Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writing Little Things

I really have to giggle. I know from writing drabbles (little hundred word stories) that writing a short story can be harder than writing a long story (sometimes).

I wrote a children's book and sent it off to some friends for comment. I didn't hear from anyone (I had forgotten to send the attachment - shees!).....

In the midst of printing it out and again editing it, I went to the library. While there, I thought to myself (I do that quite often) - 'I wonder if the childrens' librarian would read this and give me her feedback. After all, she does do storytime with the little ones.'

I got up my courage (one of the things a writer really needs) and presented her with the MS. I told her she could get back to me, but she pulled out her reading glasses and read it right then and there. It's only about 300 words.

She loved it. Said she would definitely read it to the preschool groups. She suggested I consider a different ending, as I had the hippos shouting at the giraffes. She said little ones prefer happy endings and calm. LOL

I got a great ending to it after much struggle. Hours spent on three little couplets! But well worth it. I think the ending is great. Bless that dear librarian.

I'm going to present it at a SCBWI function in May. Can't wait now.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Did Write

I haven't paid the bills yet. 

But I did write out my childrens' picture book. I'm going to a writers' conference in May. One of the 'perks' - you get to give your MS to an editor or a publisher.

I wrote it down - it's a little story I've been telling my own little one. She loves it and asks for it all the time. It didn't take too long to write down - BUT - life is interesting - the Muse decided she wanted it to rhyme.

Also, I read an article in this month's SCBWI news. It was about the power of three. Really - I found that the title has three words in it; I changed the giraffes to be three instead of a whole herd; and I ended it with three words. We'll see if 'three' really has power (though it has always been my lucky number!).

Now I've got my work table cleaned off and I am going to pull the pile of paperwork off the dining room table and put it on the work table.

Tomorrow morning - come heck or high water - I will ... hmm - what else can I do to procrastinate? I know! Church! Then breakfast! Writing at the restaurant! Library to print out a couple chapters.

Maybe I can do the bills tomorrow evening.......

Life is complicated.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Bane

Paperwork is my bane.

I can't stand the mailman. He brings bills and all kinds of 'stuff' that keep me from sleep and such. The pile on the table grows too large to see out the window (a small exaggeration).

I find it incredibly laughable that I have chosen to write. Do you know how much paper is involved in writing? Even with computers. My little office is jammed with drafts and notes and books for research. (Never for reading, for reading takes time and there's none of that anymore!) And the legal yellow pads!

Today was going to be my 'full-on' writing day. I love the weekends cause I do get to concentrate for hours at a time on my writing. The papers on the dining room table are telling me different. Time to do some bills, else the electricity to run the computer will stop. Among other things.

So I will leave this note. Do your bills as soon as you get them. Pitch the junk mail. Don't hide under your bedcovers. The bills and stuff will not go away. They propagate like bunny rabbits.

But most importantly - write every day. Otherwise, your little typing fingers will atrophy and the dust on the keyboard will be so deep you can't make them work.

Ah - life is interesting!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Had To Write

I read a tale from a friend and got a quick idea for a tribble (300 word short).

It's been on my mind for two nights now. I knew if I wanted to sleep tonight, I best I write it out. It was fun.

I suppose I can take a break, every now and then, from Blue (and thoughts of Blue).

Tribbles and drabbles (100 word short) can be such fun and a great exercise for cutting words and using only the most needed. I am one who tends to run at the mouth - so doing these has always been a challenge. Tonight's went well. I enjoyed writing it and I enjoyed being in a different universe than 'Blue's.'

Life is fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Missed Opportunity

Sadly, I wasn't able to go to my 'little' writers' group. The little one and I have both been fighting colds for the last week. (probably from the winds at the St. Paddy's Day Parade!)

We've been staying at home for days now and I can't write with her around. She demands I give her full attention. And I love it. Her mind is so quick. She keeps me on my toes... and forever young (except when my body screams 'enough!')

We played all kinds of imgination games. She loves princesses and trolls and dragons and princes. It's quite a mind challenge to keep up with her.

The little group won't miss me. But right about now, I really need to write. Chapter Thirteen needs some work (though it is complete). I've got the notion to 'explode' some of the scenes in it. When I'm lying in bed, all kinds of ideas come and I seriously want to get them down.

My son has agreed to talk with me about my research. That will help tremendously in a couple chapters already written and in those to follow.

Life is exciting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Week-end Away

Just signed upr for a week-end conference. A murder mystery writer will be there along with an essayest and an author whose first book is being published this spring.

Again - looking forward to it. But I'm learning to have no expectations. I'm learning to just go with the flow. If nothing else happens than I get a full week-end in a private setting to write, then that will be great.

I'm anxious to finish this book. I just started it in November. Isn't that insane? But I don't know where it's going and I really want to see what happens. The book is set to encompass about a year in the hero/heroine's life. I've only done about six weeks. Lots more to do.

Of course, I don't plan on spending lots of time at 'school.' I'm hoping to get onto the battle to save the world. I've got about 18,000 words written over fourteen chapters. The chapters word count run around 1,100. To make this long enough for a full-fledged novel, I've got to get another 52,000 words. I think I can do that. But that will mean another forty-five or so chapters. Wow.

Sounds daunting, but I've already written an epic tale of over 500,000 words. It took seven years..... Can't do that again!

Definitely need to spend more than one week-end totally dedicated to the book!

Life is - interesting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

Chapter Fourteen is complete. Wow - that feels good.

Listening to Credence Clearwater. I find listening to different types of music for different chapters is helpful - and fun. Keeps my toes tapping as I try to drown my hero/heroine.

I've got some serious researching to do for the next chapter. I'm going to talk with my son. I can feel my cheeks blazing as I think of it. It is quite personal. Got to find out some physical things that happen with boys and their 'thing.'

Chapter Fourteen was a hoot to write. I really enjoyed working on it. These tests are taking up more 'space' than I expected, but they seem good.  We'll see what happens next.

Life is good - though a bit complicated.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Changes In Writers' Group

One of my writers groups has shifted from three critique groups to two.

The first group is for those who can't commit to submitting or critiquing on a monthly basis. They submit and attend when they are able.

The second group is for those on the 'fast track,' those who commit to once a month critiquing and submitting every two months.

The change has meant that the second group now has eight members in it, compared to six. This makes a tremendous difference. First, this means I've got eight people looking at my work. A good thing: the more the merrier.

On the other hand, it means the time for each member's critique is shortened. Also, the time to go over their suggestions is pretty impactful. Seven critiques is a lot, especially if their comments are numerous. (I cross fingers in hopes that I don't have too many red marks!)

Today, I finally finished last week's critiques. I only had six to go through. I'd already read through them once after the meeting. Now, I delved deeply into making the changes in my 'drarft.' Took me an hour solid, with no interruptions. (I love volunteering at the art center - they don't get a lot of traffic yet, it's too new.)

Tonight, I hope to make the changes I decided were noteworthy to my computer file. As I said before, there is the dilemma of too much or too little description.

I've decided that the need, by my critiquers, for more detail is perhaps a good thing. This means, I think, that they are hooked on the story and want more. Which is a VERY good thing.

So I'm leaving it pretty much the way it was and hoping that their interest will continue as I further expose the tale.

This is fun and exciting.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Just a quick note of celebration. Planning on having a FUN day.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Pass it forward!

Tempers Flare

Don't take it personally. This is my mantra, most days.

Even from the Muse. If she tells me something, I've got to figure she doesn't mean to be mean - she just knows what has to be written. She's always right.

Today at my little writers group, it got a ltitle heated. And for no reason. Short tempers. How could that happen on a glorious day like today? The sun was shining - the first time in way too long. There was a good mix of people there. We're all friends, more or less.

As I said on an earlier post, the meetings have changed. Today we read a 'fixed' version of one of the women's entries. The moderator said last week that this woman tended to write in more of a timeline fashion. The mod felt the story needed to be more 'subject' oriented. I believe she was right.

So - and this is very unusual - the mod took it home and cut and paste the six pages and brought it back today. She read the 'changed' MS and it was better, clearer. The author was happy with it.

I liked that. I am surprised at the flavor of the meetings as of late. I like it. I'm wondering though if some of the members are having trouble with change. I hope it clears up soon. I really like this group.

One nice thing I discovered from this 'incident.' I didn't feel attacked (though the 'altercation' had NOTHING to do with me - I tend to 'take on' others pain). I didn't feel uneasy during the rest of the meeting. I could let it go. I didn't feel guilty that I didn't jump to one or the other's defense. I just sat back and waited for it to blow over. And it did. Apologies were forthcoming from both parties. Grudgingly. We are such interesting people.

Life is good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Devil in the Deadline

Deadlines are a double-edged sword. I'm not immune to them, but I try to distance myself from them. They seem to deter people from writing until the last moment.

I've spoken to writers who have the tendency to wait until the deadline is close, and then write furiously.

I don't like to do that. I like to write all the time. I'm disciplining myself to do that. I think it's counter-productive to use a deadline as the impetus to write.

Then again, as of late I haven't the energy to even sit down and begin. Life is extremely busy and demands are both physical, mental and emotional.

Writing is as demanding as life. It can drain you in fifteen minutes. But if you push yourself past that, the joy of a finished chapter, or a particularly difficult scene, are beyond measure.

Now - to get this last chapter into the old computer so I can get onto the next one. Or is that setting a deadline? Hm. Heck with the getting it into the computer - Forge onward. To the next chapter, she cries, sword drawn and raised!

Life is good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Expanding and Contracting

With the earth doing it's own thing, it seems only fitting that I should be stuck with challenges, too.

If you remember, I sent two chapters of my MS to my editor. She sent it back with hardly a revision. It felt great to again accomplish such a feat. So few red marks, I had to search for them. *g*

I had also sent the chapters to my writers group. We met on Saturday and the comments were many. There were two folk who decided they were confused by a scene. Well - two is enough to seriously consider revision. So I'll take their confusion and turn it into smooth sailing.

Otherwise, I was told the scenes were not expanded enough. Now, you know I've been going back and looking at each chapter, after that wonderful workshop I went to, and have 'blown up' a few parts. These were not part of that.

I have a tendency to keep action at the forefront. I don't like to give too much description. I am writing about a castle. Two people wanted more description of the castle. Now, one said she loves castles and likes to imagine them, what they're like and such.

A castle is a castle. You see one, you see them all. I have put down that it is very large, that the throne room is nice, but sparse, and that the dining hall is huge. Enough for 1000 squires to eat in. I have given some description as to the hero/heroine's quarters. What more can you want?

Personally, I don't like travelogue-type books. I like action books. I give enough detail that we can see that the grass is blue and the sky is green.

I struggled with the expanding / contracting argument and find that I am still new to this writing business. I go with my gut - and my gut says, a castle is a castle.

They also want more detail on the new characters who have joined us. I did give a wee bit, and plan to do more. But not yet.

I will, of course, re-read the chapters and see exactly what they might need without making this a book entitled, Castles I Have Known.

Life is good - no matter what.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Just a quick note - I've spent a lot of the day watching Youtube and the news regarding Japan.

I feel the need to say my heart goes out to them. The destruction is incredible. But they appear to have such courage.

God hold them and all whom they love in the palm of her hand. And may they find many, many alive.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Fragility of Life

Before I heard of the earthquake and tsumani in Japan today, I was doing my volunteering at a local art gallery.

Back history - life is often too short. I know too many people who have died way before their time. I have been concerned, as of late, with death. I've felt like I've been working against a deadline. That I had to push myself to complete my book in case I died. I know, probably stupid - but there you have it. When I have been hit by the loss of folks dear to me, my Irish ancestry takes over. All kinds of 'trouble' are considered likely.

I was talking with the gallery's curator about the subject. She chastised me. Heartily.

A juried show was opening tonight. She took me around the gallery and showed me the pieces. This one done by an 86 year old. This one by an 82 year old. This one by a 74 year old. This one by a 70 year old. There were only two pieces by under 30 year olds.

I've often thought of Whistler's Mother. Why do I think I can't be around for a long time? Why can't I write until I'm 92?

I've got to 'let go' of this madness and concentrate on the joy of living and the joy of writing. And the joy of life.

Life is good - and probably will be long, too!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happenings In Life

Ah - I know I must be insane - but when things happen, I just get the biggest kick out of standing back and looking at them, really looking at them, and thinking - how can I use this in my writing....

*indrawn breath*

If that makes me insane, I kind of like it. I tell you, it is way better than having things happen and being blown away by them. Or frozen in place. Or wallowing in self-pity.

The act of stepping back and watching and thinking about what it means to me - getting into my inner self and delving deep - frightening, but releasing. If that makes any sense.

I know I've used broken bones to 'know' what it feels like for one of my characters. The pain, the fear, the inhumanity of caregivers, the helplessness, the being at the mercy of living alone and trying to make due, or living with someone and being at their pleasure to help you.

Delving deep is incredibly terrifying - but it's great for writing.

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Changes for the Good

Changes came into my life around the end of December and I had to drop out of one of my writers groups. They meet during the day and I was no longer free. Recently, I found a babysitter - and went to the meeting today.

Great idea - I am so glad I went. I've known these writers for about a year now and they have become supporters and friends. I hope they know they are supported by me.

The meeting usually started with a ten minute exercise. These have always been fun in the past. I never knew I could write about 'anything.' I thought I could only write one genre. This group helped me open up and push myself into more. We then read what we've written... usually can't get a lot done in ten minutes, but it's fun to read my stuff out loud. I get some really good comments which help me push even further the next time.

The group has 'grown' - or something - since last I was there. Before, after the ten minute exercise and reading, we'd then share something else we've written (under 600 words), get a quick comment or two at the most, and then we'd go onto the next submission. A little unsatisfying, but what the heck.

Today, we delved deeper into each submission. It was great. We were specifically looking at the arc in a story. Lot of learning for only two and half hours.

Very glad I was able to get back to this group. First, for the growth of my own writing and confidence in it, and secondly, for the learning.

Life is good!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Odd Few Days

I can't believe I haven't been here since Wednesday.

Did a lot of writing one day this week, but can hardly remember when it was. Flooding of basements can do that to a mind! I haven't had the time to transpose it to a word document. Wrote on my handy-dandy little notepad. Very happy with what was written. I'm pretty sure Chapter 13 is now complete (along with Chapter 12.)

Went to Writers Ink on Saturday and had a great time. Lots of sharing and good camaraderie. I'm hoping to make my other group on Wednesday. We'll see if the babysitter comes through.

A seminar is coming up in April. I'll see the woman who's running it this Saturday. I'm hoping there is still room left for me to sign up. Les Roberts will be there. I enjoy his mysteries.

Sent off Chapters Ten and Eleven of 'Blue' to the Skyline Writers Group. I get critiqued again this Saturday, which is great for me.

Some quote on my old boss' wall said: Invest in yourself. Though seminars can be costly, if it helps my writing, then it's worth it. Got my fingers crossed, but no expectations!

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Support Or Life's Breath

I met with a writer friend the other day. We hadn't seen each other in quite a few months. I've not been able to attend our 'support' group. Before that, she hadn't been attending.

She told me that she came back because she realized she needed folks who accepted her as a writer. Her family and friends keep 'hoping' the fit will pass.

I think many of us are like this. We just don't have the support of family and friends. None want to hear what our 'character' is up to, nor how many query letters we've sent out, nor the fears that plague us.

It's important to have support. Writers' Ink is not a member-driven group. It's just a bunch of writers who get together and talk about life - not so much our writing - but the impact life has upon it. The chat and laughter emboldens us to continue on. If worse comes to worse and we bring in something that we're struggling over, the group listens and makes suggestions - but that's not what we're there for. We're there to support each other. To say, the fight is worthwhile. The joy of writing is worth everything. You're awesome. You're loved. You're accepted. Now, go out there and rock the world.

I need that. I believe it's why I'm still writing and focusing on publishing my stuff. I know I have people who have my back - no matter what.

Life if good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Whooo Hooo!

I sent Chapter Eight of 'Blue' to my teacher for tonight's class. She made only minimal changes and asked for more. So I sent her Chapter Nine.

Class tonight. She loves the story! *heavy sigh of relief* She thinks the character is great and compelling. Another whoo hoo!

Now, of course, I'm stressing about the next two chapters. We meet again in ten days. Gonna send Ten and Eleven. Things are rolling to a head. I'm stepping out and putting the 'social issue' forward soon. We'll see what happens.

But I am definitely committed to the tale and to my character. That's a good thing.

Life is interesting.

Frantic Pace

I became worried the other night. Seemed to me that I was having difficulties writing - even thinking about 'Blue.' The specter of a 'block' hung over me.

I discovered this morning, while I lay in bed on my 'off' day, that I hadn't lost the abiity to write nor rejoice in the action of thinking about writing. Myriad thoughts, plots, actions cascaded through my mind. It felt as if a dam gave way and all thoughts of 'Blue' finally made it over the broken concrete and spilled into my mind.

Glorious feeling.

I believe it's this crazy, frenetic world we live in. With the snow, ice, wind, and rain storms that we've had this past week, along with flooded basements and shoveling feet of snow, there is no time to think. One reacts.

I chuckle and think of Einstein's little theory - for every action there is a reaction.

Conversely, that could read: For every action, there is a reaction, and then there is exhaustion!