Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Writing Hurts

I'm not talking about the physical pain of too long hunched over the computer, the eye strain from staring at words that turn into a jumble of alphabet soup, or the brain fog of sleep deprivation from many sleepless nights of first drafts, word counts and revisions.

When I saw this week's quote I cringed at the truth in it. Well, other than the typewriter thing, it is so totally true.

IMO, that's what makes us all writers, though. We all feel that pain. We're pouring ourselves into these stories we tell, leaving bits of us in the words we choose and characters we create.

What do you think?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quote of the Week

There's nothing to writing. All you do is
sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.

Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lofty Goals and End of Summer

I have been working on a new project (as another one swims through slushpiles) and I'm almost done. Like, so close I can taste it and it tastes a little like cotton candy and funnel cake. ;)

I gave myself a deadline I'd be done in July. Didn't happen. Health complications.

Then had a good long convo with the critmates and specifically my dearest Nichole and we decided that the end of August / end of summer would be a great deadline. Not gonna happen. Why, you ask? Well, firstly, life gets in the way: health/family/kids/school/dayjob. You name it. But also, for me personally anyway, I knew I couldn't finish my wip as it was.

And now, 65K words into a project that I think will end up right around 75k, I am going back to rewrite the whole thing.

Oh, and Nichole and I have committed to finishing our full-on first drafts by September 20-the official "Last Day of Summer." How's that for lofty end of summer goals?

Despite how little time that gives me (about 3 weeks), I know this is possible. Why? #amwriting. It's a hashtag on Twitter that if you use it, you can end up finding lots of other buddies online writing at the same time. While writing is a solitary activity, mostly, I've found I can always count on finding a friend with #amwriting. Nichole and I are usually online together tweeting with it while we write late into the night, but we always inevitably have a few other twittermates come on board to the conversation. It's nice to know you're not alone, even if you're by yourself sitting at your desk typing away. But most of all, it's motivating and that ability to reach out at 1 a.m. for a quick pep talk has been priceless for me! So here I go, into the yonders of rewrites.

Have you got any "I need to do this before summer is really over" sort of goals?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer-itis and Leaky Brain

I've been made of blog fail lately.

No idea what's going on. I think this might be a symptom of summer-itis.

Even if the now-5yo was only going to preschool twice a week, there's a strange comfort in the school year, for me. There's a regimented routine, a schedule everyone all around us follows. With the summer and sunshine and kids going to bed way way waaaaayyyyy past their bedtimes and sleeping in until lunch everyday, it threw me.

5yo starts kindergarten September 3 (yeah, on a Friday, the one before Labor Day, no less, don't ask me why...) I am looking forward to more routine at home.

So while I have been severely remiss in blogging, along with commenting on your blogs, please know, I have been reading them every day. It's just more often then not, by the time I think I have something to add to the conversation, the thought leaks out of my brain.

Summer-itis, I tell you. I'm actually looking forward to the fall. Hopefully my thoughts will stay in my head once autumn begins so that may be actual to lay some stuff down on paper. Wips are a-calling! And maybe the kids will actually go to bed early enough I might be able to get in some writing time at a decent nighttime hour!

Have your kids started school? Have the routines kicked in at your house?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quote of the Week

"I haven't read The Hunger Games."

Windy Aphayrath*

*I do have the book sitting on my desk. It is near the top of my TBR pile, but I have been short on time. Wonder why? See here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Battle of the Betas!

Well, I think that blog title may just be teensy bit misleading. It's just ... look at this:
At this point you're probably wondering what I'm even talking about. Well, a few days ago a call went out, or, should I say, a tweet went out from @Kate_Hart...

How do you beta? Anyone else want to participate in a blog activity w/ me, @ImSarahEnni& @kathleenpeacock?

So now where does that leave us? Well, as part of this little blog activity, we're gonna take a look at how differently everyone's beta style is on the same piece of work. Thanks so much to Sarahfor being brave enough to volunteer her first page for all of us to crit!

This is really something to keep in mind when you're out there looking for crit partners and beta readers. From those of us participating in this little blog experiment, you'll see just how differently our styles are in critting. And because Blogger and Word don't seem to want to talk to each other ... I've had to tweak with how to show my crits:

If Hana Larkhill had her way, her father’s body would be in a sailboat, rope and a flute in his hands, and she would watch him embark one last time toward the unknown at the eternal curve of the earth. [Wow, holy long first sentence… Sugg: cutting it into two?] Instead James Larkhill lay in a sterile metal box at Faraday’s Funeral Home. Someone who did it for a living had caked his face with makeup. [This sentence read awkwardly to me. While it makes sense, it doesn’t flow well as well as it could into the next line. Sugg: combining this with next sentence and determining what is really important to keep.] His delicate freckles were powdered out of existence. An old blue suit bound his body; even the strawberry gold of his curls had faded.

Hana’s mother, Noa Larkhill, hasn’t fought these depressing conventions. But she had insisted on an open casket. James’ [OK, so should this be “James’s?” I’ve seen it both ways showing ownership, but I believe it should be ‘s for singular and s’ for plurals] face and shoulders were in tact and the suit covered his abdomen. But Hana felt the looming specter [while I really like “looming specter,” it makes sentence read a little flower, imo] of his ruined lower body, smashed into irreparable pieces by an anonymous fender. [great visual in this sentence!]

Faraday’s was cold, clean and modern—everything was black or stainless steel. Everything had razor-sharp edges. It was the kind of place that gave Hana the feeling she was being blown through by unseen drafts [LOVE this! Spooky J]. She longed for home. For his family, James had provided [This phrasing takes me out of the moment. If Hana is the narrator, why doesn’t she just talk about the house? All the details given afterwards I really like, but this beginning is distracting. Not sure if this is supposed to be 3rd party omniscient?] a house with a door that shrunk up in the winter and bloated until it wedged in the door frame in the summer, a house with stairs that had predictable creaks and groans, a house that moved around them like a familiar friend.

James’ death three days earlier had crushed Hana underneath deep, prolonged silence. Her mother, whose loudest expression to this point had always been in the strength of her brush strokes on canvas, rocked and wailed.[I’m totally confused by this line. How did her dad’s death crush her under deep silence if her mother was wailing? Was Hana the one completely silent? Or the atmosphere? Does that make sense?] Hana felt like a ghost, alone and unseen [really like this, visual and descriptive! Nice!!], holding her mother’s tiny shaking limbs [is she holding just her mother’s limbs or her mother’s whole body? Sometimes phrasing can be taken too literally and then it just sounds weird. Just saying.] in a room full of people that, at least today, felt like strangers.

Firstly, thanks so much for sharing your work with us, Sarah! I hope you find my feedback useful. Overall, I really like where the story’s going and am definitely interested in the spooky elements that are so clearly hinting at what’s to come! Great job!

Keep in mind, this is just one page of a manuscript, so there may be things out of context and what not. Hopefully, if you're out there looking for a beta/crit partner, this will help remind you that everyone crits a little differently and no matter what, everyone's experience and styles are a bit different. :)

Take a look at these other beta perspectives on Sarah's manuscript page:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Quote of the Week

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems,
but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. "

Herm Albright

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Playtime: Camping and Kids

I have been terribly remiss in blogging.


I could bore you with lots of details about how crappy I've been feeling and the mountains of not so fabulous emails, but I'm not going to.

So instead, I thought it was about time for me to actually, yanno, blog instead of just quoting (sometimes) old, (sometimes) dead people to you each week.

Based on this week's quote, we're playing right? Right.

Over the weekend we took the kidlets camping. Their
first time EVER. Husband was signed up for a volunteer project for C.A.S.T. for Kids, an awesome organization that sets up these outings for special needs kids and their families.

Anyway, so it was up at a nearby reservoir and instead of driving up at 4:30 a.m. (because he needed to be at the marina by 5:30-6:00 a.m.) we decided staying the night before was probably a better plan.

So we camped. We actually laid the back seats down in the Honda Pilot and turns out ... all four of us fit in there just fine! Sweet. No tent camping. Worked out great especially since it rained about a quarter of the time we were there. The kids? Didn't care.

We didn't really do much. The water was a ways away and COLD, so we didn't dare enter. It ended up just being a lot of hanging out, sitting around, chatting, watching the kids discover the outdoors. Oh, and roasting marshmallows.

I'd have more pictures, but my camera is still currently covered with roasted marshmallow. (If anyone has any tips on cleaning gooeyness off electronic devices, let me know?)

Oh, and if you were wondering (as I asked a Twitter/FB poll before we left), I did NOT take the laptop with me.

It was pure play time! Yay!

How's your play time been lately?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quote of the Week

"We don't stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing."

George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene."

Arthur Christopher Benson