardless of the extensive popularity of these programs.

The Mentalist may end up being an exception though. It gives a painfully angsty background to a main character who is good-looking, ridiculously brilliant, and appealingly flawed. The dynamic between Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon is so simultaneously powerful and understated, it made me squee on first viewing. First viewing! And that was a season 5 episode.

This is such a terrific diversion from real life, which has been continuing on the same, tiresome path it was coursing the last time I mentioned it. I'd mention it again, but why be redundant? Same song, next verse. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The only other thing I wanted to do with this post was link to an exceptional Mentalist fanfic that stands alone as a terrific romance/thriller, even with little prior knowledge of the show itself. The author is herself pretty interesting, and I recommend perusing both her current story and her profile. A reader's caveat, however: this lady gives new meaning to the term "evil cliffhanger."

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8911448/1/Rebuilding-the-Sun

paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)
So, for day 2, I'm looking at recommending 3 fanworks of others' that are essentially underrated. This one required me to apply myself and actually create links, but I'm fairly game so here it goes...

1. Christmas Party by lasergirl is from the Adderly fandom. There are few Adderly stories out there, and this one is, in my opinion, the best. It really captures the quirkiness of Mona and the wit of Adderly, as well as their comfortable friendship that only toys with the very idea of ever going deeper. http://archiveofourown.org/works/77234

Ahh, nuts. I was looking all over for #2 and I can't relocate it. So now it's after 10:00 and I have to be up early, so I'm going to bed. Again, this would probably be easier if I had a greater base to draw from, but I'm relatively new to the whole fanart phenomenon, so this will have to be put off until I have more time to devote to the assignment.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)

Intuitively, this shouldn't be such a difficult challenge, to rec 3 fanart pieces of my own that are personal favorites. The trouble I'm having with this little assignment (thank you very much, vesperregina) is I have so little to choose from. That, and I have small children vying for my attention. Anyway, I think I have come up with my three tops:

1. Almost Home

Duh! I spent six months preoccupied with that one, so I better like it. For my first attempt at an extensive story, I chose the Scarecrow and Mrs. King fandom primarily because it's a large fandom and I'm likely to get enough feedback from a submission to make it worth the effort. Working against my limited attention span when it comes to completing projects I begin, I managed to finish this one. Props to Paula. More than that, though, I got to play with some literary techniques. I wove some layers into the primary plot, practiced with flashback, manipulated the pace and intensity of suspense, built multidimensional antagonists. It was a real practicum in serious writing for me, and as much fun as I had with it, I can see I don't currently have the luxury of enough time to properly devote to professional writing.

2. So, Was He Jealous

Pure fluff! It was fun, it came easy. I still enjoy reading it every once in a while. And it was a wonderfully cost-free birthday present. What more could I ask for? I was particularly pleased with the last line of that one.

3. Before the First Time

My first venture into Scarecrow and Mrs. King. I was just testing the waters with this one. It was only meant to be a snapshot memory, but those who reviewed it indicated they wanted an expanded story, which confirmed I should go ahead and write Almost Home. I consider this one a gateway piece. Again, I was practicing with various literary techniques, just trying my hand. I have a particular line out of that one that pleases me: ...He was always so gentle, even when he was twisting the knife...

All of these are viewable on fanfiction.net under the author's handle: waswoksa.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)

Why, hello blog. Haven't spoken here in a month. Wow, time flies.

Part of that time was rather productive, and part of it not. Right now, it's not. I am 1 action chapter and 1 final tag chapter away from finishing that blasted story and my motivation has dropped to nothing. Although, I did have the most interesting dream the other morning that an associate editor from NY came out and wanted to examine it in person. We went to McDonald's for coffees and had a very fruitful discussion of my work. Hilarious!! I'd love to see the day editors from NY visit rural IL to discuss the literary merits of a piece of fanfic!

Before I pooped out on my writing drive, I did manage to complete two more chapters, so I'm up to 14. I have 2 paragraphs of 14 done right now, and that was like pulling teeth prying it out of my brain earlier today. 12 and 13 are pretty good, I think.

Maybe if I wasn't so reproductive I would be more productive. I once read an agent's advertisement in a writing journal, saying that her dream client would be proliferative. My snappy answer to that would be, I'm as proliferative as they come...as long as we're not limiting ourselves to a discussion of literary output.

So, since I still can't post my story in its entirety, I'll content myself with a little snippet from chapter...13.



Jamie headed toward the house, dropping his backpack off his shoulders to hang it more fashionably off just one side. He stopped at the top of the front steps and looked back out toward the street. The streetlights hadn’t come on yet, so Phillip probably wouldn’t be back for a little while.
 
It was then, as he was squinting westward into the sun, that he first saw the stranger. A guy on a bike, a streamlined 12-speed painted a distinctive red, gold, and black, was pedaling up the block at a fast clip. He was a young man, with close-cropped brown hair and a lean, athletic form. He looked like a metropolitan bike messenger who had inexplicably crossed over into Arlington to make a suburban run. And as he passed by Jamie, who still stood atop the front steps, he smoothly arced to the right and pulled up onto the driveway. He peeled around in a tight curve so he faced the way he had come and stopped short.

The man waved an arm and flashed an easy smile as he swung off the bike and walked toward the house. “I have a special delivery. Do you know Amanda Stetson?” As he spoke, he unzipped his lightweight jacket and removed a 10x13 envelope from inside. He stopped at the base of the steps, holding the envelope in both hands.

“That’s my mom.”

The man nodded. “Good, good. I need this to get to her right away. Is she home right now?”

Jamie shook his head. He was inches from the door, and he had a good set of lungs on him for hollering, but the stranger made him nervous anyway. It wasn’t that he seemed particularly threatening. But learning recently about his mother and step-father’s true line of work had Jamie’s imagination running on overdrive. He wondered whether the bike-riding stranger was a Soviet. Maybe he even carried a gun. “My grandma’s here. Do you need someone to sign?”

“Nah, that’s alright,” the man replied smoothly, seemingly untroubled. “This isn’t for anyone but your mom. It’s work-related, if you know what I mean.” His words were light, but his blue eyes were watching Jamie intently, as though to read whether he did indeed know what he meant. Jamie felt butterflies in his stomach. After a beat, the man continued. “It’s for the government part of her job, so that means it’s very important.”

“Oh.” Jamie swallowed.

“Do you watch football?”

“Football?” Jamie quirked an eyebrow in surprise. “Uh, sure. I watch.”

The man nodded thoughtfully and smiled to himself. “I figured. Listen, when the quarterback passes the ball, and the wide receiver catches it, what happens next?”

“I guess he runs with it until he either makes a touchdown or gets tackled.”

“Exactly.” The man stepped forward and pressed the envelope against Jamie’s chest. “Take it,” he said. Then he smiled tightly at the boy. “You’re the receiver. Get this to your mom, because if it gets intercepted by the other side, our team loses. Got it?”

Jamie thought he could actually feel the hair on the back of his neck stand upright. Where the hell was Phillip? “You take it!” he cried, pinching the envelope between two fingers and holding it away from himself like a set of used sweat socks. “I don’t want it.”

“There’s no time, kid,” the man replied, backing away. He threw a sweeping glance up and down the street before turning a keen eye on Jamie once more. “This is the end of the line for me. I don’t plan on getting sacked.” And winking conspiratorially at his reluctant ally, he swung back onto his bike. “When you see her,” he called, “tell her I’m sorry for all the trouble I gave Mr. Stetson yesterday.” He sped off in the direction from which he had come before Jamie could think to ask his name.
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)

Tonight I have pretty much completed my project of rewriting and reworking all eleven chapters of my story thus far. It has been an ongoing project these last couple of weeks. I have lots of good news as far as that goes. What I did vastly improves what is there, and I'm liking my story and I'm pretty proud of it now. I also managed to plot out the remaining chapters in some detail, working in another spike in the action. I wasn't sure if the action was essentially wrapped up by now, but I found a way to resolve the loose ends, bring in Amanda's family some, and get a little more nail-biting in for the reader while I'm at it. That is exactly what I was aiming for. The trouble I'm having is I can't seem to get a start on those last chapters. It seems I'm waiting for the right burst of energy to come along to put the plan in motion. In the meantime, I'm getting antsy because I really do want to start posting soon.

So, for tonight, I'm going to post a section of a reworked chapter that pleases me.



Lee cast a long, sideways look and a bemused smile her way while he waited for her to finish her diatribe. At the end of it, he simply shrugged. “Maybe we’ve been trying too hard to have it both ways.”

“What?!”

He took her hands in his and studied them, caressing them gently. “I guess I figured it would come to this eventually. Our worlds…” He paused and grimaced, hesitating before he lifted his eyes to hers and revealed his dramatic conclusion. “Well, they don’t mix.” Before Amanda’s spluttering protest could leave her lips, he hastily continued, “Aw, Amanda, just think about it. This business is no place to raise a family.”

At that moment, she wasn’t sure whether she might laugh at him or scream. In lieu of either, she drew her hands away and perched them on her hips as she crested a hot wave of indignation. “Lee Stetson! If you thought it was impossible to mix family and business, what would possess you to marry suburban mom? You of all people know I’ve been juggling both worlds since the day we met at that train station. So what’s changed? Now, after four years, my family is your family, too. Yes, I know that scares you. I understand. But I’m in this as deep as you are, and I’m still moving forward, and you can too. We’re in this together, buster, for better or worse.”

She hadn’t finished speaking her mind before Lee stood up and turned on his heel, filing a hand through his thick hair. And for a long moment, he remained in that spot in silence, facing the window a few paces away, hands stuffed in his pockets. When he turned to face her again, his expression had turned to stone except for the telltale twitch in his jaw, while his hazel eyes widened in a devil-may-care look of nonchalance. Amanda cocked an eyebrow back at him in return, an unspoken question, and made no other reply. She knew better than to let herself be baited. Her husband was near paralyzed with fear, and if her keen understanding of the man hadn’t informed her, his next words to her did.

“There’s too much at stake here,” he declared flatly. “It’s not just you and me in the field anymore.” As her silence lengthened, his hands emerged from hiding and began to slice the air with his agitation, the well-practiced Scarecrow façade rapidly crumbling apart. “Don’t you see it? I put myself out there every day, and so do you. We’re human bull’s eyes. And we watch each other, yes. But my God, Amanda, now there’s another life we have to consider. And it’s not the same as—“ He cut himself off, sucked in a breath, and dropped his hands to his sides, looking disconcertedly vulnerable.

Amanda shot to her feet and came to him, wrapped her arms around him, and held him, her anger spent. For the first time, she could see with startling clarity the extent to which his participation in their joint family life tore open old wounds he had long buried away. She had caught glimpses of them at every major holiday, how his impulse even now was to steal away from the inner circle, stand by on the periphery, never get too close. Reminiscent of their early years of working together, he still kept his station on the outside looking in, figuratively if no longer literally. Lee had spent decades taunting fate with his life, backlash against the losses of so many of the most important relationships he had known. And now that his safety was no longer a matter of relative indifference to him, he must be struggling every day to allow himself the luxury of forging bonds with his ready-made family, let alone a brand new member, a helpless infant for whom he assumed an unparalleled responsibility.

“I know,” Amanda murmured. She squeezed him a little tighter and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sweetheart, I know.”

After a minute, he drew another deep breath. With his forehead resting against hers, his breath warm against her face, he began again, quietly. “It’s not that I don’t love Phillip and Jamie like they’re my own. You know I do. But they’ll be the first to tell you, they have a father. If anything happened to me now…”

“Lee—“

His eyes were dark with his troubles when he lifted his head and met Amanda’s soft gaze. “I can’t risk it, Amanda. Not now. I can’t risk leaving you alone.”

She felt the tears flood her eyes as they clung to each other as though their lives depended on it. How long they stood that way, Amanda could only guess. Afterward, she didn’t dare challenge him any further. That night, Amanda proposed finishing her current coursework and remaining a level two agent. The next morning, Lee approached Billy about the State Department offer. It was a shared resolution that could neither please nor satisfy either of the Stetsons. But in the end it would be worth it, because no one would get hurt.


Airborne

Oct. 26th, 2012 09:16 pm
paulak_rumin8: Austin and speck (Default)

Picture this. Sitting in the rear left seat of a cab with the approximate space of an old VW Bug, shuddering with the noise and sensation of lousy suspension and no muffler, rumbling down the pavement at an increasing rate of speed, until...launching up, airborne, to approximately 7000 feet. That is what I did today. It was a splendid opportunity to fly to a tourist destination Husband and I would never have thought to visit--normally about a 5-hour drive--and stay the night in a motel with neat features like an in-room double-sized whirlpool tub. Coupled with my girls'-day-out excursion to Chicago with my sister in law last weekend, I'm feeling pretty cosmopolitan right now. Okay, not really. I'm feeling completely exhausted. I'm strung out on the after-effects of Dramamine, which is imperative for me to handle small aircraft with any dignity. We had a nice overnight trip with a couple from church--he's a retired Army captain who has flown many kinds of aircraft for many years. They wanted us to accompany them on a trip in their single engine Cesna, and there you have it. When will an opportunity like that ever come knocking again?

In other news, I got back in the saddle and revamped my SMK story. I spent a particularly long time reworking chapter 2, which makes me much more eager to complete the story now. In particular, I developed the antagonist(s) further. I'm going to post some of this chapter tonight. Unfortunately, I'm working the weekend, so I probably won't be writing anything new until at least Sunday night. Oh well, you take it where you can. So, without further ado, Chapter 2 segment:



Lee turned to peer over his shoulder in time to hear the bells jangling as a sandy-haired businessman not much older than Carolyn stepped into the room. He was tall and lean, with boyish facial features, well dressed in a suit and tie, and carried a briefcase in one hand, and a pistol in the other. To Carolyn, he said sharply, “It’s time to go.”

Lee lifted his chin knowingly. The other shoe had dropped. Without so much as a blink, he plastered on his best lazy grin and casually leaned against the reception counter. Gesturing toward the gun, he drawled, “Does this method get you much business, Mr. Alexander?”

“I’m not Alexander, and you know it. Now shut up and give me the letter,” the man spat back. His pistol was trained on Lee, and he remained at a comfortable distance, directly in front of the door.

“What letter?”

The gun shook in his hand. “I’m not playing the game anymore. I know who you are. Just hand it over and get out of here.”

Lee abandoned leaning on the counter and stood erect, but made no other move toward extracting the message. He set his jaw and smiled tightly. “You know me? Well, then let’s make the introduction complete. You are…?”

“Someone who should have shot you by now.” His eyes darted toward Carolyn and returned to watch Lee again as Lee begin to make a move toward his jacket. “Slowly,” the gunman barked. “And drop your gun right here.” He indicated a spot on the floor between them with the toe of his shoe.

Lee held open both sides of his jacket. “Hey, man, I’m unarmed. I’m just here for an 8:00 meeting with Mr. Alexander.” He casually strode forward one step, then another. “It’s about a job,” he continued, removing his tri-folded résumé from the same inside pocket as the drop letter. “See?” He extended the paper toward the man with a smug smile.

The man hesitated, confused. He exchanged glances with Carolyn, who still stood wide-eyed and mute behind the counter, hands tightly gripping the back of the desk chair. He took the document from Lee’s outstretched hand. “It is a résumé,” he said wonderingly as he inspected it.

That distraction was all Lee needed. In one fluid motion, his left leg swiped upward and cleanly kicked the gun from his assailant’s grip. Then Lee descended on him, fists flying. In the back of his mind, he was aware the woman was with the gunman, and he kept a mental tab on the location of the errant gun so it wouldn’t wind up in her hands. Although he couldn’t deny she didn’t seem the type to know what to do with a gun even if it were placed in her hands for her.

Lee’s adversary turned out to be more evenly matched to Lee’s hand-to-hand combat skills than he would have wished. The man recovered almost instantly from his surprise at being disarmed, and deflected Lee’s first left hook, countering with a straight to his jaw that send Lee reeling. He leapt onto Lee in a tackle, knocking him to the floor, and the two grappled there, alternately swinging punches and reaching for the gun, which had skittered across the floor under a chair. Lee’s opponent stood up again, taking the time to bellow at the woman, “Get out, Carolyn!” She froze in shocked horror for an instant before she burst through the reception office door, bypassing the gun entirely, and ran out the lobby door, bells ringing tumultuously in her wake.

Lee and his opponent held each other off, staggering toward the reception window, where Lee ended up on the countertop with the unknown man on top of him, pinning him. An elbow came shooting down toward his gut. Lee twisted, narrowly missing the elbow, and braced his foot against the man’s groin, effectively launching him away. It didn’t quite achieve the desired effect. The man fell backwards, crab-walked to the chair and gained control of the gun again.

As the barrel came sweeping up in his direction, Lee pulled to an immediate halt, palms open, facing outward, bracing himself for the inescapable impact of bullet to flesh. “Oh come on, man!” he cried in a last ditch attempt to diffuse his assailant. “Stop while you’re ahead. You haven’t killed anyone yet.” He mentally cursed himself for allowing the man to regain his weapon. It had been known to happen before, and Lee profoundly disliked the situation every time.

Against every reasonable expectation, the man held his fire. With gun and eyes fixed on Lee, he instead reached backward blindly and picked up the briefcase he had dropped at the beginning of their fight, clutching it tightly against his chest. He stumbled to his feet, eyes wild. “You want to end it? Fine. The letter for your life,” he demanded in a shaking voice, breathing hard.

Lee had faced off against many a gunman in his work. This one would be sealed in his memory for one reason only. Humanity glistened in his eyes, the haunted look of a man horrified by his own actions. They lacked the coldness of most men long hardened by this covert game to the death called espionage that Lee knew and played so well. Perhaps the young man had never killed someone before. Perhaps he had and didn’t want to repeat the experience. But at that moment, Lee knew this man did not want to shoot him.

Slowly, Lee reached back into his jacket for the letter, contemplating how to buy himself more time. “Then come and get it, if it’s worth that much to you…”

A muffled cry from Carolyn, outside in the adjoining corridor, interrupted them. “Lenny, the ambulance is here!” she screamed, fear evident in the rising inflection of her voice.
To Lee’s surprise, the man’s interest in the letter, still held in Lee’s outstretched hand, vanished. He swore an oath and his face went pale as he reeled away from Lee toward the corridor, ripping the door open as he reached it.

“What’s going on?” Lee demanded with a scowl.

At the threshold, the gunman turned around once more and paused, eyes locked with Lee. “It’s too late now. Just get out of here,” he said wearily. Then, as an afterthought, he added, “I’ll give you a five-count.” And he dashed out the door and was gone.

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