Saturday, December 31, 2011

Writing Resolutions

Happy New Year! Last year I spent New Year’s Eve on the Westminster Bridge in London waiting for and then finally watching the giant fireworks display. This year we are at home here in Oregon REMEMBERING our Christmas and New Years in England. Well, we knew it was a once in a lifetime experience that we would fondly remember forever.

Time for the fledgling writer to make a few New Year’s Resolutions for her new writing avocation.
1.     Write every day. Yes, even on work days. Yes, even when I’m so tired I can barely make it through the door. Yes, even if it is only 100 words. Something. Every. Day.

2.      Re-read Jerry Cleaver’s Immediate Fiction.

3.      Finish the last rewrite of The Vampire Gabriel.

4.      Decide what I’m going to do with The Vampire Gabriel.

5.      Find one or two critique partners. Love having a best friend read my writing, but, well, she’s a best friend.

6.      Join the local chapter of the national writing organization that I’ve been considering joining for months now. Perhaps I will find my critique partners there.

7.      Finish the first draft of my Civil War novel.
While that seems like a lot to accomplish, I must remember that a year ago whilst standing on the Westminster Bridge I hadn’t even begun to think about writing. Since then I have written the first draft of an 80,000 word novel, researched an historical novel, written about 15,000 words of the historical novel, attended workshops, attended the fabulous two-day Wordstock, started two blogs, and started a third novel whose main character wouldn’t leave me alone until I started putting her story down on paper. Whew. I’ve never put all of that down in one place. I’m excited by what I was able to accomplish during 2011.

But I’m even more excited by what 2012 will bring for this new writing adventure! Happy New Year! Let’s keep writing!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Meeting Lemony Snicket

Tears ran down my face, I was laughing so hard at last night’s taping of the public radio show “Live Wire!” (Live Wire! is taped here in Portland, Oregon, but can be heard in markets around the country.) The reason for the tears: the uproariously funny Lemony Snicket, aka Daniel Handler. I had been looking forward to seeing the man behind the mysterious Lemony Snicket, but I had no idea just how funny the man actually is. So entertaining was he, they let him run long over his allotted time, so sadly when the show airs I’m sure a lot of it will have been edited out. After entertaining the audience during his interview with humorous story after hilarious story, he closed by playing the accordion and singing such a rousing song that most of the audience was gasping for breath, they were laughing so hard. After the show I saw him standing near me and, acting like a babbling idiot fan, I asked for a picture. He was gracious and still extremely amusing while he struck a goofy pose with me. Thank you Lemony! (The show is scheduled to be broadcast Christmas Eve, and will be available on their website as a podcast.)

At each Live Wire! taping, they have a Flash Fiction competition, with six entries chosen for reading at the end of the taping of the second show. (Two shows are taped at each live show.) Last night we had to write six words describing our New Year’s resolution and mine was read! It was silly and random, just what they look for. For a terrifying moment when they read my name and were about to read my six words I worried what would happen if the audience didn’t laugh. How horrifying would that be?! Six words just hanging in the air. But thankfully the audience responded and gave it a good laugh. Whew! This Fledgling Writer wrote six whole words that made an audience laugh! Hear my magnificent six words on New Year’s Eve. I’m sure they will change your life.
Daniel Handler’s new book,  Why We Broke Up , is available December 27th.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Vampire Gabriel

I have a new blog that went live Friday night! The blog for my novel about the enigmatic, sexy vampire Gabriel Augustine is up and running. Though I have intended to add a blog specific to one of my novels, I was not planning on starting it so soon. I was getting over a fever, was playing around on Blogger, looking at designs and such, and without being anywhere NEAR ready, I accidently went live. Ever since that fateful click I’ve been racing to make it presentable. At least a little presentable.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, this past summer, while researching my Civil War book, I practiced my craft by writing the first draft of this paranormal romance. I have always referred to this novel as my “practice” novel. Since that no longer seems sufficient I will now refer to it as THE VAMPIRE GABRIEL, and you can check out the teaser I have posted on its dedicated website at:  

I’m currently working on the rewrite of Gabriel. After a spell of struggling with the rewrite, and feeling rather stagnant, I set it aside for six weeks, as I’d read that this can help when a writer hits a wall. A couple of weeks ago I looked at it with fresh eyes, and the rewrite is now coming right along. Most recently I’ve been reworking the beginning, with the goal being to up the pace and get the reader into the action more quickly.

Today’s book alert: As a fan of Jane Austen, (she is even an off stage, unseen character in THE VAMPIRE GABRIEL) my eye is always caught by the mash-ups that are so popular right now. I’ve only read a few, and have mostly been disappointed. But a new one by a very well respected author has just been published: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James. I plan to give this one a try.
Happy Reading and Writing! And check out Gabriel!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Adverbs, Filter Words, and Query Letters, Oh My!

Between the Thanksgiving holiday entertaining, and preparing report cards I have had very little time available for writing recently. What little free time I’ve had, however, I’ve spent finding and reading blogs on writing. With each new blog I read I become a little more overwhelmed and find myself asking “Why did I ever think I could do this?!” After one particular blog surfing session I looked at my writing and despaired at the many ‘filter words’ I had peppered throughout. And adverbs-- the great mortal sin of writing! [I’m even looking for these two horrors of bad writing in the books I read--and finding them!] As I clicked on one blog it would lead me to another and another, and before long I found myself reading up on how to write a good query letter, which is something I am far from ready for. Take note fledgling writers: a good query letter will take at least two months to write according to one writer. Despite the daunting discoveries I’ve made lately, I am not one to give up and I plan to continue to accept the challenge. (Some of the more helpful blogs I’ve read are linked at the bottom of this post.)

I’ve also searched Amazon for highly recommended books on writing, two of which arrived in the mail yesterday! I look forward to delving into Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark, and The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House, by a plethora of excellent writers.

I would love to hear from other fledgling writers out there. If you are new to writing please click that COMMENT button and share your experiences. The teacher in me knows we learn from one another. And next time I plan to post a little about what I’m working on.

Thought for the day: “The first draft of anything is always s**t.” Ernest Hemingway 
I take solace knowing that even Hemingway had his struggles.

Blogs on Writing:
Write It Sideways: Includes many excellent articles on writing; this is where I found the information on ‘filter words’, as well as very helpful information on query letters.
Writer’s Digest: This long respected resource is practically a one stop shopping site for writers.
Fiction Factor: This link will take you to their article on “The Reason Editors Reject Manuscripts” by Vicki Hinze.
Happy Reading and Writing!