Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hear Me Roar

Influences this week: New Music! Eyes Set to Kill


It’s no big secret that I travel a lot between my current hometown and Phoenix. I spend a lot of the time between cities reading and people watching and eavesdropping on conversations between loved ones separated by the distance between them. I like to travel. I like being on my own, in my own little world and constantly surrounded by the unknown that comes to me each time I leave.

I do not like things out of my control.

I have a righteous sense of control. Willpower of steel. A temper kept under lock and key that could ice over the seventh level of hell when unleashed. But like all people, I can only be kept in check for so long before I completely lose all my senses and go ape shit.

I’ve gotten better over the years with flying. The ability to let someone else take the reins over my life and get me from point A to point B was slow going. I have no desire to fly myself anywhere, and seeing as how I lack the funds to purchase my own plane right this moment, would have no use for said license. But, I keenly keep my eyes peeled for suspicious activity. Suspicious flying methods. Suspicious people. Everyone is the enemy. I’m aware this is a character flaw in my personality. I like character flaws. It makes a person, ie: character, unique. It helps people relate to one another. I take this opportunity to learn about other people’s flaws in times of panic. Times of struggle. Times of weakness. Because really, who likes to allow others to control their destiny? No one. And you rarely see flaws and weaknesses in one’s character until pivotal points in a character’s life. You see the image they’d like to project into society. As writers, we write the characters we’d like to see in society. The bad guys we’d like to see dead and brought to justice. New worlds created and expanded upon. And love stories that beg for extra attention. That’s what we do. It’s what we enjoy. My writer’s sense of mind comes alive when I hear one side of a conversation. Or I see a crystal rainbow reflect and dance around inside my car. Imagination is what keeps writers typing.

Imagination is what gets my mind into trouble.

I spent a miserable night traveling back from Phoenix last Saturday night. I’m used to layovers and delayed flights and late planes and DB’s who bring nasty smelling food onto the plane and sit right in front of me. It’s a part of the whole travel experience. What I don’t enjoy is circling an airport until the plane nearly runs out of fuel. Planes that nearly land on top of one another. Planes that go to airports that are closed and leave us out on the runway while we refuel and try to de-ice enough to get back in the air. And airlines who are pricks and treat you with no respect, nor care that they are the cause you missed your flight 3 hours ago. Not to mention lost your luggage that they made you gate check and try to tell you it’s already at your final destination when you were in Milwaukee when the flight you missed was headed to St. Louis.

I’m here to tell you that in those instances, even people with little to no imagination can start dreaming up some pretty crude scenarios on how the night is going to end. You can see it in their eyes. You can read it in their body language. You can hear it in their voices when they get on their cell phones after the Captain has addressed the whole cabin. I imagined my whole world ending in a field of flames, set in the backdrop of windblown snow. People jumping out of the plane, on fire, as their skin melted right from the bones, fingers reaching for me as I stood in the middle of the carnage with Death shadowing over me.

So, with that said, I’d like to have an Evil Twin moment with American Airlines.

Dear American Airlines,

I put up with your attitude with smile, because normally I’d ice pick you and leave you bleeding out where you fell.

I put up with the extra two hour plane ride going out to Phoenix because I can understand wanting to hover over Tijuana for hookers and blow before you end your night.

I put up with you telling me you have to gate check my carry on suitcase because our flight was 30 minutes late getting into the gate. Most like the pilot was getting air head and lost track of time when he couldn’t keep it up.

And I put up with the creepy flight attendant hitting on me because I sat in the aisle seat and look like I might be a good time.

But. When you circle around an airport for 3 hours until you almost run out of fuel, try to land me on top of other aircraft landing on the runway, take me to an airport in the middle of nowhere frozen tundra land, take three more tries to get us landed, berate me at the gate counter, try to convince me this is all my fault, lose my luggage, give me dead baby chick fetuses in my nasty Mickey D’s and cause my best friend to microwave her panties in an attempt to feel clean again, I say enough is enough. May you rot in hell with your miserable customer service, your self-serving attitudes and piss poor flights and broken seats that have been screwed in one too many times.

I have a special ice pick for you in my own special version of hell I’m saving for you.


Evil Twin

Do your characters travel and how well do they do in situations where they are forced into something that is completely out of character for them? How do they deal with stress? How do you as the writer and reader deal with stress, either when you’re writing your characters and they won’t cooperate or as a reader when a character does something completely unlike them?


2nd Chance said...

Wow, that was one hellish flight! My worst was running through Ohare like my hair was on fire only to find we missed our flight by 2 minutes. And being told to do stand by, then finding out there were 21 people in front of us on stand by.

Thank God, my husband kept his head and went to another counter and before an hour was up, we were on our way back to California. Sure, in Oakland instead of Sacramento. But we could get home from Oakland!

My characters usually find themselves on sailing ships, or space ships and so they are always on the go... Travel issues aren't a real issue for them!

I remember in one book that Miranda had to act the lady, no cursing, no sitting comfortably, wearing a corset, lying... When she gets back to the house after an evening of it, she is so relieved she screams and curses... Generally, stressful situations see my characters either freeze or sob. Really!

About what I'd do.

Marnee said...

That sounds like it sucked. :( I hate flying. My sister had a baby a month ago and we're taking the entire family to Florida to visit. I'm already dreading the flight with a toddler and an infant. Those who will share the plane with us probably aren't that excited about the idea either.

As to my stress abilities.... First, I don't think my characters have traveled before. So I don't know how they deal. But when I'm writing something and the characters don't seem to be doing what I want, I usually go back, read and then start cutting from the time I feel like it stopped working. In fact, I'm just about to axe the first five pages of a chapter I'm currently writing. It's just not good. In fact, it's boring. They are going to have to do something more interesting. I'm just not sure what yet.

Donna said...

It's been a while since I've had to fly, and everything I hear makes me think I'd rather take a trip via covered wagon instead.

My sister had a similar experience with that airline on Christmas Day. There was some snow in Nashville that morning, and it made her plane leave late, so she missed her connecting flight in Chicago to get home to Seattle. They said it was her fault for being late (something like 2 minutes) and they didn't do anything to help her out. In fact, they closed the terminal--she said it was dark and creepy too. The funny thing is, her luggage made the connecting flight.

I don't think I have too much travel in my stories. And I try not to show them traveling if that doesn't need to be shown--although it's tempting since they can think about stuff then. :)

I just used Marn's technique last night while working on a story. The stuff the hero was doing wasn't right for that point--it needs to be later--so I just whacked it out and saved it for when it's the right spot. It got me back on track. :)

Bosun said...

I never had any big problems flying until Jan 1 of this year. Now I'm of the opinion that both US Air and Delta can suck it.

My characters didn't travel much in the first MS, but my heroine is kind of roadtripping to an island and to get there she has to drive her car onto a ferry. Since she's petrified of water, things could get interesting.

Hellion said...

Like Charlie Sheen, I hate AA. Oh, wrong AA? Damn.

This will teach you to travel by anyone but Southwest. *LOL* What a sucky flight, and I'm really, really happy you didn't land in a field of flames with your skin melting off. Really, really glad.

I haven't had to have my characters travel much, if at all. I suppose I could have more scenes that occur in cars and have them be obnoxious drivers. *LOL* That would be fitting.

And everyone's stories are only reinforcing my idea of not flying for a long, long, long, long, long time. If ever. I'll go by car or burro, whatever.

Sin said...

And I flew into O'Hare. The first and last time I ever do that. There is a reason I only fly into Midway. Much better luck there.

Sin said...

All airlines are on my shit list right now. I'd much rather walk now than get on a f*cking airplane.

Really, I think the best luck I've had is with Frontier. They are pretty pleasant and I always have great flights with them. Even Southwest has their moments of crappiness. And they've gotten expensive. Like hiking the flight rate to build in the checked suitcase fee. I don't check my suitcase. Ever. Case and point this past weekend. That's the type of crap that happens to me when my bag is out of my sight. I'd rather ice pick the person in front of me on the plane who's about to take my overhead bin area than check my bag and have them play with my panties on the runway.

Hellion said...

Is Frontier the one with the warm chocolate chip cookies? I traveled by one company--a small one--and they had warm cookies and gave you the full can of soda and were kind and helpful. It was the weirdest plane ride I'd ever been on.

Sin said...

I'm not sure. I always refuse snacks on the plane since I have to be careful of the contents. But they do give full cans of soda. The last time I flew with them I was ill. But Manda says that's because we went out late the night before and had no sleep when we boarded. I say it was because I had vertigo. But Frontier has friendly staff and clean airplanes and on time flights.

Donna said...

I remember when I used to fly Northwest Airlines a lot, they had warm chocolate chip cookies. I also liked when I had to connect in Memphis, which was one of their hubs, because they always served BBQ from a local Memphis place.

YUM. Now I'm starving. Is Northwest even still in business? Probably not.

Sin said...

Chanceroo, I would enjoy my own ability to just pop myself places. I could turn myself into Samantha and wiggle my nose and be in Phoenix in a heartbeat. That would kick ass.

I think that's one of my favorite things about reading fiction. The fact that you don't really have to hear about how they get from one point to another. And sometimes you do, because that's the whole point of the book. I love stow-a-way romances. Does anyone else read them?

Oh, also, PS. Karen Robards started a series about 10-12 years ago that I absolutely loved about three sister and wrote the first two and never finished with the third. While I was in Sky Harbor waiting for my flight to Chicago, guess what I found?! The third book!!! She just published it! So excited.

Okay, end of my fan moment of the day.

Also, Chanceroo, did you read Pale Demon?

Sin said...

My sister commented the other night when we were stuck in O'Hare that at least we weren't stuck in Memphis. LOL. She hates Memphis' airport. I enjoyed it. I like the smell of BBQ.

I dunno about Northwest airlines. I haven't heard about them in a hot minute, so I'd guess not. I rode US Air with a bunch of army men one night. That was a GREAT flight. Even though we circled Phoenix for an hour during a wind storm.

Sin said...

Delta from Columbia only flies into Memphis and from there you connect to all other flights. Too bad it's usually incredibly expensive to fly out of Columbia constantly. I'm entirely too cheap for my own good.

Sin said...

Marn, I feel for you having to take the toddler and infant on the plane. There was a family on their way to Alaska in front of us at gate counter trying to get a hotel voucher for the night. They had two toddlers and what looked like maybe a pre-schooler and a young elementary school age kid. And it was 12:30am and the mother looked like she might fall over dead any minute. Bless her heart. I would've already sold the kids to the devil.

Hellion said...

I would’ve already sold the kids to the devil.


Donna said...

I would’ve already sold the kids to the devil.

I thought that's who your baby daddy was.

Hellion said...

Only Sin would have the mad skills to sell her baby daddy back his own kids.

Sin said...

Dear DRD,

The Undead Monkey says not even the devil would have children with me. I find that offensive. I think I have a lot to offer the devil. How do you feel about fire?


Evil Twin

Sin said...

Bo'sun, is there a reason why she's afraid of the water? Bad experience as a child? Can the hero rescue her like some water god and she sees him, but she's completely out of it and think she's dreaming and kisses him passionately? I love scenes like that.

Hellion said...


I've been finding some great articles on Writer's Digest. I love articles because they're less time consuming than a whole craft book and usually there is something I can use right away.

Elizabeth Sims has several great articles--definitely give her a look.


Sin said...

I feel like this is posted in my honor. I like snippets. I feel like I have the time to read and retain more. Will have to remember writer's digest.

Bosun said...

Sorry, another "entertain the visitors" lunch. Another grilled chicken breast. *sigh*

The heroine fell off a houseboat on a lake when she was a kid and nearly drown. She's had a fear of boats and water ever since. She's driving to a remote island at the base of the Outer Banks that can only be reached by driving onto the ferry. And the island is less than a mile wide. In places, less than 100 yards wide. LOL!

The hero runs his own charter boat. You see the possibilities. ;)

There's an airline that gives you COOKIES?? I need to find that one. And I got stuck in Memphis Jan 1. NOT my favorite place. Unless I'm drinking on Beall St. On New Year's Eve. THAT was fun. Otherwise, I'll skip Memphis, thanks.

Bosun said...

Checking out that link as soon as I get a chance.

2nd Chance said...

Sin, nope, haven't read it yet. Need to see if I can get it on my Sony and then it will be next in line. I'm presently working a book I won in the Lair and then I need to read the book the other woman doing the panel at RT wrote and then...I hope to get to Pale Demon!

I need to book my flight to NYC and am not looking forward to it... It won't be nonstop, so I have to pick which city I want to fly through. I've done MN/SP and in July it shouldn't be a problem, weather wise...

I avoid Chicago and Dallas. Not really fond of Denver or Phoenix. Charlotte isn't bad and Pittsburgh wouldn't be too bad.

Sigh. I want a transporter!

Hellion said...

There’s an airline that gives you COOKIES??

Chocolate chip cookies, Bo'sun, which for you are verboten. So being on a plane with them would only make you verklempt, vexed, and vengeful.

Bosun said...

Right now I'm just VERY unhappy. Headache is back. Third day. I'm going to slink off and cry in a corner now.

Janga said...

I avoid flying if at all possible. My third ms. begins with the crash of a Cessna 185. My heroine and her soon-to-be ex are passengers. Mostly my characters travel by land--car, bus, or motorcycle.

Since Hellie brought up the subject of craft articles, I'll recommend Donald Maas's blog at Writer Unboxed today.

Sin said...

I'd rather poke my eyes out with dull screwdrivers than fly into Dallas/Fort Worth any time of the year. I've flown into/out of so many airports all of them seem to be the same. I love Sky Harbor (PHX) but trying to drop someone off and leave that airport is a bitch. My aunt once told me that flying into Kansas City is like flying into the wild wild west. She said she nearly had to hunt down the covered wagon and find a pony for the journey as she made her way out of the airport. I've been asked if there are cows on the runway at Columbia's airport. (In their defense, it is out in BFE. And nothing around but pastures.) Lexington (KY) isn't bad. Neither is Nashville or Atlanta. Though, it seems every time I fly into Atlanta it's during a tornado warning. I hated Orlando's airport. And DC. They are the very devil. Along with D/FW and apparently, Chicago O'Hare.

The only one I've never taken the opportunity to layover in is MN/St.P. And that's because it's always winter when they give me that option. And I may be dumb, but not that stupid.

Sin said...

Janga! Oh, so interesting. And she survived without severe trauma? I guarantee no matter if the love of my life was flying the airplane would I get on another in my lifetime if that happened.

Hellion said...

Janga, great article, and one I have so much trouble doing. I'm such a fearful person--and exposing flaws for ridicule or disgust makes me a wreck. Even if it is fiction.