For the Criminally Inane

For the Criminally Inane

Friday, October 16, 2009

Contests

Ok, entered two contests and heard back this week, both this week. If I had won, I'd be like all over this blog entry so you can safely assume it wasn't me. But the ones that won were really good. I feel like I still have so far to go. Man. Not a discouraging week, just tired today. I guess I should confess on my blog here, since nobody other than those already in on the secret knows that I am pregnant. Not feeling so hot, but still able to move my fingers. If I can move those, then I write. Struggling with a synopsis for one of my stories. Difficult to distill and compact and make enthralling. Arg. More interesting writing.

Oh read Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy (?). Pretty good. Read it in a few hours. Interesting. I think I liked the first one better, but the second in a trilogy isn't supposed to be too riveting, I guess.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Routines

One of the writing prompts from Writer's Digest asked writers to detail their routine before they write. Here's mine:

Tuck kids in bed
Open laptop and my application with current project
Respond to summons to rekiss and retuck kids in bed
Back at computer, try to remember where I was and what I was thinking
Hops up to pacify yells to get kids drinks of water
Sing a song
Sing another one
Threaten them with nightlight withdrawl if they do not go to sleep NOW!
Listen to blubbering and crying
Read comics to cheer me
Yell an apology to kids
Go in third time for hugs and kisses
When whimpering dies down, work on project.

Friday, September 25, 2009

125 pages!

Hi! I broke the 80k words! I'm almost finished writing a first draft. I'm about 2/5 the way through it. I think the ending's great. But the rest of it needs more vamping. I'm pleased that this didn't take as long as I did on my first draft. Still having a hard time having scenes that don't immediately resolve, it's like I crave resolution, peace, end of conflict. But those things make for a crappy novel. Read Mary Poppins the book. It's more like a collection of short stories that have nothing to do with each other. I was a little disappointed. It would be a great case study in a book with no conflict. I think in the 30's, when it was written, that people used their imagination more/were not used to being wowed out of their senses with TV. The only part I liked was the beginning when Mr. Banks tells Mrs. Bansk that they can either have a nice house or four children. They had the four children :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

outtakes

I hate it when I cut more than I write. This morning I had 96 pages of story. Tonight, 93. I have six pages of outtakes. Depressing. I know two different ways this story is not progressing!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why my dental hygiene has improved

Writing requires a lot of thought. I mean, sitting there, plotting, creating characters, dialogue. During all this time, I floss. I found it has improved my dental hygiene to write. I floss almost daily with those little floss picks. (By the way, I recommend the Plackers not Dentex. Plackers have a smoother entry and a little bit of plastic over the sharp end which I appreciate in case I wanted to use it to clean out my ear wax.) So when you see me smile, observe how plaque free my teeth are and how healthy my gums are too :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another story

Hi, so, I "finished" the first draft of my second story. I don't feel like the ending is quite right so I'll think about it some more and go back to in. In the mean time, started a new story about two or three weeks ago. Have about 25k words on it all ready. Get this, the main character is a girl and it's a comedy. Anyone surprised?

Been distracted with some changes around here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beast

If a short story is a mouse, then the novel has to be a hulking beast. It's unruly, complex, detailed, fresh, original and compelling. Can I master the beast?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Details, details

I'll have to admit I get stuck in the details. But that's what makes a story great, right? Those little intricacies that the author sees that no one else has seen before. At least if the author is a good one.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Story

I forgot to post somewhere that I started a new story. Completely different from the first one, except the main character is a girl and it's a comedy like the last one. I've always liked to make people laugh and cry, too. That comes from studying drama and manipulating people's emotions. Anyway, I can't remember when I started it. Probably about the time I read one an agent's post that they are sick of urban fantasy, and mine was an urban fantasy (which was what I liked to read when I was in high school) and so, I put that one aside while my professor was looking over my last story. I'm about 40k words into it. I don't know how it's going to end, but it's been fun, different because it's set in a real place with real things and almost real people. A bit of a stretch for me, since it's a transitional story of someone who's done with college, but not in a career yet, looking for her niche and love of course.

Read A Little Princess for the first time. Pretty good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

By-Products of Writing

One of the by-products from writing is good dental hygiene. I am thrilled to say that I am now a daily flosser. While I sit at my computer, my brain trying to think of that next funny thing, that turn of phrase that will transform my boring manuscript into the #1 NYTBS, I floss. It's great! Like flossing, writing needs a consistent daily effort to produce results. I write about two times a day for about two hour stints, once in the afternoon when my son goes down for quiet time and at night after the kids are in bed. I used to write six days a week, but I've given myself another day in the weekend, just because I was going over the edge and my house was not messy, but disorganized and my marriage was starting to sound like a sitcom instead of being loving--mostly due to the conflicts of a Saturday when I thought I'd have free babysitting from my husband. That turns out not the be the case and instead of getting all upset, I lowered my expectations and everybody's happy :) Besides, I need two days like everyone else in a weekend, even if I only write for twenty hours a week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Positive feedback from old roommate

So, I sent the first chapter to a very funny friend and roommate who lives in CA with her new baby. She did me the great favor of reading it over and giving me some feedback.

Wow! So remember, I rewrote the first two pages because I was never happy with how it started. Well, she got to the end of those first two pages, she said, the rest flows pretty well from here on out. I had to laugh, she could totally tell! Amazing! She offered some fantastic suggestions, and I hope she continues to ask hard questions and make bold suggestions.

Knock-Knock

Sometimes when I write I feel like I hitting my head against a wall. Knock, knock, knock. Busy day. My parents were stranded in Canada with a faulty transmission on the way to Alaska. Luckily the thing is still under warranty but only in the US, so they have to drive back to Montana. That's when I say, my life isn't so hard. I had a nice day. The weather has been perfect, abnormal for July, a light breeze around seventy. I took my daughter out and in two days between hubby and I, taught her how to ride. She took to it like fish to water, to use an old cliche. She was hesitant at first, when I took her out on the bike trail, especially when the bikers sped by. But they smiled and most didn't seem too annoyed that we took up the whole right side.

I'm dying to get back to my writing tonight. I left the scene in a spot that I'm very curious to see how it ends!!!!! And I'm writing the silly thing. STill, I find that I enjoy writing, almost as much as reading (reading though doesn't require as much work). It's like dreaming with my eyes open. I love to see the scene unfold and tell secrets and hints and sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry sometimes I knock my head with frustration.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Redemption

So, I was talking to my sister today on the phone and she said my mom was rereading the latest draft of my story, and was about half-way through it. I couldn't believe it. I called her and sure enough, she said and I quote: "It sucked me in a lot better this time." REDEMPTION. Ok, now, I can feel comfortable with a story that my mom finally thinks is good. Now I have to convince the agents and publishers.

So, they're putting in a new Little Caesar's Pizza not a block from my house. That is going to lead to some serious malnutrition in our family. What temptation. How can you beat a five dollar pizza? Such greasy goodness.

On another note, my husband actually did some real math on the comment section of the last post. Sigh, this is why I'm a writer and not a scientist. I love math, but higher math is a little over my head especially since I've been out of school for, let me see, 2009-2002(let me grab my calculator)= 7 years. Seven years! My, my. Yes, those years go by quick.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Probablity of NYTBS

I was thinking of a the probability of being a New York Times Best Selling author. I think it's some random equation. Here are the variables:

O=originality
w=weird factor
t=timing
c=connection
l=talent


NYTBS=O*w*1/4t8C/l

Er something

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eight Pages

I'm eight pages in to my new story. I haven't decided if it's good or not. The crap draft is always bad and even when I read it, I'm like, ew. I'm not letting anyone read it not even the hubbs. Although it's killing me! I have so many questions. Directions the plot should go, character development. They will have to wait, for the story must be told and if I tell it out loud it's gone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Break Through

I contacted an old college professor I really admired that helped me establish my style of writing. I humbly asked him to look over my manuscript and he'll give me some feed back. It's so nice to have an objective person read it. I can't have friends read it because 1) they are too nice. I mean, I have nice friends. 2) They won't give feedback because they're afraid to hurt the friendship. Understandably. I mean, who wants to say to your friend, Hey I think this stinks? 3) Because they are similar to me, they may actually like the book and have a hard time seeing its flaws. I appreciate all the people who have already read the drafts. That's just awesome! THANK YOU!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My first rejection

I didn't tell anyone I was sending in a query. I didn't have time to. It came back within 24 hours and I was grateful! It was a very polite rejection letter, just in case you didn't catch the title and I was holding you in suspense. Now, looking over my query, it needs to be tighter. I've been researching agents and it's nice to know what doesn't appeal to one, may appeal to another.

I may shelve it for a while and then see what it looks like. I might try one more cast before I store it.

Also, someone was complaining about how authors are treated so poorly in the publishing industry, even though writers provide the fodder to sell. I pondered that for a while. It seems to me, that's true of many industries. Take fishing. The fishermen are the lowest ones on the totem pole and the chefs, the ones that prepare the fish and distribute it, are the ones with all the glory, calling the shots etc. Well, writers are like the fishermen. The industry couldn't survive without us, but it's not a glorious job. Happy fishing!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Research

Ok, I'm almost done editing my book. My middle still needs some work but the beginning and ending are really strong. Hubby is doing a "quick read" and looking to see if the story is doing what it's supposed to.

I've started researching some agents. I've been following an agent's blogs to get an idea of her personality and what she is looking for. And I wrote a query letter and working on a synopsis. Some sites were helpful and books: Give Them What They Want was a good one for helping me put my thoughts in to order.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Parents in town

My parents were in town. I thought for sure I'd get lots of writing done since they would be here to babysit. Nooooooope. In fact, quite the contrary. I played host and had fun instead. They left for the weekend but should be back.

I wish I had a writers group. I've emailed two copies of my chapter one and haven't heard back from either friend. Either it really stinks and they don't want to tell me or it's lost somewhere in t their email file.

Discouraged again. Sometimes I read over my work and I'm amazed I wrote something so fun, thinking I'm almost done, almost ready to let my baby go out to the world. Other times I look at all the flaws (I did a search for 'would' today, thankfully I didn't count them, but there were a ton!) and think, I'll never be done. Maybe I should can it and work on some other projects. I have stories flying through my head all the time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Exceptional

Is my story exceptional? It is something that some agent will spend hours peddling to the editors, believing in me when heads wag no? Or should I just scrap it and write other novels floating around in my head?

When I was a little girl, I had three goals: One be a missionary for my Church, two go to Switzerland (they had four national languages, what 9-year-old knows that?) and three to be a published author. When I was twenty-one I went on a mission to Switzerland (not of my choosing but the Lord's). When I was younger I wrote a lot. I remember I had stapled a peice of blue construction paper to some printer paper, an empty book and called it presumptiously, "young author" only I couldn't spell, I think it really said "Young Arther". But it had a pretty picture of a quill and ink stand, I also liked to doodle. But I never learned how to spell well. That was discouraging. I asked my dad, "How do you spell CHAOS?' "Go look it up in the dictionary," my dad would say. K-A-O-S, wasn't in the dictionary. So, I used another word. Oenery was another word I'd heard my mom use, but didn't know how to spell. Thank goodness for spell check because I'm always tripping up.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Odds are getting worse

I've been following this one agent's blog. It's not an agent I want to send my MS to, but I thought her insights were interesting. Well, she posted that one of her YA agent friends were so relieved to find a straight fantasy, no urban in it. What a bummer! I mean, is urban-fantasy on the way out? There goes my delusions of my book making a huge splash in the literary world. Sigh.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Daily Journal

As part of my research for my story, I read over some of my high school journals. I kept a daily (and I mean EVERY DAY) journal writing about the vicissitudes of growing up. I was doing ok, reliving my teenage-hell until I came to a part where I wondered, really wondered if someone would ever love, when I wondered what he was doing. I cried. I really cried, real tears. I hurt for that poor, lost 16 year-old who didn't have a clue about how make friends with guys. I stewed over this boy I liked, every page mentioned something whether he said hi or what his reaction was to what I said, notes I wrote to him. He ended up liking some tall blond girl who was 1) Popular 2) practically perfect 3) pretty 4) kind (I think even my brother had a crush on her). The guy was probably just as socially retarded as I was and thankfully we're not in contact anymore. I was a nerd in high school. (I didn't have my first real boyfriend until college, I was such a social retard). I never got asked to Prom. Am I still bitter about that? No, I went to my cousin's wedding. But there's just something about having a group of friends that I hung out with and none of them asked me. As I reread these painful memories, I feel sorry for that lost little girl. I wish I could go back and tell her, hey, life just gets better and better. There is a guy out there for you and he's perfect for you. You'll have kids and do things you never thought you could do. Chin up, don't worry. Everything will be all right.

Friday, June 5, 2009

*Shiver* Good book

I read Hunger Games in one day, it was that good. Of course my kids were at the sitter for nearly four hours while I went to the doctors or else it would've taken me two days. In fact, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought about it some more. I wish I could write compelling books like that. Hopefully there's still a market for almost-funny books out there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reviews

I just wanted to write a few books I've been reading:

Robin Brande Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature

Interesting read, but it seemed to me that she thought of the point of the book, (almost a little didactic) and then thought of a story to go with it. Wasn't all that compelling for me. But funny and has a good point which I happen to agree with: You can believe in God and Science. Of course, I don't like being hit over the head with any point, even one I agree with.

I also went to a bookstore and actually bought a book, two, really. Princess Bride, a classic (we're on our third copy, we keep giving it away) and Howl's Moving Castle. Love the Myazaki's version, too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First five chapters

I'm trying to hone in on the first five chapters. I think I'll spend the majority of my time on this until I feel like I've got what I want, then go on to the rest. ANd I think I'm taking off the music on this site. It always scares me because I forget. I like the music, but one can take only so many jump-starts like that!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Seven days of no writing makes one weak

Battling stomach flu makes it nearly impossible for me to write. Thinking hurt. But, the last few days, as I'm recovering, I actually had a plot break through that I'm working into my story. I think it will help build the tension toward the end and not let the climax be too abrupt. And I've been working on my comedy side. My husband thinks I might have edited out all my funny scenes. I'm doing some research on being funny, like reading the Princess Bride, one of my all-time favorite funny books.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Despite the missing contacts...

WEll, I can either see or type. I can't do both. But notwithstanding that, I revised a story I wrote eleven an a half years ago to send in to a contest. Maybe I'll expand it and write it into a novel. Anyway, I got some interesting feedback. My sister said it sounded like it was written at a college level (does that mean well-written or hard to read?) My mom liked it (phew!) and offered a few suggestions. And my sister-in-law loved it. But those people have the same sense of humor, so of course they like it. And what if it is written above the ease of understandablity? It's supposed to be a childern's short story. Anyway, 100 people or so get honorable mentions, if I don't get one of those, then I know it's time to go back and look at my writing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Two things

One, my son lost my contacts over the weekend, and writing with an old pair of glasses is horrible on the eyes. My glasses are as old as my oldest daughter, nearly six years old. My left eye is so blurry I can't read the screen. Needless to say, that's a little bit of a setback. T'is better than trying to type with nothing to aid my vision. I tried that on a children's book I'm writing and I had to hold my laptop up to my chest to read, then put it down on my lap to type. It was slow going.

Second, I read the newsletter from Writer's Digest talking about scenes. It had some suggestions on how to make my scenes more compelling. Thankfully, I won't have to rewrite major chunks of my story, just add a few lines to make sure my POV character's motivations are clear. But I think that was the magical missing piece keeping my novel from being the NYTBS. I'll work on that tonight.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bummed

I went to Borders on Saturday and found out that there is a book with a similar character as my heroine. I'll have to admit I'm bummed. The premise is different. And the story is way different. Mine is funnier. But it still bums me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chapter one rewrite

Well, I re-wrote the and rearranged the first chapter and I think it's getting better but it might still have too much exposition in the beginning. Hard to get the delicate balance. Read the "First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman and it had some good ideas.

Read also, Write Away by Elizabeth George and that had some interesting insights.

Small things

I had a miracle. A small miracle, but I'll take it.

A guy at church gave another guy reams and reams of paper, already hole-punched, perfect for the aspiring writer. He gave us a Corolla-trunk full for starters. I'm excited not to have to feel a pinch for paper. This will probably save us a couple hundred dollars.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Newly Found YA Author

I checked out some of Janette Rallison's books from the library. Clean, funny,chatty which I love. My fav so far is: Fame, Glory and Other Things On My To-do List. Check her out.

Mystery Go-Round

I love my library and my library card. They give me access to so many free things. This week it was a Mystery writers-go-round. Thirty-five people or so signed up to have breakfast with some local mystery authors at our public library. We sat six or so to a table and the authors did a "speed-dating" style go-round where they spent only a few minutes at each table answering questions. One of the most meaningful things one of the authors, (Angie Fox NYTBS http://angiefox.wordpress.com ) said when one of the others asked how to continue writing. She said (I think this would be copyrighted) : You have to find a story that excites you that makes you want to go to the computer and write every day.

I am now passing this on to you. I, like her, only write what I would want to read. I love my stories and my characters and I think it shows.

Friday, April 17, 2009

In the mean time

So, I'm waiting for my family to get back to me with some edits of the last draft of my novel. My family, thankfully, is pretty blunt. We don't walk around on eggshells. But, just in case, I found a friend at Church who claims to have missed his call as a professional proofreader to take a peek. Hopefully he doesn't hate my entire premise.

For the record, my mom said she enjoyed reading my book. She said she read it with a smile all the way through. (It's a comedy. I was hoping for laughs, but it's a YA novel and she's sixty. I'll take the smiles.) She had some good feedback, too. My youngest brother read it (stayed up till three am to finish it--I think we have reading addictions in my family) and said that he verbally tee-heed through some of the parts! Wow, for a man who never laughs at loud at anyone's jokes, tee-heed! That's a compliment. See world, what is in store for you?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Review of "Confessions of a Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella

My husband and I read this book from six until midnight yesterday. Besides dinner and tucking the kids into bed, it took us six hours reading out loud through most of it. I decided to read it since it's always good to see what's out there, what's selling. Here is my review:

Man, are there tons of Mormons running around London? In the first few chapters, she mentions a guy she met on the train whose wife is having their fourth child. Four children? In Europe? Must be Mormon. And then Becca Bloomwood was dating a guy who doesn't believe in pre-marital sex. Where you you find these moral guys? In London? Sweet! But then, she notes that for the above-mentioned morality the reason she broke up with him. Instantly, I don't really connected with her. I don't feel an affinity with her unbridled shopping. I love her voice, chatty, funny. There was also a gratuitous love scene at the end. And, um, at least five F-words which didn't make me very happy. Take it or leave it. I actually liked the Hollywood adaptation better, dare I say it. Maybe because something gets lost in the translation from English to American.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chapter one

Hm....

Chapter one is the most important chapter and the hardest one to write. So far as it stands, my chapter one is about ten single-spaced pages. It sets up characters introduces both the main conflict and the sub-conflict and yet, I'm not satisfied.
I let a few close friends, a sister, a mother- and sister-in-law and my mom read it. Everybody said something different.
My MOTHER thought it was boring. It didn't suck her in like Twilight. Ok, from now on, any young adult writer will be compared to Twilight--don't let that discourage you.
My sister laughed her head off. But she's like me and we shared the same room and brain for 16 years. Of course, she'd like it.
My sister-in-law thought it was crass because of the words "boobs" and "butt" and too sexual for mentioning spawning.
My friends thought it was pretty good, but perhaps a little twee.

Um, yeah.

So, I've decided that I can't please everyone. Sooooooo, I'm going to write what I like. Is it possible to be both crass and twee? I think that's what I'm going for here.

UPDATE: My M-I-L and my B-I-L (who is 17) read the first chapter and thought it was great and want to read more. But, my husband's family is full of cheerleaders, soo...But it made me feel good :) I am working on getting a copy to a friend who says he "missed his call as a proofreader." I'll post what horrible things he has to say, too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Author's Charity

Today I bought plane tickets to Arizona. I'm flying out tomorrow. No, no one in my family has died, thankfully, but I came across an opportunity I didn't want to miss. Ten authors are hosting a charity benefit for their booking agent.

It's so touching that these authors would donate time and their books to their friend. I paid 100 bucks to hear a panel discussion by these wonderful giants in literature. It won't be a waste of money because it's going to a good cause.

I am bummed today. I got some feedback for my novel that wasn't very positive. It's not discouraging, but it makes me wonder if I'm doing it all wrong. I've only let 2 cold readers read it. My first person loved it. She thought it was compelling and wanted more. The second suggested a whole rewriting. I value the feedback and I am grateful that anyone would dwindle their time reading my boring ol' novel. I am appreciative of their time and effort and I am indebted to them. I just wish my ego would get out of the way!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Procrastination

I have learned that there are some good sides to procrastination:
Put off buying something that isn't necessary
Put off that nap
Put off selfishness

Things you should not procrastinate:
Time with spouse or loved-one
Time with kids or family
Calling a friend, just to see how they are
Self-improvement


Most of the time, we procrastinate the wrong things. True discipline requires us to evaluate what is most important in our lives and do that first.

This has been on my mind lately. Am I focusing my energies in the right spot?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Greetings!

I am starting my personal blog to talk about life in all it's randomness. Mostly for my own thoughts, but if anyone wants to comment, feel free.