Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anything BUT Writing

Sometimes, the best way to write, is to not to. (Where did I hear that saying? A child I think).

I've been knee-deep in revising, and to be honest, it's become tiring. One moment I'm hopeful and excited, seeing how far I've come and how much I enjoy my story. And then the next moment I notice how far I've still to go and I want to just stand up in a huff and throw in the towel. This roller-coaster of emotions makes for a frustrating writing atmosphere. And then you add in the fact that my kids are on summer break and despite their ages, still feel the need to follow me around the house (any room I choose to write in), and then fight with each other right beside me.

That's when, yesterday, I decided to make the best decision for my current crazy state of mind, and for my writing. I decided not to write. No, I went outside and did yard work. My hubby was mowing the lawn, so I figured, why not? I pulled weeds, then watered the plants. It took hours. Hours of quiet. Hours of peace. Hours of time to think.

And when my kids followed me to the yard, I welcomed them and allowed them to chat my ear off as much as they wanted. As long as they were pulling weeds beside me. My oldest wanted nothing to do with dirty hands. And my youngest gladly helped for about twenty minutes or so, told me she was going to take a break, and then never came back out. :) 

I didn't discover any plot revelations. My mind hadn't come up with any amazing one-liners I could add into the dialog. But, for some reason, that physical activity coupled with peaceful nature (even if I WAS killing the weedy part of nature) gave me the gusto I needed to write. 

Do you find that to be true for yourself? Does a little break from writing, to do something physical, surge your writing ability? 

Here's more pictures of the finished yard work. Except the back yard. It still needs a weed hunt. 

 My dog follows me everywhere too, but she doesn't fight with the kids, so I let her stay by my side. :) And yes, that statue is headless. My sisters swear that I got tired of the little girl statue staring at me with her beady little white eyes so I chopped her head off. No. It was that way when we bought the house. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Conference Decisions...Where Do You Stand?

My best friend, who is also one of my critique partners, will soon be headed to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in Portland, Oregon. I wish I were going with her...kinda.

So far, we've been hand-in-hand on this writing journey. I want to be there to jump up and down like crazy, hormone-induced Twilight Moms, the moment she gets her first request for materials from a pitch session. I want to share a fun weekend away with her, where we're surrounding by our dream career choice.

But, really, that's the main reason I want to go. Which is why I'm not.

See, I've taken a turn in my writing behavior. I've learned a little from Allura, my main character in Dark Waters. She's a hunter. She stalks. Waits. Watches. And most of the time, when she goes in for the kill, she ends up with a tasty meal.

I don't plan on eating anybody, but I refuse to pounce until I'm confident I've brought my A game. And at this point, I feel like I'm sitting at a solid B. I have nine more chapters to revise in Dark Waters. When I am done with that, I will load the document onto the Kindle and read it as a whole, making changes where needed. After that, I'll send it out to my beta readers. And continue tweaking as needed. Then, comes the polishing of the query. Then the verbal pitch.

THEN, I'm ready.

And in October, I'll be attending my first conference.

Why am I telling you this?

Because with my best friend calling and texting me with updates to her pitches, and with the numerous tweets and Facebook posts about the RWA nationals, this is my way of self-soothing. ;)

Plus, I'm wondering your thoughts on all this. Have you set a goal that you must reach before attending a conference? Do you plan on attending one soon? If you have attended a conference, what was the main point you felt you took away from it? And lastly, but most importantly, do you like my flower at the top of this page? I took the picture yesterday, in my front yard. :)    

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hookers & Hangers

So, I'm not sure if this is allowed (because I didn't post any hookers), but I thought it'd be fun to join in the Hookers & Hangers Bloghop.

Just a short bit about Dark Waters:
When sixteen-year-old Allura breaks the rules to save a human, she accidentally absorbs the injured woman's blood, igniting a flurry of flesh-hungry cravings buried within her DNA, and becomes the centerpiece in a plan her kind has constructed to revert to the lifestyle of their folkloric ancestors who once lured and killed less than honorable human men.

Here's a few of the hangers from Dark Waters:

~ To her life and--if my aunts found out what I had just done--my undoing.

~ "If she wants to sympathize with the humans, she can eat like one too."

~ That didn't guarantee that she wouldn't still call my aunts.

~ Why did following the rules feel like such a mistake?

~ That's when I first fantasized about killing David.

~ "Don't worry." The words seethed from  my salivating mouth. I stood on tiptoes, staring straight into his deep brown eyes. "I'll show you the real me."

~ I could really use a good kill--something with skin to sink my teeth into.

~ He walked away from me, without once looking back.

~ "Yes," I said, my voice strengthening with each breath. "Kiss me."

~ But before I could open my mouth and let out a fake shrill of pain, another shrilling sound screeched through the air.

~ Her hand pressed into my right shoulder. "You're the reason the Council is meeting, right now."

~ "I wont let them hurt you," I breathed, my voice thick and throaty. "Even if it kills me."

~ I couldn't hover, or even hold myself up. Shortly after the two pieces of dead animal fell, so did I.

~ His arms bound behind his back, David stood, glaring straight at me. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

On Being A Cry Baby

I'm not a cry baby. Ask my best friend, I rarely cry at all. But, when I come across a book that pulls at my heartstrings enough to bring me to tears, it's insta-love. When I finished reading The Reason Is You, last night, my face was red and my eyes were swollen. I cried at the end. I cried hard. I love this book.

It's one I haven't heard about. I haven't seen it on blogs, or websites, or marketing material. I won it on a Goodreads giveaway from the author. And I'm so glad I did.

The Reason Is You, is the debut title from author Sharla Lovelace, which makes me think I should email her and ask her for an interview. Because her book did not fit into any genre box I could think of. It had a little of women's fiction, a little of paranormal romance, a dash of fantasy. And so I wonder, was it hard to query this book? I mean, sometimes a book that breaks the mold is highly sought after for its uniqueness, and sometimes it's unwanted for its inability to cleanly fit into a genre, or sub-genre. So for her, which was it?

I think I can assume what won the publisher over though, the voice in this book is wonderful. You automatically get a sense of the main character, and then when the paranormal is thrown in, it feels so natural. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book and would very much recommend it. Here's the the link to Amazon to read what it's about: The Reason Is You

Have you seen this book? Have you read it?        

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Movie Was Better Road Trip Wednesday!

Good morning! How's the weather from where you're sitting? I'm looking at gray skies and fog cover out one window and blue skies out of another. Love that Washington weather.

So, over at YA Highway, they're asking a question: What movie have you seen that actually improved the book?

Here's my answer:

I laughed during this movie, and most importantly, cried...a lot. But, the book felt jumpy and confusing at times compared to the steady, smooth flow of the movie.



Don't throw tomatoes at me, but while I enjoyed the book, it didn't draw me in nearly as much as the movies. Anne of Green Gables.

That's all I could think of off the top of my head. I bet if I sat and pondered, I'd remember more, but why when I can go hop over to other blogs and see what they put?

Happy Wednesday! Oh, and what's your answer? Any movies you thought were better than the book?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Four Types of Critique Partners

They've lurked in the shadows, behind the laptops, and on the writer's forums. They've made you smile, made you cry, and most likely made you want to throw something.

If you've ever had your work critiqued, you've experienced them.

If you've ever critiqued another writer's work, you've been one of them.


I've been doing a lot or critiquing these days. And after my own experiences and chatting with other writers, I thought it'd be fun to compile a list of four common types of critique partners. And I use the term "partner" loosely. Of course I've had amazing ones too, but the not so amazing are funner to poke fun at.

*Disclaimer. This is ONLY for fun. No panties getting into bunches here.*

-The Over Achiever
This critiquer seems to think it necessary to point out EVERY little problem they find with your work. Even the problems that aren't there. Like a blood hound, they're sniffing the issues out and by golly they're gonna find something! They've read about ten words of your first page, and already they're making comments in the sidebar of how the main male character wouldn't think or do such-and-such because it's out of character for him. And if they've used track changes, there's now a lotta red on your manuscript document.

-The Gusher
This person absolutely LOVES your story. I don't care if it's only two pages long, they love it. The plotting? Perfect. The dialog? Perfect. The pacing? Perfect. The world-building? You guessed it. Perfect. Now, at first you're thanking your lucky stars for a reader like this, but at the end of the day, without helpful feedback, your manuscript is no closer to being...perfect.

-The Doomsday
This one makes me laugh because while I've had each of these types critique my work (and I've been some of them too), I've had one run-in with a doomsday critiquer, and I can still remember her words. This person is a fine critiquer. Not too much, not too little. But then at the end, when they're summing up their thoughts, they add bits about how hard it is to get published. How the odds are against you. How if you don't follow ALL the rules in your writing, and don't attend as many conferences as possible, and don't work tirelessly for years and years, then your odds of getting published just went from bad to almost non-existent.

-The Stoic
This person is a little like Doomsday, except they don't add that heaping of fear at the end. Actually, they don't add any emotion at all. In fact, they don't tell you if they've even liked or disliked your work. They'll answer your manuscript related questions, give their suggestions for possible changes, and even go so far as to tell you that you did it all right, without so much as cracking an online smile.

Of course there are plenty of wonderful critique partners, and I hope I've been helpful to those I've critiqued, but we all know that at one time or another, at least one of these types have graced us with their presence. And if we're being honest, we've also donned one or two of these hats ourselves. I know I have. That's why it's so enjoyable to poke fun!

So, even if you're the BEST critique partner in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, which of these types do you sometimes tend to become? Me? The Over Achiever. I've gotten better. I've realized that just because the writer chose a way to explain something different than what I would have preferred, doesn't make it worth highlighting and commenting on. ;) But, have I been completely cured of it? Is anyone ever COMPLETELY cured? ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Finger Waggling

If I were a finger-waggling type of gal, I'd write the letters "R&R" on a 3x5 note card in big, black lettering, stare at that note card, waggle my finger and say, "Oh you Revise And Resubmit, I've been burned by you before."

Of course, I'm not a finger-waggling gal.

If you've been with me for more than a year, you'll know I received one of those R&R's from a very insightful and friendly agent. You'll also know that she was the first agent (who took my genre) I had queried. The only agent I had queried. And, *sigh* you'll know that I thought she was the one. Which, in writer terms means: I went straight to work revising, then nine months later I resubmitted, waited another few months to hear back from her and received a rejection.

Did I query other agents while I waited?


Will I make that mistake again?


Then why do I feel like I'm cheating on the agent who's recently emailed me an R&R on Dark Waters?

And by recent I mean, like, a month or two ago.

Because I loved his feedback. Because he really seemed to get the story and was intrigued by the whole eating men thing. And let me tell you, that in itself is a miracle. I'm thinking even the content of my query can be upsetting to some. Case in point: the very short--not even form--rejection I received today twenty minutes after I had sent out the query. Which, by the way, is a new record.

So as I revise, I'm also submitting queries. Regardless of my weird sense of duty, or loyalty or whatever craziness this is.

Do you have craziness going on? Tell me about it.