Monday, February 27, 2012

Knights of Micro-fiction and other Big News

So! News first and micro-fiction second :) If you are looking for my campaign entry, go here.

About a month ago I read a blog post by Brightened Boy. I love his posts because they feel so authentic and his observations on life are very astute. Anyhow, this particular post mentioned the fact that while he was in school (I assume... because he JUST graduated) he did an internship with a literary agency. I immediately thought to myself "How cool!" and then, for the instant that I always do, I lamented the fact that I was never brave enough or forward thinking enough to do this while I was in school myself. In all fairness, I really had no idea what I wanted when I was in school.

But that led me to thinking... why not now? Of course, there's the fact that a lot of internships are specifically for college credit... and there's also the fact that I'm well past the age demographic that most people want/expect an intern to be. But other than that I'm ideally situated. I know what I want to learn about now, what direction my life is leaning... and I don't HAVE to have a paying gig to survive.

So... because I always do things a little half-heartedly so as not to get my expectations up (which may not always be healthy, I acknowledge)... I sent out 6 resumes 10 days ago. Within a week I had an interview and landed a paying internship in the City. Ha! So starting tomorrow I'll be commuting to the City 2-3 days a week and learning all about the book business from a literary agent's perspective. Which will be EXTREMELY interesting and helpful for me. I can't even believe it happened that fast! I'll make sure to post regular updates here, for better or for worse, but I'm hoping for better :)

Now on to Knights of Micro-Fiction, as hosted monthly by the fabulous Jess and Kathy McKendry. the rules are: Write a micro-fiction/flash fiction story of 250 words or less beginning with these words:
After all this time, there it was...

Here's my entry:

“After all this time, there it was,” I said. “Right there in front of my face.” 
“Well you obviously weren’t looking hard enough, Lani,” Keegan shot back, rolling his eyes. He was always impatient with me, had been ever since we were little. 
“Hey, punk.” I took a swipe at him, which he dodged. “It’s not like it matters how long it took. I found it, didn’t I?” 
 “Yeah, but now what are you going to do with it?” he asked. 
I raised the shimmering amulet from its hiding place to eye level. Keegan’s spiky-haired reflection beamed out at me as it turned to face him. “What am I going to do with it?” I raised an eyebrow and threw him a mischievous grin. “Do you even know what this is?” 
“Of course I do,” Keegan rolled his eyes at me again. “It’s a transmuted teleport. Turn it three times in the direction the moon travels and it’ll take you anywhere you want to go. But not just anywhere… anywhere in time or space.” 
“Exactly,” I said. I had had a little time to ponder the thought. Years spent in a prison cell, your mind wanders. No, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and when. I had a score to settle. 
“You’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking, are you?” Keegan looked unsure. 
“’Course I am, Keegs,” I said, grabbing his wrist. “And you’re coming with me.” The amulet turned three times and I closed my eyes.
I hope you like, and I hope you'll take a few minutes and participate! Seriously, it's called Flash Fiction for a reason, people.

Friday, February 24, 2012

UPDATED: Campaign Challenge! Flash Fiction!

**Update at the end**
Campaign Challenge time! And just in time too! It's been a busy week... I'll work up another post this weekend to tell you why. In the mean time, here are the rules for the flash fiction challenge from Rachael Harrie's Fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign!
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

Here's my entry:

Shadows crept across the wall and the silence in the room was deafening. Lenore took in a deep breath and was surprised at how loud her lungs sounded. The last words she had spoken had been an oath… the name of her goddess. She had been frustrated. There was a blinding flash of light, and then everything went black. When she woke, she was the one who couldn’t speak and the mute little old woman she had taken in last week was gone. There were scorch marks on the hearth where she had been sitting… before the light… before the charm had broken. Was it possible that the little old woman had really been an all-powerful goddess in disguise? Had she waited that long for Lenore to name her so that she could break free? How had Lenore not noticed? She thought she was a better witch than that. Lenore rose and ran her fingers through her hair, still trying to make sense of it all. If she had just released the Sea Mither, it was possible that there was still hope for Lilith, as well. She had to find Steffan and tell him. There was work to be done.

It's 200 exactly (according to MSWord) and is a re-worked scene from my WIP.

**Oh yeah, and I forgot... if you like my entry, you can "like it" here... and I might win something cool :) I'm entry #193. Thanks!!**

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

YATT: A character sketch... ultra-long post...

So, today for Young Adult and Teen Tuesday (a meme hosted by SA Larsen over at Writers' Ally) I am posting a bio sheet on my Main Character from my novel... I asked followers on my blog and the cool peeps over at Fairfield County Writers Group for input on 50 questions to ask her and promised to post them here.

I got 150 questions, actually. One of the cool peep writers over at FCWG posted a 100 question bio-sheet for developing your character. It's AMAZING. I'm only posting the first 15 questions from that sheet (the Basics) and then the 50 questions you guys contributed because... I feel like 150 is overkill. (am I right?) If you want a copy of the full bio-sheet for use with your own character, shoot me an e-mail and I'll gladly oblige. Also, I tried to link back to everyone who offered questions unless I didn't have a website for you. Let me know if I missed anyone.

I really enjoyed this exercise, because it made me THINK about what my character thinks. She came alive more to me than she has yet, and now I'm ready to take her back to the page and make the re-write happen for her.

I wrote her answers in first person, but the novel is not drafted in first person. It just felt more natural to do it this way. It's pretty long, so if you make it all the way through to comment, bravo you! And thank you.

I'm a little nervous about doing this to be honest. Reasons: 1. You might hate her. 2. You might not hate her, but tell me she's dumb anyhow. 3. You might hate her but tell me you love her. 4. Someone might love her so much that they steal her from me! Ugh. Honesty here... but... if I don't show her to anyone, how will I know if she's any good, right? So I'm attempting to be brave here and take a step. Please give me your honest opinions about her! And... I hope you like her... Um... and lastly, don't steal her, ok?


  1. My full name is ____. Lilith Evangeline Scott
  2. I was born in ____. I was born on Sanday, part of the Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK…
  3. My birthday is ____, making me ____ years old at the start of the story, and ____ at the end. My birthday is December 1, 1996, making me 15…
  4. My parents are ____, who is a ___, and ____, who is a ___. My ma’s name is Lenore. She handcrafts baskets from seaweed and driftwood to sell in town and to tourists. My da was a sailor. He drowned at sea before I was born.
  5. I have ____ siblings. Their names are ____ and they are ____ older/younger than me. I’m an only child.
  6. Right now I live ____. Right now I live in the ocean… in a cove a few miles up the coast from my ma’s house. It’s a long story…
  7. My occupation is ____. (n/a)
  8. I am ____ tall and have a ____ build. I have ___ skin, ____ eyes and ____ hair. My facial features are ______. I like to wear _____. I’m five feet tall when I’m in human form… I have a pixie build Molly says. My skin is mostly white… freckled a lot… or it was before I became a mermaid. Now it’s kind of a freaky bluish white. My eyes are green; my hair is dark auburn and long, past my shoulders. My facial features are delicate, adding to the pixie look, I think.
  9. When it comes to money, I have ____. (n/a)
  10. When it comes to allergies, diseases and other physical weaknesses, I have _____. I don’t have any allergies and I’m pretty healthy… 
  11. I am ___ handed. I’m right handed.
  12. My voice is _____. My voice is… I used to have a great singing voice. It’s a little scratchy since I live in the freezing cold ocean now. I wonder if Millicent stole my singing voice, too?
  13. A phrase I use frequently is ____. “you know”
  14. In my pockets right now, I have _____. Ha! I don’t have any pockets! Mermaid, remember???
  15. My most annoying habit is ____. I bite my nails???? How should I know? You’ll have to ask Molly. But she hardly ever gets annoyed with me. Maybe ask my ma.
Reader questions for Lilith:
  1. Regardless of what’s happening in your life right now, you do realize things will only get harder as you grow up, right? (Hildred) Really? Harder than accidentally switching places with a murderously evil mermaid who has a grudge against my mother (which, by the way, I still don’t quite get…) and being exiled by the rest of the child-stealing/child-eating clan because I won’t become a cannibal? The ocean is no place to survive alone when you only just got here. Plus… it’s effing freezing here! I’ll take a little misogyny any day… but thanks for the encouragement.
  2. Which subject do you hate in school? (Gina C) Ha! Well… when I went to school, I’d have to say it was math that I hated most. Too logical.
  3. What do you like to spend your money on most? Money? We never have anything extra after food and fuel and supplies for ma’s craft. We’re lucky to get what we have and no thanks to any of our neighbors, you know?
  4. Who do you want to dress like? Ah… I wear what I own… but I love Molly’s clothes. She’s my best friend and she always wears the softest clothes.
  5. What song do you listen to on repeat?  “Swim until you can’t see land” by Frightened Rabbit is all I can hear in my head right now… over and over… Ironic, you know? Most of the stuff I used to listen to back on land you probably would’ve never heard of anyhow. I’m from a tiny island off the northern coast of Scotland. Everything about my life is obscure.
  6. Who was the biggest bully in your life? It’s not the bullies I mind so much. They’re easy enough to avoid and not very bright either, you know? It’s their gossiping harpy mothers that really get to me. They make life hard on my ma… make her cry when she thinks I’m not looking. I hate them. Strange, but Molly’s ma is one of the worst. She hates it that Molly and I are friends. Too bad for her. She’ll never keep us apart.
  7. Who have you bullied? You’re kidding, right? I’ve never really spent any time with anyone except Molly… and ma. The other kids don’t like me or are too scared of what their mothers would do if they found out they’d been talking to me at all, even if it was to be mean to me. I’m not sure why that is… probably has something to do with the reasons they make ma cry… but when I ask her she always looks sad and won’t answer me.
  8. If you had a round-trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Somewhere warm. I don’t care where… although it’d be nice if it had an ocean… It’s just so damn cold here… I feel like I’ll never be warm again. I might never come back, either…
  9. What is your favorite movie? (Charles M) Everything I get to see is a million years old by the time it gets here… but there was this one movie when I was a kid… Howl’s Moving Castle… I dunno… I guess I liked how nothing was what it seemed to be… and you could open the door and find yourself in different places any time you wanted.
  10. What is your favorite book? I’d rather hear ma tell a story. She’s so amazingly good at it. The magical people she talks about almost seem real… come to think of it… maybe they ARE real. She always talked about mermaids, but I never would have believed they actually existed… except now I am one. What if selkies and Teran and the Sea Mither are really real, too?
  11. Who is your favorite boy? Boys are dumb and a waste of time. You can’t even make them into mermaids.
  12. Who is your favorite teacher? Miss McCormack… English Lit. I think she felt sorry for me. Whatever. I don’t need her sympathy, you know? But it sure beats the shit way the rest of the teachers treat me. More detentions than the biggest bullies in school… for what? I dunno… being alive? But Miss McCormack always let me do my own thing. I think I even paid attention in her class.
  13. What do you like to do in your spare time? Mostly I like to hang around at the shore. No really, even on land I did. I love tide pools more than anything and the crash of sea waves, the smell of salt on the wind… Molly and I can always find someplace where no one will bother us. Most times I just sit and listen to the waves while she collects shells. Since THIS happened… we still meet at the shore, and she brings me news about my ma and Millicent… and we work on our plan…
  14. What is your favorite animal? (CM)  Dolphins. Why? (Julie M) They’re brilliant, beautiful, and handy if I run into trouble with sharks. Happens a lot more than you’d think.
  15. What kind of car do you want next year? (CM) You’re joking, right? But we don’t need a car. Everything is so close. Car is just money wasted, ma says.
  16. Who do you think is cute? (Catherine K) Like I said… boys are a waste of space and energy… and Molly is beautiful.
  17. Who supports you? Molly. And Ma, even though she can’t see me now. She tried to once, but it must be part of the curse. So anyway, Moll takes her my messages and tells me how she is… and helps keep a watch out for Millicent. She’s ridiculously brave, that Molly.
  18. Who is your mortal enemy? Millicent. She’s evil incarnate. She stole my life from me and left me here for her lackeys to tear to pieces. But I’m going to ruin her little scheme with one of my own… and when she gets back here she’ll learn what pain really means.
  19. What did you do last weekend? (Gabi C) Last weekend I spent convincing a couple of fringe mermaids (that’s the clan outsiders) that they want to help me get rid of Agra, Millicent’s number own. She’s been causing havoc in the clan ever since Millicent “disappeared”. No one will believe that Millicent traded places with me, but whatever. She basically made a power grab when it looked like Millicent wasn’t coming back… nobody is happy about it. Even I know that and I’ve been banished. But Agra really wants me dead… so I have to figure out how to take her down a few notches… Yeah… not your average weekend in the life of a teenager.
  20. Where would you like to go on vacation? Like I said, somewhere warm with ma and Molly. And maybe we’d never come back…
  21. Who is your favorite relative? My only family is ma. Da is gone… ma never talks about him or anyone else…
  22. What scares you? Used to be the dark scared me. Now it’s the open, exposed ocean… I don’t wanna ever be caught with my guard down… Getting ripped apart by sharks or mermaids… not how I want to go. Also, never seeing ma or Molly again… that scares me.
  23. What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s funny. I always wanted to be a ship’s captain. But they don’t take girls on as deckhands or mates or anything… so I’ve been teaching myself to sail, sneaking off with Molly in her da’s skiff whenever he’s not looking…. Learning to read the water…
  24. Where’s your dad? (me) Ma says he’s dead. Lost to the sea. Molly’s heard all the rumors and she says that other people say he went off and drowned himself because ma broke his heart and had another lover… I never met him, so I wouldn’t know… but if he’s the type to go off and leave his family like that, I don’t know if I’m missing much.
  25. What’s your favorite food? Ma’s homemade bread is the best… warm, with butter… I hate eating everything raw and cold now…
  26. Do you believe in magic? I would have said no… all those tales ma told me… I thought they were just stories to scare us into behaving and going to bed on time… but now… the only explanation is magic. Nothing else makes sense.
  27. What’s your favorite color? The deep brilliant blue of the ocean.
  28. Who’s your best friend? You haven’t been paying attention. I said it was Molly. I’d die for her… and she’d die for me… but I’d never let that happen. She understands me better than anyone… she’s brilliant.
  29. Do you have any pets? Ma always leaves a bowl of milk out… for the fairies, she says…. But I know the village cats find their way out to our place and drink it up most days. They keep the mice away and let me scratch behind their ears sometimes.
  30. Have you ever travelled anywhere? We don’t have money for travelling. Furthest I’ve ever been is the next island over in Molly’s da’s boat. It’s uninhabited, so we beached the boat and spent the day exploring. Found a colony of puffins… they’re amazing. We left the eggs untouched. Molly got in so much trouble when we got back… we haven’t taken the boat out since. It started to get harder for her to sneak away and see me after that. Now, though… they think I’m dead and they’re a lot more free and lenient with her. It’s just harder for me… can’t be seen by other islanders. They wouldn’t like it.
  31. What’s your favorite time of year? I like summer. It’s light longer… lots longer way up here in the northern latitudes. And the air is warm then.
  32. Does your mom make you do chores? Yeah, but I’m happy to help, you know? We only have each other… and I have Molly… so I try to pay attention and do what she needs.
  33. Do you like your mom? I love her. She tells the most amazing stories… and she’s so strong… and so good….
  34. What do you think of love? You mean mushy romance? I don’t get it. The only person I ever loved besides ma is Molly. I don’t need anyone else.
  35. Do you like where you live? Ma’s house… my house… is well enough. We don’t need all the plush fanciness other people have. We have color and light and a warm fire… and we’re right by the shore… I love the shore. Only think I hate are the people in town. Not a decent person besides Molly. Bunch of homogenized clones, if you ask me. They all have to dress alike and listen to the same music and make the same jokes.
  36. What TV shows do you watch? (Dave D) We don’t have a TV. Big waste of time, in my book. We used to have one, but I made ma give it to the charity thrift shop. We never watched it anyhow.
  37. What magazines do you read? Ma gets a subscription to National Geographic. It’s the only luxury we afford ourselves. I like to look at the pictures and dream about what it would be like to go to those places.
  38. Have you ever written a novel? Nah. I make up stories in my head… but that’s it… they’re all just stories. I wish I could make them come alive the way ma’s stories have. Who’d have thought that homicidal mermaids existed? ‘Course they don’t HAVE to kill children… but I can’t talk about that here… it isn’t safe.
  39. What do you think is gross but secretly want to try? (Catherine K) Kissing.
  40. What do you say you want to be when you grow up? What do you really want to be? Ma always gets sad when I say I want to captain a ship. She doesn’t want me to leave her. I told her I’d take her with me, but she says no… She gets sea sick, she says. I think she’d want me to stay here… raise sheep for wool… you can make a good living selling yarn from our island. But I need to get away.
  41. What did you do for fun as a little kid? I’d go down to the tide pools and look for the biggest prettiest shell I could find. Usually it was in the most hard to get places. Ma didn’t like it when I went down without telling her. I guess I see why now…
  42. What’s your favorite thing about yourself? (me) I can sing. Pretty well, too. Only ones that ever heard me are ma and Molly. I make up songs… sometimes the seals come close to shore when I’m singing… like the selkies in ma’s stories… I wonder…
  43. What would you change if you could? I always wanted uncontrollably curly hair… you know… all wild and sticking out everywhere… mine is straight as a plank of wood. Still wild and tangled, though.
  44. What have you done that you are proud of? Well for starters I’m not dead yet. I could’ve been… but I’m a survivor.
  45. What was your biggest embarrassing moment? I don’t get embarrassed. No really…
  46. When things get overwhelming, where would you most like to hide? (Julie M) Under the covers in ma’s room… but I can’t. I’m stuck here. In the cold… alone… I have this safe cave, out beyond that point over there. I always try to be sprinting distance from that cave… in case of danger, like sharks and stuff, you know?
  47. What interests you about your hometown? I try to steer clear of town, you know? People aren’t very nice. But I often wonder how people came to be away out here on this island… what brought them here… Ma has a story about that too.
  48. What are the things that make you most excited to be alive? Mostly the ocean and all the things in it… and so many more than I ever imagined… and seeing Molly every day. It’s always something new with that girl.
  49. Do you advertise your affections or would you rather keep them secret? Moll and ma know how to read me. I doubt anyone else will ever figure me out. But if you asked me, I’d tell you what I think. I’m not scared.
  50. What’s your favorite thing to wear? (me) When I can wear clothes (like not now that I’m a mermaid) I always wear a great worn out pair of blue jeans and any of the sweaters ma’s made me.

If you made it this far you are my hero. No seriously. Thanks for sticking with it! Luv and puppies and stuff.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Character growth and a blog award

Ok, blog award first. A big thanks to the fabulous kmckendry over at Imagine Today who bestowed the "Kreativ blogger award" (and the Versatile blogger award, I think) on me the other day! Luv luv luv!

Since I have some new followers, I'll give you some new facts about me... haven't done this in a while :) If you think you already know enough about me, feel free to skip to the end of this post.

1. I have 4 cats and a dog... this may not be new to you if you know me already... but... I didn't MEAN to have 4 cats... they just sort of multiply... (and yes they are all fixed... I mean multiplied in the magically appearing sort of way). I'm trying to re-home one of them, actually... so if you know anyone who wants a nameless, needy, talkative female gray tabby/muted calico kitty with a short-ish tail, please let me know.

2. I have mild depression and anxiety (mostly self-diagnosed, but I went to therapy for a little while, too). There are days when I can't convince myself that I am capable of doing anything at all, much less anything creative... I hate those days. I am actively combating them... one of the BLOGS that has been super instrumental in my warfare against the monsters is The Fluent Self. I heart Havi and Selma! Seriously... they're better than therapy. Also, I have not openly admitted the depression before (at least not that I can remember)... although I would tell you if you asked me.

3. I am a painter. I'm not saying I'm Vincent Van Gogh... I guess really I'm more of a visual artist... because I like photography, too. But some days I need color, canvas, and abstraction to help clear my head. I say abstract because none of my figures ever turns out as I see them in my head. Same goes for my writing, actually.

4. Last one, I am sprouting seeds in a terrarium on a bookshelf so that I can grow my own veggies this summer. Right now I have heirloom tomatoes, sweet yellow cherry tomatoes, and collard greens sprouting... but I have seeds to plant for cucumbers, okra, and carrots, plus some herbs and flowers. I'm crossing my fingers that this project is successful. Usually I buy seedlings already started... but I wanted to try starting them myself this year. Eeep!

I so love all the new friends I am making out there in the blogosphere! I hope you'll humor me and claim this award for yourself if you want it. I'm not going to tag anyone to pass it on. I think you're all pretty "kreativ" and versatile! Luv!

Just a reminder from my last post that I'm looking for some questions to ask my main character so that I can get a better grip on her. You can leave your questions in the comments here. Between your comments already and some from my fab friends in the Fairfield County Writers' Group, I'm up to 40 questions! 10 more to go before I hit my goal of 50, but if I have more than 50, I'll just have to answer them... then I'll post the questions and answers next Tuesday so that you can get a look at my MC... and hopefully give me some feedback.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

11 questions and a bit of a YA request

First! Hi to all my new followers! It's so nice to have more people out there joining the conversation about life, the universe and everything... but mostly about writing :)

I was tagged by my new pal Hildred (great name by the way) to play along in this 11 questions meme. Thanks to Hildred for the creative questions! I hope you like my answers.

1. What is the single most annoying trope that makes you want to claw your eyes out? Ah... for me it's the "I'm helpless and my life means nothing without HIM..." I love a good strong female character, so to read so many roles that fit the trope makes me sick.

2. If you could alter history and claim credit for any book ever written, what would it be? Right now I'd say "Hunger Games"... Suzanne Collins wrote a great trilogy... and I wish it was mine :)

3. How many kids were in your HS graduating class? 500 kids in my graduating class, or thereabouts. 1996. Yep

4. If you were guaranteed massive success either way, would you rather traditionally publish or self-publish? I think... all things being equal...  I'd have to say I'd self-publish... because I wouldn't want to rely on anyone else for my success. I'd want to be strong, like one of my characters, and in charge of my own fate.

5. What's the most you've ever paid for an article of clothing...for yourself? Do shoes count? I bought a pair of Danskos for $120... because they have awesome arch support and will last a long time.

6. Singer, Model, or Actress - who you gonna be? I was, am, and will always be a singer.

7. Chef, Driver, or Maid - who you gonna hire? I'd hire a maid. I hate to clean.

8. Bath or shower? I'm a shower girl.... I get bored in baths.

9. You're scheduling for a delivery to your house during normal business hours. What time do you request, and why? Early as possible. Whatever I'm having delivered must be good. I'm sure I'll want it as soon as possible.

10. Could you survive a whole year or more in a traditional Japanese apartment? Sure I could survive. It would be cramped and I'd complain a LOT, probably... but I'd be in Japan, right? So I'd have a lot to distract me.

11. Favorite Pokemon. And you can't cop out with "i dunno pokemon"  because here's a link, pick the cutest one! I'm still going to cop out on this one and choose Pikachu... he's the only Pokemon I really know, but I like him.

Now... I'm not ACTUALLY going to tag anyone... why? Because I don't want to :) I WILL give you a list of 11 questions, though... at the very end of the post... and if you'd like to answer them, feel free to do so in the comments. I'd love to hear your answers!

The second part of my post today has to do with YATT (also know as Young Adult Teen Tuesday, a meme hosted by SA Larsen over at Writer's Ally)
And what I have for you today in the realm of Young Adult and Teen fiction is a request. My current WIP needs some character help... and I've decided I want YOU to help me figure out what I need to help my character out! I would love love love to have her answer 50 questions, any 50 questions you'd ask a 15 year old girl... and I'd like you to help me ask them. In the comments section, please leave me (along with your answers to MY 11 questions) 1, 2, or 10 questions you'd like to hear my character answer... that would be so amazingly fantastic! I'll collect all the questions submitted by midnight on Friday, February 17th, and post her responses NEXT Tuesday. I hope you'll play along!

Ok, now for the 11 questions I'd like to know about YOU.
  1. What's your favorite animal and why? (If you don't like ANY animals, why?)
  2. If you had an unlimited budget, where would your next vacation spot be?
  3. Say you have an old, blind cat that lives in your attic... what's its name?
  4. Do you like fruitcake? Why or why not?
  5. What do you do to cure writer's block?
  6. You're a super hero. What's your outfit look like?
  7. Building on #6, what's your super power?
  8. Doctor Who?
  9. What's your favorite snack?
  10. What book can you remember reading in your youth that had a major effect on you?
  11. It's the zombie invasion and you're barricaded in a house with 4 other people. If you could choose those 4 people, who would they be?
I'm looking forward to your answers AND... your questions!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

First drafts

I wanted to talk about first drafts today... because that's where I am... in my novel and in my life, I think. I wrote my second novel (gee that sounds weird) during NaNoWriMo last November. It's a great idea, for sure, and I think that at times I can be a great writer... but man this draft! I've been trying to get up the courage to edit/re-write the pile of jumbled up copy I produced in November... ever since I finished it, actually. I think I've finally gotten into a groove (this past Friday, actually) where I'm not afraid to look at it... but it's a MESS!

Anyone else feel this way?

So what I keep hearing from other writer friends is that first drafts are always a mess. That should make me feel better... really... it should.

Anyone else feel this way?

Author Annie Prouxl (Brokeback Mountain) says of drafts that "for a story like “Tits-Up in a Ditch” it was probably fifteen or sixteen drafts, with some paragraphs going through sixty drafts before they got right. Even then, when the story is apparently finished I see changes that must be made." Huh. Sixty drafts on some paragraphs. Boy wouldn't I like to see what the first draft looked like.

Anyone else?

I guess what it comes down to is that I am a closet perfectionist. So I'm utterly embarrassed every time I look at the mess that is my first draft, and HORRIFIED at the thought of showing it to someone else. I am worse than ashamed to think that my writing could start out looking as bad as I think that it does... and so then I lose the willpower to follow through and finish it.

Anybody... Bueller...?

I have been working on that feeling that everything I produce should be perfect right out of the box. Because.... damn it, it was a good idea! It still is a good idea! And yes, it needs work... and no, I'm not a prodigy... but that doesn't mean I can't get there given a little elbow grease. And it can be fun! And my self-worth is NOT based on first drafts. And Yours isn't either! Whew. There... I feel better now...

Anyone else?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why YA?

It's Tuesday again... time to talk about Young Adult and Teen lit!

Why am I writing a YA novel? That's a question people ask me frequently... after "Oh, you're a writer" comes "What kind of book are you writing?" and then... "why Young Adult?"

And my answer is because there's so much more room for imagination!

I think my WIP is teetering between middle grade and YA... although mostly that's because the age of the protagonist keeps changing. I can't decide how old she should be, really... originally she was 7 or 8 and now she is 16. I felt like some of the situations she found herself in were a little too overwhelming for an 8 year-old.

Now, I know that YA can be serious and can deal with some serious issues, too. And I love, love, love that about the demographic. Teens deal with some heavy stuff. They also need YA to open their eyes to people living lives that are distinctly different from their own. I remember reading "Dicey's Song" by Cynthia Voigt when I was a kid... and loving Dicey so much... and feeling like the life she lived was so completely foreign to me.

But the ability to put my characters into a world of magic and folklore come to life is largely restricted to the MG/YA demographic. Yes there's sci-fi/fantasy for adults... but it's all so ... ADULT... and I don't know... I just feel like YA has more fun. Am I wrong?

Every author dreams of writing the next great American novel... of winning the Pulitzer or some other prestigious award... those are good things to dream of, for sure. But realistically... I just want to have fun with my characters, to enjoy their growth and progression through the story. So I guess I'll have to put off the Pulitzer Prize winning work for the NEXT NaNoWriMo. Ha!

What about YOU? Why do you write for YA/Teens/Middle Grade? Why do you choose fantasy for your WIP? I'm curious!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Busy busy busy

It's always a good idea to participate on the web... I've been a tentative voice from the beginning... saying things here on my blog where I only have a few followers... and shyly commenting, although I'm getting bolder. Well, I decided I want to expand my reach... I want to join more actively in the conversation of the writers' world in the blog-iverse. So I'm joining in the Rach Writes Writers' Platform-building Campaign. I mean, why not, right? If anything, hopefully I will meet some new people in the on-line world of writers. And that's my goal for the campaign... because... aside from that I'm not REALLY sure what it is... I am just jumping in and trying it!


In other news... it's February... but this February could not be more different from the last. Last year, we had SO MUCH SNOW!!! It was everywhere... piled up... packed in... and it was sooooo ccccoooollllddddd! This year we've had so many 50 degree days that even the swans got confused, thought it was spring, and came back to the pond.

The water in front of the swan is actually ice!

One thing I have accomplished this winter that I'm proud of is this quilt. I am excited to have finished it and that it didn't fall apart when I washed it!

Now if I could just have the same experience with my WIP, I'd be golden. Hopefully I'll meet some new people through this campaign who will help me find the courage I need to get it done.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group

I know, I know... 3 posts in 3 days from me... it's almost too much to handle! It's the first Wednesday in the month and I'm joining in on Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you're a writer and you have insecurities you would like to share, you should join us... and if you're a writer and you haven't got any insecurities, would you PLEASE share how you came to be so self-confident?

I guess my insecurity for this week has to do with copy, or frequent lack thereof. I find myself more often than not staring at a blank screen and not able to think of anything to say. Or worse, I don't even turn on the computer because I feel like nothing I could think of (if I COULD think of anything) would be interesting or worth putting down in print. And then I hear that oft repeated adage "A writer writes..." and I think to myself, well... I'm not writing, so I must not be a writer. And downward I spiral into a pit of deep despair.

So I guess that leads me to the problem of well meaning but ill timed/placed ... encouragement... for lack of a better word. As an insecure writer who has struggled with identity and where I fit in all this wide and varied world of blog posts, novels, novellas, poetry, short stories, news articles, etc., etc., etc., I can tell you that even "A writer writes..." can kill a budding creative spirit. Well... maybe not kill it, but definitely set it back.

The thing I keep coming back to is that she's different for everyone, the muse. For some lucky souls she is a slave driver, an unforgiving mistress that forces you to stay up late pouring words from your fingertips to the page. That's not who she is for me... for me, she's coy and fleeting, stifled by a wide variety of worries that need to be quelled and frightened of monster doubts that need to be re-captured and caged.

One way that I am finding help in these past few weeks is through this awesome network of writers on the web. Between IWSG, YA and Teen Tuesday, and Knights of Microfiction, there are some really great ways for me to stretch out my figurative vocal chords, get the words flowing, and encourage the muse to come out and play. And I keep working on my doubts and monsters... and keep my WIP open in the background to remind me that there is more to be done.