Monday, June 10, 2013

Figuring it all out

I'm bad about posting.

I could blame it on a lot of things: I'm busy, life things take priority, I have nothing to talk about, I'm in the middle of moving and it's the furthest thing from my mind. The truth, though, is I don't enjoy it.

Usually I post when it occurs to me to write about something. When WRITING things occur to me to write about. See, I'm a writer. I want to get the hang of blogging and being active on social media now, so that if (when!) I'm published, I've worked the kinks out.

It seems like most writers write about writing. It makes sense, I guess. Beginning writers talk about the process of beginning, veterans rain their words of wisdom on the masses, and industry professionals give awesome tidbits of information that shine light into the dark, scary corners of the road to publication.

As I've had realizations, I've blogged about them, but it seems like most things I would talk about have been well and truly covered by people a lot smarter and wittier than I am. I'm a novice. I don't have a lot of experience to draw on, since I'm just figuring things out. My first book is with betas, and I probably will blog about that soon, but I've never even queried an agent. What can I say?

Sure, I'm an industry intern, but the joys and tribulations of my internship are easily summed up in the 140 characters it takes to tweet about them.

Writing about fantastical places and peoples makes me happy, makes me excited, makes me forget about real clothes and eating and anything but living in that world until the words are out of my brain and on the screen. Writing about writing, however, makes me anxious.

My critique partner Zoe is a writer. She wrote a beautiful young adult novel in verse. Sometimes she blogs about books in verse, but mostly she blogs about tea and nail polish...because those things are fun for her to write about and think about. Those things make her happy. She WANTS to blog about them, and so she does. Consistently.

So I'm going to take a page from her book. (She's a smart cookie.) I'll blog about the writing process as it occurs to me, but the rest of the time I'll blog about other things. Non-writing things. 99% of my brain seems to be taken up by writing things. Focusing on something else will be a welcome relief.

I signed up for pinterest the day before yesterday, and I noticed something. The things that I'm most interested in are things I've always been interested in. They're the things I used to obsessively google before writing and researching writing became pretty much every moment of my free time. So I'm going to write about those things. Basically, getting healthy physically and spiritually. That means going green with all natural homemade beauty products and cleaning products. It means decluttering my life and learning to become organized in a way that's realistic for the way my crazy, messy brain works. It means nurturing the flighty, artistic part of myself with random acts of creativity. It means nourishing the thirsty, questioning part of myself with daily meditation. And it means making healthier choices with the foods I love so that I can be a happier, stronger, healthier me.

So far, I fail pretty miserably at all of the above. But I think I'll enjoy blogging about the process of reinventing myself and actively working to become a happier person more than I enjoy blogging about writing. I'm sure there are other people out there like me who want to Eat, Pray, Love their way into a healthier life in a realistic (not self-indulgent) way. People who just don't know where to start.

I don't know where to start, either, but I'm good at researching things, and I'm good at figuring things out. So this is me figuring it. The blog name may change. The blog location may change. But that's okay, because I'm definitely going to change.

And I'm actually excited to blog about it. ^_^

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Appreciation

I'm lucky to have some truly amazing people in my life. Like all around, my friends and family are incredible, supportive, wonderful, wonderful people. (There aren't enough warm-fuzzy adjectives to describe my peoples.)

I appreciate them like you wouldn't believe, and I tell them so all the time. I say "I'm glad you exist" so often that it's actually rubbed off and some of my friends say it now.

Appreciation is free. Telling someone you care about them, that you are aware of their efforts and are grateful...it doesn't cost anything, but it's worth it's emotional weight in chocolate covered coffee beans.

The wonderful people in my life include truly special critique partners and writing buddies. One, especially. Zoƫ is a lifesaver. I talk to her every day, sometimes many times a day. She talks me through anxious moments, gives input on random lines I'm struggling with, suggests contests, and pushes me to do things I'm scared of (like said contests or applying for things like the YAvengers initiative).

So when I offer to do something like proofread her mss before she started querying, it wasn't with the expectation of reward. I offered because she does so much for me that I wanted to give back. Also, she'd had four (I think?) more betas after I beta read for her, and I wanted to see all the changes. ;)

We had a conversation that somehow came around to David Levithan's THE LOVER'S DICTIONARY, and when she found out I hadn't read it yet--even though it's high on my list--she sent me a copy.

No joke.

That was about the sweetest thing ever, and I was so happy when I picked it up from the post office yesterday that I miiiiiiight've twirled a little bit. Not in the post office, of course, but when I got home and flipped through it and experienced the tactile awesome of the cover. (It really does feel cool.)

So this is me saying thank you to an awesome writing buddy, not only for being awesome, but for showing her appreciation in an adorable way.


If you have a beta or a CP or a writing buddy or a friend that's awesome and helpful, make sure to say thank you. They will notice. Gifts are not required (but appreciated!) but words should be. So take the time today to say thanks.

And call your mother.

<3



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Won Game of Secrets!

The Secret Life of Writers recently held an awesome writing contest/event called Game of Secrets. (Teehee.) Basically, it was like Clue meets Choose Your Own Adventure. Each of the ladies over there wrote a short piece from the perspective of a character at a party where a murder takes place, and they left the ending open for someone else to write.

Whoever wrote their favorite ending would win.

And I won!

I'm not going to lie. When Zoe pinged me on gchat today congratulating me, I had no idea what was going on. She linked the "winner" post and I had a giggly happy moment where, yes, I bounced. A lot. Ahem.

This is an awesome boost of much needed confidence as I'm trying to get my book ready for beta readers. Not to mention....MUSTACHE MUG.

^_^

Read all about it here.

But before you read my entry, read the other parts of the story, linked here.

Now I'm off to be excited more!!

Fear and the Art of What-the-Hell-ing It.

For the first time this week, my book, NIGHTMUTE, was read by eyes other than my own.

I'm pretty sure the overwhelming panic and nerves and general unwell feeling I lived with for two days is sort of what dying feels like...if self-doubt could kill. Fortunately, it can't. Trust me--I know. If anyone was going to succumb to a lethal case of insecurity, it would be me.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Q's Sneaky, Tricksy Word Count Killer






*  *  *  *  * WORD COUNT








Innocuous enough words--or so you'd think. When they're paired together, these two innocent little devils can illicit dread and flop sweats in the burliest and hardened of writers. (Unless you're one of those who under-write, in which case I envy you.) Fantasy writers especially are notorious for having hefty, intimidating, bloated word counts. (See what I did there with three adjectives? Don't do that. That's partly to blame for your unnecessarily massive word count.)

I'm definitely guilty of this. (Although not the the extreme, 600k counts I've seen mentioned in the wilds of the interwebz.)

Right now, I'm at 101,696. My highest was 102,600-ish. I've managed to cut down 1k in the past day or so, but it's not enough. And now I might need to add an epilogue? It's almost enough to want to crawl into my Word Cave (*cough* blanket fort *cough*) and not come out. What?? Batman gets one...

My initial reaction would be panic, because it's what I do, but panic is not going to help me. Alpha reader #2 told me she'd kill me if I cut anything, and I assured her I'm not going to cut any more scenes. Yet. Probably. So how else to get back down to that 95k range I'm aiming for? 

Sneaky editing that tricks my brain into thinking I'm not losing anything.

That's right. 

So here's it is:  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Today is a good day, because today I can read.

This time last year, I was curled up on a beach in Florida under a giant umbrella with my toes in the sand and a copy of Terry Pratchett's NATION...and working on Book #1 in a breezy oceanfront sunroom...and eating alligator and ridiculously fresh seafood and obscenely delicious key lime pie and grapefruits so sweet they tasted like candy.






This year, I'm curled up in my pajamas in an oversized chair with a nubby blanket and hot coffee, avoiding the chilly Michigan outdoors like I'm going to catch the zombie virus if I step foot outside. But I am working on Book #2, at least.

Sort of.
(Between sobs.)



Sunday, March 17, 2013

We are the music makers...

I love the poem Ode by Arthur O'Shaughnessy. Love it. So much so, actually, that I included the first stanza in my thesis project (a photography book). My thesis was a collection of photographs I'd made based on my water themed dreams. I've always loved this poem and thought it was particularly fitting for the project. 

 (Mr. Artie O--a seriously awesome gentleman, with a seriously awesome stache.)

 

Thanks to the movie Willy Wonka, a lot of people are familiar with the opening lines--even if they're not sure where they come from. There's nothing wrong with that, and the first time I heard those lines was probably as a child watching that movie. (I was obsessed with the movies Willy Wonka, The Labyrinth, and Annie as a kid.) The thing that makes me sad is that the lines resonate with so many people, but they don't bother to look them up. 

Today, in someone's signature on a forum, were the first two lines from Ode--attributed to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My heart broke a little. 

Roald Dahl was an amazing author who wrote some of my favorite books from childhood, so nothing against the guy (besides the fact that he was anti-semitic...which makes me super sad...) but I'm pretty sure none of the awesome literary references in the movie were in the book. (I just checked, and yep...others have written on this and confirm that they were added by the screenwriter.) So even if you were unaware of the poem and didn't think to google the line, you'd attribute it to the movie, not the book. 

 (another awesome gentleman who can rock a bow-tie like none other...except maybe the Doctor...)

 

I LOVE that kids movies and books can be rich and deep and complex, and like with the literary references in Willy Wonka, expose people to things they might never otherwise experience. That's seriously amazing. But it's also really sadifying that people miss out on so much by not using the resources available to them to search for MORE of the awesome.  

I didn't correct the person, because I don't know them and it's really not my place, but I thought I'd share the poem so more people can experience it in its entirety.  So, for your St. Patty's day reading enjoyment, a poem by a British poet of Irish descent. ;)