Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's in Your Work Binder?

I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day weekend. Mine was filled with so many gatherings and events that I didn't get any relaxation at all, which has culminated in being asked if I'm ok at work because I'm stumbling around like a zombie.

Speaking of zombies - one of the things I did this weekend was play Left 4 Dead. If you're interested in playing online with me (computer), send me an email! Guppy and I kicked zombie ass. Laura Croft has nothing on us. Unfortunately, we need some more practice as the undead before we can win. Boo.

Despite the weekend insanity, I got two chapters completed over the weekend, and I started on a third. I also submitted a Character Chat for Carpe Mousa's weekly challenge, and she liked it enough that she posted it. If you want to read about justice from Blanche's Perspective (my main character from Devil's Tongue), it's there. :) She also gave me a blog award - thanks Danyelle! It's been such a pleasure getting to know you and your characters. (Psst - am I supposed to put the award on my blog? :3)

I also sent a piece of flash fiction to three different magazines. I'm starting to look at places that allow simultaneous submission for magazines since most of them have a 3-6 month turnaround. Yikes folks. I know editors are busy, but so are we writers.

While submitting, I found a really fun "time waster" at New Myths Stuff - The Excerpt Game. You have to create an account to play, but it's really fun. Each is the opening excerpt from a book - some of them are really famous, others are extremely bad. You get to rate and comment on them and see what others put as well. A fun exercise for people who like to fret about hooks.

I stole this link from Pub Rants, but this Washington Post article on Homeland Security using Sci-Fi Writers to help with future planning is awesome. You've got to read it.

To my fellow writers: Blog if you must, but remember to write! Don't get sucked into the intertubes.

P.S. I feel a small writing rant percolating. It may or may not come to fruition. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Holiday Weekend, Whoo!

I hope ya'll are gonna have as much fun as I'm going to this weekend. A birthday Rock Band party, a Memorial Day/birthday bash cookout, zombies all weekend, mocking the Guppy into playing Zork, and general writing shenanigans for zee novel will ensue. I'm going to finish through Chapter 9 this weekend. I've got an awesome character chat challenge to do.

Has anyone else noticed that there hasn't been much blog activity? You can tell the sunny season has started; everyone's out enjoying the time, and guest bloggers are popping up like crazy.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I've been accepted into the Wash U Summer Writer's Institute for June! The best part - I don't have to pay for it.

*happy dance* Two weeks of solid writing and learnin'. I'm pumped.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Facebook: Obsession and Hiatus

I recently took 30 days off from Facebook to see if it would affect my life. I got a lot of interesting comments about it. Some people thought it was amusing, some said I needed to learn to moderate myself, and others were horrified as they clutched to their e-page (you know who you are). Some people are addicted, and need a clue.

Let me start out by saying my decision wasn't a freakout reaction, nor because I spent hours on Facebook a day. I did notice my FB activity increased the previous month, and I was checking it intermittently throughout the day to see what my friends were all doing. My choice wasn't because this was bad, but rather because I wanted to see what a change-up in my routine would do to me and my time.

I spend a lot of time reading/interacting online - Facebook, Blogger, Xanga, Livejournal, news, IM, World of Warcraft, online writer's groups... the list goes on. Thankfully, I haven't bit the Twitter bullet. My friends who confess to following tell me they can get sucked in all day on the T-Train. I'm sure anyone reading this blog can admit to spending a decent amount of time jacked into the internet for one purpose or another.

My decision to change up my time was because of the simple fact that it is the changes to our routines, the small things that give us enough shake-up to remember we can do so much more with our time. What I needed was a change in perspective. When I stopped looking at Facebook, I realized that I wasted time with some blogs that aren't really of any fun or use; so I deleted them, and I added others I found more interesting. I started looking at my writing projects again after several months off from any of my own work (long story, but I had serious work problems and the death of two friends). I was reminded of how I wrote the first draft of my novel in just two and a half months, and that there are so many things I want to do in life.

Just as important as perspective, I meditated on time. I know time is a human construct, but I think measuring time helps to see what we can achieve in a given timeframe (like our lives). Looking at one of my friends who passed away this fall - he was 21 and died of liver cancer in four weeks. There's nothing like having a friend pass away who's younger than you die so quickly and slowly at the same time. It was hell, and sometimes I still can't believe that he's gone.

Yet one of the things Tommy did was encouraged people to reach for their goals and achieve something with their lives. Mostly he meant it, sometimes he was a little sarcastic about it (when you work as a martial arts instructor, you recognize the dropouts fast), but he was there for people no matter what stage of the game it was. I don't mean to turn this into a sob fest, but when you see something that shocks you and reminds you of your humanity, time becomes something precious.

I'm not going to save the world from giving up Facebook, but I did gain some perspective on what's worth my time. I quit my old job, started a job that's a better fit for me (for now), and I'm making plans with hubby so I can write fulltime in a few years.

Although I have to admit, I'm grateful to have Facebook back because I kept missing invites from people. ;o)

On a lighter note, I got accepted into grad school for the master's program in Personal Financial Planning from the University of Missouri. I'm hoping to have my own business in a few years, so I can do that and writing from home as my career. I get my classes paid for by my university, so it's a win all-around.

I won't stop writing OR revising. Promise. I got some people out here that want to read Devil's Tongue. And I want to finish telling her story.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blackout Over

My blackout weekend went extremely well, and I’m pleased with my novel progress. I didn’t get 30k written like I’d originally hoped because I ended up spending more time with the executive summary than I anticipated. This is a good thing, though, because it means that this rewrite is concise and will get a lot more done with a lot less deletage down the road. The writing hang-ups are done, banished by a roadmap to needed changes to produce the end result.

I finished 10k and a really detailed summary. Rewriting sections that sucked also took longer than I expected.

The best part is feeling excited and motivated about working on Devil’s Tongue again. I can’t wait to get this rewrite done so I can go though again to start fiddling, because after fiddling comes beta readers/submission time.

For those who’re having problems wrapping their minds around their project and are stuck in a rut, here are two great posts on how others handle their rewrites by Lady Glamis and Liana Brooks. For me, rewrites haven’t been an issue because I’ve never had to rewrite a novel before – it’s a totally different process than a short story. However, when you have 90k project (give or take), you have to combine both logic and creativity for a huge stretch, and that’s hard if your two sides of your brain don’t want to collaborate. I found with this that I had to do some mental bargaining to get my ducks in a row.

I’m still participating in the Writing Throwdown, although I’m going to revise my original goal now that I’ve got a different plan in implemented.

Jess – I know you can’t wait to read it. You’re going to love the changes I made.

Promised Facebook post will be either tomorrow or Wednesday, barring a visit from Murphy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I'm taking a four-day writing weekend starting at 4:30 this afternoon. In light of this and my serious writing slackage of the past two weeks, I'm having a blackout - no blog whoring until I've reached my goal. I can take breaks, do fun stuff, slack, nap, read... but I'm not going to be internet hopping much because I get sucked in and don't surface for about three hours once I get started.

I'm an intense focuser by nature, and I need to write the way a sexaholic needs to get laid. I'm getting tetchy because I haven't done as much as I usually do, and my husband is scared of my ferocity.

My writing goals for this four day weekend:
  1. Go over rough draft and create an outline of where the story goes/is supposed to go, and note where serious changes in chapters are needed. (In the works)
  2. Story rewrite #1 - I'm going to go through the rough draft and fix plot holes/inconsistences.
By the time I finish adding in the things I need, my rough draft will be 20k-30k more than the previous time, but I'm not worried. I know where it's going now. I've got a road map in the works. *grin*

Coming up next week: My facebook hiatus is over, and I'm going to blog about it. Also, I should be finding out if I made it into the two week writer's conference, and I'm antsy.

I will be back, never fear.

This blog will be on Blackout at 5:00 PM CST. Seacrest out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I've spent the entire day sneaking critiques inbetween bouts of work, since it's so slow today. It feels wonderful. It's funny, you'd think as a writer I'd want to focus on my own work, but I'm pretty invested in the stories that my fellow writers have crafted in my critique group, and getting critique chapters is like getting my drama delivered right to my door.

Sometimes I wonder if the fact that I enjoy critiquing (and people tell me I do a good job with the pen knives *grin) means I should think about a career on the other side of the fence. then I remember that part of being a good writer is loving to read. Critiquing is great because it gets my juices ready to hack and slash at my own creations.

I've done seven crits and I'm going to do at least one more before heading home. it feels so good to know I've helped people.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Character Chat Monday

A friend of mine is doing a fun little contest where she pick a topic and then you have your character write a response to said topic. This week's topic is disguises.

Anyways, I had a lot of fun writing my entry, so I thought I'd share my mind drivel for your bored afternoon amusement. Take it as seriously or not as you want to.

Character: Phil, a detective in Devil's Tongue

Disguises are a tricky thing. Some people think of disguises as something bad, the people who use them only characters intent in hiding their true purpose. For me, my disguise is my freedom.

In St. Louis, no one cares if magic users are good people. You could play around as a kitchen witch or produce big things like a sorcerer, it don’t matter. Magic isn’t trusted by most mundanes. Magic can’t mix with technology, people are too afraid of lawsuits to try healing (that they admit to), and for some, it’s not natural. Otherwise, why would it only appear now over the past decade?

But I’m getting away from the point. I know why some magic folk hide; given the sometimes lethal consequences of shootin’ sparks outta your hands, it’s no wonder people try to fit in. At least if you’re a magic user, you can hide your magic from the mundane and keep your job. It’s safety – safety in anonymity.

I didn’t realize I had magic until seventeen. I was a late bloomer, and I didn’t have any of the usual manifestations kids had. I saw mom sweet talking dad but giving off a hate that’d chill a hot glass of wine. I thought I’d imagined it, until I saw it kept happenin’ – I could feel what others felt, even get a whisper or two of their thoughts if it was strong. I caught my girlfriend cheating on me that way. I never told anyone, and I hid it away from the world. I mean, is it really magic if it doesn’t have sparkles?

I called it my intuition, and my intuition rolled me through cop and up to detective in no time. I always catch my man and I never had a case go wrong. I even got in with Grigsby, the hardest homicide captain around and leader of the city’s homicide division. By then, magic had come out of the broom closet and was sashaying its way across the US. Grigsby hated it; so, naturally, we all hated it.

Grigsby, my division, even being a detective on the right side of the fence, even if it was the wrong men – that was my disguise.

Until the one night we picked up a guy in his mid-thirties for homicide. His girlfriend was stabbed more times than I care to remember. I always got the hot seat; people loved how I worked them over. Only this one was different; he was a magic user. I suppose now that I’m stuck at this new job I’d better be PC about the terms.

Anyways, this guy didn’t do it; we both knew it, but he didn’t’ have an alibi, and Grigsby – I’d never seen him so mad. He arrested the guy, and I had to do some fancy footwork to prove the innocence that I knew from this guy. It’s not just feeling – it’s knowing.

That case was the crack in my mask. No way would an ordinary detective, especially one on Grigsby’s team, fight so hard for a magic user unless there was something he knew about the accused. Those weeks of terror in his office were worse than hearing my dad rant about witches and their good for nothing lifestyles. I transferred to the county cops to get away, but Grisgby had his last say – the bastard made sure I got stuck in the new magic crimes unit. As a favor, he said.

And people wonder why I hate my new job.

I’m grabbing these pieces of my mask and keeping it in place as much as I can, but in a magic crimes unit, with people who actually care about this stuff, how long will my safety last? Sure, technically the law can’t discriminate, but tell that to the magic users who get mysteriously let go in this right to work state.

I like being free and like everyone else. I’ll do anything to keep it that way.

Question about Rewrites

Ok, so I'm knee-deep in revising my first novel draft. Not only do I need to clean up on a grammar level, I have many significant storyline revisions. The joys of rereading and realizing how much you need to change to make a story work.

I digress. I'm wondering if it's useful to even bother with grammar clean-up when I'm changing most of the story around anyways. I feel like I could work through and change the story to what it's supposed to be, then work on clean-up and it would be faster rather than letting grammar games bog me down in the middle of a rewrite.


Friday, May 1, 2009


I was reading Rachelle Gardner's post about tough reviewers and the things they say, and the comment about The Great Gatesby about killed me. I hate that book.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“It grieves me deeply that we Americans should take as our classic a book that is no more than a lengthy description of the doings of fops.”