Tag Archives: procrastinate

Life with Dog

We’ve had our dog Teddy for over two months now. One thing I can say as someone who’s never owned a dog before – it’s not what I expected.

My twins had been begging for a dog for years. Finally, they persuaded my husband and I to get one. At 14-years of age, they convinced us that they would be responsible for most of the care-taking.

Miriah Hetherington's dog Teddy

Teddy in the backyard

I imagined life with a canine companion… a long pleasant walk with him in the morning, whilst thinking about my current work in progress. Followed by sitting at my desk writing as the dog slept peacefully at my feet. In my day-dream, after school one of the twins would take the dog for another walk. We’d all get more exercise.

Any parent reading this knows exactly where this is going…

Sleeping-in on the weekend is right out. Somebody has to let Teddy out of the crate for a potty break, and that somebody is me, the mom.

I hardly ever see our two cats anymore, and I miss them. They come out of hiding only to eat and use the litter box. There is no doubt in my mind that Teddy would kill them if given the chance. I asked the private rescue organization if the dog had been tested for compatibility with cats, and they told me “it’s all about how you introduce them.” I should have known what that really meant was: “He loves cats, he just can’t eat a whole one.”

Walking Teddy is hard work, and requires constant attention. So of course, it’s my job. He weighs eighty pounds and lunges away at the least whiff of a rabbit, or the sight of a bird or squirrel. Teddy’s current body count is two: he’s killed one rabbit and one bird, so far. We’ve been working on leash-walking in obedience class. He’s getting better, but walking him is a long way from a pleasant, relaxing experience. In fact, for now training means no long walks at all – I’m stuck in ultra-boring up-and-down our street mode.

Teddy with one of my kids

Teddy with one of my kids

Other than his enthusiasm for murdering small animals, Teddy is a very sweet guy. He’s very gentle with people and doesn’t pay attention to other dogs. He’s smart and quick to learn. He’s motivated more by attention than treats. Except for the cats, we all love him.

I have hope that eventually, he will get used to our cats and see them as companions rather than potential chew-toys.

Do your pets help or hinder your writing efforts?

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Shiny first draft

(Why, yes. It HAS been a long time since I posted a blog update. Shut up.)

I entered the Writers of the Future contest for the first time, third quarter (deadline June 30). I heard on September 15th that my story got an “Honorable Mention” status. I feel pretty good about that.

The next entry deadline is almost here, September 30th. I just finished a new short story that I think might be a contender – after some serious revision.

The beach at Fort Worden

The beach at Fort Worden

I thought I’d share my internal dialog:

Right Brain: I finished it! This is the best story I have ever written! It’s so shiny! I love it so much! I have to submit it RIGHT NOW!

Left Brain: No way. We just finished it. This is a rough draft. Do you remember what happened last time we did that?

Right Brain: Okay, yeah. But we revised that story later and, well, THIS story is SO MUCH BETTER! It’s so fluffy! We sent it to Mom and she LOVED it.

Left Brain: Mom loves everything we write.

Right Brain: She said it made her cry.

Left Brain: It was supposed to. But we already know the characterization of the protagonist is inconsistent. And we still have some fact checking to do…

Right Brain: So, let’s do it! Let’s start right now!

Left Brain: We need to catch up on everything we let slide while we were finishing the story. Plus, we already sent it off to our crit group. We need to wait for their feedback. Those women are smart. They always catch stuff we miss.

Right Brain: Okay, okay. But after the crit group meeting we still have two days. Plenty of time. We can revise that sparkly story and get it in before the deadline.

Left Brain: Whoa there. We have to wait for the sparkles to fade, so we can see the flaws.

Right Brain: This story doesn’t have any flaws. I’m sure of it.

Left Brain: Oh, the flaws are there alright, we just can’t see them. Yet. We have to put that story aside for at least two weeks, a month would be better, so we can see the flaws and fix them.

Right Brain: But, but…. okay, you’re right. I guess we have to wait until next quarter to send it in.

Left Brain: Sadly, yes.

Anybody else ever had this conversation with themselves?

because purple is my favorite color

I’ve been wanting to color some of my hair purple (again) for some time.

Miriah Hetherington

Miriah with purple hair


This was the first time I used bleach to lighten (part of) my hair before coloring it. Seriously nasty stuff. I’m sure the fumes killed a spider that has been hanging around my bathroom sink. Also, after it was on, my hair got hot – really hot. I had to ask one of my twins if it was supposed to do that. The purple was easy, but I did have to be VERY careful to clean every accidental smudge right away.

a bee caught by a spider in Miriah Hetherington's front garden

Bee caught by a spider.


I love the lavender that is blooming in front of my house. The bees like it too. As do spiders, apparently.

Have you done anything unusual (for you) this summer?

Happy Writing

Choreographing a fight scene

There are two fight scenes in a story I’m working on, so lately I’ve been reading articles about writing fight scenes in general, and trying to visualize my fight scenes in particular.

Norwescon was last weekend (a fantastic conference, btw) and one panel I attended was “Writing Action” with Craig English, Erik Scott de Bie, Erin Evans, Michael Tinker Pearce, and Dean Wells.

Some of the notes I took in the panel:
• a fight scene must advance the plot – something must change
• get into your POV character’s head
• the action is about how the POV character reacts, not who hits who with what
• ground the narrative in sensory information – smells, sounds etc.
• the POV character should be hurt in a fight, something should go wrong
• establish the emotional stakes before the fight – the reader should care about the fight outcome
• in a life/death situation, people react automatically according to their training (or lack of training)
• setting is important, including bystanders – props can become weapons
• pay attention to how fights usually go in movies and take it in a surprising direction

But first, I had to figure out what happens during the fight in my story. There are several people in the scene, and even though I’m only going to write what the POV character is aware of, I need to know what else is going on. Because, while she is busy with one enemy, the other characters aren’t just standing around!

So I procrastinated threw together a few props and took pictures. Here are a few of them:

fightsceneA

fightsceneB

 

 

 

 

 

 

The POV character is blue. A couple of red shirts turn on shields that attract flying predators. One red shirt drops and gets shredded while my hero and the others fight off the rest.

It was fun setting this up. Hopefully the writing result will be easy to follow.

Happy Writing

Dandelion Inspiration

Argh. It has been almost three months since my last post. Time for some introspection? Excuses? Self flagellation? Pledges to post regularly from now on?

Naw. (Who wants to read that?)
Well, maybe an implied pledge. Because obviously I’m starting to blog again.

I found this dandelion growing in my driveway the other day.

Nature finds a way to keep growing.

Nature finds a way to keep growing.

It inspired me with its tenacity and simple beauty. I want to be like this dandelion. Push through the cement and grow like a weed.

Happy Writing

Nano Excuses

Well, here it is December already. I would like to say that I skipped posting to my blog for the entire month of November because I was busily plugging away at my NaNoWriMo novel. That’s what I’d like to say. But the truth is that I stopped nano-ing about a week-and-a-half in. It wasn’t a complete loss. I wrote about 7,500 words of the novel I had in mind, and about 6,000 words of the pre-quell novella that I also had in mind. So I didn’t come close to “winning” Nano. But – the way I look at it – it’s more than I had before.

I have some resolutions for the next Nano…

1) Get my family on board with supporting me. In advance.

2) Make sure that if there are any submission deadlines coming up at the end of November, I will finish that story before Nano starts.

3) Complete the detailed outline for my Nano-novel before NaNoWriMo starts.

Hmm. I see a pattern here…

Green Woman with Rowan Berries
This Green Woman is on the wall over my desk;-)

One thing I DID accomplish in November was writing and submitting a story for an “Urban Green Man” anthology. It had been two months since the last time I submitted a story, so it felt really good to send one out.

Another thing I did in November – that I’m counting as an accomplishment, but was really more like a fun distraction – was post two “Drabbles” (stories of exactly 100 words), and three “Twabbles” (exactly 100 characters each) in the Drabblecast.org forums. I’ve created a new page – Fiction in a Flash – here on my blog to share them.

I’m still First-Reading for Strange Horizons. It’s a volunteer gig that can be somewhat time consuming, but I feel that I am learning SO much.

Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo, the Prequel

This is the mandatory blog post that all bloggers who participate in NaNoWriMo make. The one where I announce to the world the full extent of my writing insanity and say, “Yes, I am planning to write a novel during the month of November.”

NaNoWriMo

Yes! I am participating

Never mind that I have dozens of time consuming things already on the calendar for November. Never mind Thanksgiving, never mind Christmas shopping, never mind that my twins’ birthday is the first week of December. Because somehow I am going to make time to write (on average) 1667 words a day.

One year and three days ago, I heard about NaNoWriMo for the first time.

For anyone out there who still has never heard of National Novel Writing Month, you can read about it on their website here. The basic idea is that writers from all over the world attempt to write fifty thousand (50,000) words of a new novel during the month of November.

Last year on October 29, I decided try it. I logged in and signed up. With no time to prepare, I based my story (very loosely) on the backstory of one of my PBEM RPG characters, in an alternate universe version of the world the RPG is set in. I accomplished the 50,000 word goal. I met a few fellow Nanos at write-ins and online (one I still write with). But at the end of November my “novel” was a mish-mash of vignettes that barely held together as a narrative.

This year I planned to have a carefully prepared outline. But here it is October 30, and still no outline.

But, I do have a story in mind. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the world of my story. I know the main characters and the villain. I know the conflict. I’ve done quite a few of the exercises in Alan Watt’s book “the 90-day novel”. So, I have a plan, which is more than I had last time.

If you are Nano-ing also, I would love it if you “buddy” me on the Nano web site! My user name (no surprise here) is “Miriah”.

Happy Writing!