Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Enjoy The Ride

Stephen King to Neil Gaiman: "You should enjoy it." Upon Neil's success with a comic book. Neil didn't take the advise and now rues it. Neil's says, in the commencement address below, that it was hard to 'let go and enjoy the ride.'

This is a great and inspiriting speech. Please take a moment and watch it. And other commencement speeches. Most of them are designed to inspire. 

"Pretend to be someone who can do it." Neil Gaiman. I think this is great advice. I'm pretending I'm J.K. Rawlings. For now. Later on, I'll be best-selling author Sharron Walsh. 


I stopped by the place where one of my writers' groups meets. Two of my friends were there. One said hello and scurried off. The other sat and we chatted. She teaches a class and I'm a participant. She doesn't charge. She is also reading another student's MS. She's not charging for that either. I'm wondering if we authors shoot ourselves in the foot by doing things that we really SHOULD be remunerated for. 

I sold stuff a long time ago and quickly found that I was going broke giving away free samples. I had to step on myself and sell the product, not give it away. I finally stopped selling. It just wasn't fun.

I don't think it's good for us to work for free. Even Paul, in the gospels, worked as a tent maker to pay his way. Our work is worthwhile. It is worth being paid for.

We also discussed fear. I was telling her about mine and how it stifles my writing. She smiled and said she believes all writers have a fear monster living within us. One that must be battled daily. 

After yesterday's post, and wanting to find out what happens in 'The Other Side,' I've been writing like crazy. I am fighting the fear monster with the 'you-gotta-find-out-what-happens' monster. That one is scarier than the fear monster and more powerful. Hooray!

For some reason, it's also given me the impetus to go back to enjoying editing. I'm ahead of schedule with 'Blue.' (see the progress side of the home page). That is exhilarating.

In fact, I was going to put up a poll, but the questions just kept coming and so, I'm putting them here.

Do I sometimes feel afraid when I'm trying to write?
Do I fear to delve too deeply into me when I'm writing?
Am I afraid the real me will be exposed? 
Is that so bad?
Do I feel exhilarated when the Muse is running rampant?
Do I need confirmation, affirmation, respect, and love as a writer?
Do I need feedback?
Do I want feedback? *g*
Am I ready to enjoy the ride - even if it's an insane roller coaster?

Life is quixotic. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


These might be the answers to handcuffing my Muse. To keep her by my side. To get 'Blue' edited and 'Other' completed. 

I put goals on the right side of the home page. I have been tracking progress for awhile on the left side of the home page. 

The two are now meeting. I finished Ch. 8 of 'Other' today - well ahead of schedule, and finished editing Ch. 2 of 'Blue,' too. 

I went to Caribou yesterday and Panera's today. For the price of a cup of coffee, I can stay there all day, if I want. I really don't have the stamina to do that. Not yet, but I'm hoping I'll work up to it. I think of J.K. Rawlings, sitting at her local coffee shop with the little one in a carrier, and doing the same thing. The things we writers have to go through!

I hate to admit it - but that's what this blog is about - figuring out what works and what doesn't. Forcing myself to overcome fear and fatigue. These are my enemies. I wrote until I was tired and then pushed myself further and wrote some more. In the midst of it all, I got a bit scared - not knowing where I was headed - but I pushed through that, too.

My mantra has returned. I write to find out what's going to happen. Not to sell a book, nor to fill the needs of my readers, but to find out what happens next. And that's what I told myself when the fear reared its ugly bronze head and snarled at me. I snarled back and said, 'Go away! I want to find out what happens next.'

It was fun. What happened next, in Ch. 8, was good and plausible and fun. Can't wait to start sending these to my editor. She's off in California on a book tour and a visit to Hawaii. Someday. *g*

Life is finding out what happens.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ruining A Good Tale

I love words. I suppose that's one reason I like writing. It gives me a chance to use all the wondrous words I've gleaned over the years. However -- can I ruin my books with words? I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but I think it can be true. I have to be cognizant with words. I don't want to pull my readers from the story. If they have to look up a word, what good was it? I've got to remember to use the word with plenty of context and description so the reader knows what it means without being pulled from the story.

I know some writers love using long descriptive phrases. Personally, I skip over them. Unless they are truly used to forward the story, telling me that the disease that assails the character was brought in from Timbuktu on a trawler, then they're useless and pull me from the story as I skip along trying to find the end of an interminable description.

I found this great blog that really addresses this matter. I'm sure you'll see exactly what I mean from the examples she uses. For myself, the zoo book has me surprised that the editor let the passages be published. They are an interminable waste of space. I don't feel that way with the second book. Click on the link. See if you agree with me.

On another topic -- goals are definitely helping me. I reached my goal for editing the next chapter of 'Blue,' and I'm halfway through the next chapter of 'The Other Side.' Whoo hoo! I noted the 'Blue' progress on my left hand border.

Life is satisfying.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fate (Or Something)

I think the fates are trying to tell me something. PREPARE MY QUERY LETTER! 

I found these links out of the blue *g* today. Hope they help you.

One of my favorite sites and one I plan on using in the very near future is query shark. The blogger has some really awesome suggestions for that 'punch' line to reel in an agent/publisher, along with some examples. I think you'll enjoy this. I did.

Writer's Digest has a list of do's and don't for query letters. It's got some good suggestions, too.

A webinar is scheduled for query letters. Information is here.

Life is a query.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Clean Up Before The Plunge

I'm trying to clean up my computer area. I've found different pages of 'Blue' that had been critiqued, but I hadn't changed them in Word. So today, I made the corrections and such to a few chapters. I've printed out Chapter One of 'Blue' and the first few chapters of 'Other." I'm going to go off to a nice coffee shop and finish editing Chapter One. I know I have til Saturday, but I want this done with.

If you remember, I kill off restaurants. Ones that I find are perfect for writing are also prone to death. They don't get a lot of customers (hence the nice writing atmosphere) and they close. I'm hoping I won't kill off any coffee shops. I think Starbucks and Caribou have been around long enough. *crossed fingers*

I decided a change of venue and style should help with the editing. I do so love having Word where I can cut and paste and such, but I'm struggling and I think getting out my handy-dandy yellow legal pad should help.

Looking forward to it.

Life is creative.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More Tools

Hi folks!

Motivation can be difficult to tap into, some days. I have thought discipline might be my problem with my writing, but a friend says I've got a good chunk of discipline. We discussed the 'fear of failure' and the 'fear of success' syndromes that can just immobilize a writer, but she thought it might help to use a few more tools.

Now - if you notice on this blog - there are notes touting my progress on the left side of the home page. These have been quite useful, but I have decided to put (on the right side of the home page) a listing of goals, not just for the books I'm writing, but for each individual chapter. (One column for 'Blue' and one for 'Other.'

I like that idea. Sometimes I've noted that I don't write a lot during the month when I'm NOT going to present to my writers' groups. I don't like doing that. It feels like cheating or something.

With these goals marked down with dates for the specific chapters, I hope to do away with the 'excuse' that I don't have to write because I'm not presenting. I have to write to stay happy. I have to write to stay sane. 

Enough for now. I've got a chapter to edit by Saturday and another chapter to write by next Thursday. Whoo hoo!

Life is writing.

PS -- I have to tout that my editor and friend is guest columnist at the Writer's Digest blog of Chuck Sambuchino!  http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/6-reasons-being-a-pirate-is-like-being-a-writer

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Sorry I haven't been around for a couple days. I created a blog for my little one and I'm having difficulties with it. I created a home page, a stories page (Yes, she is a writer, too. *g*), and a pottery page (cause first and foremost, according to her, she's an artist).

However, I can't get the appropriate pieces on the appropriate pages. Been pulling my hair out, but such is life.

I'm going to go to my resource people and see if they can help. I also wrote my son and asked for his help. He's got a kick a** blog. He's an extreme photographer and an extreme skier. His blog makes my heart jump into my throat for the chances he takes -- but all in all, I know he's still alive *g* if it's on his blog!

I haven't touched Blue nor Other in days. It's not that I have writer's block - at least not what I understand to be writer's block -- but I just don't have the energy.

It's been cold - bitter cold for days and snowing and such. I think I need to be in a place like Florida or something. I work better with sunshine and lollipops and rainbows. Perhaps I should put pictures of those kinds of things on my walls by my computer.

Speaking of putting things on my computer. I was going to tell you about something I am going to do today. I am putting up two sticky notes. One, on the left side of the computer, will have the five questions. The five questions. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. The second sticky note on the right side will have the five senses. Taste, touch, smell, hear, see. 

As I'm writing, but mostly as I'm editing, I'm going to keep looking at those ten items and incorporating them into the books. Adding another layer to the tapestry, so to speak. I'm pretty sure it will help and help me get over some of this stuck-in-mud feelings that I'm slogging through at the moment.

Life is a slog-fest.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Leaps And Bounds

Growing, growing, always growing. I post these things so that I remember. I hope they help you, my dear readers, too.

As I've said before, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

No truly. When I began this creative journey, I didn't react well to criticism of my writing - good or bad - it made no difference. I didn't react well. I've been getting better, to the point where I can listen and do something about the changes, hints, things that folk offer.

Tonight - drum roll please - I went to a party for a bunch of writers from different groups that I belong to. One man came up and said how very much he liked my newest book, but there was one thing that had him flummoxed. I didn't even flinch. I said, with a ton of heart-felt enthusiasm, "Tell me!" I really wanted to know because I want to make the book the best ever. What he described made perfect sense. And a very easy fix. Though his wife, bless her, said she understood exactly what I was saying. *g* 

I think all this growth, by leaps and bounds, is because I am become more secure in my writing. I don't think, if I was the least bit concerned, that I could accept these comments.

It was an awesome party. Lots of creative juices flowing, along with wine. The hostess wrote an educational book on the wine industry in the area where I live, so there was wine. And good fellowship and lots of laughter. A bunch of us stood/sat in a corner and gleaned lots of hints about writing from each other. In the groups, we don't get to do that. Too busy critiquing. This was fun and productive and helpful.
Here's a link to her blog.   http://claudiatallermusings.blogspot.com/

I've got an idea for editing that I'll talk about tomorrow. I think it will help.

Life is ideas.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Afraid Of Success???

I meant to tell you about finding and using Picasa. I think it's like a cheap photoshop. I am using it to save photos of those whom I've found on the web to look somewhat like my characters look and also for some of the landscapes I'm using. There's going to be a class on it sometime in the near future at a center to which I belong. I'm looking forward to that, though I have been playing with the site. It's pretty good for my needs now. I expect to learn more of the craft and some painting to flesh out the things needed for Blue and The Other Side.

I went to my local center today for a motivational talk. It was very, very good. I asked a question that had the speaker and the audience laughing. Let me lay down a bit of groundwork. I live in an area that has a professional football team that has floundered for years upon years. It is the local joke that our team will win when hell freezes over. Personally, I think it's the water.

My questions was: like the local sports team, why can't I get into the playoffs and win the Super Bowl in my life path? 

As I said, the speaker and audience chuckled, knowing full well the level of frustration of fans in our town. It bespoke my level of frustration when it comes to going beyond the writing to the agent and the publisher.

Positive thinking. That's the answer. Not being afraid of success. Now, this is the second time someone has suggested that I might be afraid of success. I've got to look into this further.

Oh! Oh! I forgot to tell you, I figured out how to make pages for my blog! A wee bit of success there. 

Off now to edit some more of Blue. I've fallen behind a little, though I am happy to say I did finish Chapter 7 of 'The Other Side.'

Life is success???

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do I Hear The Truth?

I met with my writing buddy this evening. My goodness, we have such a great time together. We share about everything but the kitchen sink. And laugh while we're doing it.

Tonight, she told me how very much I mean to her, as a friend and a co-writer and a teacher. It was so heartening. 

Today, I met with another friend. It was a playdate for my granddaughter. We'd met at the local ballet school about two years ago, this woman and her daughter, and hit it off right away. The girls became fast friends. We started doing playdates about a year ago. This woman and I found we had a common bond -- writing. Our friendship has blossomed. I look back and am astounded. She told me, today, that she is so very glad that we met and what a good friend I have been to her and how she looks forward to our times together. She is also a quilter. I do so love to be around creative people. There is such energy to be gleaned.

I've had friends along the years. I know they are special to me, but I never quite realized til today that I have been, and am, special to them. It was an eye-opening day and I'm most grateful for it. 

My writing buddy and I spoke of the First of the 'Four Agreements.' That one says to be truthful in all our doings - especially with ourselves. I have been endeavoring to be truthful to myself for the last few years. However, I am so happy to realize that as I have been truthful with myself and my friends and acquaintances, I have grown. 

I got an email from my teacher/editor today stating how much she appreciates me and what I have meant in her life. For the good. I am dumbfounded. 

I share this so I will take these praises to heart and realize that I am made good. (I think it's by my Creator - but you can take it however you want.)

I feel like I'm rambling. Forgive me. Even as a writer, I sometimes lack the words. I just know that to be truthful with myself means to look at myself from all angles and to strive to accept myself and VALUE myself. Therefore, the New Year's resolutions. I am worth it. I tell myself that in truth. 

Life is truth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I worked at a place awhile back that had 'motivational' statements all over the walls. One was that you have to invest in yourself. I've found that to be really true with writing. I suppose with any career, but I think of writing more as an obsession than a career. When I get published, maybe than I'll be able to expand and make it a career, too. Right now, it's a glorious obsession.

Today was full of stuff. I made a New Year's resolution to get out more (away from the computer - not necessarily the writing) and grow. So I went to my local library for a crash course on nutrition websites. (another of my resolutions is to take getting healthy serious.) It was a great class. It's called a morning's breakfast class and they had donuts (oh dear God - so much for eating well -- in fact, I resisted temptation and only had a cup of coffee. I'd already made myself a nice bowl of oatmeal before I went to class.) The printouts were good, too. They have these once a month, they're free, and they're all about using computers to the max. I'm looking forward to the 'cloud' one as I am thinking that app (or whatever it is) will be useful in my writing.

Next, I went off to my physical therapy. It's really working with a personal trainer, but the whole purpose is to get the strength in my legs back and to stretch the muscles (they shriveled a bit during this long bout of illness). That was difficult, but satisfying. The teacher is great. She's in the midst of writing a book about exercise, etc. and we always chat about writing during the breaks.

Quick change of clothes and then off to lunch at my writers' group place. Piece of quiche and a bowl of soup and iced tea and I was ready.

No, I wasn't. I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep, but I persevered. The meeting is huge. The group has grown to at least twenty and they are all good writers. I just sit with my mouth agape sometimes. I remember this group three year ago. There were only two or three rally good writers; now, most of them are know-your-socks-off writers. I must confess, I find it a bit intimidating. But isn't that the way of learning.

The moderator usually gives us a prompt and we spend the first fifteen minutes writing. I like this and feel I excel at it. I'm not boasting. I just do it well. It's a fact. This time, I was surprised at myself. I felt stymied. Not one of the three topics drew any shudder of excitement, no stirring of the creative juices. I saw and looked at the page and thought, good grief, I can't write. *g* I finally pushed myself, as I have found often helps, and wrote a big of a story (not true). The ending was rough and I didn't like it, but at least I'd written two pages and if I got called on to share, I'd at least have something.

While others were called and read there's, the ending kept niggling at my mind. I finally figured out what to do with it and added two lines. It would have to do.

Well, I did get called and I did read and the ending got a great laugh. I can rest now. 

Life is never dull.

PS - I'll tell you about Picasa tomorrow. Never ending day.


Went to my writing class tonight. There are six students. It's a fun group. I've been with them before (last year at about this time). We present about ten pages and go around the table critiquing. The teacher always does it first, then we get to add our two cents.

This group heard about 'Blue' and lived through some chapters last year. I decided it would be interesting hearing their thoughts on the 'revised' first chapter. Even after having made changes to it, the teacher still added some more thoughts. Some workable; some not. One of my peers said she likes it a lot. The others offered a couple suggestions. It was an ok time. I'm glad I'm not as thin-skinned as I once was.

Well, be that as it may, the interesting part was a questionnaire that our teacher gave us. One of the questions was what we needed from the group. The universal answer was support. 

I know I need it. I've got my daughter who cheerleads for me, but her life is full and crazy and we don't often speak of my writing. (Or perhaps we don't speak of it enough for me....)

It's good to get honest comments, couched in gentle terms. I hope I give the same. I think my just being there is a sigh of support, for my own works and for those of my fellow classmates. 

Working on character development again. I spent a huge part of today looking for pictures that look a bit like what I see as how my characters look. I only found one that fit the bill. A pretty good one of a boy who looks a lot like Kaspar. I also found a little boy that looks like Bryan, but no luck whatsoever with Kathleen. Honestly, I picture her as a young Liv Tyler. (I just love Liv's look.) I couldn't find a picture of her at that age on the net. Not that I'd use this photos in my book -- just as something to hang on the wall as inspiration. Like the list of places and names and such that I use to keep me 'in line' with the who, what and where for 'Blue.' 

Life is a whoot.

Monday, January 14, 2013


This writing thing is strange. I've been doing it for the last ten years or so, but have never felt the way I do with this new book. I've finished chapter six of 'The Other Side' and am halfway through chapter seven.

I find it's rather terrifying. The story is, too! Usually, I chaff at the bit while I'm writing. I can't write fast enough to get the story out. I love it. The one main reason that I love it is that I am finding out the story as I write. And I want to know what happens next.

With 'The Other Side,' it's like I'm watching The Twilight Zone. I'm not a big horror fan and yet I'm writing a horror sci-fi story. At least it's rather horrific at the moment. I don't want to read on. This is where I usually turn off the tv. Yikes! 

So I'm discovering that I want to fight the fear and push on. I want, no, I need to know what happens to my poor characters. They're in a real pickle and yet, the fear pushes me away.

Odd. Writing should be mandatory for everyone. I learn so much about myself as I write. Perhaps that's why Hemingway drank.

Life is discovery.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Growing Up

I've wondered when it would happen. I'm getting older. I've seen a few things, and still, I tend to react badly to criticism - good or not. 

Well, that was in the past. As I sat in on my Skyline writers' group yesterday, I realized a further growth. I wrote a couple days ago that I find myself better able to accept critiquing without all the hairs on the back of my neck rising, like some rabid dog staring down an enemy.

Yesterday, as the group winded down, I saw, truly saw what I have become. With the help of this group of gentle critiquers, I have learned that they have my best interests at heart. 

I, like one of my characters, am cynical. It came about because I live in Cleveland. We are a cynical lot. We love to upbraid folks with a joke. I suppose it's because we used to be labeled, the mistake on the lake. You have to have thick skin to endure such vitriol and yet, we lash back with jokes laced with sarcasm. It's kind of a fun way to live. We are also self-deprecating. We laugh at ourselves, too.

Be that as it may, I sat at the table in awe of myself. *g* It's not often I get to look inside, and not be writing my book, and see what's changed. 

I can sit (hallelujah) and let folks I trust look at my work and criticize it. I can accept and even relish their comments. I can go home and not be devastated. I will tell you a wee secret. I did not enjoy my yearly reviews at work. Go figure. I think I could do it now. Not take it personally. Accept it as true or false and go on.

This is a quality that is paramount, IMHO, for a writer. If I am to continue growing.

Life is growth.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


My goodness, there are times when I crave it. I had started a new book, 'The Other Side,' and then put it on hold. I just wasn't sure how good the writing was or if folks would want to read it.

Today I presented the first five chapters to my Skyline writers' group. They were wildly enthusiastic. Holy crumbs! I could hardly believe it. I'm still kind of reeling at their response. This is a sci-fi book. There aren't too many in our group who write, or read, sci-fi. They loved it. *shakes head in surprise*

So guess what -- I'm forging ahead with this thing. I've got six chapters completed and the comments from the group suggest I don't have much to edit on the chapters presented. 

I have to laugh. I cut out the sex scenes on the pages I sent them. They're not many and they are not graphic, but they are homosexual in nature. Though I have no problem writing of homosexual liaisons, I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable with 'forcing' them to read something they normally wouldn't. Well, they want me to send the 'unabridged' version today. *g*

I suppose I shouldn't have let my own doubts stop me from presenting this new book, but I cannot tell you how invigorated I feel with the affirmation from my group. I will have to put their names on the 'acknowledgement page'!

Life is a good critique group. 

Friday, January 11, 2013


I'm thinking of calling the first book of 'Blue' - Transformation. I thought Death but I don't think a publisher would like that much. 

I was reading the boot camp book (see the 1/10 post). I read about transforming the way I think about my writing. This is going to be a confused blog post, but I see what the guy was talking about.

I've never written a whole story like 'Blue' from scratch. I've always had something that I used as the template and went from there. It made writing my stories easy. With 'Blue' - the story came out of the blue (*g*) and I really didn't know where it was heading when I first started writing it. I had a beginning and an end, but not much more.

The other stuff I've written was all based on characters that I knew, really knew. I knew a lot about my characters in 'Blue,' but not enough. With the help of my writing buddy, I started a biography of Kathleen. The author of Boot Camp suggests writing about five pages worth of stuff. Birth date, family dynamics, experiences that made them what they are but are not in the book. All sorts of stuff. Now, I'm pretty familiar with Kathleen, but I am delving deeper into who she is and what makes her 'tick.'

Next will be Kaspar. He should be fun. I've changed how he looks. I think I might go over to images in Google and do a face search and see if I can find someone who looks like him. I'll print it out and use it as I write. Same really with all my other characters. I know people who think of the perfect actor (if their book was made into a movie) and that helps them know their characters. I always wondered about that, but I think I'll try it. 

I'm not going to write five pages for each of the eight characters that are important in the story, but I'm definitely going to flesh them out more. It'll be fun. 

Life should be fun.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Could be frustrated..... 

Names. You know I am meticulous when it comes to names. I go over their meaning; I look at them numerogically; I spend a lot  of time making sure that they agree with their birthplace and family and make-up.

One of the things my editor suggested was to work on one of the characters. Her 'take' of him was entirely different than mine. She said use the characteristics of his heritage to flesh him out. But, as I said, that wasn't him at all.

Which means - I did not portray him well.

Now - I have two choices. Go back and change a lot of who he is and add a lot of who I really don't want him to be.... OR.... Change his name.

I changed his name. Which, of course, meant that his appearance changed, too. But not his personality. Not who he is. 

Phew! I've spent the last two days working on that name change decision.

Along with that, I am now putting together a clearer biography for the main and supporting characters. My writing buddy is coming over tonight and she's bringing one of her favorite books, 'Novelists Boot Camp.'

I'm going to spend the next few days working hard on my characters' lives and motivations. Then, I'll be able to go back and really have a good time with the editing. :)

Life is a good time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Author Visit

Kevin Hearne was in town tonight and gave a fun-filled, informative talk on writing, teaching, and whiskey. He is a hoot! I had four thousand questions I wanted to ask him, but he had only an hour and there were quite a few of his fans there, all wanting to ask questions.

Kevin writes Celtic urban fantasy. His lead character is great - Atticus talks with his dog, Olerion. And is in big trouble with a band of gods, hell-bent on killing him. It's a fun read and great story.

Three points made me want to shout hooray. He says publishers are more and more open to having women as the main character in an epic fantasy. That is great news for me. Writers and editors here in the Midwest have been chiding me forever about making my main character male because it won't be published otherwise. So - Kevin gives me hope. 

Second point - characters are now driving books. I absolutely adore my main character, so this is good news for me, too. I feel I have permission to flesh her out even more. 

Third point - cover art. He says women characters are being portrayed more as women than sex symbols. This is good news - not that I don't think Zena was fun.... Even though I'm writing fantasy, I still want Kathleen to be dressed for the front cover. 

All in all, it was a great night. Refreshing to find an author so at ease, so ribald, and so fun-loving. Not a hint of ego. It was a great evening. If you get a chance. borrow one of his books from your local library. Or better yet, buy one!

http://www.kevinhearne.com/writers-grove  (This blog has a great article about the economics of author tours. I learned a truckload from it.)

Life is fun.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Trust The Gut

I've been working, honestly I have, but it is taking forever. The editing that is. The changes etc. that my editor suggested aren't many, but they affect the whole piece. It has to do with fleshing out the characters and the landscapes and such. 

Well, I've been at it for five days now and I've only got five pages edited!!!

Usually, I trust the Muse to help me, but what's helping this time - and I've used it before, but not this extensively, is my gut. As I'm reading, once I've made the changes, if it doesn't 'feel' right, then I'm stopping and figuring out what's wrong or right or whatever -- and then doing something about it. 

This is working. Very well. So I'm in the midst still of Chapter One - page five of nine. 

My daughter came over today and, very sternly, said I have to finish the editing and get the book published. Now. And that I must make sure it's made into a movie. Not too much pressure. ROTFL. She says there's just not enough female main characters running around out there and that my 'take' on a girl's life and sexuality is needed. Now.

Bless her heart. About time she came around to this conclusion. Her little one needs to have stuff like my book to read, says my daughter. 

I blush at her enthusiasm.

Life is good.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lego Blocks

Met with my writing buddy Thursday night. Instead of wine, we shared Vitamin C. Lots of yucky stuff floating around our section of the country and we're both fighting something. We still laughed a lot.

She came specifically to help me work on accepting my critique. She's a sweetheart. She said she's been praying and the word she got for us both was: Courage. As soon as she said she'd been praying, I 'heard' temerity in my mind. Muse uses all sorts of ways to browbeat me to her will. *g*

Courage: the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Temerity:  unreasonable or foolhardy contempt of danger or opposition.

Now - this definition of temerity is not the one I think of. I think of Chutzpah (which is one of the synonyms listed). And I've never thought of Chutzpah as anything but good old fashioned courage.

We talked about Legos. I got an awesome set for Christmas - Weathertop from the Lord of the Rings. It's got four hundred and some pieces. Legos boggle my mind. My little six-year old has no problem with them. This set was for ages 9-14. Huh!

Enough bragging about her. My buddy and I looked at the set and took it apart in our mind's eye. (I wouldn't dare take it really apart now that the little one has put it together - took quite a few hours - but she's tenacious!)

You have the green piece that works as the anchor piece. Then you add and add and add until you think you're going to scream. Little tiny pieces and folding pieces and hinged pieces and trapdoors. It's incredible how complicated it is and how it all fits together beautifully. I don't know how on earth they do it. At the end, you have this magnificent looking piece of play before you and the parts all are seamless. 

That's how I'm looking at my book. The plot is the green foundation pieces, I think. The characters and the settings and such are all the myriad little pieces that must be fit onto the plot to make the whole thing work. 

Another thing about Legos. You can't cut corners. You have to start at the bottom and work your up or out or whatever. If you miss a piece, or put one in the wrong place, eventually you'll pay for it. The other parts won't work.

I started with the foundation piece today. Chapter One really. I'm taking it one piece at a time. I'm building on what we learn in Chapter One to go onto Chapter Two. But I'm not going to skip any part of Chapter One else Chapter Two and Three and Four, etc., will not work. 

This concept makes it easier, in some way, for me to work on my editor's changes/additions/things. 

Life is a Lego.

Friday, January 4, 2013


A dear friend commented on yesterday's post - positively - and it positively helped. Thank you!

Now on to plans for the new year. As I've said, I've got a few resolutions up and running. I've kept them so far (it IS already the fourth!). But now I've got to focus on 'Blue' and fixing it. 

The changes and such that my editor gave me, as I've said, aren't horrific. They'll just involve an awful lot of time. I kind of feel I don't have time - I want to send it out. But the wise thing to do, the careful thing to do, is spend the time and make the changes. 

I've sent out some of my writings before and have received some nice rejection letters. I don't want that happening with 'Blue.' Of course, I know I'll get rejection letters, but I want it rejected in its pure state. Ready to be read. If that makes sense. 

It takes a lot of discipline to open the book and edit it. But isn't that why I started this blog? To learn discipline? I am most thankful that I did start this. I've enjoyed writing and sharing, but I've also slugged at the constraints of trying to daily submit something worthwhile. 

Well, I won't be able to start on 'Blue' until Saturday. Life is too hectic to give the book what it deserves. Writing it piecemeal isn't the way I want to edit. I've got to hunker down and spend serious time with this. I've got to delve further into my characters. I am ashamed to say that I don't feel I know them as well as I should. Time to throw a tea party for them and see how they react. Time to think of how they'd react to a lot of situations. Best way, I think, to know them.

Life is piecemeal.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Day Late And A Dollar Short

One of my New Year's resolutions was to try to write in the morning. I like to write at night, but I felt writing in the morning might be more productive. (Faulty thinking, probably, because I'm not a morning person.)

I'm almost finished with Chapter Six of 'The Other Side.' It's going well, but I got a phone call and had to meet someone. I pardon myself by saying, I did write some.

Later today, I was doing my usual 'writer' thing. I was watching people. Listening to conversations. Went to the movies and paid attention to plot line and character development. 

I remember my husband, an electrical engineer - he used to drive me mad when we'd go out for a ride. He'd spend most of his time looking at electrical substations and electric wires and such. Now I realize, it was part of who he was. I've turned into the same kind of person.

Yet -- tonight I'm having a difficult time thinking 'Blue' is good. I've got post-complete syndrome. Much as my editor said she likes the book, much as I like it too, I've been assailed by doubts. I know it happens to the best of writers. I'll get over it. But at this moment, I'm thinking about giving up on writing.

Of course, here I sit - thinking and writing about writing. Guess I can't get away from it. I'm that kind of person.

Life is forging ahead.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Not really. I wonder if there really are such things as beginnings after one reaches a certain time in life. Everything's been done or tried before. Nothing is really new. Everything is a continuation of what's gone on before.

The same is true, I think, for writing. My first critique by a 'professional' jarred me to my very soul. I recall going home and crying. After a few more critiques, I was able to accept comments and judge whether they worked or not. For me and for my book.

Today - finally - my editor called. She spent two hours with me going over 'Blue.' It was good. It was hard, but it was good.

This time, I could accept the praise without wondering when the other shoe would drop. I listened and filed it away, for perusal later.

The changes, additions, deletions, etc. were well thought out. I could exactly see what my editor was telling me. And accept her comments. I never once thought, 'she doesn't understand what I wrote,' 'she misread it,' - 'she ..... Never once. That's huge. That means, to me, that my writing is good. That means that I have learned how to accept criticism with an open mind, no, an eager mind. I wanted to know what she thought. I wanted to hear the suggestions she had. 

I'm tired now. The process of listening and understanding is a heavy thing. I'm tired because I have a lot of changes to make. I've got to go back to page one, reread the entire thing again, and watch for where I need to add the things that will make my characters even better, make the parts where I want my readers to cry really hit them, make the terror of the wizards palpable. 

Everything is doable. I think that's the best part. I don't feel cowed by the suggestions. I feel excited. Exhilarated. I'm not looking forward to doing any of it. I'm not stupid. This will not be a few days' work. This will be a slug-fest. But doable.

I think the best part - besides the fact that my editor definitely thinks the book is publishable - and good - is that I am ready for a publishing house to take me to task, to critique and accept it. It's an awesome feeling. A feeling of power. How odd. 

Happy New Year, dear readers. May you be blessed with joy and creativity and love.