Sunday, October 31, 2010


My husband is a broken man. He's had six surgeries since we've been married and the doctor's want him to have another one on his shoulder. This time instead of trying to fix the shoulder, they want to give him a new one from a donor (a dead one). The doctors say that can't completely fix what's wrong. They can make it somewhat better, but he really just needs a new one.

This is how I feel with writing sometimes. Some of my chapters just aren't working. I try to change a word, a sentence, a paragraph, but in the end I really just need to start fresh with all new words. Which is a lot easier than getting an implant.

Back to editing and writing a hook for my query. I have the whole letter written, except the hook, maybe I'll post it later this week to get some feedback.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We interrupt this break...

I'm coming out of hibernation to let you guys know about another great contest. Marieke interviewed Elana Johnson on how to write a good query letter. For anyone whose struggling, this is some great advice. Also you can win a critique from Elana, who wouldn't want that.

Back to editing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Oldie but a Goodie

I've decided to take the rest of the week off. I need to get myself organized. I'll be stalking around, but won't be posting anything new.

But for those who are new here's an old post that I liked.

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 is that the first ten minutes are 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. Then once I get past that first ten minutes then I’m good to go and I can write for hours. Okay, maybe not hours, but it sure feels like it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Waiting and Wishing

It seems to me that I am never content.

As a kid I used to start a lot of phrases with I can't wait until . . .

- I can date.
- I can get my driver's license.
- I finish high school.
- I get a boyfriend
- I get married
- even I can't wait to have kids

Now that I'm older my days are filled with I wish . . .

- I had done better in school,
- I wish I hadn't been so boy crazy (which probably would have allowed me to do better in school).
- I wish I would have dated more.
- I wish I would have wore my own wedding dress.
- I wish I would have been more serious about writing sooner.
- I wish I . . . okay, well you get the point.

Sometimes it's so hard to be happy in the here and now. To look at the things you have and not worry about the things you don't. I know I've talked about this before, but I've had a bit of crybabyitis this past week, mostly because I'm comparing myself to others, which is always bad.

So it's time to get over myself and live my own life. Who's with me?!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Difference between boys and girls

The other week my son got his learners. He can now drive, which is scary. In fact, me and my husband rock, paper, scissored, to see who had to take him out first.

Anyway, back to my point. We were updating his information for the license (height, eye color, etc) and he noticed that his weight was wrong. "I'm ten pounds heavier," he says.

I had to laugh, because a girl would never in a million years say, actually I'm heavier now.

Right now I'm editing a book where the POV are from two different males. I need to make sure I stay true to how boys act. I had a scene where one boy cried and a beta reader pointed out that most boys don't cry. Little things like that I need to consider.

Do you write in a girl's POV or a boy's? And if it's a boy, what do you do to make sure you stay true the male species?

Monday, October 18, 2010

We're all in this together

Tonight I went to a Speaker Series event sponsored by the local SCBWI chapter. They had Janet Gurtler and Angela Ackerman talk about agents. I knew a lot about the agent search, but I still learned a lot, which goes to show, you can always learn more.

What was interesting is they started talking about sites that I visit, resources that I use, the process of getting an agent, what an agent does for you. It made me think that we really are all in this together. We all have similar goals and the same passion - writing. And it's great that we support each other so much.

Also, I met fellow blogger Stina there, which was great to meet someone in person. I'm always so jealous when I see pictures of writers meeting at conferences.

Overall it was a great night, even though I had to burrow $40 for gas from my boss in order to get there.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

250 word blog fest

I just found out about this today and wanted to participate. Elle Strauss
is hosting a first page, 250 word blog fest.

So here's my latest project. Yikes!

Oliver strutted down the main street of Archgilly as a crowd amassed behind him. He tipped his hat to the women and shook hands with the men. Little children ran up clamoring to touch his sleeve. When he reached the Rumina, he turned and bowed to the cheers of the people. Four years ago, no one knew his name; now they chanted it as he entered the building.

He slipped down the corridor and opened a door to find the three Elders sitting behind a great oak desk. They squinted at him as he slid into the room. “Sit down Oliver, sit down,” the Elder, Faraday said, his wrinkled face barely visible in the mountains of gray hair.

Oliver took a seat. The noonday light barely eked through the dusty windows causing the room to exude a certain gloominess. “Are you ready to know what your final task will be?” the Elder, Reverie asked, his voice squeaking like a mouse.

On the street surrounded by smiling faces and words of encouragement, Oliver brimmed with confidence, but now perspiration formed on his brow, and dripped down his forehead. He took out a handkerchief and wiped it away before it descended any further.

Faraday stood up and rested his hands against the desk as he began the same speech he gave Oliver every time he had come to the Rumina for instructions. “Being a Defender has a rich and distinguished history. They are called upon to protect the water that flows through our lands, the water that is the lifeblood of our community, the water that allows us all to live long and happy lives without pain and suffering.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My new textbooks

Think back to highschool and collage when you'd sit in class as your teacher dissected sections of Shakespeare or a passage in James Joyce's A protrait of an artist as a young man. You'd take notes in the margins, highlight passages, and basically write all over your book, so you could go back and reference them when you write your essay.

I stopped doing this when my university days were done, but I have a friend (an author of three books), who still does this. When she lent me a few books, there were lines drawn all over it and sections that were circled.

A few years ago, I couldn't even imagine writing in a book, but now I'm starting to think it's not such a bad idea, especially due to my lack of memory.

How many times have you been reading and thought that's a great way to describe that, or I like how the author did that, but when you go back and try to find it, well, you know, you can't.

I've been reading a non-fiction book these past few weeks and I've used a pencil crayon as a book mark. I've been highlighting those passages I find interesting, funny, or thought provoking. I think its a practice I'm going to continue.

How about you? Do you write in books?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why playing soccer late at night helps my writing.

Now that the temperatures are dropping and the sun sets around 7:30pm, we Canadians have been forced indoors. Indoor soccer that is, which means late games and practices.

Last week I started practice at 9pm and ended at 10:30. When I got home I was so wired that I couldn't sleep, so I started writing and before I knew it the clock read 1:30am. I got a lot edited and a lot re-written and even made some progress on my query. Good thing the next day was a holiday for the kids and I got to sleep in.

Tonight same thing. My game was at 8:00pm and ended at 9:00 and I'm so wide awake that I'm going to write for at least an hour.

Usually I'm struggling to keep my eyes open at ten, but with that little bit of adrenaline I'll be up for a while.

Hopefully my boss doesn't mind me sleeping on my keyboard.

PS: Not completely recovered from too much pumpkin pie and turkey, but the soccer and writing more will definitely help.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm here to inform you that ...

Patti will not be available to blog today as she has slipped into a turkey coma.

Two turkey dinners in two days is not recommend as it leaves the partaker feeling overstuffed, bloated, and darn right gassy. Add in the abundance of mashed potatoes, gravy and pie, both pumpkin and apple, and it's not hard to see why this has happened.

She's hoping to make a full recovery and rejoin the blogging world sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday pending on the leftovers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lovin' Life

Yesterday on facebook I saw that one of friends posted this: I Love Life.

It made me stop for a moment and think, am I lovin' life.

Not so much right now. I could make a long list of things that aren't quite right. Eye infections, bad crowns, politics with my kids sports, working, not being able to figure out a hook for my query etc., but what I should be doing is making a list of things that are right.

3 beautiful kids
1 awesome husband
A great extended family
A home to live in
A computer to work on
A car to drive
A soccer team to play on

The list goes on and on. Yeah, sure things aren't perfect. I don't have the house I want. I have to work. Other kid's parents drive me crazy. But what it comes down to is not letting that stuff get you down.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, so I'm going to try to put on a happier face and focus on the positives. Then I can put on my face book that I love life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sometimes bribery works

I've been trying to get my boys to read books for I'm not sure how long. My younger sons reads a bit, but only at school. My older son doesn't read at all.

I've bought all kinds of boy friendly books. The Maze Runner, Leviathan, The Book Thief, but none of them have worked.

So two weeks ago I tried one more. I am Number Four.

It sat on my desk for a week before I came up with an idea. One night my son was moping around the house, bored and, so I said if you read a chapter of that book I'll make cookies.

Not only did he read one chapter, he read four and he plans to read more.

Did I mention that I make really good cookies.

I know your not suppose to send bribes with your query letter, but since it worked so well on my son, do you think that maybe...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How I did.

Last week I kept track of every minute I wrote or edited, or at least I tried.

Monday: I worked all day, got home, made dinner, and helped with homework. After the kids went to bed I edited for and hour and a half.

Tuesday: My day off. I’m expected to get a lot accomplished. What I find is I’m so anxious to write that I get my laundry, dishes, and vacuuming done a lot faster than usual. I managed to edit and write for 3 hours, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I also went for a run and got groceries, plus Glee was on.

Wednesday: I worked for half a day, but also went to the dentist to get a crown. I managed to squeeze in 30 minutes before dinner and then another hour after the kids go to bed, but my mouth is sore and I was really tired.

Thursday: I knew that I wouldn't have a lot of time to write, so I wrote on my breaks and lunch hour. When I got home, I went straight to a soccer meeting (yeah, I still haven’t quit that). Got home at 9:30 and in total wrote for two hours.

Friday: My other day off. Again I expected to get a lot done, except I didn't. My son was home sick from school, actually he threw out his back and I spent most of the day getting him an ice pack and a hot water bottle. My other son forgot his binder and my daughter forgot her photo form, which meant a trip to each school.

Later that night I had a lot of time. Older son was at volleyball with dad, middle son was sprawled out on the couch, and daughter had a friend over. I could have written. I could have written a lot, but I didn’t. Instead I sat on the couch and watchd TV. My eyes were tired of looking at a computer screen. I was tired of editing. I tried to write a short story I’ve been thinking about, but it’s about an emotional issue and I didn’t feel emotional. I tried to write my soccer story, but the words wouldn’t come.

At 7pm I gave up and turned off the computer. In total I write for an hour.

The whole weekend I thought about this. Does this mean I’m not a serious writer? Serious writers would spend every extra minute they had writing, wouldn’t they? The questions and insecurities kept coming. Maybe this experiment wasn’t a good idea.

By Sunday night I came to this conclusion. This week wasn’t about how much you wrote, it was about making choices, and Friday I chose not to, but that doesn’t mean the next time I have that much free time I won’t spend it madly typing away. Does that mean I’m not serious about writing. No, I think it means I needed a break. On Saturday I worked on my query for an hour at one in the morning after a full day of volleyball, basketball, football, and a birthday party. That must mean I’m serious.

For those who kept track, how did you do?

PS: Sorry this was long. I’ll completely understand if you only skim it.

Here are others that participated: