Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Missed My Calling

I'm helping a friend by editing her master's thesis. And. I. Love. It. Not the thesis, per se, though modern day archaeology is very interesting and her thesis involves her work in Egypt for the past four years, so you know, that's cool and all. No, I love the editing.

There's a lot of work. Not all masters candidates have mastered the comma, that much I can tell you. But I just love the work. Why, why, why did I have to get all pragmatic and major in business? Why didn't I major in English or something? I would still probably be exactly where I am right now, doing the jobs that I'm doing, but I would have at least been able to dream that some day I could be an editor. If I never become published as an author, I would still love to work in the field, and my BA in Business Administration is probably not going to open those doors. Sigh.

But anyway, back to the editing. I've got the manuscript all marked up, adding commas here, deleting them there, changing words to preserve parallel structure, removing passive voiced statements, obliterating unnecessary words with a ruthless efficiency, yadda yadda yadda. She came up to sign out (we both work at the same place) and I showed her my progress, glowing with pride.

She says, "OK, that makes me really mad." My double take alerts her to the fact that I find her response less than thrilling, and she hastens to add "No, no, no! This is great. I'm really mad because I've *already paid* a professional editor over a thousand dollars to get it to this point."

My mouth drops open. Holy [insert your animal or bodily function of choice]. This has already been edited? By a professional? Who took her hard earned money? A THOUSAND DOLLARS? W?T?F? Seriously? How does one become a freelance editor and get paid to do absolutely nothing? Because sign me up - sort of. I want the freelance editor part, but I'd like to earn my dollars the old fashioned way, you know, by providing a valuable service. Unbelievable.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Official Kissing Day Blog Post

I didn't have time to write a new scene last night (see my facebook page for reason why), so here, without further ado, is a kissing scene from Blink, my completed YA novel. (And for you lurking agent types, Blink is a 96,000 word paranormal romance. My complete manuscript is available upon request!) :) ha ha ha ha

Sydnee inhaled sharply and turned to face Ryan for the first time in weeks.

What a difference two weeks in the past made, Sydnee thought. Ryan was sitting at the tiny table in the center of the cabin, where she and Kristen usually shared their breakfast. His posture was relaxed, and he leaned forward with his arms laid loosely on the table, his palms curled slightly inward. He was wearing a roomy cream colored shirt made of roughly woven linen, and a pair of cargo pants cutoff at the knees to make them into shorts. The edge was well frayed, indicated they had been worn that way for a while. Her eyes traveled up his body. His feet were bare, and his legs retained a light tan, but Sydnee was sure he would darken under more sunlight. She couldn’t see any obvious bandages under his shirt, so it looked like his ribs must be healing. Where his tracheotomy had been, there was just a small pinkish indentation instead of a hole. The deep scarred wounds around his throat had faded to thin white lines. Finally she reached his face, and their eyes met. Wordlessly, Ryan rose from the table and crossed to where she still stood frozen by the door.

He brushed his fingertips along her jaw, tracing a line from her ear to the hollow just below her chin. Gently, he cupped her face in his hands and tipped her mouth up to meet his own. When their lips touched, Sydnee felt an electric shock race down her body from the middle of her chest to the tips of her toes and back up again. She kissed him back, and it was the sweetest, most thrilling sensation she had ever experienced. In the space of only a few seconds, their kiss turned from utter sweetness to uncontrollable passion. His lips parted. Hers followed a millisecond later, and as his tongue slid into her mouth, his hands moved to the back of her head and entwined themselves in her damp bedraggled hair. Twisting the long heavy locks around his fingers, he drew her head back at an angle and began kissing her neck hungrily. His lips explored every inch of her slender neck down to her collarbone. He lifted and turned her slightly, still kissing her, and they stumbled to Sydnee’s raised sleeping platform at the far end of the room. Sydnee sank backward onto it when she felt her knees touch the pallet, and Ryan moved with her, his lips still not leaving her throat.

He propped himself up on his left arm and his right hand slid expertly under her wet tank top and up the right side of her body, his palm hot on her skin, his lips once again pressed urgently upon her own. Sydnee’s knees relaxed of their own accord, she had no control over herself. Ryan’s body settled between her legs and she moaned as she felt the full weight of him on top of her. This snapped him out of his blind passion, and he literally thrust himself away from her, launching himself into the air and landing several feet away, a crazed expression on his face, half lust, half abhorrence.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Water Balloon Fight is Over!

The characters in my WIP finally finished their seemingly interminable water balloon fight, and they did it (I think) on a very strong note.

It took me days (if not weeks) to write the scene and it felt like it was never going to end. I swear, I thought half the book must be that one scene and that it would drag on and on forever. But when I read back over it, it wasn't as bad as I thought it must surely be. The pacing felt quicker on a read through than I expected it to. I think I may keep most of it.

Usually I can pound out a few thousand words a night when I put my mind to it, but this middle grade novel is going much slower than that. I know what's going to happen and where the characters are ultimately going to end up and what they're going to do to get there, but my progress is much slower. I've mentioned it before, and I think it's because I have to be a lot more careful about what my characters say, how they act, and whether it is appropriate for a younger audience or not. My older YA characters can get away with a lot more and travel down some much stranger tangents than I'm allowing my MG characters to, and that's as it should be. It's just harder than I expected.

My kids are out of preschool and Mandarin class for the next 2 weeks. I don't know what we're going to do with ourselves. Bring on the glitter glue.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Very Quiet Over Here

I really have had very little to say the last few days. Got a couple of form rejections. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing to report. Making slow progress on the MG WIP. I'm hoping to write some tonight after a shower. Nothing like an 11PM shower to startle one awake and get the creative muse fired up.

The only thing I have even felt like writing lately was a pissy post about how much I disliked the Harry Potter 6 movie. I watched it on DVD the other night and was painfully reminded how much that film disappointed me. The 5th movie blew me away. It was by far the best movie in the franchise (and I was surprised, because it was one of my less favorite books in the series - though I like them all) but as a movie: SLAM. DUNK.

So I was thrilled that the same director was doing the 6th and I had high hopes and then it came out and I watched it and I was like W.....T......F. Ron's house burning down? Wha-huh? Harry and Ginny's big kiss? What a letdown. I know people have said those two actors have no charisma together, and that it's like watching someone kiss their sister, but that's not strong enough in my opinion. Kissing their lesbian sister? No. Even a dyed in the wool lesbian could work up more enthusiasm for Harry than Ginny did in that scene. I imagine that they did like 40 takes of that scene and finally someone leans into the director and whispers, "Just give it up. It's not happening." Everything felt really heavy-handed and boorish. And at the end, when Dumbledore dies? Totally not believable. And the thing with everyone pointing their glowing wands at the sky? OK, I get that they were driving away the dark mark with their show of unity or whatever, but hello. I'm not at a goddamn Rush concert.

OK. I told myself I wasn't going to do this. [chokes back sob]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Read this Blog and Enter this Contest!

Hi all,

Just read a guest blog from Joanna Stampfel-Volpe over here: It was really lovely. I like when agents remind us that they are people too. I swear, I'm not a crazy stalker. I'M NOT!!!

There's a contest involved too. If you post a comment with your favorite genres then you're entered to win a bunch of books and a query critique from Ms. Stampfel-Volpe herself. I hear she's an awesome critiquer, so this prize is kind of, um, awesome.

Go enter!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I was tagged by Travener. I don't know who to tag. If you want to fill this out, get on down with your bad self!

What's the last thing you wrote?
Words 3500-4500 in The Tooth Fairy's Assistant

What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
I believe I still have a copy of The Slug That Ate Manhattan. I think I wrote that in sixth grade.

Last thing:
See the first question.

Write poetry?
Not since junior high school.

Angsty poetry?

Favorite genre of writing?

Most annoying character you've ever created?
Becca in the first draft of The Reluctant Prophet

Best plot you've ever created?
Um, I'm going to go with the one in Blink. It's a great plot, but I think I need to shore up the writing.

Coolest plot twist you've ever created?
Time travelers fuck up in the past and next thing you know my characters are hurtling down the wrong side of the highway in America, cars flashing past them going the opposite direction. America's been under British rule for the last 300 years and America is a poor man's Ireland.

How often do you get writer's block?
I don't really get writers block, I get writers laziness.

Do you type or write by hand?

Do you save everything you write?
Yep, even the stuff I cut. I have a document called like "deleted snippets" or something like that. There could be gold in there for my next book people!!

Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abadoned it?
Not really.

What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
I can't choose a favorite. God, I have a few blog posts I have absolutely adored. I don't want to pick.

What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
I have no idea.

Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
Romance yes. Angsty teen drama no.

What's you favorite setting for your characters?
I like to have them in Washington, because that's what I know best.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Three-ish, but mostly just one.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Not since primary school.

What are your five favorite words?
"I love you too Mommy."

What character have you created that is most like yourself?
Kristen from Blink.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?
All over the place. Friends, myself, weird stories I hear, etc.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
No. I rarely ever remember my dreams, and when I do, they're the really weird ones. I haven't been able to incorporate a bunch of people with teabags instead of heads into my work. Though I have considered trying.

Do you favor happy endings?

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Yes. My grammer usually comes out correctly, except for my overuse/misplacement of the word "had." I also usually spell things correctly, and I notice when I don't. I'm constantly backspacing to fix problems like that. I can't just move forward and plan to fix it later. It will bug me hours afterwards. I still know it's there.

Does music help you write?
Absolutely not. Any type of background noise is a huge distraction.

Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.
Her grey blue eyes glowed with pride at Alex’s words, and for a second I saw what she would look like if I thought she was pretty.

Word Count Climbing

I'm up to 4,500+ words on my middle grade WIP, after a most successful thousand word hour at work tonight. Gotta love those slow Sunday nights. I could have written more, but I get off at 11:30 and I really didn't want to be driving home any later than necessary. It was 34 degrees out when I left work and it was down to 20 by the time I got home. Who knows how cold it will actually get tonight, but I didn't need the roads any icier than they already were.

I'm really enjoying the way the story is shaping up, and I'm liking the writing process too. I'm realizing that I've learned a whole lot about showing versus telling, and it's coming out in this new book. I'm going to try to fix Blink, I really am, but I think it's way easier to just write it correctly the first time. The book is tentatively titled The Tooth Fairy's Assistant, but I think I will have to probably change the title, because it certainly does take the mystery out of the career path my main character is on. I've put my edgy YA novel on hold. That one's just too different, and I really am afraid of mixing voices. That would be BAD. Bad. Bad. Bad.

On the home front, I am sick, and sick of being sick. To that end, I tried a Neti pot for the first time last night. Honestly, it wasn't nearly as weird an experience as I expected it to be. I think I will try to make it a regular ritual. Two things to keep in mind: 1. You must not forget to keep your mouth open and breathe while Neti-potting. 2. You must not laugh hysterically (or allow your husband to laugh hysterically) while Neti-potting. It doesn't help at all.

That's all for now!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Slow Progress

I wrote about 500 words tonight. I wanted to do more, but I had about 35 emails to answer for my work, and that took hours.

I'm having a lot of fun writing this middle grade novel, but I find myself doing a lot more deleting as I start to wander off on tangents that threaten to turn my novel on its side and make the subject matter more appropriate for YA. Yeah, bad things will happen in this book, but they have to be bad in a middle grade sort of way.

No one's going to offer my kids drugs. They're not going to be held at gunpoint by the cops for having a water balloon fight, and they're not going to run away and spend weeks sleeping on the beach. So basically, every time I start to put any of my life experiences into the book, I have to reel it back in. Yes, I'm going to have them in a gigantic water balloon fight, but it's NOT going to end the way it did in real life. It has to be nicer, more palatable. In a YA book, I could totally put in what happened to me and my friends, but in a middle grade book I might be able to use some portions of the experience, but definitely not the whole thing.

It's a much more delicate balance, and so even though I'm spending just as much time writing this one as I did my YA book, my word count is much lower at the end of the evening with this one because I have had to delete so much more.

That reminds me of a funny story. Earlier this year I went to a baby shower for a friend of mine, Shannon. She and I became friends long after the wild days of my youth. The party was held at a waterfront house in Kingston. Small world, one of my very old friends (Kelli) was also there at the shower. I had introduced Shannon and Kelli at some random point, and they had hit it off and so we were both invited to the shower. At one point Kelli and I were looking out the window, watching the ferry pull into the dock. The owner of the house was really nice and very cool, and she stopped by and talked to us for a couple of minutes. When she moved on Kelli turned to me and said, "You think we should tell her we used to sleep on her lawn?"

It was probably best that we kept that to ourselves.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yee Haw!

I worked on my MG novel tonight, and I'm up over 3,000 words. If I'm shooting for the low end of the suggested word range, then I'm more than 10% of the way there. I should have this baby wrapped up by middle of next week, tops.


Take that, you fabulous, form rejecting agents. Prepare to be queried by me MONTHLY. With a new work each time. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha [evil laughter fades as I climb stairs to my room, where I fall, exhausted and delirious, onto my bed]