Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goals for 2010

After a somewhat crazy two weeks, where I was either visiting someone or having someone visit me, I'm ready to get back into the writing groove. This year my motto is BUTT IN CHAIR! I have listed my goals below. They are actually pretty simple, and I totally think that they are achievable. I plan on writing both of my books before I start revisions. This will give me simmer time, and I also want to write them super fast. Super duper fast. I actually want to start my Werewolf/Zombie book in February. And yes the main character falls in love with zombie. Really. You'll see how it turns out. But this novel isn't quite as thought out, as my other one, but it is nearly there.

I'm nearly done rewriting my query, just a tweak here, and a tweak there, and then I will begin querying in earnest. Hopefully I will get an agent this year. That's a big goal, but it is not totally dependent on me, so I'm including the parts that I can do.

I've nearly got the logline for Twenty Years Later, but I really need a new title. Amyway, I've got to go so I can actually meet my goal. Two hours today. Have a great week and happy writing!

Writing Goals

1. Rewrite my query, and query to death.

2. Write Twenty Years Later and come up with a better title.

3. Write my Werewolf/Zombie book.

4. Revise both of my books.

5. Write my log line before I write the book.

6. Write for at least two hours a day, every day no excuses.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kiss Scene

So many of the blogs I follow have posted kiss scenes today. And so I finally decided to give in and post mine. There are several near kisses that lead up to this particular scene, so a lot of anticipation has built up. I'm sorry, but I'm deleting a word because it totally gives away a huge (I mean huge) facet of my novel, and when it gets published it would be such a spoiler.

“I choose ------,” I whispered. I began to feel insecure. I wanted to add and I choose you.
He smiled at me and leaned forward brushing the hair slowly out of my face with one hand. I could feel his fingers trace along my skin. The other hand grabbed my shoulder and held it. He tipped my chin up as he leaned in and kissed me gently on the lips. I felt the hum of electricity between us build until all I was aware of were his lips on mine, and his hands on my shoulder and my face.
He pulled back and we looked at each other for a minute.
“Wow,” he said, and then he took my hand and held it. The hum vibrated through me.

And now I'm blushing. Kissing scenes and sharing them make me feel so exposed!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Five: Snow!

1. When I first started writing this post it was snowing, but I've been distracted and now about ten hours later it is raining. The kind of rain with the occasional clinking of ice against the windows. I'm just hoping that it doesn't freeze. Ice storms aren't any fun. We all rand around excited when it was snowing, but by this evening everyone was pretty disappointed. I promised I'd wake them up if we got some actual snow.

2. Christmas is a week away. I don't get how time slips by so much faster now that I'm older. It doesn't make sense. But I'm excited for Christmas. We managed to get our hands on some Zhou Zhou pets for our kids, and we even paid normal price. But then the kids all changed their Santa requests. Fortunately they believe me when I tell them that production has ended at the North Pole and that they are in the packing stage of the operation. I can't believe that my eight year old still believes in Santa. I certainly didn't at that age.

3. 2010 is my year of the query. I just hope it works. I am so very excited about it.

4. I had a nice long conversation with my sister about books. Books are honestly one of my favorite things to talk about. I feel like I can learn a lot about someone by the types of books they read, and what they admit to reading and what they don't. I'm planning on mailing her a long reading list of books to read. Very long, very thorough, very YA focused.

5. I hope you all enjoy your holidays. I won't be posting on Christmas. It is a noncomputer day, though I may post in the next week with my writing goals, which are really just churning away in my head.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Writing Meme

L.T. tagged me with this writing Meme. My very first. I need to choose three other writers and I choose:

Solvang Sherry
Patti Nelson
Jesse Oliveros

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
A blog post for my writing job. The first thing I wrote that I still have is either a poem from high school or a personal narrative I wrote in high school and revised in college. I think I turned it in like three times. Hmmm, the things is I really don't know which one I wrote first. I might have a third grade story in a scrapbook too.

2. Write poetry?
Sadly not in ten or so years

3. Angsty poetry?
In high school, a little in college

4. Favorite genre of writing?
Young Adult Fantasy

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?

6. Best Plot you've ever created?
My werewolf and zombie one, and I've not started it yet, but it is awesome.

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?
Werewolf one

8. How often do you get writer's block?
way too often lately. Not enough butt in chair time.

9. Write fan fiction?
Never even thought about it.

10. Do you type or write by hand?
Typing all the way, I type much faster than I write.

11. Do you save everything you write?
Pretty much, although some of the files are difficult to find.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
It depends on the ideas

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
My Isis story currently is

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
I don't know

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
That's what I write, more a story with romance than full on romance with heaving bosoms and stuff like that.

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?
This world with paranormal elements

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Three. Revisions wrapping up on one, writing intensely on another, and plotting and thinking about it and really wanting to write it.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Does Reflections in high school or elementary school count? If not, then no.

19. What are your five favorite words?
I went through a phase where I really loved a swear word. I loved the sound, and the affect it had on people.
Now I don't know if I have favorites.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?
Dreams, I've dreamed several of my main characters, situations I'm in, people (mostly strangers) that I see

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Yes. Several of my plots have come through dreams--I dream the situation, and then wake up and the entire plot comes to me.

23. Do you favor happy endings?
I like endings with hope--doesn't mean they are happy or that the main character didn't lose practically everything, but I want a bit of hope.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Nope. I'll get to it later.

25. Does music help you write?
I don't really write with music on, but there are songs that make me want to write. Enya gets me through a block, and The Killers really help me when I'm not in the mood.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.

His fingers brushed mine sending a jolt of something up my arm. It wasn’t the kind of tingly feeling that you get when you touch someone you like for the first time and it wasn’t a shock of static electricity. It was stronger than either of those things and a lot more intense. The world flashed brighter in that instant, and seemed to freeze. As soon as he let go, everything jumped forward for a second and the room spun around me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Five: The Leaves Skittered Across the Ground

1. So last night I was going out to get some food late, late at night and it was eerie and cold out. I was thinking about writing and how to set up the scene that I was in. It would be a very tense scene, because I get creeped out at night. The wind blew and the leaves skittered across the ground. It made me jump because I was sure that someone else was out there. I just had to share the word skittered, because it has been in my head ever since. Although my husband says that skittered isn't a scary word, and he may be right.

2. Many fellow bloggers have been sharing their writing goals in the last week for next year. I plan on doing that as well. I just want to make sure that I can really nail down the goals specifically. I think being specific, but flexible makes it much more achievable. One goal I know I will have for next year is landing an agent. That is something I want and I'm working towards right now.

3. It's cold here, but no snow, and really it is not cold enough for snow. I think I'm slowly changing from living in the south for the past ten years. I don't love the humidity in the summers, but I'm learning to survive the drab grey nothing that is winter here. The idea of snow used to excite me, and I'd scoff at those who were afraid to drive in it, but now I'm finding that I'm okay without white stuff on the ground for three or four months at a time. But I still love the snow days with my kids home from school, snowball fights and wet clothes everywhere.

4. I still haven't really started Christmas shopping. This is a serious thing. I refuse to go to the stores, so that means everything needs to be done online, with enough time to ship. I think my biggest hang up is that I'm anti toy this year. That is because after a serious struggle over the summer to keep the kids' rooms clean I reached my limit and I packed everything up. Well I left them two toys each and the blocks. The entire house has been cleaner. The kids have played better, used their imagination more and everyone has been happier. So how on earth do I justify or even consider introducing more toys to the environment.

5. I love that my husband is supportive of my writing. He really encourages me. Plus he really can write as well. He has the most awesome novel idea. I could see it really taking off. But he keeps insisting that he doesn't have the time or energy to write. I wish he did or that he wanted to write badly enough that he made the time, because he is a really gifted story teller.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Five: Going Again

1. December is such a hectic time for everyone. For some crazy reason we had all three of our kids within five weeks of each other, and put Christmas in the middle of it. So that means planning three parties, squeezing Christmas in the middle and juggling all of the other great Christmas type activities as well. I love the season, but stopped doing Christmas cards several years ago. Maybe I'll start doing a spring letter or something later. It's just too much right now.

2. Writing is something I love. It's how I personally identify myself and I've started telling new acquaintances that I write. Not only am I working on my novel(s), but I also supplement my husband's income by writing at home for online sites. It's nice to finally own up to the fact that I'm a writer. I always get embarrassed when people tell me they found something I wrote online. I'm not ashamed of it, I guess I'm just a private person. I don't know.

3. Querying is happening. That is all I'm going to say. I'm not going to share stats or anything. I think it's too personal. When I get my agent I'll share, and if I retire this project (and I don't want to and that's months and hundreds of agents away) then I'll announce that. But I'm officially in query mode. And basically I feel like it is time to just get on with it. I'm planning on starting with groups of five agents at a time to see if I need to tweak my query anymore.

4. Titles. I really hate titles--well at least coming up with decent ones. I'm just no good at it. There are people who are so gifted at titles. I really like Ally Carter's titles for example, but I'm not one of those people. I'm just not. So I'm trying different title in my query letters, well not really. I sent out one title, and then sent out a different one. We'll see if it makes a difference.
And I need a title for my dystopian.

5. I've often wondered at how people come up with book ideas and marveled at the people who have a lot of ideas lined up in a neat little row. I've usually got one or two vague ideas floating around in the back of my head. Currently I have my dystopian novel, and a novel I've had the outline for for over five years (sad I know), but then in October I got the funnest cute idea for a total fluff romance novel (still young adult) and then I've been piecing together this novel about zombies based on this dream I've had three times (I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something). And then in the last week I've had two dreams that were the best novel ideas ever! Really I'm super excited. One is with werewolves/shapeshifters, but it is totally awesome, beyond awesome actually. I've had a thing for werwolves for awhile. And another kind of regency/paranormal idea. And the outlines are both down for them. Wow! I need to get busy because really the characters in these stories are super strong.

Happy Writing!

Monday, November 30, 2009

National Novel Writing Month Epic Fail

So I failed miserably at the whole novel writing in a month in November thing. But I'm honestly okay with it. I plan on finishing my next novel by the end of the year, which is nearly as ambitious, but I'm in a much better place to actually reach that goal, because I resolved my issues with my first novel. So I'm happy. I feel like I did what was most important to me. Next year I will climb that mountain and reach the top.

Writing wise it's been an interesting month. I haven't posted a lot because I've been swaying back and forth on things. Like do I change my novel this way? Do I add that whole chapter? Do I think that this will fix that problem? Do I think it is a problem? And finally am I over thinking it?

My mother-in-law asked me how my novel was coming this weekend. She hasn't read it yet, because I'm afraid she'll think it is totally silly, but I'm the one being silly. When I said I was still tweaking things, she said don't over think it. Well that's been my problem. I'm fixing the last few things, and sending it out this week. I'm done thinking about it. I also really feel that I've taken it as far as I currently can.

December is going to be crazy with holidays and birthdays, but I love it. I also know that I will need to make time and a schedule so that I can sit down and really write. But usually when things are totally hectic I can accomplish a lot more. I hope that you all have a great writing week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Five

1. Today is gorgeous. There is a very slight chill, but I'm sure it will be gone by the afternoon. It's the kind of day I just want to open my windows and let all the glorious fall air stream in. Days like this I am exceedingly happy. I love beautiful weather and I tend to equate November with gray drizzly days and believe me we've had plenty of those this month. Plenty!

2. My kids have decided that their must have Christmas item is the Zhu Zhu pet hamsters. But my husband and I have decided we are not paying more than regular retail for them. And of course they are no where, no where to be found. Maybe it will blow over by Christmas (our kids' desire--we've no hope that the craze for them will). That is our hope, plus we'll keep searching. We may end up lucky.

3. National Novel Writing month, I must confess, has fallen to the wayside for me. But that's because after a break I was just ready to work on Isis again. And so I am. My other novel will still be written, and hopefully before Christmas. Right now I have a row of books lined up just waiting to be written. All in different genres (but all young adult). Roller coasters, bombs, self discovery. Another common thread of course is romance. Not that romance is front and center, but it is a definite thread. Hey if it is a must in most of the books I love to read, it's going to be big in the books that I write.

4. I'm super excited to begin querying. I don't care if it is December when I start. I am going to start. It's time. And I'm ready to thrust my novel out on the world. I've got to at least try. I've been standing here afraid to try, but I am afraid no longer. Not at all. Good luck to all the fellow queriers out there!

5. So I turned down two different invites to the midnight showing of the New Moon movie. I even ignored the urging of my husband to go. The biggest reason is lately I've really needed my sleep. I'm talking falling asleep at 10:00 or 11:00. And I usually stay up past midnight. Last night I was asleep before 10:30. (Whenever my husband turns on Ghosthunters I sack out. I don't know why, I like the show, but it just seems to happen.) So I'm glad that I skipped it. Never fear I will see it. Just not this weekend, maybe I'll go over the Thanksgiving break. Hope that you all enjoyed the moving. (Some of those werewolves were so swoon worthy!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Five

1. First of all my writer's group was last night. I enjoy my group because it is very encouraging to just keep at it. We did an exercise where we wrote something to be read out loud, we were supposed to focus on the sounds of words and all of those marvelous tools. I could tell that my fellow writers were surprised by my piece. It was different from how I'm writing my novel. They liked it. It sounded pretty. I think I'm going to paste it below. But it is vastly different from the style of novel that I write. I think I'm overly afraid of purple prose, and so I tend to shy away from this type of writing in my novels. Anyway it was nice to show that I can do it if I want to. I described a scene that my two boys and I watched one afternoon.

Here it is:

It began as a soft murmur, a rustle of feathers and leaves. Slowly they came landing lightly on branches blending in, becoming invisible to the eye. But the rustling grew louder, causing those in the park to look up at the trees, searching for a sound they had never heard before. The rustle of feathers and dried leaves were occasionally punctuated by the caw of a bird. Watching you could see ten birds land on one tree five more on another. Still the sound grew louder.

Birds are generally quiet. Slipping unnoticed from tree to tree, the sound of flight is not heard. The movement of wings negligible in comparison to all other noises. Yet today the sound was present overriding all other sounds.

A bark echoed across the grounds sharp in its loudness. With a clatter of caws the birds rose en masse. The sky darkened as the trees unveiled their fugitives. The birds taking to the sky in a choreographed movement swooping one direction and then turning in an almost about face. The birds acting as one beat upward. The sound of their wings heard in a steady pulse whoosh, whoosh, whoosh pushing the air enough that you could almost feel the breeze of their yearly exodus.

2. I'm taking a big chunk of this weekend to write. It won't all be on my novel, but a good portion of it will be. I've got to make a little money this month. It's important to eat and pay the bills, right?

3. Homework is not a happy thing at my house. My morning involved driving my daughter to school instead of having the bus take her so she could squeeze in the extra assignment. This was after arguing with her about her homework all yesterday evening, and this morning early so she could get it done. She is only in second grade, and the power struggle has got to stop. Any suggestions you have would be so immensely appreciated.

4. We were having a discussion about names with writer's group yesterday, and how certain names fit together. In my first novel Isis and Dane are my main character's names. And I know a family who had a son named Dane, and yesterday I found out that they named their new baby daughter Iris. So close to my main characters. My jaw kind of dropped. Names are such fun things. I've enjoyed naming my characters a lot more than I did my children. I worried so much about picking the perfect name with meaning and significance with my kids, 'cause it follows them around for the rest of their life. I do the whole meaning thing with the names with characters too, but the pressure just isn't there.

5. Well that is all I can think of. I've got to run get my daughter from the bus stop I think it finally stopped raining, but it is so soggy after two days of straight cold rain. I am so sleepy on rainy days, I can't wait for the sun to come back out. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Five: Running Late

1. A week of not thinking about my first novel and then a discussion with my mother helped me get that novel back into perspective. I still need to make a few tweaks, but I'm much happier with what I've decided to keep and what I've decided to change. I really think I can go through this draft and it will be my final plus then the proof reading. So I'm excited.

2. Lisa and Laura are giving away a Kindle on their blog. It is in celebration of their new book deal. The book sounds like a great read, and the contest sounds great. At the very least you should go check it out.

3. Rob just got a game for his PS3- Demon Slayer, which requires about 80 hours of game time. And while many people I know would be worried about that much game time, I'm thinking it is time I can spend writing without feeling guilty. He plays and I sit next to him in the dark and write. It's bonding kind of. I'm glad he has his outlet, and I'm not a video game widow. He doesn't ignore the family to play. He just plays late at night, when the kids are asleep, and when I either read or write. It works for us. (Funny story--We had been married for just over a year when the PS2 came out and he was super excited, and wanted to get one, and kept debating whether he should go and camp out. We both went to bed about 11:00 and I woke up at 3:00 in the morning in an empty apartment. No note or anything. Talk about panic. He's lucky he had his cell phone on him. I called and he had woken up at 1:00 and decided to see if he could get one. He had driven around to several stores and realized that he would definitely get one at Circuit City so he stayed. That's when I knew that I was married to a gamer, and I've stood in line for him to get other stuff.)

4. We are planning a last hurrah for the kidlets this weekend before winter sets in. It was supposed to be a trip to the beach (day trip) but the sillies wouldn't go to bed when threatened, so it may just be the zoo instead. It means no writing for me, but it should be in the 60s tomorrow and then it is supposed to be cold. I like the beach when it is cool out. I'm not much of a water person.

5. Reading makes me happy. It has for a very long, long time. Writing makes me happy too.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

Well I am participating in NaNo right now. So I've only done about 400 words. And I totally need to get caught up. It is very thrilling and exciting to just be focusing on writing and not at all on the revising process. Although I may not take the whole month off of my novel. Just knowing I don't have to think about it right now has taken the weight off and reenergized me already.

The reason I only have 400 words is that the night I had time to sit down and write I fell asleep while typing. I was in one of those lucid dreams where I kept picturing the scene and I was describing it. Then I actually dozed off and my husband said something to me and I woke up and put the laptop away.

When I opened it up the next morning I was quite upset to realize that my hands had gotten off the keys and it was truly gibberish. So sad.

My NaNo name is MLC23 if you want to friend me, but there is no pressure. I don't plan on being very active except to post my updates. Hopefully tonight I will get a lot of writing done and be able to catch up by Saturday.

I love coming up with the story. This one promises to be exciting. It is post-apocalpytic and lots of explosions, bad guys, tension (both suspense and sexual). Basically it should have everything that I should want in a novel. Hopefully I can pull it off with some killer tension.

Lately I've been reading but not posting my books. I have noticed a few things. One I tried a new genre and read The Season by Sarah MacLean. I very much enjoyed this particular book. Very well written.

I have also read a few other books in the last week. One came highly recommended by someone and I am just having the hardest time with it. It is all telling and no showing and so round about it as it wanders from event to event. It came out in 1990 and I just don't know if it would fly now. The story is fun, but it so doesn't speak to me. (I don't like to criticize other authors on the blog so the book will remain absolutely nameless.)

And I read another one by a very experienced author who wrote in limited third the entire book except for two paragraphs that she pulls out of it in the middle of the book. It was so jarring. I wondered how the editor let that one slide. Once you have so many books published do they just stop checking?

Another book I read spent so much time on backstory that it took nearly 100 pages to get into the action. This was a middle grade book (which may be part of the reason why it didn't work well for me, since I really struggle reading middle grade). It was recently published. It came very highly recommended and I read the entire thing, even though I hadn't liked another book by the same author. But I didn't think the payoff was worth it on that book. The sense of adventure didn't get high enough and even though we got to know the character in the end his journey didn't matter to me at all.

So I may sound nitpicky, really I'm not. I've read a lot of great books like The Season and others, but I've been thinking a lot about story telling devices and narration and voice lately and so those things have stood out to me. I think I've decided I don't care for omniscient story telling. I like limited third or first person. If you want to switch narration between characters make sure that the voice is strong enough to really see a noticeable difference. I don't like backstory in the beginning. I don't need to know the characters past, childhood and Aunt Zelma. Give it to me as I need to know in the action of the story. I like fast moving plot and I love romantic tension. Really if that's not there the book isn't going to work for me. So I want to know what you all think about those things.

I was going to do a nifty poll, but I feel like I should get writing instead of figuring out how to do a poll. (lame I know)

So if you'd care to answer I'd love to hear your response to these four questions.

What type of narrator do you prefer or does it even matter to you?

How do you like backstory to be handled?

Do you want a good page turner or a book that wanders around?

Is romantic tension a must, a bonus or a downer?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last week I was pretty much blog silent. I almost did a Friday Five, but I decided I didn't have time. My husband and I went out of town to celebrate our tenth anniversary. We went a few months late so we could go to an amusement park and not be miserable. We had a lot of fun and I didn't write anything the whole weekend. I didn't read either. It was very strange for me.

Lately I've been trying to add exercise back into my routine, and it doesn't happen unless I get up and do it first thing. I'm not much of a morning person anymore since I usually write at night. This has been totally weighing me down. I wish that I could just schedule little slots of time and do exactly what I plan in those slots. I've sat down and made schedule after schedule (I'm geeky that way) and they never work out. I keep telling myself I only have three more years until all my kids are in school. (But then I freak out that my baby will be in kindergarten in three years--honestly it's a catch 22.)

But until then what am I supposed to do? How do I find that elusive balance? That is what I'm trying to figure out.

And my manuscript, oh my manuscript. Every time I think I'm done I decide I'm not. And now I'm at a point where I'm afraid that I've ruined everything. I know I've got to make a few major plot changes. But am I losing what I wanted in the first place, and does what I wanted matter if I end up with a better book?

I've been dragging my feet on the current round of rewrites just because I'm not sure that they are right for me. I'm so frustrated that I'm seriously considering putting the manuscript aside for a month and writing another novel and then coming back to it. I don't know if it makes sense long term or not.

There was an interesting blog post by Elana Johnson about confidence and all day I've thought about my confidence. The thing is I know that I will be a published author and a career one at that. I know it very deep down. I am willing to work hard at it. I'm willing to learn and I know that with each thing I write I get better. I know I can do this.

Have a great week and I'll post a Friday Five Halloween style this week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Working Hard

You must read this wonderful essay on learning about writing from Annie Dillard. (via Moonrat at Editoral Ass)

This was my favorite quote:

Talent isn’t enough, she had told us. Writing is work. Anyone can do this, anyone can learn to do this. It’s not rocket science, it’s habits of mind and habits of work. I started with people much more talented than me, she said, and they’re dead or in jail or not writing. The difference between myself and them is that I’m writing.

Talent could give you nothing. Without work, talent is only talent, promise, not product. I wanted to learn how to go from being the accident at the beginning to a writer, and I learned that from her.

It really spoke to me because I have been frustrated lately at the difficulty I am having in rewriting, and I just want to be done. I think I'm done, and then realize I'm not. But If I keep working, and not think that I whatever I just dash off is perfect, then I can become a published writer. But there are several wonderful gems in this.

I have been blog silent, because I am being novel focused. I'll return to my regularly scheduled (as if they've ever been real regular) posts as soon as my next and final, final draft is done.

Read it and happy writing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finding Your Rhythm

Rob has a thing with rhythm in stories and words. You know when you vary the sentence structure to help with the flow and rhythm of the story. He has a very good point. There is something about a story with a good rhythm that is restful. It is pleasant and relaxing to read a book that has that kind of rhythm.

This type of rhythm can be created by varying the sentence structure. Think back to when you diagrammed sentences. (Tangent--as a student I always thought diagramming was such a pointless pain in the butt, but when I taught grammar it helped me to see if the students really got it.) Most sentences go Subject verb object. There are very few exceptions in the average persons writing. The trick to creating the rhythm is to vary the pattern. object subject verb. Verb. Even a few incomplete sentences thrown in for good measure. Honestly it may be a nightmare to diagram a nice lyrical paragraph, but it makes for more restful reading.

The rhythm of a story is a really strong tool. You can use it to slow down a story or to speed it up or to create a feeling of peace or tension. While it is great if you can find the right rhythm for your story during your first draft, you can always go back and rework parts of your story to find that natural rhythm that you want. Rhythm is something can be worked on after you've gotten the bare bones of your story out.

How do you do with writing rhythm? What are tricks that you have learned to make the rhythm of your stories better?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Five

1. Fall really seems to have come this week. I turned off the air conditioning and we aren't dying. I love that in the fall you don't have to worry about air or heat. The same pretty much goes for the spring. Plus I love waking up to a cool house. Sure it's hard to get out of bed, but it really does wake you up. I love the colors of fall (not that they've started yet) and I just feel happier and more alive in the fall. Summer is such a sleepy time.

2. Since I managed to catch a cold from the conference I haven't gotten as much done as I wanted to, but I did fix my first page. Really fixed it. Rob, who is unerringly honest (enough that I want to throttle him sometimes), even agreed that it is fixed. Now I can move on to the rest of the manuscript. Yes! Soon I will be sending out my letters. I keep saying that, but I really mean it.

3. My other story is somewhat halted. Seriously I'm stuck in the middle of a dinner conversation. Interestingly enough it is about people becoming complacent and allowing themselves to get stuck. Uggh! So I need to work in an explosion or a kiss or a heated look or something to get the story rolling again. It will happen, and soon.

4. Right now my two year old is practicing his Ninja moves and sword fighting. Lots of round jumps with thrusting. There is also slashing of some sort going on. And he is beating up his brother. Sadly he intimidated some boy at the park on Monday. The boys were about the same age, but my boys are tiny for their age. So this other boy was about a head taller than Jacob. I watched the entire thing. The bigger boy said something to him, and Jacob threw up his fists, made a low bellow and charged. The other boy ran away in tears, even though Jacob hadn't touched him. (Never fear I did have a talk with Jacob about his behavior, though part of me is glad that he isn't intimidated by bigger kids.)

5. I meant to post some of my notes and thoughts on writing, but I've been sleeping a lot more than usual this week. I will get them up, either this weekend or sometime next week. I promise.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Awesome Conference

So the conference was very awesome. I met some new writing critique people. I went and socialized with people (I wasn't totally successful at this being a true and utter introvert). I came home early on Saturday--only socializing was going on--because my head hurt and I just couldn't make myself do it anymore. Whew!

But at lunch I sat at a table with an actual real live editor and then chatted with her in the lobby for a few minutes. I managed to just ask her about how she ended up in editing and she was so nice and friendly and happy. I must say I was so impressed with the editors at this conference. They were very friendly and accommodating. They made themselves available to have people talk to them. It was refreshing and made me less scared of editors.

They had a First Pages. And my First Page was picked. That was a moment. My heart just started pounding. They pointed out somethings I could do better. No one laughed at my page--which actually did happen, and they didn't rip it apart either. It was a really good experience, but very surreal and scary at the same time. Still I'm totally glad that it happened.

I will update with my notes throughout the week, maybe next two weeks, but I want to focus on writing the rest of the night. I must say that Carrie Ryan spoke. (She wrote The Forest of Hands and Teeth.) Frankly I would take a writing seminar from her if she ever offered one. I've never, ever been so impressed with a class I had on writing. So I'm just saying man. Five pages chock full of notes, and she only spoke forty minutes. Plus she was so nice in person.

Happy Writing!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Five

1. Today I'm off to the local SCBWI Conference. I'm having a critique done in about an hour and I'n excited and nervous. I'm super excited to go the entire conference. It's nice because I still get to come home every night and sleep in my own bed, which really does make a difference to me.

2. I had Rob look over my query which I've reworked again, and again, and again. And i think he managed to make some very good changes. But I did have to edit it down some. Rob is an excellent writer. He has always been praised for his work whether fiction or otherwise and has been offered jobs for his writing. I'd love to see him write one of the books he keeps talking about.

3. So today I did my hair, painted my toe nails and put on my make up. Generally I disdain from doing such things. Too much time spent on it, but today and this weekend, I'm putting my best face forward. I'm dressing professionally and figure that my hair and face should match. Plus I'm wearing high heeled open toed shoes, got to have nice toe nails.

4. I've completely plotted out my rewrites to the plot, which were helped along by the new query letter and I think I can have them done next week. Then I'll start querying in earnest. For real, I'm not putting it off anymore, because I'll have done everything I possibly can to improve my novel.

5. Next week, I'm going to get into a great routine (which is being started with this conference and how early I have to get up to get there). This means I'll exercise every day and get a lot of writing done. This is really the catalyst I need to get a solid routine going.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Words of Advice from a Published Writer

I just got back from a book signing. Sarah Dessen spoke at Barnes and Noble along with two other fabulous writers. I was excited to go simply because I'd been wanting to go to a Sarah Dessen event since she is local to the general area, but none of her previous signings this summer worked out with my schedule. It made me even happier to realize this week that the focus was to talk about the writing process. Sweet, best topic I love to listen to.

I'm actually a big fan of Sarah Dessen. They have this quality that is hard to define. They are so enjoyable to read. They are definitely not fluff. They address harder issues, but they also have a literary quality to them. I knew that it would mostly be teens there and it was. I'm starting to feel old, but I didn't care. It was so worth going.

Sage words of wisdom gathered.

Write every day at the same time.

Everyone writes a novel differently. (Sarah doesn't use an outline, just has a general direction in mind.)

Keep at it.

Realize that your first draft isn't the last draft.

Don't keep reediting every sentence into perfection in your first draft.

They also talked about how none of the writer's thinking workshopping a novel is effective until it is completely finished.

So this week is an excellent week. It was a great session and then I'm headed off to the writer's conference this weekend. Everything is local so I feel very spoiled although I'm sure Rob feels slightly abandoned. Hey, he had DragonCon and he's going hiking in October.

So what's your favorite piece of writing advice?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plot, Old Movies and Super Powers

Tonight my kids watched The Sword and the Stone. I remember watching the movie as a child and really liking it. My kids were very interested in it. But today as I listened to it while I did various chores around the house I started wondering about the plot. Did every scene included drive the plot forward? Was every scene necessary? And additionally was every part of the scene necessary?

Thinking about my Isis novel and the changes I want to make to it and then thinking about my current novel and the plot line I've roughly sketched out. I've asked myself that same question does each scene move the plot forward?

There are a few scenes in Isis that are really just info dumps. I did a lot of world building through conversation, but Dane and Isis are building their relationship as well, so I thought it would work. Now I'm thinking not so much. So I've reinvented the plot slightly. I'm adding a few totally new scenes, making a few changes so that my scenes work, reordering a few things and then each scene will matter. And it makes Isis' motivations much stronger.

With my next story Selena is my main character and right now my story wants to go another direction from the plot. My gut is telling me that the scenes I want to write don't move the plot forward. I want to show some inner conflict and world contrasting, but it feels like it is just going the wrong way. I didn't add to the plot this weekend because I wanted to make sure I was taking the story the right direction. And the more I think it about the more I think my gut reaction is right. If I were reading I'd want to keep reading the direction that I'm trying to write.

Finally superpowers. My son is going to sleep tonight and made these observations.

Caleb: If I can see what just happened at Grandma's house, is that my mind?

Me: No that's your imagination

Caleb: No it's real. It really happened, so is it my mind?

Me: Sure it's your mind (I figure it's happening in his mind right?)

Caleb: Oh and I can see through walls

Then he went to sleep. I'd love some super powers. Not that long ago I was on a ladies night out and all of us had to answer the question for what super power they'd want and why. Me I'd love the ability to get the cooking and cleaning done in ten minutes. That's my kind of super power. A lot of people said flying, but that's not me. I wouldn't mind being able to move very fast, speed of light fast. Yeah, that'd be mine.

So what's your superpower and why?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Five

1. So I have been happily (I might really emphasize the word happily) t.v. free all summer. I'm talking about the weeknight T.V. I happily ignored all reruns, new shows or whatever, though I did watch the occasional Ghost Hunters with Rob. He is way too interested in that show and even has the autographs of all the people on it, thanks to DragonCon. Steve and Tango are starting a shoot off show, which I'll be tempted to add to my line up. They are my favorite two people on the show. I love the way they interact with each other. It makes me laugh, all the bugs, and animals and the jumping away, but I digress. My real point was that I didn't have to worry about the new episodes of this or that and I write in the evenings, so TV puts a real crimp in my goals. But The Office premiered last night. Glad to have everyone back, but it would have been fun for the Interns to stick around a bit longer. And sadly I really, really like Glee, although I'm going to use Hulu to watch that one and sort the laundry while I do. Rob won't put up with it. And then there is Big Bang Theory, which premieres on Monday. Yeah, that is one of my most favorite shows ever.

2. My query needs work. My plot line needs work. I want to write the query to my new book before I write any more in my new WIP. I had my plot thought out and suddenly I don't want to take it that way. I feel like I'm slowing down the story, but not going that way and not seeing that internal struggle, completely changes my entire premise. Yikes! What's a girl to do?

3. I have yet to get into a good routine since school has started. I thrive on routine or I don't get the important stuff done, like writing or exercising or waking up in the morning. I'm also someone who does better with specific, tangible goals. I like to display them where I will see them on a regular basis. In fact my college roommates use to make fun of me. But I need to get some of those up right now.

4. I'm super excited for the writer's conference next weekend! I'm having a critique done. I love getting feedback from complete strangers. It's a lot more honest than the other kind. So that is a happy thing.

5. I'm hungry so I'm going to go eat leftovers as an early lunch! And also this much more exciting we are taking the kiddos to the They Might Be Giants concert tomorrow. If we don't get rained out. Please sun come out and shine down on us!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

High School Memories

Today I am in cleaning mode. The goal to completely get the toy room to an acceptable state of cleanliness. It has not been in that state all summer.

As I was going through everything, dragging a garbage bag behind me I happened upon an old wallet insert of pictures from high school. I don't know why my kids have it out and about. I thought, hmm. It's been more than ten years. I don't talk to these people anymore (sad huh?) and I haven't thought about them in a long time. So I'll just throw it away. Of course I had to flip through it.

Some of the people I don't know the names of (really these were boys that dated my not-so-close friends). But since they were pictures of dances. The nights stand out in my memory.

I found a picture of my first boyfriend, and one of my first love (not the same person) and one that reminds me of the time I was the meanest to another person. And another that reminds me of the butterfly feeling of the beginning of a relationship.

I found pictures of friends that I was close to in middle school, but not so much in high school, but who still make me smile when I think about them. I looked at the picture of my best friend in high school, and I'm just so sad that we aren't friends anymore. A lot of miscommunication the summer before I left for college and then the fact that I was really the only one who left and I didn't come back.

After a few minutes, and being tumbled around in the memories and the emotions that came rushing back. I decided to keep it. If anything I can look back at it when I need inspiration for emotions in a story. But ultimately high school had its good times and its bad times. Friends were there the entire time.

Since I write for the Young Adult audience, I think it is important that I'm able to remember the ups and downs and the feelings of being a teenager. The world has changed a lot since I was in high school. It's amazing to think about how much, but I don't think the situations, the relationships and the friendships have. That's what is at the core of a great story. That is what should be at the core of my writing.

How do you use your past to influence your writing?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Five

1. I had my writer's group meeting this week. I must say that I enjoyed it. It is great to spend the evening talking about writing, and learning about writing. I love writing and I love being around people who love writing too. The SCBWI Carolinas conference is just a few weeks away and I'm so excited to get to meet more writers that are fairly local. It should be awesome.

2. Today is 9-11 and I can't write a blog without mentioning it. At random times today I'd remember and think back on where I was that day. While many of us have recovered those who have lost loved ones must still fill the loss. Today I think of them and their sadness.

3. I've realized that a lot goes into writing a novel, but for me it is a lot more work to revise. That doesn't mean that I don't want to revise or that I think I'm above revising. I just think it is harder to revise than to write. But I know other writers feel differently. The wonderful thing about it is that at any point of the process you are still working towards the same thing, the same goal the same end. I know in revision you are making things lots stronger.

4. I wanted to mention a new ebook that's available about the querying process. It's called From the Query to the Call and it's by Elana Johnson. I really enjoy her blog and the book promises to be chockfull of information. Beth Revis from Writing It Out gave it this great review. The thing that stood out to me is that she has a query response rate of 1 out of three letters. That's really, really good.

5. It's been a glorious fall day. I love fall it makes me happy. today I've had that fluttry something exciting feeling all day. I'm sure it's just the crisp fall weather, but it reminds me of those exciting first few moments in your relationship. Maybe I'm just getting it all mixed up because my husband and I started dating in the fall years, and years ago. Sigh. Anyway if this feeling comes to fruition I'll be sure to share the joy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Feeling Renewed

Last week I wrote about my reader's funk. Well I've come out of it. A combination of paranormal books and some wonderful fluff books. I've been thinking about the books that I call fluff. It sounds so bad, like I'm looking down on the books. But I don't feel that way. I love the fluff. So I need to come up with a new name for them. For me I put the happy romances that don't address any deep meaningful themes into fluff. You know the escapist books. Complete escapist fiction. Maybe I'll just change it to escapist novels. That sounds much better.

Mental note: Fluff is now escapist fiction.

My point is I read three novels today. Yes three of these happy escapist novels. And I feel much happier. Plus I read with the boys, ran errands and was a good person. My house even got marginally cleaner. But I feel very renewed.

My four year old made my day. He got out his remote control car set. (A very nice remote control car set that he no longer has the car too, or the remote. The car was broken within three weeks, and I've slowly been throwing away the pieces as they have presented themselves to me when I'm in a purging mood. Unfortunately Caleb usually follows around behind me and fishes his toys out of the purging bag. So it has taken a long time to get rid of.) Back to the story. He gets out the kit which currently consists of some types of shocks and the wire that attaches to the car.

Then he threads the shocks on the antenna, bends the antenna, and hooks it into a circle, which he hands to me.

"Here's a bracelet for you mom." He slips it onto my wrist. This really made my day. It's got it's own sense of style. I'd take a picture, but it'd only be blurry.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Five

1. I started really writing my other novel this month. My goal is to be done by the end of October, because I have a novel I want to write for NaNovMo. So I figure 75,000 words divided by 48 writing days means roughly 1500-1600 words a day. I can actually do that. I'm going to do that. But I'm so much happier writing again versus rewriting. I know roughly where I am going, and how I'm getting there, but it is so much fun discovering it as I go. For instance I just met my romantic interest. I knew he was coming soon. I knew that he'd be involved in the resistance. I didn't know how they'd meet or what he'd look like. Ahh, swoon. He's hot, and tough, and funny. (not the type of guy I'd normally fall for--I like the bookish geeky types of things)

2. So my novel that I thought is ready, isn't quite ready, but it is nearly there. So I'm hoping end of September, not August. Sigh. It's time to get it out there, but I want it to sell. So it's not going until I'm ready.

3. So DragonCon is this weekend. I've been hearing a lot about it from some people who are going. I wish that I were going too. But maybe next year. I've never been to one. See I've hidden my inner geek from the world. (My mom gets offended when I call myself a geek, but I own up to it.) There is a young adult literature and writer's track there, and that's where I'd be. (I don't dress up in characters and stuff, but I think it's cool if you want to. But there is a game that sounds fun that people play at those conferences, that I may have liked playing when I was in high school if I hadn't been so self conscious.)

4. My goal for this weekend is to some deep cleaning. Throwing stuff away, giving stuff away. Just basically getting rid of a lot of stuff. I'm tired of how much stuff three kids collect. And it needs to go! I'm considering going down to toyless. (It won't happen, I'm not cruel. But new rules are being instituted that allows me to throw away stuff they won't put away. A few weeks and they will start picking up the two toys that they have left. Right?)

5. It's Fall. The temperatures have been cool. Oh, it's wonderful. My daughter has been complaining that she needs to wear a jacket at the bus stop in the mornings. It's in the 60s and all I can do is smile. I grew up in a different state, and it would always feel like this there. In North Carolina, it's usually not this cool until October. I'm sure the temperatures will go back up, but I've loved this week. I can't wait until the leaves change colors. But then I'm traffic hazard. Seriously several near misses because I'm staring at all of the trees.

Plot, Tension and Mapping

So I'm working on my tension in my book. It starts out high, drops down (slows down) and then builds back up at the end. But I want a more sustained and building tension in my novel. A critiquer gave me a few tips, and I thought about reordering some of my plot. Well I decided that I needed to see each scene and the purpose of the scene. I can do this on Scrivener, which is completely awesome by the way. But I wanted it to be bigger. I wanted to physically be able to move things around and decide if that change would work or not.

So I got out my trusty post it notes and turned my wall into a big board. It has helped. A lot. My darling husband glanced at the notes and said, "Gee it looks like your action drops off in the middle" Well yes, yes it does, hence the post it notes. Seriously this I will be doing again for my other novels. Yup. I like it.

My darling son loves to pose for photos and stuck his head in the picture. He's trained. The camera comes out, he freezes for a minute, smiling and then waits until someone says we're done. Trust me that's not my fault. I can't take a picture period. I posted stuff on Craigslist today and the pictures were blurry. Yikes.

So I'm going to be shifting a few things here and there and changing the way they learn the information in different places. Hopefully my tension will build earlier on and keep going up the to end.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Five First Try

So Friday's will likely be my random day. Several of the blogs I read do a Friday Five. I hope it's not some exclusive club that I'm invading. So here it goes.

1. My daughter started school again, and we're settling into a schedule. Seems like it will be a good year for her. My one concern is she's not allowed to talk at lunch. Seems extreme to me, and I plan on discussing it with her teacher and others if needed. Lunch, everyone needs to be social at lunch, right?

2. Fridays are generally date night for me and hubby. We may watch a movie tonight or sneak some DQ blizzards after the kids are asleep. We're not going out, since my oldest son is not feeling well. I can't have a sitter when they are sick. He has 007 in HD, but we don't have an HD tv. We also like to watch Ghosthunters, and Hell's Kitchen. I don't understand why Chef Ramsey is so mean, but still I like the show.

3. Reading funks. Still not feeling the whole reading thing, but I've found a new author I like Susane Colasanti. Her books are similar to Sarah Dessen. Still I might go dig out my L.M. Montgomery books. They sound nice to me. Slow, no tension. Just story.

4. My kids are erecting a tent/fort in my living room. It will be a big mess to clean up, but I've got to let them do it. I remember building them with my brothers and sisters. It's a rite of passage. They only have a few minutes until I put them to bed, but between now and then they will undo an entire week's worth of cleaning. Sigh. I wish I had a housekeeper.

5. I didn't write at all this week. Not at all. No revisions (unless my query counts), no new words, nothing. I'm ready to start again. And go at it.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Rejection? Can I Handle the Rejection?

I'm getting ready to send out my manuscript. I'm so close that my fingers are actually itching to hit send, but I've got to get everything as perfect as I possibly can before I do. This is the scary part, at least for me, sending my baby out into the world, into stranger's hands, and waiting for a reaction. What I think is worse in reality is sending out the query. The short few paragraphs that struggle to describe a story to persuade people to read it. I just wish you could send the whole manuscript and then the agents could read it. (Now I know that isn't practical, and I'm not saying that the agents have the time for that or anything--I'm in no way disrespecting agents. The fact that they read the queries is enough for me honestly. Just wish there was another way.)

I mean I'm on pins and needles when I send my novel off to a friend or family member for a critique. It puts me on edge. I get worried, I feel faint. I can't imagine what it's going to be like to send off a partial or full to someone real. But hopefully that day will come.

My progress for the week was finishing up the rewrite. Reworking my query letter, and my synopsis. My synopsis needs help. Lots of it. I don't like the tone or anything. I may start over from scratch on it.

I'm also gearing up, and getting ready to go on my second novel. I'm super excited about that one. I think it's going to rock. The conflict is real, it's tangible, and it's solid. My plot line is solid as well with a great twist at the end. Third person so that twist will work. This novel is going to be great. I can just feel it.

Reading this week has been kind of blah. Everything feels like I've read it before. Have you ever gotten into a funk? My mom told me to change up the genre that I read. I don't know it may be time to revisit some of my tried and true reads like Anne of Green Gables or Emily's Quest. I could try the classics. I have enjoyed some of them. Okay lots of them and I haven't walked down that path in awhile. Any books that help you get out of a reading funk?

Friday, August 21, 2009

News and Stuff

I've been blog silent for a bit for a few reasons. The first I went to the beach and the second I was really driving to the end of my rewrite. I'm pleased to say that I've finished. Yeah!

While I was at the beach, I spent a lot of time thinking about things. My novel, the vastness of the ocean and possible analogies to writing. Something about the beach makes me reflect on things. It is such a peaceful and happy place. So as I was building sand castles with my kids I had a few thoughts about the writing process.

One of the castles we built kept falling apart. We would get it built up really high and then it would fall apart. It kept splitting in the same spot. Then I realized that the foundation was cracked. It couldn't hold the castle together from the bottom. I realized that a good story is like that. You've got to have the basics, or foundation of a good story or it just won't hold together. There are several things you need, but the most important is your plot and conflict. It doesn't matter how beautiful your writing is or how compelling your characters are if your plot is cracked and just doesn't work.

The next thought came to me as my son was building a sand castle right in front of the incoming tide. Every few minutes a huge wave would come and wash away the castle completely. Although I encouraged him to move a bit further in, he kept telling me it was okay we could just begin again. This made me think about the importance of revision and finding the right way to tell your story. It's okay to start again and again, as long as you keep building. Eventually you'll find the right spot and be able to tell a great story.

So happiness I finally finished my rewrite. And I realized something that is going to help my revision process from now on. For this revision I rewrote the entire story. I literally retyped the entire thing. This let me fix things and see things I hadn't before. I tightened up my dialogue, got rid of passive voice and added a lot of pertinent details, In fact I add 5,000 words. Some of that was a new chapter, but that new chapter was created out of a chapter I split in two. The entire time I was writing I kept cutting this out and that out and I was worried that I'd end up with a shorter novel, but I didn't. I know it is a much stronger novel than it was.

Now I just need to perfect my query letter and rework my synopsis, since yeah, my story has changed slightly.

I've also thought about how to boost my blog's interest level. Mostly it's just been complaining and frustration. So I'm going to do a few things.

One post a week on the writing process. Some fun analogy or such. I"ll also include my word count and goals, since I"m ready finally to get going on my new novel. I'm so excited!

One post a week on a book I've read. Generally this will be a new book that I've read that week. I'll talk about what worked and why, and such.

One post a week on randomness. Everyone needs random every now and then right. I might do a Friday Five or something like that.

Plus I'll post the random contest or trailer.

So many good books coming out in the next few months. Personally I'm looking forward to Fire by Kristin Cashore, and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater.

(Catching Fire would be up there too, but I've already read that awesomeness--but I'm excited for everyone else!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ballad Trailer

This is the trailer to the new book Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater. I've really enjoyed her book Lament and also Shiver which came out this month and debuted on the NYT bestsellers list. This is definitely a must read!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Totally Awesome Book Contest

There is a totally awesome book giveaway going on at

Currently she is giving away Five different prizes. There are ARCs of some great books that I'd love to get my hands on, and some great books that I just want because I've already read them. For me the best part is that they are all YA books.

Go check it out and try to win!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Reading to Improve Your Craft

I've been thinking about doing some things to make my blog more interesting. Plus writing on a more consistent basis. I may plan to slowly increase my posts with a goal of three a week. I can handle three a week. Maybe a short review or thought on whatever I'm reading during the week. And then some other random writing stuff. I wish I had funny experiences to share, but I fear that I am rather boring. But I shouldn't talk about myself that way.

This week I've been thinking a lot about reading, and what makes a book so good that you can't put it down. You know those books. (They're the books I love, the ones that keep you up all night, and make you forget the dishes and your kids--the kind of book I want to write.)

One of my favorite books on writing is On Writing by Stephen King. Awesome book, and I always recommend it to people who want to write. There is a bit of foul language in the book, but I think that is just the way Stephen King writes. I actually have never read his fiction, because I get really bad nightmares from normal books, let alone horror. The stuff always seems too real to me. Rob thinks I'm crazy and has read a lot of Stephen King, and I've thought about reading his fantasy stuff, but just haven't yet.

Anyway the point of that ramble is that in On Writing Stephen King says that one of the most important things a writer can do is read. I happen to agree with him. There is something about reading which allows you to pick up the craft of writing. You know things like rhythm, where you start a story, what to include in the story, the type of language to use, and that intangible quality that really drags a reader in.

I've been a reader since second grade. This year on my personal blog I've listed the new books that I've read this year. I'm up to 68, with the goal being a hundred. I'm not listing the books I've reread though. And I think next year I'll do that, and maybe keep a page count total. Just because I'm curious about it. But since I've read so much, and so widely, I've managed to pick up on things like paragraphs, and pacing (I hope) and other things that help to make the story stronger.

If you want to become a great writer, then you need to read. Just like an artist studies the works of other artists or an architect learns about the structure and designs of other buildings, a writer needs to read other peoples books. Both for enjoyment and for learning about the craft.

For example the first time I read Twilight I read it for enjoyment. Then I read it again to figure out what about it made it so compelling. Then I read it again to really figure that out. Then I read it to understand how she address first person narrative. I learned a lot.

The Hunger Games is another novel I've read multiple times, as well as Catching Fire. Suzanne Collins writes a book that you simply can't put down. It's impossible. I learned something about her chapters. She ends in the middle of the action. Then does scene shifts mid-chapter. I tried doing it. I think it helped me.

What books (fiction) have you learned from? What books do you recommend I read along the lines of The Hunger Games and Twilight for a suck you in read? I need some new books to devour!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Week Unplugged

Well I managed to avoid reading the blogs for most of the week. I have to say that my most productive night was the night that my power went out for eight hours. Yes that night I was the most productive. Without power there was no Internet, but I do have a laptop and the battery was fully charged. There wasn't anything else to do. I put the kids to bed before it got too dark. And Rob was working, so I had nothing to do but write. I got a lot done, it was such a happy feeling.

The power actually went out at my house three times this week. The worst was the eight hours, once was for an hour, and the third one was for two. Ugh! It's hot, and we had some crazy thunder storms roll through, which would knock out the power.

I think that I'm going to form a plan of action where I only read the blogs on the weekend. This will let me keep following everyone, although I may miss out on some cool contests, but it will give me writing time, that will not be interrupted or overtaken by the blogs.

Writing wise I still have a lot do. I hate revising. I am doing it, because it is important, but for me it is so hard to do. Hopefully it will get easier with each novel. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. Who knows for sure though? So I'm really tempted to just work on my other novel. But I'm not going to until I finish up my current WIP. I'm so close to the end that I know I can do it. My query is nearly there, and then I can start submitting it.

I'm trying to think of something profound, and it just isn't happening today. I'm not afraid to admit that. So I'll close by stating my goals. I want to write the third chapter in my next novel for my writer's group--which is due in by Thursday. I don't want anyone else to look at my current WIP until I'm done. And then I plan on revising two chapters a day this week. Hopefully I can do it.

What are your writing goals for the week?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Woah! What a Week

So I didn't really keep up with my accountability posts last week, but I got a lot done. That is until I realized how much some other people got done as well. Maybe I should count the other words I write (the way I currently make money), but I won't. I want my progress that I record hear to be about my novel.

Beth Revis is doing a critique session of the query and first 250 words. I was the first one up. You can go over and comment if you so desire. Plus you should just check out Beth's blog. I love it. Lots of good insight, and some very funny moments. It's worth checking out.

So I'm really trying to focus on finishing up the novel this week. Does that mean I've written today, no. But my dearest husband is working late all week, and if the kids will go to bed, then I will have writing time nearly distraction free. I'm thinking about unplugging the Internet, which would also unplug the phone. I'm so close that I can taste it. Well almost. Honestly I think I'd rather taste chocolate then the end of the novel. But I'm really nearly to the end. I'm up into the exciting stuff.

With all of my focus on writing this week, I think I'm going to let some of my blog reading slide this week, and see how it affects me. I'll have a few that I go and visit. For example, I feel like I should go and critique the other writers who post on the critique session, it's good karma to return the favor, but other than that I think I'll wait until the weekend to read everything. Here's hoping that it will make a big difference in my productivity level.

I registered for the SCBWI Carolinas conference this last week, and I'm super excited to go. It is in September, and close enough that I don't have to get a hotel room. If you are going to be there, say hi. I'm super shy in the blog world, and even more in the real world. I don't bite, and I try to say hi to people, but generally I just feel stupid. The big LA SCBWI is next week, and I so wish I could go to that, but that will come someday. Here's to hoping that I can publish my first novel soon--granted I have to finish this revision, then proofread it and then start querying.

Have a great writing week! I'll be silent for the rest of the week!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


So I went silent on my accountability posts.

Here's an update: Thursday was pretty much a zero, except I went to writer's group. Yeah, that was fun. I was going to write after it was over, but I got home after midnight. My husband hates it when I'm that late. So I went to bed.

Friday: Did a total rehaul on my first chapter. I tried switching it to third, which I'm pretty sure didn't work for me. I'm just not feeling this book in third person. My next novel is in third and it works for me, but this one is not. So I rehauled it that way.

And then I rehauled it again, in first (I've saved all three versions of course) in which I do a slight plot twist that might work with fixing some issues I was having with the first chapter.

But now I'm stuck because I like the ennd of my first chapter--and now it's not the same. I'm trying to figure it out. Trying, trying trying. I could split the chapter earlier or make it like five pages longer. For the most part my chapters are about ten pages.

The things is I still what the kidnapping scene, and I want it to end a chapter. I'm about 700 words into the next chapter, and it's time for the kidnapping. Do I delay it and fill in more back story, do I trash some of the revised first chapter, and squeeze this stuff in there, or do I have a longer first chapter.

Today: I wrote a bit more at the end of where I was before the chapter one issue. Then I relooked at chapter one and two again. And then I stared at the screen, and I thought about it. And what I want to set as the tone of the novel, and I thought about it some more, and then I thought about it again.

Then I tried to write more at the end, but I think that I've thought too much today, because I couldn't even spell anything.

So good night.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today's Word Count

Approximately 2500 words.

I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Progress Report

Revision Word Count, I did about fifteen hundred words revision today. My program doesn't give me page numbers, just words. Still I'm pretty pleased. i think that it's coming along.

This new way of revising--I'm retyping my whole story and changing as needed is actually a lot more effective. It helps me catch when I'm repetitive or am in love with a certain word.

Hopefully I'll get double the work done tomorrow.

How did your day go?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Work Today Zero

I said I was going to post accountability reports this week. Today I got nothing done. I'm about to go read everything I've revised, but it is close enough to my bed time that I won't be writing.

I didn't write today because I got an ARC of Catching Fire in the mail today. Hunger Games was my favorite book from last year. What would you have done? Honestly.

I will say that Catching Fire didn't disappoint. I can't wait for the third book to come out. I told my husband I couldn't stand to wait a year, and he said, well you'll have to wait longer than a year. Moan!

The book was freakin' awesome. Just saying. I won't give anything away, but I so need to talk about it. I'm signing off so I don't post any spoilers. I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone.

Tomorrow my numbers will be better, but Thursday's my writers group so this week is really not as good as I hoped.

How did you do today?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finding the Right Voice

The biggest problem I've been having lately with my Isis story is finding the perfect voice. I'm nearly there. And occasionally I'm right on. Then I might spend the next day rewriting and realize that I completely wasted all of that time. The voice isn't strong enough in my writing. So that has been my struggle lately. It takes me a few minutes to get into that voice, sometimes it takes more than just a few minutes.

At the writing conference I went to in June, there was a writer, Kristi Stevens, in my group who's work had an awesome voice. It was totally snarky and fun, but best of all it was carried throughout the work. I asked her what her tips were to maintain such a strong voice. She told me that she would sit down and write about something not related to her book, until she was writing in her main character's voice. I

Well I'm going to try to do that this week. I want every minute I spend tweaking the voice, and rewriting to count. I'm also going to post progress reports each night. These posts won't include a lot of information, I just need the added accountability. Really need it, since I want to be done very soon.

I was talking to someone in my writer's group this week about whether or not she really wanted to publish, or if she was just writing to write. It's an interesting question. First it is quite an accomplishment to have written a novel. There are a lot of people who want to write a novel. A small percentage of them actually do finish. And then a smaller percentage who go on to get published. At the writer's conference and among the blogosphere it is common to hear about the throw away novels. (Actually the ones you have in a file on your desktop or hidden under your bed.) You know the ones that will never see the light of day.

For me, personally, I'm not just writing for me. Ultimately yes, I'm writing because I want to, that part is for me. But I do want my book to be read by other people. That's the ultimate point in the entire exercise. If I was writing just for me, I'd have been done at that first draft. I like telling stories. I like reading and getting wrapped in stories as well.

My husband and I were also talking about being a career novelist versus being a superstar or a one hit wonder. Now it would be nice to get that huge advance and all that wonderful PR backing from your publisher. I'm not going to lie about it. With those big advances come big expectations. A lot of pressure is on you for your next book, and so on. What if your first book doesn't sell out the advance, it's a lot harder to get a good deal. If you are writing a series, what do you do when you are done with the series? Is your career over or not? Many people look at J.K. Rowlings or Stephenie Meyer and wonder if they will come out with more books. (I'm hoping it's a yes.)

Then there are the people that started out with smaller advances, and then grow steadily bigger. At the writer's conference my instructors, Tracy and Laura Hickman, talked about how what looks like overnight success really isn't. Usually the writer has been around publishing for about ten years and then suddenly breaks through in a big way. Once they have the big hit then people go to their backlists and read books. For these people you already know that they will likely keep writing and be able to sustain it because they have that track record. Meg Cabot with Princess Diaries comes to mind with this one. Suzanne Collins also had another series before Hunger Games.

So while I'd like the huge advance, the pressure can be overwhelming. At this point I think I'm just going to be happy when I sell my first book. The size of the advance won't be as important as the fact that I'll be a published author. I'd also like to be able to keep writing for the rest of my life. Silly I know, but I really want this to be my career. I've just got to break through first.

So how do you feel on the career novelist versus superstar front? Would you rather have the big advance and all that pressure, or a good advance with a nice amount of backing but not so much pressure?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So I Keep Putting Off Posting

Honestly, when I don't post on a regular basis, it is because I'm not writing. I'm procrastinating, and I don't want the rest of the world to know it. That's why I started the blog, really. It's all about accountability. This week I've got the achey coughy kind of flu thing. My two oldest are at grandma's, and so you'd think I'd be getting my writing done. But no. I've managed to completely waste the last two days. Seriously though I am sick. I took the garbage out, not normally a big deal, and I sat down and didn't get up for over an hour. I was dizzy and tired. Tired!

But that doesn't mean I'm sleeping well at night. Enough about my sickness (excuse for not writing).

I've given myself a new absolutely infallible deadline. My dh Rob thinks I should go to the local SCBWI conference and pay the extra money to have my novel evaluated. The only way I'll do that is if I get this revision done in time to submit. It has to be there by August 5th. Talk about the motivation I need. I do work best under pressure--especially external pressure.

Plus I think it is nearly time to submit to agents (meaning once I've gotten this draft right). I've gotten lots of very helpful and wonderful feedback that's really changed what I've written. I'm very grateful to Heather!

I've thought a lot about what I've written, and why I finally started writing. And the fact that yes I finished my novel. Yes, I finished it more than six months ago, and yes I've sat around "editing it" for six months. A lot of that time has seriously been just staring at it or wasting time. But no more! If I can write the damn thing, then I can edit it too.

Now that's out of my system I'm going to bed, so I can actually do something tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Works in Progress

I am in the middle of what I hope are the last of my revisions for my current project. I'm really working to capture Isis's voice. It is tougher than I thought it would be. But the rewrite is a major one. I'm redoing the whole thing, and then I'll have to redo the grammar and all of that again, but then I will start subbing to agents. My honest hope is that I'll be able to do this by the end of July. We shall hope and see and hope some more.

On another note I really want to get going on the other novel. I think I'm going to come up with a set schedule of writing my new novel either in the morning or the evening and then doing my rewrite on the opposite end of it. Maybe I'll just double up on revision time so I can really just get that novel written. If I do 3,000 words a day I could have it written in a month. I think I could write that much a day, maybe.

I'll start posting quick word count updates and revision updates. My revisions may be page numbers instead of word count though.

I have some new books to read thanks to my darling hubby. He seriously researches the books he buys me and takes time. He did so well in fact that I had already read some of the books he got me. In his defense, I do read several a week and I'd challenge anyone to keep up with me. Truly. I don't think most people could do it. He wants me to make a list of ALL of the books I've read. I just looked at him. I don't think I can do it. I don't remember them all. There are times when I'm super reading heavy and times when I'm not so much. If I read in the evenings then I'm not writing, so I have to be careful.

How is your writing journey going? Any exciting news? Do share!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Attempt at Humor

So I have decided to be more active on the blogging front. Well at least this blog. We'll see how it goes. Since I do write YA, and the teenage years are full of embarrassing moments, I thought I might share one that happened to me recently. Now this is small compared to some of my high school moments, and my freshmen year of college was quite embarrassing. However it does hearken back to my freshman year of college. That year I had four or five quite spectacular falls in front of boys. One involved the inability to get back up. I was in a dress, with slick shoes, and both the guy I was with and I were laughing so hard, but embarrassed at the same time that I couldn't get up. He was lifting me and everything! I was a nice petite 105 back then, so it wouldn't be the same thing if someone couldn't lift me up today.

Anyway my most recent and very embarrassing moment happened yesterday. I took my children to the swimming pool with a friend and her children. We are packing up getting ready to go when my darling two year old understanding that we are leaving took off towards the gate. My towel was wrapped around me, but as he picked up speed I started dropping the things that I was carrying. I left quite a trail behind me.

As I look, he has reached the road/parking lot. It's like a combination thing. I yell, "Stop Jacob." He giggles.

Then I trip over a step and scrape both of my knees, and my hands and stub my toe. My butt, which is now towelless is sticking straight up in the air. But since Jacob is in the road I scramble up and hobble towards him. "Stop Jacob" But really I'm thinking don't cry like an idiot, don't cry like an idiot.

Limping I chase him in circles until I grab him. Then I look down at my knee. The right one hurts, and it is dripping blood. I thought scraped knees were for children. (Unfortunately this is not the case for me--as this is the third time I've scraped my right knee something royal since I grew up).

My friend was in the shower room with her kids, and thus did not witness my derriere moment. I am too embarrassed to have her see the shame of my bloody knee. Blood is trickling down my leg at this point. I dash over wrap my towel around me again--which I now need to bleach--just in time. I gather my other two kids. And limp while trying not to look as though I'm not limping back to the car.

I see two more friends today, and they comment on my scraped up leg. I'm wearing capris, so the really bad part isn't showing. I try to laugh it off. But inside I'm writhing in agony. Does everyone need to know that I'm a complete klutz? Generally it happens in waves. For example during my freshman year I fell down (for no apparent reason, tripping was only involved once) five times in a three month period.

My most spetacular fall involved rolling twice down a steep ramp and everyone stopping and staring. My friends were so shocked they just stood there. Maybe they didn't want to admit to being with me. Some friends!

My most embarrassing was the aforementioned incident where I could not stand back up with said boy--who I was interested in at the time.

My most humiliating was the tripping incident which involved ripping a large hole in the knees of my new jeans (at a time when large holes were not okay fashion wise). I seriously considered going back home, but it was the first day of class, and I knew if I went home, I'd wouldn't go back to campus. I was late, because it hurt to walk, and there was lots of dripping blood. My professor was some honor code lackey and when I entered late--he spoke about the importance of being on time. When he walked by me, and noticed the holes in my pants--and if he even looked momentarily my bloody, bloody knee. He lectured the class about not coming to class with holes in your pants. Yeah--he made a great first impression.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Long Time Coming

Wow! It's been a long time since I posted. Not a lot of news on the novel front. I'm getting some very valuable feedback on it. That's been a real help. I've been thinking about it and I'm ready to start reworking it today. It should be good!

I'm also really excited to write my next novel. I'm two chapters in. And honestly I'm torn between the two books so much. I want to finish up my Isis book, but I really, really want to write this next one. I'm afraid that I'll mess things up if I work on more than one book at a time. It's a different novel cast of characters, different setting, different voice, and different perspective. It is in third person instead of first. But it still has a lot of action or well it will have a lot of action. Can you write more than one novel at a time? Should I even try? Part of me really wants to attempt to.

My conference was good. I learned a lot. I'm excited to go to my next conference in September. This one is very close to home, (less than half an hour a way), which will be good. I missed my kids by day four of the conference. I'd been away for six days at that point. I think everyone was kind of worn out by Thursday. I know I was. And my little four year old told me that I would come home if I missed him and cried on the phone. So I was sad.

The things that stuck out to me from the conference were motivation for the characters being on, having a good idea of where the plot is going, and staying true to the young adult perspective. There were three editors there and one agent. I went to some group discussions with them, but the thing that amazed me was how impressed I was with their knowledge of the book world. Seriously I'd love to sit down and just talk favorite novels with them. (A lot of their favorites as kids were my favorites too.)

It was nice to be around people who get it, and not just writing in general but writing for young adults. I was in a fantasy workshop and I learned a lot about world building and novel structure. It was great to be in a fantasy only group. I love fantasy, and I'm glad that I write fantasy (or my new novel is a dystopian one--which is actually close).

Well that's about it. How is your work/submitting/revising coming?

And also I was fortunate to win that copy of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins I wanted as well as Liar by Justine Larbalestier, and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater from Presenting Lenore. I really like her blog, it is full of reviews, contests and other great tidbits. It's awesome so you should check it out!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Win a Copy of Catching Fire!

So you can go to Lenore's Website to try to win a copy of the book. You know you want to.

My New Website

One of the things I wanted to get done before the conference was to get my new website up and running. I already had my domain name and a site up for my freelance writing. I changed it (or I should say my husband was kind enough to change it) to reflect my book.

Anyway check it

Let me know what you think, and if there are any glaring problems.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Conference, Conference Here I Come!

So I'm going to my first writer's conference next week. I'm super excited, and very nervous. I'm a naturally shy person--extremely shy and I have a hard time around new people. But I've learned to push myself to be friendly, but at the same time it is exhausting.

Another scary factor is sharing my work with strangers. They have no reason to be nicey, nice about my writing. So I'm going to get honest feedback. That is a good thing and I'm ready to take it. Bring it on! (But that doesn't mean I'm still not afraid of it--but what if they hate it? What if they hate me? kind of thing.)

I'm frantically trying to get the last minute things done, go through the prep materials the workshop leader sent me, and get the house ready for my mom to come take care of the kids. Shopping, cleaning, writing ahead for my jobs, and I still have to fit my writing in.

Wow! I don't have time to write much more. But in honor of my conference going, I've gotten a new haircut. Well honestly it's my haircut when I get my haircut. It was halfway down my back, and now it's under my chin, but I feel more writerly and confident and happy. I should just keep my hair short. I like it so much better that way!

Happy Writing--I'll post after the conference in two weeks!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here!

So I've been editing. I really don't like editing. But I know I need to do it, and I'm really tightening things up. I consider myself a pretty tight writer. I'm not overly flowery, I don't waste time on unnecessary description. (At least I hope not.) But every now and then I hit a section that is chock full of adverbs. Like I had an adverb attack that day while I was writing. The thing about it is this is not my first round of edits, and I have slashed mercilessly at those adverbs each edit. And. They. Are. Still. There.

When it gets particularly bad, I start singing "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly . . ." I must be driving my husband crazy. He doesn't say anything unless he's editing (film not writing) and then he shushes me because I'm messing with the quiet he needs. I've got the whole song memorized in fact I have the entire Grammar Rock collection on video somewhere. I loved to use it when I taught grammar--parts of speech to my students. But every time I slash an adverb I wonder why they were invented, identified and used.

On another note--I've not written in a few weeks, because I've just been frustrated by my editing process. Shudder. The thing thing is that I'm just plain frustrated. I don't want to write whiney post after whiney post. I know you don't want to hear it.

I've revised my query again:

Seventeen-year-old Isis’ life changes the day she uses magic to save herself from an exploding car. It wasn’t like she had a choice in the matter—instinct kicked in—and she did it without thinking. The only problem was that in the process she saved Dane—her stupid class project partner. The bomb was meant for him, but did he say thanks? Nope, instead he kidnaps her because of her powers and pulls her into a world of magic where two societies are warring for control.

Isis discovers she is the dreamer. That means her gift is stronger than most and she can do things other people can’t –like walk around the world of dreams. It allows her to take control of people’s minds and tell them what to do and how to act through their dreams. Not to mention all the magic she can do in the real world. Both societies want her and her choice could end the fighting, but Isis doesn’t know whom to trust.

Afraid of her family’s rejection Isis is afraid to join either group, but Dane insists on training her, and she begins to fall for him as they spend more and more time together. Still Isis didn’t ask to be thrown into this world, but when she learns about a planned assassination attempt on the president and she discovers the wrong side is winning, she can’t just walk away.

But I still don't have a title. I so need a good title--where can I find a title muse?

Finally all of the published authors, editors, and agents blogs I read have been talking about BEA. It seems like everyone is there and having fun. It sounds fun--maybe someday I can go too.

Happy writing!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Okay so here is the truth-at least the way that I see it. Revising is the hardest part of writing. For me, it is just so hard to go back again, and again.

I know that it makes my writing stronger.

I know that my story isn't perfect the first time through.

I know that the difference between getting published and not getting published is in the editing--most especially when it is your first novel, your first shot at getting an agent and getting published.

Things I've realized about my story this week--my first door (as referred to in Plot and Structure) is weak (well I've known this). The first door is an event or thing that propels your character forward. And this weak, I figured out three things I can do to make it stronger. I can move up my first door in my plot a bit, add a little bit of mystery throughout the book, and raise the stakes--make it much more compelling.

But now I find that I'm avoiding the writing time I have set aside, because I don't want to do the revisions I know that I need to do. Uggh!

Good writing!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

All About Accountability

So last week I had some really lofty goals. The biggest reason I started writing the blog is that I needed accountability so I am reporting on my progress. I am being completely honest too--

Get another draft of my query ready

Yes I did. I posted it at AW and got feedback. And I also tried a worksheet that I found at Beth Revis's blog about creating a pitch. She adapted it from a post by edittorent. This actually was very helpful. I may post it later this week. I want to sit on it and think about it for awhile.

Work on my draft of my synopsis

I looked at this. Read it once, and left it completely alone. My biggest thing is I don't want to change some names that I know I need to change. The good guy society is Damia, and the bad guy society is Ares. My problem is that my two protagonists names are Dane and Isis. Much too similar Damia/Dane, and Ares/Isis. And I like the names too much to change the character names, but my societies have those names! Agh! I know I need to change it, but it is so hard.

Write a detailed synopsis for my trilogy

I totally did this and loved it. It is only a rough draft, but it got me completely excited about my series again. The characters still have so much opportunity to grow. The next two books are going to rock, but I'm not going to write them until I sell the first. Partly because I'm still super excited about twenty years later.

Design and order business cards for the Writer's Conference

So this didn't even happen. Not at all.

Keep working on 20 Years Later (which will soon have a new title, since I have to slightly change one premise of the book--thanks to feedback from writers group)

Well I did add a 1000 words, but I didn't go back and fix what I needed to fix. And I only worked on it one day--shame, shame on me.

Do Third draft of First Novel and Name it

I got some great ideas, and started my read through. But I didn't make significant changes yet. Not that I'm not going to. I got some great advice from the AW forum, and it's going to make me look at this draft a lot more closely.

Start blogging more regularly (This may or may not happen)

Obviously this did not happen. But it shall. In my defense I did get a lot of work done this week.

So I've been thinking a lot about balance this week. Finding the balance between being a mom, working from home and writing a novel. And I've decided I don't get as much done as I could, because I'm out of balance. I need to assign specific tasks to specific times and stick to them.

Goals for this week:

Reestablish a working writing versus novel writing schedule.

Another Draft of My Query

Third Revision of My Novel

Give My Novel a Real Title

Order the business cards (I'm running out of time on these)

Add 3000 words to Twenty Years later. That should be another chapter.

So how do you find the balance in your writing vs your normal life?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm Back!

So last weekend I went on vacation. I was silent for two weeks because I was getting ready for the vacation and then I was on the vacation. I told my husband I wouldn't work/write while on vacation this time. And so I didn't. I didn't get on and surf the Internet, or anything. I had over 500 blogs posts to read and catch up on, but I did it today. Finally! As an aside it was a great trip to Florida to see family and spend a day at Disneyworld. My three kiddos loved it.

Honestly I haven't worked on anything since then. But I'm ready to go.

My writer's group gave positive feedback to my first chapter of my new book. I'm super excited about it. It's got so much potential. I just hope that I can carry the story through. The tension level is going to be high, high, high through most of the novel. I like it so much that I almost want to sell this before my other novel, but it's not done yet.

However, I still like my first novel, and don't want to abandon it or the series. I got the best phone call today. I sent out my second draft to a few readers, and I hadn't heard anything back from them yet. I sat next to one today at church, and almost asked, and then didn't. I decided that she didn't like it, and so I didn't want to make her uncomfortable about it--even though I don't mind a negative reaction (well not much), since I need feedback.

Then I got a phone call. She called just to let me know she was half way through and didn't want to put it down to go make dinner for her family! She wanted to finish it. Well that totally made my day!

So goals this week:

Get another draft of my query ready

Work on my draft of my synopsis

Write a detailed synopsis for my trilogy

Design and order business cards for the Writer's Conference

Keep working on 20 Years Later (which will soon have a new title, since I have to slightly change one premise of the book--thanks to feedback from writers group)

Do Third draft of First Novel and Name it

Start blogging more regularly (This may or may not happen)

Well I think that's all pretty ambitious. We'll see what happens!