CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

A DASH OF DRAGONS through July 22nd
ALMOST PARADISE through July 29th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Molly O'Neal Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/23/17

Wednesday's Word Count

Happy New Year's (eve day) everyone! I'm not sure anyone is doing much writing at the moment, but I thought I'd throw this up just in case.

Prior Goal:
Outline / have baby.

Achieved: Zilch.

Goal for new week:
HAVE BABY!

Excuses / comments:
I'm officially "overdue" now. I went overdue with my first as well, so I guess I should have expected this. There isn't any writing or outlining getting done over here. I'm just waiting and pouting and waiting. I was really hoping he'd come before the end of the year, but it looks like he wants to be a 2009 baby!

Have a safe, fun New Year's tonight! I hope everyone is gearing up to tackle their new 2009 goals! I love when a new year starts - it feels so refreshing to me!

Cheers!

2009 New Year's Resolutions / Goals

This is coming a tad later than I had planned (yup, I'm still here and large *grumble*) but here it is - my 2009 New Year's goal post!

Like I mentioned before, I'm not entirely sure where my writing will fall in the scheme of life once the new baby arrives, but I'm hoping I can get back into a routine within a couple months and be able to meet these goals. And now, without further ado... my public declaration of goals for 2009.
  • Write new outlined book by May or June.
  • Edit / Revise / Beta-read by September (hopefully.)
  • Start querying in September (if manuscript is really ready.)
  • NaNoWriMo 2009 through November
  • Continue querying through the end of the year (unless I magically get an agent sooner.)
  • Continue working on NaNo manuscript if I'm happy with it.
  • Buy and read at least two or three books a month (shouldn't be a problem *grin*)
  • Continue to learn about writing / publishing.
  • Continue blogging regularly.
  • Start doing more book reviews on my blog.
  • Post either a teaser here or something for critique at AW every few months (at least.)
  • Focus on overcoming weaknesses and issues found in 2008.
  • Review this list every month.
I'm not sure how feasible or reasonable the time-frames are for my new manuscript, but I wanted a loose guideline. So, time-frames are subject to change (earlier or later) but my main hope is to get to the querying stage this year, whether that means polishing something I've already written or getting to that point with my new project.

I have high hopes for 09 and hope my Blogger / writer friends will stick through it with me. And speaking of, what are your goals for 2009? Feel free to post them in the comments, especially those of you that keep up with our weekly Wednesday goals!

If I go MIA on the blog front before then (please baby, please) have a safe and Happy New Year's!

Merry Christmas and Reflections on 2008

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas yesterday! I ate waaay too much but had a wonderful, relaxing day.

Before I disappear into the land of baby bliss (I'm still hoping he'll show before the first,) I wanted to reflect on the waning year.

So... 2008, let's see.

2008 was a year of very few goals and accomplishments for me. My only writing goals, really, were to keep learning, improving, and to finish at least one manuscript. It's debatable whether or not I truly accomplished these things, but I'm going to say I did - I just don't feel extremely good about them.

But, I did accomplish the following:

I became more interested / determined in becoming a published author.
I made some awesome new writing / blogger friends. *Waves*
I became a somewhat regular blogger.
I kept writing throughout the year, despite an awful spell of "writer's block."
I experimented with writing different genres.
I learned a ton about the publishing business.
And,
I started reading YA, which I now love.

I'm cautiously optimistic for 2009. It's hard to say what I'll be able to manage with the new addition mixing things up, but I've got some New Year's resolutions and goals brewing in the brain for when things start to settle down. Providing I haven't had the baby, I'll be making my New Year's goal post some time this weekend.

Have a beautiful Holiday week if you don't hear from me!

Wednesday's Word Count

Yes, I'm still alive. On bed rest for high blood pressure, sick, and still pregnant... but alive, barely I think. Heh.

Prior Goal:
Outlining.

Achieved: Very little.

Goal for new week:
Work on the outline if I'm feeling up to it and have a baby.

Excuses / comments:
I've been having a rough week. I was put on bed rest because my blood pressure keeps coming up high at my appointments and then I caught a head cold. Not fun. So... I came up with a few new ideas for my novel, which I put down on my outline, but that's about it. I've mainly been trying to rest, which isn't always easy with a two year old. Hopefully the baby will wait until after Christmas to make his arrival now but anytime after that is fair game as far as I'm concerned. I'm so tired.

I wish everyone who celebrates a wonderful, fun-filled, beautiful Christmas tomorrow!

Merry Christmas Eve Day! Please continue to post your Wednesday goals if you'd like!

Wednesday's Word Count

Happy Wednesday! Everyone getting ready for Christmas? Nine days left. Are the holiday's interfering with your writing?

Prior Goal:
Finish outlining / character profiles.

Achieved: More / revised outlining and a couple new characters.

Goal for new week:
Keep at it - maybe finish?

Excuses / comments:
I'm definitely not finished, getting closer though. I had to revise quite a bit of my outline this week when some things took a different direction. I also have quite a few more plot details to figure out before I'll feel comfortable wading in. Characters are coming to me slowly, too. I'm trying to make each one unique and memorable in some way (if they matter) but it's not easy - that's for sure. I really don't want cardboard characters though!

So, how are the rest of you doing? Anyone tackling a healthy-sized goal this last week before Christmas? Hope you're all doing well!

By the way, if I go MIA it's probably (hopefully) because I've had my baby. So far he seems intent to stick it out to his due date though. You just never know when they'll come in these last couple weeks. I'm really hoping he doesn't go overdue... but he's only going to come when he's good and ready.

Cheers!

Books, Bards, and Babies

Just a quick update since I haven't blogged in a few days.

I started reading "The Emerald Tablet" by PJ Hoover. My first thoughts? Fun, fun, fun! I love the world and characters so far.

I received my edition of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" FINALLY! Yeesh. I should have just bought it at a local store on its release day. I didn't realize shipping would take so long. The Other came home yesterday to find me snuggling it on the couch and admiring its cover. I haven't let myself start reading it yet though. I've decided to save it for a day I'm feeling especially down and tired, which probably means tomorrow since I'm getting to be SO done with being pregnant.

The humongous full moon we just had? Yea, I had my hopes... but no gravitational-pull water breakage happening over here. Guess it's just a wives tale after all. *Pout*

My outline? Going slooooow. Now that I'm into the nitty gritty of the plot I'm spending a lot more time on trying to figure out little details. I have an impressive list of questions going about my world, plot, and characters. Do you outliners really take the time to answer ALL of these questions before writing? It seems like it would be the best thing to do, seeing as I could then incorporate said knowledge into the novel as I go, but it just seems soo daunting.

I did pull out my copy of "Plot and Structure: (Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish)" by James Scott Bell. I forgot how much I LOVE and value this book. The chapter on structure really helped me figure out my "second doorway of no return." I highly, highly recommend this book as well as "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman, which I always have floating around the house to reference at any moment.

That's it for me today. I'm looking forward to getting out and doing some Christmas shopping. I just have one person left to buy for. Yay! And who knows, maybe the moon still has something in store for me.

Hey, an uncomfortable pregnant woman can wish, right?

Wednesday's Word Count

Wednesday again. I hope everyone had a great week!

Prior Goal:
Three to five pages of outlining.

Achieved: Seven pages of outlining.

Goal for new week:
Finish outlining and hash out more character profiles?

Excuses / comments:
I didn't do too bad with the outlining, surprisingly. It's more like five or six pages, really, since the first page is an index and a couple other pages aren't completely full. In any case, I definitely met my goal. I'm hoping to finish within the next week but I'm sort of stuck at the moment - having some issues with my plot. Hopefully I can push through and figure those out.

I'm definitely seeing the benefit of outlining though. Seeing how I've changed key elements of the story about three times already. That would have been pages and pages of writing down the drain if I had just jumped in to write. Maybe this really will benefit me after all!

How did everyone else do? I know we had some healthy goals of 5,000 words - I hope you met them! Oh, and how is the querying going, Angela? Any bites?

Keep up the great work and goals everyone!

A Bit About Me and Christmas


Grabbed this off of Shelli's blog, so I could play too.

Who Are You? Christmas Edition:

Welcome to the Christmas edition of "getting to know your blogger friends". Please feel free to change up the questions if you follow a different religion and/or set of traditions.

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both.
  2. Real tree or Artificial tree? Real!
  3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the second weekend. It was the first this time.
  4. When do you take the tree down? The week after New Year's.
  5. Eggnog or Hot Cocoa? Hot Cocoa.
  6. Turkey or Ham? Ham.
  7. Grinch or Charlie Brown? Grinch - the classic cartoon for me.
  8. Favorite gift received as a child? Not sure. I think my play kitchen was most memorable.
  9. Christmas cards? Yes, when I actually get on the ball and do it.
  10. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Grinch, It's a Wonderful Life, or Love Actually. Not sure!
  11. Pumpkin or Pecan Pie? Pumpkin.
  12. White lights or colored lights? We have white on the outside but I love a colorful house too.
  13. Favorite tradition? Getting and decorating the tree.
  14. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells.
  15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Prefer to stay home but we usually travel.
  16. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Materialism and greed.
  17. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love retro looking ornaments.
  18. Eat on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Technically both but the big meal is a Christmas one.
  19. Spend it with your family or Inlaws? We try to make time for both. It's a pain but we love them.
  20. What is Christmas about to you? Family, tradition, making memories, and being thankful for the blessing of another year.
Please feel free to put this on your own blog and let me know if you have!

P.S. Tomorrow is Wednesday's Words - are you working on your goals everyone?

First Paragraph Contest

In case you've missed this bit of fun, Nathan Bransford is having a "First Paragraph Challenge" on his blog. The deadline to post a paragraph is this Thursday at 4 pm, Pacific time.

I haven't decided if I'm going to play yet, but I just might.

Fellow writers, I'd love to know if you've entered so I can read your paragraphs!

Happy Dance!

My pre-ordered copy of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" shipped today.

I'm SO excited.

Wednesday's Word Count

Oh my! I'm so sorry this is a day late. My week got a bit mixed up and yesterday went down like a normal Tuesday would for me, so this post totally slipped my mind.

Prior Goal: 6,000 words.

Achieved: 6,775 (11/26 - 12/02)

Goal for new week:
Three to five pages of outlining.

Excuses / comments:
I completed NaNo and my weekly writing goal, so I'm obviously quite pleased with the last week. This week I've set myself three to five pages of outlining. That may seem like a puny goal to some of you seasoned outliners, but it's likely to be quite a feat for me. I'm going to give this a real attempt though and NOT write until I've got a decent outline underway. I'm thinking if I don't let myself start the story than I'll have the incentive to keep working on the outline. Wish me luck!

Now, your turn! Post your goals for the week in the comments. Let's try to keep each other accountable.

Oh! And start thinking about your New Year's resolutions and year-goals for 09. I'll be doing a special New Years goal post closer to the end of the month.

Finding My Niche

I've been thinking about my writing in terms of where it started, how far it has come, and where I want to go with it (working on that career plan of mine.) It occurred to me that I've tried my hand at adult fantasy, young adult fantasy, middle grade fantasy, historical romance, literary fiction, mainstream, and poetry. I've heard this is a great way to discover your writing voice and what you enjoy writing the most, but for me it's been more about finding where I belong.

Now, I'm fairly certain I'll always write fantasy, but I haven't discovered where my voice fits best within the genre. I think I enjoy writing MG more than anything but I prefer to read YA and/or adult fantasy novels. So I'm just not sure. I tend to think you should write what you like to read, at least, there are many benefits of doing so, so I'm hesitant to delve into this MG novel I'm trying to outline.

As I pondered this, I began to wonder if a lot of other writers try their hand at various genres, whether to find their voice and/or genre, or if they just immediately "know" where they belong based on what they read or what they first started writing.

And now I'm curious, why do you write what you do? Have you tried other genres? Are you certain you are writing where you "belong?" Please humor me and my constant posing of questions.

: p

Outline an Outline For Me: Outlining Struggles

Now that NaNo is over and I'm starting something new (yet again), I'm faced with my old outlining struggle.

How do I outline?
What's a good method and what will work for me?
How do I keep my focus when I just want to delve in and write?
How do I know where I want my story to go?
Is this going to ruin the story for me?
Will my characters still be able to lead me if I’ve plotted their path?


My questions in the realm of outlining go on and on. I contribute this to the fact that I've always been a "pants" writer; as in, I write by the seat of my pants. Or so the saying goes. I feel that I need to learn to outline to push myself further as a novelist (as opposed to just being a writer) but every time I give it a go I end up distracted, frustrated, and/or disheartened. Outlines ruin my euphoric new-novel high and subsequently scare me away.


So what’s the answer to my problem? Well, I think my options are as follows: Learn to finish novels without an outline, use my first draft as my outline, or find a method that doesn’t bog me down and ruin the story for me.


I’ve tried various “methods” and have tackled the advice of others with some success, but I’ve never succeeded in making a complete outline. They always fail me (or is it that I fail them?) Most recently I tried the Snowflake Method, as you may or may not remember, for my NaNo novel and the one previous to it. It’s not bad, tedious maybe, but I don’t feel like it’s working for me. Both of the stories I used this method for have larger holes in them than anything I’ve ever written pants-style. Of course, that might have a lot to do with me not completing the steps of the method more than the method itself. So…I guess it’s back to research and trial and error while I try to figure this out.


Tell me though, if you please. What is your opinion on outlines? Are they necessary? Did you struggle to become an outliner? Is there a method to your outlining madness? Do you have a method you’d like to share? An outlining success story? Advice?


Anything – I’ll take it!

NaNo: Day the Twenty-Ninth

I did it. I'm done. I wrote 50,206 original words in twenty-nine days for National Novel Writing Month. Whew! When I began this journey I really wasn't sure I could do it - not with everything going on in November. And this last week? I was about ready to let my 44k stand and be done with it. But here I am. I pushed myself to 50k and I've learned a lot about myself as a person and a writer.

So what now? I guess there's a small chance I'll add to my 50k total by tomorrow night, but it's a pretty slim chance with it being the weekend and all. I'm feeling creatively spent at the moment. December is probably going to be a pretty low-key month for me too. I'm roughly four weeks shy of having this baby and generally just exhausted. I definitely plan to keep writing and doing Wednesday's Words. I don't want to lose the awesome drive that I discovered doing NaNo, but I'm not planning on challenging myself with large word count goals or anything of that sort.

I know I've said it before, but I hope everyone who took part in NaNo was able to draw something positive from it, and if you're still racing to that 50k finish line tomorrow, I wish you speedy fingers and the best of luck!

Twilight - The Movie

I probably should be writing the last 2900 words of my 50k (so close!) but I just can't help myself. I finally saw Twilight on Wednesday night (dragged my Other with me too) and wanted to post my initial impressions...

Negatives...

  • The way the movie was filmed, it came across like a TV series. I knew it had a low budget but I wasn't really expecting something so TV-esque.
  • Jasper was easily the most disappointing character, in my opinion. Can we say Edward Scissorhands? Seriously.
  • The special effects weren't that special. The Edward sparkle scene was extremely underwhelming and his whining about it made me cringe. The spider-monkey-in-the-tree scenes, likewise, weren't that great.
  • I suppose there really wasn't a way around it, but Bella and Edward falling in love felt extremely rushed and false in the movie. It's much more natural in the books.
  • The restaurant scene was disappointing. I also spaced and missed seeing Stephanie Meyer.
  • Edward's room didn't feel realistic. Wouldn't someone who has lived as long as he has have some old-world memorabilia? His room just looked like any teen boy's room, minus a bed. (I know, I know - total nitpick.)
  • I didn't think the girl who played Alice was a particularly good actress and Carlisle was almost too white.
  • They altered and/or brushed over two of my favorite scenes in the book and completely left out another scene I thought would be in the movie. Totally broke my heart.
Positives...

  • Robert Pattinson as Edward - pretty darn hot. His American accent was a little wanting but overall very good. His acting was admirable, although I resisted the urge to laugh at him a few times.
  • Kristen Stewart seemed very in-character and did really well, even if she does blink a lot.
  • I thought the movie added some extra tension between Edward and Bella. I was skeptical at first, but after I got used to it I thought it was pretty cool.
  • Except for Jasper, and a few of the minor characters, it was casted for really well.
  • There were a few artistic moments in the movie that I really dug.
  • The kiss scene gets a thumbs up, as does the final prom scene (except for the other couples just randomly leaving mid-song.)
  • Alice snapping James' neck at the end? Nice touch.
  • The movie followed the book surprisingly well.
Overall, I found a lot more to be disappointed in than I thought I would but I still really enjoyed the film. I typically don't get my panties in a twist when a book gets turned into a movie and isn't that great or doesn't follow it well. I know it's not an easy feat, especially with something written in first person, so I try to view them as seperate as I possibly can. I'll definitely be seeing the rest of the movies and will probably even buy them. I'm really curious to see what they will do with a larger budget and whether or not they will stick with the TV-esque feel that this first one has. Maybe they were going for that, who knows.

If you've seen the movie, what are your thoughts? What do you agree and/or disagree with from my lists?

Thankful Thursday & Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! There is a lot to be thankful for. What's at the top of my list?

  • My loving, supportive fiance, Jesse.
  • My darling two-year-old, Berlin.
  • Another healthy pregnancy and our son who is due December 30th (soon! ack!)
  • My awesome family.
  • My two life-long best friends, my other good acquaintances, and all of my online friends (yes, you!)
  • My freedom and constitutional rights.
  • The comfort of my home and job situation.
  • Books, their authors, and everything they provide us.
  • My love and desire to write.
  • My dogs, Trever and Max (even though the hound dog wrecked the kitchen last night.)
  • Coffee and good food.
  • My laptop and wireless internet, i.e. today's technology.
  • And SO much more.
The list could go on and on. I hope everyone takes a moment (preferably a whole lot of them) to pause and think about what they have to be thankful for. It's easy to dwell on what we don't have through most of the year, so make an extra effort, today at least, to dwell on what you do have.

Happy Turkey Day - Enjoy the good food!

Wednesday's Word Count

It's Wednesday again and the last week of NaNoWriMo. The heat is on - how much can we write these last five days?

Prior Goal:
11,669 words.

Achieved: 10,758 (11/19 - 11/25)

Goal for new week:
6,000 words at least.

Excuses / comments:
I came pretty close to my goal this week, thanks to my 40k-by-Friday night goal last week and some good writing time yesterday. If I had written more over the weekend (again) I would have gone over, but I've come to realize that weekends just aren't good for me. The really cool thing? I've been able to get as far as I have even with puny-word-count weekends. Who knew I could achieve so much during the week?

I have just under 6,000 words left! Ideally, I'd like to be at 50k by Friday night but with Thanksgiving happening tomorrow (it's not likely I'll write) I might have to finish on Saturday or even Sunday. I really hope I don't have to cut it that close though!

Well Wednesdayers, what have you accomplished this week? What goal are you carrying to the end of November and beyond? I can't beleive we'll be in December by the next Wednesday's Words. Wow!

Must Reads on the Blog Front

I just lost a chunk of writing time to this article and this article (found via the blogs of The Swivet and Janet Reid respectively,) but it was well worth it. Give them a once or twice-over, writers. Good stuff.

NaNo? Er... not going so hot right now. I've been putting off updating my word count on purpose. I keep hoping I can get it higher before I do, you see. No? You probably don't see since I'm, well, hiding it from you. Big writing plans for tomorrow though, and hopefully a better update along with Wednesday's Words.

Cheers!

NaNo: Day the Twenty-First

I just hit my 40k-by-Friday-night goal! Only 10,000 more words with nine days left to do it. I don't feel like I have anything left in me for this story, but I'm going to write those last 10k one way or another. I'm so close!

My weekend goal will be to make myself write each day, even if it's just a little. I'll tell ya though, getting just 200 words down on the page has never seemed so trying (well, except that nasty writer's block episode earlier in the year, maybe.) I'm so glad I made my goal tonight, but I feel like I've been fighting myself tooth and nail the last three days to do it. I'm mentally exhausted.

*BIG SIGH*

I'm also beginning to worry that I'll be so done when this is over that I won't write for an indeterminable amount of time. It's not too concerning though - I always come back. Writing is my calling and I know that. And whether or not that happens, I'm definitely coming away from this experience with new knowledge about myself as a writer and I plan on making NaNoWriMo a yearly tradition.

I hope everyone else doing NaNo is finding knowledge and satisfaction in their progress. Feel free to rant, rave, and/or comment about your progress. Also, is anyone else fearing a brief burnout?

Wednesday's Word Count

It's Wednesday once again, writers. You know what that means - Wednesday's Words!

Prior Goal:
11,669 words.

Achieved: 9615, I beleive. (11/12 - 11/18)

Goal for new week:
11669 words.

Excuses / comments:
I would have made my goal if I'd have kept up the required daily word count through the weekend, but I didn't, so I'm a bit shy. However, I'm still ahead on NaNo from rocking the prior two weeks, so I'm not kicking myself just yet. Hopefully this week and weekend will go better for me. I'm also still trying for my 40k-by-Friday-night goal! If I reach that, it will cover about half my weeks' goal.

Clock in your word count and revision goals everyone! How are you doing?

Writing and/or Publishing Magazines?

NaNo is going fine so far this week. I have to write roughly 2,000 words for the next three days to hit my 40k-by-Friday-night goal. That's not too bad!

Since I don't have much else to add towards my NaNo progress, I wanted to pose a question I've been meaning to ask.

Do you subscribe to any writing and/or publishing magazines? Physical print or e-zines. And if you do, what are they?

I'm interested in subscribing to both a writing and publishing magazine (like I don't already have enough to read), but I'm really not sure what's out there besides Writer's Digest. I'd prefer something in print since I already spend so much time reading this kind of stuff online.

Heck, I'm even thinking this would be a great Christmas idea to pass on to my family. You know, shake things up a bit, and ask for something other than books and gift cards. : p

So, please, if you have any comments or recommendations on this, speak up!

NaNo: Day the Seventeenth

Confession No. One: I'm really beginning to struggle.

I flew through the scenes that I had actually outlined and planned to write and now I've already reached the end of the story. The problem being, of course, that it's only 30k words and it has a ton of holes. So, basically, I've lost the momentum I had because I'm now bogged down with trying to come up with all the filler scenes it's missing. It's much more time-consuming, so the writing is slower-going. This is not good for someone with my sort of issues.

Confession No. Two: The weekends suck the writing life out of me.

I don't know what it is, but when the weekend rolls around I do awful at NaNo. Maybe it's because the Other is home or maybe some strange lethargy overtakes me from Saturday morning to Monday morning, but I just can't seem to get my butt in gear on the weekends. All I'm going to add is that my word count totally blew for the last three days and I'm glad I was far enough ahead to absorb the blow.

Confession No. Three: I REALLY want to start something new. *Whine, whine, whine*

It's been incredibly hard to keep working through my NaNo novel and it's becoming increasingly harder. I'm VERY tempted to make a hard line, page down, and start a completely new story in the same document that I've been working in. Technically it wouldn't be wrong, er, exactly, since it would still all be writing I have done in November, but I fear I'd just be cheating myself by not sticking with my current project. After all, part of the reason I wanted to do this was to push myself to complete something since it's been so long. I'm stuck in a rut. For now, I'm prevailing but it's certainly getting harder...

Well, in conclusion, I'm not sure how my word count will pan out for the Wednesday check-in, but I'm setting a new goal of being at 40k by Friday night. It feels like a realistic, enticing goal and I know once I'm there it will give me the drive I need to hit 50k.

Here's hoping at least! How goes the NaNo war for you other brave participants?

NaNo: Day the Fourteenth

I'm a... cheater? What?!?

I just finished reading the author pep talk by Meg Cabot. Wow. It was incredibly timely and might as well have been written for me. Can we say... guilty as charged?

If you aren't doing NaNo and have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the gist of it, and the part that describes my nasty habit to a T:


"Cheating on your current work-in-progress with a new one is the oldest trick in the book! I have a plastic milk crate crammed full of stories I started and never finished because I cheated on them, then got so enamored of my new story, I never went back to the old one. Over and over and over again.

And that, my friends, is how you never finish a book. Take it from someone who has hundreds (maybe even a few thousand) of unfinished stories because of this phenomenon."


Just yesterday I was telling my Other that I view my NaNo novel as "practice." Like so many before it, I was really excited when I began it, and then it became another story-that-I-don't-see-myself-wanting-to-publish... ever. Heh. Heh. Well... unfortunately, they ALL become this.

I have loads and loads of unfinished manuscripts and ill-plotted ideas, but rather than milk crates, mine are stacked in folders as .doc files. Of course, there you have it, the physical state of the manuscripts doesn't matter - same-diff. And when it comes down to it, I'm still heading straight towards the unfabulous goal of never finishing a book. Or should we say another book, since I did manage to finish one - it's just awful.

Anyways, thanks to Meg Cabot, I'll be mentally kicking myself for quite awhile over this. I'm already having the silent battle in my head in which I'm trying to justify starting something new after NaNo... because really, I don't see myself wanting to publish what I'm presently writing....

But... well.... gee. Will I ever learn?

I suppose the good news is - I now know this is a wide-spread writer phenomenon. So there is hope for me, right?

Anyone else struggle with this? If you're doing NaNo, how did you like the author pep talk by Meg Cabot?

Re: Career Plan for Writers

After our brief discussion about career plans for writers in this post, I decided to do some research for a followup post. I know I definitely need direction where this is concerned, so I thought some of my readers might too.

I realized, however, that it's highly doubtful I could put together and write a post that would be better presented than the material I found, so I've decided to leave you with some fabulous links that you can peruse at your leisure...

Now, I know I've mentioned Holly Lisle's website at least once before, but it really is fabulous and chock-full of great advice. I started my search there, quite certain she would have something on developing a career plan, and lo and behold, she did. You can find the article and others: here. Her thoughts on "Modeling Success" were particularly interesting to me. I've done this a bit already, but not to the extent Ms. Lisle proposes.

Next I did a general Google search. I knew there had to be other writers out there researching and creating career plans for themselves and while the results weren't plentiful, I did find a few.

This article is informative, extensive, and fairly straightforward. Quite a bit of it is advice you've already heard again and again, no doubt, if you've been doing your research on the business, but it certainly has a lot to offer. I thought the suggestion of "learn how to critique others' writing" was a good one (something I'm not good at) and the author even has an article called "How to Critique Fiction," which I'll be reading as soon as I have time.

I also found this essay, written by Jenny Cruise, on finding an agent. I decided to post it, though, because it isn't just your typical finding-an-agent advice. It also offers some great questions that you should ask yourself before or during your agent-seeking, which could be incorporated into a career plan.

This writer, Rhonda Stapleton, went so far as to "pay if forward" by putting her career plan template on her blog. It looks like a great starter template and I think I'll start my own plan using her template as a model. Check it out!

Finally, I wanted to bring attention to Shelli and her blog Market My Words, (Shelli stopped by my blog yesterday - don't you just love making new friends?) because she has some GREAT marketing advice gracing her blog. For those of you that are working on marketing yourselves, and for those like me, who pay attention to it as a scary spot on the horizon, it could be very beneficial. (Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to discover your blog Shelli!)

Before concluding this, I want to point out that making a career plan is an ongoing, ever-changing process. You may even find yourself moving forward and then backwards again in order to re-assess steps that faltered under the weight of heftier future steps you *thought* you were ready for. It can happen to the best of us. So, develop the steps you need to reach your goals, but prepare yourself to be multi-directional with them - backwards is not necessarily a bad thing!

Let me know if any of these links help you, and feel free to post any other helpful links you may have on the subject!

(I'm going to get back to my NaNo novel now.)

Cheers!

Wednesday's Word Count

Until a moment ago, I forgot it was Wednesday! Just shows how sucked into NaNo and home life I am right now (and how much I don't look at the calender, heh.)

Okay, here we go:

Prior Goal:
11,669 words.

Achieved: 15,172 words, I beleive. (11/5 - 11/11)

Goal for new week:
11669 words.

Excuses / comments:
None! I'm satisfied with my progress. I have trouble even believing I wrote that much in a week, or that I've written 27,490 words total in twelve days! What a great feeling!

How is everyone else doing on their goals and word counts?

NaNo: Day the Twelfth

Party at my blog! I've passed the halfway mark!

It hasn't been easy this week though.

Yesterday killed me. By the end of the day I only needed about 500 words to hit 25k but I had lost all direction in my story. For some reason the chapter I was working on made me realize that one of my characters had been acting completely wrong through the entire book so far and another one of my characters needed to come into the story much sooner than he had. It took every ounce of self-restraint I had not to go back and fix, but I knew I needed to trudge on and managed to keep my inner editor at bay. Unfortunately, I was also suddenly lost as to where I was going and I couldn't manage to vomit out those last 500 words. Quite depressing, being so close and yet so far.

So... instead, I spent my evening and this morning figuring out where the story was going again. It apparently worked because today I've managed to write 3,000 words! Woot!

The manuscript is, quite plainly, a disaster at the moment though. I've continued writing as though the changes are in place already, but I think what matters the most is that I'm moving forward again.

So, my NaNo friends, if you get stuck like I did, you CAN get through it. Just figure out what you have to do to move forward and make yourself do it. It's not easy. When I first sat down to write this morning I kept clicking off my document and going back to surf the internet and read blogs. I couldn't focus for the life of me, but I finally closed everything else down and just made myself write. I'm so glad I did.

Anyone else going to make the halfway mark by November 15th?

NaNo: Day the Tenth

Not much going on today. I wrote nice and early and may write more later. I'm getting closer and closer to that halfway point (43%!), which is very exciting.

If you're looking for some writerly encouragement and advice on goals, make sure you stop by First Edition. Kelly Krystal is going to be hitting her 50k today! That's 50k in ten days people! Wowsa.

Also up for your consideration is an article called "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors." The article offers some great advice, some of which can be used towards NaNo (see habits one and two,) but it's really geared towards developing a successful writing career in general, and seeing how NaNo does end (tell me it really does) focusing on the larger picture is always better.

The fifth habit, "Have a Plan," was a particular eye-blinker for me, one of those oh yea! moments. While I don't have an agent, publisher, or personal publicist yet, ahem, I'm largely lacking in the career-plan department. So, how does one do this, this "plan" thing? What does it entail?

I. Have. No. Idea.

Though I think it boils down to having goals and sticking with them. I do have goals, er, a few.

So tell me, do you have a career plan for your writing career? What does that entail (if you don't mind sharing.) Maybe we should put our heads together and come up with some general ideas for a writer-specific career plan.

Spreading Some Bloggity Love

Setting NaNo aside, I'd like to whip out my handy dandy "I Love Your Blog" award (given to me by the lovely ladies over at First Edition: A Place For Originals) to pass on to other deserving bloggers. There are certainly many of you out there, including a large number of agents, editors, and publishers that should have one of these for nearly every post they make, but hey, I figure they have fans enough and my writer friends will certainly appreciate the award more.

So, first of all, the rules:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

And now, in no particular order of favoritism, seven blogs on which I'm bestowing the bloggity love award. (Note to those awarded: Don't feel obligated to pass the award on if you're not into these things, I'm sure there are plenty of love awards swimming around Blogger!)

The Bookshelf Muse: Pioneered by Angela and Becca, this blog is an invaluable resource for writers. Don't beleive me? Check it out! Make sure to take a good, close look at their "Emotion Thesaurus" and "Setting Thesaurus" - extremely helpful when you're needing some direction on either account. Are you checking their blog out yet? Seriously, get over there, I can't rave enough!

From the Desk of...Heather: YA author and gecko huntress, Heather keeps readers continually amused and entertained with stories of life in Okinawa, Japan, writing YA fiction, and keeping up with her two hilarious, adorable kids. Make sure you dig into her archives for some funny tales and the complete gecko saga.

Suzanne Young: Need a good YA fix for free?!? YA author Suzanne Young writes so much she's even writing a story on her blog. Check her archives to find the beginning of "Going Green," her awesome blog story, and settle in for some juicy teen romance. ETA: I forgot to mention Suzanne is another up-and-coming debut author. We can look forward to seeing her debut YA novel Smitten Kittens in 2010! Can't wait!

Roots in Myth: P.J. Hoover, debut author of the children's novel The Emerald Tablet, keeps a fun, active blog where a writer can find insight into the journey of becoming published and a lot of positive attitude to boot. P.J. keeps her blog active with interviews, reviews, book suggestions, events, daily life, and all sorts of other great things. Make sure you stop by!

Diary of a Children's Book Writer: Sheri is a children's writer who keeps a charming blog on her life as a writer. She founded her local writer's group, The Hunterdon County Children's Writer's Group, and was a tutor for 16 years, so naturally she's a valuable resource to the writing community. Another thing I love about Sheri's blog? The beautiful pictures. Check out her archives from this past summer for some visual treats.

First Edition: A Place for Originals: I know, I know. They are the ones who awarded me the award in the first place, so naturally they don't need to pass it on again, but really, Mary, Stephanie, and Kelly keep an awesome blog. I can't even begin to enumerate or explain all the fabulous posts I've read since I discovered their blog earlier this year. They deserve the double mention! Make sure you stop by and read a few posts! Feel free to put the award up on your personal blogs if you'd like girls!

Lindsey Leavitt: I have left a very rare comment or two on Lindsey's blog, but lurker or otherwise, I'm an avid reader. Lindsey's posts are always worth the time spent reading them. She's made the long journey from hobby-writer to writer-with-a-three-book-deal and it's been fabulous to follow the latter half of that journey. While I look forward to the release of Princess for Hire in 2010, I'll continue to be entertained by her amusing, witty, and inspirational posts.

There you have it, seven blogs I love. Who have I missed? Have any great blog suggestions for me and my ever-hungry blog roll? Please post them in the comments!

NaNo: Day the Ninth

First of all, as you probably noticed on arrival, my blog has a new look! While I'm loving the change, I was quite chagrined to lose all my widgets in the process (including my extensive blog rolls !!!) So, if I'm missing your blog or website on the side column now (or hey, even if I never had you and you'd like to be added) please let me know. I'm trying to rebuild everything I had, and I know I'm still missing a few blogs and websites.

Now for my NaNo update:

It's definitely been harder for me to write this weekend than it was during the week, but I've managed! I'm just under 20k now, supposedly 38% done, and I'm really looking forward to hitting the halfway point. Halfway is so close. I think that's really going to help keep me motivated come tomorrow and Tuesday and, well, however long it takes me to get the next 6,000 words out. Unfortunately, there is some love being lost between the NaNo novel and myself lately, but I keep trying to remind myself that middles will almost always make me feel that way. I must prevail!

Welcome to NaNoWriMo week two everyone! : p

NaNo: Day the Eighth

Our first week doing NaNoWriMo is just about over. How does this make you feel?

Personally, I'm feeling really good about it. I've written more in this one week than I've written in a single week in ages. Even if the next three weeks don't go as well as this one has, and even if I don't reach 50k by November 30th, I know I can write nearly 17,000 words in a week without too much struggle. All it took was motivation, dedication, and making writing a daily priority.

That alone has made this journey worth it and I still have three weeks of personal discovery left.

No matter the outcome, I hope all my friends doing NaNo come out of this with something gained.

NaNo: Day the Seventh

Our first week is coming to a close (well, tomorrow...) - can you beleive it?

I'm still plugging away over here. I wrote later today than I normally do and had a harder time getting going, but I still made good progress.

I'm starting to beleive I can actually do this. It's getting easier and easier to make myself sit down and focus on getting content onto the page. I still don't know if this is the best way to write, given all the massive editing the novel will need later, but it's certainly worth a shot. I have a nasty habit of moving onto new novel ideas before finishing the old ones, so I'm hoping this will help me learn how to get through that rough middle spot that causes me to lose focus so often.

I'm working on my positive thinking over here! I hope everyone doing NaNo is keeping up well enough.

Happy writing!

NaNo: Day the Sixth

It's hard to beleive we're already six days into November (and NaNo) but even harder to beleive we have to do this for twenty-four more days! Haha.

Did anyone else find the e-mail pep talk by Jonathan Stroud really timely yesterday? I really did. I had planned on making a post today begging you all to remind me it's about quantity and not quality (because I fear my story is lacking more and more of the latter) but Stroud's e-mail pretty much covered it and just in time. It was a great pep talk and if you haven't taken the time to read it, you really should.

As for progress? I'm still ahead. I have to admit though, I pretty much wrote squat yesterday and used up a bit of my padding to take the day off. Why? Loss of focus. I woke up yesterday morning and for whatever reason I thought up a new beginning to a story I started back in January. I know exactly how it needs to start now and I was/am really excited about it. Unfortunately it got me so distracted from my NaNo novel, I couldn't get anything down on the page for it. I ended up summarizing my ideas for the other novel so I won't forget and then laid writing to rest for the day. I just didn't want to risk screwing up my progress by starting the other story.

So, day five was my first slip-up day but I was fortunate enough to have that buffer. Today I'm back on track. I've already met the required word count and then some. I have a 1500 word buffer still but I'd like to up it if I can. Ideally I'd like to stay two days ahead if I can. I know there are at least two days this month I'm not going to be able to write. I better get crackin and write more if I want to accomplish that!

How is everyone else doing on keeping up and/or catching up?

P.S. Anyone else really looking forward to the pep talk by Philip Pullman?!?!

Wednesday's Word Count

NaNo style!

But even if you aren't doing NaNo this year, please feel free to participate. Wednesday's Words provides writers a place to commit to a writing goal, any writing goal, and face up to it in the company of others the week following. It is my hope that making public, doable week-to-week goals will help writers stay motivated to succeed and exceed their desired progress.

Prior Goal:
Finish outlining for NaNo and keep up the required word count totaling 6668 words for Nov. 1st -4th.

Achieved: Finished outlining and wrote 9261 words.

Goal for new week:
11669 words.

Excuses / comments:
Many of our weekly word counts have been painstakingly raised by NaNo this week and will continue to be so for the next near-month. So far I'm exceeding the daily requirement (1667 words) but it's already getting harder and I know there will be days short coming that will eat up the extra padding I've developed. Let's band together and keep motivated NaNoers!

As always, please post your goals in the comments. I'm hoping for a good weekly turn out during NaNo. We can all use the support now more than ever. Please participate!

P.S. "Remember, remember the Fifth of November," - it's Nov. 5th again already! It's not really a big thing in the U.S., but does anyone else recognize this day yearly in some way?

NaNo: Day the Fourth - Staying Motivated

Today I thought I'd blog about motivation. If you're doing NaNoWriMo, you already know that a huge part of succeeding is self-motivation. The support network is available and huge, but when it comes down to making those words appear on the page it's all you - the writer - and what you do to get to the finish line.

So what can we do to keep ourselves motivated writers?

Here's my list:

Networking: Even if you can't get out to the parties and write-ins, it's a great motivational drive to have a friend or two, even on the internet, writing with you and cheering you on. That's why I love that so many of my friends are doing NaNo alongside me. We can commiserate with each other. We can support each other. And we can succeed together.

Music: Not all of us are blessed with the ability to write with music playing in the background, but for those of us who can, it can be really motivating. I've been working on a large play list of songs that relate to various scenes, characters, and emotions in my novel (and/or ones expected to be) Finding a song that fits one of my characters just right is almost as good as finding a song that suits my own mood perfectly. It thrills me and makes me want to get more of that character down on the page.

Reading: Don't forget the age-old trick of picking up a favorite book and snuggling up to it for a chapter or two (or more!) Time is limited during NaNo, but if you find yourself staring at the screen and not writing, it might be worth the time to get re-inspired by your favorite writing heroes.

Staying Positive: Focus on succeeding, not failing. It's far too easy to let the anxiety of failing get to us, especially if our word count starts to drop behind. Letting negativity get the best of you is setting yourself up for failure. You'll start to get used to the idea of not making it and before you know it, you'll expect and let that very thing happen. Stay positive Nanoers! You CAN do it!

Staying Focused: Losing focus is a huge motivation killer and it happens to the best of us. If you find yourself losing focus on your manuscript or writing in general, take a day to regroup. Pull that outline back out for tweaking (or make one if you didn't to begin with.) Do whatever you can to find your focus again, even if it means implementing some new scenes into your WIP to get you excited again.

Mixing It Up: I'll be preaching to myself here, but I think mixing things up can really help keep a writer motivated. If you always write at home, try heading out to a coffee shop. If you normally write at night, try getting up early in the morning and punching out some words. If you never let anyone read your writing, let someone read some snippets and get some feedback, etc. It's amazing how routines and insecurities can bog us down, so if you feel a writer funk coming on, try whatever you can to mix things up, and remember, stay positive!

So what am I missing fellow writers and NaNoers? How do you stay motivated or plan on staying motivated? Let's see if we can grow this list of motivationals so we can refer back to it when our motivation starts to wane.

P.S. Don't forget to vote! Exercise your political freedom and right to be heard!

NaNo: Day the Third

Courtesy of the First Edition gals, I've been awarded the "I Love Your Blog" award. This comes as a total surprise seeing as I've always thought of myself as an awful blogger and I'm really still trying to get my blog going (suggestions are always appreciated.) So I'm feeling extremely complimented and loved at the moment, which is great for the writer's soul (especially during NaNo.) Thanks girls! I promise I'll be passing the award on soon. I just have to stew over my options first - there are so many great blogs!

In other news, it's day three in NaNo-land and I'm still keeping up my word count (check it!) It feels great! I think NaNoWriMo is going to be really good for me, which is the point, I know, but I was/am definitely skeptical. It IS only day three, however, so we'll see how I'm feeling about it next week, and the week after, and well, on November 30th! Yikes!

Also, thanks to Stephanie, I now have an official NaNo word-count widget next to the other one I added yesterday. It only seems to be working intermittently though, so I'm leaving the back up there for now as well. You can find the widgets on the NaNo site under "Fun Stuff" - just add your user number (found at the end of the url of your user page) and you can have one too!

I've had much better luck with the site today by the way. I was able to update my word count and grab the widget, so hopefully things will be speeding up over there for everyone soon.

It's awesome to see how many of my Blogger/writer friends are NaNoing this year. Let's keep encouraging each other as much as possible. It's going to get tougher as the initial excitement wears off. I think we're really going to need each other and that writerly comradery in a week or two!

Keep up the word counts everyone!

NaNo: Day the Second

It's still early in the day, but I figured I would do my check-in since I'm taking a break from writing at the moment.

This morning I woke up bright and cheery quite early (thank you daylight saving time,) so I decided to get a jump start on my NaNo word count for the day before the toddler was up and the day in full swing. *Sigh* I forgot how nice it is to have uninterrupted writing time. I think I'll be doing it more often.

So far I think I'm doing awesome. I'm staying ahead of the daily required word count, which is great, and I'm sure that will come in handy on upcoming struggle days (which are sure to happen.) The story itself is probably wanting, but then, I wasn't expecting to write something fabulous under these conditions anyways.

On the right of my blog, you will now find a word counter where I'm clocking my NaNo word count. The NaNo site is still running very slow and timing out, so I haven't even attempted to log my count there. I assume everyone else is having this problem too? Hopefully it will be running better soon.

That's it for today. Hope everyone else is doing great too!

NaNo Begins and Check-Ins

And we're off! NaNo begins. First thoughts?

- This isn't going to be easy.
- Why the heck am I not writing in third person? I write much faster in third.
- My two year old is plotting to ensure I don't succeed. I'm convinced.
- I'm so happy Jesse is supporting me in this.
- I should be writing my novel instead of blogging right now.

Anywho, this is my check-in for day one. I'll probably be doing this fairly regularly. I'm still going to be doing Wednesday's Words each week, however, and I would love it if other NaNo participants clocked in their NaNo word counts with me. In fact, should we move it to Saturday just for November so we're actually following NaNo week to week? Thoughts?

Talk to you soon NaNoers. If you want to add me as a friend, you can find me here.

P.S. Does anyone know if you can search for a user by user name somewhere on the NaNoWriMo site?

Multiple First Person POV?

I have one very important lingering question that I REALLY need to figure out before NaNo begins.

Does multiple first person POV work and can I pull it off well?

I originally planned for the entire novel to be told in first person from the male MC's perspective. However, during my outlining and scheming I've started running into areas where I think it would be much more interesting from my female MC's POV. So I started thinking... can I do both? Would it take away from the story to switch between them?

Anyone willing to offer their opinion on this? I can only think of one book I've read that had two characters narrating in first person. It worked for that book, but it was several books into a series and I already had a strong feel for the characters. So I'm just not sure.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday's Word Count

THREE days until NaNo!

Words written / goal: Outlining

Goal for new week:
Finish outlining for the next three days. Start and keep up with required NaNo word count!

Excuses / comments:
I didn't do any great measure of outlining, but I did do some, figured out my antagonist a little better, and did a tad more research.

If you're doing NaNo our weekly goals are suddenly going to be around 12,500 words a week! Yikes! I'm getting really excited though!

Oh My!

Five days until NaNo folks! Ready or not... here it comes!

My outlining isn't going as well as I had hoped. I have the hardest time coming up with scenes until I'm actually writing from scene to scene. Oh well. Hopefully I have enough to get me going and keep me going. I'm definitely excited about starting something new. I LOVE starting new stories. It's keeping at them and developing them I suck at.

The breakdown is roughly 1600 words a day, seven days a week.

We (I) can do that, right?

Anyone else not feeling entirely ready?

Wednesday's Word Count

Sorry I'm posting this a tad late today. I am SO not ready for it to be Wednesday, let alone Thursday.

Words written / goal: 586/3000

Goal for new week:
??? Outlining?

Excuses / comments:
I know, I know. I did awful! I only wrote once this week and I didn't even write a lot. I kept thinking I would make up for it the next day and then the next day and then... heck Wednesday was here!

I wanted to make sure I got this up anyways. I hope my writer friends did better than me! I think I'm going to focus on outlining for my NaNo novel this week. It's coming up fast and I really want to have my story dialed in.

Share your triumphs with me this week! I need the encouragement. I seem to be getting off track!

Wednesday's Word Count

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! Can you beleive this is the seventh week we've done this?

Words written / goal: 2243/3500

Goal for new week:
3000

Excuses / comments:
Well, I'm pretty low this week. That much is obvious. Why? I'm not really sure. I just didn't make myself write enough. Not good, seeing as NaNo will be here in a couple short weeks!

Speaking of, make sure you friend me if you're participating this year!

I'm pretty excited about my new idea for NaNo, and I think it might be distracting me from my other WIP. I can't wait to start writing it!

I hope everyone had a better writing week than me. Please comment on your goals and progress! I love hearing how everyone is doing.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Ever since I heard The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.R. was going to be released to the public I've been anxiously awaiting the date: December 4th, 08.

After debating between pre-ordering and asking for it for Christmas, I decided just to pre-order. It's only $7.59 on Amazon so I thought, why not? Well, when I went to do just that, I saw this.

Oh the agony.

Proceeds for both support the Children's High Level Group.

Holly Lisle

Have you ever checked out all the awesome info Holly Lisle has on her website for writers? If you haven't, you really should. Just take a scroll of her "Writer Index" on the left hand side and take special note of the free workshop articles she has.

I keep her bookmarked and I refer back to her "How To's" and "Work Shops" rather frequently for one thing or another. I've also subscribed and gone through her plotting workshop, which I pulled some great advice and info from.

Yesterday I was digging around her index again, looking for things I haven't read, and realized I should really post her website in case others aren't aware of the free info she has just sitting there. I'm positive every writer, no matter the genre, can learn something from what she has up on her site.

Posting this does sort of fill me with guilt though - I've never read any of her books. However, I do plan on purchasing several of her e-book clinics eventually and maybe I'll pick up a book or two someday as well.

Really though, check her website out! And if you've read any of her books I would love comments and/or recommendations.

Wednesday's Word Count

Here we are yet again. Another week, another Wednesday, more words!

Words written / goal: 3856/3000

Goal for new week:
3500

Excuses / comments:
No excuses this week. I'm happy with my progress. I exceeded my goal count and came up with a new story idea for the upcoming NaNoWriMo. I started outlining for it too, so I'm feeling rather accomplished this Wednesday!

How did everyone else do?

World's Best Paid Authors

Last week Forbes put out a list of the ten best paid authors. I'm pretty sure everyone knows who owns that number one spot, but it was interesting to see who the other top dollar authors were.

Curious who the super stars of the writing world are? Well, you can find the article: here.

Check it out!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Thanks to the fabulous Heather, I've been made aware of Neil Gaiman's book tour for his new book "The Graveyard Book."

As per the website:

"Watch Neil Gaiman read The Graveyard Book on a 9-city video tour. At each stop on the tour, Neil will read one chapter from The Graveyard Book. Beginning on October 1st, we will post the video readings daily. By the end of the tour, on October 9th, you will be able to watch the master storyteller himself read The Graveyard Book in its entirety right here."

It is FABULOUS! He is AMAZING! You HAVE to check it out! Trust me!

You can find it: Here.

Thanks Heather!

Wednesday's Word Count

Wow this week flew. It seems like I say that every week, but gosh, this one really did seem to fly by.

Words written / goal: 2802/3000

Goal for new week:
3000

Excuses / comments:
I'm a little short but not by too much. No good excuses really, I've just been slightly less motivated the last couple weeks. My outline is apparently failing me because I'm having a really hard time coming up with pertinent scenes to write in between the important ones that I've mapped out. I've been skipping all over the place and right now I have a rather large mess because of it.

I'm a tad concerned because I have to really start cranking up my word count if I want to make a serious attempt at NaNoWriMo. I'm also setting myself a seperate goal of figuring out what I'm going to write for NaNoWriMo or else I'll find myself starting at that dreaded blank page for the first few days of the month, and thus wasting precious writing time.

How are your writing goals coming along fellow writers?

Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape)

If you haven't read Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones I still highly recommend it, especially with Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) to read right after it!

I finally bought a copy of Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) and loved it just as much, if not more, than the first. I can't wait to pick up her new books Girl, Hero (came out in August) and Need (coming this December.)

If you're in need of a new YA book to devour, I highly recommend Carrie Jones!

Buy them and Enjoy!

Wednesday's Word Count

Hope you've all had a great week. Here we are with another Wednesday's Words!

Words written / goal: 2163/4000

Goal for new week:
3000

Excuses / comments:
Well, as you can see, I didn't do so hot this week. I'm stuck on a scene (debating moving ahead) and had one of those weeks where I couldn't stand to sit at my computer any longer than necessary.

I'm thinking I'll draw back the word count this week so I don't injure my feelings if I have another unfocused week. Hehe.

How did everyone else do?

NaNoWriMo?

Anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year?

I've been aware of it the past two years but didn't even think to attempt it. Earlier this year I decided I would make a goal of at least participating this November and registered on the site.

I nearly forgot about my goal until I got an e-mail from them a couple days ago. They are scrubbing down the site and gearing up for their 10th anniversary. It's going to be here before we know it!

I'm trying to decide whether or not I'm still committed to this particular goal. It would mean setting my WIP aside (and roughly 16,000 words of writing time if I can keep up my current word count) but instead, I would be pushing myself to try for 50,000 in one month and it might be worth a lot more to see if I can do it and/or what I can do.

I've got a bit of time to figure it out yet. Anyone else along for the ride?

Wednesday's Word Count

The week sure did fly by, at least for me. I can't beleive it's time for another Wednesday's Words!

Words written / goal: 3909/3250

Goal for new week:
4000

Excuses / comments:
I feel like it's getting easier to sit my butt down and just write. I'm drawing a lot of motivation from the goals that we're setting and the fact that I have to 'check in' each week. This past week I read through my manuscript and did some of the editing I wanted to do. After that I felt much more together and managed to exceed my goal count just a bit. Yay! I'm beginning to feel confident that I can keep up a word count of at least 4000 a week now.

Wednesday's Words is helping to make writing more routine for me, which in turn is helping me stay focused on getting a little in each day. I really hope some of you are finding the same motivation! And, I want to send out a big thank you to everyone who has been participating and trucking along with me.

Now, how did YOU fare this week?

Being Concise

I have a hard time being concise. *Whew* There I said it.

It took me a long time to realize why my answers and explanations were always longer and more "detailed" in my online classes, on blogs, in chat, and even on my hobby forums. I boggled over the fact that someone could answer something so well in half or three-fourths as many words as I could.

I realized this some time ago and I do put a *little* more thought into my writing but I haven't really addressed the issue. I think I've been afraid of the inevitable conclusion. If my general writing isn't very concise it would be safe to assume my novel writing isn't concise either.

This is a problem. Problem realized. Now what?

Well, I found this website for starters, which reminded me that I have an "Elements of Style" book from college lying around somewhere. So I'm going to digest this website, try their quiz, and see what I can learn from the style book I have somewhere around here. Then comes the most important step: Implementing this relearned knowledge into my writing.

Sometimes it's best to go back to the basics.

Note: I do realize that artistic writing doesn't need to be as concise as say business correspondence or journalism, so I am going to focus mainly on the concisities (I just made that up) that I know will benefit my novel writing.

I hope everyone is getting ready for Wednesday's Words. It's sneaking up on us again!

Wednesday's Word Count

Yay for our second Wednesday's Word Count! How is everyone doing?

Words written / goal: 4038/4000

Goal for new week:
3250

Excuses / comments:
Despite my crazy week, I pushed myself to make up for the time I lost last Thursday and Friday. I only managed it, because I had this goal looming over me and didn't want to disappoint myself when today rolled around. I feel great for having done so!

As for this week, I've been keeping myself from reading back through my manuscript and editing obsessively (I lose a ton of time doing this and have tried to sway the habit) but it's really starting to get to me, so I'm lowering my word count this week to give me a day to edit and find more peace with moving forward.

Also, I read a blog post this morning over at BookEnds, LLC on goals and thought it would compliment our goal day nicely. I've never read anything by this author but the advice is good nonetheless.

Michele Dunaway on Goals


Check it out and don't forget to post your old/new goals in the comments!

Highly Recommended Blogs

There is a post I've been meaning to get to that keeps alluding me, but it finally came to mind today when I was wracking my brain for something to blog about.

Must-read blogs!

I have quite the list of blogs going over on the side of my page - blogs I read. In fact, it might seem overwhelming to some but I really do read or at least check in on all of those blogs.

Specifically though, I wanted to bring attention to the second row that I have labeled "Blogs: Agents, Editors, and Publishers" because there are some really, really awesome gems in there for writers. It's safe to say I'd recommend any of the blogs I have listed, but there are some in particular that are constant, priceless resources for writers.

Jessica Faust at BookEnds, LLC is a literary agent who cofounded the agency with fellow agent Jacky Sach. Jessica makes awesome posts about the publishing business quite frequently. She's definitely worth bookmarking. Just check her archives! Her most recent post "Query Letter Phrasing to Reconsider" is definitely worth checking out but don't forget to check her labels/archives out, too. I guarantee you'll find plenty worth reading!

Moonrat, an editor, frequently makes awesome posts on her blog Editorial Ass from her editorial perspective of the publishing business. Make sure you check her archives and labels for some of the great posts she has done in the past. A recent example I'd recommend: "Why you should never submit unagented to publishers."

Jennifer Jackson over at her blog Et in arcaedia, ego is a literary agent. She also has some great, informative posts but my particular favorite thing about her blog is her "Query Wars" where she posts the number of queries she has received in a week and what she has requested partials for, etc. She'll often make comments regarding the sad little numbers of requests she makes and I find it to be a rather intriguing peak into the world of querying from an agent's perspective.

Editorial Anonymous is a children's book editor who frequently posts responses to questions that she has been asked, among other fun things. These little gems often offer awesome, quick insight into the publishing/editing world - especially for authors who write for children.

Literary agent Nathan Bransford is already highly known and widely popular in the blogging community of writers, but if you haven't discovered his blog yet, he is certainly a must-read. I always look forward to his posts and they rarely disappoint. If your time is limited, make sure you at least take the time to read "The Essentials" that he has up on the side of his page including his very informative FAQs!

Colleen Lindsey, an agent for FinePrint Literary Management, posts frequently on her blog The Swivet. I'm not interested in every post she does, but she has made some really, really great posts that have been very informative for me as a writer. As with all of these, check her tags and archives. There is some awesome information buried in there!

Kristen at Pub Rants is another literary agent among my list who has a healthy, wealthy archive of awesome posts. Many of her posts don't interest me, but she has posted so many great things in the mix that I can't not keep an eye on her blog.

And of course, I have to mention Miss Snark, who no longer actively posts, but has a huge, plentiful archive of knowledge that is definitely worth digging through when you have the time.

Okay, so yes, that is probably most of the blogs I have listed under that section but they really are great. I hope you take the time to check out some of them and garner some free, valuable knowledge! I sure have learned a lot from all of these blogs combined and I gain even more by actively following them. Now if only I could finish a manuscript and put my knowledge of the publishing business to good use!

Time IS Flying

Where have the last four days gone?

I've been running around like crazy since that last Wednesday post. Berlin's actual Birthday was on Thursday. I had a ton of errands to run on Thursday and Friday before Berlin's party on Saturday. My mom flew in on Thursday. I had to pick my dad up at the airport on Friday (he was gone visiting his mother who just had surgery) and pick up more stuff with him. Then we had the actual party on Saturday, which was a blast but exhausting. Sunday I spent the day with my mom because it had been nine months since we'd last seen her (moved to Arizona in January) and she has to fly back today.

Boy! You'd think I could finally relax today but that's just not going to happen. I'm now faced with seeing my mom off, getting some work done, sending out thank you notes, sending out our professional pictures we had taken a couple weeks ago, a house that is freshly covered with new toys, a pile of new clothes to wash and put away, and upcoming appointments for both me and my daughter (I know they are coming up fast but I don't remember when!)

I'm definitely in need of a list! I'm a serial lister - need to have one going all the time to function. Now that the party is over I can finally get rid of the monster list I had going for that and deal with something smaller. Whew!

I'm hoping I'll have enough time to write today and tomorrow to catch up but so far my word count for the week isn't where it should be. How is everyone else doing?

And, before I conclude this, one of my favorite pictures from the party. My dad got her this.

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Love the retro tricycle!

My Baby...

Turns two today! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Where does the time go?

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Happy 2nd Birthday Sweetheart!

Wednesday's Word Count

Alright writers, last Friday we decided it would be beneficial to do a Wednesday Word Count day each week. We'll have to smooth out some details but here is what I'm thinking.

Every Wednesday I'll make a post stating the following:
  • How many words I wrote during the week versus my goal for that week.
  • My new or recurrent goal for the new week.
  • Any extenuating circumstances (read: excuses) I may have to make me feel better if I've done horribly and/or comments I may have.
Since we're all at different phases of writing, feel free to adjust these prompts to suit you if you're doing revisions, outlining, etc. It doesn't matter what you're working on or what your goals are for. The goal is to try to make ourselves accountable to each other but not in a negative way, so don't give yourself more than you can handle!

A couple more things before we begin. This will obviously be considered a short week since we conceived this idea as of last Friday and it was a holiday weekend, which may or may not have effected our writing time. Also, please make any comments and or suggestions on what I've posted here. I'm going to be looking for some different title ideas since Wednesday Word Count is focused more on just word count goals but I know some of us are bound to have other writing-related goals such as revisions, querying, etc. So give me your suggestions!

I think that's everything! Here we go.
  • Words written versus goal: 2828 / 3000
  • Goal for new week: 4000
  • Excuses/comments: I usually don't write on the weekends and did not write at all this holiday weekend. My new goal is for a five-day writing week including today, excluding the weekend, and ending next Tuesday.
Now post yours in the comments if you'd like to participate! If you'd rather post your actual word count so you can keep track of your progress that way, that's fine too!