Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fighting Change: Trust Your Instinct

There's talk lately on the merits of purchasing your own domain name. (Rather than someone else's?) Lucky for me my name isn't common: Joylene Nowell Butler. Nor is my handle: CluculzWriter. And, to tell you the truth, (not that I lie every other moment) I'm not anxious to buy my own domain name, or to switch from Blogger to Wordpress. I could complain about some of the glitches in Blogger, but who'd want to listen?

Is it because I'm lazy and can't make the effort? Could it be I have an underlying fear of one more step up the techno ladder? Or am I truly afraid of change?

Change never has come easy for me. Though I embrace the internet and all it offers, the speed at which my world is changing, I'll admit, is often intimidating. (I hesitate to admit stuff) Not so much scary as disturbing. Maybe that's why, if I'm not writing or watching old movies from the forties and fifties or Polar Express for the twentieth time, I'm snapping photographs of the eagles soaring past my window. It's predawn here and already I see wide, dark shadows flying past.

Yesterday, two of our four cats sat on the balcony and watched the skies. Yes, I raced outside and brought Fluffy in when I spotted him baiting the eagles. Silly cat. Likely he'd be too heavy for an eagle to pick up, but I wasn't taking any chances.

Admittedly, my bout of melancholy isn't uncommon for this time of year. I suspect part of it is because I'm cold. I miss my parents and our twins. Focusing on my writing helps. But while I continually like to challenge my creative self, recently a few of my Canadian critique partners noted some discrepancies in my take on the investigative protocol of the RCMP. [Royal Canadian Mounted Police]

That's why my dear neighbour took time out during a busy schedule to have a cup of tea with me. Marian, a newly retired corporal in the Vanderhoof detachment, had much to offer. After spending two hours helping me understand new terminology and some of the changes since E-Pana was formed to investigate the Highway of Tears, I knew I had extensive rewrites to perform.

My current WIP, Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries, sequel to Broken But Not Dead, is the story of a RCMP investigator and his relationship with the elderly widow to an important politician, murdered in chapter one. Brendell Kisepisim Meshango, protagonist of Broken But Not Dead is also a prominent figure strongly connected to the two protagonists.

After speaking to Marian, I let the information stew in my brain for a few days. I had to. To ask a writer to cut several scenes from a manuscript, especially an entire chapter, possibly two, is equivalent to expecting them to remove their own wisdom teeth. The process is excruciating.

But it has to be done. My protagonist, Corporal Danny Killian, the primary on the investigation into the murder of former Minister Leland Warner, arrives at the crime scene in chapter two last. Marian thinks it's because I've watched too many American crime shows that I got things backwards. I haven't watched television lately, but I've years of influence from down south locked up in my brain.
                                           Look closely and you'll see 2 adult bald eagles and their offspring. Plus the ice is freezing.
After four days of work, I've finally completed the rewrites for chapter two. I'm on a run now, so I don't dare digress. Actually, this blog was meant to encourage those of you who are in similar situations. Trust that if you feel something is amiss with a scene or a chapter, you're probably right. Seek out help where you can find it. I know not everybody has a cop living on their road, but you'd be amazed at how eager they are to help down at the local police station. It's one of the reason Christmas does exist during the rest of the year. All around you, people want to make a difference.

If you can't see the other two eagles, it's because I took the shot at a distance of about 67 yards with a digital camera not meant to take photographs that far away. The female is directly above the larger bald eagle in the middle of the shot, and their youngster is just above her and to the left.

--Merry Christmas


  1. Love that last eagle shot... the blurry foreground of branches puts the focus on the eagles, tucked into their habitat. And the lake is freezing... yay!! (from my perspective at least, not yours, I'm sure).

    I really do sympathize with your rewriting.There are so many details that have to be researched when it comes to crime solving. I don't usually write those kind of mysteries, although as you know, one of my novels required knowledge of the workings of both an RCMP small town detachment plus a larger city police force. We have a friend in the RCMP who used to work in BC but is now retired in ON, so when I'm desperate I can e-mail him, but sometimes it's just little things like the detachment office location and layout. I ended up visiting both places to get a visual picture, but didn't ask for an interview.

    It must be discouraging to have major rewriting to do, but when you're done I'm sure you'll be happier knowing the protocol is authentic.

  2. I'm glad you were able to spot the eagles, Carol. I knew where they were because I took the photo, but I wasn't sure they'd show up. As for the rewrites, right you are. I feel so much better about my story now that I'm on the right track. Sure the rewrites are a pain, but the information Marian supplied isn't something I'll soon forget.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I agree. I call it the niggle factor. If you feel something is wrong, that feeling will niggle at you until you do something about it. Although I've put it off too often, I've never regretted performing a niggleotomy, even when it meant rewriting huge portions of a novel to change my main protagonist (remember that in Mind Shadow/Daeva?). You won't regret it either. Keep the momentum. And thanks for the reminder.

  4. Hi Joylene, I think I'll leave comments on your writing issues to people better qualified than me, but it's nice to know we have a similar taste in films (40's and 50') and I really do enjoy your photographs.
    It must be wonderful to wake up to the sight of those eagles(don't worry I can see them too) and the lake slowly freezing over!
    I look forward to your next post.

  5. Keith -- niggleotomy~! I love it. I'm writing that down so I don't forget next time. And yes I remember your major rewrites for "Mind Shadow". I remember how amazed I was at your progress in shaping your manuscript into something fantastic so quickly. And while it looked easy, I know you put in a lot of hard work. That's why you've always been one of my heroes. Hugs, my dear friend. And for Jack too.

  6. First of all, there are those beautiful eagles again. How I love looking at them.

    And I bought a domain name, but only because the person who managed my site when it was not my own domain name is still helping to manage it. And..oh..I LOVE my blogger blog!

    As far as changes in your MS? Looking back, I know that you were one of the first tho taught me about changing and rewriting. Sure, we might lose some of our 'beautiful' words, but nine times out of ten, they are replaced by ones which are even more beautiful.

    And congratulations on making changes to yours and making it even more powerful! Can't wait for Broken But Not Dead.

    Keep an eye out for Fluffy! He's sure confident with those big eagles! LOl...

  7. Hi Carol. Yes, I remember how hard you worked on that opening. Your determination was inspiring. I thought about you when I was struggling over my small crisis. LOL.

  8. We need to keep moving ahead always, don't we? Good advice, Joylene. Thanks for sharing the photos, too.

  9. Paul, hi. I'm so glad you're enjoying the pictures. They'll be stopping soon because when the lake freezes the eagle will go to a new place to fish. Drats. I'm going to miss them.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  10. And thanks for stopping by, Karen. Your support means a lot. Have a wonderful weekend.

  11. Dear Joylene,
    I cannot really add much to what the other fine correspondents have stated. Besides, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
    I'm just amazed at your dedication and the meticulous detail involved in the formulating of your books. You have my total admiration. I wish I had your patience and determination. Me thinks I shall stick to 'grammar anarchy':-)
    Some more wonderful eagle photos. And yes, nice photo of fluffy.
    Continue to be inspired, Joylene.
    In kindness, Gary:-)

  12. Gary, you are too kind. But don't stop! It's getting cold here now. We've decided to share some of your UK chills. The air is crisp and clear. What a glorious time of year. Amen. And Merry Christmas!


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