Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Famous! (sort of)

My friend Michelle Gregory interviewed me for her blog, Beautiful Chaos.  So I feel (slightly) famous.  In honor of National Novel Writing Month, she is doing a series of interviews of her writing and blogging friends.  Thank you, Michelle, for the honor!  Your friendship and encouragement have been invaluable to me on this writing journey.  If you want to read it, my interview is here.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo... How is everyone doing?  I don't really expect anyone to answer, of course, because you are frantically trying to finish that word count by midnight.  I think writers are the new vampires... half-human, half-shadow, spending the nighttime hours with their pale faces reflected in the glow of their monitors.  I can't wait to hear about all of my friends' projects!!!

I'm almost 30K into my revisions right now.  It's taking a lot longer than I thought it would, but I think those are 29,163 words are much better words than they would be if I were rushing.  Still, I have to resist the urge to keep going back and changing things.  I need to start a "To Change" list and keep it by my computer so I don't forget the details that need tweaking.

Best of luck to you "Nanites," and I look forward to hearing from you in about a week, when you've recovered.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Random Thoughts on "New Moon"

Okay, I admit it... I went to see "New Moon" on Wednesday.  I rushed to the theatre from work to catch a matinee.

Random thoughts:

1. Jacob looks a LOT better than Edward without a shirt on.

2. Bella is even more annoying than Harry Potter. And that's saying a lot. I like them both, I relate to them, but Boy, are they annoying!

3. I shouldn't trash Bella too badly, since I was a pretty hopless case myself at 18. But, Really!

4. I can only imagine the number of term papers that will be written in the next couple of years comparing "New Moon" to "Romeo and Juliet."

5. The story was horrible. I think they could have just skipped this one altogether, and worked Jacob's transformation into the next one. (I didn't read the books.)

6. The first movie was about chastity. This one was about two things 1. Domestic Violence and 2. Emotional Abandonment.

Domestic Violence - strip away the whole "werewolf" thing and what you basically have is a metaphor for what men do to women when they lose control. The woman still loves the man, even though he hurts her, and he hates himself for turning into a monster. Jacob typifies boyish innocence suddenly turning into masculine power.

Emotional Abandonment - I don't mean Edward leaving Bella. I mean Bella's parents leaving her in this situation with no guidance or support. The dad was a nitwit - he should have packed that girl off to her mother's right away. And made sure she got emotional counseling.

The mother needed to be there for her daughter, saying, "Look, honey, I know this feels like the end of the world. I've been there, I know. But it really, truly isn't. You've got to trust me on this one. Now, let's go shopping and have a hot fudge sundae and paint our toenails."

The closest thing Charlie got to in terms of guidance was when he said to Bella, "I think you need to learn to love what's good for you." But then he totally negated himself by saying "What do I know? I'm just a terminal bachelor." Even this is telling, though, about how often parents lack the confidence to give even the most basic advice to their children.

7. As someone else has said, the role models for relationships were horrible. True to life, but horrible.

8. I'm glad Bella picked Edward, because Jacob can do better.  He carried the whole movie, as far as I'm concerned.

9. I laughed when the wolf (was it Sam?) came out of the bushes for the first time. I clamped my hand over my mouth so as not to annoy everyone.  But it looked reeeeeeeally cheesy.

10.  I loved the vampire elevator music.  I thought that was one of the best moments in the whole movie.

11. I want the soundtrack.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Being Thankful for the Gift of Creativity

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Take a moment today to thank God for the blessing of your creativity.  I know that living in two worlds at one time can be, in the words of my favorite TV character, Adrian Monk, "A gift... and a curse."  (I've blogged about this here.)  But recall that God himself is the Creator of all things, and by breathing a little bit of the creative gift in us He has actually given us the incredible blessing of sharing in His own nature.
I recently read these words in an article by Dr. Charles Stanley about Caleb, who was with Moses, Joshua and the Israelites in the desert.  He dreamed of entering the Promised Land, and was 85 when he claimed the hill country of Canaan - some of the hardest area to settle - for his territory.

Stanley writes "(Caleb) had to wait years for the blessing to materialize, but he never lost hope, never stopped dreaming, and never doubted God's goodness. He had a fixed focus, and not even 40 years of wilderness wandering was enough to distract him...

"You don't have to give in to your doubts or fears.  Your imagination is a gift from God.  When you stop using it, you begin to age.  Go ahead - dream big and watch Him do the impossible in your life!"  ("Caleb's Conquest", In Touch Magazine, Sept. 2009)

Your imagination is a gift from God!  So, take some time to thank Him today.  And then get back to writing!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why do we write?

Today's post was submitted by Douglas Clarke.  Thank you for being a part of the Writer's Hole!

We love to write, we hate to write, so why do we write?

To share yourself
To connect with others
Because your heart is screaming inside
To leave something for our children
It's your job
or something else completely ...

For me it is therapy. By writing down the stories that my characters are going through, I deal with the same feelings, if not the same situations, that they do. But working out how my characters deal with issues, I work out some of my own issues.

Douglas Clarke

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, Monday

So, how is everyone feeling today?  We all know Monday is the pits.  At least this one was.  Cold and rainy. I'm dragging my tail from staying up too late all last week writing and blogging.

This is the Writer's Hole, so it's important to know that you can complain if you want. Go ahead. Get it all out.

I was feeling a little better about my manuscript, ready to stop re-re-re-re-revising my first chapter and move onward, until I got a new writing book in the mail.  It's called Flogging the Quill: Crafting a Novel that Sells by Ray Rhamey, who has a fantastic blog by the same name.  I came home, opened the box from Amazon before I'd even taken my coat off, made a cup of tea and read the first 38 pages right there at the dining room table.

Rhamey's book is excellent.  He has a totally readable and yet razor-sharp analysis of how to craft compelling fiction.  It's unlike any other book on writing fiction that I've seen.  As I read, I realized that I have a lot farther to go than I thought (well, to be more accurate, than I hoped) before my manuscript is ready to send out.  And that I have to revise the first chapter again, especially the first page. It's still not compelling enough to make a reader - let alone an agent - want to know more about my story.  The story is there... just not right on the first page.

Two steps forward and one step back.  That's the writing life. Thoughts, anyone?

FTC Disclaimer (not) - I didn't get anything from Mr. Rhamey for talking about his book on my blog. I bought it from

Friday, November 20, 2009

Remembering Your First Love

Writing a novel is like falling in love.  And out again. And in.  And out.  Until you can't remember why you ever wanted to write it in the first place.

So what made you fall in love with your book? What idea, or character, or theme, sparked the romance for you?

For me, it was the idea of writing a Tolkein-ish story from the girl's point of view. Let's face it, there is hardly any female perspective in the fabulous "Lord of the Rings."  The movies did a better job than Tolkein did.  Which is okay.  He was a guy writing a guy's epic.

But what if you had a similar world, with magic and danger and heroism... with girls in it who actually got to do stuff?  Girls who weren't Amazons or warrior princesses, but real women who hate blood as much as I do, but can screw up the courage to stab somebody when there's no other way to stop them?  Like Padme Amidala and her "aggressive negotiations."  So that really turned me on... how can I write an exciting story that has strong feminine leads who still retain their femininity?

What happened was that, as I wrote, I discovered that I needed to get inside of the male lead, too.  He went from being a two-dimensional Disney-style "guy with a sword" to a real guts-and-grime hero.  I still don't quite know how he sprang into being, but he did nonetheless. I guess there's a little Faldur in me, buried deep down somewhere.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that I'd mentally cast Hugh Jackman to play him in the movie version.  You gotta love Hugh!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Writer's Hole

Dear Readers,

You probably figured I couldn't stay away for long. You were right. But I want to create a whole new concept for the blog.

I want to call it "The Writer's Hole." Like that little hole you want to crawl into when you're feeling discouraged and hate the manuscript you were in raptures over just last week. I need a cute header... a Winnie-the-Pooh-like illustration of a little door in a tree trunk - that kind of thing.

I've always secretly wanted to live inside a tree trunk.

Anyway, the new blog is going to be not mine, but OURS. Anyone who wants to post something can do so. Just email it to me and I'll put it up. But I don't have time to add photos or edit the text, so just be sure it's edited beforehand, and appropriate. No profanity (you can use @#$#@! if you want), nothing offensive. And focused on writing fiction.

I also welcome short passages for which you want feedback. I'll post some of mine, too.  But it may take me a little while to put things up depending on how busy I am.  I want this to be a way we can encourage each other, but I also want to be a good steward of my time.

Please post comments with ideas/questions! I look forward to hearing from you.