Monday, December 19, 2011

Have a cup of Christmas Cheer

Since I have shopping to finish, presents to wrap, a quilt to finish, a toque to knit, and many more such items on my to do list, I'm going to sign off blogger for the week (not that I've been around too much anyway - hope that changes in the new year).

So I'm leaving you with my favorite Christmas message.

JOY

This word reminds me how I can best remember the reason for the season.

Jesus
Others
Yourself

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas surrounded by lots of family, fun, and of course chocolate.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Three Way Mirror

The other day I realized, much to my displeasure, that I needed a new bra. I hate bra shopping. In fact, I had it a hundred times worse than buying a new bathing suit.

I picked out about ten bras and went to the change room that had a three way mirror it it. I tried bra after bra on and every time I looked in the mirror I realized something – I'm out of shape. Nothing like seeing yourself from all angles, to get a reality check. You really can't eat a box of Toffifees and lose weight.

Sometimes I feel like this with my writing. There are certain times when I see it better.  I get a reality check on to what I need to add and what I need to get rid of. Here are a few of my three way mirrors:
  • After I let it sit for a while.
  • After I get it back from a CP.
  • After I've read a good book.
  • After I've worked on another project.
  • After I've gone for a long walk.
How about you? Are there times when you see your book better, without resorting to a three way mirror?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Passion vs Practice

I read a quote once that read something like this. "Don't mistake passion for practice."

It's easy to be passionate about things: writing, losing weight, spending time with family, doing well at our jobs, etc. But it takes work to accomplish those things, sacrifice even. I've often said I wish I could just lose five pounds. Usually it's when I'm putting a piece of chocolate in my mouth. If we're not willing to put forth the effort then we will not have the results.

This weekend my son went to a basketball camp where the main coach said this. "You can be outstanding or you can be comfortable, but you can't be both."

Hard work is exactly that hard work. It's something I've been missing these past few months. I can't use the, I'm busy or I'm tired excuse anymore, because if I'm really passionate about writing then I'll find time.

My goal this week is to etch out some time to write. It may not be a lot, but even if it's for a couple of hours, it will be more than I did last week.

How about you? Any goals this week?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kidspeak

For those who write YA, I thought this might help you write authentic teenage dialogue.

I saw this in a news article and couldn't resist posting a few.

Below are some words that kids are using today.  How many have you heard of?

Flop
Used in a sentence: Last night was flop. I was supposed to go to the movies with my boyfriend but flopped on me. He’s such a flopper.
What it means: A flop is when a planned event doesn’t end up happening. A flopper is someone who often cancels last minute.
Replaces: Bailing/Bailer

Photobomb
Used in a sentence: My brother is standing behind us making faces in this picture – what a photobomb.
What it means: A photobomb is when a person or object is in a picture accidentally or intentionally and as a result, ruins the photo.
Replaces: Nothing. It didn’t exist before the digital era.

Lipdub
Used in a sentence: Have you seen that lipdub UBC did for Frosh week?
What it means: A music video done in one ake with a variety of people singing along.
Replaces: Lip syncing

POS
This is text speak for “Parents over shoulder.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Junk Drawer

I have a junk drawer. It's convenient to have somewhere to put things when I'm too lazy to find another home for them. Every once in a while I empty it out, throw away stuff that I don't need, and rearrange things to have some kind of order.

I tried to to NaNo last month and epically failed, but I did learn something. I need to be better prepared, because right now my manuscript reminds me of my junk drawer. I feel like I wrote chapters just to get some words and now I have a big mess. I need to go through all of it and throw stuff away that doesn't work, rearrange other parts that do work, and put it all into order.

How about you? Do you ever feel like your manuscript is like a junk drawer?

PS: Dress update. All that worrying for nothing. I didn't make it to my Christmas party due to a winter storm.

PSS: Sorry I haven't been around lately. My computer sucks, so I only have access at night when my husband isn't working or my son isn't doing homework. I'm hoping for a laptop for Christmas, or my anniversary, or my birthday. I'm going to try and swing by everyone's blogs this week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finding a dress

I have a Christmas Party this weekend where I have to wear a fancy dress. For those who don't know me, I'm a pretty casual dresser. My favorite clothing store is Sports Chek (I think you have those down south).

I bought a dress a few weeks ago, but I'm not completely happy with it, so today I went looking for another one. I probably tried on thirty dresses. Some were awful even though they looked good on a hanger, some were okay, but would a body shaping slip to make it look alright. Then I found the dress. The one I had to have. I thought it was on sale only to find out that out of the 100+ dresses this store had, it was the only one not on sale. Totally sucks. So instead I settled for another dress, or I'll go back and wear the one I originally bought.

I suspect that finding a dress for a Christmas party would be a lot like an agent trying to find a manuscript that they like. Some look good at first, but once they start reading them - not so much. Others are alright, but they would have to do a lot of work to make it fit. Then they find the book that fits in all the right places only to have it go to another agent.

All I can say is I'm glad I only go dress shopping once a year.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Joining the Thankful Bandwagon

Even though I'm Canadian, I'm wanted to list a few things I'm thankful for, because I forgot to do when it was our Thanksgiving in October.

1. I am thankful for good friends. People who you can be yourself around.
2. I am thankful for my family. People who accept me flaws and all.
3. I am thankful that I don't have to be in top physical condition to write a book, so I don't have to worry about getting a book published before my knees give out on me.
4. I am thankful for chocolate and peanut butter on toast (2 of my favorite things)
5. I am thankful that even though there are days where I think I suck as a writer, I still think I'm better than I was a year ago.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Do you ever feel like this?

Do you ever feel like this? Or is it just me?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My drama might not be your drama

So I've had a lot of drama over the past six months with my soccer team. At times it has felt like living in a bad clichéd sports movie. There's been secret meetings, hostile take overs, and definitely a few villians (in my opinion anyway). All my friends think I should write a book about it.

But just because I think it's interesting, doesn't mean other people would.

You often hear the saying - write what you know, but that doesn't mean we should tell our life story event for event (at least not when writing a novel). My life is actually really boring (work, carpool, kids sports, laundry) with a few stressful moments tossed in, not enough to write a novel (unless I embellished). One day I might write my soccer book, drawing on the experiences I've had over the past six months. But I think I’ll wait until I’m old enough to be able to laugh at everything that's happened and right now I'm not quite there.

How about you? Have you ever thought about writing a book about an event in your life?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Being Mean

I typically am not a mean person. It's in my genes to be a people pleaser. I blame my mother (or I should probably thank her).

Don't get me wrong, I've had my moments of being kind of ... (cough, cough), but I usually feel guilty about it and apologize afterwards.

I've been working on my current WIP and I got to 15K and realized something. I'm not being mean enough. I'm not throwing enough obstacles at my main character. I've made her life too easy.

So instead of doing a full NaNo, I'm going to do a half, because I'm going to start again and throw as many darts at my character as I can. They might not all stick, but I need to continually make her life harder, at least until the end.

How about you? Do you have a hard time putting your character is bad or awkward situations?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A book by any other cover...

I am terrible with names. When people mention authors and book titles, my eyes kind of glaze over and I politely nod so no one knows that I'm not quite who they're talking about.

But covers...

I remember covers.

If someone told me about the cover with the shirtless angel guy falling in a dark sky, I would know what book they were talking about.

If someone described a girl wearing a knitted toque, sitting on a swing, I would know what book they were talking about.

If someone talked about a book with a girl trapped in a green ball, I would know what book they were talking about.

I'm a very visual learner, so for me the cover is everything. When I read reviews, I remember the cover and that's what I look for when I go to the bookstore.

How about you? Do you remember author's names and titles, or do you remember the cover more?


PS: For those doing NaNo, how are you doing. I'm at 12K, so far so good.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Early Riser

I have never been a morning person.

A few years ago I tried to be friends with a lady who lived down the street by going for walks with her at 5:45am (that's right). I lasted for about two weeks before I told her I just couldn't do it anymore.

I used to write late at night, but as my kids got older and started staying up later, I'm finding I can't do that anymore.

I haven't tried writing early in the morning because I just never thought I could do it.

My CP Jessie has been writing early and has been getting a lot done, so she decided to have a blog fest and test out to see if maybe you function better in the morning.

Go here and sign up. It's for the third week in November and for everyone doing NaNo, this might be the push you need.

And if you're already a morning person then this would be an easy blogfest for you.

So what are you? Early morning, afternoon, or evening writer?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Backing Up

Sometimes in life you think you can do more than you can.

I have learned this week that I really can't. I can't work part time, keep up with my house, cart my three kids around, be a part time volleyball coach, play soccer, and participate in NaNo.

So I'm following Angela Felsted's lead and I'm going to back up a bit. I'm going to shoot for a half NaNo instead. If I'm able to write more than great, but if not that's okay. I'm just going to try and write as much as I can.

Sometimes we need to do this with our writing. When I first started editing my book, I'd try to fix everything in one pass. I'd watch the grammar, the dialogue, the continuity, the pacing. I soon learned I couldn't do it all at once. I needed to concentrate on a few things at a time. This worked much better.

So good luck to everyone who's starting NaNo tomorrow and happy Halloween.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Plan A-Z

I stole this off my friend's facebook.


I think I might be on Plan M or P by now.

What plan are you on?

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Motivation

I need some.
So I thought maybe Nano might be a good fit for me this year. That was until last night and I started looking at my schedule and felt so overwhelmed that I went to bed early.

But at the same time, we're always going to be busy. Life is always going to get in the way. Somehow we have to find the time and the inclination to keep going.

So I think I'm going to do NaNo. Anyone else?

Yesterday Elana had a great idea to find a group of people who are doing it and email each other at the end of each day with word count and last line written.

Anyone interested?


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The First Ten Minutes


I’m not one of those people who loves to run, but because I play soccer it’s a necessary evil. What I find the most interesting when I run is that it’s the first ten minutes that’s the hardest not the last ten.

It takes me ten minutes to get into a rhythm and for my body to get used to the pounding. If I can make it past ten minutes then I can run for another forty or more.

I find the same thing with writing. It takes me at least ten minutes to get into a groove where I’ve blocked everything else out: my kids, the internet, the TV, the dirty dishes. Usually it's when the kids are in bed, the internet and TV are off and my house is clean that I can sit down with a clear mind. If I can get past that first ten minutes then I’m good to go and I can write for hours.

How about you do you have a hard getting started?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is this more exciting!!!

Back in my early days of learning how to write I used a lot of exclamation marks to show excitement, fear, anger, but a wise friend of mine told me to use action to show these emotions not punctuation.

I saw this on Raising Hope and thought it illustrated my point perfectly.

For those who don't watch the show, I'll set the scene. Jimmy is trying to get his daughter into a fancy preschool and on his application form has used a lot of exclamation marks.



I'm sure there's lots, but what's one thing you learned early on your road to becoming a writer.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Long Term Relationship

I have been in a long term relationship for about six or seven years now. It started off strong. We clicked right away and I thought he was perfect, but then I introduced him to a few friends. They noticed a few flaws – things they thought I should try to change.

Over the past few years I've made great progress. I've almost got him to where I want him, but I'm still not sure he's good enough.

There's still a few things he could be better at, but I'm not sure how to change him. He's quite stubborn.

So I'm giving him a few more months. If it's meant to be it will work out and if he's not doing better then it may be time to move on to something new. Although it will be hard to leave something I've worked so hard on, it might be for the best.

Here's hoping the relationship works.

PS: Just in case you didn't get my analogy - my long term relationship is with my book.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paying it Forward

Matthew McNish and Alex Cavanough had this great idea for a blog fest.

Paying it forward.

Technically its suppose to be on Friday, October 14 but since I work tomorrow I won't be able to post anything in the morning. Combine that with the fact that my schedule thing isn't working means I'm posting this late Thursday night.

In Alex's words, the idea is to introduce all of us to everyone else. We want this to be easy - meet and follow as many other bloggers as you like. In your post, we would like you to please list, describe, and link to three blogs that you enjoy reading and know that others would enjoy as well.

Visit those who’s signed up. Visit those they recommend! If you don’t have time to comment, just follow. Take the weekend to go through the list. You might find some really cool blogs out there.

Plus we're to feature three blogs that we think other people should follow.

The first person I think you should follow is Robyn Campbell. She is the most positive person I've met through blogging. She always has a kind word for everyone and her comments always leave me smiling.

The second person I think you should follow is Heidi Willis. She is a fantastic writer and photographer. She's doing her MFA and always has great advice about what's she's learned.

The third person I think you should follow is Laura Pauling because she has great advice on how to structure your story and I've learned so much from reading her blog.

Have fun looking at over 200 blogs. It might take a while but I'm going to try and get through all of them before Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thank goodness for rejection

I'm almost finished the last of my edits before heading into query land.

I've been there before, but I've only visited for short periods of time. In total I think I had about ten to fifteen rejections. This time I'm planning on staying for a while.

When I read my earlier drafts of my book, all I can think is, thank goodness I was rejected, because I wouldn't have wanted that version to be my first book.

I've learned so much since I started writing this book. It has completely changed and this time I think it might have a chance. But even if it doesn't, I know I can write another book and it will be even better.

So thank goodness all of the agents I sent my first drafts to were smart enough to realize it wasn't ready.

How about you? Are you glad your first drafts weren't published?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Debut Novel - Hereafter

Christina Lee had this great idea of reviewing 2011 debut YA authors and I was lucky to be in the right spot at the right time, so I was able to review a book for today.

Due to my bad habit of procrastination, the book I originally picked, was unavailable at my book store. Which turned out to be good, because  I came across Hereafter by Tara Hudson and decided to give it a try. I have to admit it is the first paranormal book I've read, so I didn't know what to expect, but this book didn't disappoint.

Here's a run down of what the book is about:

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.



So not only is it a paranormal, but it's also a romance, and I'm a sucker for a good romance. And between a ghost and a living boy. What a great concept. Her descriptions of the afterlife is eerie and haunting (not a place I'd like to go). Since I haven't read any other paranormal books, I'd say this was a great one to get me interested in the genre.


So here's my question: Have you read any great paranormal books lately?



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding G and Hidden Valley Ranch

I am all kinds of tired. On Monday I canned more salsa, did a ton of errands, had piano lessons with my daughter, played volleyball and soccer (did I mention I joined a coed volleyball team).

Today I worked all day, got groceries and took kids to basketball practice.

My mind is fried. I have no words of wisdom. No clever analogies. No thoughts on writing.

Instead I leave you with two funny videos.

Have you seen either of them before? Which one did you like better? If you don't have time to watch them, which one do you think you'd like more?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Phone Call

No, I 'm not talking about that one, but I wish.

Yesterday, I got a phone call that started like this.

"Hey, Patti, how's it going."

I had no clue who was on the phone and it took me a good minute to figure it out. (I guess I didn't want to be rude and ask).

When I call someone, who I don't normally talk to all the time on the phone, I usually say, "Hey, it's Patti." This way the person I'm talking to knows who it is and we can start our conversation right away, instead of her saying three minutes later "Oh, it's Patti". I do this because apparently I sound really young on the phone. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked if my mom was home. I have used this to my advantage since if I know it's a telemarketer, I say no.

How does this relate to writing?

Let's pretend the person who called me is the author and I'm the reader. It took me a while to get situated – to know who I was talking to. Even though I like books that open with some action, I also like it when the author is clear about what is going on, so I'm not scratching my head for four pages going, "What the heck..." If it's too hard to follow, I'm less inclined to keep reading.

How about you? Do you like knowing what's going on right away in a book? Or do you like to be left guessing for a little bit?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Best Laid Plans

To try and stop some of my misery, I actually made a very simple to do list for today. (see previous post)

Vacumm
Edit three chapters
Exercise

Totally doable – right?

Well I didn't do any of those things. Instead I visited with three ladies in my church, then went to my mom's and canned 18 jars of salsa. My mom called in the morning and told me she had everything ready for me to come over and can. My mom is kind of like that, so how could I say no.

Now I've decided to make my to do lists at the end of the day.

Made 18 jars of salsa - done
Made dinner - done
Soccer meeting - done
blog - done
shower - done
groceries for the salsa - done

Wow, I did a lot today.




Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to feel Miserable


I found this on facebook and had to share. I think I'm underlining way too many of those.Today I will take try not to constantly compare myself to others.

How about you? Are there any you want to work on?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Osmosis

The informal definition: "Osmosis" is the process by which information or concepts come a person without conscious effort.

I can't tell you how many times I sat down at the computer last week and hoped this would happen. That all the words and stories that were inside of me would just flow out of my head and onto the computer screen, but unfortunately life doesn't work that way – at least not for me. I've come to accept that now.

I've had my crit partner's notes back for a week now and although I've looked at them, I haven't applied them to my book. I just keep looking at my documents sitting on my desk top, hoping that inspiration will spring, but I've come to the conclusion that inspiration doesn't spring unless your writing. It usually doesn't happen with the first sentence and maybe not even the second, but if I keep writing eventually I will get there.

Remember nothing happens by osmosis.

How about you? Do you find you have to be writing in order for inspiration to hit?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Different Hair

Today while perusing through msn.ca, I came across this little headline: 10 Hairstyles Men Love

And since I have been having bad hair days for the past few weeks, I clicked on the link hoping it would give me some ideas of what might be appealing.

Here's what it said: Long bangs, pony tails, long and straight, messy bob, short and pinky, long and wild, pixie.

One of the commenters on the article said this: Might have been easier to write what men don't like.  I think this article just about covered every hairstyle there currently is.  Maybe just say; clean it, no split ends and no weird colours? 


I think this article is another reminder that everyone's tastes are different whether it be hair, clothes, music, tv shows, or books.


What we have to remember is to wear, listen to, watch, and write things that you like, because that's all that really matters.


Just for fun though? What kind of haircut do you like on a man?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Seeing the whites of their eyes

Have you ever said you'd do something months in advance and then when the day arrives you wonder what the heck you were thinking.

I can imagine some people who sign up for a marathon would feel this way, or if you decided to go back to school after you're married with three children.

For me it was a in person critique group.

In May my local SCBWI chapter put out a notice that they were going to start an in person critique group. I thought it was a great idea and promptly sent an email expressing my interest.

Fast forward three months.

Last Monday I got an email from Angela Ackerman (aka Bookshelf Muse) that we would be starting this week. I can't tell you how many excuses went through my head.

Then two days before we met I decided if I really want to be a writer, I needed to try this.

I have to admit I wasn't nervous about getting my own writing critiqued, I just didn't know if I had anything to offer other people. And really it's one thing to offer feedback in an email, quite another to look at them while you're doing it.

But I went... and you know what? It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. Angela was a great host and I learned a ton by reading other people's work. So I'm excited about this critique group. It may be just the thing that motivates me to write more than I have been lately.

What about you? Do you do most of your critiquing face to face or with your computer? Which do you prefer?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Maybe, just maybe

Maybe the girl who always dresses like she's come straight out of fashion magazine, is jealous of me because I can go out in public in sweat pants and a t-shirt.

Maybe the girl who can't leave the house without make up, is jealous of the fact that I can go the whole day and forget to wear any.

Maybe people are jealous of the fact that I can leave my dishes in the sink for the day while they wish they didn't feel the need to have a perfectly clean house.

Maybe there are some people who drive a big fancy vehicle are jealous of me because I don't have to worry about my mini van getting a little scratched up.

Maybe some published authors are jealous of the fact that I don't have any deadlines to meet or editors to impress.

Just remember, you never know who might be jealous of you.

Have a great weekend. Hope the weather is good where ever you are.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So many prizes

YA Confidential is having a great contest. Page critiques, query critiques by agents, and a ton of ARC's up for grabs.

Go check it out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Not giving up

Tonight I went to a youth fireside with my boys and I think I got more out of it then they did. It was about deciding what you want to be and how you're going to get there. Funny how I'm almost 41 and I'm still trying to figure this out.

Speakers asked the youth to set goals both long term and short term. They also suggested that they identify and get rid of the time wasters in our life – we all know what they are.

 One lady suggested that there are two reasons we don't reach our goals. We are too lazy or we are too cool. Well I'm definitely not cool, so for me it's all about not being lazy.

The last speaker suggested that quitting would feel far worse than all the hard work it would take to reach your goal. Yes, it may take some blood, sweat, tears, and more chocolate than we care to admit, but in the end when we feel that sense of accomplishment, it will all be worth it.

So my message this week: Never Give Up.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's okay to disagree

The other day my boys showed me a video of a cop being rough with a skateboarder. Here's a link if you want to go see it. My boys thought the cop was a complete jerk and hoped he lost his job. I agreed that he went too far but I had a little more empathy for him. I thought about all the disrespectful kids he probably has to deal with everyday. I imagined that maybe his wife had told him she was leaving him, or that he had just been demoted and instead of patrolling the streets, he had to ride around in a little car telling punk kids to stop skateboarding on the steps.

We got into a rather spirited conversation. In the end I told them it was okay to disagree and that we didn't always have to think the same things just as long as we don't end up mad at each other.

The same goes for writing. You don't always have to change everything your crit partners says you should (although my CP is awesome and I always agree with her suggestion). You don't have to blog like others blog. You don't have to write like others write.

In the end its okay not to do things the same, (in fact we shouldn't), but we do need to respect each other's differences.

If you went to watch the video, how did you feel?

Monday, September 5, 2011

So, how have y'all been?


I took the month of August to spend some time with my kids, family, and manuscript.

My son won bronze at the Western Canada Summer Games in basketball.

We spent two weeks as a family enjoying Whistler, Vancouver, Whidbey Island, and Seattle.

And we just spent this labor day weekend with my extended family rafting down the river.

But...

My manuscript didn't get touched very much. I didn't read, I didn't write and I only did a little editing.

So, I guess two out of three isn't too bad.

Now that it's September and my kids are back in school, I'm hoping silence will once again reign in my house, and I will be able to get some things accomplished, like finish my book and get some queries out there.

That's my number one priority then I will either edit my other book or start something new.

Did anything exciting happen while I was gone? And what is your first priority for this new school year.?


PS: I'm really happy to be back and catching up with all of you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don't you forget about me

I've decided to take the month of August to spend some quality time with my kids, family, and my manuscript, thus I won't be blogging.

I hope to come back in September to lots of good news and a finished book.

Hopefully you don't forget about me.

Until then . . . keep writing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Reading like Crazy

I may not be writing like crazy, but I've been reading like crazy. I think I've read ten books in the last two months.

3 contemporary YA
6 Dystopian YA
1 paranormal YA

This past weekend, I picked up a book I've been stalking for a long time.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay



I love books set during WW2 and this book didn't disappoint.

It was a great break from all the dystopian novels, not that I don't love them, but I needed a break.

What about you? Do you find you need a break from certain kinds of novels?

PS: There's a great contest over at Monica's Love YA blog, all you have to do is follow her, go check it out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just wait five minutes


They have a saying where I live, "If you don't like the weather wait five minutes."

Last Wednesday my soccer game began with a bright sunny sky and a slight breeze (just enough to keep the mosquitos away). Then the wind started blowing and our bright sky became menacing black clouds. Right before half it started to pour. I'm talking, I have to wipe the water out of my eyes so I can see. My bra and underwear were both soaked. Next came the lightening, followed by the thunder. They decided to suspend the game until the weather cleared.

The other team ran to their cars, but my team huddled under a tarp in the middle of the field.(Yeah I know, in hindsight, not too smart). While under the tarp, the rain turned to hail, and then to our surprise just when we thought the sun was going to come out again, we saw funnel clouds to the west of us. A tornado was forming and being the novice tornado people that we are, we stood there and watched.

Eventually the clouds disappeared, the sun came out, and we were all ready to play, except our time had expired and the next two teams were waiting to play.

Just to be clear on the time line, all those weather changes happened in 30 minutes and a tornado did touch down just west of us.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, if you don't like what you wrote, step back and wait then try again and you might just have a completely different perspective, but don't wait too long or you might find yourself out of the game (so to speak).

Question: Does time away from your project make you like it more? And do you think that it's possible to take too much time away from a project?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

5 reasons I know I'm reading a good book


1. My kids have to call me Patti to get my attention

2. My husband announces that the booklore monster is back

3. I suddenly have to go the bathroom a lot

4. I can't sleep at night because my neck hurts too much from reading

5. I sneak out of my mother in law's wedding reception to read a few chapters.

How do you know you're reading a good book?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taking Your Own Advice


For the past couple of weeks I've had some major bouts of self doubt. I said to my husband that I don't think I'm progressing. I'm not getting any better as a writer or a soccer player or a cook (my baking just isn't what it used to be).

Then I taught my primary class on Sunday about the Parable of the Talents and we talked about how even though we're all given talents we have to work hard in order to develop them then it hit me. I've been burying my talent in the ground. (Please note: I use the term talent loosely) I often think that I'm not writing as often as I should be in order to get better. I'm not running as hard as I can in order to get faster. I'm not baking enough to . . . (well maybe that one is okay).My talents don't seem to be growing.

After Sunday I've tried to do better. Monday I went for a run and tried to run faster. I worked on my query today. Tomorrow I'm hoping to write another chapter of my WIP.

I guess all you can do is keep trying and dig up your talents when you feel like you've been hiding them for a while.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good News All Around

Last week I took some time off and boy did I miss a lot. There was good news all around the blog sphere. Karen Hooper got a book deal, Natalie Whipple announced a book deal. Congratulations to both.

And here I thought things slowed down in the summer.

Both ladies are great examples of hard work paying off, which just gives me further motivation.

How about you do you get motivated when you hear about someone getting a book deal?

Monday, July 4, 2011

I had a thought which led to a question

As I was enduring my run this morning I was pondering about whether I should go back and fix a chapter on my current WIP or just keep writing. I know, it's the age old question. Then a thought occurred to me.

Since I'm a pantser I shouldn't go back and rewrite a scene, because I'm not sure that scene will even stay in the novel. So I decided not to rewrite sections, instead I write notes on what I should change or add.

This lead me wonder. If I were a planner would I be more apt to edit as I go?

So here's my question:

Do you think there is any correlation between being a pantser or a plotter and how you write your first draft?

BTW: Happy 4th of July

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another reason we need books part 2

One of the main reasons I like to go on vacation is to get away from the phone, tv, computer, internet etc. In this digital age it's nice to really unplug, not just from my blog but from all of it.

On my last post, I put up a link to an article that I found really interesting. I don't blame you if you didn't read it, because it was long and frankly when I'm reading blogs I don't often click on links that I'm not extremely interested in.

Basically what the author of the article was saying was that books are becoming one of the few things left that allow our minds to be free of all the noise that surrounds us.

It's hard to admit, but we all sense it: it is becoming almost physically harder to read books.

I think most of us have this sense today, if we are honest. If you read a book with your laptop thrumming at the other side of the room, it can feel like trying to read with a heavy metal band shrieking in front of you. To read, you need to slow down. You need mental silence except for the words. That's getting harder to find.

I know for myself I go through spurts. I can read five books in a month or not read anything for five months, but I also know that I rarely regret opening up the pages of a book, but there are lots of times I regret how much time I spend on my computer.

Here are some of my other favorite quotes from the article:

And here's the function that the book -- the paper book that doesn't beep or flash or link or let you watch a thousand videos all at once -- does for you that nothing else will. It gives you the capacity for deep, linear concentration.

An e-book reader that does a lot will not, in the end, be a book.

T.S. Eliot called books "the still point of the turning world." He was right. It turns out, in the age of super-speed broadband we need dead trees to have living minds.


Since tomorrow is Canada Day up here in the Great White (Green now) North and Monday is the 4th of July down there, I'll catch up with you guys on Tuesday. Hope everyone has a great long weekend wherever you are.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Reason We Need Books

I'm kind of rushed today helping my son with some schooling and doing a few more things on my day off, so I'll be by everyone's blogs on Tuesday.

In the meantime I came across this article about why need to keep hard cover books around. I'll talk a little more about it on another post. It's a bit of a read, but very interesting and encouraging in my opinion.

The Title is: In the Age of Distraction We Need One Thing More Than Ever: Books

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Intro or Extro


About a month ago I had personality training at my job. I know that sounds weird, but I really found it made me a lot more self aware of myself.

I answered about 90 questions and based on my answers I was put into four different categories - one of them being introversion.

I've always thought of myself as an introvert, except in certain situations, but the instructor explained being and introvert or an extrovert this way. Most people can go to parties and socialize, but it's how you feel afterwards that indicates what you are. If you're still buzzing when you get home and can't sit down, you're an extrovert. If you feel completely exhausted, you're an introvert.

We all know the cliched image of a writer. Locked up in a room, plunking away at the keys on their keyboard not talking to anyone. But with all the marketing and social media that seems to be required with being an author, I think those days of solitude are over.

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Does the thought of social media make you tired or excited?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No one should have this much power

Everytime I give my Critique Partner Jessie a book to read, she tells me that she's pregnant.

Okay it's only happened twice, but still.

This is all the reason I need to finish my book before her baby is born, I don't know if I can control this power I have.

So hop over to Jessie's blog and congratulate her.

Addendum: My power is limited. I'm sure you won't get pregnant if you read my book.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

As I indicated in my last post – I'm starting a new project. I finished the first chapter and decided to get my boys to read it. In the past they haven't shown much interest in reading published books let alone my books.

After they read the first chapter, they asked what the book was about so I read them my very rough query and then the ideas started to fly.

For an hour I listened to them make suggestions. You should do this. That would be so cool if you did that. Maybe this would help the plot. Some of their ideas were good, but a lot were clichéd.

So I've decided to keep my chapters to myself until I've finished my whole first draft.

What about you? When do you start to share your work with family or do you?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Onward and hopefully Upward

I'm done.


Or at least as done as I can be at for the moment. I finished the final edits on my book and have handed it over to my CP for a final look. Then I hope to start querying in September.


In the meantime, I have two options. Go edit the book I finished last summer or start a new one.

Over the past few months an idea has been percolating in my mind. It started with seeing a news story and then I heard a name. So I've been carrying around a notebook and writing down possible scenes, scenarios, and my favorite character names.


And for the first time ever I thought of a title before I even write a word.


All Things Sunny


Actually it's a pretty easy decision. I need a break from editing, so I'm going to work on something new. Once I get a logline written maybe I'll share.


What do you do when you've finished one project? Go edit another or start something new?




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kids Know

I loved the movie Red Dawn as a kid, so when I saw it on TV, I quickly pushed the record button on my PVR excited to show it to my kids later on that night.

The movie starts with a bang. Kids get dropped off at highschool. Then the Russians come and start shooting everyone. Kids jump in a truck and head for the mountains. You don't know anyone's name or situations. I didn't even realize two of the boys were brothers until twenty minutes in.

The movie sticks with this kind of storytelling throughout the whole movie, slowing down only when the audience needs to know a little bit of information. I still found it entertaining, but what was most interesting were my teenage boys comments afterwards.

They thought the writers could have done more. They didn't like the way it started because you didn't know anyone and so you didn't really care about them. They could have developed the characters better and developed the relationships between them.

Kids definitely expect more these days, because I'm pretty sure I didn't think those things when I saw the movie at their age. Now if only my boys read books then they could tell me what worked for them and what didn't.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Interview

Every Thursday I make sure I visit Chantele Sedgwick's blog. Why? Because she interviews Aspiring Authors and its a great way to get to know other people who are going through the same things as you.

And since I'm an Aspiring Author she asked if she could interview me. So go check out my very first interview, hopefully I sound somewhat articulate.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Adding or Subtracting

This past month I've been working furiously to finish the last edits of my book before I hit query land. Hence the absence here.

I finished my major edits and now I'm on my last read through. I've managed to cut my word count from 70,000 to 66,000, which really seems like a lot of words. In total, from the first draft of this book to now, I've cut 34,000 words, which is almost a whole book. Obviously I wrote too much the first time through.

For my second book, I wrote slim with the first draft coming in at just over 50,000 words, but now when I reach chapters that I didn't write very much for I feel like I'm writing the first draft again.

This begs the question: Do you write your first drafts to add or do you write your first drafts to subtract?

I'm beginning to wonder which one is better.

BTW - congrats to Elana Johnson on her book Posession which comes out today. So excited to read this one.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Traveling Day

Since I didn't get to comment on many blogs this week, I'm going to spend my Friday trying to visit as many as possible and try to catch up with what everyone's been up to.

But just so you don't leave empty handed.

Here is a trailer of the movie I'm looking most forward to this summer, plus a close second.

One Day

Because I loved the book and the poster is awesome.

Crazy Stupid Love

Because of Ryan Gosling's abs.

What movie are you looking forward to this summer?

PS: Sorry my computer is too old to embed the videos.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A gorilla in a tree

Two weeks ago my daughter came home with a writing assignment. Look at a picture then write a short story about it. The picture had a boy standing on the branch of tree with a gorilla about to climb onto it. She made up a great story about a boy getting dared to go into a gorilla habitat at the zoo.

The next week I was volunteering in my daughters class and I had to listen to the kids read their stories, praise what they did right and give them a few helpful hints on how they could make it better.

Despite being put on the spot to provide feedback to a bunch of eight and nine year olds, what I found interesting is how different everyone's story was. One was about hunting, another a jungle, a pet, getting chased up the tree, etc.

I know it's been said that there are no original ideas left in this world, but even if that's true, there are definitely original voices. Two authors could have exactly the same idea for a book, but each book would be completely unique.

What do you think? Are all the ideas used up? Do you think that two authors could have the same idea but come up with completely different books?

PS: I think blogger might hate me because everytime I try to comment on someone's blog it kicks me out. I am reading everyone's posts - honest.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good News

How do you handle it when someone else has good news?

Are you sincerely happy for them or do you have a twinge of jealous lurking in your heart? Maybe you have both.

Last month my son won MVP for his school basketball. On Saturday my younger son made the provincial basketball team, which is a huge accomplishment, because he's 13 and it's a U15 team.

I didn't tell you these things to brag, well, okay, I guess I did, but mostly I put them on the blog because I'm proud of my kids.

The thing is when I've told other people about these accomplishments, I've had a wide variety of responses. In regards to my son winning MVP, one parent suggested that the only reason he won because his dad was the coach (for the record, MVP was voted on by 7 different coaches). When I told someone about my younger son they commented on how much it was going to cost us to put him on the team.

When we see others write a great book, get agents, book deals, best selling status, how do we react? Do you go wish them well or do you turn off your computer and bemoan your lack of success?

On that note – Kasie West just announced a two book deal from Harper Collins, go give her a hearty congratulations.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not being in a hurry


I have to say I didn't much accomplished last week. Family, technical problems, and a little bit of soccer drama took over my life.

But that's okay, because I don't need to be in a hurry.

On my commute to work there is one stretch of road where one lane goes faster than the other. It's hard to watch cars zoom past you, so it's very tempting to jump into the right lane. What you can't see is that further down the road there are two merge lanes clogging up that side of the road and eventually everyone traveling on the left flies by those who thought they were getting ahead.

There's been lots of times in my writing journey when I've jumped into that right lane, whether it be querying too early, not taking the time to really make sure the book is ready, or not being able to let go of a project. Inevitable this has slowed me down and I've watched people pass me.

If there's one thing I've learned over the past couple of years is patience. Nothing in this industry happens fast, so we shouldn't be in a hurry. We need to take our time and figure out what kind of author we want to be, what kind of book we want to write, and then strive to do the best we can and then strive to do better.

That's my goal this week: Strive to do better - if it means just writing one sentence better.

How about you? Is it hard not to be in a hurry and what are you striving to do this week?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Technical Difficulties

My computer is old and starting to show its age. The USB ports are wearing out, and I have to reset the keyboard every five minutes. Not a very productive way to edit or blog or do anything on my computer, so I'm taking the rest of week off.

Within the next two weeks we're getting a new laptop, which will make my husband's old one mine.

Good luck with your week and hope you get a lot accomplished. I'll be editing in five minute increments.

Happy belated Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Driving around Corners



I never knew how fast 30 km/hour can seem so fast when I'm sitting in the passenger side and my 15 year old son is driving. Yes, that's right, I can now add driving instructor to my resume.

Actually it hasn't been too bad. He's a pretty good driver, except for turning corners. He takes them a little too fast and over rotates the wheel. I told him that you slow down to take the corner and then you speed up when you're a little more than way through it.

Lately I've been worried about the middle of my book. Is the pacing too slow? Do I really need that scene? How can I make it more exciting?

So I took a little break and read three books to see how they handled the middle. And I have to say, just like coming around a corner, the books slowed down before they turned direction and then excelerated.

I think it's okay to slow your pacing in the middle (not too much though), set up the story line, develop the characters just before you thrust the reader into the climax.

What are your thoughts on the middle? Is it every okay to slow your pacing down?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Family Funnies

Here's a conversation between me and my 9 year old daughter.

Me: What do you want for dinner?

Daughter: Mom made food.

Me: Are you sure you don't want dad made food?

Daughter: No, definitely mom made food.


Last night when I put 9 year old daughter to bed, I realized she had put her pillow on the other side of the bed. When I asked her why, she said, "Just to spice things up a bit."

Wouldn't it be nice to go back to when changing the location of your pillow spiced up your life.


Since I'm close to being done my edits, my kids are off school, and it's my daughters birthday, I'm taking a break from blogging for the rest of the week.

Hope you have a great weekend with good weather.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sticking to it

I'm almost done editing. I figure I have about two weeks left.

But....

I got an idea for another book. It's come to me in bits and pieces. First a premise, then a name and a setting. I'm itching to work out a plot.

But....

I only have two weeks left of editing.

So I've decided to stay with the editing, knowing that I have something fun waiting for me.

Do you work on two projects at once or are you a one at a time type a person?

Now for a little nepotism. My sister in law has an awesome voice. It's so awesome that she entered a contest to read the latest Neil Gaiman book. If you have some time to kill she'd love your vote. She's doublen. Here's the link.

Even if you don't vote, it's pretty interesting to hear different voices reading the same excerpt.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Naturally Good

Last summer after one of my soccer games where I played really well (scored 3 goals), my daughter who happened to be there, said to me. "Have you always been naturally good at soccer?"


My mind immediately went back to a video my husband made of my first game ten years ago, where I completely missed the ball and almost landed on my butt.


"No," I said. "Mom had to work really hard just to be able to kick a ball without falling over."


The same goes for writing. I honestly used to think that because I wanted to be a writer, I would just be able to, but that was when I was young and naive. Now I know differently. Writing takes work, lots of hard work. Even if you know grammar, proper punctuation, and sentence structure, doesn't mean you know how to write a good story. Yes, there are some people out there who have a natural way with words, but they still have to learn how to pace a book, develop characters, and keep the reader's interest.


I’m kind of word hoarder. I keep all of my drafts just so I can that I've improved. Just like that video shows me that I'm a much better soccer player.


So take a look back this week and see just how far you've come in your writing.


No post on Friday since it’s Easter and I’ll be spending some much needed time with my family.
Happy Easter everyone, hope you get to share it with loved ones.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mind Numbing Middle

I've been doing another set of revisions and I've come to a conclusion. I love the opening. I love the end. The middle - meh.

Not to say that it's not good, it's just not as exciting as the beginning or end. Here, I'm introducing characters, setting, and plot. My pace is a little slower. I'm trying to build tension, but I think I need to stream line a few things.

Introduce my characters faster, only put the essentials in when it comes to setting, and make sure everything furthers the plot.

That's my goal this week: Strengthen my middle, of my book that is - although my core could use some strengthening as well.

Any goals for you this week?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mother's Day comes early

The Crazy Daze Motherhood
written by Jane Isfeld Still

This book is filled with essays about the hilarious moments of being a mother that we don’t quite realize are hilarious until years later. Stories of children locked in bathrooms, overflowing toilets, bad hair days, and kids who try to help cook. The list goes on and on. As I read each story, I found myself chuckling out loud, nodding, and saying, it’s funny, because it’s true.

This would make a great mother’s day gift, as it an easy book to pick up a read even if you only have a few moments. I know this because I read it while waiting for my kids to finish school, basketball practice, piano lessons, and doctor appointments.

Here’s a little more information about Jane:

Jane is married to Rick Still, who she believes has the distinction of being the only man in history brave enough to give her earwax candles for her birthday. They had six children in eight years, and while her children were growing up, she discovered she had a great sense of humor. At least that was her take. Rick once said to her, "Honey, you know all those real corny things you say all the time? Who ever thought you could make money at it?" Her son Adam once told her, "Mom could you please stop telling jokes to my friends? It's really embarrassing." One of Jane's philosophies is, "You're not doing your job unless your children are worried about being seen in public with you."

To read more about Jane and her exploits visit her website at janeisfeldstill.com or her blog at janeisfeldstill.blogspot.com

She’s having a great contest just for being a follower and commenting on her blog. Prizes include:

1. Mother's Daze basket, soap, chocolate, lotion, decorative candles, and recipe cards
2. Box of blank cards with a smattering of Canadian chocolate
3. Chocolate

Trust me, Canadian chocolate is so worth winning. Happy Reading

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A New Identity

I did it.

For the past ten years I have been involved with a soccer board in the small community where I live. Five years as recreational representative, five as competitive. On Thursday I hung up my boots and retired.

I'm not going to lie, it was hard. In fact, it demanded some retail therapy (I bought a nice pair of sandals and hoodie), but each day the load gets lighter and lighter – reaffirming that I made the right decision.

For so many years I've been known as the lady who was in charge of soccer. Now I'm going to have to find a new identity. Hopefully I can become the lady who wrote that book or I can follow the advice of a friend:

Your identity is you - not what you do. You can be a mom, a soccer lady, a writer - but you are still YOU, and everything that makes you great isn't changing. :)

So here's to being you and whoever you want to be.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making Dinner

First off a big Whoo Hoo goes out to Jenn Johanson who announced this week that she has an agent. Jenn was one of the first blogs I followed, and I'm so excited for her.

Second, there seems to be a consensus that planning and making dinner is a royal pain for a lot of us. My sister keeps giving me suggestions like: put a roast in a crock pot before you leave for work, fry up a bunch of chicken and freeze it, take the meat out in the morning. My sister in law goes so far as to plan her meals for a month. A month. (I thought that begged repeating).

I try to plan for a week, but lots of times I get to Wednesday and I don't feel like making pasta, but this week I'm going to stick to my plan. In fact, tonight when my son asked what was for dinner, I said, "Whatever you want to make", which was what I had planned for Tuesday since I work until 6pm. So this week I'm going to try and stick with my plan.

The same can go for writing. If we don't plan, sitting down to write can seem tedious and hard, but if we make a schedule maybe writing will be easier. I'm going to try it this week and see how it goes.

How about you do you plan your meals or your writing?

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's all in the Attitude

I apologize for the emotional nature of my last post. It just goes to show that you should never write a post late at night after an emotional meeting.

The politics still continue to invade my time, but now I'm trying to have a better attitude about it. I can try to change things in a positive, meaningful manner, or I can be as snarky as possible. Both ways are fun.

This just goes to show that a lot of how you feel is about attitude. It's easy to get down on yourself, think your writing is crap and that you should just stop before anyone else reads it.
I know I've had more moments like that than I can count, but, as the saying goes, I'm going to turn over a new leaf. I'm going to try to have a good attitude about everything - even making dinner.

Side note: I've been bad as of late at visiting other people's blogs. I plan on rectifying that this week. I look forward to seeing what you've been up to.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This hat's seems glued to my head

Trying to get rid of my soccer hat is becoming harder than I thought. I know I wrote about taking it off a while a go (it's been so long ago that I can't find the post), but it's not leaving without a fight and tonight we had a royal battle.

I'm tired. In fact, I'm exhausted. As I write this, my eyes are drooping and I grow weary. I'm tired of politics in sports, work, and basically life, but mostly sports. I just want a clean house, someone to decide what they want for dinner, and a day to write without having to think about anything else. Maybe a good night's sleep would be good as well.

That's not too much to ask – right?

What's something simple that you want?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Second Guesses

For me, right now, the hardest part of being a writer is trusting myself.

It's hard not to second guess my decisions on how I'm writing my story. I often wonder if I've got enough tension, do my characters motivations ring true, is my pacing fast enough. Do I have the right POV. This has been my biggest worry lately. I have been having a hard time deciding what is the best way to tell my story. It's been about a month of going back and forth, but I think I've finally decided and now I just have to quite second guessing and go with it.

What about you - is there anything you've been second guessing lately.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Information overload

I used to be a health magazine junkie. Every week I'd go to the grocery store and buy a Shape, or a Fitness or a Women's Health, the latter being my favorite. I 'd devour the exercises, try the receipes, and read all the tips.

Then it got to be overwhelming. Every article seemed to have a different opinion on what was the best way to get toned triceps or a flat stomach. Should you only do cardio or add in strength, and how much lifting should you do? These food fight cancer, but they might cause heart problems. Don't eat this if your diabetic but it will help your kidneys. Finally I had to stop buying them and just work out and eat the way that worked best for me.

I've been reading a lot lately about how you have to read craft books if you want to learn to write properly, and while I agree that's good and super duper important. I think you can also get bogged down in all the advice, steps to follow, and ways to write your book. Eventually you just need to figure out what works best for you.

What do you think? How much information is too much and do you think you'll ever reach that point?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cheerleaders

Last week during my hectic schedule, I had my last indoor soccer game of the season. At 6:15pm, I got a phone call from our goalie. She was sick, which made me sick, because that meant I'd have to go in net.

I was extremely nervous, way more nervous than usual. I let one bad goal in and I felt my spirits deflate, but after a couple of good saves, I could hear my team mates cheering me on, so I tried harder. But even with all the cheering we lost 4-1, but after a few pats on my back, I got over it.

Thess past two weeks I've watched over ten games of basketball and I've nearly lost my voice with all my cheering, but if the players are anything like me, hearing encouragement helps.

I think we all need this with our writing. A few cheerleaders calling our name, patting us on the back, and telling us we can do it. These can come in all forms, family, husbands, wives, friends, and blogging buddies, who can't literally pat you on the back, but can lift you with their words of encouragement.

I would like to thank all those who have cheered me on. I truly appreciate the lift I get when I receive an email full of cheer. And win or lose - those words will help me get over anything.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Responding

My apologizes for not responding to those who commented on Friday. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read what I write and say something about it. I try to email people back responses but I ran out of time.

My weekend was crazy. Five basketball games in two days. One bronze medal. One gold.

It was a proud mommy moment.

Since I got nothing done on the weekend, and I have twelve boys coming to my house on Monday and then two more basketball tournaments this weekend, I'm going to unplug this week.

For your enjoyment and you've probably already seen it, but I thought it was a great motivational speech.

Click here for video

I hope I don't miss anything exciting. Hope you all have a productive week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We're not so different

I was reading an interview with Games of Thrones author George RR. Martin and he said some things that made me think that we're not so different from published authors.

Question: What took you so long to write this book?

I've been doing a ton of rewriting, trying to get it where I wanted it to be. Some of these chapters I've rewritten more times than I can count before I'm satisfied with them.

Question: How do you feel Dragons (his newest book) will compare to his others?

Sometiems I think, "This is terrific, I did really well," and sometiems I look at what I've written and think, "That's garbage, I don't have any talent at all." Ultimately it's up to the fans and critics and reviewers - your own judgment is always suspect.

I've never read these books, but it did make me feel better to know that even best selling authors get the same feelings I do.

Have a great weekend.

Note: I didn't type in his whole answer to the questions. To see the whole interview it's in Entertainment Weekly.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm sure your Query is already Awesome

And because I'm so sure, you won't need to go to Jenn Johansson's blog to get a query critique. Even though she's been dubbed the queen of queries, I'm positive you don't need her help.

And because I'm so sure, you shouldn't check out writeoncon.com, because you don't need eight fabulous agents to tell you that your query is already awesome.

But I do.

On another note:

Calling all authors who write MG or tween – I need some advice

What do you think about writing in first person present for these categories?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do you feel witty today - well do ya?

I left off the punk, because well that would be rude.

In this blogging, twittering, facebooking world, I feel like there is a lot of pressure to be witty. We need to come up with posts that entertain, comments that make people laugh, or status that have people ROTFLing.

Lots of times I'll read someone's blog and then I'll click on post a comment only to come up blank. This little box stares at me, begging to be filled and I can't think of one entertaining thing to write. Or if I do, someone else has already said it, so invariably I either don't write anything or I put great post.

I tried twitter for about a month and frankly felt so out of my element I stopped. For me twitter and facebook status scream - be funny or no one will care what you wrote.

How about you. Do you feel the pressure to be witty? Or am I the only one?

Please don't let me be the only one.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More metaphors

A few weeks ago I posted some metaphors and similes that teenage kids used in their high school essays.

Here are a few more:

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck
that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Trying something new

On Monday I read Tracy's post about how much she loved writing in first person and it's like something clicked.

I think it was this (sorry I'm stealing):

"Third person is like watching a movie and knowing what's going to happen to your beloved characters before they do. First person is like being the character in the movie and having no idea what's about to hit you."

I've always been a third person kind of writer. Even when I wrote stories as a teenager I never even thought of writing in 1st person, but today I tried.

I took the first scene in my book (you know the one that I think kind of sucks) and I switched it over to first person and I kind of liked it.

I remember reading about a writer who finished his book and then decided to change it to first person (I think it was John Irving). At the time I thought that was crazy. Now I'm not so sure. I'm not saying I'm going to switch my whole book, but I'm going to experiment and really isn't that what a writer is suppose to do.

What about you? Have you ever changed your mind about POV and switched after you were done?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Bad Book Weekend

Last week I asked what you do when you're feeling frustrated or down about your writing. There were some great answers: books, sleep, retail, movies, and chocolate. And while I do employ all of those I've decided that what I do most when I'm feeling out of sorts about writing – is avoid doing it.

On Friday night after work and a basketball game, I read through the first chapter of both of my books and decided that I totally suck. It wasn't just a I really need to fix this kind of suck. It was a full on – I should never write another word kind of suck.

I shut off my computer and didn't turn it on again until this very moment. Okay that's not entirely true. I did check email Saturday morning, but I didn't look at my book at all.

And to be honest with you, I don't feel any better. My chapters are still sitting there sucking.

But just like the dishes that aren't going to clean themselves – those words aren't going to fix themselves.

So the goal this week: Fix Chapter One and send it to my crit partners, who will hopefully tell me I'm brilliant and I shouldn't change a word even if they have to lie to do it.

Only joking. You don't have to tell me it's brilliant. You could also use the words – great, awesome, or wonderful.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Therapy Choices

When you're feeling down or struggling what kind of therapy do you turn to?

Retail Therapy - buying something you've really wanted even when you know you shouldn't.
Sleep Therapy - taking naps in the middle of the morning, afternoon, and evening (I employed this one a lot as a teenager)
Chocolate Therapy - eating anything chocolate anytime of the day.

What other kinds of therapy do you indulge in when you're feeling out of sorts?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Books are the new Clothes

For those who don't this about me, I've been known to buy a lot of clothes. In September I made it a goal to cut back and cut back I have.

But instead I've replaced my clothes buying addiction with books. I've boughten eight books in the last month. In fact, last Thursday I went to the book store to buy a book about Character motivation and Save the Cat. Except they didn't have either book, so I walked through the YA section and started picking out all the books that I've seen on other people's blogs.

I ended up with five.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Speak by Laurie Anderson
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Hold me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (I picked this one up because of Lois Moss's review)
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

I still have these books to read that I've boughten in the last two months:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I am Number Four by Pittacus Lorre (this is the book I bribed my son to read and he actual finished it)
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

I probably still have ten other books that I've boughten in the past year but haven't read yet. I'm officially a book hoarder. The trouble is that everyday I read about another book I should read.

So here's my question. From my list what would be your top three and I'll start there. Or if there are any other books I need to get let me know. I still have $25 GC from my birthday that I keep forgetting about.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You say President's Day – We say Family Day

Happy President's Day to my American blogging friends. We'd have a Prime Minister Day up here in Canada, but it just doesn't sound as good. So, instead we have Family Day (actually only 3 provinces celebrate this and I happen to live in one of them – yeah me).

We plan to spend it enjoying the snow covered mountains. Hope you enjoy your day off wherever you may be.

Catch you all on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Good news or bad - I'm not sure

This week a friend of mine sent me a link to an interview with Eleanor Brown author of the book Weird Sisters.

Here's the link in case you want to read it, but I'll give you an excerpt from the interview that has me wondering if it's good news or bad.

Every time something is written about The Weird Sisters that refers to it as my “first novel,” I cringe.

Here’s the thing: it’s not my first novel.

It’s my fifth.

And that’s only counting the ones I managed to finish – there are pages and pages of notes and drafts of novels that never got past the first few chapters.

Maybe I’m a late bloomer, but it took me a long, long time to learn how to write a novel, and even longer to write one that was any good.

It might be bad because if it takes five books, I still have three more to write.

It might be good because I CAN write more books.

What about you? Do you think that the excerpt is good news or bad and why?