Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rewriting the rewrite

Book #3, as I like to call it, has been a pain in my butt for months now. I just haven't been able to get it right...until today. Well, maybe. I've rewritten the final 1/3 of the book's outline too many times to count. Things just weren't coming together. Characters weren't cooperating with each other or with the plot. Today though, I wrote for four hours and I think I came up with a solid idea for the remainder of the story. The only problem I foresee is opening the file tomorrow and thinking that what I did today is complete crap. I'm one of those kind of writers. I like to write, leave it alone for a while, and then read and rewrite. It takes a miserably long time this way, but it's the only way I feel good about my work. The stuff that goes on the page each day isn't pure magic. It's like a potion recipe that's missing an ingredient or two.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book basket for auction

My kids' school is having a silent auction in a few weeks and I plan to put together copies of my books along with some other book-related items. I've been searching for a unique but inexpensive book bag and am not finding anything. If only I could sew. The bags online look so simple. My daughter has a brand-new sewing machine that she swears she'll only bring out if one of her grandmothers is here. We tried experimenting with it one day and I thought it went well. Apparently not well enough. I've been banished.

As for other basket items, I thought of a nice bookmark, a book light, and that's all I really came up with. When it comes to crafting I'm completely lost. My brain shuts down. It goes completely blank. When I tried to create a tablescape (term I picked up from Sandra Lee on the Food Network channel) to sell my books one other time, my husband organized it all. He put boxes under the tablecloth to show depth. He maneuvered items this way and that way. I stood back and watched. I'm not sure what happened in the womb. It must have already been fabulously decorated because my creativity did not extend in the crafting direction. I MUST STICK TO WORDS.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Planning for a writing class

I spent several hours today working on plans for the 6-week creative writing class I'll be teaching after school at my son's school starting in March. Along with my own ideas for writing exercises, I found some good ones in a few of the writing books I purchased during my journey through writing my first novel. Each class is one hour fifteen minutes so it isn't a lot of time, but hopefully it's just enough time to say what I have to say without them getting bored or me panicking because I sense their boredom. Since I'm not a teacher and I typically sit at home writing all day by myself, my public speaking skills aren't as strong as maybe they should be. I'm not sure how to improve upon that except for just doing it and learning from my mistakes. I pondered the idea of practicing in front of my family, but that seems like it might end in disaster. I'd get mad because they wouldn't listen to me. What's new? So, yeah, I'm going to have to wing it. I've coached first grade soccer before. That should count for something.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Writing beyond 50,000 words

50,000 words is a lot. It's a lot, but not nearly enough. This time around my goal is 80,000 words, which I actually think is attainable because I really do feel like I'm about 3/4 of the way done writing this manuscript. Last week I started reading and editing it from the beginning to make sure my main character is who I want her to be. She still needs some work, but I added enough comments to refer to later. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time fixing it up perfectly when I'm not all that certain how the book will end. I wish I knew how it was going to end. I've written out several endings, but none of them seem to stick. I did find another twist I added before I took a break from writing in December. That was exciting to see. I think the reader will enjoy it too. I know I was pleasantly surprised to see it again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Too many social networking sites

I've created accounts for every social networking site I'm aware of and am most definitely doing a half-ass job at maintaining all of them. Seriously, who has the time to update them all? The only online site I attend to regularly is this blog and I'm not even sure this counts. Twitter is my latest. I've tweeted a few times and those were amazing tidbits of earth-shattering information. NOT! Pinterest is the most boggling. My mom and sister have pinned my books somewhere, but when I do a search, I don't see them. My searches don't even find my mom. What the hell? Facebook. Eh. Kind of getting tired of that one. LinkedIn. Don't know what to do with that. It's not like I have a regular job. What else is there? I'm on a role. Oh, I check out Goodreads to see if any one's added my books to their shelf. I also keep that updated with what I'm reading. Does anyone really care? Apparently, I need to find someone or a class to enroll in to help me use these networking sites to my advantage. Another item to add to my list of things I won't do...I swear I'm in a good mood today...just slightly frustrated!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Me? A teacher? I'll give it a try!

I said yes. I agreed to teach a creative writing class through Community Education at my son's middle school. After receiving an email from one of his teachers suggesting the idea, the thought has consumed me. I've actually typed out some ideas and am constantly thinking of how to best help the students get their creative juices flowing. She mentioned in her email that the students don't get much of a chance to write fiction, which is a shame, but understandable. There is only so much time in a day with plenty of important topics to learn. This class will be after school and the students will have to sign up for it, which means they'll want to give this other type of writing a try. This is something they'll do on their own time. I'll need to keep it interesting for my sake as much as theirs.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Opportunities to share my writing passion

Two new and exciting opportunities to share my passion for writing have developed in the past few days. First, I was asked to visit a book club in town when they gather in May to discuss Missing Maggie. I love that! After having joined two other groups in the past, I feel confident in being able to answer questions and take any suggestions the members might have. I'm sure I'll still feel nervous because I think this one is a bit larger than I'm used to, but there will be at least one friendly face in the crowd. The other opportunity that awaits me, if I accept the challenge, is to teach a creative writing class at my son's middle school. Me? A teacher? Well, maybe. It scares the bejesus out of me though! My husband, the professional educator, says I should stretch myself, make myself uncomfortable. He's right (I hope he doesn't read this!). Accepting this challenge is exactly what I need. Plus, the kids in the class will want to be there. They'll be interested in hearing what I have to say. They, too, are aspiring writers. It's a lot to think about. So far, I only have ideas in my head, nothing written down. The class wouldn't be offered until May so I have plenty of time to prepare. I have butterflies just thinking about it. I'll let you know what I decide.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let the characters lead the way

With a better direction in mind, I've decided to start editing book #3, an unfinished manuscript, from the beginning. This comes after taking nearly a month off from writing, which wasn't deliberate, but it was helpful and healthy. I spent part of that time researching agents and sending out query letters. The other part was spent reexamining the type of writer I wish to become. Do I want to pump out books with only the plot in mind? Do I want to add in sex scenes that popular books are delivering to millions of readers? Do I stay true to the person I am and write a mystery with characters I love? I vote for number three, which is why I'm starting back at the beginning and not at the climax of the story, which is where it sits at this moment. I want to be sure that the characters are believable and they have a relationship with each other. In the past I've written about a couple, a father-child relationship, and this time it's a mother-daughter relationship. I can't get this wrong. Of course something devastating happens to destroy this natural bond, but can it ever really disappear? Can it ever be so broken that no word or action can mend it? I truly don't know and that's what I hope to discover by rereading the manuscript. I hope to find that the characters will tell me the answer.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Yes, I see the difference!

Yes, I've read many NY Times best sellers and I see the difference! I've also read plenty of books that weren't on that list that I liked just as much or more. I fully understand that my writing is not for all audiences and that it isn't at that caliber YET, but give a girl a chance! The agents I'm contacting about Sincerely, sad dad are looking for the next book to push their career/agency over the edge. I can't blame them. I would do the same if I were in their shoes, as frustrating as it is. I just need one agent to believe that I can make the top 100 books of the year or something. Is that too much to ask? It seems I've resorted to begging and pleading. That's so not cool.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Aha! Cozy Mysteries!

So, I've seen the term "cozy mystery" a few times here and there, but it never really got my attention for whatever reason. Today, I decided to google it and was astonished at what I read. One site (http://www.cozy-mystery.com/) described my books to a tee. I had no idea that what I was writing was a cozy mystery! Right off the bat I'm hesitant to categorize myself so quickly for fear of deterring mainstream mystery/suspense/thriller readers. However, Janet Evanovich was listed throughout the site and I like to think my main character, Kody Burkoff, has some resemblance to her Stephanie Plum character. I'll keep researching and tag some books to read. Reading is knowledge!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolving to maintain hope

I could make up a lot of stuff I hope to accomplish in the new year, but I won't. I don't like disappointment. All I feel comfortable saying is that I wish to maintain hope for my new career. I wish to not give up. I wish to keep pounding the keyboard until I've written the best stinkin' book I'm capable of. That's just on a professional level. I, of course, also hope that my family stays healthy, my daughter's mouth doesn't cost us too much at the orthodontist, my son plays that damn trumpet we're on a payment plan for, my youngest son doesn't break a bone or someone else's bone, my husband and I can take a vacation WITHOUT the kids, and then peace on earth. I don't ask for much. Happy New Year!