Friday, March 12, 2010

Beginnings

I can't believe I let three weeks pass since my last post, but I have an excuse! I really, really, do. And it's not too bad of an excuse, either.

I've been thinking a lot about beginnings lately. Last month I finished my first draft and started revisions, but the beginning didn't feel right. I was fortunate enough to get in on Roni's Beta Club, and I found out right away what was wrong. To make it worse, the problems I have with it are all things I have heard before. Show, don't tell. Don't dump a lot of backstory up front. I know these things, but my beginning was thick with this kind of stuff. It's hard to see what's wrong in your own writing. At least it is for me. I'm so grateful for Roni's critique and the other comments as well. I can't wait to tear this thing apart and rework it. But first...

I have another big beginning looming up in front of me. We found out a few weeks ago that we would probably need to move to another town about seventy miles away. This week it became official. My hubby has gotten a transfer, and we will move when school is out. So that means preparing to sell our home while looking for another one, and the clock is ticking. We've lived in our home for over 10 years, and the idea of moving is both exciting and sad at the same time. My brain has been so overwhelmed with preparations that I haven't been able to focus on writing or revisions.

But at least I can still read, right? And oh my, I just got my hands on Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series. I'm on the second book, so don't tell me how it ends, okay?

In the meantime, I'll try to do better about posting. I mean, seriously, three weeks? I'm sure I can do better than that.

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Line Friday!

I have just started revisions, and what better place to start than at the beginning, right? I thought I would share my first line with you guys.

"Night time is never a good time to go out alone."

I would love to see your first lines! Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 15, 2010

First Hurdle - Cleared!!

Guess what? This weekend I finished the first draft of my first novel ever!

WooHoo! I've been smiling ever since.  :)   (See?)

Oh, I know that it's a major piece of poo, but it's my poo! I did it!

I started this novel SEVERAL months ago. (I'm embarrassed to admit how long ago.) I have learned so much since I started writing. I've been reading craft books like Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, other YA books, and also other blogs. But I did not go back and try to fix things. Otherwise, I might still be on Chapter 1.

So, how flawed is it? Let me count the ways.
1) Several areas - like characters and settings - are underdeveloped.
2) I have entire scenes, as well as snippets of others, that are missing. On the other hand, I think I have a scene in there that I knew when I wrote it that it wouldn't make the final cut.
C) My dialogue resembles talking heads.
4) I have too much show, and not enough tell.
#) How do I describe this problem? It's told in first person, but I don't think I really let her share her thoughts or opinions enough. Does that make sense? This may fall under number 1.
AND finally...
6) I have a prologue! (The horror! I can hear your screams from here!)

And those are just the problems I can name off the top of my head. I'm sure there are scores of others I haven't even noticed yet. That's okay! I'll fix them as I find them (or as someone else points them out to me).

Now I'm off to cut out a prologue and figure out how to weave in that pertinent information. And I'll be smiling while I do it.

Y'all have a great day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Have you seen this?


 It did what it was supposed to do, at least for me. I really want to read this book, even more now that I've seen the cover. It seems like the mockingjay is breaking free and flying away. I certainly hope she does! Come on, August!

Another item in the "Have you seen this?" file for today: A 15 year old girl in Japan wrote a novel on her cell phone. With her thumbs. Her thumbs, people!! Apparently, cell phone novels are somewhat popular. I had never heard of this before. Have you? This girl has sold over 100,000 copies and has made over $600,000. Hmm. I wonder if my thumbs are up to it... 

And one more for the file: This morning I saw a commercial for "I Can Be" Barbie playsets. One of the playsets is a "potty training Kelly" set. I caught a glimpse of the toilet. It "flushes" and, well, let's just say your child doesn't have to use her imagination. Eew.

What will they think of next?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When Will It End?

I. Am. So. Tired. Of. Power. Outages.

It makes me cold just thinking about it. I may go hide in my bed until spring. Maybe I'll take a flashlight, pen, and paper in there with me and finally finish my first draft. It's so close I can feel it - if my fingers weren't numb, that is.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Breaking News from ICE LAND!

Technically, I am not in ICE LAND (also known as Oklahoma) anymore since it has all melted now, but today is the first day I have been in my home since last Friday! Oh, internet, how I missed you!

I was planning to post last Thursday afternoon, but our power went out due to all the ice forming on the power lines and tree limbs. (I guess I'll save that post for later!) SIX DAYS LATER, we got our power back on. I wasn't really surprised it took so long, even though we live in town. The blackout was massive. In fact, there are communities north of us that are still completely without power.

It's amazing what an extended power outage can do to your frame of mind. I spent part of this past week with my parents, who only went two days without electricity. While I was there, they lost power two more times, but only for a few hours each time. I didn't realize how much it affected me until it came back on the second time. My mood instantly lifted and I started hopping around, happy to do some housework! What was that about?

So anyway, I'm happy to say I'm home! I'm warm! I have internet! I don't think I can possibly catch up on the blogs, especially with a mountain of laundry and dishes calling my name. And I haven't written a word in over a week. (Feeling more than a little guilty about that, but that's another post.)

Here's to getting back to life! (As I know it!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Uh-Oh. Now What?

Has it really been two weeks since I posted anything? Wowza.

What can I say? There are big changes brewing in the Earp household, and they have nothing to do with my writing. Can you say STRESS? (I can!) If I don't chill out my head will permanently ache, and I really don't want any more gray hair.

I guess it's not THAT big of a deal, but me and Change? We're not friendly. Just so you know.

Moving on now...

So, here's my big Uh-Oh:

You might remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned a conference in March. (Of course you don't remember. That's okay.) It is our state SCBWI conference, and there are 10 page critques available. WooHoo! I was so psyched about getting a pro to give me some feedback for improvement. But then a few days ago one very small detail smacked me between the eyes.

My MS isn't YA. Technically.

Let me explain. When I began my novel so many months ago I thought it would be a YA. I know lots of young readers like to read up, so it seemed logical to me at the time that high school readers might read about a young college student. I have since come to the realization that 18 (and certainly 19 and 20) year old MCs are too old for YA.

Considering content and style, my novel would fit YA. But I haven't heard of many (if any) YA agents or editors picking up novels with characters this age. I guess I didn't really think about this until SMP held the New Adult contest. (If I'm wrong about agents picking up this age, please correct me.)

Should I submit 10 pages of a "New Adult" for a SCBWI critique? I don't want to be the ding dong that doesn't have a clue, but if this was a conference for adult novels, I wouldn't feel like I fit in there, either.

So, now I ask you. What do you think I should do??

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm On a Mission, and I'm Wishin'

. . . someone would cure this WIP's condition!

We're one week down and 51 more to go this year! How has your first week been? Still sticking to your resolutions?

My first week of 2010 had a slow start, but at least it's going now. I didn't make any resolutions, because I NEVER keep them, but I did set a few goals for myself. And it will be a gradual process to reach them.

I won't bore you with my list, but I'll let you in on a few:

1) I found a couple of conferences I want to go to. One is in late March, and the other is in April. I'm not sure I'll make the one in April, but March is looking good right now. But here's the problem - my WIP isn't finished. I haven't even finished the first draft. It's not that I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm just not there yet.
So here I am needing to finish it, revise it, revise a few more times, send it to betas (after I find a few), revise again a few more times, and edit. All by March 27. Is it possible? I have no idea. I've never been in this position before. Which leads us to . . .

2) Go to bed earlier (before midnight) and get up earlier. In a house with kids and not enough focus to be able to write with said kids around, I find myself staying up till the AM trying to get words down. Which means I'm not getting up earlier either. Then I feel lousy, which brings us to. . .

3) Get moving. I have slacked off. Period. It's amazing how fast one can lose her stamina when she's not using it. I need to walk more and work up to jogging more. There's a 5K in town at the end of April, and my goal is to work up to that. But it's hard to get motivated when you want to take a nap, right? I'll let you know how it goes, unless I slack off even more. Then you won't hear about it ever again. (Smile!)

It's a process to improve ourselves. I can't say "I will exercise, eat right, get enough rest, and write 2,000 words a day, every day!" It just won't happen. But I can work to do a little better today than I did yesterday, and a little better this week than last week. If I keep at it, then with a little luck I will be able to say this year was better than last.

And isn't that everyone's mission?

Here's to all of us having a great year!