Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you guys all have a wonderful Christmas!

Love this! Merry Christmas everyone. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Moody Weather

I love this weather.
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It snowed this week and today the roads are covered in a soft mist, making the air feel like a mysterious movie.

I love it.

Weather can change a mood, give ambiance, or (as my daughter tells me) finally makes it finally feel like Christmas.

The same thing is true in writing. Have you ever about a funeral on a sunny day? Or a happy ending during a rain storm? It just doesn't work as well. Having the weather match a mood draws in a reader and gives them a sense of setting. Weird how it works that way.

So, note to self: next time you are writing a spooky scene, don't have it at a wedding. Weddings aren't very spooky. Well... mostly.

What is your favorite weather for setting? Sad/rainy, mad/windy, happy/sunny?

I'm going to go cozy up with my lappy and get some writing done. Woohoo! Have a great week everyone. (Only a few more days until Christmas. Can you believe it?)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Where have you been? I mean...really.

Well, to be completely true. I've been in a few places.

I finished my edits (Yay! Now I can totally eat those cookies that were off limits until I finished. They are so stale.)

And then I was asked to write a Christmas Program for our congregation's Christmas Party (in 3 days). It was a little stressful. (I had to buy more cookies so I could keep up my writing-energy.) But great reviews (which made my week...month). ;)

Now I am finishing my revisions. (Stinkin' Revisions that I wanted done last month. RRRGGHH.)

But to be totally honest. I've been a little down about the writing.

One of my crit groups had scheduling issues and we had to split (I loved them, they were so awesome), my mind has been on shopping ('tis the season for last minute ideas), and my writing shoes have grown too small for comfort (never wash writing shoes in hot water...had I known...).

So I've been a little down and when I'm down, it's hard to write...or blog...or clean...or eat cookies  (ha ha ha, that's never hard.)

But I'm shaking off the blues, rewriting my goals, and trying again. *head shaking in determination*

But be honest with me. What do you do when you are down about writing? Eat cookies (be honest, you know they are delicious...and if you try hard enough, you can wish away the calories *wishfully looking up at sky*), run on treadmill, yell at strangers from your car window?   (was that you?)

So, tell the truth, what do you do?

p.s. I'm so glad to be back. I missed you guys!!!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Zombie Love

I'm still out this week for edits. But I wanted to pop in, say hi and leave all my friends who are doing NaNo (or not doing NaNo) a special love song.

Have a great week guys (and I want updates, how's the writing going?)

That song is so awesome!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unplugging it

I forgot to tell you guys that I'm unplugged for a week or so.

I'm doing major edits (I have a deadline in November). So if you don't see me around, it's because I'm staring at the words on my compy screen.

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Oh and Happy Halloween...Oooooooo (I know, I'm so scary).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Think we have a Communication Issue Here

This week I am going over my Beta reads and fixing...well...words.

I had no idea words could cause so much havoc! I had some words added where they shouldn't be and a few sentences that weren't finished. (I have a really funny one that was pointed out to me, but I can't mention it on the blog. Let's just say it had something to do with big ones. Opps, I said too much. It's not what you think Mom...I promise).

Words can really mess up your story. For example...check this out:


So funny. Thanks Rhett and Link. 

So next time you are writing a novel, short story, essay, etc..., make sure all those words make sense, or else you'll have a story that is just all over the place.


Have you ever had issues with your words in your ms? Has anyone ever found a sentence that didn't read right (hello, big ones).  What was the funniest or scariest one you've found?

I'm off to my edits. Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm in Deep Reflection Today. Be Forewarned.

I've been experiencing quite a bit of interesting thoughts this week. My main contemplation is on the issue of pride (my stinkin' pride *fist shaking at self*).

This business is a tough one. I've had many friends published (either e-pub or traditional). Some of my friends have changed (not everyone, but some. And I'm not talking about changing from human to vampire or something like that. That would make for a much more interesting story). 

Two acquaintances of mine have been published and both have had national successes. But the way they have responded to their success has been so different and at such opposite sides of reaction, that I couldn't help take note.

Not only have I seen it in the writing world, but I have seen it in my person life. Just because someone is skinner than me, prettier, had different responsibilities...does that make them better than me? More important?

But it didn't stop there. I was in a meeting with a group of accomplished women, one of whom kept bringing up her past achievements, who she worked with, how she went the extra mile. I started to feel...well...jealous (and to be honest, a little bit small compared to her). So then I went off, embellishing in my past (honestly, if I was going to go off and feel terrible for it, I should have made it more interesting...like I had super powers or something-j/k It was bad enough).

By the time we were leaving, I felt awful.

This is not the person I wanted to be. My pride and jealousy was getting in the way. Too far in the way.

I spent the next few days trying to sort things out, how to stop my mouth from vomiting such things in times of weakness (Why does it happen like that? Why can't my logical mind say..."Hey wait, if you say that you'll be eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's tonight." I'm just saying).

I'm still struggling with it. I hope it works out in the end (struggling with the words, not the Ben and Jerry's...well, my weight is, but that's a whole different story).

I guess it comes down to who do I want to be in the end of it all? The friend who thinks they are the best or the one who humbly accepts whatever may come their way?  

It's a slippery slope, one I hate falling down (And Ben and Jerry's is getting rich off me...curse that delicious ice cream).

So tell me, what do you do when you find yourself tackling tough issue like pride? What do you do when you get into a sticky situation? (Okay, and honestly, I don't eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's...it's more like a gallon of the generic stuff. It's good too. *wink*)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Have Ten Minutes to Write this Post

Seriously, only ten. I've written this post twice already, only to erase it. Why?

I don't know. This whole day is  little off. I slept through my exercise time, I sat on the couch when I was supposed to be cleaning, and I haven't had anything nutritious to eat (Wait! Does chocolate count. Anti-oxidants...it does. sweet! I'm good on that one.) 

I think my day is out to get me. 

Oh no...only six more minutes. 

Plus I have a long list of things to do (remember the dead washing machine? There's a pile of laundry waiting for me. Curse you stinky socks & smelly towels).  

Great...now there's only four. I'd better get to my point.

If you are going to be a writer, time becomes very important to you. You need time to write, time to revise, time for crit buddies, time to communicate with agents,  time to eat (mmmm....eat...). 

Sorry, I got carried away thinking of food.

So to cure the time monster...you must block out time to get things done. Make your time work for you and remember...don't wait until the last minute to write a post (do what my friend Elana J does and  write your posts on one day for the entire week. Brilliant! And have you seen her blog? I bet she's not counting down minutes until she has to throw her socks in the dryer. Just saying.) 

If you are going to do it...plan it and do it. That's all there is to it. (Of course, it's probably the hardest thing, but still.) 

Okay, I have thirty seconds. Eck! So what do you do to keep yourself on the writing track? 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Seriously? I mean...Really?

I wrote a whole post about how my dinner spilled under the oven and now my house smells like a warm dairy, my wash machine breaking down (no clean undies is a terrible thing), and how my mouse died (the computer mouse, not a real one).

But then I erased it, because I realized something.

Bad things happen to people.

Bad things happen to characters.

I have a scene where my main character gets into trouble, but her consquences aren't that bad. (have you heard the saying, once your character gets stuck in the tree, start throwing rocks at them...or something like that?) When your character is in a bad situation, make it worse.When your character thinks they are okay, make something happen.

Well, my character got in the tree and there really weren't enough rock throwings. Meaning, I have to make her consequences real. Right now...they aren't so bad. I have to take aim and make the situation...um...worse.

This will bring more emotions to the scene and keep the reader into the story.

So today my goal is to pull out the oven and scrub the floor, buy a new mouse, and get my throwing arm ready to sling some lemons, or rocks, or something like that.

What about you? How do you make the consequences worse for your characters? (Stinkin' smelly kitchen...you are so getting the evil eye!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why Didn't They Tell Me Before?

When I first started writing, I thought all you had to do was write something and get it published. HA! There is so much more to having a book get published!

Have a great critique group. If you don't have one in your area, there are some online (because sometimes you will think it sounds perfect, when it just sounds like pretty gibberish).

Go to writing conferences. Not only will you meet awesomely-cool people, you learn the tools to have a great book! (Plus you can go to pitch sessions and meet uber-ific agents and stuff.)

Remember you will have to write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite......(why didn't anybody tell me this when I started?)

Get a good writing snack. Why? Because most writers will start eating when they are thinking. I snacked on chocolate chips for years. Bad idea! I'm still working at getting off those last ten pounds (I hate you skinny Pilates instructor.  hee hee...Just kidding...please don't kick me off the stretchy team.)

It takes time. This is the biggest newsflash I can give you. It takes time to write, time to revise, time to edit, time to query, time to .... Oh the list goes on and on. So keep yourself busy with new projects and stay excited for those stories.  

Wish I had known all these things before. Now I know.

So my writing friends, anything I forgot? Anything you wish you would have known about before picking up that creative bug?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Help me Organize!!!

Still getting organized, but not only around the house.

I've started to block out writing time, getting around to my bloggy friends blogs, getting kids homework help, and even sneaking veggies into the kids diets. (I have one son who won't eat anything but cereal. Not many veggies in there.)

So here are some tools I've found to help me with the organization:

The Fly Lady  - I've fallen off the organization wagon a few times, but her house cleaning plans are the best I've found, especially when you have teenage boys. *cringing at dirt*

The Sneaky Chef   -  I just started the Sneaky Chef's ways of getting more veggies into my kids meals. They love the brownies ...okay so do I...and I don't even feel too guilty eating them...unless I eat the whole pan.

Google Reader - (if you have gmail and blog, this is a life saver! I can organize all my blogs into categories and see which posts I've missed! Love it!)

Tweet Deck- Those of you who know me, know that I don't tweet well, but I do follow what other writers/agents/publishers/and yes...even family members are up to. Tweet Deck lets you organize everyone into their own group and keeps you informed of everything going on not only on Twitter, but also on Facebook.

Netflex Workouts - I never thought I'd try to exercise with online vid streaming, but working out at home has not only saved me gym costs, (which yes, I have paid for before...can I say ouch!) but also time.Who knew online bootcamp would kick my butt?

As a writer, we borrow and beg for more time to create. These ingenious people and tools are invaluable to me as a writer.

Have I missed anything? What do you use to save time, make life less chaotic?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Monday!


I just wanted to wish you all a happy Monday! 

My kids have just left for their first week of school, my desk is almost cleaned for major rewrites, and I'm finally getting around to everyone's blogs (missed last week because of surprise minor surgery. Feeling much better...and I have to say...those pain meds were amazing. I was so giggly on them.)

So my goal this week is to get back on schedule with my writing and get my queries ready! What's your goal this week?

p.s. I really hope you have a great Monday (with lots of chocolate and magical words).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cleaning it Up

My crit buddy and I were talking the other day about cleaning.  Lately, I can't just clean, I have to deep clean everything (I know what you're thinking...I've seen your garage...it needs a deep clean. So true).

I haven't really deep cleaned since starting school. So I'm spending each week deep cleaning a different area of my house. Last week was the hall, this week the kitchen (I've already found a weird looking spider and something brown growing under my oven.)

I have a deep cleaning scheduled for my ms in two weeks (and I'm a little bit afraid).

But if there's something I've learned is that every first draft is a mess (like under my sink mess). And that's okay. You have to clean and polish until your manuscript is squeaky clean (because who wants a blob of mess on the bookstore shelf with your name on it? Scary).

So if you've finished a first draft, get in there and clean that baby up!  Now I have to get back to that weird bottle of lime-green stuff at the back of the cupboard. I hope it's not living.

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What's your advice for first draft mess?


Thursday, August 4, 2011

What's happening?

I'm done! Yes. I am done with school and back to blogger (I've missed you!). My last class turned out to be a little harder than I thought it would, which is why the bloggy break, but I got an A and am finished with all my homework. *happy dancing in the front room*

 I'm officially getting my degree this month. I'm so glad to be done and to be able to work on writing!

My good news is that I have a request for my ms (okay, no agent yet, but this is one step in the right direction).

So what has everyone been up to this summer? Did you get those queries out, edit those wips, reading those arcs?  What's happening with everyone?   I haven't talked to you guys in so long, I can't wait to hear all your news! So spill it. What's happenin'?

In honor of graduation I present:
Ha ha ha. That cracks me up!  *wiping away tear*

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Miss You Blogger

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I know, I know, I know…I haven’t been blogging for like…forever! 
But I have good reasons. I really do.

1.      Spent last week in Capital Reef. And can I say?  Beautiful!!! (Although the six mile hike nearly killed me).

2.      I am on my last class for school. Yes….last class! I just have to get one more research paper ironed out and I’m good (and then I can have proof that I’m smart. Take that fifth grader! )

3.      Good news on the ms. But I can’t say anything yet. But don’t worry. I’ll let everyone know when the time comes (I’m even planning on calling strangers to give them the good news…unless it turns out bad. Then I’m just going to prank call them.)  

So please be patient with me for a few more weeks and I’ll be back to blogging and commenting up a storm. But I miss you bloggy friends. *wiping away tear*

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm Possessed with Possession!

I'm late on commenting today. Not because I don't want to, but because I'm captivated!!!

You see, last night I went to Elana Johnson's book launch of POSSESSION!!! (It was superly-awesome-ness!)

So...You'll have to forgive me ...

(I know, I've posted Julian before, but the video is so awesome. I couldn't resist)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lenny-Lee Fest

It's no surprise that this sunshine:

represents an amazing 11 year-old named Lenny. If you don't know who I am talking about, you can go meet him HERE. 

Here's to you Lenny. May your sunshine always find a space in our hearts. <3

Thursday, June 2, 2011

E-books vs. Traditional -- Let the Battle Begin *ding*

So there's been a lot of hoopla over publishing in the last few months with e-publishing vs. traditional.

Some say that e-books are the wave of the future. But to be honest,I've read some pretty awful self published books out there.

I, myself, have always had the goal to get an agent and a publish the traditional way, but I have very close friends who plan the e-publishing route.

I am curious to know how other writers are feeling about this. Do you plan to e-publish? Publish traditionally? Why?

Let's here your opinion and/or plans for publishing.

(If you are at Paper and Parchment, please drop over to my personal blog Checkerboard Squares to see the running comments. Click Here)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You're so Tweet

I've been on Twitter now for...I don't know... maybe a year?

And I still don't know what I'm doing on that thing.

I finally figured out the #hagtags.

But really, that's about it. So, I'm turning to WikiHow to help me out (http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Twitter).

Oh wiki...how smart you are!

Maybe in a few weeks, you'll see me twittering around (or writing funny things that make no sense - did you hear about the kid that borrowed his friends twitter page to look up a girl and kept typing her name in the "what's happening" box? lol. Poor guy).

So here's to tweeting. I hope I eventually figure it out. Oh! And tell me, what do you like better? Blogging, fbing, or twitter-ing? So far it's a tie with my crit group.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I'm a Beta-Yogurt Maker!

It's true! I totally made my own yogurt yesterday. Got the milk, added the start. Voila...yogurt!!! I'm a yogurt maker!

Sorry, I just thought that was so cool. Now on to writing.

Last weekend I attended Storymakers with about 499 other awesome writers/agents/editors. It was amazing!

The pitch went FABULOUS (btw, thanks for all your comments last week. Helped me a ton). The agent was awesome. I was very impressed (I almost begged for her to come home with me, but then she'd be stuck making yogurt and eating green smoothies. I don't know if she'd like that very much.)

Elena J. taught us what to do and what not to do on blogger. (Can I just say that she is incredible. Best conference teacher ever!)


But what I really wanted to talk about was Beta readers (or Alpha, whatever you want to use). Those people who look at the whole ms and tell you where you went wrong, if it's entertaining, or if they wanted to throw the book across the room (or how brilliant you are).

Once you have your ms done and polished the best you think it can be, send it to your betas.

Right now I have four of them, two adult writers and two awesomely-cool teens (because that's who I write for).

Then you wait.

Once you get their opinions back, you can correct your ms, make it a little more shiny and polished.

I highly recommend it. (But the waiting is a killer.) Okay, I must get back to work (waiting)...*whipcrack*

Do you you use Betas? If so who do you use? If not...why not?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Will You Just Get Out of My Head?

Hey, whattcha doing?  *Looking at studying-self*

Shhhh...I'm trying to concentrate. *mumbling*

What? You're acting weird. You keep talking to yourself.

Yeah. I know (a little irritated). I'm getting my pitch ready.

Oh...that's right! You're pitching at your conference this weekend, aren't you?

(Studying-self, trying to ignore playful-self.)

So whattcha taking with you? Chocolate chips? Writing shoes? Spit wads?

I told you that whole spit wad thing was an accident. *sigh*

That's not what the papers said.

Well, it was. *looking back and forth, a little sweat building on forehead* It won't happen again.

Well, good luck on that pitch. It sounds fascinating.

*Going back to ignoring playful-self*

So the next two days I will be at it again...listening to other writers, munching on chips, rolling up spit wads. Yes, I'm off to my second conference this year!  Woohoo! Getting my pitch ready and polished so I don't trip over my words (which only happens like...all the time).

So tell me, what do you guys want to get out of a conference? Me? Making it through this pitch session without forgetting my pitch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm Back! Beware...just saying

So I took a blogger break. I didn't mean for it to go so long, but I got a ton done.

Painted my hallway...

finished my term paper...

took a vacation.

But I'm finally back now and trying to get to everyone's blogs. I'm also preparing for a pitch session next week at a writer's conference. Here's what I've learned so far about pitch sessions:

Try not to be too nervous...agents are just people (I think this one is easier said than done).

Have your ms done. (I'm still polishing...will it every get squeaky clean?)

Have your pitch ready to tell the agent (like a person, not like a robot).

There you go! I need to be calm, clean, and not a robot (repeat, don't be a robot). *sigh* It will be awesome, I can't wait.

Have any of you had a pitch with agents or writers? How did it go?

Okay, I'm off to read everyone's blogs. Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Deadlines and Dead socks.

If you've noticed I haven't been commenting lately, it's because...*nervously looking away* I haven't.

I was given two deadlines, one for my house (we had a dump run and I tried to de-clutter everything...it didn't work out as nicely as I would have liked - there is still a huge pile for me hiding in the basement) and the second was my final paper for my YA reading class (can I just say, awesome class).

Deadlines come with most things - the dirty baby diaper deadlines (if you have not had a baby, this has to do with the stinkifying of good breathable air), work/school deadlines (to prove to the college professor that you actually understand the meaning of relativity...which I kind of don't - I never did take physics). And yes my friends with writing.

Once you get an agent, you will have to deal with edit deadlines, synop deadlines, and anything else your agent needs you to do. It is always a good idea to do this with a positive attitude (because no one wants to be known as the one who "is really hard to work with". Really...not a good title). So be forewarned, there will be deadlines.

And now I have a deadline to tackle that pile of dead socks in the basement. I'm totally calling Super Laundry Girl to take care of this one.

Any thoughts on deadlines? (p.s. I'll be back around next week to the commenting. Have a great week everyone!)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Do You Want Some Whine With That Cheese - A Sentimental Repost

 Hey guys, I'm re-posting this (from two years ago...yikes), because I'm in the hospital today with my little guy (nothing serious, just some easy surgery stuffs). 

So, this week, I was really whiny. Not just to friends and family, but to a few strangers as well. (Hey, if you’re that kid at the movie popcorn stand, I am really sorry for spilling out my life in front of you – I owe you big man... I owe you big).

Maybe it was because of the snow that assaulted my house (didn’t that porcupine say it was spring?). Or maybe it was because this week was Parent Teacher Conference and I spent a billion dollars at the book fair (now I know why they schedule the book fair at the same time as P.T.C. - Conspiracy). But I think I was whiny mostly because of daylight savings.

So yes, I whined. Whined about getting older, whined about my shoes smelling like moldy cupcake frosting, and whined about getting dinner on the table (why do we have to eat so many times during the day? Can’t they make a pill for that?) (Oh, maybe they do. I think it’s called a diet pill.)

Anyway, I have had my fill of whine; I am ready for the good stuff. So, I’m taking action! I’m starting a new writing project, I’m watching what I eat, and I’m washing my tennis shoes!  They have a cool drying rack for that ... I’ve been told. (Hey, I did all three of those things...SWEET! But I'm pretty sure I tossed those shoes.)

And next time you come to my door, I’m going to talk your ear off, even if you are trying to get me to buy your new windows with the extra layer of warmth. Yes, you will be begging to get away from my house (and will be warning others of the crazy woman down the street).

So world, beware. I’m on the prowl!

There will be no need for that cheese anymore. I’m throwing that cheese into a great casserole with macaroni (and little cornflakes on top). Ah, the world is looking better already!

Have a great week guys!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writing, Life, and Spilling Stuffs

Okay, first you should know that I'm writing this blog post this morning...in my sweats and running shoes...without my makeup on (sorry about that). But I've had something on my mind for a few weeks.

You see, when I started blogging, I went to blogs that talked about writing (because writing is awesome--Oh, and you should know that I'm a little behind this week...again, sorry). 

As I learned more about the craft, I started going to bloggers who talked about life. (Because even though writing is awesome...I wanted to interact with people who were people...does that make sense? I did tell you it was really early right?)

Now I read both (because they both rock).

Since I'm almost through school and seeing my writing improve, I want to improve my own blog. (You know add stuffs to the side, maybe add some writing ideas, spend more time checking out other blogger's blog - after that final...I guess I should get that done first). I really want to start to give back.

So I guess what I'm asking is...what do you like in a blog?  What do you read? How do you give back?  (You'd think I would know this by now.) 

So...spill it! What do you do? What do you like?

Okay. I'm off to run...or go back to sleep.  (The running shoes and sweats have me all confused.) Maybe I'll just blog instead. Have a great week guys!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Feelings those Feelings of Feeling

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First, My heart goes out to those in Japan (my brother had the privilege of  living there for a few years). Please check out your local humanitarian resources if you want to donate to help the people there. And make sure it's reputable.
I've learned that being a writer, means you experience a vast field of feelings:

Depression (Why am I not getting anywhere?)

Jealousy (Seriously? Why am I not there?)

Happiness (...that your work has been noticed)

Love/Hate (for that perfect ms...which takes WAY too long to write)

Elation (YES! So and so got an agent! I know she's been trying so hard!) or (Yes! I found an agent!)

I have never experienced such a range of crazy emotions. Why didn't anyone warn me?

What are some of the crazy emotions you've dealt with?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Feeling Rebellious I tell ya!

I'm feeling a little rebellious this week.

Serious. I ate a whole bag of chocolate chips to prove it.

So I'm unplugging. Getting some of that treadmill loving in my life. Plus I have to prepare a lesson I'm giving this week and having a hard time finding any time.

Which brings me to lesson from LTUE.

Take time for yourself.

We writers seem to eat, sleep, and dream about our stories and characters. Sometimes it helps the creative process to take a break (or eat a bag of chocolate chips...).

So, I'm taking a break and hope to be better next week. What are your thoughts on breaking from writing for a while? Does it help you?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The First 13 Lines

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One of the best classes I attended at LTUE was “Lucky 13” presented by Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury (who…may I say, totally knows her stuff—she moderates the Hatrack River Writers Workshop and Orson Scott Card’s website—click here or here and even here).

She had five (very brave) writer’s share the first 13 lines of their work with the class. We then tore it apart. Just kidding! (Did I freak you out a little?) 

But we did analyze the lines.

Just the first 13…because that is all the chance you may have with an agent.

She asked:

Do you understand what is going on (what the story is about? What the character’s problem is?)

Do you care (I mean, really…who wants to read a story when we don’t care about the mc)?

Do you want to keep reading?

As we continued to listen to the five brave souls, I noticed that a great first line hook is every important to a book. Check out a few well written books from the library and just read the first line. (I just finished both Speak & Fahrenheit 451. Great first lines.) What do they promise the reader?

Plus, please no flashbacks or info dumps. That is guaranteed to turn off your reader. (I have a book on my shelf completely devoted to a fantastic info dump in its first chapter. I couldn’t tell you about the rest of the book, because I stopped reading. The info dump was that good.)

Also, please just get to the meat of the story. We need to know why you started where you did. What is different in your character’s life at this moment?  We don’t care about the sunny picnic, we want the picnic ruined with rain and the swarm of ants.

I’m sure there was more to the class, but these were the things that stood out to me. Do you have any other suggestion? 

What do you look for in  the first 13 lines?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What? You Mean I can just Wear my Socks?

LTUE rocked!

I have so many notes, rubbed shoulders with so many cool writers (I even got a scary leer from one of the horror presenters—OH, WAIT! That might be bad).

But many of my writing bloggy buddies mentioned that they can’t go to a writer’s conference because of distance, money, etc.

So first, let’s talk about conferences/workshops. Did you know that you don’t actually have to leave home to participate in a conference or workshop?

It’s true! You can be a part of a conference and stay in your living room, walking around in your undies and socks (just don’t let anyone know about that).

 Not only that, but there are tons of online sites that accommodate even the most hermitost-shy writer known to man (Is hermitost a word? I think it should beor there should be some kind of treatment for it).

First, if you don’t know Elana Johnson, you’re missing out. She’s super cool and a great presenter! She and a bunch of writing buds have created the WriteOnCon. You can check it out HERE and HERE and even HERE. They did such a great job last year and it’s completely free. Plus they have events throughout the year. Did I mention they rock? They really do.

If you are looking for writing info, you can't pass up a site that's claims "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart." (I know...cool.) Checked out the Writing Excuses podcasts. Not only are they informative, but they are entertaining as well. This is especially good for new writers who are learning the craft of writing (there is a craft. Trust me. It’s almost as fun as macraméwhich... I can’t do).

Then there is Muse. I have never attended this conference before…ever…but I remember one of my blogging buddies mention it last year (plus it's the name of an awesome band--but that has nothing to do with writing).  Muse is a totally free online conference. That’s all I know friends. Let me know if any of you have attended and what you got out of it.

There you have it, a few places to start right in the comfort of your own home. Cool, huh?

Don’t forget, you can do it! Now go get dressed (or not...you know- the whole comfort thing) and get started.

Have you attended any online conferences/workshops and how did they go?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life, the Universe, and Everything... *happy sigh*

If you haven't heard from me this week, it's because I'm Here:
at the LTUE or Life, the Universe & Everything conference.

Yes, it's the kickoff of many fine conferences. So I'm unplugging this week to prepare and mingle with other writes. I'm way excited.

Here are a few things I've packed in the past, and highly recommend to anyone attending a conference this year:

MnMs (because I have a noisy stomach and really, no one wants to be startled by that thing!)

Pencils (even a pen, because I have broken a pencil a time or two and writing with plain wood just doesn’t work well. I did try to chew off the wood, but I had wood shavings stuck in my teeth for a week!)

Paper (To write on… and make spit wads to launch at people who are making me jealous). (j/k I would never do that, and that incident in New York last year - Not me.)

Crackers (Please see MnM’s above).

Notebook (At the conference last year I brought home piles and piles of notes! I expect the same today).

Deodorant (this one is pretty self explanatory).

Couple of chocolate bars (because chocolate is the magical food made by tiny magical creatures from a magical land *sigh * and it’s so, so good!)

A little extra coinage (for silly things like, food, bottled water, gas for car – stuff like that).

Antacid (There is a funny story behind this, I promise, but just not enough time to disclose. So sorry, and if you’ve heard the story * head hung low * you have my deepest sympathies).

So there you have it! My list of stuff that I will be dragging through the halls with other devoted writers, breathing in the fumes of excitement and hope. If you see me, feel free to ask for a handful of MnM’s, hopefully I haven’t eaten them all yet, but it is very possible that I still have a few good sheets of paper left for spit wads.

Are you planning for any conferences this year?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's really me....really. Promise.

Okay, so here's the thing. I changed my email.

I know!!!! I know. What were you thinking?

Well, a year (or so) ago, I was a contributor to a book that was published in our local market.  It was a great experience and so wonderful to get my name out there on a real book shelf (honestly, it's in the book and not on the cover....but I'll take it).

The gal who put the book together emailed everyone to let them know that she was approved for a second book and wanted us to contribute again (if we wanted).

But guess who got my email?  Carolynwrites.  Not CarolynVwrites. See the difference?  (It's little, but it could save your life---please see video below)

So I never had the opportunity to contribute. (Carolynwrites, on the other hand, may be in that book. I guess I'll find out when the second book comes out.)

I blew it off, thinking, "Well, another opportunity will come around again." (Or else I'd be in the corner weeping with a bag of chocolate chips in my hand.) But then I found out more and more people were emailing Carolynwrites and not CarolynVwrites. So, I decided to change my email address. I hope this doesn't ruin our relationship. *looking longingly up with puppy dog eyes*

And to you, Carolynwrites. Thank you for your patience with receiving all my emails. Although I would really like to know what we are doing for girl scouts next week (if you want, you could at help out on the booth. Just saying).

See? It's small, but it makes a big difference. *sigh* 

Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Under Construction


So, weirdness is happening on my blog and we are going under construction for the next few days.

I hope to be back by Thursday. If not, please send some cookies my way (you know to help with the stress).

Thanks bloggy friends.

NOTE: Just found out that I was a no-reply blogger for a day. It just about killed me. I didn't get mails from anyone! I quickly changed that. Whew. *wiping forehead* That was a nightmare!  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Come on! Will You Just Put That Book Down?????

Self:  So, you totally slept in today.

Me: Hey, it was only a few minutes.

Self: Yeah. But your eyes are blood shot and your hair... I mean...Look at your hair. Don't you believe in brushing?

Me: *evil glare at Self while setting cup of orange juice down on table* Well...if you hadn't gotten so wrapped up in that book last night, I might not have gotten to bed so late.

Self: *looking down at table, blushing a little*   OH... Well   *nervous laugh*  That...well...

Me:  Don't blame me for sleeping in.

Self: *fidgeting with gross thing on table that didn't get cleaned off from late night reading* I have a weakness. I'm sorry.

Me: *sighing* Fine. You're forgiven. *running fingers through hair, but stopping short when finding big mat of tangle* That was a great book though.

Self:Yeah, it was.

Me: So....*super long pause* what book do you want to read tonight?

Self: Oh, I have a list.

So I finished Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card last night. So good!  Unfortunately, I didn't get this post ready until this morning (or worked on my writing assignments for class, or studied for my final tomorrow, or panicked about the dentist appointment today--oh wait, that's a good one).

Have you ever gotten lost in a book? If so, which one?

Oh, and by the way, this is for my kids.... Need I say more? (you guys crack me up!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Warning...You Might Want to Rethink that Title. Just Saying.

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Hey guys. 

Well, my littlest decided it was a good idea to jump from the top of his bunk bed yesterday. 

Needless to say....he broke his foot. 

So, today I am carrying him from room to room --since he can't figure out the crutches thing (he thinks they're lightsabers and keeps waving them at his siblings mumbling things about not being the droids they are looking for. Whatever that's about ). So I thought I'd re-post something from years past.  

I'm hoping next week we will talk about conferences, because I'm making my list (and checking it twice)! 

I’ve been sitting her typing nothing for twenty minutes. So I got to thinking, does a title of a book mean that much to the content of a book? Possibly. I mean, what if:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was Chuck and his Culinary Assembly Plan, or even better… Chocolate and the Charlie Factory (I'd totally eat read that book).

The Twilight Saga was changed to The Very Sparkly Vegetarian Vampire Series (very fitting).

A Christmas Carol was changed to Merry Terror Christmas Stories for the Whole Family.

The Lord of the Rings was Circular Metal Devices of Theocrats and the Short Men who Love Them.

I guess that is why titles can change before they are published. That way the reader will (hopefully) be caught by the title of a book and pluck it off the shelf to take home. I mean, would you really want to read The Little Boy with Some Lightening Scar Thingy on His Head? Just not as catchy as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Well...now that I read it again....

Have a great week everyone (and I don't want to hear about any of you jumping from the tops of the bed. Seriously. One broken foot is enough).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Can Do MORE!

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So I was reading a book (that I had bought to help me get in shape), and the lady (who wrote said horror book) said that I could do more than I thought I could.

I thought...really?

So I tried. She was right.

Which made me think...am I doing enough as a writer to be where I want to be? The answer was no. So I am rededicating myself to my MS, my bestie characters, and my hidden writing snacks (for the energy to keep on keeping on...don't tell my kids. They'll want those snacks).

Because I can do more than I think I can.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Doing the Unbelievable

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I decided to go back to school after my youngest was born. It was something inside of me that always felt…unfinished.

I had over twenty classes to complete what I had started so many years before. My mind told me I couldn’t do it—there was just too much to do—but my soul told me I could.

So I started digging through classes one by one. Studying while babies slept, while teens learned to drive, as children grew into towering stalks.

I took my time, making sure I learned what was being taught, gleaning research that I hoped would be used in the future or even the present.

Math never came easy to me. I used to dream it did when I was a child—when numbers were made of magic. I failed the course—I was defeated.

It was time to quit.

But the fighter in me told me I couldn’t, I had to keep in the battle, even though I was weary and ready for home.

So I fought.

Now I can see it, just beyond the horizon. Waving to me, urging me to keep in the fight, to keep moving forward. The flag—my flag. The one that calls to victory.

And I know it can be won.

(Two and a half more classes to go!!! *squeal*)

What is your fight? Revising, school work, finding awesome writing shoes? 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sorry. I'm Not Posting Today

I'm not posting today, because I can't think of anything to say.

Maybe it's because I have to get a lesson ready for church.

Or that I stayed up way too late last night reading a book that I said I couldn't "get into" and suddenly found myself unable to set it down.

Maybe it's because I feel like I should say something about who I am and am afraid that there is nothing much to say.

Perhaps it's because I gave up chocolate and even though I feel a ton better, I still think about the way it melts on my tongue.

You know it might be because I found that cool new song that won't get out of my head, but I don't really care, because it makes my spirit soar and my lips turn into a smile (even when I'm driving).

It's probably because I have characters mingling in my thoughts and I just can't think of anything more than what I should write about them in the next scene.

So nope. I'm not posting today.

*startled surprise*

Hey, I think I just posted something. Opps. Maybe next week I won't post (but I probably will).

So tell me...Do you find other things coming in the way of posting on your blog? Please let it be writing! *fingers crossed*