Tag Archives: silliness

Why Writing is Like Playing With A Cat

why writing

So this will be a funny post. But since my brain likes to draw parallels between seemingly unrelated things, we’re going to go with it.

The other day I was playing with Solstice Kitty, otherwise known as Solara, the adopted furry-white monstrosity that I ended up taking on in a sort of rescue situation. She’s pretty amazing but also a terror that likes to wake people up at 2 in the morning demanding attention, but I digress.

IMG_6408-2

Majestic murder-floof

 

We’ve been getting new toys for her (as we both work full time at the moment and she ends up bored and alone a lot of the day), and we found one that has really seemed to stick. It’s basically just a furry thing attached to a string attached to a stick that I hold and flick around/race across the room with.

My coming-home-from-work routine has become: get home, throw off annoying clothes and put on comfy ones, start a fire, starting playing with cat. Keep playing with cat, in between bouts of writing and making dinner and whatever else.

A few days in to this new routine, I was struck by an odd comparison: writing fiction is like using a toy to play with a cat.

And here’s why.

Writing professionally is a partnership. It’s an interaction between writer and reader.

So you dangle something in front of them. The reader (or the cat) has to be interested in whatever it looks like, first off. But if they are interested… that’s when the fun begins.

You can use this cat toy (book), and do the same movement, over and over. You can flick it around in the same pattern, the same way. But at some point you’re going to lose kitty-cat interest.

IMG_6521-2

Are you going to move it or what?

So you have to change it up. Move in circles, and then diagonal, and then figure-eights, whatever. Toss the toy in their lap, and then tease it away. Stand still for a second — and then jerk it away.

Maybe even run across the room. Make them chase you. Make them work for it. But if you do that all the time (constant, face-paced, always work), kitty cat loses interest because they can’t keep up, or no longer want to because it’s the same (and becomes boring). You might need to slow down at parts.

IMG_6523-2

Stop running away. I have it. IT’S MINE.

At the same time, letting them have the toy [answers] all the time just becomes… meh. Why bother? You’ll need to keep the toy [answers] away from said kitty (reader). At the same time, if that’s all you do, it’s frustrating and they’ll probably walk away.

It’s a balance, this kitty-playing and writing thing. Let them chew on it a bit. Maybe stop moving all together. Let them think they’ve won. Before racing away again!

IMG_6515-2

Nom nom nom nom nom

Obstacles are also a great way to spice things up. In fact, it’s highly recommended to use the actual environment of the book to create said obstacles. As for your feline friend, making them jump over couches, boxes, and chairs, or dive under couches, can be fantastically fun. It’s very exciting that way, you know.

IMG_6353 2

BUT, this is where the comparison falls apart a little. While you’re writing, you don’t actually directly have a reader to play with as the words flow (Well, I suppose you could…) It’s a solitary activity really.

So maybe the better comparison is more along the lines of programming a robot to go through a set of actions with a cat toy. And then watching as the cat plays to see if they continue to be entertained.

And then continually revising the programming. Because there are always a few moments that could be better…

IMG_6516-2

Last one I swear

Okay, so, I realize there are a lot of reasons why this parallel doesn’t actually work, starting with things like writing style (well, which could be the type of toy…), character development, and world building (though that could be the physical obstacles in the room…), but this is all just for fun anyway.

I hope you enjoyed my silly analogy session. Feel free to comment with your thoughts below!

I would like to note that I wrote this post while Solstice Kitty herself stared at me and attempted to intervene in all matters requiring fingers to be away from playing with her.

Advertisements

Liebster Award!

The lovely Lexi has nominated me for the Liebster Award —

Here are the rules:

  1. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate up to 11 bloggers and write 11 questions for them to answer.

Now I’ve got to make up a bunch of stuff to make me sound interesting.

Kidding! Kidding. Actually, these things are fun for reminding you that you are interesting — you just forget, because you’re so used to being in your own skull.

So! Facts About Me:

  1. I’m building a house made of straw. Seriously, it’s made of straw bales. Don’t believe me? Okay, fine, pictures:
  1. This is not the first time I’ve built a house of straw. Yeah, so, most of my teenage years were devoted to building a much bigger house. Also made of straw. Here, some more pictures:
  1. I raise dairy goats. You probably knew that already if you follow me at all on Twitter and Instagram. But here are some more pictures:
  1. I got my first computer at 12. Incidentally, this is when I started writing for hours on end. This is probably why I primarily type over hand writing. Once I had the ability to write as fast as I thought, it was settled for me. (Drat, I don’t have any pictures of it.)
  2. I’ve written four books. Two are the sequels in two separate series. One series is on the back-burner. The other is currently out in the world trying to be published.
  3. I punched a boy in the *cough* once over a bumblebee. He was trying to squish it with his shoe. I was in my indignant save-the-animals-save-the-world stage. I didn’t really purposely aim. I was just trying to get him to stop and I was dropping to my knees to protect the poor striped fellow and… yeah. (I don’t have pictures of that either)
  4. I wore a cloak for most of my pre-adolescence. My mom made it for me. When that one got to small, my mom made me another one. Hey, actually, a now and then picture:

futurepast-cloaked

  1. I’m really bad at endings. As in, bringing a story to it’s conclusion. I’ve written endings to books — but then the book is part of a series, and continues on and…
  2. I changed lightbulbs all throughout college. It was a student employee position. And paid ridiculously well for what it was.
  3. I wrote a 90 page thesis in college on ancient philosophy applied to current democratic trends in the United States. Pretty much, the United States isn’t a Democracy. It’s an Oligarchy. (Seriously, look it up).
  4. I’m blanking on a good 11th one… I… am the shortest person in my family. Seriously, my parents and sister might as well be giants, and I’m 5’3″.

 

Now, the questions from Lexi!

1. What is the scariest scene you’ve ever written (without spoilers)?

Errrrrrrr. My main characters running through an abandoned train tunnel to face a creature that can reanimate dead flesh is probably what fits best here. It’s friggin’ creepy as heck. I have other kinds of scary scenes I’ve written… in the more my-future-is-sacrificed scary… but I can’t go into those because spoilers. 😉

2. What kind of music do you listen to? Favourite band/artist?

I listen to a lot of genres, actually. Pop, Rock, Heavy Metal, dub-step, even country sometimes. I probably favor pop and alternative. My favorite band currently — because they’re awesome and always inspirational for my writing — is Two Steps From Hell.

3. If your friends and/or family were to compare you to one literary character, who would it be?

Oh boy. I have no idea. I think my sister compared me to Hermione once.

4. If you could change ONE historical moment to make the world better, which would it be? Note: You’d still have the friends and family you have now.

Of course you’d have to ask that. See, but I can’t choose one, because certain events lead to the next event, and the farther you go back, the more you understand about current politics and world events, and how could I possibly pick the right one to change? Or go back far enough to get the one that will really [resolve conflict in the Middle East, etc]? I mean, there’s always preventing Hitler from being born. But that seems like the easy way out.

5. If you were to be stuck wearing one colour/shade for the rest of your life, which would it be? Why?

Yikes. Probably blue. Because I love it and it looks pretty decent on me. Or black. Because it’s black.

6. Who/what has given you the most inspiration for your writing, thus far?

Ooo, that’s a hard one. I can point to a lot of people who have all given me a piece of lasting inspiration/encouragement for my writing. Family members, for sure.

7. Do you have any tattoos and/or piercings (other than your earlobes and navel)? What are the tats and/or where did you get yourself pierced?

Nope. I’m boring like that. I want a tattoo though (says everyone on the planet). If I was brave I’d get giant dragon wings down my back. Or a blue dragon resting across my shoulders and down my arms.

8. Are you one of those people who still have real conversations over the phone?

Pfff of course not who do you think I —
Okay fine. Yeah. I do. I used to all the time (to BF and BFF, etc), though it’s fewer and farther in between now.

9. If you could live in the world of ONE television show, which would it be? Why?

Oh Christ. Fringe! No — Doctor Who! Wait — do I get to choose who I play in this TV show? I mean, like, not actually be one of the main characters already being played. I’d just hate to be one of the people who always die in these shows.

10. If you could resurrect anyone without ramifications, who would it be? Why?

My dad. Because he left me way before I’d asked him all the questions I need to about life, writing, and… I don’t know, being human.

11. This is the most difficult question of the bunch: Cheesecake, cheesecake, cheesecake, cheesecake, or CHEESECAKE?

CHEEESSSEEECAAAAKKKKEEEEE!!!!!!! Preferably chocolate.

 

Now to the nominating part! Ah jeez do I know 11 people who won’t be annoyed that I nominated them for this?

Nicole from ThoughtsStainedWithInk – because yeah obviously. You wanna write about yourself, right?

Christina with MarginsAndMuses – (I JUST FIGURED OUT HOW TO MAKE WORDPRESS FOLLOW BLOGSPOT AND I’M SO HAPPY I CAN FOLLOW YOU NOW!)

Harlec with TheUnadulteratedThinkings – because how can you not want a random post about yourself?

Derek Murphy with UrbanEpics – Hey, I bugged you at the Willamette Writer’s Conference in 2015, I’ll bug you here now! (Everyone else – Derek writes a lot of good stuff and has great advice, I nudge you to go check him out)

DMG Byrnes – I definitely feel like you want to do this.

Julie Lonewolf – (Julie where is your blog. I need it ;). )

Jessica C with SparkToWrite – Is your life really that awkward? Share, share, share. >:)

Rebecca Frohling with CaffeinatedChipmunk – I feel like hilarity might ensure with you and this.

BlondeWriteMore – because you always have fun stuff to say.

K.J. Chapman with WriterlyBookishStuff – I see your book promotion you posted!

Jenna Brownson – you want a giant, random blog post to write about yourself, right?

 

 

And my 11 questions:

  1. What’s your biggest regret? (We’re starting off deep here, apparently)
  2. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  3. What’s your dream writing space?
  4. What author are you currently learning from/being inspired by?
  5. What’s your biggest writer goal you’re working on right now?
  6. What’s your biggest life goal you’re working on right now?
  7. If you could change your eye color, what would you want it to be? Strange colors totally allowed.
  8. Who’s your current/favorite book boyfriend/girlfriend?
  9. If you could get one material item right now without having to pay for it, what would it be?
  10. Outside of writing, what’s your dream job?
  11. Finally, any exciting book release/promotion stuff going on? And if you’re still wandering in unpublished land like me: what’s a recent writing/life epiphany you’ve had?