Friday, July 31, 2009

It's a Giveaway!

ETA: We have a winner! Something She Wrote's 100th follower is VirtualWordsmith. Congratulations, Lynn!

Because she signed up under her own steam, she gets both books! Lynn, look for them sometime next week.

To any newcomers: I hope that, despite the fact the books have already been given away, you'll make yourselves at home. I welcome your visit anytime!

Thanks, everyone. This was a lot of fun, and I sure appreciate each of you.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After Firsts

So we talked about firsts.

Some of you are still neck-deep with your first novel, whether writing, editing or querying. Many haven't looked at their early manuscripts in ages. Others have worked and reworked with potential still looming; others yet have already found success with numero uno. Further proof we all have our own paths, yes?

But one common thought gleaned from Monday's post was that we learn incredible amounts from our first attempts. Lady Glamis said it well: "No writing is ever wasted writing." I dare say we shouldn't regret any step we've taken, any word we've written.

Another prevailing thought was, there's a next stage. We've a reason to move forward, to keep going: We write. More. Better. There are other stories to be told, and we want to tell 'em.

Great news, isn't it?

You know what else? I've never been part of such a sincere and supportive group of people. Your encouragement is somethin' else. If you're in need of a good dose today, visit the comments from my Firsts post.

Now write on!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Kiss. Paycheck. Baby. House. Grandchild.


Mine took a year to write. Three months to edit. Three months of queries (and no agent bites) before Avalon showed interest by requesting the full. They turned it down for their reasons, and I've been sitting on Bliss Lake ever since. I thought about more edits, some embellishments. I considered reworking the format, deepening the plot, adding another POV. I even spent some time giving it another go, trying to make it work.

But I recently decided to shelve it. Bliss Lake and I are cutting ties for now. Maybe for always.

It was shorter than most agents and publishers choose to consider. My characters, much as I loved them, weren't fleshed-out enough. The story, as I thought it was meant to be told, didn't have emotional depth, no pulling weight.

It just wasn't good enough. Not as my writing needs to be. As good as I want it to be.

But it was worth it, because I learned so much. I delved into the craft, started finding my voice. Experienced the rush of words, the effort of discipline, the draw of the story. I learned I can write a novel. All from my first attempt.

It was excellent practice.

What ever happened to your first novel?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One Word

Think for a moment about the writing you've done. About how it has defined you, helped you find voice, escape to other worlds, relate lessons, share emotions.

And now think about the writing ahead. What do you want it to mean? What will come from it?

Describe in one word* what you want your writing to be.

*One word? Could be difficult. We're wordy creatures, after all.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cook's Diner

Your arrival is announced by the tinkle of a bell, as you push the door into smells of fried chicken and fresh-baked pies. Diners' voices fall; their eyes find you. But curiosity does not linger, for their interest is more heavily weighted by deep conversation and common gossip.

You spy your booth in the corner, set off from those already occupied, and approach its solitary offering. The vinyl seat welcomes you with worn comfort as you settle, tucking away thoughts of distraction.

Cook catches your attention from his square kitchen window and you nod. Yes, you'll have the usual. No hurry.

With the touch of a finger, your laptop comes to life. You sip from the cup Suzette just delivered with a quiet smile, access the file and...

What do you write?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

That Ever-Elusive...

Often the timing isn't right. Maybe I'm standing over a skillet of gravy, and won't step away because biscuits and lumps do not go well together. We're two miles from church, two minutes before the service, and I really can't sneak my laptop into the sanctuary. Or my daughter promises this is her last yodel, and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt.

It is not meant to be.

But occasionally, everything works in my favor. I happen to be in the same room as my computer, trying to increase output on my WIP, and all factors align. I've harnessed the necessary discipline, nothing more pressing snatches my time, and I find it.

The Zone.

My fingers, linked directly to my whirring brain, turn nimble. My creativity is sharp, and it buzzes somewhere within my head. My characters speak; I transcribe. The next scene unfolds, and the words are in reach, ready to be picked and plucked. I step away for a moment, tend to a need, and fall back into place without losing momentum.

The Zone is mine.

(I wish I could own it regularly.)

Tell me about your zone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Writing's Appeal

He writes to create.
She to storytell.
It's the call of the craft,
it's a love of the skill.

But I'll tell you a secret,
if you'll lean in real close:
I've got one reason
and I like it the most.

Should I be honest?
I suppose I can say:
See, when writing,
being lazy's okay.

You just sit at your desk;
it's the easiest work.
No exercise/exertion.
No way to get hurt.

What? Yeah, you're right,
but side effects are small.
A crick in the neck
or Carpal Tunnel, is all.

I can think of worse things.
I'll give you examples.
Like, would you spot check
those dentures of Grampa's?

Work outside in the yard
on sore, bended knee,
wearing shorts (and underwear
prone to wedgie)?

Bathe the fridge.
Oh, cripes, what is that?
I'll just close the door,
hide the mold in the back.

I could dust the shelves,
ABC all the books.
Make sure all my rugs
have been vacuumed and shook.

But none of that's fun.
Don't you agree?
I'd much rather sit, lazy,
and be writerly.

*After reading some great poetry from Pat, and having just declared I'm no poet in a meme, the idea for this walloped me in the head. And so I sat on my bum (of course) to write it out and share with you. *silly grins*

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Letter: So Much More Than Words

When something has affected me, and the life around me, I stew. I analyze. I judge myself and my thinking. And then I want to write a letter.

But to a family member? A friend, to explain my feelings and make sure unspoken thoughts are clear? I hold back. Because aren't we generally expected to talk it out? Isn't it considered a lame attempt, a way of backing down, if we succumb to the written word, which, without inflection, with no tone or ambience in mood, can be misinpreted?

I say, "No more." I'm tired of holding out, of denying myself one of the barest means of communication.

Writing is what I'm good at. If I can't sit with the best of intentions and form an amazing letter, one that says what I need it to say, then I'm not worth the title of writer.

So I'm promising myself: If I have issue with someone, when I have something I need to get off my chest, and it's crucial to the life I'm living, I'll write a letter. I'll pour my heart into the document. I'll cuss and I'll be snarky; I'll delete and re-write. I'll edit and make it pretty. I'll be tactful, humble, so as not to cause strife. I'll be clear. I'll be wise and I'll form beauty with my words.

Because I'm a writer, and that's what I do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just For Fun: A Writer's Meme

What was the last thing you wrote?
Something for chapter 10 in my current novel-in-progress.

Was it any good?
Eh. The jury (of one - me) is out.

Write poetry?
Occasionally, but I have no passion for it.

Angsty poetry?
Well, I once was a teenage girl. What's that tell ya?

Favorite genre of writing?
Women's Fiction

Most fun character you ever wrote?
Thus far, a sassy salesclerk named Dom. But it was a minor appearance.

Most annoying character you ever wrote?
Charlotte, a self-absorbed, unpleasant and rude woman, whose character I built using similar people from my own life. Kind of a catharsis, really.

Best plot you ever wrote?
Now, now. I can't give anything specific away. I'll just say, it's in the works and its potential is grand. If I can pull it off.

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote?
An underlying and unexpected connection between two people.

How often do you get writer’s block?
Let's see... it's ten past the hour... right. about. now!

How do you fix it?
Sit down and beg discipline from myself... or do something different until the words start flowing again. Showers always help.

Write fan fiction?
Never once. And I'll be honest, I really don't understand the following. If you're that creative, come up with something entirely new.

Do you type or write by hand?
By choice, always type. If it's by hand, it's because no computer is near. And it's very choppy and messy and small.

Do you save everything you write?
Absolutely. Unless it's a grocery list, you know.

Do you ever go back to an idea long after you abandoned it?
Sure do. Especially if I abandoned it on purpose, to gain fresh perspective.

What’s your favorite thing you have ever written?
I'm partial to a couple short stories, and I really feel something for my current WIP. It may be the best thing I've written to date, whether it sees publication in the end or not.

What’s everyone else’s favorite thing you’ve written?
Maybe you could tell me?

Do you show people your work?
Less and less so. As I said last week, it's becoming important for me to keep things under wraps a bit.

Did you ever write a novel?
One complete, one left hanging... and a new one I haven't spoken about yet...

Have you ever written fantasy, sci-fi, or horror?
Golly, no! And I don't aim to. Not my fortes.

Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?
Yep. Except the teen angsty drama thing.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
One big project, and it's not uncommon to have several little ones floating around.

Do you want to write for a living?
Pshh! Who doesn't?

Have you ever won an award for writing?
In middle school, for a summer poem about lemonade. *cheesy grin*

Ever written something in script or play format?
No, but wouldn't it be easy? I could tell, tell, tell. ;)

What character you've written most resembles yourself?
My current MC has a very similar nuance and voice. And I love her.

Where do you get the ideas for your characters?
Divine Intervention. And brainstorms.

Do you ever write based on dreams?
Some details come to me that way, for sure.

Do you favor happy endings, sad endings or cliff hangers?
I like things tied up and neat, but I'm learning they don't have to be happily ever after.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you’ve seen?
I've been prompted by photos before.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Shoot, yes. Anal-retentive much?

Ever written anything entirely in chatspeak (How r u)?
Just on my phone. Shh...

Are people surprised and confused when they find out you write well?
I get the gamut of reactions.

Quote something you’ve written. The first thing to pop in your mind.
"Something changed my thinking. Made my thinking change." Brilliant, I know.

Whew! That was fun. How 'bout you?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Choosing Tense

She sits, second row on the left side of the chapel. The pew in front of her remains empty, and so as she weaves her fingers together, apart, together again, she has an unobstructed view of the open casket and Silas, his forehead and nose bumping up past the line of the box.

Present tense. You are in the moment, yourself a spectator.

Now let's shift gears for a moment...

She sat, second row on the left side of the chapel. The pew in front of her remained empty, and so as she wove her fingers together, apart, together again, she had an unobstructed view of the open casket and Silas, his forehead and nose bumping up past the line of the box.

Past tense. Already done and gone, relayed to you by a first-hand observer.

Same excerpt, two tenses. Which stands out to you more? As writers and readers, each of us has a preference.

When reading, does one form put you off? I'm in the middle of The Nanny Diaries, written in the present tense. As a proponent of past tense, particularly in longer works, I find it stops me short at times.

When writing, how do you choose the tense you'll use? Is it intrinsic for you, something you don't even consider? Or do you weigh the options against the work, the ultimate output and the characters who live the story?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Weekend of Women

A lone Janna
three states (okay, just the corner of one)
food aplenty
and antiques.


A couple Saturdays ago I left town, bags loaded with reading material and edible goodies, mind set on time away and important visits.

I put almost a couple hundred miles behind me and met fellow writer and bloggy buddy, Melissa from Grosvenor Square. (And I kick myself for not asking her to pronounce that G-word for me. I stumble over it every time.) We had lunch at a quaint little hole-in-the-wall, where we talked shop and life. Melissa, a doll in her own right, was accompanied by her daughter, a sweet, talented little thing. We had a great time!

Afterward, I continued on to see my grandma. She's been in a care facility of sorts, since a car accident left her slow to move and confined by a neck brace. She's doing well, and our visit was pleasant. I admit, we've never been close, and the warm fuzzies and bonding I'd hoped for didn't come to pass. Still, our one-on-one time was important, and I'm glad I went.

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting antique stores along the way and back: Most of you know it's one of my favorite pasttimes. Plenty caught my eye, but I seemed in a bookish mood. I bought two old texts, one called the Essentials of English Composition, published in 1912, and the other Journalism. Its moss green cover caught my eye first, but then I was endeared by cursive handwriting that claims the inside cover. And its date, 1916. When I scanned the table of contents and read the following passage from within, I had to have it:

Women in Journalism
It seems to be a mooted question whether the newspaper world has anything much to offer them. According to the best opinion only those who feel that they have special talent for the work, and who are willing to deprive themselves of home and social life to an extent not required in any other business, except that of acting, should think of taking up journalism as a means of livelihood. Unlike teaching or almost any other calling, the labor of news getting and news editing is, from its exacting and severely practical nature, essentially a man's work...

Ohhhh, I could go on, but that's a decent taste. Isn't it a hoot? I had to bring it home.

All in all, a worthwhile weekend of women.

Have you had any special weekends of late?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Which Would You Rather?

Imagination is more important than knowledge...
- Albert Einstein
So, imagination? Or knowledge?