Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Blog Award....(but no more new pages yet)

I was tagged by my fellow writer and awarded a new blog award!  I am so excited!

The Tag rules:

You must post the rules.
Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
Tag your award winners and link to them.
Let them know you’ve tagged them.

This means I get yet another opportunity to talk about myself!

The Questions I Get to Answer:
  1. What's your favorite letter of the alphabet and why? (you're not limited to the English alphabet)  I am going with Z.  Z is zazzy.  Z is in my name.  And Z is...not common-place.
  2. What's the most disgusting/odd combination of food you've ever eaten? I have 18 food allergies, so I don't consider them odd combinations...I call that life.
  3. Favorite word?  Hm, I like words in general.  "Circumference" is nice...and "luxurious"...and "tranquil."  I also rather like "dabble."
  4. If you had to get a tattoo, what would it be and why? If you already have one, use that as your answer.  I have two already.  I want another...but I haven't decided what yet, because once I decide I will want to immediately go get it.
  5. What fictional character is most like you and why? Could be personality or appearance, from a book, movie, graphic novel, whatever.  My entire family is gather around me and watching me type this and screaming "Sheldon Cooper" (from Big Bang Theory).  I do NOT see the resemblance.
  6. The bitchy blond female character -> love? hate? overdone? (bonus points for including your favorite blond joke).  I have known a few bitchy blonds in my day...whether they were truly blond or not?  I couldn't tell you.
  7. Do you usually write characters who are the same gender as you are? Ever tried the opposite?  Characters tend to come to me "as is."  I don't try to assign them one gender or another. 
  8. If you could swap places with a character and live in their fictional world/universe for a day, which would you choose? I have been reading a lot of dystopian books lately...not sure I want to change placed with any of those characters.
  9. What's your favorite fairy-tale/myth/folk-tale/fable/nursery-rhyme, and would you ever write a re-telling of it?  I do have a serious soft spot for Sisyphus.
  10. If you could turn your significant other into an animal for one day, what animal would you choose and why? I would turn him into a German Shepherd dog for the day and scratch that spot on his back that makes dogs shake their leg uncontrollably.
  11. Does Pluto deserve to be re-instated as a planet?  YES!  (In my head, it will always be a "real planet." 

I want to pass this award along to:

You should definitely check out their blogs and widen the circle of writers that you read and follow!

For those tagged, here are your questions:
  1. What book character do you had a crush on?
  2. What was the last book that made you cry?
  3. What scenes are the hardest for you to write?
  4. Are you superstitious about your writing methods, or do you have any rituals regarding your writing?
  5. Do you listen to music when writing, or do you have to have silence?
  6. What book antagonist do you love to hate?
  7. What is the last  book that you stayed up ridiculously late to finish reading?
  8. When was the last time that you waited in line for a book release?
  9. What book(s) is/are currently on your bedside table?
  10. What is your "guilty pleasure" book that you read and re-read?
  11. How comfortable are you calling yourself "a writer/"
    (If anyone else wants to play/answer the questions, go ahead! Just include the link, or answer directly in the comment section.:)

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Dream Launching...and 162 Pages

    I normally do not post much later in the week, but this week I have to make an exception.  You see, I received my first blog award for this blog recently. 

    Jess, over at Write, Skate, Dream was gracious enough to award me this blog.  You see, this blog is awarded to people who help support you in your pursuit of your dreams.  I am humbled by this award, because I truly believe that writers have a responsibility to encourage other writers.  So, by receiving this, I feel like maybe I am helping to do my part.

    I owe a debt of gratitude to so many people who have encouraged me in my writing.  Unfortunately, so many of them do not have blogs, so I can't give them a blog award.  There are a few, though, that do.  Some have been supporting my dreams for years, like my super wonderful friend over at Notes from a Sentient Observer.  When this book is completed, she really will have been mid-wife to it.

    I have also received much encouragement from my dear friend over at Eat, Breathe, Drink, Art (a fabulous artist that I dearly hope will be lending her creative hand to my cover art) and, rounding out my list of blogging supporters, there is also Patrick Nelson over at Patrick Nelson Stories (who is a seriously talent writer and who you need to go read as soon as I shut up).

    So, to these fine folk, I pass on the much esteemed Dream Launcher Award:
    Lovely though this time maybe an award with a big, blue police box???
     So for those of you worthy folk who have seen fit to offer me words of encouragement, who have nagged me to write, who have questioned my characters (and at times my sanity) are appreciated!  Now take a minute and pass this on to others who have helped you on your journey!

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Bottle Trees, Trapped Things...and 159 Pages

    I know it sounds crazy, but I am actually looking forward to editing.  Mainly, I think, because that means that the actual book is all down on paper.  I mean, sure, there will be things changed, revised, beef-up, fleshed out, switched around, cleaned up and, you know...edited.  But that means that I have gotten over the initial hump and can get to the part where I take those raw ideas and polish them up so that the reality matches (at least as closely as possible) the image in my head. 

    Speaking of images in my head:  I also have a haunting picture in my head, and it has found its way (sort of) into my book.  (I know, "Surprise!" right?)  But still, having grown up close enough to the South to have actually seen several bottle trees, they do rather take root in your subconscious.  If you have not been lucky enough to see one in person, then you can check out this 1930s photograph of a bottle tree taken by Eudora Welty:

    Photograph of a Bottle Tree taken by Eudora Welty, circa 1930.
    Can't you just hear those trapped spirits?
    So, with all these new ideas and images rattling around in my head, and since I now know how this first book will end, and I since I am so tantalizingly close to getting it all down...well, to be honest, it is SO tempting to call in sick (cough, cough) and see if I can churn it out in one day.  I think that I least I could if I would just give myself permission to sit still long enough.  My fear is that I would end up "catching up on laundry first" (you know, so I could concentrate without mom guilt), but that I would look up and realize that I wasted the entire day doing non-writerly-stuff.  So I trudge off to work and wait until sacred hour when I hole up in the corner of the break room with my notebooks and pencils and scribble away while I eat (yet another) peanut butter sandwich.

    You see, there is this other part of me, a part that I hate to acknowledge, that is rather afraid of being done.  This bit of me is afraid of a time when the story is on paper, all typed up, nicely edited, read and re-read, formatted, and reach to launch.  Because then it is no longer mine; then it belongs to the world.  As writers well know, the world can be cruel; it it is our instinct to want to protect our "baby" from all that viciousness.  But the truth is that Art cannot live tucked away in the bottom drawer (or trapped on a flash drive, or hidden on your laptop), it has to be seen and breathed in and appreciated (or, perhaps just as likely, not appreciated) in order to exist.     

    So, I try to squelch my fears and write on...word after word, day after day.  I alternate between exhilaration and dread...and I am okay with that.

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Writer's Guilt...and 149 Pages

    This is one of those days when I feel like a fraud.  I wonder If you are really a writer, why didn't you write at all this weekend?  Writers, well...they actually write.  Ouch.

    Yep.  I did not write Saturday or Sunday...not a bloody word!  I helped the kids decorate Valentine's Days boxes for school, I made a huge trip to the store with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to stock up on food in case the winter weather became something impressive and fearsome (it didn' was pathetic...but, hey, at least I got my cabinets filled up!). 

    I watched too much television (which I rarely do at all, much less to excess). 

    I ate too much (and this at a time when I am entered in a "Biggest Loser" contest at work...more because I could really use the $400 prize rather than out of any real desire to become smaller). 

    I did not write.  I was not productive.  Full stop.  No excuses.  (Just lots and lots of "writer's guilt").  [NOTE:  In an effort to avoid writing, I just went so far as to google "writer's guilt"...nothing.  Perhaps I am the only one who actually feels guilty when I go more than one day without having written something of substance.]

    So, taken as a whole, I am assuming that I am still at "That Part of the Book."  (For more information on the pit of despair that is "That Part of the Book," please refer to Neil Gaiman's Pep Talk here.)  I am between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way through the first that seems about right.  "That Part of the Book" is a dark, dark place to be.  It seems that the only time I can force myself to sit and write is over my lunch hour at work...which is something at least, but not nearly enough. 

    I suppose to should be grateful that it is not something more Writer's Block, or a Lost Manuscript (please hold on a moment while I knock on wood frantically).

    Ok.  So apparently I need a self imposed deadline.  Something more short-term than the whole "year" thing to spur on some serious writing and get me back on track.  Fair enough.  I can do that...what"I must write15 pages before the end of the day on Friday."  But wait.  There needs to be a consequence.  I need some incentive to actually get it done.  I will have to ponder this. 

    On that note, if you happen to have any suggestions of possible consequences for failing to write my page count, feel free to leave them in the comments.  Maybe I should post some paragraphs...or a chapter...of what I am working on.  Perhaps some of my handwritten pages, or notes, or maps.  Or a picture of me writing, in my jim-jams, not wearing any make-up.  [Note:  In the interest of not wanting a lose any of my Followers, especially when people are just starting to "follow" me, perhaps the whole "no make-up" part is not the wisest idea...]  But I am open to suggestions, so comment away!

    Also, in the spirit of continuing to share more of my current work-in-progress, I shall offer the following:

    A slightly creepy, but ultimately rather intriguing, cairn.
     Enough procrastinating, already!  I will now sharpen my pencil, grab my lunch, and hole up at the corner table in the office break room so that I can try to get words on paper.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Beware the Space Under the Stairs...and 147 Pages

    FAIR WARNING:  I have decided to share bits and snippets of various things that are of significance in my book (or things that I just really like and want to inflict on you share).  Sometimes I may reveal a new character, details about where the story is set, important oddities about the setting, or other random things that might prove interesting.  Here is today's offering:
    Beware the twll dan grisiau.

    So, now that we have the obligatory creepiness out of the way...

    I have to confess; this is the first time I have ever attempted to write an entire novel in long hand before I enter it into the computer and start editing it.  I have discovered that I actually prefer to write in makes the changes and revisions less distracting than staring at scribbled out blocks of text that are further proof my stumbling along. 

    I also found that I like the immediacy of being able to whip out my notebooks and get to writing without having to wait for the computer to boot up, to open the program and document, etc.  I also prefer the satisfaction of seeing the pages pile up.  It is a bit humbling to flip through page after page filled with words!

    Early on, I started dating my efforts to show how the progress grew...I could mark what was going on in my life when I was writing each word.  It is a bit unnerving to be able to flip to a random page and look at a date and think, "Oh, wow, I wrote that three months ago...was it really that long ago?  That was right before my husband's surgery..."  It makes the book almost a milestone of this year of my life.  I wonder how many characters suffered a change in fate simply because of the mood I woke up in that day....  I may have to examine this more closely once it is completed.

    I have found that there are also some potential downsides to writing everything out in long-hand.  For example, I have a paranoid fear of losing the notebooks, or spilling something on them, or getting in a car wreck and barely extracting myself from the wreckage only to have the car burst into flames before I can rescue my only manuscript....

    Other than the fear of obliterating my only copy of my book, I have also been obsessing over the amount of time it is also going to take to enter the whole book onto the computer once the first draft is completed; I do think that may actually work in my favor, since I can use it as my first round of editing (or so I imagine).  Fingers crossed!

    Things have started getting more intense in my story line the past week or so.  People are on the run and finding out that the didn't really know those closest to them at all.  A new character is about to make an appearance, and there could be some romantic interest there.  I need to write more and see what kind of chemistry they have, but in my head it is going to throw some wonderful kinks into things.  The conflicts are building up, and in some ways it makes it harder to write.  I have found that when the plot becomes more interesting to read, it also becomes more emotional and nerve wracking to write.  But the past week has been pretty productive...I have completed 147 pages.


    Friday, February 3, 2012

    World Book Night, a Book Give Away...and 139 Pages

    Well, I found out yesterday that I was chosen to be a "Book Giver" for World Book Night.  I have to tell you...I am incredible jazzed about the whole thing.  For those of you that are not familiar with it, World Book Night takes place on April 23, 2012 this year (the date was chosen in honor of Shakespeare and Cervantes who both died on April 23 1616...and it was also Shakespeare's birthday!).

    World Book Night is "a charity dedicated to the promotion of literacy and the celebration, sharing and enjoyment of reading amongst teenagers and adults. The first World Book Night was held in the UK in 2011. In 2012 World Book Night will be celebrated in the USA as well as the UK and Ireland on April 23 and will see tens of thousands of givers share the joy and love of reading with millions of non or light readers."

    For those of you that want to apply to become a Book Giver, there is still time!  Hurry and head over to
    World Book Night and register before June 6th, 2012 at midnight (EST)!  You get to select your three preferences from their list of books (they will try to accommodate one of your preferences), and then you wait for the golden ticket email adivising you that you are the Chosen One (or, rather, one of 50,000 Chosen Ones)!

    If  the idea of giving away 20 books to non-reading strangers (and I'm sorry but, if you "don't like to read," I am likely to consider you a bit strange...even if I do actually know you) is overwhelming, you can hang out here and see the various ways I devise to distribute the books which I am entrusted.  You can also leave some suggestions in the comments section below!

    I can tell you that at least one of the books will be given away on this blog as part of my World Book Night Book Give-Away!  As World Book Night grows closer, I will let you in on the contest details.

    As for my book, I am currently 139 pages along, and I am clearer on what still needs to happen before the first draft of this book will be complete.  I am now also certain that there will be at least one (possible two) books to follow this one.

    I have also started  my self-education on all things e-book-ish.  I have been reading up on editting, and book cover design, and other things that I find rather overwhelming...then I set it all aside and get back to writing.  Because, without the book completed and revised, there is no point in getting bogged down by the "other stuff."