We got attacked by two—count ‘em: two— nasty little hackers two weeks ago. My time on the computer time was limited to trying various fixes and cleans recommended by geek co-workers. Fortunately, I married a geek (WIN) and after he consulted with uber-geeks who speak a language I’m not privy to, our computers are back to their healthy selves.
One positive outcome of this odyssey through hacker hell was lots of old-fashioned longhand writing. I’m a fountain pen addict—I own one for each book I’ve written plus a couple more I couldn’t resist. I start each new book with a new pen. I prefer to think of it as ritual rather than superstition. Hey, it’s my quirk, so I get to name it.
Another positive was more indulgence in manga. When I’m writing a mystery, I can’t read one. Writing is fun but it’s also hard work, so manga is my relaxation of choice. I love the angst, the scenery-chewing, the purple prose. All the things I don’t indulge in when I write. Nowhere else can I find demons with a sense of humor or vampires who preen like beauty pageant contestants.
It’s also a learning experience—sometimes I don’t get the humor. Sometimes I do, but the timing of the joke seems off. And often I learn cultural tidbits that I squirrel away for possible character creation in future books. (Yes, that is the cover of Noah Lukeman’s invaluable The First Five Pages on the far left. It’s one of my essentials.)
So, fellow writers, what’s your new WIP ritual? Pens? A new playlist? (Adam Hurst’s amazing cello music is the soundtrack for the current book.) And as long as I’m being nosy, do you read the genre of the book you’re writing, or do you do a one-eighty like me? I love seeing how everyone else does the process.