Monday, March 18, 2024

A few trip memories and . . . First Lines

Home now after 6 days on the road, driving back from Tucson. Not so easy to settle back into those familiar routines after being away for 6 weeks. I can close my eyes and see palm trees, cactus, and desert mountains, their layers outlined in red and orange and brown. Imagine walking along a winding trail in Kolob Canyon to see petroglyphs from long ago, estimated to be about 1,000 years old and made by the Anasazi or Southern Paiute. No one is quite sure how to decode these images.

Everywhere we drove along the Red Vermillion Trail, magnificent vistas of the desert near Zion greeted us:

As we stopped at the Navajo Bridge, we saw something unexpected: An American Condor entertained us by flying back and forth over the bridge before settling to sun himself on a nearby rock.

Now, home, it's time for writing. I missed participating in First Line Frenzy with Rebecca Heyman of Reedsy last Wednesday. We were driving through an unexpected snowstorm, near Coeur d'Alene. So, this morning, I discovered an older blog post highlighting her reactions. An interesting read. Here are my first lines from Unleashed Pursuit:

Cat unlocked the door between the two apartments and led the young girl clutching her four-month-old baby inside. “You’ll be safe here. Just stay one hour, and then . . ..” Cat pushed a slip of paper into her hand. “Go to this address. They’ll take care of you.”

If you enjoy reading gritty mysteries, would this pull you in? As I reread it, my editing head starts listing questions . . . so this may not be the final opening. But isn't that the way some of us write? First the concept, a few scenes, then more scenes, plot holes, duplications, and revision. Lots of revision. Wouldn't an outline help? Funny to mention as that's my next challenge, especially since I'm stuck on the ending and have been for awhile.
  • Does the story end with HEA, hero and heroine finally together?
  • What remains unresolved between them? With the case they've worked on?
  • What changes have either made? What lessons learned? How have they healed (if they did)?
  • Do they remain committed to their previous lives -- both in different locations? If they are ready to move, which one will make that sacrifice?
As you can see, much more work is needed on this draft, currently at about 49K. Luckily, mornings are perfect for digging in.  May your day go well.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

IWSG: March 2024 . . . already?

 No, I'm not really ready for it to be March or 2024!

We're in Tucson for another day, warm sun, palm trees, cactus-covered hills around us. Sigh. People are talking about today's rain -- supposed to drizzle about 4pm. Oofta. They don't know how lucky they are. Today's temps of 43F-60F do not really compare with 20F-43F back  home. By the weekend, Tucson will see temperatures of 75F, but we'll be on the road, heading for maybe snow?

Here's my favorite picture taken at Zion NP:

I'm a day late in writing a response to this month's IWSG prompt: Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

Yes, I did play with ChatGPT once last year when working on an outline. The draft summaries were helpful, but I didn't like not being able to work my own way into the story, so I stopped using AI.

The real problem is that narrow difference between 'helping' and 'replacing'. And that may refer to more than writing. Would it be easier and less expensive, for example, for corporations to use AI to write manuals than to pay technical writers? The direction we're headed with AI suggests a possible dark future, and I'm not talking about science fiction.

My sister says, "That will be interesting." I think we'll find the changes AI brings more life changing at all levels. Maybe I wouldn't mind a little help in figuring out what to cook for dinner, or to manage finances, or maybe even to market my writing, but is that all that AI will bring us? Will we decide what we want to use AI for, or, at some point, will AI take over?

Allen likes to tell a story about how early AI learned to play chess, playing thousands and thousands of games with itself, and then beating every human who ever played, including chessmasters. That self-learning capability probably leads me to paranoia. Truly, do I have any say in what AI will be used for? Or what it will become? I think not. 

Sorry for the dark response. In reality, I'm happy and excited. Tomorrow at the crack, we head north for home. Yes, colder temperatures, but family and quiet await us. I'll return to writing once again, cherishing memories of good times with family and friends and Tucson itself. 

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on AI. May all go well for you!

And about IWSG, aka Insecure Writer's Support Group: When my writing has slowed down, especially on the blog, participating in IWSG has helped me actually to write AND to connect with other writers, each of us on our own path. We try to read about 12 other posts and to show our appreciation to the hosts for this month. So, why not jump in and see what others are doing?

The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Kristina Kelly, Miffie Seideman, Jean Davis, and Liza @ Middle Passages!

Insecure Writer's Support Group is dedicated to its purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! 

And thank you to Alex Cavanaugh who says: "Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!"