Monday, January 25, 2010

Writing what you hate

If you're anything like me then you've read books and watched movies that have disturbed you. It might've been covering your eyes at a horror flick with a gruesome murder or reading a gritty memoir with a rape scene that had your insides twisted up like a knot. Some people like this sort of thing. I do not. The older I get and the fact that I'm now a mother have really emphasized that opinion. I can't help but think what it would be like if that happened to my child or anyone I loved. Heck, even me. A movie I watched a couple of weeks ago really had me shaken up. It was sick, disturbing, and worse yet, based on a true story. Ugh. I went to bed with a stomach ache.

All of this got the writer part of me thinking: How do people write these sort of stories or scenes? I can see when it's in a way that might be beneficial for the reader or writer to share an experience that can help heal etc. But what about the other stuff?

In my current WIP my main character is going to have to suffer through some pretty harsh situations. Losing people she loves, killing someone with her own hands, and more. This is new ground for me and I'm a little nervous to get so dark and twisty. My first novel has some dark stuff but not at the hands of my MC so I didn't have to get into her head while it was happening. But this new girl is one bad ass chick who's going to land herself in a whole lot of trouble. So I had better get comfortable with the dark side. But even this dark side isn't all that dark. Not compared to some of what I've seen out there. Still, I'm psyched to head in a new direction and learn more about and challenge myself, both as a writer, and as a human being. Just don't expect anything TOO creepy in a real life sort of way.

What about all of you...

Have you ever written something extremely dark or disturbing? Did you find it difficult?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Maybe you really do need eight hours of sleep

"You don't have to stay up nights to succeed; you have to stay awake days."
-Source unknown

Ok, it stung reading that little quote up there. Ouch. I'm the exact opposite. I go to bed around 2AM every night (eeek or shall I say morning) and get up five hours later. I wasn't always this way, but since I started writing I've become an extreme night owl, justifying it with the reason that it was all part of me pursuing my dream to become a published author. And most of the time it's all fine and good, but then I read something like that quote or have a week where I'm dog tired all day and still pushing myself to stay awake at night to get things done. Those moments make me wonder why I think getting less sleep will allow me more to be more productive and creative. Sounds like a little backwards, doesn't it?

This brings me to my little light bulb moment. More sleep=Feel better=Write better.

I make my child go to bed early so he can be all refreshed and ready to learn and be happy the next day yet I don't do it for myself. SO I think it's time I give it a whirl. I'm going to get my butt in bed earlier and see what happens. Who knows maybe I'll end up writing a novel in one sitting.
Or not. I'll settle for a few chapters.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Next time you have to do one of those word verification things on a blog comment click on the little wheelchair symbol next to the box...and listen.

Huh? How do you verify that!?

My mom did it with another site (she didn't have her glasses) expecting the same made up word they ask you type to be played for her. Umm, not even close. She played it for us later that night and we were on the floor laughing. There were sound clips from old movies all jumbled together with people screaming "I want milk!" and "I don't understand!"

Again...huh? Oh boy did we get a good laugh at out of it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Reply comment survey

I've got a question for you. Yes, you. All of you.

When you leave a comment on someones blog do you return to see if anyone (including the blog's author) have commented in reply?

You can probably guess where I'm going with this. Since I have no set schedule for posting and I tend to forget to come back and reply to comments, I'm hoping to do a little research to see if I should be making a point of coming back in here to reply. Call it research.

Also, those of you that have their reply comments emailed to your commenters, how they heck do you do that? Personally I like that. Anyone have thoughts on that too?

Chalk it up to the whole new year, new leaf thing, but I'm determined to whip this blog into shape. I want a new look, a new schedule and maybe a new commenting system. And I promise not to have super boring posts like this too often.

Thanks for your help. Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Update on my book binge

Back in November I shared my list of books I was planning to binge on once I finished my revisions. Here's a little update of what I have read since Christmas.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Left me breathless. Once again, I'm in awe of Suzanne Collins and dying for book three. Ms. Collins you are a L E G E N D.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Soooo good! Such a refreshing take on YA UF with the male POV and the town of Gatlin come to life as character itself. It's no wonder the movie rights were sold before the book was even released.

Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows by JK Rowling (to be fair I only finished this one since my niece and I had been reading it aloud together since June!)
Finishing this series has been eight years in the making, and it didn't disappoint one bit. We sobbed, laughed, held our breath, then cried some more. A lot of tears were knowing this was it.

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
Since we are featured fiction for the month of January on my sister Jenn and I were lucky enough to get a copy early. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about a book written in verse, but I really really liked it. There is such an immediacy in the simple description that worked beautifully for such a haunting tale. I highly recommend checking this one out. Can't wait to read her previous books.

Up next and already in position on my nightstand is Shiver!

I feel like I'm the one starting school...

Tomorrow is the big day. My little guy starts his very first day of any organized activity away from home with strangers! Gah, how did he even get to be two in the first place, and now school?

I caught myself feeling all anxious about tomorrow and realized I pretty much feel like I'm the one starting school for the first time. The irony is that since it's his first time he isn't a bit nervous. Because let's face it, does he even get what's going to happen? And if he does there is not a thing to fear. He gets to go have fun for two and half hours with kids his own age, dancing and singing, having a snack, playing with cool new toys, and making all sorts of messy crafts. Sound good to me. I know he will love school and with his outgoing and happy-go-lucky personality he'll be fine. Better than fine. Heck, even I would love to do that and I'm thirty.

Here's a little idea of what's going on in my head.

Will he cry when I leave? Will he make friends? Will he share? Will he get picked on? Will he be scared? Will the teachers think he's a good kid? Did I teach him his manners well enough? What if he picks his nose and wipes it on the table?

Even if the answer to all of these questions is the opposite of what I hope for, who cares. Most kids do cry and forget to say thank you most of the time. I am by no means an over protective parent yet I'm still super anxious on this whole leaving him with strangers thing. So I keep reminding myself how great this will be for him, for both of us actually. The benefits are obvious for him, the social interaction with kids his own age and adults outside of the family, learning, independence, the list goes on and on.

But even Mommy gains a lot out of this one. For the first time in two years I will have guaranteed free time during the day. By the time I drop him off and head back that leaves me with two full hours. It's not a lot, but it's heaven for me. That's four hours of writing time I didn't have before. I'm so psyched about it that I'm not even going home, I'm heading right to the library to work in a space free of reminders of stuff I should be doing, like cleaning, and better yet, there's no wifi!

I'd ask for your well wishes and positive thoughts and prayers for my son on his first day of school, but he's cool as a cucumber about it all and will be fine. Guess it's me that needs the positive vibes this time. Then again this is the ideal distraction from waiting to hear back on my first round of queries. Always a bright side.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Officially back in the saddle again

Yep, I sent out my first small batch of queries around 1 o'clock last night (or technically morning). So much has changed since last year when I sent my very first queries. Thankfully, in a very good way.

1. My query is a 1000x better
2. My manuscript is a 1000x better
3. Wait, who even needs a third reason when you have a 1 and 2 like that?

Of course, this is only my opinion, only time will tell if the publishing world agrees. But for now I'm feeling great knowing I've made progress and that my work has improved. Is it perfect? No. Do we ever think our own work is perfection? Rarely. We're our own toughest critics, but the important thing is taking notice in the direction you're headed, and giving yourself a little pat on the back when it's the right way.

Now that I'm riding the query train again I'm bursting at the seams to get started on my new project. Once I get past the first few times of dropping my son off with complete strangers (that would be nursery school) I know I'm going to love the fours hours of uninterrupted writing time I'll gain each week.

Hello, 2010. I knew we were going to get along just fine.