Monday, June 30, 2008

I Wish I Had A Cool Job

Status of my Life: Editing and revising and I started a sequel yesterday! Exciting!

One of my friends just dropped by. She said, "I'm going up to the cemetery for a photo shoot." Isn't that the coolest job description? I laughed and laughed. Just so you know, she's a graphic designer for a craft magazine and they're working on the October issue and need some "spooky" shots. She's on her way to the grocery store for some dry ice right now. I thought it was hilarious.

This may reveal some stuff about me, but other cool jobs I wish I had:
Pilot - who wouldn't want to fly around? Sounds awesome, besides my fear of heights of course.

Cameraman - like for the show Heroes. How cool would that be? I love Hiro and Isaac.

Conductor - of like a symphony, not a train. To have that power and the wave of a hand. Phenomenal.

Professional gardener - I love flowers, it's just the bees and sunburns I don't like...

Editor - I love reading new books and offering my advice/suggestions. I guess that's why I love my critique groups so much. :)

Reading: OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHULER PLACE by E.L. Koningsburg

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Nothing To Say...

Status of my Life: My voices have gone quiet. To other people, this means "writer's block." To me, this means that my characters are quiet right now, and need a little break. So I give it to them. I went swimming and ate lunch, and now I'm been critiquing in all my groups, because I'm so far behind.

I don't really have much to say. I've been writing a lot lately, and then the voices went quiet. I know they'll come back, screaming at me to write their stories. But, for now, not so much.

Sometimes I wonder if any of the stuff I write is even worthwhile. It is to me, and that should probably be enough. And it is. I'm still aiming to query in September, and have had some friends getting agents recently. I'm glad for them, and hope my day will come soon.

Well, that's about it. I'm wondering if I should start something new or go back to one of my "stalled" starts. I have about four of them, and I like them all, but just have nowhere to go. Maybe some of them will start talking to me again if I open them up.

Reading: THE SISTERS GRIMM by Michael Buckley

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good Things, Bad Things

Status of my Life: Writing the end of one of my WiP's. Oh, and I better get that steampunk polished and sent off to WOTF! Not much time left...

Bad Thing: I realized I forgot to blog the last day of the conference on Friday. Oh well, I must have been so overwhelmed with so many good things, that I couldn't think straight. I highly advise anyone to go to a writing conference. Just being around other authors is intoxicating.

Good Thing: I started in a new critique group on the Forward Motion Writer's Forum this week. Yeah, like I need another forum to frequent. I don't actually read through all the forum talk, because let's face it, I'm busy enough on QT and AQ Connect. I'd like to get over to Verla Kay eventually, but I haven't made it there yet.

Bad Thing: My voices are going dim again...

Good Thing: I was able to coax the voices back last time and have some good starts to stories that fizzled when the voices stopped. And I know how to get the voices back when they go quiet. Some call this writer's block. I have voices...that could be labeled under a "Bad Thing" too, I guess.

Bad Thing: I hear voices...

Good Thing: A friend of mine finally read SHADOWS--a novel I've been shredded on continually for the past four months. I know it has problems, as everyone keeps pointing out to me. She loved it. Said it was her favorite one. I was stunned. I think I had to lift my chin off the floor with a Bobcat. So maybe there's hope...

Bad Thing: Sleeping through the alarm and being late to tennis. I love tennis and every minute counts!

Good Thing: Live crit group tomorrow. I love meeting with those ladies and laughing. It's so fun!

Bad Thing: Staying up until 1 AM, getting up at 6 AM, rinse and repeat. I feel like a zombie.

Good Thing: Swimming pools in the summer.

Bad Thing: Kids who won't go to bed when you tell them to.

Good Thing: Writing. I love being a writer.

Reading: THE EDGE OF MEMORY by H.L. Dyer and THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Conferencing, Day Four

Status of my Life: Shredded. 'Nuff said.

Thursday at the conference. I just have to say that I love the MC's at this conference. They are so funny and really liven the mood and atmosphere. It's been such a blast.

Today, I got to "mingle" with Brandon Sanderson. I'm a big lover of science fiction and fantasy, and his advice is good for those of us who are speculative fiction writers. But, his advice overall is just good. Today he said not to fall into the 3/4 trap. Authors tend to get annoyed/bogged down/sick of their novel about 3/4 way through. So they throw in a new character or conflict. He very strongly advises against this. Yeah, I've probably done it, so I'm going to have to go check for that...

He also said something about traitors and villians today that really set me thinking. And now I think I'm going to have to do some major rewriting in SHADOWS. There is a traitor, but I don't do a good enough job of leading the reader to believe it's someone else and then hitting them with who it really is. So I've got to work on that. SHADOWS actually needs a lot of work before I query in September. But the goal still stands. I'm going to be giving it the attention it deserves. I've just gotten sidetracked by Freedom and Jess Harper. And another idea popped into my head on the way home from the conference today. I think I'm going to write it in a notebook instead of on the computer and see how it develops.

Okay, the conference. So many good things today! First off, the agent talked to us. He was wonderful and gave really sound advice.

Good: Writing advice from Brandon Sanderson. You should check out his writing podcast if you haven't yet.

Bad: 3/4 New Conflict/problem. Don't do it.

Good: Find out what works for you by trying different things. The best advice I got today.


Good: Quote from agent, "I forgot to wear a belt." It was pretty funny. The MC's played "Secret Agent Man" and said agent came running down the steps with sunglasses on. We all stood and cheered as if we were on the Price is Right. The MC's had shades too, and they all danced around on the stage. We sang along. When the song was over, the agent said, "I forgot to wear a belt." :)


Good: Agent said, "Not everything needs to be loud and smart-alecky." Thank you Secret Agent Man. I like snarky just like everyone else, but one of my main characters is not, and I've been wondering about him.


Good: More good advice: Be bold, confident, and fearless writers. Love it!


See? It was a great day! One more to go. Even though I'm pretty exhausted, I'll be sad when it's over.

Reading: Crits I'm behind on. Lots and lots of crits...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Conferencing, Day Three

Status of my Life: Getting back good crits from a guy! Yay for the male perspective!

So today, the afternoon session of the conference was "registrant writing time." I drove down to BYU anyway. Number one, I went to the mingle where I sat 5 feet away from an editor at Greenwillow Press. I got to pick her brain, ask her questions, get a feel for what she wants. And since they don't take unsolicited submissions unless you've been to a conference where one of their editors attends, it was priceless. I think I'm going to submit, but probably not for a month or so. I think she'll be swamped after the conference.

Number two, time away from the hubby and two kids to write is double priceless. I sat on campus, put on the headphones and wrote, uninterrupted for a couple of hours. It was wonderful. And then I got a Big Mac, exchanged some clothes at JCPenney, registered my kids for swimming lessons, and went to the library. Surprisingly, they had about 8 of the books on my list. I checked them all out and will hopefully devour them over the next couple of weeks.

Tennis tomorrow, I better get to bed!

Reading: My crits. Thanks cujo!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Writing Conference Notes

Status of my Life: Staying positive. Sending off my pages...

Another day of conferencing. It was really, really good.

Good: Cool speech from an editor about practicality vs. passion.

Bad: 11 new books I need to read. Add these to the 10 I wrote down yesterday. It's only day 2.

Good: Sitting 5 feet from a New York agent and listening to him talk. Amazing!

Bad: ADHD people raising their hands and asking a ten-minute question in which they reveal their ADHS-ness. (Snarky, I know!)

Good: Funny and delightful MC's. Seriously. Those ladies are funny!

Bad: More classes available than time. I missed the bit by bit, how to write an hour everyday and I really wanted to go to that one...but there was the editor chat, so that won out.

Good: Fun people, helpful presenters, good friends.

Reading: You think I have time to read?! I'm, uh, writing right now. Well, I'm blogging, but I should be writing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Writing Conference Goods and Bads

Status of my Life: Busy perfecting FREEBIES to send off. Probably tomorrow, then the real nail-biting begins. :)

I attended the first day of the Writers and Illustrators for Young Readers Workshop today. I met a friend I met at QT and we had a great afternoon. This is the third writing conference I've attended, and I'm going to compile a list of "goods" and "bads" about writing conferences.

Good: You feel inspired to be a better writer.

Bad: You have a list of no less than 10 new books to read - after the first day. The list grows with each session you attend.

Good: You get to talk to professional authors and editors.

Bad: Lunch is not provided. Dreyer's strawberry fruit bars are not available.

Good: You have time to reflect on what kind of writer you want to be.

Bad: The women's restroom always has a long line.

Good: No computer (at least for me) = no distractions from my thoughts and feelings on why I want to be an author.

Bad: You'll want to attend all the classes and have to choose which one you go to.

Good: You get to meet other aspiring authors, build a network of support, and really enjoy an afternoon with other fantastic writers!

Reading: LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow (2nd time!)

Friday, June 13, 2008


Status of my Life: Trying to de-stress. Breathe in. Breathe out. I have some non-writing related activities scheduled for this weekend and I think that's really going to help me not be so obsessive over preparing my chapters to send to the editor. I wrote 1000 words today on my YA novel with no name. And I can't decide which WIP to use for a new critique group I just joined.

Hmm. I know I'm an obsessive person. I really try hard not to be, but that doesn't always work out. I'll keep you updated.

So today, I've been OBSESSIVELY checking my online crit group because I posted my synopsis there. One girl (love her!) shredded it for me and sent it back. She was right about everything. Writing the synopsis is so very hard. I'm glad I started early. I had a draft already done, about 7 paragraphs, one page. That's good, because the Buried Editor asked for a one-page synopsis. The problem now lies in making sure every word on that one page conveys something about me, the writing, the story, the plot, the characters, etc. I figured out that one page is about 550 words. For an entire 90 K novel. That's really, really hard.

And so I obsess. I read again. I post somewhere else, somebody else wonderful gives fantastic advice, and the cycle starts again. Read, change, post, ask someone...and before I know it, it's three-thirty, I'm not ready for my plans tonight, or tomorrow, and I really have to get off the computer.

And yet here I am blogging. I had a minute, really! O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D.

Reading: THE WARRIOR HEIR by Cinda Williams Chima

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Holy Nervous Energy

Status of my Life: Writing a new novel that has no name. It's about teenage pregnancy, we'll have to see where it goes. And now I'm a complete wreck and need about ten boxes of those strawberry fruit bars from Dreyer's...

Okay, so I haven't actually like, you know, queried. No nerves while I wait forever to be rejected. No checking the email 500 times an hour (I do that now!). But I entered this pitch contest that the Buried Editor had on her blog...

And she requested pages! I'm so nervous! Why, oh why am I so nervous?! I think someone would make a lot of money on drugs for this kind of thing. First, the habitual email checking. I need some pills for that. And now I need something to keep my heart from busting out of my chest as I copy and paste my pages into a new document to send to this woman. Pills, I need pills!

Reading: FREEBIES by Me. This is what I have to send to the editor. HOLY NERVOUS ENERGY. I need a chill pill. Bad.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Can Myspace?

Status of my Life: Writing and critiquing and whatever else I want! It's summer!

So I decided to start a myspace page. You can check it out here. Don't ask me why, another reason to obsessively spend hours on the Internet? Another cool website I can maintain? More friends? Yeah, all of those things. I can't help it, I like making cool stuff and chatting with cool people. Somehow I'm hoping that all their "coolness" will somehow rub off on me through osmosis or something. So far, though...

I've been over to Shelfari too, and that's fun. I LOVE looking a books, even the jackets make me giddy! See why I need to socialize with cool people? Yeah, well. Check out myspace if you want!

Reading: DEFINE "NORMAL" by Julie Anne Peters (Loving it!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Writing Musings

Status of My Life: I've found peace with myself. And inspiration in the real world around me. I started a new story about teenage pregnancy, something I feel strongly about. Still editing, revising, and beating my head against the wall on my other manuscripts.

I had a great weekend. I met up with a couple of writing friends and we just hung out talking. Not even about writing the whole time, but lots of different things too. It was fun to hang out with people that are my kind of crazy (as Suzy put it!). I know I'm a totally obsessive person, so it's nice to know that I'm not the only one.

I've been doing a lot of soul searching the past week or so, and I've finally found some solace (thanks Karyne!). I love writing. Really, really love it. So, no matter what, I'm going to keep writing the stories that are in my head. And, if one day in the very far future, they get published, great. And if they don't, that's okay too. I'm going to be diligent in the attempt, but in the end, everything will work out how it's supposed to.

I think one of the main contributors to my regained sanity is my absence from the Internet. I still check QT and AQC religiously, but I don't have to post on every thread or stay online for hours. I didn't read a single agent/publishing blog this week. *Gasp!* And I'm still alive. Instead I focused on me, myself, my family, my life, my writing. The blogs will still be there, so I've decided to not be so...obsessive. It's a hard road! :)

Have I mentioned how much I love summer? I got up today and did all my cleaning (that's typical for a Monday), ran some errands, and now I have the whole day to do whatever I want. And tomorrow I can do the same thing. And Wednesday...and Thursday...and I love summer!

Whew! That's enough musing for today.

Reading: EXTRAS by Scott Westerfeld


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer is Here!

Status of my Life: Been taking a break. Some of my stuff has been getting killed and I'm having a hard time deciding what to do. Quit? Take a step back? Keep on no matter what other intelligent authors say? Go back to bed? Go to the pool? Play tennis? Make a card? Yeah, I did all those things at least twice over the past three days. Sometimes writing can't dominate everything.

I cannot express how happy I am to be home on a Wednesday without taking a sick day. I love summer! And I know it's Wednesday, but I wanted to post something that I wrote as a little teaser on the QueryTracker site. If you haven't been there, you simply must go now. Click on the little FORUM button on the far right and join the writing forum fun!

This is something I completely made up on the spot for a line that was tossed. We had to use the first few words and then it's free game after that. I have the character in my head--he exists on paper too--and I even found a picture of him already. But that's a whole new issue for another blog entry. I'm thinking about ways to torture him...and this was the first one that I came up with.

When everyone stared, I knew that I'd broken one—or more—of the insane rules at this place. Maybe it was the rod in my eyebrow. Or the stud in the lower left corner of my lip. Or maybe the facial hair I hadn’t had time to shave because I'd only been awake for approximately seven minutes.

Looking around the cafeteria, it was definitely all three. Every pasty face turned toward mine was hairless, studless, and rodless.

"Mr. Harper."

Fantastic. The Warden. "Yes, sir?" I tried to pour as much confusion into my voice as possible.

"Your shirt is not tucked in."


Reading: THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES by Nancy Farmer

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