Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nothing like a little perspective

Went for an amazing hike on this Memorial Day. Funny how getting up high can change your perspective and make you remember the important things.

For me here are my most important things: my wonderful husband and kids; my faith in God and knowledge that families can be forever; my extended family; my FRIENDS!! (and here are my very, very, very best ones!)

What's most important to you in the grand scheme of things?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Thoughts for Thursday

*Do you think Stephanie Meyer had a critique partner for Twilight? And if so, did that partner come to her with her tongue wagging saying "Steph, this is going to go big. I suggest you set up some off-shore bank accounts."
(I know, I know, I could probably find the answer to this question online, but I really don't care that much.)

*Does it seem like most female main characters these days are similar brooding types? They have bad tempers, anti-social tendencies, and average looks, yet hoards of guys flock after them? I wish I had known brattyness was the key in high school!

*And speaking of female main characters, what is with all the "Cat" ish names right now? Katniss? Katsa? Etc. I think my next MC will be Katly.

*Does anyone know what the End-Of-The-World-Is-May-21st-Guy said to the media on May 22nd? Or did he not even show his face?

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Mommy's Always Write Quiz

And now we bring you a post of utmost importance! Please complete the following survey in the comment section below. (Yes, this may seem like it has nothing to do with being a Mommy or a Writer, but I assure you.... well, you're right.)

1. Smart Car or Suburban?

2. E Reader or E! Hollywood?

3. Fruit candy or chocolate?

4. Delivery or Homemade?

5. Pandora or real radio?

6. The Voice or Idol?

7. Summer or winter?

And the most important question of all time...
8. Twilight or Vampires Suck?

1. My Suburban eats Smart Cars for breakfast.
2. I don't have an Nook, Kindle or anything of the sorts, but I also don't think I've ever seen E!. I will go with e reader (because it's on my wish list).
3. Duh! Chocolate. Starburst, Red Vines, Skittles, these things don't even tempt me.
4. Delivery.
5. Pandora. However, they're starting to allow commercials, so it's getting a little less enticing now. Also, I've noticed Pandora's been not as good at reading my mind and knowing what music I want to hear lately. Still, I have to go for Pandora because I haven't heard any Dollar Rent A Car commercials on it yet.
6. The Voice! Lame intro song, but AWESOME show. Plus, Idol has just gone down hill with all the judge changes. And, if I must admit it, Christina Aguilera is about the most beautiful woman in the world. If modesty wasn't an issue for me, I would definitely want her boobs. :)
7. Summer!
8. Twilight. Although when I first read it, I kind of glanced around thinking, Really? This is what all this fuss is about? Vampires Suck was probably in the top five worst movies ever for me; however, the lead actress' version of Bella was pretty funny.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Refilling The Well

I was feeling a serious lack of creativity a few weeks ago and planned to take a big writing break over the summer.

Think of all I could accomplish! In reality, though, instead of accomplishing anything new, I'd probably just sleep in until 6:30 every day instead of hitting the computer at 5:00.

I decided to refill my well of creativity and desire to write. I bought four new writing books (two of which I had in college and sold back to the bookstore. aargghhh!) I also had a mini "writers conference" at Denny's with my critique partner.

What has this refilling of the well done? It made me change my mind about taking a break. Yep. I lasted a week.

I've since set some new goals--short and long term--and have dove into revisions on one of my novels.


Monday, May 16, 2011

When is it time to shelve a novel?

Those of you who have been around the writing blog world for any length of time have seen articles or comments like this one Will Your First Novel Be Published? by agent Rachelle Gardner.

The article talks about how, for most writers, the likelihood of publishing their first or even second or third novel is slim. Rather, these books can be great building blocks for a writer to establish their voice and improve their craft. While this is honest advice, it can also be discouraging for new writers, especially those who write with the goal of publication in mind.

Does this mean you shouldn't give all you've got to your first and second and third novels? Absolutely not. Does this mean you shouldn't work and rework your first novels until you feel they are the best they can possibly get? No. Does this even mean you shouldn't HOPE you will be the one to buck the trend and land a multi-book deal off your first novel? No.

My first novel was published by a "real" publishing house. However, I feel I have gained more writerly knowledge by the writing of subsequent works than the publishing of my first book. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my experience for the world, and having one publishing credit under my belt is a huge confidence booster. However, as I continue to learn and write, I wonder about these questions.

So, when do you STOP revising and sending out that novel and decide that it was one best used as "practice"? Maybe for some it's when they reach a certain number of rejections. For others, it may be if their rejections are only form letters. Others may shelve their novel if they never get a request for a full manuscript.
How do YOU know when to shelve your novel and move on to the next one?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why don't we chat about non-fiction?

We writers love to huddle together. Whether it be physically at conferences or technologically by the web, staying connected and informed about each others' trials and triumphs helps us feel a little less... well a little less insane.

But most of the authors I have connected with are working on their journey to publication in the fiction world. So, of course, we rarely talk non-fiction. Today we're going to change that.

I love non-fiction. My descendants could easily comprehend the state of my life if I only kept a journal of what non-fiction I had been reading.

*2002-2003 would include titles like Creating The Perfect Marriage; 101 Ways To Stay Married; Why Marriage Is Still God's Plan.
*My 2003 shelf would be What To Expect When You're Expecting To Expect (haha these are all fake titles by the way); How To Eat Right To Grow That Baby; How What You Do In Week 1 Of Life Could Permanently Ruin Your Baby.
*2003-2005. Every Minute Of Your Day Is Now About Mommyhood; No, You Don't Need A Shower!; and What Music Will Make Your Baby A Genius.
*2005-2007 might include Best Cookies and Cakes; You're Pregnant Again?
*2007 would be How To Discover Yourself Again; and Losing The Baby Weight.
*My 2008 shelf would include Genealogy for Dummies; From Film To Digital Photography.
*2009-2010 What To Do When Life Goes To Heck In A Handbasket; Surviving Miscarriage; Surviving Job Loss; Surviving Other Insanely Crazy Things You Never Imagined Could Happen; but then Becoming A Published Author; Being A New Mom Again; and When Every Conflicting Emotion Occurs In A Twelve Month Period.

See the trend here? Non-fiction books have helped get me through so many times of my life. Of course, I would never downplay the importance of the best non-fiction books: the scriptures. But there have been many other great books along the way that have given me the boost or ideas I needed to break through a hard time.

Some of my favorites have been about raising girls, creative discipline, and improving marriage. I don't see using so-called self-help books as a negative thing. I see it as wanting to do all you can to improve various aspects of your life. Right now I am reading a hefty stack of non-fiction dedicated to improving my writing.
So, do you read non-fiction? What topics do you love? Would your non-fiction journal over the years explain your life's trials and triumphs?

Monday, May 9, 2011

LDS Storymakers Attendees, Come. Share

So my jealousy bones have been working overtime this past weekend. Many of my blogging friends were attending the LDS Storymakers Conference in Salt Lake City. I wasn't able to go this year.

I know your brains are bursting with writing motivation. So, let's hear what I missed.

Did you attend Storymakers? What was the funnest part of the weekend for you? What was the most inspirational thing you heard? What do you plan to put into practice right away?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Writing a series

Does it seem to anyone else that there are more and more series (not sure how to pluralize that one) out there lately? Sometimes I wonder can't an author just write a stand-alone book anymore?

I know there are many reasons to do a series: too much story for one book, introducing new elements, and, of course, more money.

I was considering a series for my debut novel Growing Up Gracie. In fact I have a start on book two, Danielle, Never The Bride. These books would each come from a member of the "All-Mormerican Family" the Fremonts. But now I'm not sure it's going to happen.

This is a difficult choice to make. I didn't end Gracie in a cliffhanger by any means. It stands alone. However, many people who have read it continue to ask me when the next book will come out.

A series to me is scary. It lends a spirit of "have to" to the writing that I don't know I can deal with for six books. I'm not saying I'm not going to follow through with this project, I'm just not certain at this point.

Have you written a series? What are the pitfalls of writing a series? What are the joys?