Friday, June 29, 2012

What Day Is This?

Life has been incredibly insane these past three weeks. I haven't even seen nor talked with my best friend. I hate it when life gets so nasty! I'm hoping it is finally on the upswing. What would I do if I didn't have hope???

I've been laughingly posting about characters and how they try to sway me to what they want their story to be. Most times, I hold out, but there are times when I get carried away with their 'vision' and off we all go. *g*

The other side of the coin. When you share your tale and your critiquers want you to go off onto some tangent that you hadn't thought of - nor, in most cases - wanted! I've had that happen lately. But innocuously. They don't mean it, per se. I know they don't. But their little remarks, their hints at something more (or less) and I begin to feel guilt Perhaps I should 'go' the way they want me to. It sounds interesting.

It's the guilt. And perhaps a lack of surety as to where my story is going. But I find that I sometimes acquiesce to these demands. I'm trying not to. Unless the change is incredibly good, or fills a real need for the plot or character or whatever, or address some failing in what I've written, I'm not doing it. I'm putting down my foot. I'm saying, no.

Life is challenging.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I've spent a goodly portion of this day on research. It started out feeling fun. I get mesmerized by stats and geography and timelines and such... But after I'd spent an hour and a half trying to figure out a certain thing, I was ready to pull out my hair! *g*

River flow. If I move my story back about a month, the spring melt will make the river flow faster and then my hero will be able to get where I want him to be at the right time. I can do that.

For folks who write historical novels, it must get downright frustrating, trying to move the story within the context of a 'known' timeline. I don't envy them that. I have enough trouble with a 'fantasy' timeline!

Trying to get other characters where I want them to be at a given time is also insane. They want their own ways. They have their own agendas. It's like juggling. 

But I'll get through this. I am finished with Chapter Six on my friend's birthday story. I have Chapter Seven and the Epilogue to do. I've had to change who I wanted to be there in Chapter Seven. I hope I can make it work and have it be plausible at the same time. *rolls my eyes in frustration*

Life is exacting.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blasted Rules

Ah - I've been reading some great stories by friends and have come to the conclusion, once again, that sometimes the rules just don't apply.

The 'ly' thing is especially *g* difficult to accept. I just finished a tale where snidely was used and I loved it. Supposedly, these things bring the reader out of the tale, but I knew exactly what the author meant without five words to explain it and I laughed and rolled in the joy of the word. I know we can use ly's occasionally *g* but I have tried to stay away from them. As part of my discipline plan. But I find the good ones delightful.

Another thing I had trouble with was POV. I am learning how to write in only one POV, but I really, really love reading a story with more than one. I'm told readers find it difficult to follow a story that has more than one POV. For me, I love them better. I think it might be because I grew up with TV. And yet, those who 'make' the rules grew up with TV. If I watch any show, it will go from one 'scene' to another, showing me numerous POVs. Does that cause me problems? No. If I read a book with more than one POV, does that cause me problems? No. 

Again, I worry about the dumbing down of readers. I hope that's not what this is, but I do wonder.

Life is puzzling.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Writing Buddy

I get the biggest kick out of my writing buddy. She is so enthusiastic. She picks me up every time we get together. I see again the joy of writing. Besides that, we laugh a lot.

We met last night and went over two of my chapters and one of hers. She gave as good as she got. I was astounded at how fast she learns. Some of the tips I've given her about making the tale tight and good, she hit me with on my own chapters. It was awesome. 

I've often found it quite funny that, whenever I happen to 'offer' a bit of advice, it usually comes back and bites me. This kind of advice, however, is well received.

A couple thoughts. My piece if a period piece and, after hearing her read the chapter out loud, I saw that one place was too modern. Easy to fix though. 

Another was ending a sentence. Now, that seems to be a logical thing to do, but I find I sometimes 'run off at the mouth' and don't end the sentence when I should. I drag it out. Example: Home of pig farmers, one of my characters says. My buddy said to just say, pig farmers. It worked much better. A little thing, you might say, but it really makes a difference.  

Another thing. My editor sent me a little study in saidisms. I try to stay away from them, but do not treat them as a contagious disease. The paper my editor sent me said make sure I never have a character hiss. I did a search and found one particular character did hiss, every time she said a sentence. "You are a stupid, aren't you?" she hissed. Ten times, I found this characters hissing. I took her tongue out and now she says, 'she said.' Most times. 

"Life is," I hissed. *g*

Monday, June 25, 2012


Found this great post at a friend's blog about finding a writers' group to support you.  

"...people who understand what it was like to live with characters nagging you night and day, taking stories in their own direction or secondary characters demanding stories of their own.

In my opinion, this really describes what it's like to be a writer. Many times I feel like I'm out there floundering, not sure of myself, or what I'm doing.

As Laurel says, characters nag me. They don't like what I'm writing; they have their own ideas of what 'their' part in the story should be. They take the story in a different direction than I had planned on going. They drive me mad.

But it's way too much fun to not write. It's way too exciting to be waiting for the next part. It's way too exciting to meet new characters and have them become friends. 

Oh dear. Only another write would know I'm not insane. Truly I'm not insane.

Life is bizarre.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rest And Peace

I had to laugh tonight. I went to my local lake-front park to view the sunset and the place was hopping. No room to even park the car, never mind look at the sun. I drove around the lot a few times and then headed for another 'viewing' point. This second place was almost empty. I pulled up to a spot directly in front of the water with an unimpeded view of where the sun was going to set.

I opened the windows and turned off the radio. I exhaled, waiting to hear the gentle sound of the surf on the shore below me, the sound of the wind as it rustled through the trees, and the sweet warble of birds. 

Instead, I heard a dog barking. I was at the place for well over an hour and the poor dog barked the entire time. At first, I was upset - no quiet here. But after awhile, I felt compassion for the dog. It stopped for about thirty seconds three times while I sat there. I hoped the owner had left a bowl of water and that, perhaps, the dog took a water break. How sad that the poor dog was left alone near a busy park. Of course, it would bark. What self-respecting dog doesn't bark when their are people near its territory. I'm still upset for the poor dog.

In the meantime, a car pulled up next to mine. The couple stayed in the car AND kept the car running. In fact, it really wasn't a car but a huge jeep. At least it looked like a jeep. Largest one I'd ever seen. Great yellow hulking mass of noise. 

I dropped my head in defeat. No chance for any peace and quiet. No chance for any rest. I gauged the timing wrong, too. The sun didn't set for quite sometime after I got there. 

The jeep left and another car pulled up. A couple stepped out and walked to the fence protecting folks from falling off the cliff. They apologized to me - for standing in front of the sun. Wasn't that sweet? They stepped aside and watched it. I felt joy that I'd be able to see it.

Another car drove up and almost hid the view. The woman who got out asked if the car was blocking it and I said no. Just barely (but I didn't tell her that. It was nice of her to at least ask.) Then she and her companion stood directly in front of the sun so I couldn't see it. I just wanted to scream. Her companion finally pulled her next to him and I got to see the sun set. It was not one of those spectacular sunsets, but it was beautiful, nonetheless.

I'm sharing this because I thought to myself during the noise and the conflict and the chaos, that I much preferred my own room. That I was ready to go back home and sit in front of my computer and type and have a good time with my story with only the fan making its gentle swish.

By the way, I did get to hear a red-winged blackbird every now and again. Even over the dog and the car engines!

Life is noisy.


Thursday, June 21, 2012


I really had to laugh today as I perused other blogs. I wrote yesterday about sometimes being fear-filled and the very first blog I read today was titled, 'Strength.' Nice notes for us all. Here's the link. Many thanks, Leigh!


One of the best things about having a blog is being able to follow - and learn from - other bloggers.

Met (via phone/internet) with my editor today. We went over Chapters 30 through 32. She loved them. That is so awesome. She had a problem with whether or not my heroine threw out the stew. It was an easy fix. Thank goodness. The other problem was / is / and will be more difficult to fix. It's to do with the relationship between the hero/heroine. I'm going to have to give this some thought. She is falling in love with his persona - not sure if it's him but her image of him. So now I've got to spend some time delving into their relationship. This is a pivotal point in the story and I've got to get it right.

That's the great thing about an editor or a writing buddy or even a truthful friend. They tell me what I need to put under a magnifying glass. Not that I MUST change it, but that I should look at it, in depth, and decide what it is I'm trying to say. Where it is I'm going...

It's what writing is about, I think. Growing and learning and taking a step out on the great adventure. 

Life is awesome.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I know I made a vow that I'd send out my giraffe story to four publishers by the end of a gazillion weeks ago. I didn't. I was going to spend time finding publishers and then send it off. I found one really good publisher, but they wanted exclusivity for three months. That means I couldn't send it off to anyone else for the next three months. I hemmed and hawed trying to figure out what to do. In the end, I decided that the publisher was good enough to give the story to and still sit on it.

I never got the blasted thing sent. I have the address. I have the contact information. What stopped me, appeared to be the cover letter. But that's not really it. I've got a good cover letter completed. It's easy enough to put in the addy and send it off.

I'm scared. Down right, drop-dead scared. My daughter's coming over tomorrow evening. I'm going to 'use' her as a courage maker and have her sit next to me while I pull up the cover letter, put in the necessary information, and put it into an envelope and put a bloody stamp on it.

Honestly, I am a coward. But that doesn't mean I can't get some help and get over it!

Life is terrifying.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I know that as long as my MS is in my grubby hands I'll be doing edits. It's a given. I've finished with Chapters one through five - again. My writing buddy and I have done these the last few weeks. I am promising myself that I will not return to them until I have completed the manuscript. I plan on sending the completed one to my editor. She's seen what's already been written and critiqued them, but having the full manuscript is kind of a horse of a different color. Perusing the whole story, unbroken, will highlight the mistakes and shore up the strengths. I hope.

I've finished two chapters of my friend's birthday story. It is an uplifting, joy-filled tale and it is such fun to write of joy and peace and friendship without too many thrills and spills along the way. Just constant hope.

I sure would like to see that for my hero/heroine in 'Blue' but it's not to be. Not for at least another two books. *g*

It's good to be almost done with problems and illnesses and such and be back to writing and reading and rejoicing.

I hope you can too.

Life is a joy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Had a fun time reading this blog today. The author had a cute way of saying we should take a break now and again.

Another great tidbit of wisdom came from this blog (paraphrased):

1) look at what I have done in the past
2) review those complimentary emails from my readers
3) recall those challenging projects that I thought I would totally blow and didn’t

I've spent the evening on my birthday story. Chapter Two is almost complete with that. I'm working on the edits for 'Blue' at the moment - in the midst of a nice thunderstorm. I do love thunderstorms. The rain is much needed, but my thoughts are on a place far away and terribly dangerous. Got to get my hero/heroine to the wizards' castle and on to the rescue. 

Time is growing short. I've sent my editor up to Chapter 32 and I'm on Chapter 36. So I best get my buns in gear and get writing, else I'll not have anything to send within the next week or two.

Life is curious

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I can hardly believe I've missed posting this entire week. I've felt like I've totally neglected my blog. And that is not a good thing.

All heck broke loose in the real world and I have been living on fumes - totally exhausted. My little one had a couple instances of illness, thankfully not serious, but illnesses that claimed a lot of time, endurance, patience, and plain old courage on her part. I am and always have been proud of her, but this week upped my respect for her. 

I was supposed to meet with my writing buddy on Tuesday - postponed it til Thursday - and then had to cancel altogether. I felt terrible but life sometimes takes us where we do not want to go. Thankfully, she was ok with the changes. We'll meet next Monday or Tuesday. We've been having such fun with it that we've decided to up the amount of sharing to three chapters instead of one.

I have hardly written, these past few months. Tomorrow is a friend's birthday and she's a writer, so I sat down today to write a quickie for her. The quickie turned into two chapters and I know there are going to be more. I love it when the Muse runs amok and can't stop! 

Life is upish and downish.

PS - my editor called to discuss the chapters I'd sent her but my daughter and granddaughter and I were in the midst of a physical therapy session and I had to decline the critique. I'm dying to hear what she thinks. Though she did say it was good and moved the story along. Phew!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


There was a news report about a school in my town that received a really big award. A reporter interviewed a student (maybe a fifth grader?). The reporter asked how many books the boy had read during the school year and the kid responded, "Fifty." The reporter reeled. So did I. 

I feel the lack. If I'm lucky, I read a couple books a year. One of the reasons is I'm a consummate over-reader. I can't stop, once I start. The second reason, and it's probably false, is that I don't want to have my own writings impacted by what I'm reading. What I mean is: I don't want to find out that I've written a scene that is like one I've read. I really fear this. Yet, I haven't yet. And I'm on my fourth book. Baseless fear, I think.

Those in the know continue to exhort writers to read. I really believe it's true. But I did spend my entire childhood and teen years reading voraciously -- long into the night with a flashlight. *g*

Styles have changed and such, but good writing and proper grammar, etc. don't change. Well, most times. 

My little one now reads, unbelievable to me, and so I have made it a summer priority that she will read two books to me a day. She reads two to her mom and dad at bedtime. That makes four a day. Well on the way to expanding her life.

Life is knowledge.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting An Editor

My writing buddy and I have been meeting since April 30th. We are both enjoying each others' stories and the critiques. We met again last night. It worked out really well. Though I've been sick since last Friday, she wasn't concerned (I'm on antibiotics). We giggled and laughed and then got down to business.

She has been seriously considering self-publishing because she's been afraid of what an editor might do to her work, changes that she wouldn't be comfortable with, and just losing control of her story. All valid thoughts. 

I'm not against self-publishing per se. I've been seeing more and more success stories and it gives me hope. 

However, once we began looking at her chapters, she was astounded by what an editor can bring to the table. There were many places where her wording didn't work. There were also 'mistakes' in the continuity of her story. She would have an event happen, forgetting that she didn't lay any groundwork for it. Or she would forget to follow through. Using the same word over and over can make a story boring. I told her to use the search and replace feature in Word to help her get rid of redundant words. Lots of little things that I've learned over the past two years with my editor.

We are both more than pleased with our progress. Having a supportive friend reading your work aloud is really an awesome tool. I'm very glad my friend was open to this way of growing.

Life is wonderful.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I spent today perusing the internet looking for publishers that might just be right for my childrens' picture book, 'Sorrysorrysorry.' There are a truckload of publishers out there, but I'm concerned about up and up ones - meaning I'm concerned about ones that won't mess with me, take the money and run, leave me with no control whatsoever. 

I had already sent the giraffe tale out to four of the 'big' publishers last fall. If you recall, I got responses from three, all very nice, and all rejections.

I found two publishers who are independents. I found two others who are of the rather large variety. I sent an email to my editor asking her advice on these four. I made it my goal to send out the MS to four publishers by the end of this week. 

I feel pretty good about this time around. The first time, it was truly difficult. I was afraid of the responses. As I said, they were nice. I don't know what kind I'll get this time, but I'm feeling more sure of myself. 

Still working on 'Blue.' I've got three chapters to be edited using the comments from my writers' group. I also have three MSs to critique for this Saturday's writers' group. 

Life is stepping out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Returning To Editing

I'm so close to being able to finish writing the next chapter of 'Blue.' I've got some written, and now have a clear idea of what's going to happen next. Always a plus! *g*

As I discussed a few posts ago, listening to reviews and critiques is great, but I must stay true to myself. I received the critiques back from last week-ends conference. They were (blushes) really encouraging and full of heartfelt enthusiasm for what I had written. 

'Sorrysorrysorry' had few additions/corrections to it. I'm not even sure if I will make them. The critiquer suggested I add a stanza of all the animals looking on as the giraffes play, but I'm not sure. I'll have to think long and hard about it. There were NO corrections to the poetry. Phew! Changing poetry can be daunting and I've been daunted long enough with this one. 

My goal for next week will be to find publishers to send it to and sending it off to at least four. That's my goal. *crosses fingers, buckles on sword*

As for 'Blue.'  I'd only sent eight pages but there were an awful lot of strike throughs. I was a bit daunted when I saw the marked pages. Thankfully, the critiquer did not use red ink! Once I got over the dauntingness of the pages *g* I saw the changes were great. Mostly taking out a word here, shoring up a phrase there. Gentle little things that definitely cleaned up the chapter. The critiquer liked the characters, the setting, the voices... all really important 'little' things. She wants a little bit more description of settings, but that's easy enough to do. I've got the settings emblazoned in my mind. I was told by one critiquer that there was too much description. LOL. I'll have to insert just enough. I'm glad though. Personally, I felt the absence. She also wanted more of Kathleen's brother, but he's only in the first chapter. We don't see him again until probably Chapter 38 or 39. (maybe even 40 *g*). Best thing was, she said she wanted to read more! That's always a good thing. In fact, it's a very good thing. *g*

I was definitely encouraged by both critiquers. I have learned that editing is an extremely important part of writing, that listening to others thoughts on my writing can be creative expanding, and that I still must stay the course. 

My editor, bless her little heart, said to not worry about the two endings. She said listen to my characters. They'll tell me how to end it. I am feeling more confident because of that comment. Such a little thing. Such a positive thing. 

Life is daunting.