Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sleepless Olympics

Thank goodness for a DVD player. Since the Olympics opened, I'm  not sleeping much. I love the Olympics, every wondrous moment. Having the capability to tape them is also wondrous. No commercials. I've fallen asleep somewhere around 2am the past two nights, woken up at 4am, watched part of the taped segements, then fallen into bed.  I've got to stop that.  Not good for the babysitting, starting again tomorrow. I get too excited, though, watching, that it's hard to fall asleep. Unless I'm on the couch. *g*

I am always stunned at the courage, fortitude, and endurance of the athletes. I am reminded that if I keep even one-tenth of such a regimen with my writing, I'd be awesome.

Well - I am awesome. *g*

I decided to work on those twenty pages of editing by increments. Today, I told myself, 'Do two pages.' I've now finished SIX. Life is good.

Continuity is so incredibly important. I found that I used the term 'mile' when I should be using 'league' or 'rod' or other such medieval measurements. BTW - here's a great site for reference for these measurements.

Another oddity - I found that sometimes a phrase or scene or paragraph even that I'm having trouble with can be deleted without difficulty. I love it. I had this little two-sentence mess. It nagged at me that it wasn't right. It just didn't work. I either needed to put a lot more work into making it fit - or just delete it. Once I did delete it, the whole paragraph worked great. Sometimes, I've got to cut things instead of picking at them.

Life is delicious.

UPDATE:  I finished the entire twenty pages of editing! Hooray! Hooray! I've got to remember that trick - tell myself I'll do two pages and hope that I'll finish it all.

Life is good!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Writing With Friends

Hmmm. That sounds like a good title for a book.

My writing buddy stopped by last night and we had an absolute ball. She had not written much, but had been actively participating in the writing life. Which means - she was thinking about her writing constantly. *g*

She spent the last week reading bad and good literature. Then she wrote down the first sentence from these books and compared them to discern why some were good and why some were bad. She shared her findings with me. Most of it is hard to explain, but she was right. She read me some first lines and it was immediately evident which was bad and which was good. At least to us. *g* Reading is really subjective.

She brought her thoughts on a little sticky note. She knows where her next chapter is going and that's good. I find I have to acknowledge every step forward - even the little ones.

She read my chapter ten out loud. It's so cute the way she does it. She'll read a sentence or two and then stops and shares why she likes it or what phrase really makes her laugh/cry/whatever. It's really good for me, too. Sometimes, she's concerned that she won't progress, but as she reads mine, I'll stop and say, I learned this over the last three years. You will, too. And she feels better. 

It is true. Every moment I'm writing or reading or listening to folks' conversations at the local Panera's, I'm learning.  It's a never-ending process. But I will say this - when she and I share, I see how much I have progressed and what I have learned and it's an awesome experience.

Life is awesome.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Ack! I'm supposed to go to New Zealand at the end of November. Been kind of planning the trip for a few years. Friends and I worked out the dates we want to be there. We are waiting on friends in NZ to confirm these dates.

I thought I best look at airfare. My stomach is feeling sickly. The cost of the airfare alone this time is about the same as the cost for my first trip - the entire trip - half a dozen years ago. I think I'm going to faint.

Ok, Sharron. We'll use this feeling - store it in the back vault for when such a feeling is needed - and then forge forward. 

I don't want to forge forward. I want to cry. I've been saving, too. But not for such an extraordinary rise in airfare. *heavy sigh*

I'm off tomorrow. I plan on spending a good portion of the day working on 'Blue.' I still have about twenty pages of corrections to meld into the finished chapters. That will take some time. But it's all done - just the inputting into the computer. 

The heat is supposed to be another scorcher tomorrow. I plan on having a very cold iced drink next to my computer. That should help me get through all the paperwork and onto the story itself.

I am handing in my MS for the SCBWI conference in a couple weeks. They ask for twelve pages without a cover letter - that's helpful. Part of the twelve pages can be a synopsis. I hate to waste a whole page of the story to give a page of synopsis, but it might be best. I'll speak with my editor and get her input.

Nothing is simple in life, but I'm trying to keep a smiley face on. *g*

Life is hot.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Author's Work...

Editing is never ending! Have you noticed? I just can't believe it. I think I'm finished and then I find another few pages hiding on the dining room table. It's disconcerting. I found another two chapters next to my computer, hiding under a blouse.

I am truly trying to get to writing again, but I want these pages done and out of the way so I can start with a clear conscience. Honestly, it's not an excuse.

Of course, the fact that I now have an in-ground pool about twenty some feet away from my front door doesn't help. Not that I'm in it, but the kids are. I can't. Blasted leg problems. Of all times not to be able to go into a pool... I can't believe it! Talk about irony.

And irony is in reading other writers' blogs and seeing that editing is as much of a 'problem' with them as it is with me. Not that I don't like editing. I do. But it seems so counterproductive sometimes. Especially when I know I've got to get back to the story. Chapter thirty-six is still staring me in the face. I swear, at times it sticks its tongue out at me.

Life is taunting. (Oh! I like that word. Gotta use it somewhere!)

I Got Nominated

My friend at nominated me for this. So I'm passing it along.

Thanks, Judy.

The rules are:
  1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award. Add the award logo to your blog.
  2. Answer the eleven questions posted for the nominees.
  3. Share eleven random facts about yourself.
  4. Write eleven questions for your nominees and then…
  5. Nominate eleven worthy blogs and contact those bloggers so they know about it! (No tag backs.)
The Liebster Blog Award is given bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning: sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

Judy's questions of me:

1. Who inspires you?
My granddaughter. She loves life.
2. Where do you want to visit next?
You need ask -- New Zealand
3. Who would you like to learn more about?
Phillis Wheatley -- first African-American published poet (c 1776)
4. Ocean or mountains?
Both -- must have both
5. What is one thing you like to do for fun?
Be with my granddaughter
6. Sun all the time or four seasons?
How about three seasons?
7. Favorite dish?
Veal -- anything with veal
8. Do you have a recipe for your favorite dish?
Nope -- I get this served to me *g*
9. By the book recipes or off-the-cuff?
Internet -- and some old stand-byes that are taped to my cupboard door
10. What is one thing you collect?
LOTR stuff
11. Favorite holiday?
Halloween -- Oh my gosh - people really give out candy for free!!!

Questions for my nominees:
1. What makes you smile?
2. Where did you meet the person you most love?
3. When was the last time you danced in the rain?
4. Is there a place that is special to you?
5. When you're down, how do you find joy?
6. Are you a hugger?
7. If you could, would you move?
8. Where do you get your pizza from?
9. Hemingway wrote: Write drunk, edit sober. Do you think this works?
10. How long has it been since you watched a sunrise?
11. How often do you blog?

Blogs I've tagged:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lessons in Frustration

I went to a meeting this morning to support a writer friend who was supposed to speak on how to write a haiku. She didn't show. 

I decided to spend the time at the library instead when I got a phone call from my son. It was great speaking with him. After he hung up, another friend called. All the time I had allotted to writing was gone. 

I'm babysitting two little girls tonight and have no hopes whatsoever of even being able to crack a book, never mind write. We are in the process of bedtime - which should take at least an hour. I am expecting a giggle-fest.

But these things all are great fodder for my writing.

Life is fodder-ful.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reality VS Fantasy

I cannot even begin to imagine the kind of carnage that happened in Colorado last night and for that, I'm grateful. I don't want to be able to imagine such abhorrent behavior.  As a writer, I have to be creative, but this is beyond my understanding. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were victimized so brutally. 

Life goes on. I've spent the last two days working on editing for the last few chapters of 'Blue' in anticipation of a push to finish Ch. 36 and go forward. 

I poured over my notes and the notes from critiquers and shook my head. There are so many lessons to learn from being critiqued. Not just on writing style or content, but on facing life and moving forward.

I still have to laugh over the brew haha over the ruby my hero/heroine wears. Going through the notes, I was constantly told to add more about the ruby. After having stepped back for a few weeks, I noted that the ruby was mentioned too many times, IMHO. 

I truly believe a lot of what is jotted down by meaningful critiquers is jotted down as they read. They have not done a quick read of the whole chapter; they critique as they go along. Now, IMHO, this doesn't work. There are instances where it's good to note something, but I prefer to do that, then go back and make sure that what I've noted isn't explained within a short paragraph or two later. 

I read a story once. I read it again. This is when I put in the edits about grammar and such. Because those are the things that jump out at me as soon as I begin reading. Then -- I read the piece for content, plot, character development, and an ease of reading and understanding the chapter.

If I'm asked to critique, how can I do so without investing some time into it? I know I've expounded about this before, but if I'm asking for a critique, I don't want a cursory glance that my five-year old can give me. I want substance.

If I'm doing a critique, I give it time. Or else I say nope, can't do it at this time.

Life is too precious.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Power And Power

Yikes! Fuse box could not handle the 98 F degree temps Tuesday. Blew circuit. Electrician came in yesterday to 'edit' *g*  Came back today and put in new parts. 

Spent the last two nights at my daughter's. Couldn't get on the blog. Sorry. 

But power is power and our words are really important. Honestly, I believe my 'dealing' with words in stories - making sure they are the exactly correct ones - has helped me in life. I could tell the electrician wasn't quite understanding what I was saying. He wanted to just leave the problem alone until it happened again - but this was the second time the power blew - so I used my words *g* and finally got him to look into the bowels of the fuse box. Too many things on one switch. So he made it into two switches. Now, all should be fine. *fingers crossed*

I met with my editor last night (only took about ten minutes) and we went over the questions she posed and the suggestions she made. She noted (which I should have) that I used too many 'his brow furrowed' and 'she sighed.' She was right - of course! 

That's why editors are so important. Even with a writing buddy and/or a critique group, these little 'power' words can loose their power and become humdrum. Oh! I like that word even though spell check doesn't!

Got to keep watching for words that have lost their power from overuse or misplacement. Writing is such a fun thing. Like reading a mystery and finding the clues.

Life is good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Busy Week-end

I received notes from my editor for chapters thirty-two through thirty-four. Good notes with hardly a change. She had a few questions, and as always, they were questions I'd had as I wrote the chapters. Happens almost every time. I find it comforting. We share the same perspective.

I met with my writing buddy last night. It's been over three weeks (holidays) and it felt great getting back together. We read my chapter ten of 'Blue' and her chapter ten, a rough draft. Giggled as always. Good feedback for both of us. I cherish these times. 

I finished the epilogue for my birthday tale and printed out the last few chapters of 'Blue.' I'm hoping to get some time with them tomorrow. It's hotter than blazes here. I'm hoping I can concentrate.

I took a step of faith and sent off my hook for 'Blue' to a fellow writer's blog. She posts them and gets quite a good response. I must have written the blasted 'hook' a hundred times. It doesn't feel right. I think I might have it this time. I didn't feel as many qualms as I sent it off. A good thing! *g*

I sometimes feel like I'm doing nothing to further my craft, but when I list them here, I notice - I'm doing ok. Not as good as I'd like, but ok.

Life is good.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Double Perspectives

On June 1st, I received a critique of my giraffe tale. It was a good critique and I made some of the changes suggested and threw out some others. Yesterday's mail found a copy of the same tale from the same critiquer. I think what happened is - she found the MS and hadn't realized she had already done the critique. So I got two critiques of the same piece by the same person for one price.

The cool thing about this second critique is that she pretty much said what she said in the first one. Just embellished it a bit. It shows me that the tale is solid. She still wants a stanza added to the ending. I'd decided not to - but now I think she was/is right. Another stanza is needed to bring the whole story together. To bring the scenes together. The suggestion she made about how to do it works, too.

Again, this tells me that I must continue to rethink what I'm doing. To accept a critique. Then put it aside. Look at it a couple weeks later. Put it aside again. And then take one last look. If I'm waffling about changes, then figure out why. If I'm adamant about not making a change, then stick to it. And if I think change is needed, then do it.

I'm embarrassed as I look back at this blog. I'd made some goals and not kept them. I had the illness, the funeral, the kids with head lice, the operation, and a truckload of other stuff happening. But I am a writer. These things should flow around my writing instead of the other way around. At least, that's my thought. 

I will go to bed now, get some good rest, and tackle Chapter Thirty-six tomorrow. Finish it!!! 

I will say.... I finished the challenge tale and it was good. I did finish the birthday tale. It ended up a little over ten thousand words and the birthday girl wept over it. I love when that happens!

Give a friend a gift of your writing. It's fun.

Life is fun.

PS - thanks for the good thoughts. The operation went well. It feels like I have a piece of gauze over my eye but the doc promises I will be able to see really well in a couple months. Shees!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Next Few Days

are debatable about whether or not I'll be able to blog. Eye surgery tomorrow. Not sure what recovery time is. Got my fingers crossed that all will go well. If not, I've told my daughter where the story is and how to finish it. *g* Yeah, sure!

It is one of my 'tiny' fears - dying before the blasted thing is done. I know that sounds hysterical, but the girl with the tatoo (or whatever the title was) - her author died before he saw it published. Seems a cruel twist of fate. I am so hoping that, in the world beyond this, the author knows he was published and movie-ized (my own word).

I found a great list at this link about rules for storytelling. They were all pretty good, but my favorite was #19, about coincidences. Hope you enjoy the read.

I'm spending some time working on 'Blue' now. I want to finish Ch. 36 before I go under the knife.

Life is traumatic.

PS - Margaret gets my collectibles if something happens! *g*

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Small Accomplishments

But accomplishments nevertheless.

I worked on 'Blue' today. I sent off Ch. 32-34 to my editor last night. I spent time editing Ch. 35 and 36. Thirty-six is not done. So I have caught up. Which, to me, isn't a good thing. I usually try to keep at least four or five chapters ahead of what I'm sending off or having critiqued. I have come to terms with this. I know I'll get the next chapters done.

I had a great time reading these ones. The main character has changed (but well within the parameters that a publisher could accept). I like this character. He's easy to write. He's bold and courageous and thinks he knows everything. A small flaw. *g*

I also discovered the publishing house I was going to send the giraffe tale to will have a representative at the conference that I just signed up for (see yesterday's post).  That means I will wait to send it out to them 'til immediately after the conference. The usual thing about conferences is that folks at publishing houses will look at MSs from attendees. A perk of attending a conference.

That means I'm going to spend the week-end looking for other publishing houses to send giraffes off to. I found my cover letters and changed some things on them. Now they are ready to send out. Just got to find names so the cover letters are personal. Something EVERYONE says I must do -- make them personal.

Life is personal.

Monday, July 9, 2012

SCBWI Conference

Getting excited. I signed up last night for the September conference. The presenters look great and the schedule is full of stuff to learn. I signed up for a critique. I know. I'm probably stupid for doing it. It's kind of like laying my neck for the executioner's ax. But there you are! It truly is one way to learn.

The little one and I listen to Pandora every night before going to sleep. It takes us well over an hour to fall asleep because we lie in bed and try to figure out what movie the music is for. I have a special channel that I put on for us. It's got Lord of the Rings and Master and Commander and Harry Potter and all sorts of things like that.

It gave me pause tonight to realize how easy it would be to fall into telling the same story over and over within my book. I am beyond grateful, for the Muse likes to 'mix it up' and I end up with scenes that are not like the previous ones. Let's me breathe easy, I will tell you that. 

When I get critiqued, no one ever says that the books are banal. They say the creativity is astounding. And then I have that dear writing buddy who absolutely drools over my dialogue.

Now, if I can just get an agent or a publisher to realize and appreciate these things! 

Life is a joy. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012


As I said in my last post, I wasn't sure how long this story would go....


I finished it! It was only supposed to be two or three chapters. It took on a life of its own. It ended up being TEN chapters. I was going to write an epilogue, but once the tenth chapter was written, I just didn't want an epilogue. It was going to go somewhere I didn't want. The tenth chapter worked so perfectly, I was nearly jumping up and down with joy. Remembered two parts from earlier chapters and worked them in to create really nice continuity. Just a wee bit past 10,000 words. Twenty days to complete. Neat!

It's going to be cooler tomorrow. Now that I've finished this 'birthday story,' I'm going to take out 'Blue' and start working on the next chapter. Hopefully, I'll be able to get at least one chapter done tomorrow. If the heat goes away. Just sitting most of the day drinking water and perspiring!

Working with friends on a trip for the end of the year. It will be quite exciting. It would be nice if I had a contract.... To help pay for the trip! 

Life is hot.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Too Hot To Write

Tomorrow is going to be another scorcher. We've had so many this summer, it's insane. The new place has only a window air conditioner in the living room and I find I have troubles sleeping. I'm surviving. Could be one heck of a lot worse.

But I find I can't write. Sitting in front of the computer is warmish. I've got two screens and they like to shoot hot streams of air out at me. I stay on it for as short a time as I can. I took my handy dandy yellow pad to a restaurant the other day and still found it difficult to cool down. No type of air conditioning seems to be able to battle this kind of heat.

We're expecting the hottest day of the year, another record breaker, tomorrow. I am going to stay with my daughter for a few days. Her house is always freezing. I won't be able to write on my computer while I'm gone. I've got no ink in mine, of course, and so I can't print out my stories. I'm going to send them to myself and hit up the local library in the early morning, while it's only in the upper 80's, and print at least the one tale out. I am on the very last chapter. Not sure if I'm going to end it the way it is now. It feels rather abrupt. I'm gonna write my buddy after I post this and ask her opinion. After that, the epilogue and I'll be done. It's been a great tale and lots of fun to write.

Then, back to 'Blue.' It's gnawing at my innards. Wants to be written. I don't blame it. I'm hoping this respite will help me attack it with gusto.

Life is hot.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Running At The Mouth

Honestly, this new story was only supposed to be three to four chapters. Last night I realized I had to start chapter eight. And then tonight, as I finished ch. 8, I knew I needed chapter nine. But I swear - this is the last chapter before the epilogue! It's over eight thousand words! 

Running at the mouth is something I do really well. My editor, bless her little heart, is quite adept at cutting my stuff. I'm learning, too. At least, I'm trying to. 

Sometimes, I get 'territorial' with my words.  A phrase makes me happy as I read it. A scene cannot possibly be struck. It's too good. It was too much fun writing. A new character rears his/her ugly head and I'm ready and willing to offer her/him a home. No! Stop! I can't add another character.

That's the blessing of having an editor. Or a writing buddy. Or a good critique group. They'll take me and shake me and tell me, no, you can't add another scene to that chapter. You can't add another character to that book. You can't add another word. Stop!

I'm learning to listen. I have to. They love me.

Life is fun. Happy Fourth to those impacted. *g*

PS - I swear I'll get back to reading my favorite blogs. But this story has me in its thrall. I must write.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The 'Other' Tale

I started another story about two weeks ago for a friend's birthday. I've been having a great time writing it. A little fluff is always fun. And doing it for a friend makes it even better. I finished the last chapter tonight. I've got the epilogue to write and then - that's it. 

I feel kind of sad - knowing it's almost over. I've liked the characters. I know I could make it last longer, their are many things still to tell, but I set a limit and I'm keeping to it. Otherwise, I'll not get back to 'Blue.' And I really must finish 'Blue.'

I think, don't tell her, that I might write a sequel next year for her next birthday. That would be fun. Look at me. I'm smiling just thinking about it. 

My writing buddy was truly surprised at the idea of a personally written story for a birthday present. As an author, what on earth better gift to give. I can't cook. She lives hundreds of miles away, so taking her out for a coffee or luncheon won't work. And I can't afford to buy her anything I'd really like to. So the book is perfect. The characters are ones she loves. I used her favorite birds, food, flowers and such in the story. It was truly personal and she was very, very happy.

Besides that, no matter what I write, I know I'm learning more about my craft. And that is a good thing.

Life is wondrous.