Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

It's that time of year again. I love this season. How exciting for all of the little tykes, to get all of that candy that's gonna ROT out their pearly whites. It JUST don't get any better than this. :) Grammarly bad sentence, but I just couldn't resist.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Creating memorable characters

Ever since I started writing, I have been on a mission. To create memorable, believable characters that are brave and confident. Now they might not be brave throughout the entire story. They may become this way from being in the story, but they always end up bold. I want my readers to
1. identify with my characters
2. remember my characters long after they've read the story
3. believe that my characters are who the book says they are.

As a child when I read a great book I usually either dreamed I was the character I was reading about, or I wanted to be the character I was reading about.

This is what I'm striving for in my writing. If I can do this, I will have achieved what I set out to do. My characters will be memorable, believable, brave and confident. What say you? :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My workspace

Here it is! In all its splendor. My workspace. The duck is Quacker named after a duck in two of my picture books, Quacker the Duck and Farmer Ben and Quacker the Watch Duck. He is my buddy and spurs me on when things aren't going as fast as I'd like them to. My chair is soooo comfy!

So what is your workspace like? Is it heavenly? Does it inspire you? Mine does, just because it is at home and Christopher and everyone else are near. Quacker too, of course.:) And it's near the kitchen! *grin*

And why am I showing you pics of my space? Yesterday I thought how much my workspace shaped my writing. When I'm happy, no worries the words just roll. As y'all know I've had some concerns for the past few months. But. The writing still happens for me, I guess, because of where I'm writing at and who I'm around when I am writing. It comes slower, but it comes. I am in the process of going through my papers (the mess you see to your right.) Uh, someday. *grin* A little mess never hurt anyone. Right? :) But I am moving a REAL desk in. WOOHOO!! Does your workspace help or hurt you? :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Love to Write Day

It's time for I Love to Write Day again. This teaches children about writing and hopefully gives them a spark to write on their own. Even though I home-school, I am a huge fan of this program. Author John Riddle created this day to have ALL people practice their writing skills.

This is taken from the site:
The World’s Biggest Party For Writers

November 15, 2009 will mark the eighth I Love To Write Day, a grassroots effort to have people of all ages practice their writing skills. Created by Delaware author John Riddle, I Love To Write Day is an opportunity for people of all ages to write something: a poem, an essay, a letter to the editor, a short story, start a novel, finish a novel the possibilities are endless! On the first I Love To Write Day, 11,328 schools all across the country held special writing events and activities. Last year, we signed up over 20,000 schools. This year our goal is to have an I Love To Write Day program in over 25,000 schools. Please help us spread the word: tell schools, libraries and bookstores in your community about I Love To Write Day. You can read more about I Love To Write Day and learn how to register (it’s free!) by reading the Media Kit.

So let's spread the word writers. :)

Here's the link.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's the brouhaha about?

I am sure you've run into writers blogs that have been in an uproar about comments Click here to read made by Sendak about the release of his movie, Where The Wild Things Are. Here's a better article that people aren't talking about that explains a lot about himself. Click to read. In the first link I gave you, he told the parents who think the new film of his picture book is too frightening for children to "go to hell". Okay, he's an ol' codger evidently. I'll grant you that. Grumpy too, probably. But I wish they'd just leave it alone and talk about his writing not his codgerness. Do we stop admiring Van Gogh's work because he was plagued with mental illness? Should we really listen to(gasp)Beethoven in lieu of his metal problems? Of course. I love Van Gogh's paintings and Beethoven's music. So...

I'm a little tired of the free-for-all so I've decided to talk about it today. People reacting in this way is a plus for him. More people will want to go and see the movie now. Hollywood has wanted to make this movie for years and Sendak wanted only one director, Jonze and that he told him to make it scary because the book was scary when it was released. It was supposed to be. So you wouldn't take your four year old, but you could take your ten or eleven year old.

First of all, Sendak is brilliant. He has worked hard and become an accomplished writer. He can say whatever he wants to. Children will still read his books. He is who he is. His books are still great. And he knows it. And I know it. What say you? :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

How's your voice?

I hope everyone had as good an unplug week as I did. :)

When you're stumped about how your narrator should sound, what do you do? I have learned (forget where)to write at least one scene (preferably more) in the first person. It really works. Then you can write it in third person later. It helps you to see how the narrator is thinking and it helps you to find the narrator's personality. You easily become the character and it gives you the emotional angle you might need. Because you are feeling what the character feels and seeing what the character sees, the scene is improved and your narrators voice shines through. Okay, so anyone else have any advice for finding a character's voice? If so leave a comment and tell us how you do it. :)

And a great big thank you to Kristi over at Random Acts of Writing for giving me the Silver Shoe award. Isn't it beeeeaaaauuuutiful? Thanks Kristi. Everyone go visit her blog. She has a lot of great writing info posted on a daily basis. :)

And it is my turn to pass the Silver Shoe award on, so I'll give it to my pal Belle over at Ms. Bookish. Go check out her blog too. Great blog about writing, reading and everything in between. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unplug week

Unplug week is here again. Are you unplugging? I hope everyone writes as much as they can this week. I want to get a lot done. Let's see if I can do it. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Query contest for anything kidlit

Literary agent Mary Kole (over at Andrea Brown is having a query contest)for anything kidlit. Entries due by October 31. Go enter. The prize is a crit of your first thirty pages. :)

Congratulations T.Anne

This is for T.Anne. Congrats on winning an honorable mention in Nathan's paragraph contest. YAY!! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are comes to theaters today. Who of you can't wait to see it? Are you going this weekend or will you wait until the crowds thin out a bit?

Just let me say that it's going to be a WILD weekend around here. Can't wait either. The book has ALWAYS been a favorite around this hose. We still have our copy. It's all tattered because it's been read so much.

Are you going? See you there. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Howdy from Chapel Hill

Uh yeah, we're here AGAIN. UH, yeah we were here Monday, and then we were back like yesterday! These folks know us so well. Heck, we don't even have to sign in. They sign us in when they see us coming. I'll visit your blogs as soon as I can. Hope everyone has a great day! :)

What have you learned about the process of writing and querying? I've learned that the word revision is now more a part of my vocabulary than the words, "I'm hungry." And I have learned that rejection is a BIG part of my life now. WAAAAA. It's just the way it is. True or False? Rejections help to make me a better writer. I think they make me more determined, but I ain't sure about the better part. I'll have to get back to you on that. I bet when I have a published book I'll say that rejections made me a better writer. Just because I can say it then, without sobbing hysterically.

How 'bout you?:)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ever seen this?

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes for Christopher, me and the family yesterday. We have to go back tomorrow, and they are going to schedule an appointment with a Cardiologist. They think the veins leading from his heart to his brain could be the problem. I am much in prayer that this is not the case. So a big virtual *HUG* to all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. :0)

I recently found Crow Toes Quarterly. Has anyone ever heard of it? It looks to me like a great venue for some writers I know, that aren't published yet to get some publishing credits. I don't write fantasy, but I know some who do. Oh you know who you are. :) And I think fantasy is accepted along with playfully dark literature for kids. Is there a magazine like this for YA? Crow Toes is really for MG, but YA would probably love it too. Especially younger YA.

Tell me what you think. Hey, I might even submit a story. Stranger things have happened. :) Here's the link.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gone to Chapel Hill

Long day today. Please pray that they will find something out soon for my son. I will visit everyone as soon as I get a chance. UG. Home-school in a van is tough. But I will prevail. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Coffee shop time

It's time to go and meet Beth. We'll drink coffee and talk about all the writerly stuff we can find to talk about. Oh yeah, we'll do our crits too. :)

How many times do you and your crit groups meet? If you meet online, how many times a month do you critique? :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Books For Reluctant Readers

Christmas isn't THAT far away so I thought I would mention reluctant readers need books too. I know a writer who writes specifically for reluctant readers. They love his books. Almost as much as they love mine. Oh wait, I'm not published yet. *she stamps her foot*

His name is Max Elliot Anderson. Mountain Cabin Mystery is really good. As is, North Woods Poacher, Secrets of Abbotts Cave and Legend Of The White Wolf. If there are any reluctant readers on your list this year, girls or boys buy them these books. They will gobble them up and ask for more. And isn't that what it's all about?

Do you know of any books that reluctant readers would enjoy? If so comment here. Thanks!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

UGH to scenes that "drag"

I was working on my new WIP and noticed that the scene I had just finished was dragging. It occurred to me that writers are suppose to get into a scene late and get out early. I remember reading somewhere that the writers chant is, "In late, out early."

A writer should come into the conflict as late as possible and leave as early as you can often before the conflict is over. That is good reading. I wish I could remember where I heard it because it's great advice. If you think of each scene that way you shouldn't have any scenes that drag.

I decided to take out the extra baggage from the beginning, middle and end. It worked! I saw that I had too much extra 'stuff' in. When I took that out the scene worked. I did add a sentence in the beginning and a little in the middle. In other words, I had empty words in the scene. Once I dumped them, I was in business.

How do you fix those dreary scenes and add luster to them so that they aren't ugh.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Will you be the same?

We're gone to the hospital today. I will visit your blogs as soon as I get a spare moment or two. I did have a thought, though(don't I always)? :)

How many writers write for sheer enjoyment? I went to an author reading at our local bookstore about two or three weeks ago. The writer seemed to me to be quite full of himself. And he acted to me like he thought he was 'special' because he was published.:) Like having a book published that he wrote validated him.

Are all his problems solved now that he has been published? No! Don't get me wrong. I want to be published. I want to hold my book in my hands. But I love writing no matter what. Yeah that was me you heard sobbing hysterically at my latest rejection. UHHUH, that was me you heard. But I still write. I want to be published and I will do a lot of things to get there, like study punctuation(ugh), read, blog, and a lot of other things.

When I'm published I will still be the way I am now. This guy acted like he was doing me a favor by talking to me. And they had champagne at his book signing in this little town? Say what? What do you think of writers like this? I mean besides wanting to throw their book at them. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When did you know?

Now, for all you writer's out there, when did you know you were a writer? Was it last night? Last year? Since mama brought you into this giant world? With a whole lotta help from God, I might add.

Did you always know? Did you discover writing through another vocation like teaching? What is it about writing that makes you know that you know that you know that you LOVE it?

For me, I discovered writing through home-schooling. I noticed how wonderful it made me feel to write. And I always loved reading so it was a natural fit for me. So for me it took a few years(yeah, I'm a little slow) to finally realize that I should consider writing picture books. And then a couple more years before deciding to write a novel.

Tell me how it happened for you. I really want to know. And thanks. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Strong characters

I don't know about you, but I want strong yet flawed characters. I want them to have blemishes. People aren't perfect, neither are the people we write about. Because unless we are writing about animals, we're writing about people and they live in the pages of our books. How imperfect we choose to make them is up to us. We control their lives like a chess game and we move the pieces around the board until the end of the book comes and the game is won. I want to give my characters as many hardships as they can handle. They often tell me, "more!" So I give them more troubles. I want them to suffer so the reader will feel in tune with them.

I also let my characters help me write the book. "Ah," you say, "She's gone berserk." No! They offer all kinds of strategic plans to help me solve problems that always arise when I'm writing my stories.

I talk to them. I interview them. I let them interview me. I also read somewhere(can't remember where) to let your MC write you a letter. The letter tells you what the MC thinks about the story you are writing. And it also tells you what kinds of changes you need to make with the plot. Try this one. It is a lot of fun.

Strong characters that have flaws and they help you write the book. Yeah. That is what it's all about. :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Was Twilight quality writing or not?

I heard an author talking about the book Twilight and she said that Meyers targeted a market that texts, for heaven's sake(!), so THEY would
hardly care about quality writing, or recognize it for that matter. Do you agree with this or disagree?

I don't think it was poorly written. It might have been a lot less grammatical than some books, but I'm for any books that get young folks reading.

What do you think about Twilight? :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Plot Twists or Could Be Titled What Have Your Critters Done For You?

I know when I am writing, SOMETHING has to happen. Some turning point. Some action or some event that takes my story off in a new direction. A path that the reader wasn't expecting. (hopefully) That's my plot twist. And there is several taking shape in my new WIP. Thanks to Beth who*** being the honest critter she is, told me that I was on the wrong track. After we met before unplug week I was thrilled. Why? Because I have hit on some things for my story that hadn't crossed my mind. Now it is reading like the great mystery I want it to be. Aren't critters lovely? :)

So now I see there will be many more twists and turns for the reader in my book. And what fun it is too. All thanks to a very appreciated critter! :)

Shouldn't there be a National CRITTER DAY? Or an Appreciate Your Critter Day?

So how have your critters helped you? Your beta readers? :) Let's appreciate them. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hey from Chapel Hill

We're at the hospital today. I will visit your blogs though as soon as I can get over to my coffee shop across the way.

I have a pitch coming up with an agent and I am posting said pitch today. I need to add a take away to it. These girls make it out just in time (didn't you know?) Should the take away be just a sentence that tells how they get out? Or what? It can be up to 100 words. Right now it is at 66 words. ANY AND ALL HELP NEEDED AND WANTED. PLEASE! Here goes...

Seventy Two Hours is the middle grade adventure story of two 13-year old girls (one a diabetic) who embark on an unsupervised horseback ride in the mountains. When they are forced off their trail and a thunderstorm strikes, they’re confronted by wild animals, nightfall, and an insulin pump running on empty. They must find their way home in a situation where failure is not an option.

GAH! Help this freaked out woman! GAH!

Thanks :) Dang, I'm brave. :0)