Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today, I plan to clean the house, eat chocolate until I get sick, and catch up on all the little things that need doing before NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's here! Okay, almost!

This week,I've outlined (but only a roughly.) I've talked the story over with several trusted people. I've put together a play list. I've warned the family that things will probably be falling apart for the next month. I think I might be ready for the mad frenzy that will be NaNoWriMo.

I don't know how I'll get everything done. There will still be the family, the job, the house. And I'm adding in close to 2000 words a day? I just don't know if I will make it, but I'm sure gong to try!

How about you, friends? Are you doing NaNo? What have you done to get ready? And as a bonus question for me, what songs take you back to high school or the emotions you felt back then?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obvious to You, Amazing to Others

One of my good friend, Krista at Mother, Write. Repeat., hosts a contest every once in a while, called An Agent's Inbox. The basic idea is that writers with complete, ready to submit manuscripts can post their query letter and first 250 words. The Agent reads the entries just as if it was in their inbox and responds accordingly. I like to read the entries and the commentary because it gives me things to look at for honing my own work.

This time, it left me feeling a little down. And it's kind of silly, and obvious, but here's why. The agent said that things that are similar to my idea (not in essentials, but in general themes) were really getting overdone. It's the "ordinary teenager discovers something amazing and unique about themselves and has to save the world" kind of thing. But also, different. I read comments about how frequently that theme is presented and it left me wondering what I had to offer. What is unique about my idea? How is it going to stand out in the midst of all the other similarly themed books?

I mentioned it to my husband. And he sent me this:

And I felt better. I hope it helps you, too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More than the Sum of its Parts

So, I have a job. It's a part-time, online job. Basically, there's this company that sells video clips to people. They hire contractors to assign search terms to the clips and write descriptions of what the clip is about. It stretches my writing mind to find just the right words to describe a 10 second segment of video. But that's not the point of this post. The point is, lots of different companies supply clips to the company I work for. Like Sony. And Paramount. And BBC. And Discovery. A lot of the time, the clips are just random, but sometimes, I recognize where they came from. Like today.

This morning, I worked on some clips from a very memorable popcorn summer disaster movie of 2009. And I could tell that the clips came from this movie. They were all chroma key. (There was a blue screen behind many of them to add special effects later.) There was even a couple of shots of a toy boat being capsized in a puddle. (Does that give it away? I probably shouldn't give it away.) All of these shots had been unimproved. They were completely raw, as they might have been sent to the editor. And I couldn't help but think of my writing.

What I saw this morning was pretty random. Unpolished. And if you added it together as it was, you wouldn't have much. But, with some polish and flash, a bit of editing and storyline, you end up with something that is so much more than just a collection of images. And that's what we are trying to do with our writing. We want to bring everything together, with some spit and polish. And then have the readers bring their experience and expectations to it. Together, we make our stories more than what they would have been.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pushing through

Last year, I had a story idea. It was beautiful. And different from everything else. And I tried to write it. And failed miserably. It was devastating. And in a way, it contributed to my lack of enthusiasm for writing for a long time. I lost some of my confidence. After having two great stories that I had finished drafts for and worked on revisions with, and loved to pieces, it was hard to have something that I felt had failed completely.

Well, a year has gone by. I've pulled out that idea and dusted it off. I've bounced it off some people. I've honed the concept. Switched it around to something more workable. And I still love it. I still want to tell that story. And that is what I will be doing during NaNoWriMo this year. I believe that I'll be able to get more accomplished on it this time. I think I might make it all the way. It should be really great.

What about you, friends? Have you ever lost your confidence in writing? Have you ever had to put aside an idea that you loved? How did you pick yourself up again?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For a friend

There's nothing new from me today. All of the family has a horrible (and I mean horrible) cold. My brain is kind of absent because of it.

But, there is news in the blogosphere. One of my first blogging friends, Shannon O'Donnell, announced the best news today. She's got an agent! I love it when my friends succeed. Congrats, Shannon, and best of luck getting your book out there!

Go and congratulate her at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gearing up

We're at t - two weeks and counting down to Midnight, November 1st. So what, you say? It's the start of National Novel Writing Month! Are you signed up? I've been a participant twice now. I finished once, but was pregnant last year, and that interfered with my writing time. This, year, I want to do it or die!

I've got two weeks to prep for the onslaught. Plan out my daily schedule. Figure out where the story is going. Plot. Characters. Settings. You know. All that stuff that makes a good book.

So, here's my question for you, friends? How do you develop your stories? Do you use the character interview? The Snowflake method? Do you pants it? And do you have any suggestions for me?

Friday, October 14, 2011


So, I have a problem. It's something that's been with me basically my entire life. It started when I heard my mom say, "Your sister has some amazing things ahead of her." I'm the oldest. I never heard my mom say anything like that about me. She swears she told everybody that I had amazing things ahead of me, too, but I don't remember it. I spent a lot of my teenage years resenting my sister and feeling like I wasn't good enough.

I talked to my sister about it recently. You know. That talk you have where you clear the air and move on. Don't get me wrong. I love my sister. We were roommates in college for four years. There was always this underlying thing. So we talked about it. Turns out, my sister resented the situation too, and hated feeling like there were huge expectations on her all the time.

I didn't realize how much this impacted my life until I looked at my own expectations of myself. I expect that I will always have my house clean. I will always hang up the laundry. I will always do the dishes. I will never yell at the kids. I will be a supportive wife. I will be active in my church. I will be productive and never waste time. I will use all my talents. The list goes on and on. And not only will I do all these things, I will be the best at them. It's really unreasonable.

And it stopped being a comparison between my sister and me and became a comparison between me and everyone else. Somebody got an agent with their first round of queries. Somebody has a huge number of blog followers. Somebody has an amazing book deal. Somebody has this other thing that I don't. And I'm not good enough or smart enough or whatever. I keep thinking I don't have to be what someone else is, but tell that to my 10 year old self. It's a habit that's been around for a long time.

And I'm breaking the habit. The cycle stops here. I'm giving myself permission to not being anything more than I am. I'm changing my criteria for success. I don't have to do what any one else is doing. I'm accepting me, faults, flaws, and foibles. Because somewhere under all the things I want more of, there's a whole lot that I'm not celebrating. And I'm worth it. I'm smart, strong, capable, and enough!

If you have felt this way, now's the time to join in the revolution. It's time for us all to accept ourselves and celebrate the person we are, instead of wishing we were somebody else. Who's with me?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An answer

Thanks, every one for the input on prioritizing.  As I thought about it, I have come up with a few ideas. And I'm sharing them today at the Dojo ( I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. I'll be back tomorrow with an awesome and inspiring post.

Friday, October 7, 2011


So, there's this thing where I go in circles. I want to be active in the blogging world. I want to be active on Twitter. I want to have a clean house. I want to play with my kids. I want to finish my rewrite. I want to. . . . . . .  and the list goes on. Balancing everything gets really touch and go some days. Like when baby girl is teething and doesn't want to be put down at all. Or when oldest boy is at preschool for 2 hours and I can only choose one or two things for my relatively free time. Or . . . . You all know how it goes.

So, my question for you, friends, is what do you do to balance? To prioritize? What's your secret to success?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Being Happy

Any time you have major changes, there's one of two possible outcomes. You can look back at where you were and be miserable that you aren't there any more. Or you can look ahead at the new possibilities and be excited for what's coming. In either case, you haven't avoided the change. You've only managed your perspective on it.

Never has this been more evident for me than right now. I'm at the end of a difficult and frustrating change. We left our first home, rented it out to someone we didn't know, and moved in with parents. At first, it felt like we were moving backward. We didn't have the ability to look after ourselves. We were dumb for getting into the situation in the first place. And I missed our home. Wanted to walk around my garden. Walk down the street to visit friends or family. I'd never lived any where that wasn't my home town for any really significant time. (Not counting my LDS mission. That's a whole different set of circumstances.) And I was pretty miserable thinking about what we'd given up.

And now, I've changed my perspective. There's been some really unexpected blessings. My kids getting to know their other grandparents. Having a solid plan in place for getting out of debt. See hubby working hard again and feeling productive. And then there's the more subtle things. Feeling independent. Feeling strong and capable. (I know. It's strange to feel those things in this situation, but I do.) And I feel hope. Hope that things can change. I've realized that while the things I have aren't HOW I wanted them, they are WHAT I wanted. And if I am getting what I wanted, the how stops mattering as much.

How does this apply to writing? I don't know. Something to incorporate into a character's arc, I suppose. If it's something I go through, it certainly would be realistic to expect a similar journey from someone I'm writing about. Something to think about, any way.

How about you, friends? What are you learning right now? What are your hidden blessings?