Writing Quote

"Don't write merely to be understood.
Write so that you can't possibly be misunderstood."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yeah, yeah, yeah; I know!

So much for me being a more reliable blogger. Sorry 'bout that. I haven't had much time for the blogosphere lately. But I wanted to pop in really quickly and mention a few things. First, November is but 4 days away. I'm hoping my life will be turned up-side-down with much NaNoWriMo fun and terror. I've got an outline in the works and will hopefully be able to bust out a brilliant piece of fiction without too much crud in it. Interested in trying it out this year? Here's the link.
Also I was led to a nifty little writer's network that I wanted to share with you all. Check out the iWriteNetwork. Create a profile. Join a group or two. Meet some like-minded, inky-fingered yarn spinners. It seems to be a fairly new gig, but there is already a crazy amount of fun going on there. 'Kay, I'll see in you November for some NaNo updates.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting my feet wet again

So today is day four of the NovelPI challenge. I thought I'd check in really quickly. I've done 2 pages of editing a day so far. That was my minimum goal this time around. I have to admit though, when I picked that as a goal, it sounded really easy, and I thought I'd be able to do it lickity-split each day. I'm finding out that tracking my editing is really different from tracking my writing. Things like word count and page numbers are easy when you're writing. There was nothing there, and now there is something. But with editing, revising, rewriting, what-have-you, you have to count what's already there, but is now changed in some way- or NOT changed if it was deemed acceptable, but it still gets counted because it was scrutinized. Sigh. I would have been better off setting myself a time limit each day. It could take me hours, or days even to edit one line. I have some notes in my WIP that will require me to comb through most of the story and insert stuff that will make that one line stronger when we finally come to it.

What I've decided I'll do this month is work on the bits of my story that need expanding. Towards the end, there is a lot of narrative that should be dialogue, or paraphrasing that should be detailed narration. Oh, and I decided to work from the end to the beginning this month. Some of the notes I've skipped because I just don't have the time to really dive into them and fix the problem. Rather than skip those notes again, I'm just jumping to another point in the story that needs work, too. As long as it all gets done, it doesn't matter what order I do it in, right? Right.

Well, I'd better make the most of my quiet house and do some editing. Till next time!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let the NovelPI begin!

Here we are, September 1. I couldn't sleep, so I decided to get my two pages of editing done right away. What a great way to start the month, diving back into my novel! It'll try to update here periodically, but I am staggeringly busy at the moment- school, kids, homework, school, being sick, life in general- you get the idea. I'll update daily on twitter. Follow me, if you dare.

Happy writing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Author, Missing in Action for Weeks, Found

With the end of the 2010-2011 school year, author Robin Ford went suddenly and inexplicably missing from her blog. Many authors will take a break from blogging from time to time, but Ford's disappearance was unexpected and has gone unaccounted for during the entire summer. This afternoon, she was found perusing Nick Enlowe's blog. Witnesses say that as she read about Nick's Novel Push Initiative (novelPI), set to start September 1st, she seemed to awaken from a trance. We have the exclusive interview with Ford this evening. The writer explained:

"I really didn't mean to take time off from my blog, it just sort of happened. I had a lot going on with my family early on in the summer and I thought that if I wrote on my blog, I'd just end up complaining about it all. And that isn't what this blog is for, so I was waiting until I had something more appropriate to write. And then I became really disenchanted with the Internet and social networking and blogging in general and I didn't even read many blogs for several weeks. In fact, my writing has taken a terrible hit lately as well. It's been a bit depressing, really. And then I don't want to write because I'm depressed. You see the cycle I've been stuck in? But today I was determined to catch up on some of the blogs I've been ignoring. Then when I saw Nick's upcoming novelPI, I thought this might just be the thing to get me out of this funk I've been in.

"I apologize to my faithful readers for being MIA for so long. And I most especially beg my MC's forgiveness for showing him zero love this summer. I still feel a little bit funky, but I promise to work on it. And I hope that come September first, I'll be writing again, editing again, and blogging regularly again."

Will this explanation be satisfactory for Ford's readers? Will Nick's Novel Push Initiative give her the motivation she needs to finish her work in progress? Or will it all be too much for this overwhelmed author? We hope to answer all these questions over the next several weeks, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let's get personal

Okay, my long-time friend, and one of my favorite people ever requested that I post 7 things about myself. And since I'd do just about anything for Kristi Marie (I know her as Kristi, but she goes by Marie now. Go figure), here they are:
1. I had a crush on Harrison Ford when I was growing up. He was taken, so I married Robert Ford instead (Robert Ford killed Jesse James. Don't tell the authorities where we are, please).

2. I can't remember most of my life before I was twelve years old. That makes all those writing exercises, where you're supposed to close your eyes and think back on a childhood memory, pretty much impossible for me. But I can remember this:

3. I won't believe you when you tell me that the reward for being a parent is being a grandparent. Parenting sucks most of the time (they tell me it's worth it in the end- we'll see about that) and I just can't see how it could get SO much better one generation removed. Maybe I need my eyes checked again.

4. I'm now sitting here, worrying that everyone who reads the above confession will think that I'm a horrible person because I can't gush on and on about what a joy motherhood is. And I do worry about things like that. A lot. But I've also learned to tell that worry-voice to get over herself and put a lid on it. I'm not nearly important enough for people to spend that kind of energy on my silly comments. My worried face looks something like this:

5. I always secretly wished I was the kind of studious person who speaks a ridiculous number of languages and knows a lot about everything- you know, the kind of person you find on Jeopardy. In reality, I may be that smart (maybe) but I'm far too lazy. I like studying and learning, but I'd rather be a Jack than a King in most areas.

6. I'm a dog person because I like that dogs can be trained to do pretty much whatever you tell them. And I'm a cat person because I'm more like a cat. Seriously, don't tell me what to do. Don't touch me. Okay, now you can touch me, but only if you give me food afterword. Meow.
(This dog looks like my dog and this cat looks like my cat. My dog does this to my cat all the time and my cat really doesn't care.)

7. (Suggested by the infamous Robert Ford) When I turned 17, I got a life-sized cardboard cutout of Chewbacca because (wait for it....) I have an uncanny talent for wookie growls. grrrnnnnaaaaaawwwwllll!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Absolute creative freedom

is perhaps not all its cracked up to be. If you gave a child an entire roomful of toys, the child will probably not play with each toy, and will only use those he plays with in one or two ways, and only for a limited amount of time. Give that same child only one, seemingly uninteresting toy, and he will spend hours coming up with dozens of different ways to play with it. If you've ever seen a child with a box, you know what I mean. Being limited to only one toy forces the child to be creative. In the same way, if a writer begins a project with no direction, no parameters, no limitations, endless possibilities, she'll be overloaded. To cope with the overload, she is very likely to stick with something she knows, maybe reproducing a basic story outline she's already familiar with. She may come up with a few great ideas, a fabulous character or two, etc. But she's going to create limitations for herself that comfort her, and make her feel safe enough to explore in one or two areas.
On the other hand, if she begins by setting some guidelines for herself right from the start, she'll be forced to get all-kinds-of creative in order to stick within those parameters. For instance, if you were not allowed to use the letter 'p' in telling a story, you would have to find some pretty interesting ways to tell it. At the very least, you would have to be creative in your word usage.
I don't subscribe to the idea that if you follow steps A,B,C and D, you'll end up with a best selling novel and a million dollar movie deal. But neither do I believe that absolute, unrestricted freedom is as conducive to creativity as a few well-placed parameters. Of course, this is just a theory of mine.

Does anybody have any experiences with writing restrictions they'd be willing to share?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Any writing opportunity will do.

But sometimes a writing opportunity comes along that becomes especially meaningful. And sometimes that opportunity starts out as being one you did not start out too excited about. I've mentioned before that I had two school paper due recently. They were both kind of monstrous, involving research and citations and headaches and whatnot.
The poetry one was not that fun for me, but it was great practice for finding pertinent research and for writing on a topic that I was not enthused about. I also chose an angle to write on that wasn't necessarily an obvious one, and I worried that my teacher would disagree with my presentation. But I guess I argued my points well because she thought it was fabulous and read it to the class. I'm glad it's over.
My other paper was a different experience though. I was dreading it when the teacher announced it to the class. But I started getting excited about it when I decided I'd interview my mother about her father's polio, and write my paper on that. Grandpa passed away several years ago, but my mom remembers some really fascinating things from watching him deal with his illness. I won't go into all that, but I will say that writing this paper ended up being a really special experience. I got to talk with my mom for hours on a topic that made a big impact on her life: her dad. Yes his having polio was kind of a big deal, but so much the profound love and admiration she has for him stems from how he dealt with the disease. The extremity of his suffering is the kind of thing that shows a person's true character. It strips away all pretense and exposes the honest soul within. And my grandpa was truly an elite character. The hardest part about narrating this story was deciding what to cut out.
Then I also had to find some historical references to compare his experience to. I had a really hard time deciding what direction to go with that. In the end, I looked at some statistics on polio, both in the Seattle area, where he lived, during the time of his illness and at the national level over the course of about 85 years. It ended up being fascinating, looking at those numbers and thinking that he was one of them. He wasn't alone, but his story was quite unique in spite of that. I also explored some of the wonderful benefits that came out of the epidemic. The overall theme of my paper was in looking at the benefits that come from difficulty. Again, I wasn't sure how my teacher would receive it, but I ended up with 100%. More importantly, I ended up with some information and some memories that I will always cherish.

So I guess today, I'd just like to say that any opportunity to write is a good one. If it doesn't sound interesting or if it doesn't immediately inspire, it's still worth doing. I have a couple more successful experiences to add to my collection. But sometimes you end up falling flat on your face. That's okay, too. And still worth the experience. Take any opportunity you can, look for opportunities when they don't come to you, and create them when they seem not to exist. Just write!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

checking in...

Tonight I'm basking in being done with all my major school projects. It's smooth sailing from here until finals in a couple weeks. But I'm not worried about that. In the mean time, I've cleared up two notes on my WIP and I have three days to do 28 more if I'm going to reach my writing goal by the end of the month.
I am so tired. All. The. Time.

I think it's my allergies. Or my allergy medication.

But I won't go into all that, except to say I have a theory I'm trying and hopefully it will help me be a little more awake so I can write the way I want to. So many things can get in the way of writing. The biggest problem is that I love writing, but I usually love all the things that keep me from writing, too- except the dishes; I definitely don't love the dishes. That's been my constant struggle lately: to find time for all the things I love.

I hope your writing goals and your life goals are in better harmony with each other than mine are right now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2/3 through April and halfway through May

If the date is April 20th, can someone please tell me why my brain is stuck in the middle of May? I keep reminding myself that if it was the middle of May, my baby would already be 1, I'd be finished with the semester, and life would be a lot less nuts than it is. But alas, my mind just won't join me in the here and now. So I suppose I'll have to make do without it. Um... how does one do that?

Well, brain or no, it is 10 days till the end of the month. I got my English paper turned in with plenty of time to spare. I can't say the same for my History paper. It's due tomorrow, no later than 5:30pm. I still have a page to a page and a half left to go. The good news is, I finally have all my sources and I have a good idea of what the rest of the paper will be like. I just need to disentangle myself from my family long enough to get it all down on paper in a comprehensive way.

Another project got thrown at me this week as well. It's a group project for English. We present on Tuesday. Just like that. I'm trying not to think about it. Believe it or not, procrastination can actually be a healthy and productive way to deal with life.

So once my paper is done, I need to do some prep for my group project, and then I'm free to edit my WIP. You see, this was all leading some where. You see, I do have a plan. The problem with plans is that plans have a way of not working out. Then the plan becomes the problem. But then there's the power of positive thinking. My plans will work out fine this month. My plans will all go according to plan. I will get my school work done to the best of my ability and also pay some attention to my book. Oh, and I won't utterly neglect my family to do it. The universe will not implode; it will not!

So with a fool proof plan and the power of positive thought, I simply can't go wrong. But if all else should fail, I'm pretty certain the universe will not implode. Write on!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"I give you books, and give you books...

...and all you do is eat the covers." When I was growing up, my dad used to say that whenever we were complaining too much. And though I've never actually eaten the cover of a book, they are delightful in their own way. I like to browse the firstreads give-aways on goodreads.com and occasionally enter a drawing or two to win a free book. Each drawing provides a little blurb to entice people to enter that particular give-away. But with hundreds of books to choose from, I don't want to read all those blurbs, especially when half of them are just feel-good quotes from big-time reviewers, praising the book to the skies. Yes, yes. There's someone in the world who thought your book was amazing. WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Back to the point: I judge books by their covers. There. I said it. Each firstreads drawing has only the cover of the book and a couple lines of text to hook me in before I'm on to the next one. If I'm intrigued, I'll read the full blurb and decide if it sounds interesting to me. Of course it's a little different when I'm in a bookstore. At least I know at any given moment the genre I'm looking at. But still, unless it's an author I'm already familiar with, I'm not going to read the back of the book if the cover doesn't grab me. Am I wrong to judge a book by its cover? Maybe. But the fact is, we all do it to some extent. Which leads me to wonder...

What will my books' covers look like? What judgements will others dish out to my work, based on its clothing? It may be a bit premature to be thinking about this but I think when I have to choose a cover for my book, I'd like it to be a cover that I find attractive. I know I'm supposed to want others to be attracted to my book. But I figure, if it looks good to me, it will probably attract people who read the way I read, who like the same things in a book that I like, etc . Maybe there's some kind of formula I should be considering, all about what sells in today's market, and such. I don't know about all that, I just know what I like. And for the fantasy genre, I tend to be attracted  to life-like, gorgeous art, with a lot of play on shadow and light. It should depict a scene from the book, but not a spoiler scene. And there has to be a sword, or some kind of weaponry. I know it's weird, but a book with a sword on the cover always piques my interest.

For The Slave Knight, I imagine a painting of Jhampo as a flesh and blood man (his sword prominently displayed, of course), maybe standing on the deck of a ship, next to a harpoon gun, with a sea monster's head rising out of the water. Or maybe Jhampo (his sword drawn), leading a band of ex-slaves through the forest.  Or maybe Jhampo, kneeling before the throne to receive his knighthood, with the proud, disgruntled gentry looking on.

What kind of a cover draws you to a book? How do you decide what cover art to wrap around your story? How much input does an author actually have in that decision?

Friday, April 8, 2011

So far, so good.

This week has gone fairly well. I got my interview done. I talked with my mom about her father's polio. It was interesting to say the least. I haven't done much of the digging I need to to find appropriate historical accounts of the polio epidemic. But that project is not my top priority. I have a little extra time before I have to worry about it. And why put off till tomorrow what can be put off till the day after tomorrow, right?

So the dreaded poetry project has been my main focus this week. I got my poems picked out, my topic chosen, and a rough outline written up. I've even started writing out my first draft. I found some potential reference material, but I still need to read through most of it and see what I can actually use. But I had to include at least one book (as opposed to journals or other electronic references), which I did last night. And I must say, our readings and class discussions have moved on to dramas. It helps immensely that I get a break from poetry at least part of the time. And it helps that I actually enjoy plays and such.

This weekend and early next week, I need to select quotes from my reference materials, finish writing my draft, and get my bibliography in order. We'll do revisions in class on Tuesday, so the deadline is definitely motivating. I sure wish I had a writing group or something to give me deadlines and accountability for my fiction.

Happy writing to the rest of you, too!

Friday, April 1, 2011

And a very happy April to you, too...

You may have noticed that March is over, and with April comes a new quarter and a new quarterly challenge over at Tristi's. I may be insane to try and do another challenge when I just utterly failed NaNoEdMo and I have a lot of course work to do. BUT I did sign up. I must be a glutton for punishment or something.

No. NaNoEdMo did not go well. I got about 10/50 hours worth of editing done, and at least a couple of those hours were spent revising school papers. I was just overwhelmed with school work, life, sickness- my own and my kids'- and whatnot, lots of whatnot.

But it's a new day, a new month, a new quarter, and I can do better. This time, I'm going to be smarter than I have been. Since I set my own goals for Tristi's challenges, I am including those wretched homework assignments that threaten to cause me another failure.

So my April goals are as follows:
1. Get my English poetry research paper written and turned in by April 19th.
2. Get my oral history paper written and turned in by April 21st.
3. Get through 30 of my editing notes on my WIP, since there are 30 days in April.
My focus right now has to be on 1 and 2. But it's still excellent writing practice. Hopefully that thought will help keep me moving along. This week, I need to choose the poems I'm going to write on (and the topics within those poems) and find some literary critiques to support my ideas. I also need to conduct my oral interview and find some historical references to compare my interviewee's experiences to. Phew! To the library!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thoroghly Unenthused

My apologies for being so absent lately. Spring break came and I just forgot to write. Then the next week came and I forgot to write. Also I was feeling both uninspired to blog, and disenchanted with all forms of electronic communication. I still am, but I'm also willing to try and push through it.

Today, I'd like to talk about a different kind of writing- the academic variety. I've had to write several papers for my English class this year and they've all gone rather well. I just picked a story or a poem we've studied that spoke to me in some way and I ran with it. My teacher has read them all to the class (much to my chagrin). But that's exposure, I guess, and since I choose to be a writer, I had better get used to it. Next up is a high-points research paper on poetry. I should be excited about it. Research is not something I've done a lot of and this will be a great opportunity to practice. After all, I will need to do research for my novels now and again, right? But poetry? Really?

Once, when I was much younger than I am today, I loved poetry. I had rhyme, meter, and imagery in my blood. I ate and breathed allusion, symbolism and irony. Not so much now. Now I enjoy a good poem for about ten minutes, max. And I find myself compelled to choose two poems to study, analyze and compare, using literary critiques to support my thoughts. I wouldn't think anything of it if I weren't already so SICK of poetry. I've had enough to last me the rest of the year, but I'm no where near done with it yet. If I ever get the bright idea to take an entire class devoted to poetry, remind me what a bad idea that actually is.

Okay, my venting session is over. Can you, my dear fellow writers, give me some tips on developing some love and inspiration for a topic you are thoroughly unenthused about?

Seriously. HELP!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This week is NOT a bust... yet.

But it could be soon if I don't get off my hind-end and do something with my manuscript. So far this week, I haven't touched it. I'm facing a couple of barriers:
1. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with family, home, and school work. I tell myself spring break is coming up and that I'll have more freedom to revise then. But the truth is I'll have kids out of school, a husband off of work (for a couple days, anyway), family in town (but not staying with me), and some school projects that need some attention. So if I'm honest with myself, I'm still going to need to force myself into setting aside some time for writing.
2. I'm stuck on the issue I'm working on. I've got all these notes of things I need to change and this one is kind of a biggie, involving writing new characters, minor sub-plots, etc. And to be honest, I'm not sure the idea would add all that much to the story over all, but I won't know for sure until I've tried it. So maybe I need to just step away from this "fix" for a bit and work on some of the lesser problems. Then readdress this issue when I either feel up to it, or have nothing else left to work on.

And although I have a test to study for and will have extras kids around today, I hereby commit to spending time with The Slave Knight today. How much time? Uh... how 'bout... 10 minutes. It's doable, but can easily turn into 15, or 20 or even more!

How is your work-in-progress going? And what barriers are you faced with this week?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

National Novel Editing Month

Welcome to March, everybody! It's National Novel Editing Month. Much like writing with NaNoWriMo, we cram an insane amount of editing into one month- 50 hours of insanity to be exact. If you're interested in signing up, you may do so here. I'm all signed up and am about to head over there and log the 10 minutes I have so far. Hold on a sec...

...and I'm back. Gee that was easy! Now if I can only turn that 10 minutes into 10 hours. Actually, I don't know if I can do this, but I'm going to do my darnedest ("gee?" "darnedest?" why am I suddenly talking like an old man with his pants pulled up to his chest with suspenders?).

Since I got my initial review of The Slave Knight all done in February (huzzah!) I'm going to focus on implementing all the notes I've made on it. There are about 159 of them. Some are small, some are big and some are mammoth-sized. But this will be my focus for March and NaNoEdMo. If I can get through them all, my little story will look astonishingly like a real book. I hope.

Anyway, wish me luck! And if you decide to sign up, let me know so we can encourage each other.

Write on!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Oh... the mistakes we make...

Last night I did a dumb thing and I just now realized it. Sigh...

I'm sure all you writers know the importance of having a backup of your MS saved somewhere. I have three copies of mine that I play with. One is on my hard drive. One is on my laptop desktop. The other is on my flash drive that goes to and from school with me. If I know I'm going to have time to write after class, I save my latest version on there and I'm all set.

I didn't put my most up-to-date version on the flash drive last night because I didn't think I would have time to write. But then I did have time to write. I just figured I'd merge the files later. No big deal. So far, so good. I edited a few pages before I had to leave and just before bed I merged the files and backed it all up in all three places.

Here's the part where I was stupid: The file I had open, and had been working on, was the one from my desktop. I saved and closed it so I could merge the files easier. But then, out of habit, I merged with my hard drive file that I haven't touched for a while. Still not a big deal, until I saved (not merged) it all over my desk top file- which had the last couple weeks worth of edits on it.

So much editing that now needs to be redone. I could cry. But instead, I'll just blog a bit.

Lesson learned: pay attention to what you're doing, even if you've done it a million times before. And when you merge two files, merge all three.

Not a monumental mistake, but still irritating. I was 30 pages away from being finished with my initial mark up. Now It's more like 50-60. I was hoping to be done by the end of the month. Still possible, but a lot less probable now.

(dejectedly) I supposed I'd better get back to work now...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Turning Over a New Leaf

I am a writer because I write. I am a reader because I read. I am a book reviewer because I review books. I am all these things, though I get paid for none of them. But the lines are destined to get blurred sometimes. There have been times when my book reviews have been written by the writer in me, and others by the reader in me. In general, I try to be objective- what did I wish I knew about this book before going into it, what will others appreciate knowing before they pick it up? But sometimes...just sometimes... I can be harshly critical. Usually only when I really hated a book. The problem is, if I really hated a book, chances are there's someone else out there who really loved it. And even when that person isn't the author of the book, they tend to take it personally. They tend not to be able to say, hey, we disagree. no big deal, and walk away. They feel like they have to defend their love of the book.

I know what that feels like because a couple days ago, I read an excerpt of a novel I've been waiting on pins and needles to read. I loved the first book, I admire the author, I think his work is the very definition of modern epic fantasy. It has never occurred to me that there might be people out there who hate his work. Yet it was there in black and white, in the comment area after the excerpt: mean, nasty, critical hatred. It burned me up. I wanted to tell off each and every one of those know-nothings who would rather read the pretentious drivel of some puffed up snob so they can feel better about their own intelligence level. I particularly wanted to throttle the arrogant ones who claimed they could write better themselves (a claim I don't think I've ever dared make among my criticisms).

All this got me thinking: even if I write the most brilliant piece of fantasy in the history of the world, some people are going to hate it. I knew that before, but I imagined all these insulting people were commenting on my work. And it made me wonder how I'll ever be able to get past it to continue writing. I could do as many authors do and just not read any reviews on my books. But I don't think it's possible to avoid all the criticism, no matter how hard you try. I still don't have an answer on this one, except to hope that all the rejection preceding my first publication will give me a thick enough shell to not let the post publishing ugliness get to me.

Now to the heart of the matter: turning over that new leaf I mentioned. I've determined to abandon the criticisms. If I hate a book, it's okay to hate the book. But I don't have to hate on the author or his abilities in his craft. I don't have to rip up his style and put him down as a human being. Okay so I've never done that last one, and I've done the others only rarely. But from this day on, I will do them not at all. I will strive to create a balance between honesty and tact that will leave the author and any other lovers of the book their dignity and a sense that their love is not being mocked or ridiculed in any way. I  offer my comic apology to the ones who have been offended by my harsh reviews in the past and I give my cosmic promise that I will strive to avoid giving offense in the future.

Huh... that leaf is kind of beautiful on the other side. Who knew?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

because it's Wednesday

Welcome to Wednesday, people! Honestly, I have very little to report this week and probably nothing interesting to say. BUT here I am.

Last week was kind of a bust. My husband was out of town and I was sick. My kids were very busy, so I was very busy. And in constant pain. And every single plan I had laid ran into one complication or another. So the writing did not happen so much last week. When my sweetheart finally came home, he was sick. Sigh. But I have been a little bit better this week about writing. I had some time between classes, so I worked on editing The Slave Knight and it was so much fun that I came home after my last class and edited some more. I've been editing in bits and pieces today. I heart my book...

In other news, I've been writing a lot for school and have several other writing assignments coming up very soon. Hey, I'll take any opportunity to work on my craft. That's why I became an English major.

And another Valentine's Day has come and gone as well. I mention it because my gifties this year will have what I'm hoping will be a big and positive impact on my writing. I've been saving up my play money so that I can buy a laser printer. Robert surprised me and chipped in some of his own money and bought one for me. Now I can print manuscript pages to my heart's content and not have to replace the ink cartridge every time I do it. Hooray! Also, Robert got an ebay gift certificate for fixing his brother's computer. I jokingly told him he could use it to buy me a new battery for my laptop (the old one is dead-DEAD and my laptop is chained to the wall by its power cord). And he did! A 12 cell, so I can unplug for twice as long. I'm very excited about that. My theory that I can get anything I want from him, as long as it's technology related, is proving itself quite nicely.

So I pledge to be a good little writer-girl this week and pay attention to my MS, despite the gobs of homework, church commitments, and family demands.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Music and Writing

I've always loved music. New music, old music, good music, bad music (sounds like a Dr. Seuss book). I play a little piano (a very little). I sing only adequately (but soulfully). I'm secretly a performing musician at heart, but it terrifies me. So I sing in the church choir, refusing solos, and I rock out with the radio. I've been known to sing in the shower or while playing mindless games on the computer, but only if I'm sure no one else in the house can hear me. And sadly, sadly, I have never felt comfortable singing to my babies, so I do it rarely. When I listen to music, I get wrapped up in it. So much so that if I'm doing anything else, I have to tune the music out so I don't get too distracted.

Knowing all this, you probably think I have the radio on all the time, right? Or I have my ipod in one ear at all times. Or I play CD after CD, filling my world at all times with music.

Not so much.

I don't know how it's happened but over the years, music and I have become somewhat estranged. I listen to music in the car now and that's about the only time. And then it's usually only the stuff I know my husband doesn't mind. I suspect it has something to do with having kids. Kids have a music all their own and it completely overwhelms all other sounds. My days are so flooded with the sounds of children's programming, nursery rhymes, kids laughing, kids crying, kids fighting, kids questioning, kids complaining, kids playing... well, you get the idea. If I get a moment to choose the noise in our house, I tend to choose silence. That makes me sad because I miss music. But I also can't stand one more moment of noise, not even lovely, wonderful, beautiful noise.

What's all this have to do with writing? It seems like every time I turn around, I'm hearing something or reading something about some writer's "writing sound track." And I always think I'd like to make my own inspirational mix of songs to help draw the words out of me. But the thought of taking time to sift through all my music to find the songs that 1. invite the muses into my writing process and 2. do not distract me to the point of not being able to write at all, is just exhausting. So my writing sound track, unglamorous as it seems, is the aforementioned kid-noise or silence. For now, I think I'm okay with that. But maybe as the kids get older, I'll be able to add in a few grown up tunes in there.

What's your writing sound track? Or do you sometimes find silence to be the most inspirational sound of all?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January challenge check in

I meant to write something yesterday, but it turns out you can only do so much in one day. Who knew?
So Tristi's Challenges is over for this quarter and I need to review my progress. I did great! I didn't quite meet all my goals, but I did get a lot done. Remember, I wanted to edit 2 pages a day and also get my manuscript formatted. Well, I edited an average of about 4 pages a day. I still have a little less than 100 pages left to edit. But I'm sure I can get that done in February. I didn't get any formatting done. But as I have said before. That ended up being a much bigger job than I initially thought it would be. I am still working on my general outline. Once that's done, I should easily be able to piece my MS into chapters and whatnot.

I know I need to make an appearance here more regularly than I do. So I'm going to try and check in every Wednesday (subject to change, depending on my schedule). Hopefully that will keep me writerly (yes. I did just make up a word. that's how I roll) minded. This week brings me lots of homework and very cold weather. Is there any chance the two will balance each other out and give me some time to write? If I MAKE it so, it will be so. So it will be so. Write on!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Writing challange check in

I need to get better at posting regularly, especially when I've signed up for challenges like the one I'm doing this month. I check in pretty regularly at Trisiti's Challenges, but I haven't checked in here to let you all know how I'm doing so far.

Remember, my goal for this challenge was to edit two pages of manuscript a day and get it formatted by the end of the month.

I'm doing great on the first point, but not so great on the second point. I've been editing between 2 and 10 pages a day (I've missed a couple days though. Still, I'm ahead of where I thought I thought I would be at this point). My "editing" this time around has mostly been reading through the story for the first time and making notes on glaring issues that need attention. And of course, I've been able to make small changes here and there on wording and inconsistencies as I come upon them.

But when I made this goal, I had forgotten that when I wrote The Slave Knight, I didn't bother with piecing it out into chapters. So not only do I have to get it out of the standard single space, 11 pt. format, I actually need to figure out where the chapters should go. That means I need to do some outlining. If I was a good girl and started with an outline, this part would be really easy. This part would probably already be done! Let this be a lesson to you, Robin. Outlining before you start is a good thing. It gives you direction and purpose as you write. Plus it eliminates the need for irritating steps during the rewrite.
Oh well. I may not get that part done this month, but if I can get started with it, I'll be happy.

I forgot to do my two pages yesterday. But today, I'm going to play at Julie's house. That means scrap booking, crafting, and creativity in all its varieties. I think I'll bring my laptop and see how many pages I can look through today.

I should probably start looking for some kind of challenge to keep me going through February. Knowing me, I won't be able to do it alone. And just as a heads-up: March is NaNoEdMo. We get to do 50 hours of editing in March! More about that later.

What helps you stay motivated to keep plucking away at your story?

Monday, January 10, 2011

To speed read or not to speed read?

Alright, so I can't actually speed read. But I've gone back and forth on whether or not I should bother trying to learn it or not. Part of me figures, Sure why not? It could come in handy and if you want to slow down sometimes you certainly can. Then another part of me, the part that knows me the best, figures  You know you'll never be able to stop sub vocalizing. You just love that voice in your head way too much to ever be able to successfully be a speed reader. The writer in me tends to agree with the second part of me. I find that little sub vocalizer in my head invaluable in choosing words, in finding the right flow and in capturing the right tone. And I'm not just talking about writing dialogue here.
So I wondered if other writers feel the same about the little voice in their heads. How do you feel about your sub vocalizer? Is it helpful to you as you write? Do you speed read? When? And how often?