Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maid is complete!

'Maid of Sherwood' is officially through its first draft, and is now in the hands of my 'beta readers'. In some ways, I think now is the hardest part. It's like watching a child go off to school for the very first time. You've done the research, you've prepared yourself as best as you can.. but eventually your novel has to leave for the 'real world'. 'Maid' is now in the very capable, trustworthy hands of 'real' people. People who aren't novelists by trade. People who are readers. It's a frightening thing.
I've begun on my next novel, however, while waiting for critiques. I was afraid I would be a 'one hit wonder', but I'm less worried about that now. I think I've found my niche. I'm happy writing young adult. I still have the novel of my heart to write.. and that won't be YA. It might not ever be published. But that's okay. That one'll be written for me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut's Eight Rules For Writing Fiction

First of all, I'd like to state that I got this from another awesome blog I read. "The Seekers". Check it out if you get a chance.

Kurt Vonnegut: Eight rules for writing fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There are so many reasons behind wanting to get published, it amazes me. Money and fame seem to be at the top of the list for a lot of people. But I don't believe that's enough. Never mind talent. If you aren't writing from your heart, with love for the written word, and all the dedication that goes along with putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), then you won't get far.

What motivates me? I went to the doctor yesterday for a much overdue physical. Everything came back normal.. except for my EKG, which came up abnormal. So now I have to get an Echocardiogram. The doctor told me it's probably nothing, and not to worry about it, but that's a lot easier said than done.

Before yesterday, I would have said my motivation was to write a novel. But I want to be published. Not for money, not for fame. I want to see my name on the spine of a work I created. Oh, I wouldn't mind enough money to pad our single income, I'm not insane. But it's not the end game. The end game is publication. And that end game is a little more urgent today than it was two days ago. Because not knowing what the future holds is frightening when there might be something wrong with your heart.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

It is by His grace that I've been forgiven.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Word Day.

Yesterday was a word day. Loving words, hurtful words, truthful words. As writers, we understand how words can transform lives, make or break friendships, and change our perception of the world around us.

Words are powerful in every form, yes, but for some reason the written word tends to have more impact than the spoken one. There is something about seeing it on paper that sets it into stone and makes it fact. I don't know if it's because you can take them out again and again, re-read them until the paper grows thin and the writing fades or if it's because the written word has the option of never becoming a fading memory in a lifetime of memories.

Someone I value a great deal asked me to be honest yesterday. I labored over the decision; struggled with it, really, before answering. I already knew, before I put words to paper, how it would play out. I didn't have a choice.

I think a lot of us, as writers, face that on a daily basis. We don't have a choice. When we breathe life into our characters for the very first time, that is the only time we have total control. We may have a baseline of behavior for them, but the words that come out of their mouths belong to them, and only them.

For instance... in my current WIP, my main character actually thinks 'I could be dead. Or worse, married to....' Did I intend to write that? Did I think, starting out, Marian would actually believe death was the better fate? No. She chose it. I have become, somewhere in the 50k words, nothing more than a conduit for her emotions. Her words. Her story.

Her choice.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back-yard bogging.

Today my husband, bless his heart!, mowed our yard. This is two days after the torrential rainstorms that soaked Georgia. (Sans tornadoes, thankfully!) I left the yard in his capable hands, took the kids and went grocery shopping. I got a phone call while I'm in line, waiting to pay. "Call me." Click. What was up with that? When I returned the call, I learned that he not only got the lawnmower (which isn't ours!) stuck in the muck which was generated by the aforementioned torrential rainstorms, but his truck was stuck, as well! Awesome! Wonderful! Perfect! By the time I got home, he had somehow wrangled them out of the front grass. Now, under the best of circumstances, my yard will never win any awards from 'Home and Garden', but now it has muddy pits in it! And it's only 1/4 mowed! ACK! We decided to leave the rest of the front yard for later. It's 3/4's covered in oaks, anyway, so it's not like there's a lot of grass to mow. At least we got the backyard done, though a few doggy toys went to the giant puppy playground in the sky.

Now if only I could catch up on everything else...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm writing a WHAT?!

I'm writing a YA? I'm writing a YA. Umm.. I'm writing a YA! Yeah, okay, just trying it on for size. Once I figured out I was supposed to write fantasy, I kind of thought that would be the end of it. I wrote my romantic, soon - to - be epic, fantasy, then it was time for NaNoWriMo. I'd been toying with an idea for a while, and so I wrote that out, thinking the ENTIRE time it was to be shelved under fantasy/scifi. Nope. Not a bit. Didn't even occur to me it was Young Adult until last night. (To give you some perspective, remember that NaNo was in November.) Today, I asked a friend of mine (who is an awesome author in her own right! ) what defined YA. She told me it was nothing but the age of the characters. That's it? Just age? Wow. That definitely fits my manuscript! So now I'll have to research agents in that genre.. which really doesn't bother me one bit, since I'm still embarrassed to have committed the new writer blooper of all time and submitted my first ms before it was remotely ready for public consumption.
But onward and upward!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Childhood Dreams

When I was young, I wanted to be a model. I was told I had the looks for it, so my mom put me through modeling school, where I learned how to put on make-up, walk correctly, eat correctly, everything you could imagine I'd need to know. And I discovered something. I may have had the looks, but I certainly didn't have the drive to model. I hated the cattle calls, hated having to check in with my agency before I got a haircut, all the hassles of 'making it' in the industry.

Then I decided 'why not writing'? Why not, indeed? I was good at it. I'd been writing ever since I knew what a pencil was for... and it sounded easy. Just.. write, right? Wrong. I wrote short stories, I wrote poetry, I joined writer's groups and went to workshops, and did everything a budding writer is supposed to do, but ultimately I didn't have the one thing I needed to follow my dream.

Self esteem.

All the talent in the world didn't do me a bit of good. I didn't believe in myself, so how on earth could I reasonably expect anyone else to? It took me years upon years before I finally figured out I could do it.

So here I am, twenty-five years later, following my dreams.


Because I have the talent, I have the support and I'm worth it. And now there's something else. I have children, and I want my children to know that dreams don't have to die when childhood ends, and not every dream has to end in dollar signs. Sometimes, just doing it is enough.