Saturday, February 4, 2012

manuscript in progress...

Along the lines of celebrating hurdles when you reach them... Friday I printed out my latest novel for my first readers to edit and give feedback. This is the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo and at 65,000 words, it is a half ream of paper - the perfect length. It feels so good to see it in physical form. (I keep petting it - nice manuscript.) But the most interesting thing about this story so far (there will be another round of revisions) is it's taken me all of three months - November 1 - February 3. My last novel took 2 1/2 years (currently out on submission). The one before that took 4 years. I have to wonder if I'm getting the hang of this writing thing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

12 x 12 in 2012: Picture Book Writing Challenge

Come join me in this new challenge hosted by children's book author, Julie Hedlund, at Write Up My Life. Per her blog:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write one picture book per month for each of the twelve months of 2012. This means a first draft: beginning, middle, end. NOT a submission-ready piece. Sounds easy right? It sounds easy to me, too. But when I looked back on my writing output from 2011, I discovered that I only completed one draft from all 30 of the PiBoIdMo ideas I came up with in 2010. I did draft, edit and revise other pieces I had in the works, but I am not content with my overall 2011 results. So I decided to challenge myself to write many more in 2012, and I figured, why not invite others to join me so we can support and encourage each other along the way?
Logo design by Linda Silvestri.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ira Glass on Storytelling

How many of you have made writing goals for 2012? I know I have. And it's not always easy. In fact, writing can be one of the hardest things you've ever done. But there is hope and there is help...

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Thanks to Teaching Authors for the heads up.

Monday, January 2, 2012

How to Write 10,000 words a day

I love this article by Rachel Aaron, author of the Legend of Eli Monpress: "How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day."
     During NaNoWriMo this year, I was writing 2,000 words a day. It felt like an amazing accomplishment. Heck, it was, as I ended up with a 50,000+ word novel in one month. (Work-in-progress title: "Two Lies and a Truth.") But I can see how her advice could kick that up a notch. And I definitely agree with 'know what you're going to write before you sit down to write it.'
     That was the secret to writing my own novel. And I often left myself hanging - to write that next scene that I was dying to get to the next day. It made me eager to dive back in every time I sat down. Very cool.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Benny Prasad Kandukuri - Shout to the Lord

I can't find this in iTunes, so I can only enjoy it via video. Benny Prasad moved onto my radar from DailyDawdle. Turns out he's won a record, and I don't mean the music kind. He traveled to every single country in the world (sharing his music and peace) in six years. What an inspired and inspiring guy!
     By the way - his method of playing is called 'slap guitar,' immortalized by my hero, Michael Hedges.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I am a NaNoWriMo Victor!!!

I did it! I wrote a novel in 26 days through the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge! The NaNo goal is 50,000 words in one month. My personal goal was 60,000 or until I reached the end of the story.
     Well, yesterday I reached 54,641 words and "The End"!
     Of course, now the fun part begins - revisions. I think the first draft is the hardest part - revisions are FUN. That's when you slick up, tighten, and polish all points of the story and I could do it for much longer than it took me to write the original. But here's hoping I get it to a point where it's ready to go to my agent before the end of February.
     That's my personal goal anyhow. But I seem to be doing pretty well with those. Wahooooo!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Keep on keeping on

As I wait to hear on my novel, I did the only thing you can do - I worked on a new project. Something completely different, a very short picture book. I actually worked on it while hubbie was away on his Iron Butt Motorcycle Rally (48 states in 11 days + the 5 days out to Seattle and home from Los Angeles, another 4 days). Happily, my agent loves it and it went out to publishers Friday. So I now have a novel and a picture book being shopped. What to work on next? :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Waiting to Hear...

Scary, scary, scary. Why did we have to submit around a holiday? Everybody's on vacation. Probably for the next three months. Gads. Okay, well probably at least through this week. Don't they know I'm waiting? Don't they know I'm a nervous wreck? Okay, okay, so everybody in the slush pile is going through the same thing. I'm lucky I have an awesome agent to get my manuscript through the door. Still. They should all step away from their sandcastles, replace their flip-flops with business shoes and READ!!! Right? Right? Gads.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A book takes flight

My novel is going to publishers. Yup. Two and a half years worth of work - finally going out the door. My agent emailed me while I was on vacation in Seattle. I knew she'd be getting back to me soon, but wasn't sure if it would be a 'sign off' or another revision request. I was beyond thrilled to read it was the first!
     So now my baby is on its way into the world, to stand on its own, to be judged objectively and with luck, found to be worthy. Send good vibes!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

"Success" has been on my radar lately. Especially with the challenges, not only of getting published, but of this industry in general in the current market. I have to ask myself, if this career doesn't make me rich, is it still a worthy pursuit?
     If not, why? How many careers are really about money these days? The numbers seem to be dwindling.
     And if so, why? Why must money be a judge of one's creative output? And isn't it a fickle judge at best?
     Here's a very interesting take on what success is and what it should be to you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Outta here - again!

If you're following, I hope you're getting a good peek into what a difficult process writing a novel can be. And because it's so tough, you have to celebrate the little milestones when you reach them. Like today.
     A full revision is done. I hit 'send' on that email getting it back to my agent. My legs feel wobbly and a little numb. I made a ton of changes (unbelievably!) and the story actually ended up shorter (and tighter). I've polished it to the best of my current abilities. (Knowing I still have tons of room to grow.) But for now, I've done it.
     I've jumped a hurdle. I've reached an end. And when I calm down, I'm going to go swimming, take it easy, and revel in my temporary victory. Wahooooo!

Monday, May 23, 2011

More edits

Yup. Apparently even 'pitch-perfect' manuscripts aren't selling in this tough market, and I still have some work to do to make it there anyhow.
     Bad thing is, it's a biggie: voice. The most elusive to identify, most difficult things to nail, and one of the hardest things to learn.
     SO! Here's what I've done... I've got collages of my main characters - big posters which surround me as I write - with all the things that make them 'them' along with images of people I think sort of 'look like' them. I've got photo collages of kids that age (one is even flipping me a bird - how appropriate!). I've got another of these collages as my desktop wallpaper - the kids are literally staring at me as I write.
     I've also changed the voice I use when I read out loud (which I do ALL the time). But, I no longer read in my voice - I read in the voice of a younger me - a pre-teen me.
     And believe it or not - as silly as all this may sound, I think it's helping.
     I have been going through making more changes than I ever thought possible. I'm getting rid of high vocabulary (without dumbing it down). I'm clarifying ideas and cutting out a whole lot of narration (while finding more creative ways to get needed information into my story).
     It sounds a little crazy - but its all about getting into the mindset and VOICE of my main character (who has progressively gotten younger as this novel has gone through iterations).
     So, I'm going through again. Yes, I'm frustrated, but I rarely complain about revisions as that's actually my favorite part of the writing process. This is when you polish the heck out of the rocks. Let's see if we can shine 'em up like diamonds...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Confidence vs. Self-doubt

Nathan Bransford has written a wonderful post on the differences and similarities between confidence and self-doubt and how they affect our writing. It's worth the trip to GO READ.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Move Through the Creative Gap

I debated posting that Adele video because I was in a low spot that day. I tend not to show people those down times. But this is a different kind of blog. This blog is more about reality than my main blog and I think its important for those on this same crazy journey to understand how hard it can be.
     They say you can't truly reach success or become an expert at something until you've put in 10,000 hours. Well, I'm nearing those hours, and the beastie is really testing my resolve. Am I failing at this career I've dedicated so much time to? I couldn't really figure out how to say it, exactly. But then along comes Tribal Writer and says it perfectly:
     "The important thing is you're failing forward."
     Choosing a career like this is, in many ways, choosing discomfort. Because it's that constant striving to be better that gets us there, but it's that not feeling good enough yet that drives that action. It's the fate of the creative mind unfortunately, and why so many people refuse to stay on the path. And yet, the silver lining is that all that drive will (I hope) eventually lead to something spectacular.
     Truly, I can't say it better than Tribal Writer did (sections 3 and 4 especially) in her post move through the creative gap (all the way to the power of awesome). If you'r on even a moderately similar journey as mine, I highly suggest you go READ.