Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Someone just told me about, where you can link up with other people in your area to give away useful items you no longer want or get items other people no longer want. We have a ton of stuff we no longer need, like baby furniture, an old couch, etc., so I'm thrilled to find a way to ensure it can get to just the person who actually wants or needs it, without them having to pay for it! I already signed up.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Hooray, I finally have that midgrade short story revised to my satisfaction! It involved throwing out pretty much all of the new stuff I'd added a couple of weeks ago, even though I'd thought that stuff strengthened the story at the time. But I do think this new version works better and just seems to have more purpose to it than the older versions. I'm submitting it to a magazine tomorrow, and also submitting it and a YA story to ByLine's Juvenile Short Story Contest.

A few weeks ago, my husband left an old pair of sneakers on the porch after wearing them to mow the lawn, and a toad took up residence in one of them. He was there most of the day for about a week and a half, and we grew rather attached to seeing him there. We named him, not surprisingly, Schubert, since he lived in a shoe. (There was an old toad who lived in a shoe...) Anyway, this week he disappeared. For 4 or 5 days in a row, there was no sign of him, and we assumed he'd just moved on. But this afternoon, there he was in the shoe again! The kids were thrilled and we hope he decides to hang around this time, though it does meaning leaving old shoes on the porch!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

2,758 total words today on my novel, which isn't too shabby, even if it's not as many as I'd hoped for. Too bad they seem rather disjointed at the moment, but, as I have to keep reminding myself, that's what revisions are for.

And speaking of revisions, I also did a revision on that midgrade short story, but ended up adding 500 words to it! Which makes it at least 180 words too long for my target market, and up to 800 words too long for many other markets! Yikes. I'm not sure there will ever be a final and definitive version of this story!
I've had so little writing time lately that my goal for today was to hole up in our excuse for an office and write for 10 hours. My husband found ways to keep the kids busy, taking them out for haircuts and ice cream, etc., but I had a hard time getting started. I didn't manage to get into the office until 2:00 pm, and didn't write a word of my midgrade novel unil 4:00! However, I've made pretty good progress since, adding another 2,000 words to the novel so far. That brings the total word count up to nearly 13,000. It's hardly the finished product I had hoped to have by this point in the year, but at least it's going somewhere! And something just happened in it that I wasn't expecting, so we'll see where that leads.

Also on my "to write" list is yet another revision of the midgrade short story I just revised earlier this month! It needs a change of focus to fit the market I hope to send it to soon, though I'm not sure yet how that might work. And on my "to read" list are 2 novels I just bought from The City of Ember by Jeanne duPrau, and Winchell Mink: The Misadventure Begins by Steve Young. They both look fantastic in completely different ways.

Monday, June 14, 2004

My poem "High Dive" is up at Guideposts for Kids now--it was actually one of their two featured cover stories last week!

This past weekend, I went to a novel writing workshop led by D. Anne Love, author of The Puppeteer's Apprentice and many other novels. I got a lot out of it! Much of it was about plotting, which is probably my weakest point as a writer. I was worried that learning yet another plotting technique would only confuse me more, as I've already got too much conflicting information about plotting swimming around in my head, but was thrilled to discover that the "Writer's Journey" plot structure she outlined (based on a book by Christopher Vogler) fits the middle-grade novel I'm writing very well. Comparing the ideas I have for the novel now against that structure, I was able to figure out more of how the novel should develop. The young adult novel I have submitted, on the other hand, can't fit into that structure by a long stretch, as far as I can see...which would be fine with me, except that I wish it had some plot structure! ;-) Seriously, I'm realizing more & more how plot-deprived it is, but want to wait for feedback on it before I start rethinking it too much.

I also had a couple of really good writing-related conversations with other writers this week, one over lunch and one at the novel writing workshop. As my writer friends shared their own struggles and asked some really good, pointed questions about my work, they helped me clarify my writing priorities and to think of ways I can deepen and strengthen the projects I'm working on. Between those conversations and the workshop, I have pages full of new notes about my writing projects, and I'm feeling pumped!

Other than that, it's been so busy around here lately! Besides my writing workshop this weekend, my kids had 2 birthday parties to attend (one of which I also attended), we had a reunion of a graduate student reading group we were involved with in the mid-to-late 90s, and I'm currently taking a cake decorating class and also being dragged into scrapbooking by a couple of my writer friends. (I'm still iffy on the scrapbooking, but I like the company!) And as usual, the kids' summer activities (gymnastics, swimming, Vacation Bible School, etc.) are taking up lots of time and energy, as is the library's summer reading club. But it's all good!