Friday, August 27, 2010

Research When You Least Expect It

This past weekend, we went to a fun annual convention/concert here in San Diego called Tiki Oasis. It's the third year we've gone and we have a great time each one. It's basically what it sounds, a tiki themed convention with surf/tiki bands, symposiums, vendors and of course, tiki drinks (because what is a tiki convention without Mai Tais?)

This isn't Tiki Oasis, but it is our kitchen, displaying a few of my husband's tiki mugs from his collection.

Despite writing a book based in Hawaii and Hawaiian mythology, I didn't really think that I would be buying anything at Tiki Oasis for research purposes. Last year, I didn't see anything that would even inspire me, so this year was a surprise. Don't you love when that happens?
Since starting my current WIP, I've been collecting books on Hawaii and Hawaiian mythology. You never know which book will come in handy, so why not buy the ones that are out there just in case? To my shock, and elated surprise, I found a book that I had yet to see or even hear about that is perfect research for my story.

The Hawaiian Mythology book I bought at Tiki Oasis

After reading a little of the book, I can't believe that I missed it for so long. It will really help me as it gives first hand encounters with Hawaiian spirits/gods from the natives. Very awesome.

I also bought these little tikis below. Aren't they awesome??? Hey crit partners, doesn't the one on the left remind you of a certain mortician? I will glance at these statues for inspiration, but hopefully won't look too long, or they will curse me!

Don't look into their eyes!

You just never know when research will fall in your lap. Of course, I was at a Hawaiian tiki convention, so I guess it's not too far fetched!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writer Tresses to DIE for

Unruly. Longwinded. Twisted. Gnarled. Short. Blunt. Straight. Kinky. Cropped. Flowing. Untamed.

Are these words that describe my current WIP? Probably. But I’m referring to my love / hate relationship with…my hair. I grow it. Colour it. Perm it (okay – only once and NEVER again). Curl it. Straighten it. Crimp it. Pin it. Updo it and let it all hang down. I’ve even propped it up with pencils and decorated it with little hair bling jewellery things.

But my biggest offence is that I cut my hair myself. Yup, I do. With dull kitchen scissors that saw jagged chunks instead of clean lines, I somehow manage to pull off the shaggy bob style I’ve had for years (in various lengths depending on how much I let it grow out before grabbing those scissors again).

I liken my self-induced hair cutting adventures to writing a first draft of a novel. Sure some pieces may stick out funny, there might be gaps, sections may be longer than they should be, but if you look at the overall beast from a distance – it almost works.

This is where your critique partners and eventually a good editor come in – like a salon stylist brandishing their sharpy sharp, Edward Scissorhands high – saving the day (and the do) with keen eyes and mad reading skills. In no time they’ll hack and slash your unruly writer’s locks into tresses to die for.

Why the hair analogy? Well, yesterday was one of those times where I had to slink off to the salon for a back-to-school fixerupper. I love the finished product. I’m quite put together. But I know I’ll get a creative spark and reach for the kitchen shears in the future, just as I have many more stories to tell. Thank goodness I have my crit partners, a stoic editor and of course, a salon on speed dial.