Friday, September 30, 2011

Sweet Dreams

I've been thinking about dreams lately.  I know sometimes authors get inspiration from dreams.  I never have personally, my dreams are too disoriented.  Anything I wrote from them would end up in the Literature of the Absurd category.  Something along the lines of Daniil Kharms "Old Woman".  

Aaaaanyway, I was thinking more about dreams in books.  You see I'm thinking of putting one in my book.  I've read a lot of books with dream sequences.  The more I thought of it the more books I remembered having them.  Some were very good, some seemed more for dramatic effect and didn't seem to advance the plot at all, and thus were mildly irritating. 

Dreams are on the "not to do list"  for how to start a novel but I was wondering what people think of them as part of the story.  Safely tucked away in the middle. 

Do you like dreams in books?  Or do you think they're overused?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Contradictions


Sometimes I think I’m setting myself up for future hardship.  No, not in my writing.  We have a new toy truck at our house which, of course, means it has the undivided attention of both children.  We were taking turns with the truck, making sure each child had an equal opportunity to play with it. It worked really well. The screaming was decreased by half at least.  At one point, in the back of my head I heard a child’s voice say “But that’s not fair!”  And a future me saying “who said life is fair”  “You did, when you taught us to take turns”.  Now I’m not going to stop teaching my children to be nice, share and take turns, but am I giving them unrealistic expectations of life?  The only thing I can think of is that I’m trying to give them the skill set they need at this age.  In the future I’ll give them the skills they need at that point, including telling them that life isn’t fair and sometimes they just don’t get a turn. 

Then, as always, I started thinking about my characters.  We’re always told to put them up a tree and throw rocks at them.  We set them up for big disasters, usually while making them think they’re going to be ok.  Often we don’t feel bad about it.  We laugh maniacally and post on our blogs with glee what we do to them.  Often the idea is that the more unfairly our MC is treated the better the book.  Sometimes doing these things to our characters does hurt, just as if we were watching a child struggle, but we let them continue because we know they’ll be stronger in the end.  Maybe that’s why I’m trying to teach my children to share and take turns.  Because it well make them better people in the long run, even though they may have to learn to look at the world differently later.

I don’t really know where I was going with this, if anywhere.  Just some random thoughts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Again

I forgot to put the links in my previous post.  Head slap.  Sorry.

Here is to the Janet Reid blog.

Here is to Been Writing.

OK, that should be it for today.  Sorry.

What's in it for you?

 
I saw this post over at Janet Reid’s blog the other day.  In it she lists ten things we should be doing.  The first one is what captured my attention.  She said we should have a website with contact info, a professional picture if we are published, and a sample of our writing.  All good.  But then she said if you have a blog don’t blog about writing.

I wonder if this is because, like starting a novel with someone waking up, it’s overdone.  Maybe agents are tired of checking blogs to find that as newbies we’re trying to teach ourselves to write by blogging about it.  It reminded me of this post over on Been Writing.  She says this 

Every time I put something totally random and scattered that spewed from my brain onto my computer screen, I get WAY more comments than when I do something that's actually writing related.

Then she said this

it's because we want to know there are people as neurotic as we are. And it's even better when they're worse

We blog because we want to connect to other writers.  Writing is solitary and it’s nice to have people who understand what’s going on.  You know, people who won’t pull out the strait jacket when you say things like “My MC and I were having a conversation and we decided….”  It’s nice to see how others write, and react to writing, and how it connects to their real life.  It’s nice to just see their random thoughts and musings.

 I know blogs are good for networking and I know a lot of people who have found long term crit partners and friends.  I’ve found some friends that have offered to be beta readers.  Which still surprises me.  I love my novel but it’s a little different for others to show so much excitement.  I mean, these are real people.  And they aren’t even related to me! 

So, what do you like to read about on a blog?  I’m very interested since I have one.  Although I’ll warn you up front, my home life is pretty boring.  Some days all I do is prepare food, serve food, and clean up food.  Those are weekdays. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

There’s been a lot lately about the “no response means no” policy that some agents have.  Not having yet queried anyone my opinion is only academic.  But I don’t think it will matter.  Everyone is going to want my fictional novel.  All the agents will be calling within hours of getting my query asking for the full or offering representation from my sample pages. 

This may sound like bragging but I’m just being realistic.  This book will knock their socks off.  Everyone will want one and whichever agent I choose after I get all the offers will make millions.  It won’t even matter that I can’t spell or understand grammar.  And forget about promotions, but my book won’t need anyone to promote it.  People will see it and just know how good it is.  And once they’ve read it they’ll buy another copy and tell all their friends.  So you’ll forgive me if I don’t really care what their “no” policy is because it just won’t apply to me. 

OK, that was fun to write.  Hopefully nobody thought I was serious. In reality I think as long as their policy is clearly spelled out on the website I’ll live with whatever it is.  Personally I like closure.  I’m the kind of person that keeps deluding themselves.  Maybe it got lost in cyberspace.  Maybe the mailman delivered it to the wrong house.  Maybe... maybe…maybe.  I need something definitive with no more maybes.  But if I know that there will not be a response (unless they call to offer representation and who wouldn't really?)  I’ll be able to deal with it.  As long as I know beforehand. 

I found three blogs this week that talked about this subject in general but about author/agent relationships in specific.  One is by an agent and two are by writers.  Go here, here and here to read them.The think I like about them is that they are all down to earth.  And while we may all want to believe that everyone will love our book and no one will be able to say no it's just not going to happen.  Rejection is part of writing.  And really, how many of you who work or have ever worked liked every rule your company had?  No?  I didn't think so.  No matter what industry, no matter where, there are going to be policies you don't like. 

When I find my agent I want a partnership.  I want someone who will give me their best, just as I will give them mine.  So in the long run, their response policy just isn’t going to make or break the deal. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Multiple Times

Hi, my name is Sara and I'm a re-reader. 

I often have people ask me why I re-read books. I ask them if they've ever watched a movie or TV show more than once.  They almost always say yes.  Why is it considered ok to watch movies and lame sitcoms multiple times but not to re-read books?  OK, so that wasn't really where I was going with this post, I just feel strongly about it. 

My books are like friends, I like to visit them every now and again.  I have certain books I like to read in certain moods, some I go back to so I can remember life lessons I've forgotten. Some I study to learn different aspects of craft. Sometimes I don't have any money to buy books or time to go to the library and I HAVE to read.  I know there are a lot of wonderful books out there and I do spend most of my time trying to find new book friends.  But that doesn't mean I have to forget about my old ones.

Are you a re-reader or not and why?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5 minute fiction

So I haven't been around to do five minute fiction in awhile but I started again today and it was really fun.  Go take a look here and if you're interested vote for the winner.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Entropy Happens

I wrote my query while cleaning the bathroom this morning.  Well,  a new version of it anyway.  I didn’t stop to write it all down though.  I was surrounded by three kids that would not only drink all the cleanser while I was gone but would raise an unholy fuss if I wanted to take a couple minutes for myself.  Now I can’t remember it.  That’s ok, It probably wasn’t good anyway.  It may or may not have been inspired by cleaning fumes. 

I love reading others’ blogs.  I haven’t been able to comment as much as I’d like of late due to illness and the writing of thousands of thank you cards.  OK, only forty five but that’s still a lot.  I’m starting to get back into it and am having fun seeing what I’ve missed. 

I’m so excited to go work on my next scene.  I couldn’t stand it Friday and took the day off.  I guess a weekend apart was just what we needed. 

My son is growing out of his naps which will necessitate a change in my work schedule.

Last, here is a link to a Rachelle Gardner post with links to lots of publishing questions that she answers on her blog.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The End

The Engineer and I often have differences of opinions on endings.  The engineer has a long commute to work and he listens to a lot of audio books in the car.  It's not that he likes happy ending, or that I like sad endings, or that he likes closed endings and I like open endings, It's just whether or not we think the ending was predictable/satisfying/forced/or true to the story.  

Margaret Atwood has a good article about endings.  It's not too long and very interesting.  She goes through a number of possible story endings then says that there is only one true outcome.  You'll have to read it to find out. She says a true writer will favor the stretch in between rather than the ending and tells us to worry about the how and why which will bring a story to life rather than just the what. 

How do you feel about endings? Do you have a particular style you like?  How do you know your ending is right for your story?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blah

Do you ever have the feeling that working on your MS is like being in quicksand?  The more you struggle the more you sink into its suffocating depths, never to return.  There's no way out, and nothing you can do to save yourself. 

I think part of my reason for feeling like this is the fact I've been sick for 12 days.  I don't want to be sick anymore.  I want to have energy, I want to be able to think, I want to be able to talk.  OK, not that last one so much.  I didn't notice how much I appreciated those things  until I didn't have them.  I'm going to go take a nap.  Hope you are all doing well. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ereader-itis

A friend’s husband approached me last fall on the subject of Christmas presents for his wife.  His wife and I are both book junkies and pushers and we trade books back and forth constantly.  He wanted to get her a kindle but when approached she had been adamant about saying she didn’t want one.  Well, I got really excited and listed all the benefits of ebooks and ended by telling him “If you get one I’ll teach her to love it”.  She did get one for Christmas and does like it, though she still prefers “real” books. 

I have a kindle app on my netbook. While I, too, like the feel and heft of a book in my hands I love, love, love, my kindle app.  It is so convenient, especially with all the travel we’ve been doing this summer.  There’s only two problems I see with it.  One: whenever I sit down to read with it Truck Boy just assumes I pulled it out for him to watch Disney Channel’s Dance a lot Robot on.  Two: it’s just too easy to buy books. 

I recently read this post about the book Still Life With Murder.  It sounded interesting and since it was only $0.99  I purchased it.  It took me a little bit to get around to reading it but once I did I couldn’t put it down.  Eagerly I looked up the next book, it was only $2.99. One click of the mouse and it was mine and I could spend all night reading it.  Third book I bought late one Saturday night so I could purchase it before Sunday since I knew I would finish book two.  Books three through six are all $3.99.  So in such a small amount of time I had spent $20 on books.  I know this isn’t so very much, and hey I got six books, but I do try to stick to a budget and the kindle is all about instant gratification of the What Next Readers Syndrome.  Back in the day when I had to wait for enough time to pack the kids in the car and drive to the bookstore it was just as easy to drive to the library instead.  And since I’d had to wait a day or two my self control would have time to catch up to my coveting.  (Am I the only one like this?  Please tell me I’m not, even if you’re lying)  Despite that, or maybe because of it if I’m honest, I still love my ereader.  Yes, I still buy print books.  And honestly there are books I want to own in all formats, print, eprint and audio.  I’m an addict I tell you.  Someone help me. 

Do you have an ereader?  Love it or hate it? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Under Construction

This morning I watched Truck Boy build a train track complete with perilous bridge.  Every time he went over the bridge it collapsed.  Every time he would cry then rebuild it.  The exact same way as before.  He’s only two and a half so I hardly expect him to think “hey this didn’t work before maybe I should try something different”.  But it was interesting to watch how surprised he was each time.

Sometimes I’ve had a scene that didn’t work.  I’ve rewritten it again and again without changing much.  A few words here or there, more description, less description, or maybe they’re angry instead of surprised.  I’m sure more experienced authors would have looked at me in confusion or amusement thinking “how many times will it take before she realizes she needs to completely rebuild the scene”. 

Like my son’s bridge sometimes scenes need to be torn down and completely changed.  Maybe it should be told from a different pov, or it needs different characters, or the information we thought so important to impart maybe isn’t.  Try changing the setting, the time of day.  Make it in a barn at midnight instead of a funeral home at tea time.  How does that change your characters reactions and revelations?  And of course we always need to make sure the scene is needed, does it advance the plot?  Or should we cut it entirely?  I’m sure my son’s train track would have been a lot more stable if he had just removed the bridge.