March 2011 Archive

Blogging/Querying/Vacation & An Engagement

Ahh, finally, after two hours I have finally caught up on my blogs.  I have no idea what I would do without Google Reader.  I subscribe to some fifty blogs (I know many of you will shake your head and say, I subscribe to wayyy more than that)!  I can’t get over how connected I feel to the writers community out there since starting my blog and I am continuously blown away by how many amazing writers there are out there.  Blog on fellow writers!

In other news, I officially started writing my first query for Rupert.  Yesterday morning, I fired up the computer, bit my nails, and took out my trusty Notebook of Ideas.  I flipped to Rupert’s section and began taking notes.  I started with Nathan Bransford’s blog, headed on over to Rachelle Gardner’s blog, and scoured their sites for any and all resources they had on writing a query.  What I found, is that queries look easy, but really aren’t.  I wrote a first draft after researching, shut my notebook and haven’t opened it again.

Why am I so hesitant to keep working on my query?  Mostly because it’s not that much fun to write.  I would much rather work on my new WIP.  Don’t worry folks, I wouldn’t be a writer if I wasn’t prepared for through the not fun stuff too.  My big plan is to construct as good a first query as I can in the coming days, possibly post it here, or else send it to my CP’s to see what they think.

Lastly, I’m going on vacation and GET TO SEE MY FAMILY!!!  Cale and I leave for Phoenix Thursday morning and will meet up with my Mom, Dad, sister, and future brother-in-law.  That’s right, my sister got engaged!!!!!  Chris is pretty awesome and I am super excited for him to officially be family.

We’ll be visiting some of our best family friends and my god-father.  Want to know how excited I am to see everyone?  I’m so excited, I packed three weeks ago.  Yup, three weeks ago.

I’m 10,000 words into my new WIP and am looking forward to working on it more when I have spare time this coming week.  Rupert is finished and is being critiqued again.  (If anyone is looking for a critique partner, I would LOVE to read/edit whatever you have if you are interested in checking out Rupert.  It’s ended up at about 23k).

Flash Fiction Anyone?

This is taken from a potential character from a potential book.  The inspiration for her came from my reactions after a car accident a year and a half ago.  Thankfully, her fear is much more exaggerated than mine was.

Second Guesses

I pause.  My hand wavers over the four sailboat hooks beside my front door.  The yellow hook has a hat hanging from it and the blue one has my spare car key on a heart shaped key ring dangling from its tail.  This leaves the red and white hook.  My stomach quivers and threatens to upset.

Will someone die if I hang it on the white hook?

No, that’s ridiculous.

But a car accident, that’s possible.

The keys slip on my sweaty fingers.  I fight with the muscles in my arm so it slides over an inch to hover before the red hook.  Red for love.

But white for the Holy Spirit.

I slam the keys down on the white hook and take a step back, only to immediately come forward again, lift the keys from the hook, flip them around, and place them backwards on the sailboat.  I think for a moment and then turn them back again.  Air catches in my throat as I breath in.

Safe, safe, safe.  My mantra slides across my vision.

With a frustrated growl, I propel myself through the hall, away from the keys, and throw my shoes from my feet.  One lands tipped sideways against the wall.

Shoes don’t like sitting like that.

Using my toes, I rearrange the shoes so they sit beside one another nicely.  Five pairs of shoes line the hall, each one sits beside the next equally spaced apart and perfectly arranged.  Hiding behind a closet in the hall is a cardboard box filled with a tumbling pile of shoes I seldom wear.

I fill the green cup in the bathroom with cold water and let its coolness slide down my throat.  Setting it down, I twist it so its square edge lines up perfectly against the sink.  Pausing, I stare at the cup and then inch it closer to the toothbrush holder, waiting for the moment when it will feel right.  I move it back the inch.

It never feels right.

Safe, safe, safe.  I stare at my reflection as I think these words.  My fists clench suddenly so fingernails scratch into my skin.  The pain brings me back into my body and out of my mind.

The water I drank sits heavily in my stomach and I sit down on the toilet as if the water weighs me down.  My back curves, hands fold into lap, knees tuck inward and I pray I never have to move again.

I want to stay here where I am safe from my nervous fear.  Thoughts bounce between my ears and clamber together so loudly I fear my neighbors will ask why I make such a racket.

I forgot to get milk.

Haltingly, I stand and hobble back to the front door.

Who will die?

Someone will get hurt.

Your car will get smooshed by a truck.

“Stop!”  My voice sounds pathetically quiet compared to the words in my head.  “Safe, safe, safe.”  I say out loud to make sure I have actually thought, and said them.  I need it to be true.

Closing my eyes, I breathe deeply.  Air fills my belly, lungs, and throat.  Sharp pain pulls at my ribs.  Without looking, I lift the keys and walk out the door, ignoring the second guesses in my head.

The More You Write the Better

I know I have already posted this link.  It’s the first in a four part series by Ira Glass on storytelling.  If you haven’t watched it, you need to.  Now.

Part of what Ira says is that at the beginning of your career you will produce a lot of crap, but the more you write and the more you work, the better your material will become.

I am extremely excited by how Rupert is evolving and becoming an even better piece of work then I had thought it would be.  Cale has said that Rupert is much better than the first book I wrote.  With this in mind, I’m taking a note from Ira Glass and am looking forward even more to this third book I have begun plotting.

I had a free day today and filled it with listening to Harry Potter on CD and writing (interspersed with taking the dogs on a walk, swim suit shopping- which was a failure, and biking).  I decided to begin the first chapter of this third book.  Yay!  It was a great day of writing a few thousand words and feeling good about the direction my writing is taking.

I guess the moral of this post is to keep writing as much as you can! :)

Silly Mistakes

Lesson learned: make completely new copies of your MS after it’s been critiqued by someone.  I don’t know how I did it, but when I copied and pasted edits into my MS I ended up deleting a chapter.  Thankfully, I had a version of that chapter from a couple weeks ago, but I can’t remember how much I might have changed since then.  Oops.

What else have I done recently that’s been a bit absentminded?  I had to re-write a certain part of a chapter twice because it didn’t save.  I still think my computer was doing something funky there though and it wasn’t my fault in not saving.

Let’s see…I’ve torn up a piece of paper I thought I had copied all information and ideas off of, but actually hadn’t.

I’ve also left a book I was using to research on the floor right where my dog could eat it up.  Thankfully she’s grown out of that stage of her puppy-hood.  (The same day, she also chewed up my boyfriend’s mother’s book she was lending me.  Ugh).

I thought I left my idea notebook at work last week, before the start of spring break (I teach twice a week an hour from home), but it was actually stuffed under the seat of my car.  That about gave me a heart attack.  I carry that thing with me everywhere I go.

At least I’ve never lost an entire MS.  My computer crashed last year but I had already saved everything to the internet, a flash drive, and a hard drive.  It never hurts to be prepared.

What silly mistakes have you made in your journey of writing?

The First 312 Words

Gabi Lessa is having a fabulous contest on her blog in honor of her birthday!

Here are the rules if you’d like to join!

  1. Visit her blog to sign up for the contest. You have until noon on Saturday, March 12th, to sign up.
  2. The contest is open for everyone. You can enter either a finished manuscript or a work in progress.
  3. Post the first 312 words of your manuscript on your blog. Just the first 312! It doesn’t matter if it ends mid-sentence, that’s ok. But please be sure to count! 312 words, not one more, not one less!
  4. When you post your entry, post your title, your genre and your manuscript’s status (finished or in progress).

So…here’s Rupert!

TitleRupert Reginald Robinson, the ninth & the House Next Door
GenreMiddle Grade
StatusWIP
First 312 Words:

Rupert Reginald Robinson clutched a thick book to his chest, his forehead rested against the glass of the backseat car window.  The car bumped across the road.  His head slid to a new place and left a smudge of grease on the glass.

“Ouch,” he said as his head whacked against the glass for a third time.  He released his book and rubbed his forehead with two fingers.

In his left hand he gripped a baseball.  The ball was worn and frayed as if a dog had chewed on the red bindings.  As the car bounced down the road the ball rotated around, his fingers moved methodically so the ball was always in motion.

Rupert placed his head back against the glass and looked out onto the street.  At the corner stood Bobby.

Bobby was the school bully.  A small grey rat rode on his shoulder.  This rat was his favorite form of torture.  Bobby would hide it in kids’ lockers to scare them.  He scowled when he saw Rupert spying him through the glass.

“Aunt Miriam?”  Rupert asked and looked up to the front seat.

“Hmm?”  Miriam kept her eyes on the road.

“Are we almost there?”

“No Rupert, we are not almost there.  Do not ask again.”

Rupert turned back to stare out the window.

Beside him, his cousin sat in a booster seat playing with dolls.  She hummed quietly to herself as the dolls clicked against each other.  Rupert could hear her lips moving as she silently talked to herself

“Mom? Are we there yet?” Delilah asked absentmindedly.

“We’ll be there in just a few minutes, sweetie.”  Miriam said and reached back to pat her daughter on the knee.

Rupert rolled his eyes.

The car came to a halt in their driveway and Delilah began to squirm in her seat.  She quickly dropped both her dolls to the car…