Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Fine Art of Procrastination and Snoozy Books

Blobby is my word for today. I continue my war on this today by dragging my personal collection to my yoga class. I will also be writing in my blog today. For some reason I feel the need to vacuum and shampoo the stairs. I am supposed to pack for NY today, but I'm really not leaving until tomorrow. I think I need to go to Target, too. Aren't my library books due back? Oooh, I have a bibliography to type. I have not typed my conference notes from the last conference I went to, and American Idol is on tonight. Oh, the things I can think to do!

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. ~Spanish Proverb

I have a problem with my current read. Every time I open this book, I snooze. I'm not going to name the book because I write books and I know how hard that is and honestly this book is well written; it just makes me snooze. I'm not sure why. I'm up to chapter 4. Last night I couldn't get to sleep, and the lightbulb clicked on; I grabbed the book and was out in 10 minutes.

I have found this current trend with a whole host of fantasy books I've read recently. I get through them eventually. Some I actually like, but I still snooze.

Wobbling eggs are driving me nuts!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Wish You Were a Fly on the Wall?

I had lunch and a great chat with Peggy King Anderson this week. Peggy is my ultimate writing mentor. She's read my books, given me feedback countless times and basically led me to the voices of two of my books. Today we talked about how to create fiction -- of how to be truly inside the character and retain a detailed viewpoint at the same time. We both shared how we utilize details to strengthen story.

We also discussed the value of story journaling. She does this on paper. I just walk around talking to my characters, probably scaring the neighbors. We also talked about not wasting a secondary character. I think the consensus is that great stories don't have cardboard placeholder characters in the secondary or even tertiary positions.

We discussed the danger of defeating yourself mentally by worrying about not making as many sales as peers or not keeping the submission mill at high speed. The idea was to be yourself.

Brings me back to my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Crabtree.

"Molly, be yourself, but don't talk so much." Mrs. Crabtree.

BTW, Eggs keep wobbling.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Rebus Writing, NY, Eggs Still Wobble.

I'm working on a rebus story for Highlights. I love to retell folktales. They are old stories -- bare bones, echoing ancient truth. Just love them.

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a friend. I got to thinking about my motivation to write. Telling stories is what keeps me sane. I could not face the trials of life without telling stories, without remembering how it was, without wondering how it will be. There is something about telling a story that heals, helps us move on, let's us understand.

I had another provocative question in the email yesterday. When do stories begin? I've thought about it. Once upon a time in a galaxy far-far away is a good way to go. I've looked at hundreds of first lines of novels I am convinced there is a toolbox of techniques to start a story. A combination of setting, character and conflict is the general plan. More on this later.

I'm ramping up for the Mid-winter SCBWI conference! And BTW, the eggs are still wobbling!

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Thank you, Chris Martin. Kudos to Coldplay.

Life is funny sometimes.

I'm not really a big Coldplay fan. Basically Chris Martin is that guy who married Gwyneth Paltrow and has a daughter named Apple. I've listened to one Coldplay album. It had been left in the CD player by one of the teenaged Js. I liked it. Coldplay seemed to care about real stuff.

So here's the deal, my daughter is a struggling high school student. I noticed an ad in the paper about a Coldplay concert. My daughter had worked hard in school and managed to pass all her classes. Her dad scored some cheap tixs and took her to this concert.

Chris Martin sang "In My Place." (Though no one is entirely sure because of general excitement. ) Mr. Martin danced across the entire Key Arena and put a arm around my daughter while singing his song. It was just the kind of boost she needed. Thank you, Chris Martin and kudos to Coldplay.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Great Reads

Kudos to Janet Wong. Her school visit at my son's school today was just fab. I loved her writing workshop for kids. Janet is a very calm and precise speaker -- I thought she was perfect with the kids. Ooh, I commanded my "Year of the Dog" to let a dog have her day! I say!

I read Run If You Dare by Randy Powell today. I just love Randy's writing. He's fantastic. He's written so many great books. Run kind of freaked me out, like he struck about 1000 chords inside me with this one. He like so gets Seattle. He so gets life. Go get his books!

BTW - the eggs continue to wobble.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

I love lists!

My list of stupid recent stuff.

Endured the indescribable pain of watching the Lion King for 1,000,000th time. Maybe I'm exaggerating but it doesn't feel like it.

I endured the indescribable pain of watching the Lion King for 1,000,000th time, while waiting to see the doctor for two hours.

I'm teaching a teenager how to drive.

Catch 22. I have to drive teenagers every day wherever they want to go. Keeping the natives happy is important!

I found a mysterious trail of paper that led through the neighborhood to my house. Never a good sign.

(Unrelated event) Our septic system had a problem. (No words could express the absolute horror of this event.)

Enough stupid stuff. Why ouch, ouch, ouch? I'm sitting on pins and needles and it's top secret. A person should never count chickens before they hatch. I can say that I've got an incubator and the eggs are wobbling.

BTW, let me know the stupid stuff happening to you.

It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand. Madeleine L'Engle

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Burned Pizza

"Danger, Will Robinson, danger!" In my pursuit of writing for children I have burned countless pizzas and many pots of soup. I have turned chicken into charcoal more times than I like to admit. It's 8:20 p.m. And yes, tonight I have burned one more pizza because "I got distracted." The good news is my big manuscript goes out tomorrow and I can focus on my next three projects -- new PLC books. Have you ever burned dinner because this scene just didn't make sense?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Hippo Gnu Deer! 2006

I resolve to have no resolutions. Welcome new year! I'm hoping for big things. I'm working on five more readers right now for Perfection Learning. I have a couple of articles under consideration and I'm about to take the BIG plunge and send out my "massive" (240 pages) manuscript. I see the end of rewrite!!! Glory. I'm also gearing up for NY and the SCBWI mid-winter conference. I'm winding down my duties as RA of Western Washington SCBWI.

No resolutions but I do make a yearly business plan. My business goals are to write more little books, get more work, rewrite one of the novels and write rough drafts of Prophet and Plumber Girl.

I just keep smiling every day. I'm very Eeyore, so this is very atypical for me. Not sure why. I just keep feeling the good days aren't over -- even though I have swallowed a fly. See www.homestarrunner.com for an in-depth understanding of the significance of the previous statement.

My most recent read? Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher. Susan is the kind of writer that draws you into another time and place, convincing you that time travel is really possible.

“One can't complain. I have my friends. Why, someone spoke to me only yesterday.” ~Eeyore~