And the snows came...

This has been an interesting winter. "Interesting," one of those words that could mean anything from yuck to run screaming into the fire. And since the ice gods are clearly not done with us yet, I'm about ready to drive anywhere warm. Unfortunately, the sunny weather hideaways that are my go-to places are covered with ice and snow, just like us. What is the deal with snow south of the Mason-Dixon line? Holy Moley.

I should have been writing like a fiend, but instead I cleaned and watched the Olympics. Go Jordan Brown! Emptying files, paying attention to the TV with half my brain, deciding what to toss with the other half (not the brain, the files), I found some old talks I've given about writing. I surprised myself with how astute I could be when I'm trying to convey words of wisdom, earned in the writing school of hard knocks and a million, zillion rewrites.

While some aspects of my writing have evolved, others are constant. Character, for one. Always know what your characters fear losing the most, and take it away from the get-go. The bigger the stakes, the more vested the reader will be in reading to see if the hero/heroine can survive the loss, and even conquer it.  Or not. I rewatched LIMBO at five this morning (the high winds and sleet woke me up), and it's still a stellar movie. (John Sayles, director) The Joe Gastineaux character (David Straithairn) lost a crew at sea, and it was his fault. He has nightmares about it. But he's rebuilding his life, doing a little fishing for the first time since the disaster, falling for a lounge singer with moxie.  Now he has risked the lives of his new girlfriend and her fragile daughter, and they could all die because of his culpability in the past. Wow. He lost it all once before, and now he's about to lose what's even more precious because it took all he had to move forward after his boat sank.

Watch it. It's haunting and totally different. Came out in 1999.