Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tormented

I can't stand it when I've written notes in the margins of my story and can't remember why on earth or what on earth they mean. I've got one note now at the top of the page that says, 'Snowflakes'. I have not a clue as to why I wrote this. If anyone has a vision, let me know.

I am back with 'Blue' if you wondered. I thought I'd given up entirely on Kathleen and her cohorts but the tale keeps bringing me back. I don't feel quite as disillusioned about it after reading another few chapters aloud.

Truth be told, my friend D was beside herself with praise over Ch. 8. She said Kathleen's voice came through loud and clear. Of course, I consider, it's well into the story and is this too late to hear her voice? I think so. I'll go back to the previous chapters and see if there's something I can do about this. I think it's a valid concern on my part.

BTW - I've got a friend who's written a non-fiction book. I keep calling him and asking him to send it to me. He's quite intelligent and I know the book is well-written and timely. But, that's the problem, it is so timely that some of the stuff he's written about has changed. Social mores have changed and some chapters will either have to be reworked or deleted. Not a fun prospect. I do not envy the man the challenge.

This is one problem that I find with writing for teens in fiction. That's one of the reasons I prefer fantasy to 'real time' fiction as I don't have to worry about jargon or cliches or whatever. I can write in a form that is acceptable to all - as long as I keep the voices true to their times. 

Never a dull moment with writing. Unless we forget the beauty of words and the joy of putting them down in some semblance of beauty. Don't you love the turn of a phrase? The fun of finding the 'right' word? There are so many gazillion words out there and trying to find the right one is complex but wondrous. 

CBS Sunday Morning had a 'Travolta' piece about forgetting. They said the longer you live the more you cram into your brain and the harder it is to filter through to find what you want or need to say or remember. My brain is crammed full. I need a supercomputer to filter things out. And that means I'm pretty smart. *g*

Life is such fun.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Inspired

Going from highs to lows, from mountains to valleys, from ups to downs is tiring, to say the least, frustrating to be more precise.

I am coming to the conclusion that writing takes support. I know writers are often depicted as solitary figures, but I'm not so sure. Yes, we usually write in the void, unless we join the NaNoWrMo movement every November, but we most often can be found sitting alone before a blank screen, or a blank piece of paper, or a blank stare (as we share our stories to some non-comprehending friend). 

Given that premise, that I need support, I'm looking for other writers in my area and for other conferences/workshops to grow that support. I told you the other day about a blogger who said something like this. Why get to the mountaintop alone? Why not have someone(s) to share it with? What is the sense of reaching the pinnacle if I am alone and cannot share it? Is it something like the tree falling in the forest and no one hearing? Shees!

Also, I'm reading books and articles about writing (their is a plethora of material out there - either in bookstores, libraries, or cyberspace.) I'm watching YouTube videos of famous authors and getting their input. Why should I try to grow alone? Why not listen to those who have come before me?

In that vein, I was watching Stephen King who said, "I have a routine because I think writing is self-hypnosis. You fall into a kind of a trance if you do the same passes over and over... I'll make my pot of tea and then sit down and write for three and a half hours."

I've heard this advice before, I think we all have, but it does make sense. I'm going over in my mind what I used to do, before this horrible slump. Besides finding a nice quiet restaurant where I could sit for a couple hours and write in peace (I've closed most because if their a quiet restaurant they soon go out of business *g*), I wrote late at night. I was a night-owl. My modus operandi was this: I'd putz around the house until about midnight and then, like some black swan turning into a white one, I'd sit down at my computer and spend the next gazillion hours writing. 

Since I've had major health issues and am just recovering, I've taken my doc's advice and am going to bed earlier. This change of life pattern seems to have affected my writing. I am convinced I must write during the day if I am ever going to write again. Must get into that routine that Stephen speaks of and make it a part of my daily life. Along with exercising and good food choices. 

Life is routine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ELlianFnL0

PS - hello to my new Chinese friends and to those in Ireland who continue to support and read. Bless you and thank you!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Writers' Groups

A moment's time - I love my writers' group, Skyline. It's not fun being critiqued, but being critiqued by people you trust and respect makes it easier. 

I submitted a draft of Ch. 11 of 'The Other Side' and got some nice feedback. Not nice in the sense that all is well with the world - but constructive criticism given with a sense of being in a safe place with people who support me. 

Descriptions - one Skyline member insists that I give more. I can't, I scream (in my head), but she's right as she always is. This is a new world, this sci-fi world I'm creating, and it must be painted with acuity. Otherwise, it might as well happen on Earth. Telling me the premise is good is not what I need. I'm grateful that the premise works - what I need to know is what doesn't work. This member helps me with that. Another bone of contention - the timeline. Confusion reigned. I'm glad I know. I will fix it. 

Thankfully, most of the critiques I get are fixable with not too much blood, sweat, and tears. Pat myself on the back and praise the Lord.

Walked into the meeting room and delighted in the fact that we had new folk attending. They joined in the critiques, which was great, and they look like they might stay. All three are well on their way to being accomplished writers. One new attendee is published. That's always great to have - published authors bring a sense of hope to a group. *g*

Once again I must remind myself that this upcoming mountaintop experience (being published) is not somewhere I want to be alone. I want friends and compatriots to share it with. I'm very glad I have Skyline and my other writing buddies. I'll bring marshmallows and chocolate and graham crackers and we'll celebrate with SomeMores.

Life is sharing. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Arrggh - Rules

It's great having a little one if you're a childrens' book writer. I get to go to the library all the time because she has book reports to do. And what a fun thing that is. 

We found a book that is pure delight. "Patti Cake and Her New Doll" by Giff, illustrated by Bryant. The story is simple yet beautiful and lots of fun. 

As always, I can't read a book without doing a bit of editing, perusing, checking out stuff. The author uses adverbs. Now, you know I used to use adverbs. I loved adverbs till I went to school and discovered that publishers don't like adverbs. At least, publishers in the USA. (I've got a writer friend in Russia who says they LOVE adverbs. Oh well.)

The adverbs in this sweet children's book are perfect. They serve a purpose. I'm sure the publisher saw the import of the adverbs. My favorite is - greatly dark. The child's new room is described as greatly dark. It just works perfectly. The doll the child finds lives in a greatly dark box. 

I suppose it's the voice. Greatly dark is something I can see this child using. There are other adverbs in the book, like frizzly hair and sparkly dress. They all are something I could see my little one saying and using. 

I suppose there are always exceptions to the rules. I let an adverb slide by now and again. If it works.

I got a nice rejection back today for 'Sorrysorrysorry' - I'm still learning to process rejections and not get disheartened. I called my editor and told her. She told me, in a sweet voice, to suck it up and keep writing and keep sending. So much for a pity party. I was ready. Really I was.

Life is courage.

http://www.amazon.com/Patti-Cake-Her-New-Doll/dp/054524465X