Writing Quote

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

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!