Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Someday...

The Dancing Writer is a good friend of mine, and I found it extremely coincidental that at the very moment I needed it most, she made a wonderful post on The Madness of Writerly Insecurities. She isn't afraid to bare her soul and show everyone what she's afraid of.

All writers have insecurities, I am no exception. Right now I feel like one gigantic insecurity. I'm afraid of everything. I'm afraid that all my ideas are garbage, I'm afraid that my writing crappy and unreadable, I'm afraid that my characters are all two dimensional chunks of cardboard that won't appeal to anybody. I'm afraid of failing. I'm afraid that I'll NEVER finish Unbroken and get the story the way I want it to be.

I'm afraid of everything. I'm mostly afraid that I'll never achieve my dream.


I really should put that on my wall, on my computer monitor, on the front of every notebook I own. I should put it next to my bed and even tattoo it on my skin so I don't forget. My dream will still be waiting for me when I get there. The one thing I'm not afraid of is hard work. I can do the work, I will do the work and one day, I'll wake up and realize that I need a new dream, for I have achieved the old one, finally.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Rolling With The Punches

If you're going to be a writer, you have to be tough.

My novel is in the trusted hands of a few beta readers right now. Last night I got a preliminary report from one of them and, in the name of honesty, it wasn't entirely positive. While she had some nice things to say, she was also able to pinpoint the exact areas in my story that need work.

There was a lot.

At first it felt like someone reached through the computer screen and punched me in the face. I allowed myself a few minutes to wallow. I knew my novel had problems, but it's different hearing it in someone else's words. I had a brief moment, about a half a minute where I really thought of throwing the entire project in the garbage and forgetting about it. I wanted to burn it and forget I ever wrote it. It has quickly become the thorn in my side. I am starting to think that the book I am working on will be ready for publication far sooner than Unbroken.



My thirty seconds of wallowing are now over. I'm going to pick myself back up, dust myself off and go fix those issues, even if I have to rewrite the entire book. I'm not giving up on it. I still believe in my story, and my characters and I'm not ready to throw them into my literary graveyard just yet.

I've already learned countless lessons from writing that book, and I'm sure I will learn countless more. Writing that book has done nothing but expand my scope of experience as a writer. Yes, it needs work and I'm prepared to rewrite the entire thing if I have to, which is looking more and more like a likely possibility all the time.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

I Will Conquer My Mount Everest

I was elated when I finished writing Unbroken. For a few blissful minutes I basked in the glory of reaching the finish line. I danced, I skipped, I sang, I even clapped my hands. I was over the moon. All I ever really wanted to do was write a book and I had finally done it.

I listened to the age old advice that tells writers to leave their project alone before they start revisions. So I walked away from it for a couple months and what I found when I returned startled me. My book, my precious novel that I spent so many hours writing, wasn't perfect. I knew it wouldn't be perfect, but the level of imperfection shocked me to my core. For the first time I saw my novel for what it really was, a work in progress.

I've revised the entire thing four times. FOUR times. When I wrote Unbroken, it was written from the point of view of four different characters. I've whittled that down to three, losing entire scenes in the process. Other scenes were rewritten from another character's point of view. I've done a lot of work and while I'm delighted with how far it has come, I still have so much more to do. I'm still not finished, but right now I feel lost. I don't know what to do with it. I'm waiting to hear back from a couple different Beta readers before I take the next step.

My dream is to have it published, but right now I feel so very far away from that. It feels like I'm standing at the bottom of Everest staring up at the clouds that keep the top of the mountain shrouded in mystery. It seems so far away, but I'll get there. One step at a time.

It's not just the destination that matters, the journey is important too. So I'm going to try to remember to enjoy every moment, every small success and triumph so when I finally reach the top of the my Mount Everest I will remember how I got there in the first place.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

How I Won and Lost NaNoWriMo

My first novel, Unbroken, was written during the frenzy that is NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. Participants pledge to get their rears in gear and race to write 50 000 words. An easy feat for some, an uphill struggle for others.

During my first NaNo I learned an abundance of things, but I think the most important lesson I took away was that I was capable of accomplishing something as grand as writing a novel. The second most important thing I learned was that the real work comes after the first draft.

To be perfectly honest with you, my first draft of Unbroken is an ungodly mess. While there are no plot holes you can drive a submarine through, there are logic fails, unnecessary scenes, and plain old sub par writing. My current draft is much improved, but it's still not quite there. I was driven by the pressure to get to the finish line and I'm not going to say that my story suffered from it, it might have even benefited from the wild abandon that is NaNo, but most important, I learned from it.

During April, NaNo hosts another event they call Camp NaNoWriMo. During camp you set your own goal, you work on your own project, whether it be novel, screenplay, poetry, the sky is the limit. My project is a work in progress I call 'Ghost' and I vowed to write 30 000 words. I'm not going to make it. I stalled out at approximately 15 000 and then switched gears when my muse hammered me in a different direction. I'm now working on something I'm calling 'Clipped Wings' (it was formerly called Harley after my protagonist)

I took my time, I developed the arc, I have sub story, I have heart and soul. I'm not going to reach my Camp NaNo goal, but I'm okay with that. Even in losing, I feel like I've won simply because I've learned so much about myself as a writer and I've learned so much about my story and characters.

I forget who said it, but it goes something like this,

You never truly fail, until you fail to try.

Take that with you, friends. Remember it when you stumble.

I'd love to hear some of your own NaNo adventures. :)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Writing Outdoors

I love writing outside in the warmth of the sunshine. It's more organic, there's dirt and bugs and trees. The wind bothers me sometimes, but only if it's cold. Plus, I have no laptop so I get to use one of my lovely notebooks.

I don't write any actual scenes outside, I mainly work on brainstorming and developing my plot and characters. I have three little children, and they keep me pretty busy, I do the bulk of my writing when they are in bed.


That is my outdoor writing kit

My floppy sun hat which keeps me from squinting and hopefully will prevent (more) crows feet from creeping up on me.

My phone, so I can answer it without running in the house, and it has a clock so I can keep track of the time.  It only rings when I'm in the middle of a major epiphany.

I always have two colors of pens with me when I'm writing on paper. My mind switches gears and sometimes I need something to stand out so I can find it later.

A notebook, of course. I tried writing on my hand, but I'd forget it was there and wash it away.

Last but not least, my water bottle. Writing is thirsty work.

Where is your favorite writing location?

10 Random Facts

I thought I would share a bit more about myself, and what a better way to do so than to share with you, my wonderful readers, ten random facts about me.

1) Ever since I was a kid, I hated HATED fried eggs. They were disgusting. Eggs should not be cooked in "two pieces" ever. They should be scrambled and covered in ketchup. However, in the past six months I have discovered that they are not so bad after all. Especially when you leave the yolk runny and dip your broccoli in it.

2) I have three children, my oldest boy is 5 next month and my boy/girl twins will be 4 in October. My daughter is the only one in our family that is affected by PKU.

3) I have a small tattoo and if you ask me really nicely I just might show you one day.

4) My parents are two of the best people ever. EVER.

5) I always wanted a sister, until I got to know people who have sisters. Now I'm glad I have a Janine, a Jodie and an Amber. Though they are not my blood, some days they feel pretty close.

6) I still watch The Care Bears

7) I have over 50 stuffed animals, including Alf, The Cheerios Honey Bee, two Care Bears (Lucky and Sunshine) Garfield, and a Popple.

8) I'm afraid of heights and spiders. I even left a note once for my husband detailing the exact location of a big, ugly, nasty, freaky spider and begged him to kill it for me.

9) My favorite movies are Braveheart, Gladiator, Dirty Dancing, Ever After, Mrs Winterbourne and Tangled.

10) I don't think I really have it together, most days I'm just really good at pretending.

So there they are, ten random facts about me. I'd love to hear from you.

What are ten random facts about you?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Addicted to Stationery

Yes, I admit, I have a problem.

I love notebooks. It's the cover art that usually gets me, although sometimes I buy them specifically because of the size, or the amount of pages. I'm not particular. Any kind of notebook makes me happy. Send me to the stationery store and I'm like a little kid in a candy shop, I must have it all.

If you don't count my pocket sized notebooks, or the tiny one I have in my purse, I have eighteen.

Eighteen!

I wasn't even aware that I had that many notebooks until I gathered up most of them and snapped a picture.


There is sixteen in that picture, but I do have a couple more that I didn't feel like getting.

The count does not include my binders. I have four binders of various purposes and sizes. I also have a couple folders in my filing cabinet dedicated to various writing projects.

I purchased three more notebooks just the other day, and the next time I go to a store with a stationery section I will most likely browse through and see if they have any notebooks that interest me.

Do you an item that you can never have enough of?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Why Writing is Like Parenting

Ok, so maybe I'm going out on a limb, but I really think that sometimes, writing is like parenting. Allow me a few moments to elaborate.

When you have kids, everyone will tell you how to raise them. How to discipline, how not to discipline, how to get them to sleep, how to get them to do their homework, eat their dinner etc etc etc. Everyone is so filled with advice, but it is the job of the parent to know their child and to determine which course of action is the best one.

When you are writing a book everyone will tell you how to write it. How to outline, how to revise, how to fix your logic fails and your plot holes. They'll have insight on how you should develop your characters and whether or not you should write a sequel. It is the job of the writer to know their project and to determine which course of action is the best one, what will get edited out and what will make the cut.

As a parent one should be careful of falling into the trap of peer pressure and pigeon holing. What works for one child will not work for another. What one parent can do easily, another might struggle with. It's the same with writing. You can't write someone else's vision of your book, you have to write your vision. Methods that work for Stephen King may not work for you, and that's okay.

Nurture your talent as you would nurture your child. Take the good advice with the bad, and only use what you think will work for you.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I am a Writer

I knew I wanted to be an author since the fourth grade. It's the only career that has ever captured my interest. I had fleeting thoughts of doing other things with my life, but writing was the only thing I ever saw myself doing forever.

I remember the first line of the first poem that I ever wrote.

"Sister Mary was not a nun by far, so she took her sorrows to the bar."

I'm deeply saddened that I no longer have this poem, but I remember the general story in it and I am thinking of turning it into a book. When I have more details on that, I'll be sure to share.

I still have the anthology of really bad poetry that I put together for an assignment in English when I was in the eighth grade.

I have files and folders full of ideas for novels, short stories, poetry. I even have a novel that is about 75 000 words written out on loose leaf paper. It's pure drivel, but I still have it. I couldn't stand to ever part with it. Why? Sometimes I think it's because I am a pack rat. I really keep it all because I am a writer and my ideas are among my most precious possessions. Throwing them away would feel like throwing away part of my soul.

My point, whether I succeed (which I really really want to) or whether I fail (not really an option) I am, and will always be, a writer.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sample Sunday!

I was online this morning, perusing a writers group that I belong to on Facebook when I saw someone mention Sample Sunday. I thought it was pretty genius, and since I am a sucker for alliteration, here I am, partaking in my very first Sample Sunday.

I am going to post a short excerpt from Unbroken. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to post. I wanted to post something that I hope would intrigue people, but not give too much of the story away.

After much consideration, and after changing my mind many times, here is a short excerpt from Chapter Thirty Nine


Paul stood in his black and white striped boxer shorts and stared anxiously at the dryer as he waited for the out of date energy eating machine to finish drying his jeans. He needed to leave  to pick up Annette to go to the party soon and they were his favorite pair. They were perfectly worn in and they were comfortable, at least something about this night would be comfortable. Things had gone too far already, but he couldn't turn back now, too much damage had been done. Now he was guilty of so many things, he’d likely never get out of jail. Eventually he might even share the same fate as his father. He died savagely, beaten to death, his brains splattered so hard into the concrete walls he was told they would never scrub clean.

The idea of a normal family was an impossible concept to grasp. He’d was brought into the world by an abusive, alcoholic who preyed on everyone. Paul knew first hand that children were his favorite.  Charity was cut from the same cloth as their old man. She was hateful and deranged, just as the old man had been, and just like him, she was dangerously charming. Always on the ball, she had exactly the right thing to say in any situation. He was the opposite, unfocused and clumsy, he never knew what to say. He was as socially awkward as it was possible to be. He didn’t know how he could be related to people that disgusted him to the depth of his soul. His inability to break free of her was what revolted him the most about himself.

It was hard to choose just a few words out of the whole story to showcase here, but I hope I chose wisely. If you'd like to leave a comment, please, do so. Who knows, maybe I might participate in Sample Sunday again.

Friday, 5 April 2013

My Editorial Debut!

So here it is folks, Issue 8 of The Corner Club Press.

My hat goes off to Amber Skye Forbes. She worked really hard to make this issue happen.

If you want to be in Issue 9, you can read the submission guidelines here.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Executive Editor, me?

It is official. I am the newest member of The Corner Club Press.  The Managing Editor, Amber Skye Forbes, has seen fit to make me the newest Executive Editor, and honestly, I couldn't be prouder. I am thrilled to take on this role and I see good things happening with this new endeavor.

We are currently putting together issue eight, but if you would like to submit something for issue nine, please check the submission guidelines

I really can't believe that I get to have such a swanky title. Haven't you always wanted one of those?

Did I mention that I am super, duper, excited? Well, I am. 


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Camp Nano!

This past November I started and completed my very first Nano event. It was a thrilling experience and when I learned about Camp Nano I was thrilled. I was also happy to be able to set my own goal. My goal this year is to get at least 30k into my new novel, which I will refer to as Ghost for the time being. I also want to dive into another round of revisions on Unbroken, but I'm still waiting to hear back from two beta readers.  Patience is not my strong suit, so to avoid emailing these kind people who have volunteered their time for me, I will engross myself in writing Ghost. I will try to get a synopsis up for all of you.

What do I hope to get out of Camp Nano? Maybe I'll learn a few new things. I feel like I'm always learning when I write, and I won't lie, I like that feeling. I never want to feel like I know it all. I love that feeling you get when the light bulb goes on and suddenly you know something you didn't know the day before. It's exhilarating.

I also hope to get 30k of a new novel under my belt.

I better go get busy on that.

Monday, 1 April 2013

My First Confession

Perhaps it's very amateurish of me to admit this, but I really do feel like an amateur. I look at other writers blogs and they all seem so poignant. They all have a certain element in their blog, a central theme to keep everything tied together in a neat little package. Their blogs have purpose, style and flair.

Then, there is me. I feel like a complete amateur. Which, I guess is okay, considering that I am an amateur. I can't promise you the seasoned posts of the master writer and blogger. I'm not either of those things. If I tried to be, I'd be a gigantic liar. What I lack in poignancy, I completely make up for in honesty and enthusiasm. I can promise you equal parts of both of those attributes.

I'm just here because I love to write. I love creating these wild stories. I love watching them come to life on the page. When I get to do something new, it excites me. I even clap sometimes when I get excited. (See, honesty.)  Hey, I got to crash a Cessna today. How many people get to say that, huh?

I'll get the hang of this blogging thing yet, and if I don't ever reach the point where I suddenly become poignant and enthralling, hey, at least I'm honest and enthusiastic. ;)