Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Storymakers Advice

Alright, I missed out for two years in a row. I am definitely going to LDS Storymakers Conference in 2012.

I know it's early to be making plans, but I am.

Here are my questions for those of you who go regularly (or even have gone once).

*When would you fly in? Thursday afternoon, night, Friday morning?
*How did you get from SLC to the conference center?
*When did you come home? Saturday night, Sunday morning?
*Did you stay at the Marriott? And did you share a room?

And add any other info a newbie like me should know. Thanks!

Monday, August 29, 2011

To make you laugh

Some days you just need a good laugh. Here are my three favorite Internet sites to get me laughing. The first is called Awkward Family Photos. com. I usually end up crying I'm laughing so hard as I rifle through the horrid family pictures.

Second is Damn You Auto Correct! This one has funny messed up messages from cell phones.

Last is the Kid History videos made by a bunch of Mormon Dads. These took me a while to like, but now I think they're hilarious.

Do you have any LAUGHABLE websites to share?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How ROUGH is your rough?

If you've been around this writerly blog for any length of time, you know I have no problem admitting my flaws. (There's plentiful material for blog posts that way.)

Today I'll be talking about feet. Well, er, feet in relation to writing. Hmmm... you're asking yourself. How could she possibly relate writing to feet? Hang in there and you'll find out.

You have feet. I have hooves.

You know those commercials where they show nasty, rough feet and you throw up a little in your mouth? Those feet look like a Christmas card compared to mine. The little cracks on your feet are normal. The cracks on my feet are Grand Canyons. I wear black running socks, so my Grand Canyons are now permanently black. From May to September my feet are in one of three things: water, sand, or flip flops. They are dry as dry could be. And it gets worse.... But, don't worry, I'll spare you the nasty details.

Sometimes I hear people talk about their rough summertime feet. And when I peek at their feet, I think wow, you wouldn't know a rough foot if it kicked you in the face.

My rough is rough.

I hate them. They're embarrassing. I feel the need to triple tip a pedicurist for having to deal with me.

Now, on to writing. Every novel starts with the rough draft, but everyone's "rough" is different. Some people spend three years on a rough draft. They painstakingly craft each sentence until it is perfect before they move on. When they are finished with that first draft, they may have very little needed in the way of revisions and editing.

Other people's "rough" is so rough they would rather show their nasty feet on public television than let someone read their novel the day they type The End.

These writers know a novel has to start somewhere, so they use the creative process to forge full-steam ahead. There is none or very little re-reading during the writing period.

Most of us probably fall somewhere in between. For me, a rough draft can take from three to six months. The work required after my rough draft is completed is still quite intensive. I usually must take several (like four or five) passes at full revisions and then a couple passes at copy editing.

You know what? As long as you promise to tackle those revisions with gusto, either way is okay. Last week I watched a WriteOnCon vlog with author Beth Revis. Speaking of her best selling novel, she said that probably less than ten percent of her original novel made it into the final draft!

So, where do you fall?

Is your rough draft like the picture above: beautiful, smooth, and close to your finished project? Or is your rough draft more like my feet (which I would NEVER post a picture of): rough, rough, rough and in need of serious repair?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Join the Writer's Platform Campaign!

Rach Writes is hosting a Writer's Platform Campaign and would love for all of you to join. If you want to meet fellow writers and bloggers, check this out!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing the Breakout Novel

Have you read this book?

Yes, I know. I know. It's old.... Like 2001 old. Old, as in Donald Maass says somethings like this, old: a terrorist attack by middle Easterners isn't a legitimate fear in the U.S.; and the e-publishing world may or may not make a big impact in the lives of readers and authors. BUT, besides all that outdatedness, it's a wonderful book on developing your craft.

You know I'm big on reading writing books. In fact it's something that is ALWAYS included on my current list of goals. I just finished this one and found a bunch of tidbits of wisdom.

Here are some of my favorite points Maass makes when teaching us about the "breakout" novel:

*He suggests you chart all of your characters, their traits, likes and dislikes. If several are similar, they can be combined. The key to several memorable characters is contrast.
*He suggests "breakout" settings are defined by how the character sees each scene, not how an author sees it.
*He talks about having tension on every page.
*To write a breakout novel, he says your premise must be outstanding. Take your original idea and build upon it. Ask, "but what if?" or "how could it get worse?"
*He teaches about the importance of upping the private and public stakes.

This book was great, and even though it's an old read, I'd suggest it. There were a few parts I thought were oddly placed such as his advice on how best to budget your upcoming six-figure advance, but most the advice was relevant to writers at any stage in their careers.

I was so motivated by Writing The Breakout Novel that I rewrote my premise and synopsis and have been building off of it in my current novel.

What writing tidbits of wisdom have you received lately? Maybe from a conference, a how-to book, or another author. Share.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Winner and MONDAY Random-ness

Ruth Josse using Random.org, you are the winner of Bonnie Paulson's Breathe Again! Email her at Bonnie R Paulson @ Yahoo.com for the details.

(take out the spaces!)

And now for a Monday SMILE, here's me attempting to wake-surf (I'm better at wakeboarding, but only marginally :)

Because if you can't laugh at yourself, what's the point?

So, share. Are you athletic? Or do you try your best but still fall short (like I always do :)?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Drumroll, please

Today I am hosting one of my favorite authors.

She is the princess of pacing...

The master of motivating...

The queen of querying....

The dirt-biking diva...

And the critique partner of your dreams.

It's Bonnie Paulson!

Bonnie's awesome romance BREATHE AGAIN was just released by Carina Press (get it for your Kindle). Doesn't her cover make you swoon? And guess what? Her MC's name is Maggie! (don't worry, she picked this before she met me :)

Bonnie decided to do a guest post for us today about Forgiving Ourselves. Read her post and leave a comment and I will do a random selection so that one of our readers will get a digital copy of her new book.

Forgive thy neighbor. Forgive. Love. Turn the other cheek. Forgive them their trespasses.
Always, always Christians are admonished to forgive. Forgive. And always to forgive others.
Rarely do we hear about forgiving ourselves. Sure, we repent for Heavenly Father’s forgiveness. We atone for the wrongdoings we’ve committed. We accept apologies from others who have harmed or offended us, those who have hurt or ill-used us.
But what about our greatest transgressors? Our greatest saboteurs? Ourselves.
I remember things I’ve done in the past. Stupid, mean, spiteful things that I did but that I wouldn’t normally do and that I did my best to fix with apologies and repentance. But I remember the action or deed. It tears me apart still today. I go over and over in my mind what I did and how I could have changed it or done it differently. Sometimes, the guilt wakes me up at night and sometimes it just sneaks up on me when I’m doing the dishes or washing the kids.
I can forgive others, easily, but myself, it seems, I hold to a standard so high, that even though I know the Lord has forgiven me, I cannot find it in my own heart to forgive myself.
How do we forgive ourselves? For each person the answer is different. In Breathe Again, Maggie berates herself for the death of her husband. Without answers to key questions, she feels she is to blame and she can’t accept the possible chance at happiness sitting so assuredly before her.
Brodan, too, can’t forgive himself for the terminal sickness of his brother. He didn’t cause it, couldn’t have prevented it, but he still holds himself back from life and love because the guilt overrides his actions.
Writing Breathe Again awakened an awareness in me that everyone is on their own journey. If we can’t do what we’re supposed to and even forgive ourselves, how can we find what we’re really looking for?
I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I know if Maggie can do it, I can too.
What do you think you’re looking for and how hard is it to forgive yourself?

Thanks for having me, Maggie. I just adore you and everything you’re trying to achieve.

Don't forget to comment and Monday morning we'll select a winner!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Articles I like from WriteOnCon today

Check out these great articles for free today at the WriteOnCon conference site. Here are a few I've found today that I like so far. I'll add to the list as they come up!

1. Your Novel Isn't Ready Because...
***Yay, judging by all his points, my novel IS ready. Phew!***

2. How To Write A Killer First Sentence
***This made me rethink and rewrite my current WIP first sentence.***

3. Myths and Misconceptions

***In this video they talk about how it seems like EVERYONE but you is having good things happen to them over night. IT'S NOT TRUE! Did you know Suzanne Collins had lots of not-super-great books before Hunger Games? You do now!***

4. Your Own Hero's Journey
***I especially loved this because Kendra Levin says we all need GIFTS on our writing journey. Hooray for gifts!***

4. On Pacing
***She hit the nail on the head here: I take about 50 pages to get to the meat of my stories!***

What have you enjoyed at WriteOnCon?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oooh, the rumble

Do you hear it?

It's just my heart. I love the feeling of diving into a new project. I've written a smashing premise and synopsis and am now about 6,000 words into the story, and I'm still at that all-tingly stage.

This novel is actually the rewrite of a novella. I had a basic idea there, but I realized there could be so much more and the character was screaming--DON'T CUT ME SHORT. FIND ME!

I am going to enjoy this stage because I know when I hit about 30,000 words, I will start the next stage. Hating my current WIP; wondering if I will ever get anywhere on it; and considering tossing the whole thing. So for now, here's to the love of a new project.

What are you working on? Nearing a finished rough draft? Revisions (Yuck)? Querying (and if you are, you should also be writing something new :)? What's up for you?

Friday, August 12, 2011

The speed of things

*Me at the computer. Old house, old hair, but you get the point*

I've read several blog posts about speed in writing lately. Authors have been answering the question How fast do you write?

My critique partner can crank out 3,500 on a great day.
Jolene Perry said she once wrote a book in a week but felt hungover.
If I remember right, Kiersten White wrote her last book in nine days.

Dang girls! I'm just not that fast! I usually write about 1,000-1,500 words in a day. Some days (many days) I don't write at all. Then there's the occasional hubby-took-the-kids-out-for-the-day when I write two or three thousand and feel amazing.

I was feeling down about my slowness, but there's no need to. Even if I took weekends off, I could still write a rough draft in three months. And that's not bad. Then, with revisions, I could probably pump out two books a year. For some writers (ahem, Bonnie) two novels a year would be an epic fail. But to others, that would be a fantastic accomplishment.

And you know what? Whatever your speed, it's okay. Consistency is what matters. And I am working on that one too.

I am also a slow runner. My miles are about twelve minutes while my friends do ten minute miles. But did you know we're both burning the same calories? Did you know we're both reaching the finish line?

So, don't stress about your speed. Find what's comfortable for you and push it a little (maybe just by a hundred or two hundred words). The point is, you know what you can do and still maintain balance in your life.

What is a word count for a typical day for you? Do you stress that you're too slow sometimes?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beware of the Boat Launch Elitist

I don't have a pic of his Boat Launch Eliteness in action, so here's a hot one of him in his wet suit ready to wakeboard.

My husband is a pretty humble guy, but whenever he begins backing our boat trailer down that concrete ramp he morphs into The Boat Launch Elitist.

Getting a vessel off a trailer and into the lake is something he has mastered, and all non-masters annoy the crap out of him. If people don't know how to back their trailer up straight (and let me be the first to say, this is not easy), he is frustrated. If people don't immediately move their boat to the end of the dock and allow for more boaters, he tends to mumble. If people do the illegal thingy where they power launch straight from the trailer, he considers giving them the finger (of course he never would, he was an Eagle Scout for goodness sakes!). All in all, few boat launchers can measure up to The Elitist's standards.

In addition to the boat launching venue, I have found Elitists in other fields as well. The worst being photography. Over the past several years I had a portrait photography business. I was trained in photography in college and as a news reporter. However, because SLRs (read: fancy cameras) are now getting more and more affordable, new photographers are popping up left and right. And the old-school folk DO NOT LIKE IT! I've never seen a world where professionals bash and put each other down so much. It is dog-eat-dog and, honestly it is very, very sad. Instead of showing their worth as a photographer by taking amazing pictures, they attempt to show their worth as a photographer by writing lengthy blog posts about their competition, by bashing newbies on forums, and most of all by forgetting they were once new too.

What's the point of all this Elitist talk? Let me tell you. I AM NOT FINDING THIS IN THE WRITING WORLD! It is so refreshing to have a blog community of newbies and oldies (in age and writing time, haha) who are kind and encouraging. I wrote my first novel with no knowledge of the wealth of writerly advice out there online. Can you believe I didn't even have the Internet? But when I came online about two years ago at my publisher's insistence, I found a supportive, wonderful group of friends.

Thank you writerly folk. Thank you for being helpful to us newbies. Thank you for not treating us like you're so much wiser, smarter and better EVEN when we know you are. I hope I can be just as encouraging to those just finding the writing path.

As for you boaters out there, clear the launch, we're coming through.

Are there some areas where you tend to think you know it all and are annoyed by others? Have you found the writing world to be supportive and encouraging of new talent?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happiness is...

Happiness is...

~Being re-motivated. Every time I have a breakfast meeting with my critique partner, I feel like running home and writing all day long. She is such a wonderful motivator.

~A sister who will drop everything for you. I needed an uber clean house at the last moment, and my sister offered to come help. She even brought her vacuum, and let me just say when I hit it big, I will definitely be buying a Dyson.

~A full calendar. We have one month left until school starts, and we have lots of fun planned.

~Going school shopping--for FREE! Our church organized a huge clothing exchange. I dropped off my old stuff and picked up a bunch of school clothes for the kids.

~Waking up early and enjoying a little peace and quiet.

What is your happiness today?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How do you say it in your neck of the woods?

~Do you drink soda or a pop?
~Do you sit on the couch, the sofa, or maybe even the Davenport?
~Do you put your insurance card in the glove box, the glove compartment, or the jockey box?
~Do you go snowmobiling, snow machining or out on sleds (and if you live in Wyoming you know I don't mean sleds as in the little things with runners, I mean actual motorized snow mobiles)?
~When the roads are slick, do you spin cookies, donuts, or brodies?

Depending upon where you live--or in my case, where I grew up--you say things in your very own way.

I drink pop. Never soda.
I sit on the couch. I use the glove box. I go snowmobiling or sledding, but not snow machining.
I only spin cookies, and when my husband says he's been spinning brodies, I look at him like he's an idiot. What the heck is a brodie? Only us Wyomingites know the proper way to describe the Friday-night-not-a-care-in-the-world-spinning-of-a-big-beefy-truck-phenomenon. Washingtonians don't have a clue.

Are you with me here? And do you ever think about this in your writing? I think you should. I'm not saying you need to use overly annoying cajun speak that your readers can't even understand, but I think you should try to be familiar with some of those terms the "locals" would use in your setting.

In my novel, Growing Up Gracie, Gracie and Quentin spend a lot of time "mudding" on back roads. My husband would certainly call this "four-bying," (but hey, he can write his own book if he wants to! hehe).

So, how do they say it in your neck of the woods? Use my examples or your own.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1 Check In

Okay, are you getting sick of these check ins yet?

I am.

The whole point of my monthly check ins was so that we could have early detection if we were falling off course from our 2011 New Year's Resolutions.

So, overall, how have you done?

I feel good about two of my accomplishments:
-I got to my goal weight. Yahoo! I have four more pounds to my oh-ya-baby weight. And that's my weight plan for the rest of the year.
-I finished Letters Never Sent and submitted it. I'm still just waiting for any news.

And not-so-good about two:
-Long term savings. Hubby started school instead, so that goal is on a four-year hiatus.
-Work on rough draft of Danielle, Never the Bride. Still haven't touched it.

But, it's time to rework my goals. So, dun dun dun... Here are my goals for the rest of 2011:

1. Finish and submit co-author project (having a lot of fun with this!)
2. Finish and submit novella (rough draft is done)
3. Write a rough draft of Danielle, Never the Bride
4. Reach my oh-ya-baby weight.

That's a tall order. But I can do it!

How are your resolutions going? Do you need a mid-year goal change too?