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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!

Snowflake Method

Thanks to Mary Danielson over at First Edition (awesome blog, by the way) I've discovered a new outlining process: The Snowflake Method.

See Mary's post here.

So far I'm really liking it. It's given me a lot more direction than my previous attempts at staying organized with numbers, letters, bullets, and questions that led me in circles (organization that was not very organized, let me tell ya.) It does get extremely tedious by step 4 (at least for me) and I pretty much gave up by Step 6. Even so, I've come away with a lot more from this process than I had before and there is always the option of tailoring the method to suit my attention span, which I plan to do.

Mainly, it's helped me drill down the seperate story lines I have going for each character. It also helped me realize I have too many minor characters being introduced that I don't know what to do with. I have five teenage foster kids living at the mansion (the main setting of my story) and I can't find a way to make them all pertinent to the story, so now I'm debating between two or three or if I even really need them at all. I think I do but I'm still weighing it out.

As fabulous as this all is, well, I've run across a problem that we all face as writers - I now have scenes that need rewriting. This seems so tedious to me since I've been appreciating every added character of my word count lately. Certainly I'm being being saved a lot of trouble in the long run and a lot of the story will probably end up rewritten anyways, but now I'm faced with a choice: Do I rewrite the scenes now or mark them for later and continue with my new train of thought?

It's really another question that relies heavily on habits and personal preference but I'm curious what other writers generally do. Do you leave a note and forge ahead or do sacrifice the time to stop and set the story straight again?

**Added** I just realized today is Wednesday! Wow. Gotta love these short weeks. The Weekly Wednesday Word Count is to follow!