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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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writing again

To you filkers out there: If you haven't already, be sure to check out Andrea's Housefilk Info page. Many thanks to Andrea for researching and maintaining this resource!

Worked on my song collaboration with Andrea yesterday. This project is a fun challenge for me, since I don't do songwriting collaborations that often. I've never been that great at the "Rand and Adam" type of songwriting process, where you work on a song with the other person in the same room. (Speaking of Ookla The Mok, Adam recently posted an amusing Marcon report online, for those interested). However, I think it would be fun to do more collaborations by e-mail and smailmail, with exchanges of music files and cassette tapes.

Created some more Filemaker databases to help with my novel prep. I've designed them so I can use them for any other fiction novels I'm working on. I'm not a Filemaker expert, but part of the enjoyment of the process for me is learning more about the program through practical application, working on projects that I'm actually going to use. Since my deadline isn't really until September (end of our sabbatical), it leaves more room for experimenting with bells and whistles.

I have four databases so far: character description, society and culture, background info, and a basic plot outline. Each has its own subtopics. Each character record, for example, has fields for a name, brief summary of who they are, appearance details, motivation in the story, basic relationship with the other characters, conflict, and miscellaneous notes.

This may seem like overly elaborate prep for a YA novel (YA = young adult), but I figure it's worth experimenting. I don't tend to remember certain types of details well, and as a result often have to go flipping back through previous chapters to look up nitpicky info again, so I don't have one of the characters' hair change colour halfway through the book, or forget to tie up a loose end in the plot.

As I create and fiddle with these databases, I'm also working on my actual novel prep. Each project helps with the other...I'll be fleshing out a particular character, for example, and realize that there should be a section where I can describe the fact that she's crazy about 60s kitsch, or named her dog after the star of an obscure movie she saw in fourth grade, and so on.

Yes, I know I'm supposed to still be on my sabbatical. :-) But I'm finding that I can't NOT write. My Blatherings were enough to satisfy that hungry bit of my writer's soul before, but now that's not quite enough. I feel somewhat like a chocolaholic who has been forced to go on a diet for a long while and, suddenly finding herself free to eat anything she likes, craves a total immersion in all things chocolate.

I suppose that's the reason I'm going a bit nuts with the comic strips, Flash experimentation, new 'zines and resource Web sites, songwriting. I've also been reading anything I can get my hands on (right now I'm plowing through "Son of the Shadows" by Juliet Marillier, which is WONDERFUL).

I'm also starting to (*gasp) spend less time online, and more time in the Outside World. Reading, playing and writing music, interacting with people face to face. Part of this is simply because I need the break. But I also suspect that it's because of my own fiction writing. I can't write in a vacuum. Or I suppose I could, but my writing would be flat, the characters mere caricatures.

So if I skip a Blathering now and again, or don't seem as glued to my e-mail as I used to be, that's why...I'm out in the world looking for source material. :-)

Today's Blatherpic:

- Morning at the cottage.

- Sign outside an antique/secondhand shop. Parki, Kate, Jeff and I browsed briefly (and they did, indeed, have Contents).

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll: (Courtesy Chris Conway)

Do you think you're happier now than you will be 10 years into the future?

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