Monday, August 29, 2011

Yours, Mine, Ours

I have seen the question “which book do you wish you had written?”  many times in the writing blogosphere.  What I want to know is do you have one?  I can’t think of one book I wish I had been the one to write.  There are books I love.  There are authors I wish I could write as well as.  Sometimes I want a certain books attention to detail, or characterization, or dry humor, or beautiful description, but there is no one book I wish had my name on it. 

Mostly I wish I could do justice to the books in my head.  Those are the books I wish I had written (or will write).  In all my writing I have found that the story changes in the telling.  Maybe this is because I’m a pantster and I don’t have a clear idea of where I’m going at the beginning.  But even if the plot follows my idea my writing doesn’t do justice to what I had imagined. 

So, Is there any one book you wish you had written, or do you just wish to write your own to the best of your ability?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Almost There

I'm only thirty pages away from concluding this run through of my ms and I am determined to finish today.  Then next week I can start the changes I blocked out.  There aren’t too many, just shifting the sequencing a bit and a few more scenes in the beginning. 

I have been shocked and pleased by this pass through.  It's reading like a novel.  And parts of it are good.  And I like it!  Maybe I will meet my goal to have it to beta readers at the end of the year. 

Off to work.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name...

How important are your character’s names?  For me, sometimes characters come with their name already there.  Sometimes I have to think and hunt to find out what it is. For minor characters I sometimes just go to a baby name sight and pick one.  But once they have their name how attached to it are you?

For me I think it depends on if the name fits or not.  I have a few names I’ve changed over time because it wasn’t right, or I got to know the character better and they told me their real name, but that generally happens fairly quickly.  I do believe there is power in names. 

The little girl we adopted last week has the same name as one of my MCs in my trilogy.  I was talking to my mom about how we were thinking of changing her name.  This is not uncommon and there were several reasons that we were considering it but at the end of the list I tagged on “AND I have a character with that name”.  She asked if I would ever consider changing that character’s name.  My immediate response was “Oh, no!  That’s her NAME.”  It surprised me a little how repulsive that idea was to me.  I couldn’t change her name any more than I could change my name or The Engineers. 

I personally don’t have a problem if they have the same name.  I know lots of people that share names and that’s great.  But I was surprised to see exactly how much a part of my characters their names have become.
What about your character’s names?  How do you get them?  Do you ever change them?  If a publisher recomended changing names would you listen?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Contractions R Us

I received a crit once where I was told my use of contractions was not consistent.  I've been thinking a lot about this comment.  Yea, it was only one person but I want to make sure I get this right. 

In my manuscript I have a character that doesn't always use contractions.  This is not her native language and she does have a little more of a formal lilt to her speaking.  Also there are times when I might have used a contraction but didn't for the sake of emphasis.

"I won't do that."


"I will not do that." 

Do you see a difference?  I try to keep them consistent within those parameters though. 

So the question I have for everyone is:  If you were to read this would the use of or lack of contractions bother you?  I'm very curious about how other writers feel about this. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guess What?

It's announcement day!  We're excited to tell eveyone we just adopted a little girl.  This is really good for a couple reasons.  One, we have a little girl.  Two, she's our son's half sister.  We adopted our son just over two years ago as an infant.  Our new little girl is sixteen months.  Yes, they are only thirteen months apart in age which will be interesting. 

We've been working on this adoption for over six weeks now (lots of legal issues) so that is why I haven't been commenting as much on blogs lately. Or writing.  I hope to get back into the swing of things as we get her settled in and find some sort of schedule.  Luckily they are both napping at the same time (for the moment)  so I can still do some work. 

Now the important part!  Pictures!

She's teething.


It's been a little crazy lately but in a good way.  Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.  Celebrate life

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Me

I'm guest posting today over at the Girdle of Melian.  If you're not too sick of me go check it out!

Good Vibrations

You know how sometimes you get in a slump and you can sit and stare at the screen for an hour and be lucky to get two sentences?  Then something changes.  You don't know what, or maybe you tried something different, and all of a sudden words are dripping off your fingers onto the keyboard and you can't type fast enough.  For once it all feels good and all of a sudden you love your manuscript again. 

Yea, I love that feeling. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jet Setting

I love flying, but it’s not something I get to do a whole lot of.  I love starting the day in one place and ending up somewhere different.  I love watching people at the airport and having to sit in those uncomfortable chairs while you wait.  I even love the exhausted jet lag feeling you get after.  Maybe I love all these things because they’re different.  Different than what I do all day long which is take care of toddlers, change diapers, and clean up messes. 

Oddly enough the things I love about flying are also what I love about writing.  I love starting in one place and ending up somewhere completely different.  I’m a pantster.  I love getting to explore characters and do something or go somewhere different each day.  Writing is my mini-vacation.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Worth the Wait

I went to a consignment sale this morning.  And part of this afternoon.  It wouldn’t end.  Actually what wouldn’t end was the line.  TWO HOURS in a checkout line.    By the time we could see the whole of the line and knew how long it was we’d already been waiting so long we didn’t want to give up.  We’re stubborn like that.  If we had known the line was that long in the beginning we would have dumped our junk.  There wasn’t anything that was worth it, though there were some fun things my friends and I had picked up.  

Unlike our checkout line publishing is worth the journey.  I can see that it’s a long line to reach the front; Writing, rewriting, editing, beta readers, more editing, querying, waiting, waiting, waiting, and then maybe having to do the whole thing over with another book.   Unlike my time in the seven circles of checkout line (yea, two toddlers and two hours) I knew what I was getting in for.  With the publishing process I’m learning and growing.  Each step can be fun and instructional.  And it’s my choice. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This is exactly where I am right now.  Actually I'm still on the first two steps. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Were We Talking About?

Absence of mind is catching.  Or rather it's swarming.  A hive of it has exploded and now the bits and pieces are looking for a new home.  Unlike bees they don't need a queen.  Each piece can find a mind and start a new home, multiplying it's forgetfulness until you can't even think of your own name or age (forgetting one's age isn't necessarily a bad thing, though it can prove embarrassing). 

I think I've been infected.


Monday, August 8, 2011

One Of Many

The other day in speaking with a friend I mentioned that I had been having computer problems, hadn’t been able to write and that it was driving me crazy.  Another friend who was present did the whole “you write?  What? What’s it about?”  routine.  She then proceeded to tell me all about the dozen people she knew who were writing novels. 

I’ve become fairly open with my friends because this is who I am.  It’s not a nasty disease or a character flaw to hide.  It’s a good thing!  But this conversation is one of the reasons I don’t like to tell people about my writing.  Hearing of all the people who are writing novels often makes me insecure.  I know I’ve put a lot of time into researching publishing and filling my writers toolbox but all of a sudden I feel as if I’ve lost my individuality.  As one of a crowd I have no voice, and we all know how important voice is.

This is something all writers must face.  How does one write and showcase their work in such a way that it stands above the masses?  How does one make it leap out of the slushpile and start a bidding war? 

I think the important thing is not allowing yourself to be swallowed up in the masses.  Remember who you are, remember that you and your story are individuals. 

So, go show them who you are!

Friday, August 5, 2011

On The Jellicoe Road

I’ve been wanting to do a book review on Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road but have put it off several times.  Not because of lack of interest but because what can one say about such a book?  It was published first in Australia under the title On the Jellicoe Road, but when published in America the title was shortened.  For people who like to know genres it’s a contemporary YA.  There is some mention of adult relations and child abuse in the book so if that bothers you than be warned. 

It’s the story of 17 year old Taylor Markham who’s mother abandoned her at age 11 on the Jellicoe Road.  Now she attends a boarding school there.  She’s pulled into leadership of the territory war games they play each summer, but how can she take care of others when she can barely take care of herself?  And who is the man in the tree she dreams of each night? 

Unfortunately a little blurb fails to capture the true essence of the story.  It’s a fabulous book and I couldn’t put it down.  Marchetta’s writing was a subtle and sensitive combination of the lives that affect Taylor’s, both in the past and present. Since the story also revolves around the adults who influence Taylor’s life I think this book is much more than a YA.

 I highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Extra, Extra

Just some links for you today. 

Rachelle Gardner had a parade of blogs.  She picked a subject, this time it was how to market your book, and had all of her clients blog about it.  There's over 30 links so there is a wide variety of ideas and sugestions.  I'm sure everyone could find something that would  work for them.  Personally I thought it was a great idea.

Also Widdershins had ten commandments for reducing stress. 

Hope you're all having a great week. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Are Your Stories Ripe?

It is peach season and I spent a little time bottling peaches this morning.  Tomorrow will be peach and blueberry pies. 

Don’t they look good? 

Looks can be deceiving.  These peaches are hard as rocks. 

Writing can be like that too.  Sometimes we have a story that looks ready.  We think it’s planned out enough to start drafting, or we think it’s edited enough to send out.  But when we bite into it we find it’s still green.  Just as unripe fruit can cause indigestion our unfinished stories can turn readers off. 

Before you take that big step, take the time to make sure the fruit of your labors is ripe and sweet and ready to be read.


Literary Lab is having their third annual writing contest and anthology.  It sounds like a fun theme plus in addition to being published in their anthology they are giving away cash prizes.  Go check it out.