Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Feels like a Monday

Today's Mood: Tired. Today's Music: The Verve Pipe. Today's Writing: working on chapter 3 of IFFY--except it really might be chapter 2. I got thinking that what I am writing really fits better in ch. 2. Today's Quote:

"Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing." Wernher von Braun

I'm looking forward to going to the winter conference at Khardomah Lodge. To have a few whole days to write is like a dream at this point--and no, not a nightmare, a good dream. I have been so tired that my morning writing session gets started slow. I'm still writing, and am always amazed how much a few sentences can pile up. But to really sink into the story and the characters, it helps to have a bigger chunk of time.

I have started to carry a notebook around with me so that I can jot down ideas or snippets of scenes or dialog as they come to me. I don't know if I'll actually use some of the stuff--but it helps keep the story and the characters alive and talking in my head.

It has been fun reading the blogs of other writers. First off, I find that I'm not all that different from other writers. Second, I find that everyone writes in vastly different ways. But most of all, it gives me a boost when I just don't feel like writing. Look, Sarah, so-and-so didn't feel like writing but she did anyway and so you can too. That kind of thing.

Hope to hear from some of you. Are you writing? Doing basic research? (I must do that a lot since I often don't know what I'm doing--this is in reference to today's quote) Seen any good movies lately? I heard about the Oscars but have to admit I didn't watch--our cable went out partway through anyway.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Power of Words

Today's Mood: Outraged. Today's Music: The Cranberries. Today's Writing: Chapter 2-IFFY. Today's Quote:
The word “scrotum” is a valid, acceptable medical term." Jim Long

There is a debate raging about the Newberry Award winner--The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron--because of its use of the word "scrotum". Some librarians (fie on them) have vowed to ban the book from their shelves. I have been reading the comments on the blog, and it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I honestly have a hard time believing some of the people who comment are really sincere. I mean, do people honestly think if kids (age 9-12) read the word scrotum that they'll what? Become sexual perverts? And what should it be called?

Here's the scene. Lucky (the MC) overhears some adults talking about how the guy's dog got bit on the scrotum by a rattlesnake. She doesn't know the word, but finds it delicious and feels that it must be a very "adult" word.
So, the word is the correct anatomical word, used to describe the correct body part (of a dog, no less), and yet people are in an uproar. Go figure. If writers stopped to consider which words MIGHT bother people, nothing would ever get written.

There's my rant. What do you think?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Catching Up

Today's Mood: Busy and Tired. Today's Music: The Verve Pipe. Today's Writing: Chapter 2 of I Feel For You (IFFY). Today's Quote:
"There is no factory. There is no assembly line. There is a swimming pool."
-James Patterson

I know, I know, it's been awhile since I've posted. Life has been hectic--in my job, in my life. My writing has been going okay. I struggled like crazy getting a first chapter I was comfortable with, but when I brought what I thought were two different beginnings to my writers' group, they said what I had was chapters one and two. So, hey, I'm further along than I thought!

Anyway, I need to be brief, but I just wondered if anyone caught the article in USA Today--Monday, Feb. 5, 2007--about James Patterson. The article talked about how he uses co-authors to help put out as many books as he does. When I started reading, I admit I was feeling like he was cheating. I mean, if I buy a book with an author's name on it, I want that person to actually BE the author of the book. But by the end of the article, I was thinking maybe this was a great way for new authors to break into publishing. And according to the article, James Patterson provides a very detailed outline and signs off on the end product--in a way it's a great mentoring system.

And James Patterson, he admits he has way more ideas for great books than he has time to write those great books.

So what are your thoughts on the matter? Oh, and how's the writing going?

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Today's Mood: Thoughtful. Today's Music: Robert Pollard: Normal Happiness. Today's Writing: Chapter 1 of I Feel For You. Today's Quote:
“You can’t edit nothing but you
can edit crap.”
-Sylvia Kelso

I was reading Justine Larbalestier's Blog and ended out clicking on a link that led to her husband's--writer Scott Westerfeld--blog. His section on writing advice is just hilarious--and dead on from my experience. I especially liked the section titled Mr. Chandler Speaks were Scott talks about the collection of letters by the great hard-boiled writer Raymond Chandler. This is one of my favorite parts (partly because I'm a writer and partly because I'm a teacher):

This next motivational technique is one I always tell aspiring
writers to try:

2. Letter to Alex Barris, an interview by mail18 March 1949
The important thing is that there should be a space of time,
say four
hours a day at least, when a professional writer doesn’t do
anything else but write. He doesn’t have to write, and if he doesn’t
feel like it, he shouldn’t try. He can look out of the window or stand
on his head or writhe on the floor. But he is not to do any other
positive thing, not read, write letters, glance at magazines, or write
checks. Write or nothing. It’s the same principle as keeping
order in a school. If you make the pupils behave, they will learn
something just to keep from being bored. I find it works. Two very
simple rules, a. you don’t have to write. B. you can’t do anything else.
The rest comes of itself.

Put those two rules on your refrigerator and you’ll have a
novel within a year. Or at least someone else who uses your refrigerator
will. (Scott Westerfeld)

Two other notes of interest (well, to me anyway.) First off, I just finished Writing Down the Bones. I have a new plan for writing this novel (getting past the editor/censor in my brain) On Mondays I'm going to spend my writing time plotting the chapter that I'll be working on for the
week. That will get me into the writing after the weekend and it will give me direction for the week. Then for four days I'll write. A chapter a week is optimistic for me, but hey, I did it for the last month I was writing Free Lunch Program--so I know it's possible. See today's quote.

Second, I've been asked to speak to something like 60 second graders about revision. And I agreed. Whew! I stressed over it, thinking that because I don't have anything published I'm not qualified to be a speaker. But then I realized, heck, I'm still a writer, and I still do a heck of a lot of revision--so, there you go. I agreed. I'll tell you about it how it goes next week.

Here's wishing you all lots of happy writing.