Friday, October 28, 2005

Yesterday, I read an article in Real Simple magazine about a woman's list of 100 things to do in her lifetime (though her list really only had 67 items). I was surprised to realize I'd never made a list like that, being a list aficionado myself--as a teen I was fond of the Go-Go's song "Girl of 100 Lists." Later in the day, doing a web search about something completely different, I just happened to come across the 43 Things site, where people share 43 things they want to do in their lives and track their progress. Okay, okay, I thought, maybe I'll make a list....

I tried my hand at one and only got to 14 items before I put it aside, and most of those had to do with writing or travel. I'm sure there are many more, but it occurred to me that 20 years ago, I probably could have come up with 100 in a matter of minutes. Back then, I felt I had plenty of time to accomplish anything & everything, & probably would have written down anything that crossed my mind. Now, I feel the crunch of time, & was trying to write things that I really cared about doing, instead of just things I'd kind of like to do. Plus, some of the things I would have written once (skydive, learn to juggle, swim with dolphins) just don't seem important anymore. They'd still be fun, but I won't regret it if I die without doing them. And a few I hoped to do in the near future (like having a big bouncy castle party for my 40th birthday in a couple of years) are looking less likely as I plan to leave this state. But I do want to embrace life, and really live instead of always just planning to live, so I think the list is probably a good idea!

Oh, and speaking of lists and "baby" brother turned 30 this week, and one of the things I got him was the Book of Ages 30, which is quite a fun read. At the same time, I picked up The Big 40! for myself, to figure out what I need to accomplish in the next couple of years! (But so he wouldn't feel too old, I also got my brother a Darth Tater. I adore the fact that someone came up with such a ridiculously punny product & actually managed to get it made. And of course I have one, too!)

Friday, October 21, 2005

I am moving to Florida. So let's just hope it doesn't all blow away in Hurricane Wilma this week.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Greetings from sunny Florida! We're here for my husband's job interview, which is taking place even as I'm typing this. I don't think I have enough information to comment on the job or Florida yet, so instead I'll comment on the writing conference I attended over the weekend.

Saturday I went to Austin SCBWI's fall conference. I heard talks by two editors and an agent, and got a helpful critique on a YA manuscript. The manuscript I submitted has been critiqued many times (in different incarnations--this was a brand new rewrite but still retained much from the old versions), but this editor made points no one had ever made about it before, and they were definitely points worth pondering! In addition, I was gratified that he made it sound like my original vision for the manuscript could work. I had changed some things to suit what I thought was more acceptable or marketable, and some of those changes were the very things he questioned. I've tried to tell myself for years not to sell myself short, and I felt like I got some validation for following my own vision. Meanwhile, he gave me food for thought about some other aspects of the manuscript I hadn't thought about before!

The rest of the conference also had some great moments. I loved the encouraging talk by the agent, really enjoyed the lunch from Chango's, got helpful information at the round tables, was excited to win a door prize of theatre tickets, and particularly loved getting to meet a few online friends I'd never met in person before--Jessica, Kay, & Pam! (Hi to Kay's friend Susan, too!)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I finally read Dunk today, after checking it out weeks ago. I really enjoyed it...I'm glad I didn't accidentally return it without reading it, like I thought I had! Although the plot is unique, it's thematically similar enough to a couple of my YA manuscripts that it was a really helpful read for me.

My mind has been on a million things. I took some winding paths through Wikipedia yesterday & today, reading all kinds of things that gave me food for thought and possible fodder for my writing. With a continued possibility of moving & my immediate future up in the air, I haven't felt able to concentrate on any one writing project, but I've brainstormed (or should I say "thought-showered"?!) about tons of them. Lately it's mostly been about the novel idea I would probably pursue for NaNoWriMo if I'm not too overwhelmed to participate this year, the one I was going to call This is the End. Now I'm thinking a better title might be Closure, but I already have another project with a very similar title, so I haven't gotten, closure on the topic.

I got the latest issue of ByLine & was a little bummed to find an article about what writers can learn from actors. Bummed because I had just been planning to write an article on that topic myself! Mine would be different enough that I may do it anyway, but ByLine was where I thought I'd try selling it. Meanwhile, I also got the latest Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (CWIM) & a book called Story Structure Architect, kind of a compendium of plot types, character archetypes, etc., that I hope might help me with my plotting difficulties. So far, I find it rather daunting--though very attractively designed! (I love the rounded corners of the book and the skewed o's in the headline font...I can't say as much in favor of the CWIM's design, but at least its content is useful as always! They could publish the CWIM on a paper towel and I'd probably still buy it.)