Friday, November 27, 2009

I Am A Winner! NaNoWriMo style








List of NaNoWriMo pros and cons:

Pros:
Finished @ 50363!
Finished before Thanksgiving dinner.
Typed a totally different genre than I have before.
Have another interesting story to work on.
Didn't edit.
Didn't care.

Cons:
Apparently, the NaNo muse deemed this only Book One.
Have another interesting story to work on.
Didn't edit.

More pros than cons is good!
Have a great week!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Contest time! Books, Music and Food!


Want to win a book from Heather Moore? How about Land of Inheritance from her Out of Jerusalem series? Wander on over to My Writing Lair. Her newest book, Alma, would make a GREAT gift.








Yogurt! That's what you win over on Cindy Beck's blog. Not only yogurt, but a kids insulated lunch bag, place mat and spoon. Need a stocking stuffer? Cindy coauthored a funny book called Mormon Mishaps and Mischief.









I must confess-I've been playing Christmas music. I know. It's not even Thanksgiving yet but I Love Christmas music! Not Entirely British is giving away a Christmas CD: His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful by James Loynes.









And not to be left behind, post your favoritest book ever on my blog and win Stephanie Black's Method of Madness book. I should have given this book away at Halloween! It's scary!!





Queen of the Clan is also running a contest through December called An Angel in Your Life. Write about an angel in your life and win a gift certificate to Seagull Book Or Deseret Book.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Foto Friday


#11 file #20 picture:
Santorini, Greece, perched on top of a volcanic mountain.


Can get there by one of three ways: ride a donkey (better to ride one going UP not DOWN), walk up amongst the donkeys and their droppings or ride a cable car.


Beautiful white and blue buildings and delicious baklava!

(Click on the picture. Hopefully it will open to another window and give you a better view of Santorini)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Hi novelist!

Lindsey here, Community Liaison for NaNoWriMo.

Last week the love interest in my novel did something kind of abhorrent. He drugged the neighbor's dog and blamed it on his girlfriend. I couldn't believe he did that! It was a completely unauthorized move. But once it was done, there was no undoing it. All the things I had planned for him to do and say in upcoming scenes were all wrong—suddenly my knight was a first-class jerk. Even if I went back and deleted the scene, I'd still know what he was capable of. (It seems I have a "no take backs" approach to my characters.)

So I did what any overly emotional, sleep-deprived writer would do: I broke up with him. And in doing so, I kind of broke up with my novel, too. This started having all kinds of adverse affects on my life. I lay awake at night, puzzling over how my good guy went so bad. I couldn't get to work in the morning for all my distracted agonizing over what to do. I was getting out of the shower with shampoo in my hair, leaving the house in my slippers, and dazedly driving to the grocery store instead of to the office. My character was everywhere, begging to be heard, asking to be redeemed. My word count was getting further behind with each passing day, and I was well on my way to being haunted by an imaginary being. But he didn't feel so imaginary; I'd brought the story to life, and those characters, and that world. It was just dangling there in limbo, derailing my focus and turning me into a bit of a loony.

Though I still had no fix in mind and was far from forgiving his behavior, I returned to the scene of my character's crime and gave him a second chance. And you know, the apology that poured forth was fairly epic. His girlfriend forgave him. It was so good that even I forgave him. In fact, this foray into his dark side has done some really great things for the depth of his character. He is less jerk and more bada##. (I added number signs) The novel has righted itself and everyone seems back on track for the rest of the story to unfold.

In this coming week, if you find yourself mired in a dead end, bored stiff by your protagonist's lackluster performance, or generally feeling that your plot is tripe, don't despair; you actually have the answer. Don't do what I did and shelve your novel. You'll probably go nuts. And you'll have to live with the knowledge that there is a half-dead story out there, haunting you with its zombie characters and shadowy half-world, just waiting for your pen stroke to set it straight. Because that's all it takes: returning to the wreckage and committing yourself anew to the phoenix-like resilience of this world you're writing.

I'll see you at 50K!

Lindsey

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pep Talk by Jeff Savage

This was an email I received recently. I totally respect Jeff (Scott) Savage and his opinions. He takes his time to talk to newbie writers and give them ideas and help. (I added a link to Jeff's recent post at the end of this post).
I thought I would pass along what this emailer (Tobyn) wrote:

Hey Nano team,

I went to Dragon's keep tonight and Scott Savage was there. What a cool guy. He was very personable and has a great attitude about the art of writing. He talked about where he came from and how he got rejected, and how he got his first contract, how he got rejected again even with an agent.

Hearing his story was inspirational. I asked him how to make nanowrimo work in a good way so that we are not churning out just mediocre gunk. His answer was excellent but very long, so I have shortened it for you. He said he doesn't like to outline each chapter. He likes to know where he begins and where he ends. He likes to have a good protagonist who is a hero with flaws or an underdog working his way up. And he likes to know the obstacles that have to be overcome. Now I'm not quoting him, I'm just telling you what I took away from it.
I'm glad I made it down there. It was well worth it.

Now back to work. I'm only just over 10,000 but don't count me out. I'm still working on it.
Tobyn

"...it's easy after all not to be a writer. Most people aren't writers and very little harm comes to them."
Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Hi novelist!

Lindsey here, Community Liaison for NaNoWriMo.

Last week the love interest in my novel did something kind of abhorrent. He drugged the neighbor's dog and blamed it on his girlfriend. I couldn't believe he did that! It was a completely unauthorized move. But once it was done, there was no undoing it. All the things I had planned for him to do and say in upcoming scenes were all wrong—suddenly my knight was a first-class jerk. Even if I went back and deleted the scene, I'd still know what he was capable of. (It seems I have a "no take backs" approach to my characters.)

So I did what any overly emotional, sleep-deprived writer would do: I broke up with him. And in doing so, I kind of broke up with my novel, too. This started having all kinds of adverse affects on my life. I lay awake at night, puzzling over how my good guy went so bad. I couldn't get to work in the morning for all my distracted agonizing over what to do. I was getting out of the shower with shampoo in my hair, leaving the house in my slippers, and dazedly driving to the grocery store instead of to the office. My character was everywhere, begging to be heard, asking to be redeemed. My word count was getting further behind with each passing day, and I was well on my way to being haunted by an imaginary being. But he didn't feel so imaginary; I'd brought the story to life, and those characters, and that world. It was just dangling there in limbo, derailing my focus and turning me into a bit of a loony.

Though I still had no fix in mind and was far from forgiving his behavior, I returned to the scene of my character's crime and gave him a second chance. And you know, the apology that poured forth was fairly epic. His girlfriend forgave him. It was so good that even I forgave him. In fact, this foray into his dark side has done some really great things for the depth of his character. He is less jerk and more bada##. (I added number signs) The novel has righted itself and everyone seems back on track for the rest of the story to unfold.

In this coming week, if you find yourself mired in a dead end, bored stiff by your protagonist's lackluster performance, or generally feeling that your plot is tripe, don't despair; you actually have the answer. Don't do what I did and shelve your novel. You'll probably go nuts. And you'll have to live with the knowledge that there is a half-dead story out there, haunting you with its zombie characters and shadowy half-world, just waiting for your pen stroke to set it straight. Because that's all it takes: returning to the wreckage and committing yourself anew to the phoenix-like resilience of this world you're writing.

I'll see you at 50K!

Lindsey

Contest Time! Twilight Perfume

Want to win a Christmas book? Ho-ho-ho on over to Joyce DiPastena's blog for a festive quiz.

How Can I Keep From Singing? That is a question my daughter asks. But over on Anne Bradshaw's blog it's a music CD contest!

Over on Write Up My Alley is a contest for Twilight inspired perfume.

Good luck!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Winners! Becky & Heidi

Becky Irvine, Come on down! You're on the next winner of a free book! Pick a book! Send me an email with you snail mail address and book you would like and I will send it out as soon as I can pull myself away from the computer. :)
Here is the list of books I am passing on; some are freebies I won, some are books I have doubles of:

Women of Virtue by Jodi Marie Robinson










Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena











The Craft of Revision by Donald Murray










Pick Up Games by Marcia Mickelson











Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg











Heidi Ashworth! You are the second winner! Choose a first and second favorite from the above list, give me your address and I will send one of them to you!

Also, I would love to link from here to your blogs. Leave the link you would like me to use.

Thanks ladies for your support and comments. You are amazing!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pep Talk From Lynda Barry

(Lynda wrote her pep talk with a pen.)

Dear Writer,

Reconsider your hand. Reconsider writing by hand. There is a kind of story that comes from hand. Writing which is different from a tapping-on-a-keyboard-kind-of-story. For one thing, there is no delete button, making the experience more life like right away. You can't delete the things you feel unsure about and because of this, the things you feel unsure about have a much better chance of being able to exist long enough to reveal themselves. And the physical activity of writing by hand involves many parts of the brain which are used in story making such as time, place, action, characters, relationships, and moving forward across an entire connected gesture. And that's just what goes on when we write a single letter by hand.

Although word count goals may be harder to reach, your body will not feel as tired as it does after a day spent tapping buttons and staring at a lit screen, especially if you write a bit longer than you usually do.

Another thing to reconsider is reading over what you have written. If you can stand to wait 24 hours before you decide the fate of what you have written either good or badyou're more likely to see that invisible thing that is invisible for the first few days in any new writing. We just can't know what all is in a sentence until there are several sentences to follow it. Pages of writing need more pages in order to be known, chapters need more chapters. The 24 hour period will give you time to create more of the things the writing needs. 48 hours is even better, and a week is ideal.

Can you keep your story going for a week without reading anything over? You'll find you can. You'll find that being able to rely on this ability will help you let one word follow the next without fussing as much as you do when you believe it's the thinking and planning part of your mind that is writing the story. There is another part of the mind which has an ability for stories, for holding all the parts and presenting them bit by bit, but it's not the same as the planning part of the mind. Nor is it the thing called 'unconscious '—it is without a doubt quite conscious when we are engaged in the physical activity which allows it to be active. This something is what deep playing contains when we are children and fully engaged by rolling a toy car and all who are inside of it toward the table edge. The word imagination isn't quite right for it either because it also leaves out the need for moving an objecta toy, a pen or pencil tipacross an area in the physical world. It's a very old, human thing, using physical activity along with thing 'thing' that is neither all the way inside of us nor all the way outside of us. Stories happen in that place between the two. The Image world isn't anywhere else. A computer can give you a neat looking page, higher word count and delete and copy and past abilities, but they are poor producers of the thing the hand brings about much more easily: Right here, right now, the pane of paper that the paper windows and walls require to give is the inside view, the vista.

You can't know what a book is about until the very end. This is true of a book we're reading or writing.

Writing by hand is like walking instead of riding in a car. It's slower, to be sure, but you'll smell the smoke if you're near a house that is about to burst into flame. You'll hear the shouting from a fight about to break out in a back yard. You'll be able to help the dog who comes running by with his leash attached and dragging behind him, and be able to help the person who has lost him calling his name. This will make writing more like living and less like watching television.

When writing by hand, when the story dries up temporarilyas it always does, try keeping your pen in motion anyway by writing the alphabet a b c d e f g in the middle of the sentence a b c d e f g h i j k until the sentence rolls forward again on its own. Just keep your pen steadily rolling along through time, for a good time.

Best! Love!

Lynda Barry

To learn more about Lynda Barry's work, visit her website

!


AuthorsIncognito Award

Thank you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pep Talk From Gail Cason Levine


Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor book. You can learn more about her writing at http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com/


This is an email I got this week:

Dear NaNoWriMo-ers,

I'm not even the tortoise of writing. I'm the slug. And you are more than hares, you're cheetahs — writing at seventy miles an hour. I have to fictionalize even to talk to you.

So it's October 31st. I’m back from trick or treating in a robot costume, worn to honor Isaac Asimov, who wrote or edited more than 500 books in his lifetime. After removing my tin head mask and my metallic gloves, I pig out on candy corn and think about today's accomplishments.

I dug a shallow grave in the backyard and buried my print thesaurus (starting tomorrow, the first word I think of is good enough, even if I use it seven times on every page), dictionary (who cares how ophthalmologist is spelled anyway?), usage books (I can figure out the difference between lie and lay later), encyclopedia, atlas, and my beloved books about writing. I taped blackout curtains over my windows.

My techy friend spent hours tinkering with my computer. She's assured me that it will combust if I try to reestablish connections to the internet and email. The single thing I'm keeping is my cell phone in case I start to go into cardiac arrest, but the keys are smeared with battery acid, except the 9, the 1, and send. My family and friends and Meals-on-Wheels have sworn to deliver food to my door, which will be kept closed to protect the world from my intensifying body odor.

Now I tape my list of rules and advice (culled from friends, my mom, the buried writing books, and, mostly, my own hyped-up imagination) to the wall next to my desk.

-Sleep at least once a week.

-Eat at least once a day, but not constantly. Don't forget the essential fatty acids (Mom).

-If my fingers freeze from carpal tunnel syndrome, I have ten perfectly good toes, a nose, and quite a few teeth.

-When I'm not happy with how things are going, turn off the screen and keep typing. Don't turn it back on until the crisis is over.

-Don't check my word count more often than every fifteen minutes.

-Dream sequences can eat up a lot of pages, and they shouldn't be logical.

-Short words count just as much as long ones.

-The perfect is the enemy of the fast. The good is the enemy of the fast. The halfway decent is the enemy of the fast.

-When I run out of plot ideas, write about setting and what each character is wearing, in exquisite wordy detail. When I run out of setting and apparel, write about the voice quality of each speaker, speech mannerisms, facial ticks, body language.

-Keep my music loud enough to drown out my thoughts. Thinking is the enemy of speed.

-Remember the infinite-monkey theory: Endless keystrokes will eventually produce Shakespeare or at least words and maybe a story.

-Never edit.

-Never ever go back.

It's time for bed. I must get a good night's sleep, my last for a month. So of course I toss and turn until 3:00 am, when I realize the month has begun. I get up, stagger to the computer, and type, "It was a dark and stormy night." I’m on my way!

Now, seriously, not fictionalized, with all the earnestness I can command, here is the only important piece of advice, which is crucial for any speed of writing, any kind of writing: Do not beat up on yourself. Do not criticize your writing as lousy, inadequate, stupid, or any of the evil epithets that you are used to heaping on yourself. Such self-bashing is never useful. If you indulge in it, your writing doesn’t stand a chance. So when your mind turns on you, turn it back, stamp it down, shut it up, and keep writing.

Good luck!

Gail Carson Levine


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Interview w/ 6 yr old



Mom, I know where God lives.
You do?
Yea. In space.
Are you sure about that?
Yes. Then he can get close to the sun and make it brighter if he needs to.
Oh.
And he lives on a star with the others and if the star goes out, they can move to the next star.
Really.
Yes. Like this star (pointing to a dot he made on paper) and this star (making more dots) and all these stars. But it's gotta be a star that is close so they can jump.
Where did you learn all this?
First grade.

Writing prompt via Sunday Scribblings

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rewrite, Restart, Redo



I was reminded today that NaNo rules are that the participants start from scratch. I did last year and was amazed what came out of my brain with no thought given to the writing. I put on loud music and just let my fingers type. Usually, I write out my thoughts and story but for NaNo I just type. It was a very interesting process.

This year I had an idea and a few pages hand written so that is what I used for NaNo. I don't feel the freedom to just go without thinking because I already have a preconceived notion where the story and the characters are headed.

But today, today, I let guilt get me. I sat down and just let my fingers go. The first page was utter nonsense. Kinda like my brain was spring cleaning. Then the story started to flow. I have no idea where it came from, but now I have over 5000 words in two hours! WOWSERS!

So I am starting my word count over. The story is strange; not one I would have thought up by myself! The creativity is just flowing and I take absolutely no credit for it.

I feel like I am on a high or like I am free from any constraints. It's fun! It's invigorating! And exciting.
Here is a shout out to my NaNo buddies! The word count for my NaNo 'buddies' is AMAZING! Keep up the good work!
And for those who are working on other writing goals, You Rock!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pep Talk from Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde is the best-selling author of the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime books. He has been writing for twenty years, but only published for ten. His training took a while. His eighth book, Shades of Grey, will be published in January 2010. He lives and writes in Wales, has a large family and likes to fly aeroplanes.

Dear Writer,


I once wrote a novel in 22 days. 31 chapters, 62,000 words. I didn’t do much else—bit of sleeping, eating, bath or two—I just had three weeks to myself and a lot of ideas, an urge to write, a 486 DOS laptop and a quiet room. The book was terrible. 62,000 words and only twenty-seven in the right order. It was ultimately junked but here’s the important thing: It was one of the best 22 days I ever spent. A colossal waste of ink it was, a waste of time it was not.


Because here’s the thing: Writing is not something you can do or you can’t. It’s not something that ‘other people do’ or ‘for smart people only’ or even ‘for people who finished school and went to University’. Nonsense. Anyone can do it. But no-one can do it straight off the bat. Like plastering, brain surgery or assembling truck engines, you have to do a bit of training—get your hands dirty—and make some mistakes. Those 22 days of mine were the start, and only the start, of my training. The next four weeks and 50,000 words will be the start of your training, too.


There’s a lot to learn, and you won’t have figured it all in 50,000 words, but it’ll be enough for you to know that you don’t know it all, and that it will come, given time. You’ll have written enough to see an improvement, and to start to have an idea over what works and what doesn’t. Writing is a subtle art that is reached mostly by self-discovery and experimentation. A manual on knitting can tell you what to do, but you won’t be able to make anything until you get your hands on some wool and some needles and put in some finger time. Writing needs to be practiced; there is a limit to how much can be gleaned from a teacher or a manual. The true essence of writing is out there, in the world, and inside, within yourself. To write, you have to give.


What do you give? Everything. Your reader is human, like you, and human experience in all its richness is something that we all share. Readers are interested in the way a writer sees things; the unique world-view that makes you the person you are, and makes your novel interesting. Ever met an odd person? Sure. Ever had a weird job? Of course. Ever been to a strange place? Definitely. Ever been frightened, sad, happy, or frustrated? You betcha. These are your nuts and bolts, the constructor set of your novel. All you need to learn is how to put it all together. How to wield the spanners.


And this is why 30 days and 50,000 words is so important. Don’t look at this early stage for every sentence to be perfect—that will come. Don’t expect every description to be spot-on. That will come too. This is an opportunity to experiment. It’s your giant blotter. An empty slate, ready to be filled. It’s an opportunity to try out dialogue, to create situations, to describe a summer’s evening. You’ll read it back to yourself and you’ll see what works, you’ll see what doesn’t. But this is a building site, and it’s not meant to be pretty, tidy, or even safe. Building sites rarely are. But every great building began as one.


So where do you start? Again, it doesn’t matter. You might like to sketch a few ideas down on the back of an envelope, spend a week organizing a master-plan or even dive in head first and see where it takes you. All can work, and none is better than any other. The trick about writing is that you do it the way that’s best for you. And during the next 50,000 words, you may start to discover that, too.


But the overriding importance is that the 50,000 words don’t have to be good. They don’t even have to be spelled properly, punctuated or even tabulated neatly on the page. It’s not important. Practice is what’s important here, because, like your granny once told you, practice does indeed make perfect. Concert violinists aren’t born that way, and the Beatles didn’t get to be good by a quirk of fate. They all put in their time. And so will you. And a concerted effort to get words on paper is one of the best ways to do it. The lessons learned over the next thirty days will be lessons that you can’t get from a teacher, or a manual, or attending lectures. The only way to write is to write. Writers write. And when they’ve written, they write some more. And the words get better, and sentences form easier, and dialogue starts to snap. It’s a great feeling when it happens. And it will. Go to it.

-Jasper Fforde

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gift idea and Contests


I love to give books as gifts!

"Altared Plans" by Rebecca Talley promises to be a witty, clean, LDS romance anyone can enjoy.
Twilight inspired perfume/cologne anyone? Try Custom Scents Online! Not only can you buy some perfume, there is a contest to win some!

On the contest front:
Tristi Pinkston is also doing a contest on her blog to win one dram of Twilight inspired scent. (dram...that's a funny word to me.)

Queen of the Clan is giving away the aforementioned book! Good luck to all.

And who doesn't want a hot bowl of soup now that Old Man Winter is here? C.L. Beck is having a contest and giving away soup bowls. Invite me over for lunch when you win them :)

And I want in on the contest! I have a couple of books sitting around that need someone to read them. That lucky person could be you! Just leave me a comment about your favorite genre to read and why.