It's been a while since I've posted anything. There have been two reasons for my lack of presence from the blogasphere.
1. I haven't had much to say. A few times I've opened a blank blog and searched for something other than the usual. I wanted to be able to impart words of wisdom, encouragement, something. But nothing came besides, wow, this is still really hard (which everyone already knows).
2. I haven't had the time I've wanted to be able to visit your blogs and I'm a big believer in reciprocating. If you comment on my blog, I comment on your blog.
Okay maybe I have three. My kid's basketball schedule has been insane (8 games this weekend alone). But Christmas break is coming and I'm looking forward to some less scheduled days.
Meanwhile here are a few things I've been thinking about.
In person critique groups are awesome. The brain storming that goes on during the three hours we meet every month is invaluable to me.
I absolutely love being a mom and even though it's busy, my favorite time is watching my kids play basketball even though half the time I'm shaking because I'm so nervous for them. And since today is National Hug Your Child Day, I can't wait until I get home to give them a big one.
Speaking of hugging:
I was in the car going to pick my son up from school when I heard the tragic news this weekend and it absolutely broke my heart. Today I read a great post from my friend Heidi that really touched me. She's such a great writer and a great person. Often, I wish we didn't live so far away from each other.
It's been a while since I've done a blog hop, so when I saw Emily King had one going for today, I hopped on.
Here are the ten questions I have to answer.
1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten?
My mind doesn't quite remember my high school years (I've blocked them). I think I may have gotten one or two or four, but I've only had two since I've been married and that's been twenty years. 2. Can you pitch a tent? I can, but I refuse to. I hate sleeping on the ground. 3. What was your worst vacation ever?
When me and my husband were first married, we went on a rafting trip with a bunch of people we didn't know. We arrived at the hotel only to find out it was a communal room. Needless to say one guy snored so loud, I actually threw my shoe at him and he didn't wake up. Another couple slept naked and let their pet bunny run around the room. I also lost my wallet and it was freezing all weekend. Total trip from hell. 4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?
A pair of boots. It's cold up here in Canada. 5. We're handing you the keys to what?
A brand new house. I'm getting quite sick of mine. 6. What was the last meal you cooked that made even you sick?
I made a casserole that my mom used to make when I was a kid. Potatoes, rice, hamburger, and onions, all covered in a tomato sauce. It was awful and I made way too much. An ice cream bucket full of leftovers stayed in my fridge for a week until I finally threw it all off. 7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like ____?
My mom taught me never to say anything mean out loud, but... okay... wait... now I'm all flustered and can't think of anything. 8. What was your first car?
I inherited a chevy blazer when I got married, but our first car together was a Ford Escort. 9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first?
Depends if she's laughing. I'd probably hold my breath for a moment before making a decision. I'm kind of a people pleaser. 10. What's the worst song ever?
Gangnam Style. Seriously. I don't get it.
This was fun. Totally looking forward to reading everyone's answers. If you're interested, see Emily's link at the top of this blog.
So how about you? If you could answer one question on this list, what would it be?
So for the past three or four or nine months, I've been suffering from really tight muscles. Calves, hamstring, IT bands, quads, hips – you name it, it's been sore and tight.
And for months my friends have been telling me I need to do yoga, but I've been reluctant. Yoga is boring, yoga is ... okay yoga is just boring. It's all about breathing, and soothe voices telling you to feel the energy flowing through your feet, and to ground your feet. So I've ignored their advice and have remained sore.
Well yesterday was the last straw....
My soccer coach made us play against 13-14 year old girls who had more energy in their pinkies than we 40 and 50 year women had in our whole bodies. Needless to say I was sore this morning. So I relented. I found a youtube video "Yoga for Runners" and decided to give it a try.
While it didn't take away all my tightness (unfortunately yoga's not magic), it did help quite a bit.
How does this relate to writing?
Well to be honest, I've been resistant to reading craft books. In the past I've found them repetitive and had a hard time applying it to my writing.
But I've been very slowly taking the plunge. Three Words. SAVE THE CAT. Yes I'm a little late to jump on this band wagon, but now I know what all the fuss is about. Next on my list is WRITING SCREEN PLAYS THAT SELL by Michael Hague, because I have it from a few reliable sources that it's a keeper.
So how about you? Is there anything you've been resistant to try?
I've taken a few weeks off from blogging, but now I'm back on the band wagon.
Sometimes you need that break just to re-evaluate what you're doing, plus I was trying to write a synopsis, which after some help is pretty much done. That is until they ask for an eight page synopsis (mine's two pages - double spaced).
I've also been reading and just finished the second book from Laini Taylor. Daughter of Blood and Daylight. Such a great book. I totally loved it. In fact I tried really hard to prolong it, but in the end, I finished it in two days. It's such a rush reading a book and even though it's satisfying to finish, if it's been a good book, I still feel a little empty
In other news, my boys have started basketball that means 70 basketball games and practices four days a week for the next four months, but you know what? I'm going to enjoy every minute of it, because it ends way too soon. My oldest graduates this year and it makes me a little ill to think of him leaving home next year. So I'm going to every game I can.
So that's been my life; working, reading, writing. and family. What's been up with you for the past two weeks?
Hopefully not too many of you are suffering from election hangover. I must admit that even though I'm from Canada I found the election really interesting. Thank goodness I didn't have to decide.
Anyway, I need a bit of advice (if you have any). My query is done, but now I'm working on a synopsis. I did a bit of research yesterday and all I really gleaned is that there are no hard rules when it comes to writing one, which was really helpful (they really need a sarcastic emoticon).
So I did the best I could with my first draft. I tried to get most of the main characters in there even if it was just a quick mention of their name and how they relate to the main character. I talked about setting, goals, hidden goals, turning points, climax, but the end has me a little stump. Short of writing, "And they lived happily ever after," I'm not sure what to put after everything has been resolved.
Any ideas or advice on writing on synopsis? How do you wrap it all up without sounding like a cliche?
I've been sick this week, which was a good thing, because I got to sleep late and write all afternoon. The result – two chapters written with one to be written today. Fingers crossed.
A second thing this week is this contest Beth Revis is having. Have you seen the books she's giving away. Amazing!!!
But she asked that you post about why you Love YA, so here it goes.
I love YA because it's a time when you still have all your hopes and dreams. Not that you don't have hopes and dreams as an adult, it's just that reality sinks in a little more the older you get. There's still so much you get to experience (first love, first kiss, first job). So many firsts.
Or maybe it's because being a teen is all about figuring out who you are and I still feel like I'm trying to do that.
Lose 10, okay 15, pounds
Respect of your peers
Write the best book ever
But last week I had an a-ha moment. I was watching the show "Hart of Dixie", which is about a doctor who moves to a small town to practice medicine. When someone from her school comes to do a story on her, she doesn't want to admit that she's this normal GP, so she tries to show him that she's doing amazing things (like stopping a leprosy outbreak).
And this is the respond Wade, her love interest gives her. You can watch the whole thing, because he's really cute, but it's really just the first two minutes.
Basically what he's saying is that sometimes your life doesn't match up with the picture you have in your head. So he says either: Change your picture or Change your life. So that's been my motto lately.
Yes there are things that I would like to change about my life, but for now I'm going to change my picture and still try to change parts of my life. Basically I just want to be more content.
On that note:
Things that made me happy last week: Watching my kids play sports, finishing a rough draft of a chapter this week, going to my critique group, laughing with my kids, being with my parents, listening to a very funny radio program, which I might share later or on Facebook.
So I've been waxing poetic these last couple of weeks about my life, okay that might be an exaggeration. Actually I've been wondering how to get my life organized so that I have time to do everything. Basically I'm trying to work on my time management skills.
So far I've learned one thing. I have a tendency to procrastinate everything unless I have a deadline and even then ...
This week I'm determined to get my ducks in a row.
1) I need to exercise everyday even if it's just a little bit and I definitely need to do my physic so I can get back to soccer.
2) I need to write everyday even if it's just a little bit.
3) I need to clean everyday even if it's just a little bit
I'm sensing a theme.
4) I need to go through all of my receipts and file them, even if I just do a little bit every day.
5) I need to cook more even if it's just supper.
Maybe I need something to make me accountable.
Okay, so here is my day:
Work - home by 5:30pm. Sneak in some blogging during my breaks at work. Make dinner, clean up. Exercise (30 minutes on treadmill & physio). Write for at least 30 minutes. Finish cleaning the bathrooms and vacuum. Read a chapter of the book I'm reading. Do a load of laundry. Spend time with my family. Okay, wait, this list is getting too long. I think I'll have to cut out cleaning the bathroom, dishes, and laundry.
Actually what this proves to me is that you can't do it all in one day even if it's just for a little bit. Back to the drawing board. Hopefully I'll be back on Wednesday with a schedule that will work for me, allow me to get things done, and not feel guilty about the things I don't.
Shortly after we told my oldest son about the birds and the bees, he said to me, "I wish you'd never told me."
Sometimes I feel that way about the writing industry. It was kind of nice living in that cocoon, writing my book, completely unawares of the perils that awaited me. When I wrote my first book, it was all about just loving the story and not worrying about anything else and for some reason I just can't get back to that type of writing. Every time I write a sentence everything I've learned and read runs through my mind. Is this advancing the plot? Am I showing enough emotion? Are my characters developing?
It would be nice just to write because I'm excited about the story and not worry about all those things. I miss those days when I was so naive and dreamed big. I think now my dreams are a bit more realistic, which is sad in a way. My brother used to say, expect the worst that way if something good happens you'll be pleasantly surprised. So how about you? Do you wish you could go back to the cocoon naivetity even if it's just for a little while?
Last week I'm feeling pretty down. My writing hasn't been going good. I just found out my knee is not so good which means no soccer for me right now. Things haven't been going that great for my kids. I was definitely in the throes of crybabyitis, but then something happened.
We got a call at six in the morning - my brother in law had unexpectedly passed away.
Suddenly all of my whining and complaining about my life felt inconsequential. Is that the right word?
I don't tell you this to make you feel bad. I tell you this so that you don't drown yourself in self pity when things don't seem to be going well, which is what I was doing. I tell you this so that you don't take those you love for granted. I tell you this so that you treasure each day - good or bad.
I tell you this to give you perspective.
So go tell your spouse or friend or mom or dad that you love them, because really that's what matters.
I had a really hard time writing the query for my first book. In fact, I'm still tweaking it, so I decided to try something different. While I'm writing the book or even before I write the book, I write the query.
Crazy you say.
I actually find this really helps. It allows me to identify any problems, whether that be conflict, plot, character, or voice. Plus by the time I've finished the book, I won't have to spend a lot of time writing the query.
What do you think? Do you ever write the query first?
PS: In the What's Happening on the sidebar, Laural Garver's book is being released tomorrow. Stop by her blog and congratulate her.
I've been following Karen's blog since I started blogging many moons ago. Her descriptions of her Kindrily series had me hoping it would one day be published, so I could read it. So I was super excited to finally read it a couple of months ago. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I waited until now to blog about it, so more people would be back from summer vacation.
Here's a description:
Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories. Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she's supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life. Honestly, love, a family with supernatural abilities, and reincarnation, I couldn't put the book down. In fact, it was the first book I read completely on my kindle. Karen creates such wonderful worlds where her characters have to fight to find the love of their lives. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it. How about you? Have you read any good books lately?
This week I'm taking a cue from Carolyn V and have started a "What's Happening" bulletin on the side of my blog. Her blog post kind of hit me last week. I haven't been very good at reaching out to people, which probably comes from my fear of rejection.
So, I've decided to try to be better at sharing good news, announcements, accomplishments, anything that helps reach out to others.
For today, I've decided to highlight Elana Johnson's new cover. For one, it's an awesome cover. Second, Elana has always been willing to reach out to writers whether published or not. She tries to respond to comments and comment back even though she's a published author.
So congrats to Elana.
Other things I've loved this week or am going to love. My days off work, the massage I'm going to get today, watching my middle child play volleyball, watching my boys play basketball together on Saturday, watching my daughter get excited about art.
My daughter was ready to quit basketball this summer. She had it in her mind that she wasn't very good and wouldn't make the top team. So one night my husband took her outside and spent some time showing her how to shoot and dribble with her head up. Her gave her encouragement and told her she was doing well, which made her want to try even more.
For the next few nights, she went outside by herself and practiced for a couple of hours.
There have been more times than I'd like to admit where I've thought about quitting this whole writing thing. Yesterday being one of them. I kept thinking why am I doing this if I'm not getting any better? Is this really worth it? Yes, I was having one of those days and all it took was one little comment of encouragement to make me realize that I was being stupid. I love to write. I love to create stories. They may not be perfect - yet, but I still love that feeling when a sentence comes together. Sometimes I forget and I have a day like yesterday.
I wish I could bottle that feeling up and drink whenever I'm feeling low. I'm sure I could make a fortune off that.
How about you? What gets you out of your 'I don't want to write anymore' moments or am I only one who has those?
I had a post up earlier this morning, but the formatting was all out of whack so I took it down and instead will do a short post on my weekend.
On Saturday our internet was down for the whole day, which meant no TV, no internet, no email.
So what to do? Well a good option would have been to write, but no instead I cleaned my house for five hours (dishes, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, washed all bedding). My husband worked all day outside and I felt like I couldn't take a break until he did, which begs the question.
How do you go write when everyone else in the house is working? Do you ever feel guilty?
Obviously I did on Saturday that's why I didn't do any writing until 10pm that night.
For this week it's been kind of a love hate thing. At first I hate them, but after I take a few deep breaths and a walk around the block, they are my favorite things.
What is it that could elicit such a response?
When you first open the document and see that it didn't return with 'I LOVED IT' written all over the pages, your shoulders slump, your throat clenches and you can't possible imagine how you can fix something that you've worked so hard on and thought was perfect.
But then, like I said, you take a few deep breaths, a walk around the block, and maybe a bite of chocolate and begin to think more rationally. You see that the red marks are actually going to make your writing better. The suggestions are worthwhile to read. And you should make some if not most of their suggestions. Then your shoulders straighten, your throat unclenches, and you can picture all the corrections you're going to make so that your manuscript shines.
So to all the people who have critiqued my work - you are my favorite thing this week.
I know a lot of us look forward to back to school time so we can go back to what we love - writing. But it hasn't been so easy for me. Both of my boys are now in high school and where we live that means both need a laptop. For the first week of school, the younger one used mine until we figured out that we could rent one at school. Then my older son's computer's hard drive crashed, so he's had to use mine this week. This means I only get writing done at night, but there's another problem. Sports.
And so my year begins. Basketball, volleyball, soccer, piano lessons, church youth group. It's going to be crazy.
That is why I haven't been commenting on blogs, or writing much. I'm having a really hard time figuring out a schedule. But now my son's computer is fixed and I should have mine on my days off work. So I just need to schedule my time better. Let the writing begin again.
So how about you? Are you having a hard time getting back into writing after the summer break?
Sorry about missing my Friday Favorites post, but I was off for a girls weekend, playing soccer in Whitefish. Fun stuff. A little shopping, a lot of eating, more shopping, and a little soccer.
But all was not lost on the writing front this weekend. I did learn something. After one particular hard game I said to my team mate that we just need to get tougher and she replied, "We've playing this game for years now and we're not going to get any tougher (especially since we're all getting older and we're quite a small team). We're not a tough team. We need to start playing to our strengths."
That was like a hammer hitting my head. Yes, it's good to try to improve and get out of your comfort zone, but sometimes you just need to figure out what you're good at and play to those strengths.
Now I just need to figure what that is.
On the soccer front - I think I'm good at passing, setting up plays and seeing the field.
What I need to work on - striking and long balls
On the writing front - I think I've got a good imagination and good ideas for stories
What I need to work on - a lot of things
How about you? Have you figured out what you're good at?
August was crazy busy. Working, going on vacation, working some more, trying to relax, getting kids ready for school. The same things everyone else does. It was such a great summer, I'm really sad it's over.
But we did manage to get in our annual family mountain. This year was our tenth anniversary for our mountain climb and we picked a great mountain. It had everything. Walking through a forest, scrambling up scree, navigating around boulders, meandering through a meadow, and a steep climb to the finish, where we were rewarded with a fantastic view.
Out of all the mountains we've done, this has been my favorite and it was also the hardest.
Here's the mountain as we were driving to the trail head.
Here we are almost to the top.
Here we are at the top.
Just goes to show you that there are great rewards for hard work. Something I need to remember in all aspects of my life. I'm excited to be back and I'm looking forward to catching up with all of you. So how about you? Did you do anything fun this summer?
Not literally, but since my life is slipping into vacation mode, I'm going to take the month of August off from blogging.
My son's basketball is over (his team won silver in our provincial championship's for his zone), I'm taking holidays here and there, and we're going camping. So I won't be around much this month, but I will be lurking every once in a while.
Come back in September for some new and exciting stuff (okay probably not, I don't want to be accused of false advertising or anything), but come back anyway.
Please come back.... I won't be gone that long.
Hope you have a great end to your summer. Enjoy the weather while it lasts, read a good book, write a few chapters, and spend time with your family.
PS: And yes that's me with the first fish I've ever caught, but I wouldn't touch it. My son had to hold it for me while we took a picture.
I was watching the beginning of Field of Dreams where Kevin Costner tells the audience about his life. Then at the end he says, "And I've never done anything completely crazy."
(or something close to that)
Then he builds a baseball field.
I'm a pretty level headed person and have a healthy fear of consequences, but my first thought after I heard Kevin Costner was I don't think I've done anything crazy either. It's not that I want to build a baseball diamond in the back yard, but maybe I need to do something.
So summer's almost half over. The month of July has flown by like a mosquito buzzing past your head.
Unfortunately we haven't done too much - yet. The weeks have been filled with basketball practices and games. Soccer practices in the scorching heat and soccer games covered in mosquito spray. Weed pulling, laundry, dishes, and everything else. Plus there's been work, work, and more work.
There hasn't been any hikes, camping, or camp fires. No bike rides, rock climbing, or hanging by a lake.
We have one more basketball tournament next weekend then our summer really begins. In other words, time off work. So I'm looking for ideas.
For some reason, I find it hard to get started. Whether it's doing dishes, cleaning, exercising, or writing. But once I get going, it's easy to keep going.
It takes about ten minutes before I feel like I can jog for an hour. It takes about twenty minutes before I really get into writing. And cleaning... well it takes a while (usually when I'm almost done).
The other day I was trying to convince my son to read a book and he says, well actually he kind of whined that it took to long to get into a book. "It's not until the 5th or 6th chapter that I really get into it and I don't want to invest that kind of time to get there."
Yes, this is the market and a lot of us are trying to write for. That's why that first chapter is so important. You need to ground the reader, make sure they can visualize what's happening, leave a little mystery without being too confusing. Let's see, what else. Oh yeah, you have to make the reader want to continue. No small feat. That's probably why I've rewritten my first chapter so many times.
Because we want to make sure that our readers don't too long to get started.
Every time I went to my front door, I'd say to myself, "I really need to weed those", but then I'd forgot or find something better to do.
Tonight I'd had enough. I sat down and dug in, pulling up weed after weed. I got most of it. Sure there were a few patches here and there that were hard to pull up, but I figured the beautiful flowers around them would distract anybody from noticing or I'd wait until I have a shovel.
I find this to be very similar to editing. I know I need to edit. Every time I open my computer, I see my document on the desktop just waiting to be opened. But I usually find something else to do. Then one day it will hit and I'll press option O. I'll go through each paragraph, trying to make each sentence better, but there'll be a few stubborn ones that I can't seem to fix, so I leave them thinking that I'll catch them next time. Or I'll hope no one will notice (invariably they do).
Back to the real weeds. I filled up two grocery bags and thought I'd done really good until I got around back and realized I still had a lot more to do.
Yesterday was Canada Day. I saw lots of maple leafs, red and white shirts, face painting, BBQs, bouncy houses, and fireworks.
I love living in Canada. I know the winters are cold, but I can put on a coat. We have colourful money, which makes it easier to tell apart. I can see the mountains from my balcony. And contrary to popular opinion we do not say "eh" or "aboot", at least the majority of us don't.
In celebration of my heritage here is a copy of commercial that was popular in Canada a few years ago and pretty much sums us up.
Hey, I’m not a lumberjack, or a fur trader…. I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber, or own a dogsled…. and I don’t know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada, although I’m certain they’re really really nice. I have a Prime Minister, not a president. I speak English and French, not American. And I pronounce it ‘about’, not ‘a boot’. I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack. I believe in peace keeping, not policing, diversity, not assimilation,
and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal. A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch, and it is pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’, ‘zed’ !!!! Canada is the second largest landmass! The first nation of hockey! and the best part of North America My name is Patti!! And I am Canadian!!!
Here's the link on Youtube, it's probably fitting that this is from a beer commercial.
Tonight I had the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela and Becca sitting open by my computer (like it usually is), and my oldest started reading it out loud.
Then my boys started to make it into a game. Someone would read out a physical signal and whoever showed it first got a point. Although I have to admit that a red face and molten skin were hard to act out. Then my oldest son read out the signs and we had to guess what expression it was.
It got quite silly when we exaggerated a shrill voice or invading someone's personal space.
It was interesting to see the expressions in action, which got me wondering. Would it help to act our your scenes to give you a better sense of where the characters are and what they're doing?
What do you think? Have you ever acted out a scene?
I have to admit that I haven't began my outdoor soccer season in the best of shape. I injured my calf back in January and didn't let it heal, so I've been battling pulled muscles, tight hamstrings and feeling like I'm saddle sore all the time. This does not leaned itself to exercising hard, so my fitness is not great and it's affected my game. Not necessarily because I can't run, but because I think I can't. I'm constantly worried about taking that one stride that's going to tear my hamstring.
I'm psyching myself out of games. Before they even start I think I can't do it, or we can't possibly win. That needs to stop. First, I need to lose the extra poundage that is hindering any kind of recovery, then I need to push through and exercise harder and finally I need to believe I can do it.
I need to follow this advice when it comes to writing. Lots of times I set myself up for failure. I have a defeatist attitude. I convince myself that my writing isn't good enough or there's no way I could market myself the way others are able to. I talk myself out of trying, but that needs to stop. First I need to write even if it's crap, I need to write. Then I need to edit and read and edit some more, and finally, I need to believe I can do it.
So here's to believing.
How about you? What do you do to make yourself believe?
In the past two weeks, I've gone from working 20 hours a week to 30 and last night I had to be at work for 12 hours. I'm totally exhausted, my house is a mess, and we are in sore need of some groceries.
Honestly, I don't know how people who work full time do it. How do they keep up with everything. For the past couple of weeks, I feel like I've been slowly drowning in everything I'm not doing.
Today is my day off and I'm looking forward to relaxing, catching up on some housework, exercising, and doing some writing.
How about you? Do you work full time, part time, or do you stay at home? Where do you find time to write and get everything done if you work full time. Or are you just in a perpetual state of tiredness?
I'm not trying to make excuses, but I have a hard time finding time to write. I work 3-4 days a week. Two nights a week I play soccer. Add in my kids stuff, my futile attempts at keeping the house clean, and keeping in touch with my family, well let's just say time is limited.
Also, I'm a slow writer. In the past few years I've only written two and a half books. So when I read Jody Hedlund's post, it made me wonder if I could write faster. She talks about how it's difficult to make a living as an author if you only publish one book a year (if you're a mid list author).
Some authors are writing two to four books a year. Even I've noticed that many authors are announcing two books being published in 2013.
So this got me thinking. Could I write more than one book (draft, revise, and edit) in a year. I think it would take a lot of time management and sacrifice. Things like sleep, a clean house, watching my kids play sports, and even my soccer games.
I guess it's a matter of priorities. I'm not sure if I'm willing to stop going to my kid's basketball games, but I'm pretty sure I could give up a clean house.
How about you? Do you think you can write more than one book a year or maybe you already have? What would you be willing to sacrifice to gain more time to write?
The problem is eventually I feel like my mind is ready to explode with all the information:
How to make your characters more emotional?
How to move your plot along?
How to plan out your novel?
How to write a great hook?
How to write a compelling query?
How to make your reader continue reading?
Now when I read my scenes, paragraphs, and sentences, I keep wondering if I'm implementing everything I'm reading. Am I showing more emotion? Is the dialogue forwarding the plot? Do my characters motivations, responses correspond with their personality?
At times I feel overwhelmed.
I think I might start engaging in some free writing where I just write what I want and not worry about any kind of rules, plot, or character.
How about you? How do you stop yourself from feeling so weighed down with information?
This week one of my favorite things has been Game of Thrones. The story telling is amazing. Even with all the violence, swearing, and intimate scenes.
I haven't actually watched a full episode, because I don't have HBO, but I've seen scenes on youtube. And I recently discovered an episode breakdown on HBO.com.
For each episode they have a recap and a thing called "Inside the Episode" where the writers of the show break down the characters on the show. They talk about their history and how it affects their choices, their feelings, and their motivations. I found it intriguing to watch, and a good lesson on how to analyze your characters.
As a reader, I've always thought that I liked books that were more focused on plot than character, but I'm beginning to rethink that. I think I lean more toward character driven books now.
What about you? Do you focus on plot or characters first?
I put a link to the first "inside the episode" podcast, but sometimes my videos don't always work. Anyway if you go to youtube and type in "Inside of the episode - game of thrones", they'll show up. And my apologizes, I think there may be a little bit of swearing in this clip.
Tonight after soccer practice, we were strategizing for our next game. We talked about pushing the ball to the wings and then pulling it to the top for the mids or defence to shoot. We discussed being first to the ball and playing tight defence.
Mind you these are things that we would ideally like to do.
I remember when I kicked a ball and instead of going down the field, it went in front of the net. My keeper yelled, "never in front of the goal," and I yelled back, "I didn't mean to do that."
I think when it comes to our writing ideally we want perfect plots, complicated characters, and stunning settings. And lots of times our ideas are great. I had a recent one where my CP wrote back telling me she thought it was a terrific idea and I responded with, "I seem to have good ideas, now I just work on my execution."
So along with my long balls and crosses, I'm going to work on my character motivations and emotions. I think those things will help me in my execution on the pitch and in front of the computer.
How about you? What are trying to do in order to have better execution?
Last week I was having a hard time concentrating. Ever since I got my laptop, I've done all of my writing on the kitchen table, which sometimes isn't the most conducive place to write especially when the kids get home from school.
So last week, my son had to write a math test in order to get into honors math for grade 9, so I went to the school and sat down in the cafeteria with my laptop and wrote for an hour and a half (that's how long the test was). I was amazed at how much I was able to write and edit. I almost have the chapter that's been plaguing me for years (not an exaggeration) done.
There are so many distractions at home. The internet and email being the prime one. I think I might take one day a week where I go somewhere to write where I have no distractions.
Now I just have to pick a place.
Do you ever leave home to write, and if so where do you go? Or are you way more disciplined than me?
Okay, I'll admit, I watched bits and pieces of American Idol this season. Enough to know that I really liked Phillip. And I'm so glad he won. Mostly because I'm more of a guy and a guitar type of a person as opposed to a slow ballad type of person.
Was Phillip the best singer in the contest?
Was he the best entertainer?
Obviously most of America thought so and so did I.
It just goes to show that everyone's tastes are different. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that thought Jessica was robbed. But maybe you can be a little different, a little imperfect, and still succeed. There are lots of books out there that maybe aren't the best written but for some reason they have resonated with people.
I say just keep writing, learning your craft, and take advantage of the opportunities that might come up.
Have a good weekend.
I leave you with my favorite Phillip Phillips song.
Today my family spent the day in the mountains. We went to the river where my husband and oldest son went kayaking while I was on shore being a nervous mother. All the while thinking back to a video my husband showed me when we were first together.
It's of him when he was first learning to kayak. He had just come out of his boat and was trying to get away from a rapid, but the current kept sucking him back. His dad sat there calmly and filmed him while in the background you could hear his mom screaming (not too coherently - but I'm sure she was screaming her concern). Her family always made fun of her for it, but today I got a taste of what it would have been like. My son flipped on his first rapid and my heart turned to stone in my chest. Luckily he got out okay and back in his boat, so I didn't need to scream.
When I was a young adult, I used to think that I would never be a good writer because I had never really experienced anything tragic. I was an english major what can I say.
I think when we're writing we don't necessarily have to experience what our characters do, in fact I hope we don't. I'm pretty sure that I'll never have to rescue someone from a dragon, but I have experienced feelings of fear, inadequacy and trying to live up to your families expectations.
So even though we might put our characters in all kinds of horrible and sticky situations that we'll never experience, we can definitely draw on our own emotions when we're writing the scenes in our books.
How about you? Have you ever used a specific emotion when writing a scene?
PS: To finish the story, my husband got sucked into the rapid and popped up down stream. The picture is of the actual rapid called the Double Ledge.
This week my favorite thing is renewed determination.
I'm more determined to lose weight, so I don't get injured playing soccer.
I'm more determined to cook better meals.
I'm more determined to watch my budget.
I'm more determined to stretch and drink more water.
I'm more determined to spend less time watching TV, (especially sports).
I'm more determined to finish this stupid chapter seven about rescuing a girl from a dragon. I did some research today (thank heavens for youtube), and got more of a sense of setting. So that's definitely a favorite thing this week.
Since it's a long weekend, I'll be back on Tuesday.
How about you what was your favorite thing this week and is there anything that you're feeling more determined to do?
A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community.
Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.
So many people take the time to make us feel special, don’t they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.
To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion
Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And
because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!
I am picking Jessie Oliveros, who has been my critique partner since the very beginning of this crazy journey. She was one of my first people to comment on my blog, and she readily accepted when I asked if she would read my book. For my RAOK gift, I'm going to send Jessie some uniquely Canadian clothes for her new baby. (Okay, maybe not Canadian - but something cute). I'm also going to read her pirate book this summer, which I was going to do already so that doesn't really count. If you have a minute, go stop by Jessie's blog and tell her how awesome she is.
Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge?
Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout
out, or show your appreciation in another way.
Kindness makes the world go round. :)
Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The
Bookshelf Muse to pick it up. And they are going to have some major awesome things happening all week, so keep checking back.
Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness? Let me
know in the comments!