Monday, May 28, 2012

Rewriting--#WIPMADNESS Week 4

“Books aren't written -- they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it."
- Michael Crichton

Last Monday I started revising two of my WIPs. I'd received a boatload of helpful feedback and thought I had a solid grasp on the solutions to most of my story problems. So I plunged in with full confidence, waking up way earlier than usual and tapping away at the keyboard with wild enthusiasm. 
But by Friday things began to shift. New ideas were shooting out at me like balls from an automatic pitching machine. I couldn't keep up. What was I doing? Was I fixing things or making them worse? The ideas kept coming, faster and faster. I couldn't find the off button. What could I do?
Enter The Revision Notebook--the perfect place to organize my thoughts. Ink on paper. Scribbles. Lists. Wild ideas that may never make it beyond the spiral bound pages. A place to slow down and breathe. To formulate a plan. Ahhhhh. I'm feeling much better now. 
I think I'm on my third or fourth rewrite for each of these novels. But I'm with Michael, books aren't written, they're rewritten. And if these revisions don't quite do the job, I will revise again. And again. 

So Wipsters, how was your week? Any favorite revision tips you'd like to share? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: First Steps

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week my first ever guest post was published over at Jennifer Hubbard's blog. This got me thinking about all of the firsts I've experienced since I started this writing journey exactly five years ago. When I took that first step I had no idea where that staircase would lead. I'd like to share some of those first steps today. 

May 4,  2007-- Started writing  first novel 
Aug 6,  2007-- Finished the first draft of first novel
Apr 24, 2008--Sent my first query for first novel
Apr 28, 2008--Received my first request for a full manuscript on first novel
May19, 2008--Got first rejection on first novel
Sept10, 2009--Heard message that I'd received first grant from SCBWI

Okay, that's as far as I'm going to go today. The rest of my firsts will be saved for a future post. ^_^
So what are some of your most memorable first steps my friends?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Are You Flying or Crawling? Week 3 #WIPMADNESS

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”― Martin Luther King Jr.
Photo Courtesy of my darling photographer husband, Stefan.

I must admit, I've been sloshing through the yuckity muck a lot this past year. And the loads of encouragement I've received from many of you has really helped me to keep moving forward.

Last week I received an encouraging message from lovely author, Sundee Frazier, that included the above quote. Dr. King's were the perfect words at the exact moment I needed to hear them. So I thought I'd share, in case some of you are also stuck in the yuckity muck, creeping along.

Sometimes we soar and other times we fall flat on our noses, right? But when we fall, do we give up, or do we keep slogging along on our scraped and bruised hands and knees?

I sincerely hope that all of you are flying. Or at least running. Or walking. But if you are crawling, you are still moving forward and that's what you have to do. I'm with you down here. And sometimes we find amazing treasure when we're so close to the ground. ^_^

And BTW, thanks for celebrating my 200th last week. The winner of Megan Bostic's NEVER EIGHTEEN is:  LisaAnn !!!  I have a feeling she's flying right now.

So Wipsters, how about you? Flying? Running? Walking? Crawling?

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Writer Fail

"You fail only if you stop writing."
--Ray Bradbury
Writers write, right? 
For the past six weeks I felt like a failure.
And I couldn't figure out why.
Then I read that quote from Ray.
I wasn't really writing. 
I had reasons.
Not anymore
No more excuses.
I am writing again.
I am a writer.
And I will not fail.
So how are all of you doing? Have you ever stopped writing? How did you feel?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's Celebrate! #WIPMADNESS WEEK 2

"The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business."
--John Steinbeck

I don't know about all of you, but there are times when the publishing business makes me want to beat my head against a dead horse. Well, you know what I mean. ^_^ So today we are celebrating our victories. 

First of all, I got my wish for 200 followers for my 200th post. How cool is that?

And to celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of Megan Bostic's NEVER EIGHTEEN to a follower who answers this question:

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?

Don't be shy. Today I'm giving you permission to share those encouraging words. Here are the words I recently received from an editor that made me feel like I can keep hoofing it around the publishing racetrack: 
"It's a book that greatly deserves publication. . ."
Okay. Your turn. ^_^
And how was your week?

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: When Do You Plan Your Books?

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes." ~Agatha Christie

It worked for Agatha, but I'm afraid it doesn't work for me. Why? Because my dear husband does all the dishes. 

So when do I plan my books? Until last week, I'd forgotten that my favorite time to plan a book is while exercising (because I hadn't been exercising.) One of the great benefits of Project Butt Out of Bed has been the story problem solutions popping out of my brain as I huff and puff through the neighborhood. 

Last summer DH and I hiked every Monday. I could plan a whole week's worth of story during those early morning communes with nature. Oh how I've missed them! Next Monday commences Season Two of the Plot Hikes. Yay!

My Butt Out of Bed Alarm has sounded, which means I must wrap this up, but before I go, I want to let you know that on Monday I will be celebrating my 200th blog post and giving away a book to one of my faithful 199 followers. My number loving OCD self would be thrilled to have 200 followers to celebrate the occasion. Just sayin'. ^_^.

So tell me, what's your best time for planning a book?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Let's Have Some Fun! May #WIPMADNESS Week One

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." - Thomas Mann
Are we having fun yet?
I don't know about you, but I have to agree with Thomas Mann, I think writing is more difficult for me than for all my non-writing friends. At least I never hear them talk about how hard writing is. But writing with all of you makes it a lot easier. And a lot more fun!
The thing that helps me the most is setting goals and then reporting on my progress.
Did you set a goal at the beginning of May? I didn't. And my writing life is suffering as a result. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I'm in a quandary about what to work on right now.
So I've decided on a broad, ambiguous plan for May.
I will work on SOMETHING every day and I WILL enjoy myself. ^
Are you with me?
Let's have some fun!
What's your May plan? How's it going?

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Butt out of Bed

"I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting."
--Mark Twain

"Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning."
--Thomas Jefferson

The Jefferson/Twain debate. 
For the past six months I've been on Twain's side and I've got ten extra pounds on my butt and hips to prove it. So the most interesting thing in my life this week is finding the will to get out of my warm bed and into my running shoes. Unlike Jefferson, I will not "leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation." Ten minutes of exercise in the morning. Afternoons are for reading.
For twenty years I've battled fibromyalgia and the will to exercise. Even though I know it's important, it's hard to motivate when you wake up every day in an achy-breaky body, feeling like you've got a bad case of the old-fashioned flu. 
If you follow me on twitter, you know that today is DAY THREE of Project "Butt out of Bed." The war is on. And I need all the support I can get!
On the plus side, the early morning jog/walks get both my blood and creativity moving.
So who do you side with, Twain or Jefferson? Many say that exercise serves a vital role in their writing life. Is that true of you? 

Oh, and in case you're wondering. The winner of Joelle Anthony's THE RIGHT AND THE REAL is:
Please email me your mailing address: yascribe(dot)angelina(at)gmail(dot)com

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

THE RIGHT AND THE REAL author, Joelle Anthony

Book Trailer
A few years ago I read this fabulous book called RESTORING HARMONY. I still remember the story, vividly. Needless to say, I was eager to find out what this terrific author would publish next. The wait is over. To enter to win a copy of THE RIGHT AND THE REAL, leave a comment below with a kind word for Joelle. That is all. I'll announce the winner here on Friday.
On Writing:
Favorite thing about writing a first draft:
Is there such a thing? Oh, wait…yes, there is! I used to hate first drafts, but now I love them. I like how they have a mind of their own.
Best thing about writing for kids and/or teens:
I get to swap favourite authors/books with them. They are so passionate in their recommendations.
Favorite word?
Serendipity – love what it means, love how it sounds.
One word that describes your path to publication:
If I could have two dream careers, I’d be an author and a:
British actress.
On Life:
If I could snap my fingers and solve one of the problems here on earth, it would be:
One question I wish I had a definitive answer to:
Will I have enough to retire?
Best thing about being a child:
No worries about retirement!
Worst thing about being a child:
People are always telling you what to do.
Best thing about being a teenager:
Undying optimism.
Worst thing about being a teenager:
People are still telling you what to do.
Most memorable teen moment:
Going to New York City with my drama group. That’s more like a lot of moments, but it all blurs together after all these years into one.
One thing I’d like to say to my teen self:
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
A quote I live by:
Everything always works out for you, Joëlle. – said to me repeatedly by my mum.
My dream vacation:
Spain, I think. Or the south of France. I don’t like to fly, but I would love to go somewhere warm and very relaxing. Where no one spoke English. And, of course, my husband would be with me. We’d just eat and drink and wander and nap and eat and drink and wander and nap for a couple of weeks.
In My Perfect World…
Everyone would get a massage and someone to clean their bathroom at least once a week.
There would be an abundance of homegrown food and a sense of community.
No one would be deprived of love.
Every child would have security.
No one would ever yell.
Health care would be free for everyone.

Joëlle Anthony