Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WIP Day - It has officially... begun...


Around friday last week, I started wondering what I would post today.  I realized a horrifying fact: I had nothing to update about.  Since I have been working so hard of beta reading for someone else, I hadn't even flipped open PN in, um, much too long.  That was just not right. 

So, Monday evening, I sat down and officially began my paper edit. *applause*

Note to self: Do not start editing at 9pm if you want to get to sleep at any sort of a decent hour.  Yeah... but at least I did 25 pages!  As of last night, I am now on page 68.  I wanted to edit more last night, but once it became midnight I realized that I really needed to hit the sack.  Thirty minutes later, my 10 month old woke up.... Luckily my hubby is amazing and did the diaper changing.

My plan... tentatively:  Be done with my paper edit by this time next week.  I really think I can do it.  I have emailed my beta readers, giving them a heads up.  So far I have recieved feedback from two... but I know more of them have finished reading it.  Now I am just waiting for their thoughts *clears throat*

Let me tell you, the paper edit puts a whole new light on PN.  I sit there, holding it in my lap with red pen in hand, then have to sit back and realize: Its a book.  This is a real book.  I wrote this.

I shake the amazement, then dive back in.  Finding lots of little typos.  Can't believe I sent this out to people to read.  Oh, I forgot I wrote that part!  Oh, I love this part!  Oh my goodness, how could I ever send this bleeding page out to people to read?

I am loving it.

And, just because I mentioned the diaper earlier, I think I now smell something calling the mommy name.  The joys of a stay at home mom dreaming of being a writer.  I wouldn't trade it.

Happy writing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

What's in a Name


Happy Monday all.  I have been wondering what to post about today... honestly I have been sitting here thinking for far too long.  So, here comes a post that has been rumbling in the back of my mind.

Names

Raise your hand if you think naming your characters is hard hard hard to do.  *own hand shoots into air*  Honestly, there have been times that I sit and spend my entire writing time for that day trying to settle on one single name.  Its one thing for a MC, its bad when its just for a minor character... why do I need the perfect name?  Isn't it just a name?

A problem with names is that they truly can make the person, or break it. Heck, my name is Jenni.  When I have asked people what they think of when they hear that name, it tends to be a ditzy cheerleader or blonde Woo-girl.  Both of which, I am not.  One leading reason why I chose to spell my name with an "i" other than the traditional "y" or "ie" was... to be me.  To this day I have only met I think one other Jenni who spells it the same as I do.  With Jennifer being such a common name, I needed my individuality.  And, I needed to prove that I am not the stereotype of what my name is.

So I am a writer.  And actress.  A photographer.  I grew up playing sports, am highly competitive, and nine times out of ten prefer to hang around boys over girls.  And, I am brunette... though I do like to dye my hair red.  So, if I came across a Jenni in a book... what would I assume she is?  Sadly, even I would lean to the stereotype.  Its just what we all do.

When it comes time to naming my characters, it means something.  I need to feel the name.  I can't just randomly pick a name, say "Yup, that works" and dive into writing.  In one of my WIPS I believe I have changed the MC's name at least three times. 

It may not be that big of a "thing."  Maybe I am just overly picky.  But names do mean something.  What's in a name... everything!  If I read about a Mildred, sadly, I picture an older woman who likes prunes.  If its a Bud, I see a southern hick with ripped off sleeves and a beer belly.  I know.  Sometimes that character has nothing to do with that stereotype.  But, naming your character something will shape it in a way you may not have planned.  You have to be careful.

So, what to do?  How do we choose the perfect name? 

For me, I tend to look into the meanings of the names.  Babynames.com is awesome (along with bundles of other sites out there just like it)  Type in the meaning you are wanting.  A trait you want your character to have... or maybe not have, to add spice.  Something that means something to the plot of your story... then peruse.  It is amazing how much more perfect the name can be, once you know the meaning.

One of my beta readers recently asked me what the purpose being Millie's name is.  For those of you who don't know, her full name is Millicent.  My reasoning?  I heard the name Millie... and liked it.  It struck a chord with me and felt "right" for this MC.  Then, as I was writing, I found I needed a full name for her.  And in came Millicent.  I needed a name that no normal person really does name their child... an uncommon name with a strange rep.  Millicent... perfect.  It wasn't until after I chose it that I looked up the meaning of the name:  Mild Strength.  I sat back, thought about it... and realized that it really was the perfect name for this MC.  And so... she was born.

Meanings mean something to me.  What it behind a name holds so much of the character.  I honestly do spend too much time coining the perfect name, but in the end, I feel it is worth it.  As for last names...that is a different story. I tend to steal those from friends.  Yoink!

So, what about you?  Do you just pick a name out of the air and form the character around it?  Make the character, and reader, accept it?  Or do you create the character, then find the perfect name to suit that persona?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lovely Blog Award

Off the blogging schedule:  My day was made a few days ago when I got a message from one of my awesome fellow bloggers, saying she had given me a blogging award!  For those of you who don't know, we bloggers like to award each other almost more than celebrities, just because... we can.  This is my first actual award, and it sure made me smile.  Thank you Trisha for thinking of me!  (And I would so re-award it back to you... but since you already have it, I guess I will pass it on to some who may not.  You are lovely though!)

Awards don't come without rules though.  Here are the ones for the Lovely Blog award:
  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link. (Done!  Again... Trisha you are awesome!)
  2. Pay it forward to some other blogs you have newly discovered.
  3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen. 
So, without any further ado, here are the awardees.  Some aren't as "new" of discoveries as others, but they deserve it... so I am giving it!  Good job bloggers... I love stalking each of you daily.

1. Brigitte  (Brimagination)
2. Keary (Keary Taylor)
3. Jess (Falling Leaflets)
4.  Sisters in Scribe
5.  Hannah (Paperback Treasures)
6. Abby (Above Water)
7.  The Chrysalis Experiment
8.  Rachael (Rach Writes...)  
9.  Nicole (Damsel in a Dirty Dress)
10.  Tahera (Grab a Pen)
11. Sylvia (Writing in Wonderland)


Enjoy the reward!  Now... get back to writing!

(Oh!  AND... I entered a first line contest!  It just looked like too much fun to pass up, and has some awesome prizes to boot.  Go check it out here, and think about entering too!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review - The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth 
by Carrie Ryan

Synopsis: (From Powells)
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future — between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death? 

Why I picked this book:  To be honest, I didn't know this one existed.  I had bought The Dead-Tossed waves (book two in this series... next week's review!) and when my sister-in-law saw it, she asked why I hadn't bough book one.  Luckily she owned it, so I got to borrow it from her.  Beautiful cover though, so if I had seen it I know I would have picked it up as well! 

My thoughts: 
This was the first "zombie book" I have ever actually read.  I love zombie movies.  Shawn of the Dead... classic.  Zombieland... hilarious.  Resident Evil... scifi awesome.  My sister-in-law loves zombie stories, and after hearing her talk about them off and on, I decided to finally give them a shot.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth was in an interesting read.  Not fully what I was expecting.  Mary lives in a small village, lost in the woods.  And surrounded by a tall fence with the Unconsecrated (ie zombies) pressing against it at all times.  Creepy?  Yes.  The worse part?  Most of them are people that are from that village. 

The book starts with her talking about how her father had just become Unconsecrated and how she feared seeing him someday, dead man walking.  Her mother is grief stricken and spends most of every day searching the sea of Unconsecrated, hoping for a glimpse of her husband.  Mary and her brother take turns keeping watch on her mother... until the day Mary holds hands with a boy instead.

And, instep confused love story.  Harry loves Mary, Mary likes his brother Travis.  I will skip some things that happen (I would hate to be the spoiler) but after a series of events, Mary ends up living in the Chapel, working with the Sisterhood.  I felt for her.  I really did.  The things she went through were heart-wrenching and I found myself angry at those who refused to stand up for her.

I did like this story.  It was very The Village-esque, what with them all thinking they were the sole survivors of this disease that swept the world.  The Sisterhood is eerie, full of secrets and total control.  I hated Sister Tabitha, the head of the Sisterhood.  And she deserved it.  The story picks up speed when Mary notices a new arrival, from outside the gate.  The girl quickly disappears though.  Only to turn up on the other side of the fence, Unconsecrated.  And fast.

I was pulled along, itching to be away from the fences teeming with the undead, and wondering what the fate of this young girl named Mary would be.

Too bad the second half of the book crawled slower than a zombie.

When you read chapter after chapter of a small group of people wandering down a maze-like, fenced in path in the woods... you get tired.  After a while I was about ready to jump the fence and chance the zombies myself.  Anything for some adventure. 

Did I mention the love triangle?  Yes?  Please, readers, answer me this: Is there a rule out there that I do not know that dictates all YA novels must have triangles?  I know, they are interesting.  They add fueds and feelings and root-ability (is that a word?) But I would love a break.  A beautiful YA book that focuses on just the guy, and the girl.  Moving on...

I sludged through the second half as the characters wandered the maze.  The ending was intense and awesome... which was nice.  I only wish I didnt have to push to get there.  As far as the zombie aspect of it goes, I thought Ryan did a great job.  She kept the usual rules (such as moaning, slow moving, need for flesh and rotting body parts) and there were many times I felt myself cringing as she described some of the zombie action.

One thing I would have liked to see more of was family ties.  You would think that thee people, who assume they are all that is left in the world and who live in this little village, would care more about each other.  When things go south though, it turns into a fend for yourself fest.  At times this is perfect (Example: The village is under attack, everyone is scrambling into the trees, and they pull up the ladder before Mary can climb it)  Other times though… it was just harsh.  I couldn’t like the family.  I know that in the face of disaster things to crumble.  In this story though, it felt like there should have been more of a tie, or more of a base as to why people turned on each other so easy.

Ok.  The first two pages are beautiful.  Amazing in fact.  I love them, full of their poetic charm about the ocean and the waves.  I want to hang them somewhere and admire them at all times.  Carrie Ryan really is a very gifted author.  The ending wraps up nicely, tying everything together in an awesome undead package.  The characters were believeable, though I did have a hard time connecting to Mary.  She was... bland?  Nuetral?  I can't think of the correct word. 

I far from hate this book.  I do not own it yet, but I plan to add it to my shelves as soon as I can.  Being as I already own book two, I cannot leave the set unmatched.  I will buy any more that come out in the series as well.  If you are looking for a zombie book, with a new take on the old horror, mixed with the Village and a little bit of Matched, I do recommend this book. 

As for my rating though, I had to give it what I did.  It was good, just not awesome.  I actually battled for some time about what to rate this book, hence why it has taken so long to post a review.  If I did half star ratings, it would get a 3.5, but since I don't, I had to give it what I did.  I would have loved to let it bump up instead of down, but there were just too many little things that seemed off or long that wouldn't let me do that.  Call me harsh, but when it comes to undead, I need something more.  This book was missing that.


My Rating:

(3 out of 5 stars)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIP Day - Character love and Covers

Hello all!  Happy wednesday, and happy WIP Day.  I hope you all are doing something productive today... or at least discovering some new awesome pages via StumbleUpon.  Either way, kudos to you!

Well, I am finally hearing back from some of my beta readers.  I can't wait to get all of their thoughts back, all of the red markings, praise, tears, and confusion.  It will be awesome to sift through it all and see what my creation really created.

My goal is to start back in on my paper edit this weekend.  I am nearly done with my beta reading for my friend, then I can give 100% back to PN.  It needs love, undivided.  I am hoping that my own betas will start trickling their thoughts in soon too *ahem* though I am not really needing it all until I am done with this round.  So betas, beware... I am getting there!  Read read read!

Something I have realized: My characters have become family to me.  When I am not reading or writing or editing, I worry about them.  I wonder what they are doing, if they miss me, if they feel neglected.  A few have been trickling into my dreams even.  I am in love with one, I hate another, one confuses me and one my heart breaks for every time I think of its fate.

We writers are the crazy type.  And we love every second of it.

Oh!  Keary and I have been working together on a cover for PN.  Keary is very awesome at cover design.  I can never seem to get the typeset looking right... Keary does it with ease.  If anything, it will make an awesome place holder.  I do really like it.  If I don't magically get picked up by an agent, and if something cover worthy that is even more awesome doesn't come along, this will most likely be the one I use for CreateSpace.  I know I will definitely use it for the free proof copy I won via NaNoWriMo.  Yay!


And, for fun, a banner I made as well.  I am sure there will be more to come. 


What do you think?  Are you like me and are addicted to making random covers and banners and such for you WIP, even though you know you should be writing instead? Or do you hold off and refuse to make anything until the polishing is done? 

Monday, March 21, 2011

I be the Idea Lady


For my first actual mash-up monday post, I figured it seemed appropriate enough to post about ideas.  All of our books, our novels and poems and short stories, all come from a little idea.  Those, in a sense, are our real babies.  After that, it is us being the adoring parents as we watch our babies grow and change into something we may have never even expected.

My writing den is torn apart right now.  I know, horrible right?  I spent all that time perfecting it and making it into a space that truly inspires me... then they start construction on our apartment.  It was supposed to just be replacing the windows and deck.  Now the project, a month later, is still going strong.  All of the siding is off of the building, they have dug down to the retaining wall and torn it up, and everything is covered in plastic giving us the look that we are either being fumigated or ET was found once again.  And still no new windows... To boot, we have had to remove everything that hung on any of our outside walls (They hammer so hard on the walls all day every day that in our room a screw head has even popped through.)  So, my walls are empty and white and horrible.  I hate it.  My whole apartment looks like a mental institute... and I feel crazy inside.

That may be a good reason why I just haven't been editing lately.  Hmm... can I blame it on them?

Stacked on my table is everything that once hung on the walls in this here den.  The other night I was sifting through it, making sure nothing has broken.  On one shelf I keep all of my little idea books.  Well, I snatched one out to jot my newest idea in (I know... like I need a new one right?  I need to finish everything I have first!  This new one is cool though...) and then sat back to look at all of my books.

Including PN, at this moment in time, there are eight books staring back at me.  I have yet to make one for the potential of book two for PN... that's a post for another time.  Some of the ideas are just a single jot in the booklet.  Others are pages of thoughts, random dialogue I have thought of, characters I will love, places I will create.  I actually had fun flipping through the pages, seeing all these thoughts that were born in my head scribbled before my eyes.

Then I got sad.  There just are not enough hours in the day, days in the month, months in the year.  I started brainstorming for PN this time last year, and am now almost done with it.  So, if I say a year per book... that's seven more years before I even finish these babies I already have.  Who's to tell if more will be born!

That's good and bad.  I have something to do for seven years.  But at the same time, I sit here and squirm, just wanting to see my books grow up and "be" right now.  I would love for this to be my full time gig.  To have hubby home with the kiddos as I disappear into my true writing den and type like a madwoman.  Who knows, life might allow that, someday.  For now, I sit in my torn apart dining room/writing den and allow the creation to happen when diapers don't need changing and hungry tummies are settled.  And every so often, an idea creeps into my mind, tickles my thoughts, then finds itself settled in a booklet on my shelf alongside my other to-be creations.

Like my sister in law said... if something happens and I come to find out that I just am not a writer, I could make a mean career out of being an idea lady.  Which would be cool and all... but hey, I just gotta write.

How about you?  Do you have stacks of idea babies?  Do you just focus on one and never let your mind trail to the others?  Or are you the writer who bounces between a few, never able to let your love and obsession settle with just one at a time?  Do share!

(Total side note not related but still awesome:  Congrats to Trisha for hitting 200 followers!  Exciting!!  Though now I see you have gained even more... go you go!  Trisha is holding a contest on her page, in celebrations of being stalked so awesomely well.  Go on over and check it out here!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: Matched

Matched
by Ally Condie

Synopsis: (From Powells)
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.


Why I picked up this book: For one, the cover is beautiful.  Simple, eye-catching, and (which seems to be even more rare) white.  I love staring at it.  The synopsis grabbed me next.  You know me: I am a sucker for dystopia!

My thoughts:

The idea of your life companion being chosen via Society and announced to you at a grand banquet is just so... awesome.  I would hate that being done to me.  So, of course, I loved the idea of it happening to fictional characters.  Luckily, from the synopsis, I knew that this would be one of those YA love triangle books, so I didn't find myself smacking my head halfway through.

To clarify:  I do not hate love triangles.  They can make a story very dynamic and add many subplots and twists that otherwise would never be there.  The problem?  Almost every book in the YA genre coming out now has a triangle.  And they are almost always the same:  Girl likes boy one.  Ga-ga for him and all is perfect in the world.  In comes boy two.  Girl feels sparks, and immediately questions boy one.  Cue epic love battle within girl's head while the two boys, in one way or another, strut their feathers.  In the end, one boy is chosen, the other is moody and broken but promises to always be there... See what I mean?

Matched... followed this.  Cassia at the very beginning finds she is matched to her childhood friend Xander.  It is just so perfect.  Matches within your own city are pretty much unheard of and everyone is in awe of her luck.  As she is.  Then when she is viewing a chip that is supposed to tell her everything about Xander (most of which she already knows...), Ky's face suddenly appears.  Instantly Cassia is confused and questioning her match with Xander while she begins to obsess over Ky, though she tries to hide it and stay perfect in this almost suffucating perfect society they live in.

By the way, the Society... it is just so perfect.  So well timed and clean and everyone in it is that mindless drone who lives only to serve and never questions anything.  I have read reviews of people complaining that the story is a rip off of The Giver.  Ok, yes, you do see similarities.  But nothing compares to The Giver.  We all need to remember: There is no new idea.  Every story idea out there is sparked off of another.  While I did note the similarities, Matched did feel like its own story.

What did I love?  The idea of the Society. The shady Official who keeps appearing where Cassia is to warn her that Xander is her match, not Ky.  The hints about the outer cities where a war is raging, yet no one even knows what exactly the war is... except Ky.  

So, why my rating?  I did not like Cassia.  When you find you don't like the MC, something is wrong.  She was so wishy-washy, and I never connected to her on any level.  In a way, I resented her as she led on both boys, as she never shared the truth, snuck around, grumbled and whined, then at the end of the day still acted like a perfect citizen.  She disregards her childhood friends, even when they obviously are needing her, but no one seems to hold a grudge.  They love Cassia.  It felt like the ending of the story just... happened.  Though Cassia did go through a change, I don't personally feel like I experienced that change, as the reader.  I never got that "ah... there it is" moment.  Which was a bummer.  Because Matched had so much to offer.

The writing style seemed a bit off as well.  Ally Condie is very gifted, and does have other published works out there that are well loved. From what I understand, and please do correct me if I am wrong, this was her first YA novel outside of her usuall genre.  For that, she did well.  I just feel like she could have done better.

The book was far from horrible.  I will be reading book two, Crossed, once I have the chance to purchase it.  I have spoken to other younger readers, who adored Matched.  Many have compared it to the Hunger Games, saying if you love that trilogy, you will love Matched.  I can't exactly say that, but if you love this genre and are craving another reading to add to your dystopian stack, picking this book up will not hurt.


My rating:

3 out of 5 stars

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Agent Pitch Contest

This is off-schedule, but I just had to post it today! 

A blog I follow, YAtopia, is holding an awesome contest!  Post a two sentence pitch, and an agent will read them all, with prizes announced March 31st.  Very awesome! 

I am still in the editing phase of PN, but I just had to enter this contest.  It is just too tempting and I think others should hold contests like this more often.  Hint hint.  If you out there also have a YA or children's book and want to enter, go do it!  The contest will close either when they hit 150 entries or March 24th, whichever hits first. 

Want to know my two sentence pitch?  (Which, by the way, is HARD to do!)
Here it is:

Millie 942B believed in the Nation: in its strict laws, its harsh punishments, and its city-sized Prisons, one of which she had been born and raised inside. Now Millie has turned eighteen and has been Released, only to discover that the life and freedom she had always trusted wasn’t what she thought it would be.

Ok, maybe could have written it better... but it works!  I think there should be entire college courses dedicated to only writing two-sentence pitches.  Honestly...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP Day

WIP Day has come!  I have to say, it is nice to actually have a set day to look forward to, to ramble about my WIP.  This just may stick...

(To those of you who don't submerge yourselves in the blogging world, and the writing world: WIP stands for Work in Progress.  And naturally, my current WIP is Prison Nation.  Also referred to as PN.)

My paper print-out sits on my desk next to me.  Waiting.  I wanted to dive right into tearing its pages apart and scribbling with my red pen last weekend.  Then I realized I needed to give us a little space.  I needed to let the love linger, and if I started to re-hash it right after that extra long editing round I had just finished, the love would shrivel and die.  Again.  So, it sits unopened.  And taunts me.

Right now I am beta reading for a friend.  (Keary, you are awesome!) and am loving the mental break from my own WIP.  Not to mention loving her WIP... Every evening when I am done with the reading of her WIP, I find myself itching to dig back into mine.  I have ideas, things to fix, things to relish.  But I cannot let myself until I finish hers.  Ooo restrictions.

I have started to get feedback from some of my beta readers too!  Two of them devoured the book within a day of me sending it to them and now I wait for all of their feedback to get to me.. ahem.  One has given some bits here and there, and a few I am really going to dig into.  The other betas are still working on reading it.  Let me say, its really strange, knowing I finally sent the whole thing out to people.  That they are reading it, experiencing it, loving or hating it.  I almost don't know how I feel.

And now I have people asking me about when the book will be ready for purchase.  Ok: I have no idea.  There you go!  I am still editing.  Trying to make it shine.  After that... its a bit foggy.  I am trying to decide if I do want to market it around to some agents, or go indie with it and self-publish.  There are so many pros and cons to each path.  Its a hard decision!  Any tips or thoughts or advice from you out there would be very much welcome...

Last item of note.  Keary and I are working together on making a cover for PN.  I am really liking it.  If anything, it will work as an awesome place holder for PN, if a different cover ever comes into existence.  Once we fix a few things on it, I will post it here for you all to see.  Most likely during a WIP day, of course!

Now, get back to your own WIP!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time for a Blogging Schedule

Hello followers!

I have decided that it is about time I create some sort of posting schedule for myself.  Reasons?  One: To limit myself.  Two: To create some sort of focus in my crazy mind.  Three: We all like schedules.  It gives us something to look forward to.  So... look forward!

Right now I will do a MWF schedule.  Note, things may change.  This is a first for me, and thus it will evolve until it becomes what suites me best.  Bear with me.  FOR NOW though... here is my plan:


MONDAY - Mash-Up Day
I will post about whatever I want.  A mention about another blogger's awesome post.  Discovered tips and tricks.  Growing worries.  Deep insight.  Crazy dreams.  Anything.  This will be my mind vent day, and will hopefully help to discover some cool new postings, or writing, within.

WEDNESDAY - WIP Day
Yup.  Its the day I will allow myself to post only about my current WIP.

FRIDAY - Finally, a Review Day!
This is the day I will post a book review.  If I have one.  Sadly, with all the novel editing for my own WIP, I am lacking in the luxury of book devouring time.  I will try to post a review once a week.  I apologize now if some fridays I cannot... but I will post something for you to fill that gap.  Like a cartoon.  Deal?

For now, I must skidaddle.  But I will be back Wednesday, for WIP day!  Hope to see you then!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Writing to Live Forever


This last weekend I had the chance to escape with my hubby, leave the kiddos with their grandparents, and enjoy just-us-time for a few days.  It was awesome.  I forced myself to leave my MS at home.  My mind needed a break, now that I have entered the paper edit phase.  It was hard... almost as hard as leaving my kiddos for a few days.  But it was all so needed.

(I couldn't help but think of it though.  Alot.  Too much plotting I must say, if that is even possible.  And, to boot, hubby is working on reading it and started reading some outloud to me.  It is amazing, hearing your own writing read back to you in someone else's voice.  It almost didn't feel real.)

One of our stops while enjoying the coast was going to an antique mall.  Now, I have never been all that obsessed with antiques.  They are amazing, and beautiful, and priceless.  And because of that, nine times out of ten I am afraid to even breath on them, much less touch them.  Still, we wandered the aisles, taking in all these old odds and ends that make up our history.

Then, we happened upon the books.  Stacks of books.  Shelves full of books.  Old covers, some barely intact.  Yellow pages, musty with age.  I ran my finger along the spines, carefully reading every title.  I breathed in their musk.  I imagined the author, plucking out each word to create this amazing piece of work that would settle them into the archives of history. 

They are all gone.  The creators of these words don't walk here now, don't sit in that chair now to read.  But their books are still alive and breathing with the worlds that are encased forever inside.

I have said this before. 
We write to live forever.

Its not all about fame and fortune, popularity and best-sellers.  We write to put ourselves in the archives of time.  Someday a finger will trail along the aged spine of the book we wrote.  The eyes will devour these worlds we created, even long after our own eyes are closed.  All of this madness, this sleepless writing and headache inducing editing isn't for nothing.

Its for everything.

My fingers curled around two books.  Neither are genres I usually devour.  One is a small collection of poetry, from 1900-1940.  Inside the front cover, in careful penmanship, is written "To my Beloved wife, Eleanor - Karl 1943"  The poetry is gorgeous, the book given as a gift out of love.  The other is simply titled "John Halifax"  I do not know why I needed this book.  It does not even have a print date.  I read a paragraph somewhere in the middle, about an old actress that no one saw but they all speak about.  No one that is but the main character, who remembers her every word.  It was beautiful.

These books, simple and old, could not be left there unloved on shelves.  They needed homes.  They needed me.  I might sound crazy, but those of you out there who also love our paper-bound friends know what I mean.  You nod along, remembering the feeling as you too bought a random book, just so you could let it sit on your shelf.  It is a love, an obsession, that we are not ashamed about.  I wish I could have rescued all of the others.  But for now, these two are home.

"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die."
Isaac Asimov

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Paper edit, it begins...


Hurray!  Today I reached my goal:  I finished the third round of editing!  This round took longer than I thought it would.  It is most definitely the "I hate you, WIP" round, but this last week I finally got in the groove and busted it out.

This weekend hubby and I are having a much needed just-us weekend, and now I can happily enjoy it knowing PN is one round closer to being done.

I printed it out.  I was going to bring it to Kinkos, or some place like that, but once I finished the final chapter I was just too excited and had to hit print.  We are now out of black ink... oops... But let me tell you, it sure is a beautiful thing seeing your WIP in printed form.  I can't believe I made that.  Its all mine *evil laugh*

Ok ok I have been sitting here too long today, and edited too much.  I feel loopy.  I keep looking PN, all snug in its binder, and feel madly in love.  Is that strange?  Book love.  Oh yes... I think hubby will understand.

Now... to bring it with me this weekend, or let it nap at home.  We shall see...

Quick "Get back to Work" reminder

The other day I opened my fortune cookie, gobbled it down (because we all know that the fortune will not come true if you don't eat the cookie first) then read my fortune.  I think my cookie was trying to tell me something.

I had been working on editing, then slowly found myself scrolling Facebook more.  Clicking StumbleUpon's button.  Zoning out into nothingness.  Oh, shiney things, why do I love you so?

Then here comes my cookie, with its oh-so-wise words.  I instantly dove back in (after shooting a photo of it first, of course!  How could I not?) and as I write this during my mental break, I am only two chapters away from finishing this round of editing!  The paper edit looms in the near future, and I am excited.


What recent "slap on the wrist" reminders to get back to work and WRITE have you had?

Now is a good time to finish up old tasks... with your novel!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Colds, Shiny Objects, and Tough Love

Has it really been over a week since my last post?  Oh man, I will slap my own hand right now. *slap... ow*

It seems that illness just doesn't want to let my home go.  Friday night I managed to edit three more chapters as I joined Keary for a much needed editing night (happy dance) and had totally planned to edit at least six more during the weekend.  Then: (enter suspense music now) I got sick.  Again?  Really?  Wasn't it just over a week ago that I was vomiting and aching and sick sick sick?  Yes well, it seemed that was not the end.  Granted, this was just a nasty head cold, it still pretty much put me out of the running for my weekend goal.

(Though, I must add, before the cold fully struck at its strongest level, I was able to escape with Kimmel to Goodwill and find some awesome pieces of clothing, including a zebra striped jacket and a silk kimono.  Photo shoots with my sis in laws, here we come. Oh, and speaking of photos, I did take a new self photo that I like much better than the one I had before - its on my About Me page.  Along with some fun ones... which I will edit someday and post as well.)

So, sad to say, I spent my weekend in bed, blowing my nose and wishing that all of our meds weren't expired.  Luckily, my husband is amazing and got me new meds last night, along with letting me sleep most of Sunday, so I am starting to feel better.  (Running nose... get back here.)

The life of a stay-at-home mommy writer.

On the writing front:
Its going just fine.  Not horrible, but not amazing either.  Dragging my feet is just too easy to do, and I do it so dang well!  Right now I am halfway done with this editing phase.  Then it is on to the paper edit.  I must say, I am looking forward to that.  It will be awesome to see this MS in some sort of printed form, and even more fun to cover it in red markings.  I am hoping to get to that phase by this weekend, but knowing me, it won't happen until next.  I will willingly admit it: I am a mega-procrastinator.  It doesn't mean that I don't love my work.  I adore it.  It is just that, well... *sees shiny object* ...

Exactly.

As far as my next posting will go.  I am not sure.  I read an interesting post by Nathan Bransford I would love to ramble about.  That or I still have some books to write reviews on.  Matched.  The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  The Dead Tossed Waves.  Do any of those topics interest you?  Is there something you, my awesome readers, would love to hear me ramble about?  Do tell

My goal for today:  I must edit at least once chapter.  Two is better.  But if I do not get at least one done, I cannot watch House.  Ooo now that's tough love.

Happy writing!

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