Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 40: A Writer's Work is Never Done...

Started thinking last night about what the future holds for me when it comes to being a writer. I love/hate doing this because it usually inspires/discourages me all at the same time. What will it be like to actually finish my book? I can see the end in the distance.

I went back and reread some of my earlier posts. Did I really think my YA manuscript needed to be 150,000 words! Oh, how silly I was. Now at 28,000 words, I realize i'm close to being half way finished! I'm not going to force anything, of course. If it ends up being 100,000 words then so be it, but it feels good to know I don't have to write War & Peace.

Also, I thought about how many times I will need to revise. Will I be happy with it after one or will it take 5 or 6 times? Or will I even know how many times I've revised it when I'm done?

Oh! And then there's the query letter! I haven't even attempted doing one yet! That's a whole nother ball of wax, ya know. Then, the agent search... Okay, now my brain is using my skull as a racketball court.

But, as frustrated, confused, afraid, apprehensive as I get, I've never really entertained the thought of not finishing, of giving up. Tragic, I know...

In other news, there's a convention coming up, the Teen Book Con in Houston, that I'm seriously considering going to. Tons of authors I admire will be there and it will be a great reason to get away with the DH. Although, he kind of utterly DESPISES large crowds so I might be walking the halls of the Con alone while he finds a local bar or hardware store. But, that's cool, I'll love it no matter what I'm sure!

Anyway, I want to say THANK YOU!!!! to everyone who commented on my 99th page yesterday! Ya'll's (don't question it, its a word!) kind words lifted me up and gave me even more incentive to continue down this path! It was tons of fun, so many great pages out there!

I'd like to thank all of you in the silliest, girliest way I know. Here's some man candy and a song to listen to while you peruse. *THROWS SKITTLES AT YOU* HAPPY WRITING!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 39: The 99th Page Blogfest

So here's my 99th page for the 99th Page Blogfest. This is from a first draft, so I'm sure mistakes abound. Criticisms and comment are welcome! 

Penny is finally getting answers about her parents and other things from old Emerson.

     “Then that's the age they will appear. I think the Shores allow a person to age up until a certain point. They were created by the Gods and the Gods are a very narcissistic bunch. Most of them only want beauty in their lands. To them the young are beautiful, the old are not,” Emerson looked intently at Penny, obviously trying to gauge whether or not she understood it all.
     “You said its not uncommon for oneironauts to show up in different time periods. So, you can come back to Earth from the Shores?” Penny asked.
     “Yes, but when you return, Earth will recognize you and age you to the point you were when you left. Some oneironauts will spend five or ten years here then spend decades in the City of Dreams then return to Earth for another five or so years. Some decide to live out their one Earth lifetime in one go,” Emerson said as he thumbed through yet another album.
     “But, my parents don't show any aging. Why?” Penny was getting a funny feeling in her stomach.
     Emerson didn't answer immediately, but laid out the next album for Penny to see. It was different than the others. The pages were yellowed, everything was hand written, and it was leather bound. It smelled of years of dust. She looked at the picture. There were her parents once again in black and white. They stared out without smiling. Her mother sat on a chair and wore a very modest dress, the skirt went down to the floor and looked heavy and voluminous. Her hair was pulled up in a bun at the base of her neck and had a severe center part. Next to her, stood Penny's father. He wore a dark suit that wasn't tailored very well. His always present mustache was longer than usual, coming to points that stuck out from his face.
     Penny looked at what was written below the image: “Mr. Barnaby Masters and Mrs. Celia Masters, Founders of the Institute, 1896”.
     “What does all this mean?” Penny said as she stared at the page. Her stomach was doing flip flops now and her cheeks felt flushed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 38: Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

Even though I took the baby to Grandma's yesterday and the four year old was at school, I basically got nothing done on my WIP. I had two and a half hours by myself and hardly got anything written. Later that night, I explained this to the DH. "You wanna talk it out?" he said.

Me: "Yes, please."

And that's what it took, once again. He listened, asked important questions, and gave me a few cute ideas. WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT HIM, PEOPLE?! Anyway, I was too tired to capitalize on our convo so I went to bed. Woke up this morning as chipper as... Curly from Oklahoma and couldn't stop myself from hitting that document like a mad woman.

Turns out I'm a morning writer. Huh, who knew?

Anyway, have a great day, every last one of ya'll!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 37: Lots To Do...

I was super sick yesterday so nothing got done. Which just means that today I have to pick up the slack. So, I need to do character development sheets. I don't want to put easy questions like "What is you favorite color?". I want questions that will take a little more thought.

So, if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments! I would love some help!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 36: Wrexting...

I've invented a word: wrexting. Writerly texting. My literary club partner lives in an area that gets very sparse cell phone coverage, so, for the past 2 nights we've been talking writing via text. Last night, we decided to do some character development sheets for each other's characters. This is going to be fun!

I didn't do any CD sheets when I began writing. I was so anxious to get the story out. The characters just kind of grew from the story and now they're in control of what happens. I know the situations they will face but I'm not completely sure how they will react in most cases. I have a feeling this exercise will help me a lot.

In other news, yesterday I was a bad, bad writer. I hardly even looked at my document. I spent most of the day watching youtube videos. *hangs head in shame* Okay, so that's not really news...

I also entered a contest over at @NathanBransford 's blog, Just pop your first paragraph in the comments and Bob's your uncle. Go check it out!

Another contest over at @brenadrake 's blog, Brenda Drake Writes, will happen on Feb. 7, 8, and 9. It's a first line contest with AMAZING prizes. Do it, do it now!

More news, I love Ewan McGregor, just so you know.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 35: Yesterday Was Awesome!

A very good friend came over yesterday. She and her family have just moved back to Louisiana after being gone for a year or so and we are sooooo happy they're back. We all hung out and had a good ol' time. Of course, at some point I started talking about my book and she seemed interested. I wasn't sure if she'd be willing but I think it was her that offered to read it and help me refine it (if it was me, I apologize for being a pushy writer, Melissa). 

So, I printed out what I have so far: almost 25,000 words and 86 pages. Boy did that feel good! Just holding that nice chunk of papers and knowing I had created it all was soooo satisfying! I was a little nervous handing them over to her. So far everyone who's read it has liked it but they're all family and they're supposed to tell me its great. I think its in the Constitution somewhere. 

"If a wayward relative asks you to read their first draft, one MUST say it is a best seller for sure."

I really respect her opinion. We read similar things sometimes, but we also have different preferences. 

We also decided to start a book club. I gave her a book to read. Was it mean of me to give her Les Miserables? Its one of my top 5 books, but its really long. I also gave her Anna and the French Kiss in case she wants to break from Les Mis. I have been assigned The Great Gatsby. I read this in high school and hated it. But at the time I'm sure I was more interested in story and plot than the actual beauty of the words. So, I'm going to give it another shot even though I'm writing. I figure Gatsby could only affect my writing in a good way.

She also expressed an interest in writing and said that she had a little something she was working on. This is so exciting for me because I've been dieing to find someone I can get along with who is going through the same thing as I am. Or who is at least interested in what I'm doing. Someone I could talk to in person (I have found a couple of online friends who have been very supportive!).

Anyway, I'm super excited to witness the wrath of your red pen, Melissa. I mean, black pen since you couldn't find a red one, lol!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 34: Its My World, I'll Do What I Want...

I'm about to hit 25,000 words today which is about a fourth to a third of my book. I set my goal at 100,000 so when I edit I'll have room to cut stuff. I'm sure this isn't a sure fire plan, but it makes sense to me.

I'm about to write a scene that has, has, has to be excellent. But, the cool thing about it is it takes place in a world of my creation. This world is so fantastical that I can basically do anything I want. I love that about writing fantasy. There's no question of "Is that even possible?", because "Yes, it is possible. I created it and if I want it to be possible, it is." It also puts a little bit of pressure on me. I don't want the readers to think, "Man, she could have done anything she wanted and THIS is what she came up with?". But that's okay. I believe I work better under pressure :)

On another topic, I can't believe the amount of support I've been receiving from friends. And by friends I mean Facebook friends. People I would have never expected to be interested are, in fact, interested. I was so hesitant to announce that I was writing a book. I was scared they would scoff, they wouldn't take it seriously. Instead, they're checking out my blog, commenting on my posts, asking about the book, giving encouragement, and saying they're excited to read it. *sigh* It warms the heart! So thanks to all my family and friends for being supportive! I can't wait for ya'll to read it either :)

Here's the song that was in my head when I woke up this morning. I wonder what my subconscience is trying to tell me since I am writing a young adult novel?

And here's a little something I always listen to if I'm feeling a little pressed.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 33: It Makes Me Sad All Day...

I can't read!!! I mean, I can't read while I'm writing. Anytime I set down to read I feel like that time would be better spent thinking about my novel. Plus, its like I can't just enjoy the book. I read it as a writer, analyzing the characters' motivation or the author's description. Writing has sucked all the fun out of reading for me! And it makes me sad all day.

I can't read YA because I start thinking, "Man, this is so much better than what I'm doing." I can't read my favorite genre of romance which is Regency because I don't want my writing to all of a sudden turn into lots of "Old chaps" and tonish this and that.

I guess I just have to finish this first draft before I'm able to allow myself to read. Could I just... I just need to... Excuse me for one second...


*deep breath* Okay, I'm back.

Oh well, if that's the way it has to go then so be it. I'll just have to put on my big girl panties and get to work. I'll just chuck this up to another motivation for finishing. Forget finding an agent and getting published, I WANT TO READ A BOOK!

Obviously, I'm feeling a little bonkers today so here's a song that just feeds that state of mind.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 32: Constant Evolution...

I got a good bit of writing in yesterday. It was awesome! The only thing is, it seems the more I write the more my original story outline changes. I changed some major plot points yesterday but I think its for the better. BUT I'm ready for it to stop changing! Whenever I make a change, I feel the need to go back and edit what I've already done to make sure its all cohesive.

Anyway, I'm excited for the weekend when I can have some alone time and really attack it! I can't believe my husband is being so supportive. Well, I can believe it since he's so incredible, but I guess I'm always surprised that I was able to hang on to such a good man.

I want to thank everyone for checking out my blog via Lydia Sharp's blog, The Sharp Angle. I'm bad about stalking my pageviews and its so much fun to see them spike like crazy. Plus, I just want to say that any and all advice and criticism about my work is welcome. I need all the input I can get!!!

I'm going to put this song up here because its awesome and I just want to hear it. I loved Paul in this time period. So cute :)

Update: I'd like to inform ya'll that the lovely ladies over at Y (A)? Cuz We Write! are holding an amazing contest. The prizes include a 10 page critique!!!! I'm so entering this! You should too!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 30: Skipped a Day, But That's Okay...

Yep, I skipped a day, but that's okay because I did a lot of soul searching and all that other mess about making some changes in the way I live my life. I won't bore you with it since this is a blog about my writing journey. Let's just say I actually did some yoga this morning. 

So, here's some writing news. Lydia Sharp (@lydia_sharp) over at The Sharp Angle sent out her critiques and announced the winner and honorable mentions of her contest of AWESOMENESS! It was so helpful to see it in my mailbox this morning. So, here it is, my first 500 words of Dreamweaver along with Lydia's critique.

First Chapter Critique Contest, Entry #3 
Author: Leah Miller
Genre: YA Fantasy

Thanks so much for entering the contest!   
    The bodies floating in the water looked serene as she peered down at them, but Penny knew they were dead. {that is a really awesome opening line.} There were all types of people down there: young, old, men, women, all nationalities. Their arms and legs stretched out, their hair and clothes suspended and flowing around them eerily. In the slight moonlight, their faces looked so pale. They frightened her.  
    Penny didn't want to end up in the water, with them. {the comma feels out of place there. If you want to indicate a pause for emphasis I would suggest using a period there instead and making a fragment.} Her feet barely touched the ocean as she looked out and saw a shore in the distance. It beckoned, and she felt a strange desire to respond. She willed herself forward. She moved at a decent pace, her toes leaving trails on the surface of the water. There was no breeze which Penny briefly reflected on and thought odd. No wind on the sea? It made her feel almost trapped in this wide open space.

      Nearing the shore now, she could see someone standing on the beach. He turned toward her. His white face shined in the moonlight. His hair was black as night and slicked back accentuating a severe  widow's peak. His tuxedo fit perfectly, the water lapping at his bare feet had drenched the cuff of his pants.
     His eyes locked on hers. Images of his face flashed in her mind, bringing with them a stabbing pain. Her hands flew to her temples and she had to fight hard to continue hovering above the ocean. Again and again, his visage forced itself into her mind: utterly cruel, his skin almost translucent showing blue veins underneath. With every assault, his black eyes became angrier, his thin lips forming a disgusted snarl. His barrage ended suddenly and Penny looked up to see him sprinting down the beach.
      He was running toward a small boat, it's one stark white sail jutting up toward the starless sky.

      He was going to come to her. {I would reword this. It's lacking the oomph I think you intended.}

      Fear started to overwhelm Penny and she couldn't decide what to do. {again, lacking oomph. It's too "telly", if you know what I mean. You're justtelling me that she's afraid and doesn't know what to do, instead of letting me feel it.} She was drawn to the shore, but couldn't go there because of him. She refused to let herself join the bodies in the sea. The boat was heading toward her now, quickly. She could see that terrifying man standing at the bow, determined to reach her. Penny's breathe came rapidly, trying to run but unable to move.

      Everything began to blur and fade to darkness. {keep the wording strong: Everything blurred and faded to darkness. See the difference? It's the same thing, but stronger.}

      Penny's eyes popped open and her white, stuccoed ceiling stared back at her. {describing the ceiling like that detracts from the mood, in my opinion. I would just say "ceiling" and drop the descriptions. Those aren't what you want the reader to focus on here. The tension of the viewpoint character is more important.} She raised her head, the muscles in her neck protesting the movement. She had fallen asleep in her computer chair, again. Her heart was racingraced and her face felt hot cheeks burned{"race" and "face" so close to each other is a bit awkward. The other suggestions were made to keep the wording strong.} She got up and made her way down the hall to the bathroom being as quick and quiet as possible{I think you can reword that so it doesn't read so generic. Give me some voice.} She didn't want to wake Maggie.

      In the bathroom, she bent over the sink and splashed some  cool water on her flushed cheeks. As she took deep breaths, she gazed at her reflection in the mirror. Despite the sleep she'd just had, her blue eyes were red rimmed and drowsy as always. {again, that whole final paragraph is dry. You're simply stating the actions, like I'm watching a movie. The great thing about novels is that you can really get into the viewpoint character's head. Feel what she feels. Think what she thinks.}

You started out great, but the more I read, the less I felt. And it was kind of a letdown that she was only dreaming. BUT! Going by the title, I get the sense that dreams are really important in this story, so I wouldn't suggest changing that at all. Just be careful with how you present it. Only start with a dream if you absolutely have to, because most people don't like getting into a fantastical setting like that with an intense event and then... oh, sorry. It was just a dream. It's a letdown. But like I said, knowing ahead of time that this story is about dreams in some way softened that blow a little.

You definitely have a good handle on descriptions. Excellent job with those. And the story itself has piqued my interest. Your writing style is also refreshingly clean.

I'd like to see a little more voice, though. Something that shows me why this character's viewpoint is unique enough to follow through an entire novel. What is it about her that made you choose her to tell this story? That should be evident from the very beginning. In YA, especially, it's important to emphasize viewpoint. It should be prevalent, not just here and there. Try to get something in almost every paragraph that shows me a little glimpse of who this person is on the inside.

Thanks again, and good luck with this!

I love this critique! She addressed so many aspects that I myself was questioning. Her comments on not making it so "telly" made complete sense to me. I realize I need to spice it up a little when it comes to Penny's character right there at the beginning. Almost immediately after these 500 words I believe I do dive into why Penny's point of view is interesting and worth the read. But, after reading this critique, I feel I do need to add more about Penny and how she's feeling at that moment. Not just describe the actions she takes. These first words are supposed to be the thing that hooks a reader so I will work on them and make them really shine. 

I especially like Lydia's last comment, "Try to get something in almost every paragraph that shows me a little glimpse of who this person is on the inside." I'll probably jot it down on a post-it to put on the wall next to my computer. But I'll have to make sure I don't go over board with it. *sigh* Every word must serve the story. 

Lydia is also correct in assuming that dreams are important in this book. They are extremely important, in fact. I knew I was taking a risk by starting with a dream sequence, which I've always thought was kind of cliche. But in my book dreams aren't used as a writing tool to hint to the story or as foreshadowing. They are as much a part of the story as reality is. Does that make any sense?

All in all, this critique is just what I need. I heart honest constructive criticism! Thank you so much, Lydia! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 28: Bleck...

Nothing, nothing, nothing happened on this day. No writing. I felt blah all day and just watched TV. So, instead of talking about my viewing of Run's House and Storage Wars, I'll just post a good song.

Day 27: Made Progress or Did I?

Another 2,000 words on this day. But I'm starting to question my story. Every time I think about the different plot points, I think "Oh that's just like in that one book or movie I liked". There's that saying about how everything has already been done... Am I just really unoriginal? Am I going to end up with a story that's just a mash up of all the great stories I love? Is what I'm doing unique and creative or just a copy cat?

Grrrr, frustration abounds...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 26: I heart Greg Sanders...

Yesterday was another on of those "If I have to sit down at my computer, I'm going to lose it" days. So, instead of writing I spent the day with the kids and CSI. I love CSI soooo much. My DVR is overrun with episodes so I decided to try to whittle away at them. Greg Sanders is my favorite character on CSI, but I love them all.

Today is another day, though. Its a 3 day weekend so I will have no excuses for not writing. I'm starting to get into the real meat of the story and I'm excited to see what my characters have to say. So it's onwards and upwards for me!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 25: I Didn't Know I Even Did That...

Yesterday, I was thinking real hard about the relationship between my girl and guy and I realized something. Their relationship is very similar to a relationship that goes on in one of my favorite movies of all time. I didn't do it on purpose, it just happened. I find that fascinating. Every day this book and these characters show me that this is really, really my creation. If that even makes any sense.

I'm loving everything about it. The subject matter is something I've always been interested in. The characters are all people I would want to be around, even the bad guys. The location is very familiar to me since its my home state. These are all good things, but I'm afraid it might turn into a bad thing.

What if, when that wonderful day happens and I get an agent and then an editor, they want to change it? And I'll be so in love with it that I won't be very open to change. I guess we'll just have to see.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 24: Sanity is Like Laundry...

Yesterday, I decided to take a break from all things writing and computering as a reward for hitting those 20,000 words. I spent the day hanging out with my kids. So many kisses and hugs and tickling happened it was like a nice hot chocolate for my soul. When my husband got home, we all just hung out together and watched Top Chef. There was also a special about Jeff Bridges on PBS that was really interesting. Did you know that he has a Zen coach? I want a Zen coach.

Anyway, it was awesome! And I realized that my sanity is kinda like laundry. If not taken care of, it will just grow and grow until it's this huge monster. Every once in a while, you've just got to take care of it: wash it, fold it, and put it away where it belongs, nice and organized in it's respective drawers no matter how long it takes.

Yesterday, my sanity needed some washing and drying. I've been so caught up with writing that it had kinda taken over my brain. But today I feel nice and refreshed and organized. Now I can climb back on that horse and do some more work. Along with some actual laundry... And dishes... My floor needs mopping too... *sigh*

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 23: Over 20,000 words!

Hell to the yes, people! This may not be a big deal to a lot of writers but its a big deal to me. I've reached over 20,000 words. That's at least a fifth of my manuscript! *deep sigh* To reward myself, I will just post a couple of videos that make me happy and then go fold some clothes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 22: I Almost Lost it There For a Second...

I spent a lot of yesterday on the internet, which I realized is not always a good thing for a budding writer.

At this point, I'm trying to learn as much about the industry as possible. I know, I know, I should probably have a finished manuscript before I even think about agent hunting and query letters, but I want to prepare myself as I go along. So, I went to and started looking around.

That's when I started to get pretty frightened.

There are so many agents out there. How does one decide who to query? How does one decide how many to query at once? Should I send out only a few at a time or do I send out tons to improve my odds?

Then I started checking out some of the authors' websites and I became intimidated. They all look so cool and young and stylish and... so not like ME! They all seem to live in New York and go to art gallery exhibits and have equally cool and young and stylish friends. And here I am, a stay at home mom living in the country. I mean, I've traveled but that was when I was young and moving around with my parents for my Dad's different jobs. I have been to California but that was when I was like eight years old. I have been to Atlanta but it was just a layover during a flight to South Carolina. I didn't even leave the airport.

I just felt so naive and bumpkin-like. When I started feeling really freaked out, I told my husband what was going on and he texted me with a statement that I'm sure I'll never delete off my phone:

"Step back, take a deep breath, and relax. Everything will be fine."

So I did. I closed out all those windows that had those cool author websites, all those that had anything to do with finding an agent and how to write query letters. Instead I began to search for people who might be feeling the same thing as me. People that are in the same boat as me.

Friends, I need friends who really, really understand what I'm going through. Yes, my husband is my best friend and I couldn't do any of this without him but he can't really give me serious advice about what I should do. So, how do I find these friends?

I've decided to take a cue from Regina Brooks's book Writing Great Books for Young Adults and put together a want ad, not for a character but for people like me. So, here it is:

Wanted: Writers of YA fiction who are just as nervous 
about delving into the publishing industry as I am. 
Who both love and hate writing as much as I do. 
Who might want to start a critique circle.
Who won't be afraid to laugh and cry.
Who are willing to give and receive support and advice.
I don't care where you live or whether or not you attend
super cool art exhibits, just as long as you're friendly.

If you are considering replying to this ad, here is a little bit about me to help you make the decision:

1. I love cherry coke.
2. My brother taught me to read with comic books (he read the boy parts and I read the girl parts).
3. I really like fuzzy socks.
4. I never miss an episode of Top Chef or Project Runway, but I've never seen an episode of Jersey Shore.
5. If I won the lottery today, I would go out and buy every new electronic device on the market, take a trip to Scotland, buy my mother whatever she wanted, and donate a million dollars to St. Jude's.
6. My favorite French word is l'histoire because it's fun to say.
7. I am horrible at every type of sport but I'm a HUGE Boston Celtics fan.
8. I really like to make people laugh. Like, REALLY laugh, giggling is unacceptable.
9. When children aren't present, I tend to have a potty mouth.

So there you have it. I'm excited to meet you all! My last little fact: the Beatles are my favorite band ever, ever, ever! I could listen to them day or night, in the car or in the bathroom, bad mood or good mood.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 21: A Good Day...

Yesterday was a good day for my words. I was up very late writing and I didn't want to go to sleep. I let my Husband read everything I had up to this point and... He liked it, he really liked it!

It felt really good to have some feedback. Also, when I was being a bad writer by reading over his shoulder, I noticed how much I will need to change in those first pages.

I've figured out an important dynamic between my two main characters that I think will add a lot to the story and their relationship. And, at one point yesterday, I had the thought, "Man, my hero is so cute!". I think this is a good thing. I know who these people are so much better.

And I can't wait to get back to it! So, have a great day, ya'll!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 20: Holy Shmoly, Day 20!

Wowser, it's been 20 days since I began this writing journey. Let's see in 20 days I:

1. Have done research but there is more needed.
2. Have written about 16,500 words of the first draft.
3. Have created the outline which seems to always be a work in progress.
4. Have delved into the online community of writers, agents, and publishers.
5. Have had at least three medium sized freak outs and one large sized.
But most importantly:
6. I have stuck with it and I truly believe this is something I have to see through to the end.

Outlining went really well yesterday, but I was still staring at it when my Husband forced me to go to bed. So here I am, about to attack it again. And I'm excited, seriously excited. See, I have this problem with starting things and then not finishing them. I'll get really into a project, work on it for a few days, then move on to something else.

I did learn to knit and crochet but I have yet to finish that afghan I started years ago.

So, the fact that I have been steadily obsessed (I wake up thinking about it every morning) for 20 full days is a really good sign. I realize that 20 days is not even a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of time it takes to bring this type of thing to fruition. BUT it's a big deal for me. And, the people around me have noticed. My family is all excited about it and proud of me. I have friends that are very supportive.

This is not going to turn into one of those long forgotten projects. Maybe all those attempts were just me trying to find that one thing. At least, that's how I'm going to look at it.

Here's this because I love this song and if you haven't seen Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, you should!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 19: Outline, Here I Come...

B-Rye was a big help last night. I was able to clue him in on the whole story and give him a feel of where I want to go with it. We also talked about my process and how I've been writing so far. Our conversation did make me realize something though.

So, I've written about 15,000 words. I know my characters pretty well and I know what kind of mood I want the book to have. Then why do I feel like I'm floundering?

Because I need structure!!! I need a map to follow. I need an outline...

The cork board is blank and so are the index cards. I need to clear a spot on the floor and get to work. I'll find my favorite pen (the one with the fine point because it makes me write pretty :) ). I'll make a playlist only of songs that I know all the words to so I can sing along. Whistle while you work and all that, right?

Sing it, Freddie!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 18: Just 63 Words...

That's it! That's all I got down yesterday! I don't know why... Well, yeah I do. Because I was lazy! And I spent the day fixing up super late Christmas presents for my Brother and his family. But, I couldn't focus on anything else until that was done.

So, I do have an excuse... Sorta... *sigh*

But, today is another day, right? I'm not going to beat myself up about not getting much writing done. Today, I really want to focus on getting my office nice and straight, working on plot and character development, and preparing to talk about everything with my brother, B-Rye *hehehe, he hates that nickname*, tonight.

So, let's see if we can find something inspiring:

This will work. Even the Bard himself probably had his rough days.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What I've Read This Year - 2011

Just keeping track of the books I've read in 2011.

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2. Scandal by Amanda Quick

Day 17: Had to Read...

I couldn't stand it anymore, I had to sit down and read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. And the verdict is: TOTALLYAWESOMENESSCRAZYGOOD, ILOVEDITSOOOOMUCH, ICAN'TEVENSTANDIT!!!! Whew...

Seriously folks, this book is a must read. The whole thing is so freakin' cute and endearing and witty and it's the sweetest damn thing ever! I laughed out loud several times which for me is THE sign that it is a great book. I kinda want to send it to my niece and sister-in-law but I'd rather they just bought it, 2 copies, each of them need to buy a copy. And so do you! Go out and buy a copy! Or order it! Whatever just get it, read it, love it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 16: Talk to ME Characters!!!

So yesterday I was moving happily along in my story. Things were going well when Dun, dun, duuuuuunnnn....

I hit a brick wall!

I was in the middle of a scene when I realized that in the next scene I was about to introduce some major characters. Characters that I HADN'T CREATED YET! My brain froze and I think I stared at the wall for about 10 minutes. I had gotten so excited about getting this story down that I hadn't slowed down to create some major characters. Characters that would be super involved in the majority of the book.


After a brief freak out session (I think I just wondered the house aimlessly for a good 30 minutes), I sat down with some of my inspiration material a.k.a. stuff I cut out from magazines. I was relieved when some ideas started to flow. I liked the characters I was coming up with but I just didn't feel right about them for this story. I found that it really sucks when these people in your head are saying, "I'm cool, put me in, I promise I'll be awesome!" but you just can't commit to them.

It made me really reflect on the world I'm trying to create. Then, I had to take care of life stuff: pick up son from school, tackle the pile of laundry, clean the kitchen. Seriously folks, it was pitiful the amount of house work that needed to be done. Which reminds me, my Christmas tree is still up.... *le sigh*...

Anyway, my husband got home and had a horrible sinus pressure headache so I didn't want to bother him with my writerly woes. I just continued to bang my head against that wall.

It wasn't until after the kids were asleep, I'd gotten a long shower, and his headache was feeling better that I kinda unloaded on him. And what's amazing is just talking about it helped me figure it out. He basically just sat there and nodded his head while I bitched about how frustrated I'd been all day. Then, things worked themselves out.

Now, I'm following my instincts, going with my gut. I believe I've found my new characters (one is actually based on a real person) and I'm ready to proceed.

Maybe you're saying, "Well that's what you get for not being prepared," and you'd be right, I didn't storyboard or outline. BUT, I believe I didn't know my world or my story well enough to even contemplate these specific characters.

In other news, Joe and Lydia Sharp at The Sharp Angle Blog are running an awesome contest! They'll critique the first 500 words of your first chapter and you could win awesome stuff! 

Yeah, I've already entered... And I have to admit that after I pressed that send button, I allowed myself to have a brief daydream. You know that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie turns in his paper to the teacher and he dreams about her loving it? "A + + + +" Well, you get the idea :)

There would have been a clip of that scene here but I couldn't find it. I'm sure you all just got finished watching a marathon of the movie over the holidays anyway. So instead here's this which I first saw on Myra McEntire's Blog:

Oh, oh, oh!!! And this post she did was exactly how I was feeling last night and it cheered me up immensely (after I blubbered like an idiot)!

And Congrats to the newly married Mr. Gaiman and his wife! Talk about some awesomesauce!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 15: Can't Let the Blahs Get Me Down...

I woke up unwillingly at 5am yesterday. It sucked but I was able to get around 700 words down before the day took over. It was my Mom's birthday and she requested I make beef stroganoff for her. It was delicious but by 7pm I was totally beat. B-rye and I meant to sit down and discuss my book but he had a headache and I was bushed so that didn't happen. Kinda disappointing.

I did receive my book order. Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks is turning out to be a helpful read. I also began reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It's so freakin' cute and witty that I'm having to fight to put it down.

I also read most of this article: To Outline or Not to Outline? by Timothy Hallinan. So, I decided to grab a cork board at the store and try my hand at doing a rough outline. So far, the order of events have just been in my head as I write. Plus, as I go along, sometimes the characters are changing things on me, taking me different places or getting me to where we need to go in a different way than I had in mind. I think its working well but I would like to have something a little structured for me to glance at every once in a while. We'll see how this works out.

Anyway, there's a little residual blah feeling left over from yesterday, but I have to shake it off. The only way to accomplish the goal is to keep going.

Sorry you had to see that lame pep talk.

Maybe this will get me going today:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 14: I'm Not Afraid of You, Research!...

I think one of the biggest reasons I'm sticking with this story is because of the subject matter. I'm really enjoying the research. I've started a couple of other books in the past but I would always hit a wall. I'd get to a point where there was research that needed to be done and I didn't want to do it. At one point, I needed to do research on Hamm radios, digging a well, and castle layouts.

Number 1: I am in no way interested in Hamm radios. *switches on TV*
Number 2: I am in no way interested in how to dig a well. *picks up e-reader*
Number 3: I would much rather be able to GO to a castle than just look at pictures, so depressing. *goes to switch over laundry*

So, it's incredibly wonderful that the research needed for this book is right up my alley. A lot of it is on a subject that I already knew a ton about.

I'm sure things might pop up that I'll need to look into, but I'm thinking of approaching that in different ways. Facebook and Twitter will be my friend. If I have a weapons question, I know a lot of guys on FB who do the whole hunting thing, heck my Father-in-Law would be a perfect resource. If I need information on the meaning of gems, I'm sure there's someone on Twitter who I can trust to be knowledgeable about that. Actually, I'd probably want to look into that one.

Anyway, you catch my drift. Interesting research = happy writer.

Here's a little something that's on my writing playlist.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 13: Where in I Try to Understand My Writing More...

Yesterday, I worked my buns off for hours, ending up with 4200 words which put me over 12,000 words. Hurray for me!!! It felt awfully good. And I'm sure I'm getting enough down that editing will not totally demolish the manuscript.

After I decided to put it down for the night, I continued reading Claudia Gray's book Evernight. Its pretty good so far, BTW. Anyway, I guess after writing all day, the differences between my writing and her's stood out to me. She uses not a lot but a few similes. I couldn't remember putting any similes or metaphors in my book so far.

Good or bad?

I guess I'm just not fond of similes or metaphors. If not done properly, they seem almost contrived to me and take me away from the story. Should I try my hand at it and hope it works out? I think I'll wait until revision to try.

I also read an article in the new RT Book Reviews about self publishing and I'm about to read another one at the PBS website. Its an interesting concept but there's just something about the journey of finding an agent and getting published that appeals to me. I want someone, other than my family and friends, to believe in my work. And I want to receive a big box of my books. And I want.... Well, I want the whole shebang as you probably can tell.

Again, none of this matters unless I have a dazzling manuscript. So, its once more into the breach, dear friends...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 12: New Year's Resolution (I know, cliche much?)...

Resolution 1 - Finish my novel. Hopefully by the middle of February at the latest.

Resolution 2 - Edit and Revise said novel.

Resolution 3 - Start querying and find an agent.

Tentative Resolution 4 - After finding agent, get published!

So it looks like this is to be my focus this year. Its all I can think about at this point. I want the story finished. I want to polish it. This is all so exciting and scary.

I hope everyone has a wonderful year, myself included!

Here's a little something to inspire us all to greatness:


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