Saturday, January 25, 2014

Finding the Edges

I don’t know if this happens to other authors since writing is such a unique process for each of us, but my characters are dueling it out in my head, leaving me reaching for the Tylenol before they give me a migraine.

They’ve all become so demanding lately. Leo Dawson needs to be pulled out of a mess and Wendell, whose last name I haven’t come up with yet, needs to be shoved into one! My characters collide back and forth with dialogue that grips me when I’m in the middle of the supermarket or worse yet, dining out with friends. 

“Excuse me for a minute, but I just need to write something down. Damn! I hate it when they just have cloth napkins.”

“What’s so important? I was just about to show you the pictures I took of Lilly’s pre-school play.”
I look down at the iPhone under my nose and smile at my friend, all the while hoping I can remember that perfect dialogue.

I wish that writing was orderly, sequential and logical. It’s none of those things for me. Everything seems to happen in spurts, like finding a way out of a sticky plotline or discovering just the right element of suspense for chapter 19. Unfortunately, everything that happens in-between is fragmented. I always feel as if I’m putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle but having trouble finding the edges. And when I do find them, I’m not at my computer!

This has been a jumbled week for me. I’m at the climax of a new time travel novel slated for 2015, with totally new characters and adventures. Tough luck for them. My “Light Riders” don’t want to give up and keep pestering me with their latest endeavor. On the calendar, it all looks good – finish Time Tracer first draft by end of April and start roughing out the newest “Light Riders” at the beginning of June. (Use May for editing and pulling out hair ). 

I left 15-year old gamer, Leo Dawson, in an awful mess. He’s about to literally collide with a serial killer thirty years into the future and if the timing is the least bit off, well . . . you know how that goes. Then, there’s Wendell, a 12 or 13 year-old menace (haven’t decided yet) who winds up making Aeden’s life a living nightmare when she gets stuck taking care of him for her professor. 

They are all insistent that I drop everything and focus on their immediate needs. So what if the dog hasn’t been fed or the laundry is beginning to resemble the leaning tower of Pisa. I have dialogue to write, issues to resolve and time travel chaos to create. (My own chaos will have to wait.)

I keep telling myself, “at least something’s going on in your head.”  For a long time, IBM had a sign posted everywhere for all of its employees to see. The sign read THINK. Well, starting today, I’m posting a sign for myself. It will just read, “FIND THE EDGES.” I figure if I can do that, I might just be able to get Leo, Wendell and everyone else to shut up for a while and let me work!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hey Google, Put My Website Back on Page One!

            I guess I was living in a fool’s paradise. It’s the only explanation I can think of when it comes to the false sense of security I had regarding my website’s popularity on Google search. For the past few years, the mere typing of “Time Travel Mysteries” brought viewers directly to me. I was number one on the list! Yay!  One quick click and they could see all my novels, storyboards, blogs, and event updates. It was an author’s dream. 

            Then, something horrific happened. The dream turned into a feisty little nightmare with no rhyme or reason. Suddenly, I was on page two. Page two? That’s unthinkable. Granted, I was on the top of page two, but still, it was page two. That’s like getting a B on your algebra exam when you expected nothing less than an A. 

            I was up against urban legends, proof of time travelers and a multitude of Amazon stuff. It was outrageous. Who was going to click past page one? Panic stricken, I contacted my webmistress who informed me that there was a major shift in the way Google decided to do search updates. Apparently, everyone’s search ranking changed. For me, this was a worse upset than the New York Giants defeating New England in the 2008 Super Bowl! 

            She went on to explain that it may have had a lot to do with conversational searches and mobile technology. She might as well have told me that it had a lot to do with global warming and the decline of the honeybee population. It didn’t matter. What mattered was the fact that "Time Travel Mysteries" was no longer “Google’s favorite website” for that topic. I felt as if I had just been replaced as the favorite grandchild. 

            The only solace I can find is to tell myself that everything changes and that Google will someday come to its senses and realize that "Time Travel Mysteries" needs to be restored to its rightful place on page one. In the meantime, I intend to check out my ranking on Bing and hope you will, too!