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?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Opening the Flood Gates

My goal this week was to have no goals. My hope was to take the pressure off and see what happens, and it worked. On Monday I pushed through and finished chapter 9. I also went through half of my other book on one more quick edit.

Sometimes you just need to get started and the flood gates open, but just like a flood, the result won't be pretty and you always have a lot of cleaning up to do. That's how I feel about chapter 9, but at least there's something there to clean.

Here's to writing chapter 10, but it's not a goal. I just want to write it and maybe chapter 11 as well.


Totally forgot I signed up for Nicole Ducoir's Bernard Pivot Blogfest

So here it is:

What is your favorite word - MOM
What is your least favorite word - MOM
What turns you on cratively, spiritually or emotionally - A quiet house
What turns you off - hearing the word MOM repeated over and over again
What is your favorite curse word - I'm kind of a hell and damn kind of girl
What sound or noise do you love - the sound of my kids doing the dishes
What sound or noise do you hate - (I'm totally stealing this) - the alarm clock
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt - professional athlete (although I think I might have missed that boat)
What profession would you not like to do? - Rodeo clown
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates - Well done

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just kiss already

So Christina Lee and Stina are hosting a “Just kiss already” blogfest and since I love a good kissing scene I thought I’d join in.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any great kissing scenes for my books, so I picked a published book.

To start off, I was one of those who wanted Harry and Hermonie to get together, that is until I read Half Blood Prince then I was just anxious for Harry and Ginny to kiss, so here it is.

A kissing scene by J.K. Rowling:

Harry looked around; there was Ginny running towards him; she had a hard blazing look on her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.

Can’t wait to go read the rest of the blogs.

Goal this week: Not to make any goals, because they don’t seem to be working for me. More on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What I learned this week

A few weeks ago, Elana Johnson generously offered her ebook "From the Query to the Call" for free, so I quickly downloaded it and devoured it last week.

This week I've been trying to implement her advice.

The Hook - got it
The Setup - took me a while, but I think I have it now
The Conflict - I definitely have this one
The Consequence - the what????

For some reason I missed this step. How could I forget the consequence? So that is what I learned this week. Every query letter needs a consequence.

If you haven't read her book, it's awesome. My only regret is not buying it sooner when she was offering a free query critique with each copy.

What did you learn this week?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Having a Good Book Day

You know those days when you look in the mirror and say, "Wow, my hair looks awesome today", well, yesterday I had that same experience with my book.

I read through the first four chapters and I thought wow, my book is really good today. In fact I was pretty impressed with myself. I'm hoping to have another good book day tomorrow and the next. But just like hair – it's pretty hard to have a lot of good book days in a row.

How about you? Are you having a good or bad book day?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Goal upon Goal

Every Monday for the month of January I made a few goals that I would try to follow for the week.

Drink more water, eat less peanut butter, don't eat after 8pm, wear tight jeans (which btw was a stupid goal).

The thing is, I was able to meet those goals for the week, but when I moved onto the next goal I forgot about the previous goal. For example: the week that I stop eating peanut butter, I didn't drink much water and I ate after 8pm.

There are so many things to remember when we are revising a novel, but sometimes it's hard to do them all at once, but maybe that's okay. Maybe it's okay that I didn't drink more water on the same week that I didn't eat after 8pm.

Maybe it's okay that we don't make everything perfect on our first edits, it might take 2 or 3 or more and that's okay. I'm using the word okay a lot - sorry.

So in light of this my goal this week is just to put all those goals that I made in January together - minus the tight jeans - and write that stupid chapter 9.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Misinterpreting the picture

As a writer we know the whole story. Sometimes your audience doesn't.

It's important that they do.

A first grade girl handed in the below drawing for her homework assignment.

The teacher graded it and the child took it home.

She returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms Smith:

I want to be perfectly clear on my child's homework illustration. This picutre is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint surrounded by male customers with money. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel.

Like I said, it's important that the audience knows what's going on.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Efforts = Results

Last Friday Colene had a video on her blog showcasing people performing amazing feats. They defied gravity, reason, and sometimes common sense.

After showing the video to my teenage son, he proceeded to youtube and introduced me to a feature called “Fail Complication”. These are montages of people failing to defy gravity, reason, and common sense. They were brutal.

It’s easy to forget about all the crashes people have when they are attempting to do a flip over a car, or jump a ravaine on a bike. All we see is the stunt performed to perfection on a video, not the broken limbs or concussions that came before they could do a flip on a wall then land on a moving skateboard.

Often we look at other writers (or maybe it’s just me) and marvel at how many followers they have. How many comments they get. How many books they’ve written. We grow a little green with envy when a writer announces they have an agent or a book deal. But we don’t know what that writer did to achieve those things.

Someone who has a lot of followers and gets lots of comments probably spends a lot of time blogging. The person who has written numerous books probably spends a lot of time writing. The person who got an agent and a book deal probably spends countless hours writing their queries, perfecting their writing, and revising their book.

We cannot compare our results with others, because we cannot compare our efforts. We can only compare our efforts with our results.

And the harder we try the better our results.