Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Be or Not To Be

I've been reading up on story arcs for the past few days. Doing an image search brings up a truckload of examples. Reading about what they are supposed to be has been fruitful.

I have my start, my inciting incident, my obstacle to overcome, BUT....

I'm now at the Midpoint and wonder exactly what it should be. I've got a story that will climax in a huge battle. I've also got a character who must make a HUGE decision. That's probably the second obstacle to overcome. Yup, I think that's what I'll make that. But the midpoint. Could it be the dance? I blush at the thought of my poor hero/heroine. I think the dance will be the midpoint. From then on, it will go downhill until the decision is made. Then we can come to the climax and finish this thing. 

Well, that puts me in a better state of mind. I've not had to do this before. I've always 'known' what was going to happen. The fleshing out part was always the surprise. 

I suppose it's really kind of the same here. I do know the ending. That's important. *g* I do have an idea of what the decision will be (but the Muse can be frustratingly oblique when it comes to those things!)

Life is intriguing.

PS - great image here....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't Know Much

The little one is starting school tomorrow. A whole new chapter of my life will open up. I will be free to write in the mornings. I am focusing on being adamant about this. Send her off, sit down and write, pick her up. She'll only be gone for two and a half hours, but that's much more time than I have now for my craft.

I took her to an educator's supply/book/gadgets store today and, while she was enjoying the cornucopia of toys/games/things, I was reading a teacher study guide for Fifth Grade writing. 

I didn't know half of what these children are learning today. I had to laugh because many of the teaching tools in the book are the very same that I have been hearing at conferences.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think conferences are great, but this book was under $10 US. I pay a lot more than that for conferences.

The gist of the matter was: set yourself a time everyday for writing; find yourself a place to write; be firm with yourself and write. 

The book also taught about voice and story arc and all sorts of wondrous information. I bought it for myself. I never learned about voice or story arc or POV, even though I took college writing classes. Never, in the years prior to college, did my other schools teach anything about writing. We read and discussed what the writer was getting at. None of the tools to do it myself.

Glad children are learning now. Needless to say, my little one will definitely know these things. I'm learning them and am going to pass them along.

Life is continuous learning. 

PS - I finally figured out how to get the stuff in my footer to appear. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Read, Read, Read

Let me first say that we, from the city I hale from, are known to be sarcastic, cynical sons of b…  So that should explain the following ramblings.

At conferences, speakers are always saying, ‘Read, read, read.’ Now, the logic behind this seems to be: the more you read, the better your writing will be; the more you read, the better you will understand the market; the more you read, the easier it will be to communicate to publishers/editors. (Though I understand that by the time your book is published, a full two years might have passed since you signed the contract. Which could mean that it's been four years since you wrote the bloody thing!)

There should be a qualifier to this. Read, read, read good books. For if I’m reading trash, except the occasional one used for a break from serious writing/reading, then I will write trash.

Secondly, a speaker from this past week-end’s event said she sets a goal of reading 100 books per year. For me, that would have to be 100 children’s picture books. I don’t have time to write half the time, never mind read.

Granted, I’ve been reading one heck of a long time. I am beyond the fifty mark on the birth calendar. I believe I’ve been reading voraciously since I was somewhere around ten and started reading a story with a heroine with freckles who hated them. Fell in love with that character. (BTW – anyone have any clue as to what that book was? I’ve got to google freckles and see what I get!) Then went on to a historical story about a Revolutionary soldier. Awesome book. Won a Newbery Medal or something like that. Then onto science fiction where I found my soul.

This all boils down to the cynicism part.

Am I told to read in order to boost book sales? I told you I was cynical.

Enough of that. Suffice it to say that I bought a book at the conference and will read it within the next day or two. I bought a couple books last summer at a fair and read them and then found the author’s previous books and read them.

When I broke my back a few years ago, I read thirteen within three months. Fell in love with an author and, thankfully, he was prolific. I still get every new book he puts out. He usually does so once or twice a year.

Life is full of reading. Good reading.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Skyline Conference 2011

A few tidbits from Saturdays Skyline Writers’ Conference.

She gave a talk on how to write for teens. She asked two questions that I thought were appropriate for any genre or age group. Why do I need to write this story? And – Would I read (or have read it when I was ___ old)? She spoke of a lot of other things, too. I was most impressed by her sharing and learned a lot. I heard many other participants voice the same opinion.

She taught us how to take a broad idea and hone it down to something that will definitely sell. She had us laughing and learning. Great exercises during her talk.

Joy spoke on writers’ wellness. It was a great topic that I was really looking forward to hearing. She didn’t disappoint. She made us go through a few simple, non-stressful yoga exercises. And then had us throw around a ball. Great thing for right after lunch. But her talk alone was quite good. Going to contact her soon to further my education in writing in a healthy state.

Lisa usually has her sister/friend/kindred spirit (Laura) along with her. She held her own. In fact, I’ve placed her on my ‘Best Speakers’ list at the bottom of my blog page.

Her talk was on networking, but she brought such enthusiasm for writing that the room lit up. It was quite an experience, listening to her. She was bombarded with questions after her talk and answered them all with humor and grace. A boundless, loving woman. It was a delight hearing her. Lisa’s talk ended the conference. And what a great speaker to end with.

I truly believe this was one of the best conferences I’ve been to. Besides the great speakers, the people of Skyline were charming, the attendees enthusiastic and focused, and the food was very good.

Life is a box of chocolates.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Great conference today. The speakers were great,too. 

I've decided I want to keep them in my mind - in case I see them speaking somewhere else. That way, I can go and see them.

So - I tried to add a thingee to my front page - listing the best speakers IMHO - they don't show up. They show up in my design page, but not on the blog itself. I seem to have lost my followers, too. Though I know they are still there. I can't see them. Yesterday, I lost all the blogs I was following. After a couple hours, they came back.

Hmmm - I really do love this blog site. I hope the 'problems' resolve themselves. I'd hate to have to move to another blog site. My profile is 'missing in action' too. Odd.

Life is perplexing.

Friday, August 26, 2011


"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."  Steve Jobs - Apple Computers.

Wow. Is that not a great thought? I've got to put it all over my mirrors and such at home - to keep me on the creative path of writing. I've been ill these past few days. I find I can't write when I'm like this. 

But I know I will get better soon, recover. And I will be ready to forge onward again. I have been making steady progress with "Blue" and there's no reason to think I won't continue. I am looking for a September finish date. I really don't think I can meet it, but I want to try.

My heart aches for publication. Aches for it. I will continue to work towards that end. The ache doesn't supersede my love of writing - I firmly believe the ache is the end product of my writing. 

This week-end Skyline will be having its conference. I so look forward to it because I am bound and determined to suck in, like a vacuum, every morsel that the speakers are willing to give. I'm going to network with the folks who attend. AND I'm going to write, too.

Thanks Steve Jobs and may your good health return.

Life is following my heart.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There Is Hope

A good friend of mine, one whom I pull for and I know she pulls for me, was asked by a 'house' to send her full MS to them. Obviously, the writing for the little she sent was considered good enough, and the story was focused enough to earn her a further look.

Isn't life wonderful!

I am so happy for her. But also very grateful that she shared this little triumph. We know things can happen and so it sometimes is difficult to step out and say, "Something's happening," when tomorrow we can be totally crushed.

Bless you, dear heart, for your courage, your tenacity, and your gentle sharing.

It also gives me impetus to keep up the good fight. To you and yours, blessings! Keep writing. Keep marketing. Keep smiling.

Life is wonderful!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dashed, Dashed, Dashes

My hopes of writing were dashed Saturday. I had every intention! I had my writing paraphernalia in the car - on the seat next to me. I was headed towards a nice quiet restaurant for a coffee and a piece of pie. I meant to spend a good couple hours there, writing.

I made a mistake. I called a fellow writer and friend. To invite her to sit and write with me. Always nice when a fellow writer is sitting next to me, scribbling away. Gives me impetus to keep going when I start to lag.

Instead, she invited me to her house. There were lots of people there. They were a wonderful group. Lots of stimulating talk. 

I lied to myself - said it was a good exercise in learning. Listening to other people. Seeing other sides of life. I torpedoed myself. I really did.

Sunday came and I sat around the house doing absolutely nothing. Now, I suppose I am due a small vacation, but I really wanted to write. Didn't I? 

Life is frustrating.  MIQ T&R

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Giraffe count. I've let this grow lax the last few days. 

I had two days when I saw no giraffes. My heart tried to sink, but I thought to myself: "Hm, perhaps I'm not seeing them because it's time for me to send the MS out to other publishers."

Today, I saw six - SIX! I think this might mean six houses are reading my tale. *g*

No. I've only sent it out to four. Sunday, I'll research some more houses and send it out to six more. Perhaps that will account for the six giraffes I saw today.

Yesterday, I bought this really cute one - it was a baby giraffe at a store for teachers. I also bought an otter - there's one in 'Blue' that is important. 

Pretty soon, I'll have a menagerie. LOL

Re-read Chapters 18 to 23. Going to spend tomorrow writing the rest of Chapter 23. Hoping if I give myself these deadlines, it will help.

I sent the first ten pages of 'Blue' to be critiqued at the next SCBWI conference. Got my fingers crosssed. 

Life is tiring.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In-Store Writing

Watched a pundit the other night on the Daily Show. He was talking about books and the demise of Borders and such. To combat the internet, he said instead of store signings by authors, we should have in-store writing sessions. He suggested writers sit at a table and write while the public mills about. Those who are fans of the writer's books can continuously interrupt, wondering when the next book will be completed. Those who aren't fans can throw food.

I am surprised, only mildly, that none in the writing world seem to worry, publicly, about what is happening in the world of books. The conferences I attend do not speak to the issue. Hiding one's head in the sand? 

Are we writing for naught? Will the day of the book pass by and we be left holding the proverbial bag? 

There are negotiations for higher pay for ebooks. I hope that continues. 

As for myself, I can't stop writing. It would be like not breathing. 

ROTFL - I suppose it would mean the end of submitting and marketing. Which would be a great lessening of a burden many authors hate.

I hope, with all my heart, that the next generation will know the joy of holding a book in hand and reading. I've seen folk with the notepads and such. I would like to have one when traveling. So much easier than trying to turn a page while sitting in a cramped airplane seat.

However, nothing could replace the warmth and joy and soul-tingling excitement of reading in bed, the book heavy in hand, my granddaughter snuggled next to me, relishing each chapter. Or in a coffee shop, wiping away the crumbs of a bear claw.

Life is too much fun to give up one iota.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Trust in myself. 

It's amazing. I went to class last night and the teacher gave me back Chapters 13 and 14 of 'Blue.' 

Blessedly, wonderfully, she loved it. Hardly made a change at all. Only a few minor errors in grammar.

What was interesting to me - and this has happened before - she highlighted two areas that needed fleshing out. The reason it was interesting is that, when rereading the chapters before submitting to her, I had qualms about those very passages, but dismissed them as foolish and unnecessary to change.

My bad! I've got to learn to trust my instincts. When I read a passage or a phrase or even a WORD, and it feels funny on my tongue, or I furrow my brow in puzzlement --

Then it's time to give that a second, or even third glance. And make a change. 

I wonder if it's laziness? Or wanting to get the chapter done and over with? Or just plain fatigue?

I'm not sure - but I'm going to put another little sticky note on the edge of my computer that says - TRUST YOURSELF.

Life is worth the extra time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Couldn't Sleep

Last night droned on and on. I think some of it was the excitement of writing over 3,000 words. That was fun. 

I also lay in bed wondering about the next chapter. So at 3:00 am, I'm up and writing the next chapter. Well, only a couple hundred words. But I know where it's going and that is a VERY good thing. 

I worked on the synopsis tonight, too. Still only 6-10 words per chapter, but enough to build on later, when it's needed. I didn't do this with the last book. It was a real pain trying to get the synopsis of a 90,000 word book down. I wouldn't suggest putting off your synopsis. At least, give yourself a few words for each chapter as a baseline.

I saw a comment today from a guy who wanted to hire someone to do his marketing work. I remember those days well, when I wanted the same thing. Writing is my joy, my life, my love. Why on earth would I want to spend writing time on marketing?

I don't like the marketing end - but I have learned a lot from it. Perseverance. Now, isn't that really needed to be a writer? Courage - to keep sending out my MS. I see blog after blog and article after article telling of how important courage is for a writer - for delving into the depths of my being to make my characters fuller, my scenes sharper, my plot thickening. Discipline, patience, passion. All things necessary to make a great writer. All things that I learn from marketing my works.

Marketing is a gift, as Boromir would say. If it you learn from, as Yoda would say.

Life is work and joy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

No Rhyme or Reason

Does the Muse sit around and devise ways to drive me mad? 

Sometimes, when I finish writing a chapter, I feel washed out, totally drained. I look at it and think, 'This stinks,' and cringe. When I let it breathe, and go back and re-read it, most times I'm quite pleased with it. Surprised, but pleased.

Yesterday, I wrote two and half chapters of 'Blue.' I could NOT believe the productivity. Yet, as I wrote, I laughed, I cried, I loved it.

This morning, urged on by a 'goal' that I'd set at the Writers Ink meeting, I endeavored to finish the half-written chapter. I had no clue as to what happened next, but the silly, sweet, wondrous Muse kicked me in the pants and I began, with trepidation. It flowed immediately and well. 

I am now finished with Chapters Twenty and Twenty-one. Only a chapter or two from halfway. Gosh - that makes me swallow hard and shiver. I can't believe it

BUT, tell me how can this be? One time thinking my writing sucks and the next that I am the best around (well, almost).

Life is funny.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I've made no bones about it. I don't outline. I hated outlining in school. Now that I'm writing, I'm receiving flack for not doing an outline first. Can't stand 'em.

However, at the Skyline Writers meeting today, someone talked about the synopsis. I have written those before, but as the prelude to sending out an MS. Some publishers want a synopsis.

As a tool for the structure of a story - that was a new thought/idea. I like it. I'm going to start one up for 'Blue.' I've already got a timeline-ish thing started. Each chapter has only a couple words written to keep me from losing my place. I will use it to begin my synopsis.I think that will definitely help. 

At the upcoming SCBWI conference, I've registered for the ARC talk. Looking forward to that. I'm not as familiar with a story arc as I know I should be. Anything to help the craft.

Great meeting, BTW, today. Two new folks came. Excited folks. I do so love that. A breath of fresh air. The same happened, if you remember my earlier post, at the Writers Ink meeting (3 new people). 

Getting ready for the Skyline Conference on August 27th. The speakers sound promising.

Life is learning, learning, learning.

PS - Today was an odd day. I received more hits from Germany than from the United States. Go figure.

PSS - Thanks, Germany!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Last Inning

Watching a baseball game the other night, I realized that it is insane to wait for the last inning of a game to try to win it. The opposing team puts in a 'closer,' the pitcher who is fresh and knows the dynamics of power baseball. So - if your team is behind at this point, the odds are - they won't win.

Seems to me the same can be said for writing. I must have my ending before I can begin. I know that sounds insane. It's true. The ending doesn't necessarily have to be written down, but it's got to be in my heart and in my soul. I think the ending forces me to write the beginning, and helps me to continue through the middle. You want to have the ending happen. 

The ending is kind of like a cavity. Your tongue finds it and worries it until it becomes unbearable to live with. 

So - I'm gonna focus on my ending for 'Blue.' It's not written down, but it is set in my mind. If I remember that I really want to save my poor hero/heroine, that might help me keep focused and disciplined. 

I will not, however, make an outline. I'm just not an outline person.

Life is ever-changing.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cooler Than Me Rant

Listening to Mike Posner's song the other day. Meant to blog it then, but life is not easy as of late.

It's your typical 'you think your cooler than me' stuff. But the beats fun and I really like it. I'll have to add him to my Pandora stations.

The problem was - It gave me a hideous moment - a moment where I felt that I had 'missed the boat' - again. 

I had to shake it - fast. The best part was I could. I've learned to know when to get rid of thoughts that will bring me down. Still, the intense feeling of failure that wrapped around my chest - like lightning hitting me full on - was a surprise.

Writing - boy it makes you vulnerable. 

Going to my writers group tomorrow. The group has shrunk again - it's summer - it's a ritual now. Which means it takes three months between critiques. Very hard to accept. Very hard to live with. 

I truly don't understand why people even bother - if they aren't dedicated to their writing - why join a critique group? 

No - I guess I do understand. Perhaps it's hope. Perhaps it's cool to say you're a writer. Perhaps it's looking for somewhere to belong.

I just wish I could find a critique group that is peopled with dedicated writers. 

Oh - another thing. When a writer is finally published - and they pull out of a group. I can understand that, too. Time should be used for the marketing phase. But if a group has helped you, helped you in your writing growth, wouldn't it be 'polite' to come back, once in awhile, and say, "Hey, how ya all doin?"

Life is exasperating!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Ah dear friends. You know I am trying to learn discipline - using my blog as one of the tools to achieve it. However, I suffered a small injury on Saturday and could not write.

The Writers' Ink meeting on Saturday was about the best ever. We had three new members join (though we have no ceremony, nor fees for membership). These turned out to be dedicated writers.

Now - there is a wee bit of word maneuvering to 'label' writers. There is the professional writer; there is the author; there is the writer. I've not seen anything that can justify titles to make a person look better. I suppose sometimes titles are necessary.

But I really like 'dedicated' writer. I believe I am one. I have discovered I have a need to have dedicated writers in my circle of support/friends. 

The boon of these three women, and their enthusiasm, their sharing without fear, and their general congeniality made the meeting one of the best ever.

Life is powerful.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Onward, Ever Onward

Spent some time editing chapters 18 and 19 today. I'll print them out tomorrow and go to a cozy little restaurant and finish them off.

Tomorrow is my little AA group for writers. Writers' Ink is a great group of friends here in Ohio. We'll talk and laugh and share the ups and downs. I can't wait to hear what my friends are up to. 

The week-end is busy - with things that are not writing related - but I expect to spend time writing anyhow. I've got to. The Muse will be revitalized after tomorrow's meeting. 

I have no idea what the blasted gems are that Gozon bought at the market. That they are magic was abundantly clear as poor Kaspar reeled in their presence. How on earth the Muse comes up with these things, I don't know. *g*

Life is good.

PS - FOUR giraffe sightings today!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wishing and Hoping

So many of my years were spent in fairytale-like wishing. Nowadays, I try very hard to discourage my own little one from such thoughts. Life is too much fun if you give it a chance. If you sit around wishing, it's quite dull. Even sad.

Today, even with all this tremendous knowledge, I found myself wishing to see some giraffes. Now, as I've explained before, I have seen giraffes everywhere since I sent my MS to the publishing houses. Today was no exception. First thing in the morning, I was watching TV for the weather and there they were - twice. Giraffes. Unbidden. Unwished for.

So later today, I was at the science museum with the little one and there were pictures of elephants and wildebeests and chimpanzees. So I thought, OK - good place to see giraffes. None came. I started wishing for giraffes. None came.

It finally dawned upon me - wishing will not get something done. Now, I'm not that dense that this very thought hasn't come to me hundreds of times before, but I am slow and need refreshing - the good old F5 button.

The same is true with writing. I know it is. If I sit at my computer and wish I could write something, nothing will happen. Same is true with my trusty, rusty yellow pad.

BUT - if I sit down and 'know' that I'm going to write - I do. No excuses need be made when that moment finally comes. I love the Muse.

Life is stirring.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writing - Hard on the Body

I'm exhausted - but in a good way. My back is killing me - but in a good way. I've been writing - but in a good way! Because today, I wrote more 'Blue.'

I spent a couple hours yesterday working on press releases and task lists and such for the Skyline conference coming up at the end of this month.

I don't know how I end up on committees - but there you are.

I finished Chapter Eighteen and never even noticed that Chapter Nineteen was contained in it. So that's two whole chapters done. 'Course, I've got to edit them. But the important stuff is in there. As I was transposing from my rusty, dusty yellow notepad to Word, a whole other section just fell into the computer. It was fun and surprising. I had to rearrange quite a few pieces of the handwritten stuff to accommodate the new stuff. But isn't that a glorious thing - to have to accommodate writing. *g*

Life is good!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grief and Such

I went to a blog tonight that was mentioned in a friend's blog.

The writer was talking about rejections - which I always read about - and said that we must recognize that grief is part of the rejection process. I sometimes forget that grief is such a huge part of our lives. At least mine.

Every day, there is a moment of grief that can be used. Eye doctor today. Good news and yet not quite. A bit of an astigmatism for my little one. Now that doesn't seem bad, but anything that might make her life a bit more difficult, makes me sad. So I mourned it. Properly. For about two seconds. That's all it was worth.

My son-in-law picked up a call from me on my daughter's cell. He and I are estranged. Seriously. I was furious. As always, he was obnoxious. I had to mourn the feelings that came with talking to him. I had to mourn the fact that I didn't get to talk to my daughter. 

These are little things. But honestly, each day, if I can remember to look at a thing that has caused me a wee bit of sadness, give it its moment of mourning and grief, then I will waylay anger and fear. Those are important things to be rid of. They promote depression.

Oh - I had to mourn the fact that I won't be able to go to Dragon*Con again this year. One of my favorite authors will be there. 

I've got the Skyline Conference to go to. So that will be fun. I think I best remember also to rejoice on a daily basis. 

Life is convoluted.