Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Everything is Relative by Konnie Enos

The other day I was having a conversation with a couple of young girls and my older son in which I was saying to those girls that my younger son was a big boy. My son with me insisted he wasn’t that big.
I said, “Size is relative.”
For my son, who is only an inch or so shorter than his younger brother, his brother isn’t that big. However to a couple of six year olds, a boy who is well over five and half feet tall and close to 200 pounds is pretty big.
I told my son when I was younger, like those girls, my dad would get huge Christmas trees and put them up in the living room at Grandma’s house each year. They were really tall. When I got older however the trees got shorter. Or so it seemed.
Then one day dad told me that he always got trees about six foot tall.
The trees weren’t smaller. I was bigger. Size is relative.
Now take this a step further. Many people today say everything is relative, meaning what is right and what is wrong can only be defined by the individual and their circumstances.
I watched a recent CSI: Cyber episode in which a man and his father-in-law took upon themselves the task of finding a kidney for the man’s wife by kidnapping people to harvest a kidney from them. (It should be noted the father-in-law was a surgeon.)
While the man was apologizing for kidnapping these people, however, the father-in-law saw nothing wrong with his actions. He had no intend to kill anyone, he simply wanted to save his daughters life.
The fact that without written consent he not only perform surgery, but took an organ from someone to save his daughter’s life never entered his mind, even though he would have lost his license for attempting such a thing had he still been a practicing surgeon. He felt he didn’t do anything horrible, because he didn’t plan on killing anyone.
Not that it mattered. Laws are absolute, not relative. They kidnapped, and one person died because of it. They were charged with three kidnappings and one murder.
But in this day and age far too many people think everything is relative. They think they can define morality or what’s right and wrong by their own code.
Just for a moment imagine the chaos that would exist if every human being could actually affect the definition of what was moral for themselves. Imagine a society where everyone defined their own laws.
How could you prosecute someone for killing if by their definition of murder they hadn’t killed anyone? How could you get them for theft if by their definition of stealing they’d just “borrowed” it? How could you get them for rape if by their definition all they did was enjoy some sex? How can you get someone for lying if by their definition they weren’t misleading the truth? How is it cheating if the person doing it doesn’t define it as such?
Do you see how that is chaos?
When people define their own morality they start justifying lying, stealing, cheating even killing other human beings.
So as I talked to my son and told him size is relative. I thought of all the things that people today like to say are relative, like morality, which really aren’t.
Somethings are absolute. Like all those Christmas trees over the years have been about six feet tall. What changed is my height, so I viewed the size of the trees differently.
Other things never change, no matter the era or how people view them.
Dystopia stories are popular right now. Just imagine one with a world where everyone defines their one moral code, their own laws.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

ADD and Me Again by BL Hamilton

Okay, I set out valiantly trying to add a good deal to my manuscript Cruise To Love, and I did start out okay, I added about 3k.
Yeah, I know, it isn’t much for two weeks. And yes, part of the problem was my ADD, but not all of it, in fact only a little bit of it. The problems started when my feet started hurting. Not only was nothing helping, but it got worse. At one point, I bawled just trying to walk from my bedroom to the bathroom, and I’d taken some pain pills before that! It was awful.
I couldn’t write while I writhing in pain. I couldn’t even think beyond the pain. Then I started the new medicine, the stuff to make my feet not kill me, and that meant taking the time to be sure the stuff didn’t make me drowsy before I started driving again, which was a hardship since that very week my sister-in-law, who depends on me to chauffer her around town had several appointments. I couldn’t take her. Plus our niece’s wedding reception was that weekend. 
Then there was the fact I couldn’t concentrate. Well, no that isn’t quite the right word, I couldn’t focus on writing, reading I could manage, and I did a ton of it, reading through several of Konnie’s manuscripts, some finished, and some unfinished.
And mentioning things I noticed in one of those, spurred Konnie into action. She’d worried before she needed to take one storyline out of one of her manuscripts, and now she’s finally working on doing it.
Problem is, that means deciding how to change things, which means brainstorming.
And guess who her brainstorming partner is.
Of course, it hasn’t been all her stuff we brainstormed on, since at one point, I did finally get writing again, and I realized I didn’t understand one character at all, so we spent one brainstorming session discussing her motivation. The results were that I had to go clear back to nearly the beginning of the story, at least a point in the first chapter, and do some tweaking.
At least it wasn’t completely back to the drawing board, totally open a new file, and start all over again, but I didn’t get very far. And I actually have one more excuse for not doing much. Or is it two? 
Okay, one was my niece’s aforementioned wedding reception, which, since it was down in Bountiful, Utah, took a whole day. And then there were two Sabbath’s in there. Though I admit one of those Sabbath’s I spent the whole day with my feet up and watching videos, but that was the day before I finally got into see a doctor, and got on the right medicine. I just couldn’t manage anything beyond the basics that day — food, water, and trips to the bathroom, period.
Anyway, I’m back at it, and trying, so, well instead of wishing me luck, why not try kicking me in the you know what if you discover I’m not working? I could really use the incentive.

Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Diversity and Barbie Dolls by Konnie Enos

Recently Mattel announced they were coming out with new models of Barbie dolls. Basically they were making them in more diverse sizes so girls could find dolls in their shape. From the articles I read they added like three new shapes, petite, curvy and tall.
Most everything I’ve read is praising this move saying now girls will find a doll in their body shape, pointing out how the dysmorphic shape of Barbie has caused girls for generations to have issues with their own bodies.
Since I received my first Barbie doll nearly forty-two years ago (I still have her, and then a great deal more), I feel I’m in a unique position to comment on this debate.
My favorite, and first, Barbie was Skipper. Forty-two years ago when I got her, Malibu Skipper was a pre-teen flat chested, flat footed, short doll. Back then I was a pre-teen, short, flat footed and extremely far from flat chested girl. Barbie, with her impossible to accomplish waist size, still had a chest size in keeping with what I had going on. Yes, I have a Malibu Barbie as well.
Then I see the article about the three new body shapes. You mean you have a whopping four body shapes to account for all the diverse shapes in the world?
I’m going to guess one of them isn’t petite, curvy and overweight. Though at twelve I was just petite and curvy. Nope, they don’t have that shape either. So no Mattel. You’re still not diverse enough.
But then people are saying girls have poor body images because they played with Barbie dolls.
I have five stuffed full trunks at present count. I’ve never in my life expected to be tall, with a way to skinny waist, big hips and still have my well-endowed chest. I wouldn’t have minded making five foot tall and not weighing more than 120 pounds, but I also wouldn’t have minded not being as well-endowed. So I don’t think I’ve ever expected or even wished I looked like Barbie.
I’ll admit girls who already have body image issues, thinking they’re fat when they’re clearly not, could easily have a problem with dolls like this, but let’s bear in mind that we’re talking about girls with health concerns. I seriously doubt the shape of a doll is going to be a problem for healthy girls. Sorry, it’s just a doll.
If you want to address diversity, make more male dolls. I’ve looked. A handful in the adult male sizes and at present none in the boy sizes. Seriously Mattel, I want some boy dolls for my Kelly and Stacy dolls to play with. While you have whole lot of friends for Kelly, absolutely none of them are boys.
In other words, Mattel, you’re not doing enough to be diverse. Step up your game Mattel. Include everyone. Make boy dolls in younger sizes.
And while you’re at it, make a larger selection of clothes for your adult male dolls and for your child size dolls.
And once upon a time you made Grandma and Grandpa Heart and a sheepdog dog for the Heart family collection and I really wish I’d been able get them for my collection while they were available because that, along with several child sized boys, would make my large family of Barbie dolls complete. And some large cars, and more trunks. I never have enough of those.
Then all I’d need is a room just to display them all.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ADD and Me by BL Hamilton

One of several things Konnie and I do not have in common is ADD. I have it. She doesn’t. Which probably explains why she has only four incomplete manuscripts and a whole slew of complete ones while I have six manuscripts for which I have finished the rough draft on, and well over 20 for which I haven’t finished at all, and that doesn’t the count all variations of any one story which I’ve kept, but discarded.
And, if you count her monster sci-fi manuscript as five novels (it’s certainly long enough to be that many), she has ten completed novels, whereas I only have six, and that’s counting two for which I did finish the rough on but have since done some major rewriting on, and the rewrites are not finished. And here I am the one with loads of time to write and she’s the one who has a daily battle with her family to get even five minutes to write!
Somehow, I’m getting the feeling being able to come up with new stories so often isn’t as such a good thing after all. I mean, how can it benefit me if I can’t finish what I start?
I don’t think I can, or would even want to change how I often start a story, decide I need to change or delete some major point in the story, and essentially start over. I mean, really, if you were to open my documents, you’d find tons of files; and in each folder there are several files, most are older versions, or variations of the story then there’s the “clips” file for that story, and character list, and a calendar of events for that story. Some also have lists like who’s in what class, or I have three with essentially family group sheets for the story. Two of those have family groups for several different families but the other one is for just one very large family.
And, if I hadn’t lost them before I got a scanner, I’d have floor plans and/ or maps for several of these stories in the file too. I really need to work on replacing them. I drew them once; I should be able to draw them again.
And in some of these files, without my various “notes” files, I wouldn’t even know what the story was now, or why I started it. Why I have one or two files, which are just notes (nothing more than an idea) that I’ve yet to expand into a story! I’m not even counting them on my incomplete story list.
In fact, just counting the ones which have reached a word count of twenty-five thousand or higher I have seventeen unfinished manuscripts, not counting the two finished but now in the middle of major rewrites. And not counting all the variations of any one story or the ones, which are just notes, I’ve started another eighteen stories. I have just notes on four and one scene that hasn’t got a story to go with it at all!
On top of this, for the last three years, my writing goal has been to complete at least two novels and I haven’t done it once. So here I am again, hoping to complete a rough. I’m only going for just one at a time, and maybe I’ll finish one or two of these before November comes around again, when I know I’ll start a new one. I’ve started a new one every November for the last thirteen years. (Last year I actually worked on two novels; one is on the under 25k list, and the other is on the over 25k list. I did manage over 60k this past November.)
Anyway, my goal for the next two weeks is to at least add around 25k to my Cruise To Love manuscript, which would bring it to almost done, but not quite. If I can maintain my Nano average, I should be able to finish this manuscript in three weeks. That’s if I can stick to it. Here’s hoping I do.

Happy writing everyone, and wish me luck! J