Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What Am I?

Am I a real writer? I sometimes wonder, even without rejection letters. I think it is the perview of writers, or at least me, to think I might not write as well as I think I do. Good grief, that sounds complicated, but I think you know what I mean. I write something and think, 'This is good.' and then I put it out and immediately, honestly, if I was using ink, it would be like the ink wouldn't even be dry before I'd think, 'Yikes, maybe it's not.' After a few hours, days, months - I'd go back and reread it and think, 'Yup. It's good.' and then I'd wonder what on earth I was thinking of when I doubted myself.

I think I've been going through that as of late. Thankfully, my editor/teacher gave me a truckload of articles on writing, mostly from Writers' Digest. Let me take a moment to digress. I really like Writers' Digest. I've read other magazines that dwell on the writing career, but this one seems best, IMHO. 

These articles reconfirmed my belief in myself and in my writing ability. The first was on the way to round out a climax. Alright. Get your mind out of the porn section and think writing tools. Climax - that intrinsically important part of your story, book, article. I read the detailed article by Jeff Gerke and realized, 'Yup, I've got my climax working well. Everything leads up to it, my main character has a moment of truth (which the whole story has been pointing to), my hero affects the outcome, not vice versa, and the aftermath (the results) of the climactic moment are still playing out. 

I felt great after reading this article. Each piece in 'Blue' works as I had hoped it would. Each fits into the puzzle of the plot. 

There was a lot more sage advice in the article. Sadly, it is no longer on line, but the author has a lot of articles to share. Just click on the link and do a search for Gerke.

I'll share another article tomorrow. Learning is never ending.

Life is affirmation.

Monday, July 29, 2013

To Write Or Not To Write

That should never be the question. If it is, I think it must mean something is totally out of whack with the universe!

I discovered I have not been carrying my trusty rusty yellow pad with me. In fact, I have a really nice leather portfolio-type thingee from a company I used to work for. I carried my yellow pad in it, my current writings, my pen, and some business cards from other writers. This morning, I noticed I haven't been carrying it. Flummoxed. Truly. I can only surmise that I was hiding from my writing. Or that I was ignoring it. Or that... well, you get the gist. 

I haven't written for awhile. I took what I hoped would be the 'resting' time, but it doesn't seem to have done any good. Or perhaps it did. Perhaps that's why I 'happened' to notice my portfolio on the stand next to the computer. In plain sight. 

I can't imagine taking off a whole summer. For some authors, that's a book! For me, that's at least ten chapters! 

Time to get back to work. And that is what it is. If I am truly going to consider myself an author. Nora Roberts said, on CBS Sunday Morning, that writing is hard work. It didn't used to be. It used to be all fun. Well, not quite. I must admit I've shed a number of tears over the years as I've written. Sometimes because I've killed off a character I like. Sometimes because I've grown and had to leave behind some treasured friends. Sometimes because I have been and always will be, I'm not kidding myself on this one, I've been bored with a character or a story, or I've been scared to delve deeper, or I've been stumped and the Muse isn't talking.

I think this latest slump has many roots. I'm not going to bother trying to find out which root got lost or stuck or poisoned. I'm going to work on the whole tree. 

Starting with my health and my life choices. 

I read some great stuff, during this hiatus. I'll share them with you tomorrow. Blessings in the mean time.

Life is 3-D complicated.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hanging My Head

I went to class today with nothing to present. Of course, the teacher always asks, if we don't send something. Today was no different. Except - she didn't have anything either. Only two of our little troupe of peeps wrote. One of the girls showed us her drawings for a PB she's working on. That was fun to see. One of our tribe showed us two rejection letters. They were both lovely, if one can call being rejected, lovely. One was a form letter but there it was signed, not stamped, and had a thank-you circled on it. We all decided this was a good thing. That it meant the editor was up to receiving more from our classmate. At the end of the letter was a ps that the editor was now accepting email manuscripts. We were all excited for her. She writes lovely PB's. I so pray she gets published. The other letter explained in detail that the firm has a book being sold in 2014 with the exact same premise as our classmates.' Fascinating, huh!

I'm hoping, once summer is over and sleepovers are few and far between, that I'll be able to focus on my writing. I have a delightful little porch that I can sit on and write. A comfortable chair and a great view. Not enough. Drat it all.

I've not gone through something like this before. I had a stutter in November of last year, but this is a full blown stoppage. I'm not even, most days, thinking about my stories. It is an unpleasant feeling. 

A dear friend, whom I've been encouraging to get back to writing, has. She called me yesterday, filled with excitement and joy, and told me she is doing media advertising and voice-overs. She's so happy to be writing again. She exuded life. And isn't that what writing does to us? Why don't I remember this and grasp life again and write? *heavy sigh*

My little one has her own blog. She's all of six and is as creative as can be. I'm so proud of her. Today, she wrote a poem. Tomorrow, I'll be taking photos of her fashion clothes that she's creating for Pippin, the dog.

Life is sigh-filled.


I'm beginning to wonder if my 'cleaning' of my office is my way of skirting the writing issue. I'm not writing. I can't stand it, but I'm not. And I don't seem to be inclined to write. 

Life has been hectic, of late, but hectic is normal, isn't it? I don't know a soul who sits around eating bonbons and popping grapes. 

I have class tomorrow, and for the very first time, I had to write the group and say I would not present. This is horrid. I could run over to 'The Other Side' and send off a chapter, but I've not looked at it for about two weeks. I think that would not be useful for me or my classmates. 

I've not even edited 'Blue' for a couple days. Wondering if that has anything to do with knowing that it is going to be critiqued at the September SCBWI conference. Am I scared? Well, getting critiqued is always scary. Getting critiqued at an SCBWI event is even scarier. The stakes are higher. I've sent it off to a real agent who will be attending. Yikes! What if she doesn't like it? What if she hasn't a clue as to what I'm talking about? What if she likes it? Whoo hoo!

I am soooooo trying not to have expectations - good or bad. The conference is almost eight weeks away. I'll be a basket case by the time I sit down with this woman. Oh well. I will survive.

Having terrible times with my computer. It's as slow as molasses. I keep getting weird error messages. My printer won't work. My tablet says it's not connected to the internet even though I'm sitting right next to the wi-fi hook up thingee. 

Thankfully, I have a dear man who is coming over on Wednesday. He set up my computer in the first place. I told him all my troubles and he says he can fix them. Bless his heart.

Well, that's about all for now. Except for a quick thanks to my friend Margaret for her prayers for my computer to work.

And a very happy birthday to my buddy in Ireland - Gesine - you rock!!!! Happiest of days.

Life is birthday cakes.

Friday, July 19, 2013

One Word

Honestly, when I first started writing, I loved words. I thought I was pretty good with them. In fact, I know I had a great vocabulary. I used to put a word up on the frig once a week and that would be the word the kids would learn and use for the rest of the week. They swear they've now got a great vocabulary, but can't spell diddlysquat. That's a surprise - no spelling error on diddlysquat.

I have since discovered that I don't know enough words.. I'll never know enough words. But that's good. Makes life interesting and definitely not dull.

I was working with my 'student' last night. Her second to last character biography. Everything went well with the first three paragraphs and then - too many words that didn't flow, that didn't fit. The paragraph said what needed to be said, but, first, it was the wrong POV. Second, it was wordy.

I know teachers have taught writers over the past millennium that every word counts. It does. It's hard to be that focused, but after awhile, I'm finding it's becoming second nature. It also works for when I'm critiquing my friend's work.

When we finished, the paragraph was ready to be polished. The first four paragraphs were awesome and needed almost no work. We were both so thrilled and excited! I know I wanted to scream with joy. She is so close to sending it to an interested agent. I can't wait. Next time we meet, we'll go over her last character and then - she's done. She'll send the bios and the synopsis and the first three chapters....... 

Life is good. 

PS - I am editing 'Blue.' Phew!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Looking For The Silver Lining

Insane times, aren't they? Life never quite leaves us alone. And for that, I am grateful. I don't do well with 'dull.' I like adventure. Sometimes, I'd like to be able to at least take a wee breath before plunging into the next whatever.

I volunteered at my church to work on their Google calendar. I've only got two months left to input. Communication is so important and being able to see what's happening (and when) at my church and at the school my little one attends made it a priority for me to see that the calendar is/was up-to-date. Took a lot longer than I thought because of the church's firewall, but we got it done. *throws bits of confetti*

SCBWI's regional conference is coming up and I had to spend time researching who was gong to be attending/speaking/critiquing. This process takes a bit of time since our region director really brings in some great names. The intensives are awesome this year - but I want to go to all of them (they are at the exact same time.) 

I found someone to critique 'Blue' at the conference - an agent. I've got all my fingers and toes crossed, but already working to tamp down on expectations. I was hoping to have 'Blue' completely edited and sent out by the end of this month, but that timeline has been destroyed. I'm wondering whether to send it out at all before this agent at the conference looks at it. I meet with my editor/teacher next week. I'll ask her advise.

The dog, Pippin, and I are having some issues. We were on adventures for the last couple weeks and his little psyche, I think, has grown confused. He's now deeming it a wondrous thing to pee in the hallway. Good grief. Bad enough he refuses to poop for me. My daughter comes over in the evenings and takes him for a walk. Good for her and the dog. She's losing weight very well and wants to keep exercising. The dog gives her an excuse.

I haven't done any editing for the last few days. The heat here (as in so many parts of our country) is debilitating. I'm spending time in the pool (the water temp is 85F while the outside air is 95F). Makes for a bath-like swim, but it is still cooler than the air. My air conditioners are working overtime and yet, the bedroom is not cold, but at least it's not stiffling.

Life is hot and cold. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mostly Dead

Not dead, as Fezzik in The Princess Bride says, but mostly dead.

I feel kind of like that at the moment. Good things have been happening. I was away for the holiday (the 4th) and spent a bit of time editing while at a nice secluded cabin. I just got back from another trip (my son's in from Utah and we all gathered for the last few days to renew family ties). I was able to edit a bit on this trip, too. 

The nice thing about this second trip is I finally was able to read my granddaughter's first novel. She's an excellent writer. Her phrases are knock-my-socks off. The novel is unfinished because she couldn't stand the ending. I told her to take it easy, chill out, spend some quiet time in a place that gives her peace, and kick her Muse in the butt. *g*

I'm very surprised and happy with the last few days of editing. I did more than I had expected to do and I know it makes the story richer, fuller.

I read a quote, I think it's from Poets and Writers magazine (I'll look it up later and give you the info) that said the final edit should look at each word and make sure it is the BEST word for that sentence, phrase, paragraph. Interesting. I've heard this before. I do make sure my verbs are active ones, that I use almost no adverbs, and that my adjectives are strong, but I have never looked at each word in each sentence. It most be doable for others, but I'm not so sure for myself. We'll see, for I've learned never to say never. *g*

I sent off the last chapter of 'Blue' to my writers group and missed the meeting. Honestly. We were only supposed to stay with the family until last night, but plans changed and we stayed till this afternoon. My writers group was this morning. I'm bummed. First, because it was my turn to present and second, because I didn't let them know and someone else could have presented. I've never done that before. *blushes*

The SCBWI Regional Conference is coming up soon and the first day (for members) to register is Monday. I've got to spend some time researching the workshops and what I'm going to do. 

Life is hectic. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Success In Small Things

I did manage to clean off the top of my stand. the drawers are rearranged, the little one's clothes are sorted and put away, and the wash is done.

On to 'Blue.' We had a thunderstorm roll through the area tonight. I sat with Pippin on my lap by the front door. It was a nice storm. The rain fell in a gentle way for about two minutes and then, the heavens opened and we had a nice gully-washer. I like these kinds of storms. They are unpredictable. I did like the gentle fall of the first rain. The leaves stopped most of it from hitting the ground, but after awhile, they were pushed aside by the weight of the drops. Such fun. 

I rejoiced in the smell. And realized. I could use smell in one scene. It's a nasty storm. The smell of the rain will be the normal smell. Cool and sweet and rainy. Then, once the wizards attack, the smell will change. Ah! I love it when nature pushes me further.

Layers and layers to each scene makes writing such fun. I could leave the scene alone. I know it worked, but the addition of the smell of rain... Later in the scene I've got another foul and heinous odor, but this first one, with the pure smell of rain will make the second part so much better.

It reminds me of the Grand Canyon. You can see the layers of centuries, millennia in the surface of the canyon. It's an incredible sight. If it was all the same, each layer the same, it would be dull.


Use layers, my friends. You know your own life is full of them. Some make life better; some make life worse. We don't want dull, do we? *g*

Life is layers.