Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finished Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. As a sort of homage to the authors who are entertaining me this month, I will post ways to get more information on them. After all, the most fascinating part of being an author is seeing how other folk did it.

Chelsea Cain has a pretty awesome site--very like J.K. Rowling's (so this Oregonian writer can't be all bad, right?). She's funny and insightful, both useful character traits when you're going to write about pill-popping investigators, pink-haired journalists, and super model serial killers:

http://www.chelseacain.com/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

December Goals

Actually, writing is not one of them. Having spent the last two years on one large piece, I have decided to take a writing break and read instead. Besides, December is a month where it's sooooo hard to get anything decent down on paper anyway--what with chestnut roasting and all.

So my goal is also a challenge.

I will read 10 (ten) books in December:

1. Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
2. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
3. Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
4. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (You didn't think I would make this easy on myself, did you?)
5. Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
6. The Duma Key by Stephen King
7. The Queen's Fool by Phillippa Gregory
8. Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins
9. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
10. Series of Unfortunate Events: The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket (this is where I left off in the series....)

Seems like a nice mix of old/new, long/short. Let's see what I can learn from them.

***Adjustment!
I have just remembered that two Kate Winslet movies: Revolutionary Road and The Reader will be coming out verrrrry soon. So, scratch Series and Queen's Fool from the list and insert these two. (Because Winslet rules!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Printing in progress

Three cheers for me! Finished the manuscript!

Now let's just hope the printer holds out. It's going through a lot of paper at the moment. Yeesh, death to the forests I guess.

I'm trying very hard not to focus on the thoughts going through my head
It's not perfect.
You've still got that typo.
You didn't correct the earlier critiques.
This will never make you a living.

I must tell those thoughts to shut up because you know what?

I have never finished a second draft of this magnitude before. I wrote a novel once upon a time and it's in the 'once upon a drawer' drawer. But it's just a first draft. Now, I've actually taken another step in the learning how to write ladder. It's a good thing. So I should just shut up and enjoy it. Moving on and up!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Libraries: conducive for rewrites

Today I discovered a new place to work: the library. Who knew?

I set out to find a quiet place to write this morning--forcing Shane to babysit because I have to, have to, have to finish my draft. Lo and behold Fountain, Colorado, has a library. I knew it existed because I have recently checked out multiple titles for my son to read, but it seemed a novel idea to actually work there.

The windows look out over a small wooded area and you can't see any cars or roads or anything and I realized that I like not being able to see or hear technology while working. I was focused for the two hours or so that I was allotted by the baby. Some work actually got accomplished.

But, I think more than the quiet, was the fact that I was surrounded by books. I mean, that's the whole reason I'm a writer. I love books. It seemed appropriate that I was working on a novel while surrounded by the fruits of the labors of many other novelists. This might seem strange because I work at a bookstore and am surrounded by the 'fruits of' all day long. But in the library it wasn't about making the sale...you can't buy these books. If people are going to the library, it's because they want to read something. It's a genuine love of reading that is found there.

Later I will have to worry about marketing and making the cash with the book I produce...but not right now. Now it's not about the business, it's about creating something good that someone will want to read.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What did I do?

Like an idiot, I asked if the CWC crew would be willing to do a 'full novel' read through--which involves handing in:

1. full draft of novel (like the name implies)

2. list of agents I am considering submitting to

3. rough draft of the synopsis that I would hand in to said agents

4. copy of query letter for said agents



I was hoping I would be a lot further along on finishing the draft than I am. Looking at the mess of paper in front of me I have another five chapters to do before I even touch at the query/synopsis process--something I've never actually tried before.

One of those chapters is the last chapter, which has always been the hardest one.

Here's the good news. I do think it's better than the first draft. And it's always a plus to be progressing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You people spend WAY too much time on Facebook

How do I know this?

Because I've been slowly sucked into the void that is Facebook. I pulled myself away before I planted anymore weird computer plants or joined more mafias or got bit by vampires or whatever else it is that the creators of this insane website have designed to eat my brain cells. And I do feel them dying, one by one.

Yet...

I'm scared to leave my profile alone for too very long because I was just gone for one day and have been notified that I have almost 30 'notifications'--namely, information regarding mafia/vampire/plant attacks from everyone that I've signed up with as a friend. And I don't have that many friends! I have located a bunch of people from high school and my Barnes and Noble career that I have not approached with the pleading tone of "be my friend!" partly because I'm scared of what will happen.

I have novels to write, people!

But if you listen to this post, I know I'll check my Facebook profile and be lonely if there's nothing there.

Can't win 'em all. Let the brain sucking commence.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

With Apologies to Virginia Woolf

A little while ago, I requested that people send me reading lists. On one of the lists John mentioned that I should definitely pick up Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. This is one I've read before, but considering the slight funk I was in, better to read a book about fiction, women, and writing by one of the greats.

Here's the problem.

One of the main tenets (actually the main tenet...note the title of the book) is that one must have 'money and a room of one's own' in order to write. And I looked around at my life and noticed that I have neither of those things.

Money: yeah, pretty much, no.

A room of my own: I share a loft with a husband and a baby. I do have a desk, but if I use it when I'm 'free' to use it, I wake everyone up and there goes any chance of creativity. Sometimes I'm so not-alone my skin is tingly from just being in the room with other people. At least I'm with people I love. (For example, as I am writing this brief blog, my brother has gone through the room in order to use the bathroom and I can hear the baby and my husband crawling up the stairs, heading my direction-wait baby tumbled now there's crying....)

Anyway, I'd like to amend this oh-so-famous tenet, because if I am to become a writer I cannot do it in the way Woolf accomplished her career. Times are a bit different. Let's look at it in the spirit I think Woolf meant:

You cannot be a writer without freedom and a spot to jot.

You must have freedom in order to create. Nowadays, women are not bound to the idea that we should be uneducated, the idea is, in fact, abhorrent. We can have our own money, property, and pursuits of happiness without anyone (except maybe a couple Neanderthals) thinking the less of us. By freedom, I also mean that you must have some free time.

So, freedom: Yep, I am not restrained by social convention. And if I don't have free time, I can definitely make it. Observe: brothers have left the bathroom and loving husband is comforting tumbled baby and I'm still writing this little blog...which is actually longer than normal.

You must also have a spot to jot. Stephen King is my example/inspiration here. Not only did he not have money when he started, but he also made a place to write. He wrote with a freaking typewriter on his lap! I at least have a computer. You can write anywhere-Ali is my example here, if you have a piece in your brain that will let you tune others out. Your spot to jot can be your brain, if nothing else...but eventually you do need a physical jotting place.

Spot to jot: The aforementioned desk. And my new toy: the lap desk with attached light. Awesome. Got some FJR work done on that yesterday.

With apologies to Ms Woolf-
If I followed her line of thought, I couldn't write-or at least succeed. I don't want to be an angry girl writer, writing to defend my right to write. A great many wonderful women have done that fighting for me (Jane Austen, the Brontes, Woolf herself).

Because times have shifted and because I want to be on the shelves next to her I must reject her most popular of tenets. I must do the work without money and without a room, but I think I retain the spirit of her argument.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Toys

I've been struggling with finding a place to write. Yes, I have a desk--in a loft I share with my husband and baby. If I want to write I have to wake everybody up (because any lamp or light illuminates the whole small space...ditto if I'm writing downstairs because of the shitty architecture of the house in which I reside...ditto laptop screen light)and I'm sure you all know how conducive that is to creation.

Enter a new product: the lap desk. A lap desk with a light attached. A small light that illuminates just what I'm working on. So, I can work downstairs without bothering anyone and (!) I may actually get some work done. My mother has graciously agreed to pay for my new toy.

Three cheers for progress!

Monday, November 3, 2008

November is Here, Yippee Skippee

All right, my goals this month:

Post about something other than my goals.
Finish 2nd draft of FJR and submit to CWC.
Get all critiques done (thanks to everyone for making that one easy!)
Put together submission packet (query letter, agent list, synopsis, etc.) for submission to CWC...I'm actually most nervous about this....)

I would love to do Ali's Challenge this month, but I'm afraid I'll hafta do it in December, which I was going to turn into my 'writing exercise' month--in which I write whatever the hell I feel like. And read whatever the hell I feel like...in between wrapping gifts and eating far too much for the holidays.

So, here's to November, but I'm looking forward to December.