Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Random Writer Thoughts

In honor of summer brain (which in my case involves lots of daydreaming, little writing, and a giant waterspout of weird thoughts,) here are some totally bizarre, utterly non-linear, sometimes senseless, rarely useful, and always random thoughts today:

1. What is the opposite of a pet peeve? You know, a little thing you especially like? Don't say 'favorite,' because that's different.

2. I really, really, really love semi-colons (My CPs will attest to this. They may also swear and complain about it.) They're just so useful. They're like the Swiss Army Knife of writing.

3. My pet peeve on romance stories (see #1 above), by which I mean any genre that contains a romance plot, be it sci-fi, literary fiction, horror, whatever: sex scenes that do nothing to further the plot. Don't get me wrong; gratuitous sex is fine - if you're writing erotica. In that case, sex it up. But if it's a romance plot, please, make the sex plot-worthy. Let something happen - character progression, relationship progression, etc. - during it. I am not talking about books that actually are in the romance genre, because I am not the expert on how to write those. I'll let the actual experts speak on that count.

4. I want a literary tattoo. I've wanted one for years. The problem is that I can't decide on which quote to get. Should I go classical, and choose some snippet of Sonnet 65? Should I go modern/fantasy/political, and have some wise nugget of Ursula Le Guin's inked on me? Or should I do poetry, in which case Mary Oliver or Adrienne Rich feel like my favorite options? I have no idea. It's impossible to decide. Which is why I don't have one yet.

5. My favorite smells in the whole world: wood smoke. Old books. Leaves in autumn. The sea. Honeysuckle.

6. This poem. (see #4 above)

7. Is there anything better than settling down with a book you've been looking forward to reading, with uninterrupted hours stretching in front of you? I think not.

8. Bless the public libraries. Many times in my life, when I was too poor to buy all the books I wanted to read, libraries gave me a way to still have #7 (above.) Since I can, I now buy books more often and support authors and indie bookstores, but I continue to use, and appreciate, the library.

Thanks for staying with me to the end, my dears. What random thoughts are you having these days? Do you know the answer to #1, or have a vote on #4? Any input on #3?


  1. Mary Oliver is my favorite poet, she's amazing! I say go w/her. ;) But yeah, tough decision! Yay for libraries! And semi-colons! And

  2. Oh, I love semi colons too. I had a story critiqued the other day, and it was suggested that I take many of them away. I did; but then realised I was adding them elsewhere :-)

    I want a literary tattoo too. The perfect quote is elusive though, isn't it? What if you find something better the very next day?!

    I've got so many books I'm looking forward to reading, but I'm not getting around to any of them at the moment!

  3. I'm not the one to ask about #4 as I have no ink. #8 I could sky write and it still wouldn't be enough. #3 is true for most romances as well. And #7 is something I've heard of, but only long ago. I haven't experienced that in a very long time.

    Love your ramblings, as usual!!! :)

  4. I used to hate semicolons, but then I grew to love them. I actually don't use them all that much right now (just because it feels weird with my current narrator) but I'm sure I'll use them again.
    I think my main reason for not getting a tattoo (besides fear of pain...) is that I could never decide on what to get. So I don't think I could be much help there!

  5. I try to never use semicolons in my fiction writing. No advice on the tattoo. I'm not a big fan of body art. And I love my local library. I use it all the time.
    Susan Says

  6. 1. No idea but now I must go find out.
    2. I do, too! And I'm sure my critique group secretly hates me for it.
    3. Ugh. The worst. They teach us in screenwriting that every scene must exist for a reason. The same should generally be true of prose, I think.
    4. I've wanted a tattoo for ages, but I'm too wimpy to get one. Plus, I also can't decide. Please post quotes and we'll vote!
    5. Old books! Jasmine and honeysuckle! Rain on hot pavement!
    6. Lovely.
    7. I can't remember what that was like.
    8. :)

  7. Sometimes I actually find the library a sanctuary. I'll take my textbook and notepad/laptop and head there just so I can make some progress. There's something about the public library that compels me to focus on my reading.

  8. Not a tattoo person, so wrong person to ask.
    No idea on the first thing.
    My favorite thing is the exclamation point. Really!
    And don't worry, no sex in my books. It was hard enough writing a kissing scene.

  9. I too love semicolons, and I know I use them way too much. They sneak into semi-formal e-mails to work and even completely informal e-mails with friends. I don't know how to stop. O_o

    As for sex scenes, I don't find them interesting, really. What I like seeing more is the moments right before and right after. Show the characters' feelings as they're about to be together, and/or show their reactions afterward; those things are a ton more telling than saying who did what to who with what. Or show others' reactions, especially if said sex scene is meant to be particularly noisy. That's fun too.

    And I want to get a tattoo of something from Neil Gaiman's "Sandman". Anyone who says that it's not literature because it's a graphic novel is completely wrong.

  10. I love the weird thoughts :). And maybe the opposite of pet peeve is wild love (I'm thinking pet/wild like an animal). And for the tattoo, you could get that poem you linked to inked on. I know it's long, but it would be cool. Or you could just go with the "the world offers itself to your imagination" bit.

  11. ooh I overuse semi-colons too, also these -- (m dashes) I love those lol. I wish I could like wood smoke but I'm allergic :( le sigh. Flares up my asthma (although what doesn't flare up my asthma lol) as for romance, I agree...I don't read much of it, but when I read heavy romance scenes in YA it annoys me if it's just there for the sake of being there!

  12. At this point I'm having so many random thoughts that I can't keep track or remember them all. Aside from that I think as for a literary tattoo, you should go with the last two lines from Sonnet 65. I myself have been sorely tempted to get the deathly hallows symbol for a 2nd tattoo. But still haven't. And I agree with you #7 and #8. Curling up with a good book with uninterrupted peace and quiet is a luxury I rarely enjoy. And the library has always been my second home.

  13. I love semicolons! And public libraries! I still go to public libraries about once a week to get books or movies that I want to check out and not buy. My favorite smells....autumn, baking bread, and fresh cut grass.

  14. I love semicolons! And public libraries! I still go to public libraries about once a week to get books or movies that I want to check out and not buy. My favorite smells....autumn, baking bread, and fresh cut grass.

  15. I'd like to get a literary tattoo too one day. I like some of the temporary ones from Litographs (, particularly the Beowulf quote.

  16. Interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing.

  17. Opposite of pet peeve? Human happiness:) I was gone yesterday with my hubby to a town we have never visited. We pick a town within 2 hours drive away and go there for the day. It was so much fun even though paying for it today (too much walking). My favourite is the exclamation point. I use it often. I am not for a tattoo but you may not better once the little ones arrive. I would mark some down on a note pad and see which one seems to hit you the most. It may not even be the actual words but an image it brings to mind that will always remind you of that quote.

  18. I also love semi-colons; they're just right for certain sentences. :p

    I think if I were to get a literary tattoo, it would be a quote from Anne Frank. The one that goes something like, "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart." It breaks my heart, but it's beautiful, and it says so much about humanity.

    While I rarely get to the library during the school year, I take the kids every week during summer (and winter break).

  19. Oh wow I love that Mary Oliver poem. Beautiful! Somehow I'd never read it before so I'm so glad you shared it.
    And now you also made me want to smell honeysuckle, autumn leaves, and especially the sea. Or more specific, the Vineyard sea. <3

  20. A literary tattoo. Yes. That would be awesome. Also, one of my favorite smells is books. Old books, new books. Maybe just paper. But I do sniff books. I'm not ashamed.