Monday, May 22, 2006

High Five! Egg Rocks! Goal for May 23-30! One More Week of Holy Snappin'

I really didn't think I had a snowball's chance in hell of making this goal, but what do I know?

Goal May 15-22 completed! 5000 more words. I see the light at the end of the rough draft.

I give special kudos to Brimstone Soup YA author Holly. She wrote half of my weekly goal in one day. I appropriately choke on her dust.

So if you are here for your high five. Here goes.

Hayao Miyazaki feels that you have entered a new dimension when it comes to your work! Congratulations.

Tigger, Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet are overjoyed with your success!

Laurie Halse Anderson enthusiastically high-fives your efforts.

Mr. Rodgers' spirit says it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and is thrilled with the work that you are doing for children. Trolley also is proud of your hard work.

It was a busy week. I even had an egg rock (way bigger than wobbling).

Keep writing. My goal for week May 23- May 30. 3000 words!

Hey, it's a holiday weekend and it's my 18th wedding anniversary. It's more than quantity; it's dedication.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Goal For May 8-14, Done! Check Out the Holy Slappin'. More Holy Snappin' Ahead!

It's done! 5000 more words for the 2006 novel push! Now I'm read to move forward, holy snapping. Snap! Snap! Snap!

Here's the holy slappin' for everyone who had a goal this week!
Mo Willems says, "Pidgeon is proud of you."
Jane Yolen, author of a gadzillion books, high-fives and is pleased to be your role model!

News is getting around about how hard we are working!

My May 15-22 goal -- 5000 words! Snap! Snap! Snap!

Friday, May 12, 2006

I Just Keep Writing.

I keep writing. I never write as much as I want to, but I usually make my goals. Writing is some silent, lonely business. It's about focusing for thousands of hours for the love of the art. What art? For me, storytelling. It's about not procrastinating. You sit in a chair and out flows one word after another. You do this day after. I keep bottle of Tylenol nearby, because my hips can't take the stress. I have an adjustable table, so I can do some of the work standing up. I never let my wrists touch the keyboard for fear that I will get carpal tunnel syndrome. My first drafts are mediocre, ponderous and riddled with plot holes. I keep writing. In the sum of what I am doing -- this is where the brilliance dwells.

For a long time it's just been me. But times change and somewhere along the road, editors have begun nosing their way into my art. And believe me, after you have sat in a chair for a quadrillion hours, stood on your feet for another quadrillion hours, all so you can write a moving story; you really don't want to hear, "What about that elephant in the first scene?. Are you trying to imply all the people in a certain place near Norway have pachyderms?" Uh, no.

It's a shocking feeling when someone criticizes your work. My first reaction is a long diatribe complaining about how I put this through critique. I read it aloud. I had intent and purpose for every word I wrote. I layered in meaning and kept my eye on language. I cared. Really. And who exactly on the planet would think that all the people in a certain place near Norway would have pachyderms? Dude, my readers are smart, savvy folk. My next step is deleting all my complaints and answering the editor's question. I keep writing.

Editors are another part of the writing process. Do they help? Yep. There's nothing worse than an editor who won't complain. Having someone come at my story with a magnifying glass and sharp, critical eye certainly helps me wake up and smell the coffee. I'll try harder next time. I dig deeper this time. It's all part of the process. I just keep writing.

And stories are told.

Like stones, words are laborious and unforgiving, and the fitting of them together, like the fitting of stones, demands great patience and strength of purpose and particular skill. Edmund Morrison

Monday, May 08, 2006

Holy Slappin' , May 1-7 Goal Achieved! More Holy Snappin' Ahead!

It's finished. 5000 words for the week! Thanks for joining me for week one. I'm gearing up for week two, May 8 -14. 5000 more words.

And here's the kudos for all that holy snappin' this past week.

Here's a high five from Steven.

Mr. Spock says, "Live long and prosper."

Mr. Carle says, "Good job!"

And here is a most holy "amen."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Holy Snappin' , Let's Write! May 1-7, 2006

I'm still in the middle of the big novel push of 2006. Join me, list your writing goal here and next Monday I will post again, and we can do some virtual, high five, Holy Slappin'.

Thanks to Martha Brockenbrough for the great idea! Check out her columns for Encarta and The Mommy Chronicles.

My goal for May 1- May 7 is 5000 words. What is your goal?

Conference Recap

Oh, another writer's conference. One migraine and one painkiller later, I'm ready to start back to business. The 'not to be named test' grading is over and I'm back writing full force.

First, I want to share a conference highlight. The biggest moment for me was a conference session with the fabulous Liza Ketchum. I was moved by her discussion about the power of endowed objects in fiction. It was eye-opening. We all place indefinable value on things. This is not a monetary value, but a value that transcends the physical world. This value is related to deep cores with us all -- positive ones like: faith, hope and love and negative ones like: resentment, prejudice and jealousy. Objects also serve for my favorite writing purpose and that is to drive the language of symbol. We use words to communicate to one another but we also communicate in many other ways and using words to convey other forms of communication is a real 'kick'. Of course there is conversation and thought, but the relating the sacredness of objects is a way to shake those cores in the readers and there is always that intention in the back of my mind. I could go on all day.

Here's my recommendation, if you every have a chance to hear Liza speak, go!

Other fun moments, chatting with the friend of Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman, talking to Janet Lee Carey about loss and redemption and the best of fantasy, having a consultation and then having the person I'm consulting with take a few notes, letting George Shannon know that I hid his Tippy-Toe Chick, Go book because I've read it so many times (+50) to my son. I also met Boring, Mel. He's great!

Karen Cushman shared many great thoughts. Follow a path to books that you are passionate about, don't follow popular opinion. Don't be so afraid of failure. Use 100 percent of what you find. Always remember that being published is out of your hands.

Jennifer Brown, book reviewer for PW, stressed that books should be meaningful. She reminded us that a fresh original voice is always welcome.

Agent Rebeca Sherman encouraged us to take a fresh take on things, to think about having books with living, present parents. She felt you shouldn't follow trends, but write your story. She also felt that forming a book club and reading current books together would help you understand the market.

Well, that's my conference recap.

Here's my thought for the day.

If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.

John Heywood -- English playwright and poet, 1497-1580