Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grrrrr

While Blogger allows me to post new posts from my laptop it apparently won't let me post comments. So while I won't be responding to any comments while on vacation I promise I am reading them. 

For those that want to know the trip went really well.  Truck Boy was AMAZING in the car.  There was less crying than on a regular day at home.  Hope you all have a fun week.

My Mother

As far back as I can remember I was surrounded by books.  My mother loves them and our bookshelves were always overflowing. Even though she was very busy she often took time to read to us and I remember sitting on the floor earnestly listening as she read The Twenty One Balloons, or Fantastic Mr. Fox.    

She is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to me.  She’s been with me since the beginning when I would get so excited about a scene that I had to share it.  Even though they were painfully bad she still saw some good in them.  She listens when I get discouraged and cheers my successes. 

So much of who I am is because of who my mother was. It is because of her love of literature and reading that I grew to love it and it is because of her belief in my writing that I can believe in myself. Thank you mom, Happy Birthday. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

We Are On Our Way

The car is packed, the house is clean (mostly), and we have enough food to last us until August.  Today is the day we leave on vacation.  I’m so looking forward to it and not only because I desperately need a break from the love hate relationship I currently have with my Novel. 

I do have a new idea (new book) I’m looking forward to exploring while I’m gone, though I feel terribly guilty about it.  As if I was cheating on my spouse or had a separate, secret set of children.  Do others feel this way? 

Anyway, I will be around but my blogging may be a little sporadic and I may not meet my usual mon-wed-fri commitment. See you around and have a great weekend.  Now it’s time to see if all the planning will work and keep a two year old occupied and happy on a three day car ride. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time will Tell

They say time will tell.  Tell what?  Or better yet, tell whom?  There is no one left that is not under the influence of time.  I don’t have time.  There’s no time.  I have to make time.   Time runs our lives, circling us, pushing, pulling, herding us like sheep. 

I can’t see, touch or taste it, how does it control me so completely?  Ambiguous and elusive, there nothing to fight.  But I won’t give in.  I refuse to bow down to time.    I am breaking free from the constraints laid on me by something I can't see or touch or know.  I am taking time into my own hands. 

Later, it’s time to make dinner.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do Over

I had a goal to finish this draft by Friday.  Yeah, I’m not going to make it.  It’s not because I’m not working hard, I am.  Mostly.  The editing is taking me longer than I had anticipated.  Because I’m a pantster my early writing is me discovering and telling myself the story.  Yea, I’ve found a lot of telling.  In many scenes, while the kernel of the scene is sound, there is so much that needs help it’s easier just to rewrite from the ground up.  That’s why it’s taking so long.  I’m hoping that having been through all of this my next book will be better from the get go.  Anyway, back to work.

When you revise do you tweak and adjust the scenes, or do you start from scratch? 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe,


I’ve just finished Matched by Allyson Condie which is a dystopian novel (they’re popular right now).   The rulers of the society thought their culture was too crowded and they formed a committee to weed it out.  They picked what they thought were the 100 best poems, pictures, etc and everything else was destroyed.  Early in the novel the MC said something to the effect of How can we appreciate anything fully when overwhelmed with too much? 

We live in an age when we have a lot of literature available on the internet, ebooks, traditional and self publishing.  I know there are books out there that I could love, that would touch my soul, but that I will never find because there are so many choices.  But to have someone else limit my choices according to their tastes is not an option.  There’s been a big blow up about the article claiming the YA genre is too dark.  The general outcry has been that people need choices.  Not every person is the same and it is not right for someone else to choose for everyone.

Having your right to choose taken away is a recurring theme in most dystopian novels.  Do you think that is what humans fear most? Besides loss of family and friends that is?  And how do you find what you love in the myriad of choices?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ears to Hear

Yesterday we went on a walk.  Usually I have an audio book but I had returned my last one to the library and didn't have time to look for a new one.  Currently my MP3 player only has my son's bedtime music on it so I went with nothing to listen to.

Truck boy was ensconced in the stroller and, as always, was enthralled with the world around him.  He pointed out everything he saw.  And I mean everything.  Trees, birds, clouds, geese poo on the road.  He imitated every sound he heard, birds, trucks, planes.  He loves sound and will mimic everything he hears including the vacuum and the mixer.  I saw the world through his eyes and ears and began to notice things I saw so often I never really looked, or listened, to them anymore.  I tend to be a finish line oriented person.  I know what I need to do, and do it, so I can move on to the next thing.  During that walk I was reminded that I need to see my surroundings.

I'm not good at world building in my novels.  Like in life I tend to see the finish line and forget to stop and get to know the world my characters inhabit.   It's absolutely necessary to not only know but communicate the sights, sounds and smells of a story.  If you want the reader to come back, to feel at home in your story there must be somewhere for them to stay.  So, like on my walk, in my writing I need to open my eyes and ears and become aware of the world surrounding me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Plotting Along

Literary Lab has a post today about when plots and subplots get in the way of each other.  Have you had that happen, where the climax of one plot downplays or even makes the climax of the other impossible?  I think in most books this isn’t a problem as most have one main plot with several supporting subplots and as long as the main plot thrives the others are malleable. 

Domey brings up the point of multi-plotted epics.  You know, those books that follow several people/situations through to the end, alternating between each of them.  Some of these novels tie up the plot threads along the way, first one, then another.  But Domey makes a good point that this often leaves us with little tension as we get to the end since most of the questions have already been wrapped up.  There are also books where the multiple threads are all climaxed together, or close enough together so as not to break the tension.

Doemy brought up Anna Karenina, which is one of my favorite books. There are two main plot threads that are so closely woven together they are almost indistinguishable.  However one is point and one counterpoint to what Tolstoy was trying to say.  The counterpoint ends, tragically, just before the point finds its conclusion and the heartbreaking ending of Anna emphasizes the completeness of Levin’s life.  It’s very interesting how these two threads play off each other. 

Have any of you written multi plotted books or do you stick to main plot/subplot?  How do you resolve your plotlines?  Together, gradually, or does the resolving of one plot negate the others? How are the plots/subplots resolved in some of your favorite books?  I'm always interested in how some of these amazing authors are able to weave together so many threads into an amazing tapestry of words without any snarls or tangles.  The sequel to Far From the Sea has several interwoven plotlines, though I think there is still one thread that the others weave around and I’m interested in how other authors handle this. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Links

Just a quickie to put up some links to interesting posts I read this week. 

Nathan Bransford had a great post on crafting a mystery.  He says that all books have a mystery- what will happen next.  This is a great post to help work the element of suspense into your WIP so readers can't put it down.

Rachelle Gardner had an excellent post on the overuse of exclamation points and italics in writing.  Read, then go check your manuscript.  I bet you'll be surprised. 

I'm It!

I was tagged by a couple of wonderful friends Deniz and Zan Marie.  Thanks for thinking of me.  I’m going to answer all the questions but I’ll warn you it’s probably more info than you want to know.  Not that I want you to stop reading by any means.

Do you think you’re hot?  Moving on.

Upload a picture or wallpaper you’re using at the moment.    Well, the thing is my wallpaper is just one of the stock pictures that came on my computer.   I put it up, I don’t remember how many  years ago, with plans that it would be temporary.  You see I had thoughts of taking a Cool Picture that would always show how awesome my photographic skills are and make me think of the time I (insert whatever cool adventure I took pictures of)  Yeah.  In reality I don’t do that much and my photo skills are pretty sucky.  Which is also why I don’t have a photo of me up on the blog yet.  I always come out looking sullen or a half wit.  Sigh.  

When was the last time you ate chicken?  Last night in the egg rolls I made.  Yum.

Name a song you listened to recently.  The Phineas and Ferb soundtrack.  Hey I have a two-year-old.  And a husband that really likes cartoons.  

What were you thinking while doing this?  How none of these questions have anything to do with writing.  Which is ok, I guess, because I know you wanted to know all this stuff about me.

Do you have nicknames?  What are they?  My nickname is Spesh.  It dates back to ninth grade when people called me Special Package which was a play on my initials.  You can see why it was shortened to Spesh.  

Tag eight bloggers.
This is where it gets hard.  There are many wonderful and amazing blogs out there and I know I can’t tag everyone so I’m just going to list eight blogs that were the most influential to me when I was starting to learn about the publishing world.They are in no particular order.

Query Shark.  If you want to learn how to write a query spend some time here.

Nathan Bransford.  While he is no longer an agent his archived posts are chock full of publishing advice.    

Pub Rants.  One of the things I like about this blog is how open she is when talking about advances, contracts and all the nitty gritty legal details of becoming an author.  

Compuserve.  This website has been invaluable to me.  It has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and many friends who have encouraged, goaded, taught and pushed me to be better.  Thanks everyone.

Rachelle Gardner.  She has very clear and common sense posts. 

Editorial Anonymous.  While they've been a little sporadic of late this blogger has spent a lot of time answering questions from her readers. 

Between Fact and Fiction.  This is the best site for publishing info you'll find written by someone who is as yet unpublished.  She's spent a lot of time on submission though and has been through pretty much anything.  It's a great place to find encouragement and advice because she has truly seen it all. 

Historical Romance by Jo Bourne.  She has so much knowledge about the craft of writing I'm surprised her head doesn't explode.  Plus she can put it down in a straightforward, easy to understand way that always results in my knowing what is wrong with my WIP.

There are other fabulous sites out there, and there are amazing people running each of those sites.  Unfortunately there is no way I can list them all so thanks to everyone who is trying to make the internet a better place by blogging about writing, publishing, or anything else interesting. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Reading

During the summer my mother used to pack us all up in the station wagon every other Wednesday and take us to the library.  It was a magical place, not only for the air conditioning, which we didn’t have at home, and the fascinating carpets in the children’s reading room.  It was wonderful because we got to pick out books to take home.  We could peruse shelf after shelf of colorful pictures and printed words that opened new worlds to me.   It was my favorite day.  Wednesday morning always dawned with a little extra sunshine.  It was torture waiting until ten when the library opened.  I don’t remember at what age I started begging for my own magic card that would allow me access to so many books but I was eight when I received it.

Ever since then libraries have been a part of my life.  Before I move one of the first things I do is find the closest or biggest library in the area.  I may not be able to tell which way is north but I can sniff out a library pretty darn quick.  Actually it usually finds me.  We’ll be driving around and there it will be, shinning in all its glory. OK, it’s a government building, they usually aren’t glorious.  At least on the outside.  


Don’t get me wrong I love to buy books too, but my budget could never keep up with the amount I read and the library gives me the option to test drive books.  To find books to add to my collection that I will cherish and read over and over again. 

It’s summer now, school is out and every Wednesday I feel I should be on my way to the library.  I take my son on Fridays though, that’s when they have story time.  Really it doesn’t matter which day we go as long as I can give him the same wonderful memories I have and an abiding love of books.