Thursday, September 30, 2010

A reader in training

Yes, he's mine...and there's even a scar drawn on under that hair

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(Not) Moving right along

At first I thought it was summer. Longer days, no school, family around, a later bedtime for the boy to fit in all the swimming and fun of the warm weather and going out, totally cut into my nightly writing time. But here we are a few days until October and I'm still poking along on my WIP. What the heck? At first I thought it was a problem that I needed to correct. Immediately! But the more I thought about it the more I realized my slow and steady pace was a good thing. Not in the long run, of course, but at the time I knew I could use a little balance.

I'm not the most patient person in the world so the fact that I'm not blowing through revisions has helped me sit and digest the changes as I go. But as much as I love learning to be patient and rational about things and will carry that with me going forward, I think it's time I get my ass in gear. October is it!

So I'm hoping some of you can help me ditch this snails pace. I'm sure I'm not alone in the summer writing slump so what do you all plan to do now that fall is here to get focused and motivated? I want to finish these revisions by the end of October so that's my first goal. (more to come!) Any suggestions? I love word count goals but with a hefty revision like this that won't work. Pages per day? Time spent working on it each day? I'd love to know what works for you at each stage.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My very first writing workshop!

I meant to share this post immediately following the actual workshop last weekend BUT a great thing happened. I was more concerned with actually writing (ok, revising) my actual story than a blog post. Now that's some serious inspiration! I could leave this post at that and you'd know how fabulous I thought the day was but where's the fun in that?

For starters, it was way cool just to be in a room of writers. People who paid actual money and for some drove hours to be there. It was a combined workshop for writers who focus on writing for children and teens. The morning session featured Lindsay Barrett George, an incredible author of award winning children's books. Not only has she written over 16 books but she illustrated them as well. It was incredible to hear about her journey. I was a little uncertain about sitting there for 2 hours and listening to someone talk about picture books. I write gritty YA books so this was way out of my zone but Lindsay was a blast and held my attention every last second she spoke. She had us a do an exercise using only 5 words or so to write a book. Wow. I was blown away by the creativity of the other writers and realized how challenging it is to write a 30 page book. Yeah, I think I'll stick with my 300 pagers.

After a quick lunch they had a critique session for anyone who wanted to bring the first 2 opening pages of their WIP. I think it ended up being about 8 of us. So glad I did! The workshop organizer read the pages and the 2 presenting authors gave feedback. I was thrilled they liked my pages and felt the story started right into the action and made you want to read more. They only had 2 small suggestions---my drunk frat boy's dialogue was a little too wordy for, well, a drunk frat boy and I had a pair of floating eyes (one of Maria's Nitpicks I'll explain next!). And I was way impressed with the other pages that were read. Most of them had me wishing for more. I'm still thinking about one in particular. Now that's a book I want to read!

The afternoon session was all about Maria V. Snyder, author of the amazing Study series, Glass series and Inside Out and soon to be released, Outside In books. And the reason I discovered there was a killer writing workshop in my own backyard. Maria's first book, POISON STUDY, released in 2005 so I'm pretty late in the game reading it but once I read that first one I devoured the next 2 and the companion series in weeks. I'm a HUGE fan of her writing so to have the opportunity to sit and listen to her speak about how she does it was a dream come true. And I wasn't disappointed.

Maria provided us with a handout that listed the common nitpicks she sees even in published books. Awesome tips. Gah, and I was so guilty of many of them! One that stood out (and who hasn't seen this in nearly every book you pick up?) is the floating eyes. Here's something I found in my WIP.

My eyes shot up.

Whoa. Where did those eyeballs shoot up to? Yikes.

I had no idea what to expect and didn't to look all fangirly so I kept my stack of 6 of Maria's books hidden in the car. But when I saw that she brought books to sell/sign I was all over it and got all 6 of them signed. For any of you who have read Poison Study...I met the women who created Valek! haha And if you haven't read Poison Study, do it now. It's one of my favorite books and series.

A big thank you to Katie at Pennwriters for organzing such a great workshop and to both Linsday and Maria for taking the time to share their knowledge and passion.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My love/hate relationship with September

My biggest issue with September is that it means fall is on its way. As beautiful as the dazzling rainbow of gold, rust, red and purple leaves are, I can't help but remember in two seconds they will all fall off the trees leaving nothing but sad looking tree skeletons in their wake. I love the lush green of summer and the longer warm days. The fireflies and campfires. Swimming. Fireworks. Sigh.

BUT...this year I'm looking forward to poor September and the rest of the fall season a little more than usual.

My son will be going to school 3 mornings a week. (Its only from 9-1130, but still) Which means I get to spend all of that time writing at the library. Summer kicked my ass this year and I got off schedule big time with my writing routine so I'm very excited to have this designated Internet free time to get back to spending regular quality time with my characters. Even the fact that the sun sets earlier and the weather will grow colder doesn't seem bad. It means we'll be stuck in the house and earlier bedtimes which all points to getting back to more writing time for me.

So this year I say, bring it on September! And October, you're mine.

Besides, its sort of hard to hate something that can look this pretty.