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?