Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pausing for breath...

I am thrilled that my monthly freelance article is coming together as well as it is this month. It was nearly painless getting the information. I didn't get writer's block like I did the previous two months (which probably has to do with all the other writing I've been doing lately). And all 7 businesses I requested photos from (the worst part of this gig) got back to me right away! I still don't have all the photos, and not all the photos they sent were good ones, but I have most of what I need to send, and it's pretty much ready to go, with a day to spare. Whew!

In my novel writing, I'm in a weird place. I pushed past a block and finally drafted a couple of scenes about what happens after the main character and her friend make up. I was wondering how to maintain tension when it looked (falsely) like things were mostly resolved, and finally decided that my first-person narrator could just come right out and forecast upcoming disaster. It was kind of a "duh" moment. But then, lying in bed a couple of nights ago, I had a much bigger "duh" moment when I realized I had completely dropped a big plot thread! Just a couple of scenes ago, the MC gave away a secret she'd been protecting for probably half the book. And then I wrote more scenes that didn't address that at all, and I didn't give it any consequences. So now I have to figure out what to do with the scenes I wrote after that, at least one of which I rather like, and how to make it all come back to bite her! I just can't believe I forgot about that when I was writing.

And's almost out, eek! But between end-of-the-year conferences, end-of-the-year parties, Field Day, and the 3rd grade Living History Museum tomorrow, I have to be at the school so much there's hardly any time left to get stuff done without the kids around! (Not that I'm ever without my insane 16-month-old, who, among other zany and heart-attack-inducing things, tried to jump off of a kids' picnic table this week--I caught his head about 3 inches from hitting concrete! He is fearless, endlessly active, and way too physically adept for the amount of sense he has!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

At least I don't need a plot to blog...

I'm up to 25,482 words in my midgrade manuscript. I anticipate the whole thing will be around 30,000 words or a little more (probably more, as long-winded as I am), so I'm definitely closing in on it! But the plot, which has given me so many fits that I let the whole manuscript sit for years, is giving me more even now. Why can't this be easy?! Also, why would I or anyone else do it? Sometimes I think I'm crazy even to try to write a book!

Friday, May 23, 2008

More progress

2146 new words! I worry that my pacing is all wrong, but I'm still happy I'm making progress!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


My husband gave me a wonderful secretary desk for Christmas, which I'd already wanted for over a year at that point. Well, two of the legs broke off as it was being carried upstairs, so in all that time, I still haven't had a desk to use. I've only had my lap, or desks and tables at libraries and cafes. The furniture store ordered replacement legs for us at no cost, but they didn't come in until today!!! So, I finally have a desk of my own!!!

We set it up in the bedroom, which I thought was an imperfect solution, since it's not necessarily very private, not like my very own office. I also wanted it in a certain corner, but there wasn't room so we put it against a different wall. But I'd forgotten I mainly bought this house for the big bedroom windows in the first place, and having my desk right by the windows is so lovely! I love it! It reminds me very much of an office setup I saw in a writing course ad once, which stuck in my mind forever as an ideal-looking office.


The pictures are deceiving because they don't show the clutter, toys, etc., in the rest of the room, so it's not really as clean and spare as it looks--but doesn't it look like a nice place to write?! Also, I may have to take out the movable section of drawers that's behind the computer in the picture and put them on top of the desk so it's taller, because otherwise I can't close the desk with my computer on it. We'll see. The drawers may also prove strictly decorative, since anything I put in them will be grabbed by a crazy toddler! But still, I have my desk, and already wrote 1644 new words at it!

I'm happy with my 1644 new words. They surprised me. I wrote a scene that probably shouldn't be that long, and didn't even go as far into the story as I meant it to. It also ended with a twist that didn't fit my plans. And I'm not sure if I'll keep it going in that direction or not, but it made me clap my hands when I wrote it, and just may help things fall into place. Yippee. Writing can actually be fun. And I finally have a desk!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Writing by the numbers

1.5 hours at the library
1 midgrade manuscript
465 new words of text
574 new words of notes!

(They're pretty helpful notes this time, so I think things should go easier from here on out...)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

3 super things about today (so far)

1) My baby finally kissed me for the first time ever! (He'll be 16 months in a week, and my first two kids started kissing at about half that age.)

2) I heard Jo Whittemore speak at the Austin SCBWI meeting, and it was good.

3) I wrote 1578 new words on my gum manuscript!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fishing for ducks and ideas

My kids threw a really cute Mother's Day Festival for me yesterday. They had a balloon/dart game (tossing rubber darts at water balloons), a feet-only dunking booth game, a ball toss game, a wheel to spin for a prize, a game with one of those paper "fortune tellers" determining the prize, and cutest of all, a duck pond game with a homemade fishing pole that allowed us to fish for rubber ducks to try to get a winning one. Most of the prizes were handmade, including a pinwheel my oldest son made from cut and folded paper, a stick, and a thumbtack. They also performed a few physical feats for entertainment, and my oldest son recited some poems he'd written. Very cute! I got some cards & gifts, too. 

On the writing front, I tried to make progress on my gum story, even going to the library for quiet space to write. It didn't help much. I started trying to write the next scene, but got bogged down in more questions, questions, questions, about where to take the plot. I tried to just write without necessarily knowing the answers, but ran into walls. So I mainly wrote more notes and questions for myself. For example, I need to figure out when and how my main character should make up with a friend she has alienated. I can't decide if it would be more satisfying if she and her friend make up now and work together to change things, then show up together to face everyone else, or my character should only make up with her friend at the very last minute, during a big showdown when she has to take a stand one way or the other. And there are 8 or 10 more things like that, some big and some small, that are all blocking my path when I try to go further! So, I came home with just a rough start to a scene and a list of things to figure out.

Friday, May 02, 2008

14 places I'd rather be right now

1) In a wide open space in New Mexico
2) Rehearsing for or acting in a play
3) On a train somewhere in Europe
4) At an 80s retro concert with friends
5) On the beach in Hawaii
6) At an outdoor cafe in Greece
7) Riding a ride at a theme park
8) Behind the scenes on Sesame Street (why not?)
9) At a writing conference or meeting, discussing writing and ideas
10) On an Alaskan cruise
11) Walking aimlessly in Wales
12) Listening to an impressive street musician
13) At a magic show in Las Vegas
14) Almost anywhere signing a book contract