Saturday, August 30, 2008

Which Character Are You?

Status of my Life: Trying to even out my real life with my virtual life. It's a challenge. Busy working on my novel, Placeholders. Still waiting on submissions and queries. Life is fun when it's busy!

One of my friends, Kristal Shaff, had this quiz on her blog about which Austen heroine I might be. So I took it. And I'm:

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Like I know what that means. But it was kind of fun! This is what the results said: "You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see."

I guess. All right, it's totally dead on. Gosh! (Imagine the Napoleon Dynamite version of that word. :))

Reading: TREASURED LIES by Michelle McLean

Monday, August 25, 2008

Excited about ELITE

Status of my Life: I love my day off. After the house is cleaned, and my daughter is in bed, I get to write! It's a beautiful thing.

I've been getting a lot of feedback on my novel, ELITE. I must admit that I haven't changed a single thing--yet. I've been so busy editing and querying on SHADOWS that I haven't had time. But today, I'm going to devote a couple of hours to combing through the critiques and editing ELITE. Then I'm going to read a dear friend's manuscript and then I'm going to write some more of PLACEHOLDERS. I think I can do all that and still get dinner on the table.

What time is it? Only noon. No problem! Did I mention I loved my day off? Yes? Well, okay. Oh, and I'm getting my muse on by listening to David Archuleta's new song "Crush." Total YA romance song...thanks DA!

Reading: Just went to the library and got STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher, so I'm going to start that today or tomorrow.


27996 / 60000 words. 41% done!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Word Count Widget

Okay, so I'm going to try to post a cool word count cartoon. You can get one here.

I started a new project, well, okay, I molded it from a story I started a couple of months ago. But that story sputtered to an end, and I introduced a new character into it and now it's really taken off. It's called Placeholders, and I've been writing like crazy this week as the story is really speaking to me. Like really, really.

I can't believe I did it! And it only took me 30 minutes of searching on the Internet to find a word count widget that wasn't related to NaNo. Hallelujah! And you can change the little potato-guy to do different things. It's pretty funny. I'll post every once in a while and have him do different things. I'm sure you'll all be riveted to your seats...haha!

Here's another one:

24669 / 60000 words. 41% done!

But I like the cartoon better. You can get the NaNo one here. I like pink, and you can make it any color you want. That's cool.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Sick and Tired

Status of my Life: I made it through the first week of school. And my voices are back, so I've been writing like crazy when I get home from teaching. I've done between 2 and 3 thousand words every afternoon this week. I love hearing voices!

I've had a great week, but I'm so sick. And tired. It's hard getting up to an alarm, getting everyone ready and out of the house by 8, and then working--all when you're not used to doing it. Once I get back into the groove, everything will be like buttah.

I've loved reading the blog chain as it's progressed, so if you haven't been following along on how all my writerly buddies get their mojo on, you should.

I'm glad to say that I found another character to badger. I've been so focused on Jon for so long (and then the voices stopped) that I was worried he was the only one worth writing about. I've had little snippets of a character come to me, and I've written those down in a notebook. But now I've really got someone talking and boy, once he started, he won't shut up! I just wish I could sit down and write the whole thing out uber-fast. I have a general idea of what's going to happen, but it's all coming together too easily, so I'm trying to find something to torture my "voice" with.

And I think I found it yesterday. It's actually another person. Inside another person. Yup, it's a possession story, not really ghosts, but more like spirits and reincarnation. I love stuff like that. Creepy, but not too creepy. Possible, but really not. A little romance, a little ghostly twist, a nasty Re-Entry examiner, what could be better?

Maybe landing an agent and getting published. Yeah, that would definitely be better!

Reading: THE DOOR TO TIME (ULYSSES MOORE) by Pierdomenico Baccalario

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to Real Life

Status of my Life: I finished another edit of SHADOWS. And I finally wrote something new yesterday. Going back to work threw me all out of wack, and I didn't have anyone talking because I had so many other things clouding my mind. But yesterday (my day off) I finally heard them again and I was able to write 1800 words in a new novel I started a while ago and am now changing up a little bit. After about a week, that's relief.

So yeah. School's starting again. It's usually only bad until October. By then I have the little darlings all trained up and things run smoothly. But the next six weeks...yikes.

And that means that I'm going to have to be more scheduled with my time. I've set a bedtime of 11 PM and I'm going to try to focus on writing from 9-11 every night. I'm sure I'll get sucked into the black abyss of my writing forums, but I'm really going to try not to get too...sucky. We'll see how that goes.

My son is back in school, and scouts, and piano and that means time running him around to his thousands of activities. Time to get the notebook back in the purse so while I'm waiting for him, I can write.

Real life isn't sooo bad, it's just getting back into it.

Reading: THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Okay, so it's my turn to start in the blog chain. Archetype on QT had a good idea about blog topics: questions we want to ask other authors. Since I'm always interested in finding out how people come up with their ideas, I thought I'd start with that question.

You can find the other posts in this chain at Trying to Do the Write Thing. And we have some new bloggers in the chain, so check out the sidebar and follow the links!

Question: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

My Answer (Warning - I tend to ramble and be long-winded. Maybe that's why all my "short" stories turn into novels. Or why my word count balloons out of control...You've been warned.): I don't have dreams like some people. I wish I did. No, I stay up too late and get up too early. By the time my head hits the pillow, I'm out. Like, really out. I'm sure I dream (at least my husband says everyone does - Heather?), but I don't remember any of them. And the ones I used to remember, weren't interesting.

For me, the real place I get my ideas is from the characters in my weird and warped mind. My book, SHADOWS, came about because I wanted to write something urban fantasy, and I thought it would be cool to have a realm that existed alongside "the living." So Jon was "born" as a Shadow, existing between life and death, seeing and hearing the living, but unable to touch them. From there, it was a lot of work. I wrote what's now chapter 29 first. Yeah, starting at the beginning just doesn't work for me. Then I had to think and think and think of how to get him to chapter 29.

There was no dream. I needed more characters, more voices urging me in my head to tell their story alongside Jon's.

So I started paying attention to names I'd hear on TV, the radio, or in conversation. If there was one that struck a chord with me, I'd jot it down. I have pages of names, most of them illegible, but there you go. Sometimes that was enough to spark an idea for a character that could help me get to chapter 29. My favorite show for weird names is American Gladiators--and I have a book that uses odd, somewhat futuristic names, so I sat glued to the TV with pen in hand.

I teach school, so I took the physical characteristics of students and used them in my characters in my books. I asked boys what they like to do when they're not at school. I paid attention to what games they liked to play in the computer lab. (Cars, dinosaurs, and shooting, in case you care.)

For me, once a character was born, they wouldn't shut up in my head. Even though I tried to torture them into silence, they still shouted for their story to be written. It gives whole new meaning to "I hear voices."

Because I really do.

So for me, my ideas are born along with the characters that "live" in that book. Without them, I wouldn't be a writer.

Where do you get your ideas? Let me know! And check out the other posts in the blog chain!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Querying is Hard

Status of my Life: I started querying agents on July 15. So almost a month in, and I'm on edge every time I check the email or mailbox. So not good for the heart. But I've finished something I was working hard on and started on a new project. Brainstorming is usually fun, and this time is no different.

Querying agents is hard work--almost a full-time job. Since my "real job" is starting again soon (I teach elementary school), I decided to move up my estimated query date of September 15. I started a couple of months early.

I use an excellent tracking system at to find agents, see their stats for requests, other's experiences, and add them to my list. It keeps track of when I sent the query, by what method, notes I have on the agent, when they responded, when I submitted requested material, everything! If you haven't signed up, you so should--it's free! I started with five agents. Researched. Carefully crafted my emails and letters. Affixed postage or hit send. All the while I needed a popscicle I was sweating so bad. Then I got a little braver and sent out some more. Over the past month or so, I've sent 30. And my heart flutters a little more every time. I might need a defibrilator soon.

I've received several rejections, a couple of exciting requests, and even bought a new printer. It's a long road, filled with palpitations, but I'm going to persevere.

I can haz agent? Maybe someday. Maybe someday.

Reading: THE EMISSARY by Kristal Shaff

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blog Chain - Genres

To genre or not to genre. That is the question for this week. The first post in this chain can be found here. And I believe the next one will be here soon. Maybe. Looks like Leah's moving, so we might have to switch up the order a bit. Check this one too.

Anyway, on to genres. I'm not really sure what to say. I read--and therefore write--to escape my real life. Thus, I don't want to read--or write--anything that could actually happen in real life. To me, that's boring. That's what I do everyday, what I see on the news, what has happened to people I know or someone I see on Oprah.

So my genres of choice are speculative fiction in almost any capacity. Urban fantasy is my absolute favorite. It's not real, but really close. It COULD happen (I swear I've seen a golden snitch around my place...), but it really couldn't. I love that. It provides an escape from my life that doesn't take me too far.

I also adore science fiction. I think the first novel I read in this genre was Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. I loved that novel and the whole series. It also helps that I've met the man, and he's a genius. Even if he does wear socks with sandals. hehe. I'm not a huge fan of "hard" sci fi, although that's what EG is. I'm not into going too far away, and outer space seems pretty far to me. I'm a lover of dystopian SF like Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. In the future, but not too far. Sort of like our society, but not quite. It could happen, but really couldn't. Yes, that's what I like.

I recently found the subgenres of steampunk and cyberpunk. I just like typing and saying those words. Anything with "punk" really. I wrote a short story for a contest that was cyberpunk. You should check them out if you like speculative fiction. I can't think of any titles right now in these genres.

One last word. Those of you who know me at all, know I only read for pleasure (if that wasn't obvious already from this post, well then...). I'm a completely shallow person. I don't like non-fiction (sorry Archetype!) of any kind and only read it if forced. I don't read adult novels. Too serious. I stick to middle grade and young adult speculative fiction. Love it. Need it. Read it. Write it.

Reading: EIGHTH GRADE SUCKS by Heather Brewer

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