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JUST A DROP OF WATER through September 20th

FALLS THE SHADOW through September 20th

TUT through September 27th

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 through October 4th

Something's Coming...

I love when blogs have something unique to offer their readers, particularly writing blogs (of course!).

The Bookshelf Muse has their thesauri. Have you seen the new Colors, Textures, and Shapes thesaurus? The first one is up and it's green.

The New Author
has articles and interviews for new writers.

Market My Words has its great Marvelous Marketer interviews and offers other fabulous marketing tips. And, through March, Shelli is offering an awesome competition (which I will blog more thoroughly about come Monday.)

Suzanne Young
has her story blog Going Green.

Miss Snark's First Victim has her FANTABULOUS competitions, including the very popular Secret Agent competitions.

And so on and so forth...

So, between you and me and the, uh, entire internet, I've always been a tad jealous of their fabulous endeavors. Probably always will be. But, but! I've FINALLY come up with something for my own blog. I'm sure it's being done elsewhere, but not within my blog-stalking arena and certainly not by me (which, you know, makes it extra special.)

What? You want to know what it is? Now that would spoil the surprise.

You just wait. Wait and see.

2009 Goals - February Review

Uh oh! It's time for my monthly goal review. I'm just going to go over my ongoing goals since I won't have any updates on the stuff I plan to do later in the year. Here I go...

Write new outlined book by May or June:


Looking good. I have to average 2800 words a week to be done by the end of May.

Buy and read at least two or three books a month:

Bought and read two for February. Good lineup for March...

Continue to learn about writing / publishing:

Check. Ongoing.

Continue blogging regularly:

Check.

Start doing book reviews on blog:

Eh.... I know, I know. I still haven't done one....

Post a teaser or something for critique every few months at least:

I didn't do one for February, but that's okay. The goal is for "every few months," so I'm good for now.

Focus on overcoming weaknesses and issues found in 2008:

I think I'm doing good so far. I don't think I'll truly know how I've done until the end of the year.

Review this list every month:

Done for January & February now!

Publishing Terms Explained

Have you ever wondered about an obscure publishing term or abbreviation? Always looking for more inside scoop on the pub biz?

Well, whether you have or haven't, are or aren't, the great Editorial Anonymous has been enlightening readers with a "Publishing Dictionary."

Presently, you can learn about the following: Cast-offs, galleys, ARCs, proofs, PBB, ISBNs, F&Gs, advances, and CMYK with, I beleive, more to follow.

It's been very interesting, informative, and much appreciated, despite EA's initial surprise that writers would even be interested in these things.

So, if you share this interest, stop by and check it out.

Blog Fun: Debut Album

SO, Suzanne Young just posted one of these and it was too much fun to pass up. I think they should make one for debut novels too!

Make your own debut album. Here are the "rules."

1 -Click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first random Wikipedia article you get is your band name.

2 - Click here: http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Click here: http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - You can use Word, Photoshop or http://www.picnik.com/

Mine came out like this:

Photobucket

The picture was a bit strange to work with since it already had "Cal General" on it, but really, I couldn't have asked for a better title to go with my band name. Haha!

Wednesday's Word Count

Gosh, it's going to be MARCH by the time we convene for Wednesday's Words again. Can you beleive it?

Prior Goal:
Write a chapter.

Achieved: Most of one...

Goal for new week:
Finish this chapter and writer another or more.

Excuses / comments: Okay, so I haven't finished my chapter yet. I was a bit of a slacker this week. I'm fairly far into it though, and I plan on making up for it by Sunday. I need to keep up my word count if I'm going to finish by May!

How is everyone else doing? Add a week-goal or make a comment if you like!

The Bookshelf Muse - Cheer-Worthy News

A much happier post today.

The Bookshelf Muse
will be adding a new thesaurus to their blog, which already offers fabulous emotion and setting thesauri. They are also considering putting these thesauri and even more into print. I know I would love to have this awesome resource on hand in book-form.

So please, if you're interested in seeing this come to fruition, stop by The Booshelf Muse and show your support. Spread the word on your blog! Add them on Facebook! If you've never been there, make sure you check it out! It's a pretty invaluable resource for writers when you need some extra inspiration.

***

Another tidbit of exciting, unrelated news. I purchased a domain name for what will eventually become my author website. Yay for optimism! I'm pretty jazzed about it, but I think I'm going to wait until I'm closer to the querying process before getting it up on the net. Thoughts?

***

Please stop by tomorrow for Wednesday's Word Count!

Rough Weekend

Sorry I haven't blogged for a few days. We decided on Friday it was time to put my childhood dog down and on Saturday it was done. He was a few months shy of seventeen and a really great dog right to the end.

Our family brought him home from the pound when I was five, maybe six, and we named him Maxwell Tidbit McCormick. Of course, he's always just been "Max." When my family all went in different directions (my brother and I moved out - my parents divorced - mom moved out of state) he ended up coming to live with me for the last of his years.

Choosing to put him down has been one of the hardest things I've had to go through. He still had spirit but his body just wasn't able to carry it anymore. I still wish he could have gone peacefully on his own but we couldn't watch him suffer anymore.

***

Max, I couldn't have asked for a better companion growing up. I'm so, so sorry... but I know you're not suffering anymore and I'll try to take comfort in that. Enjoy this next great adventure - I'd like to think it's full of everything you loved in life and someday I'll be there too.

Forum for Writers

I was invited to a new writing forum today, The Writer's Chronicle, by Emily Cross. It's a open, public forum, so if you're interested in joining they'd love to have you.

There seems to be a great vibe there and I'm happy to contribute in any way I can.

Check it out!

Wednesday's Word Count

Gosh, is it Wednesday again already? I'm getting the impression that 2009 is going to slip by us rather quickly... anyone else feel that way?

Prior Goal:
Write a chapter / 3000 words.

Achieved: I got my chapter done but it's only 2192 words.

Goal for new week:
At least one chapter!

Excuses / comments: Don't really have any. My mom was visiting but I could have gotten in those extra words if I had really wanted to. Instead I reread my latest chapter and tweaked a little. My next chapter is where things start to get a little fuzzy, so my outline and I need to have a little rendezvous.

Does anyone think Wednesday's Words should move to Friday or Sunday to be more streamline with the week?

Drop into the comments and share your goals and/or thoughts for the week!

Book Followup and Your Help Please

Well, I finished A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray yesterday and I have to say I did love it. I think I loved her prose more than the story itself - some of the imagery and descriptions were just splendid.

I felt the climax was a bit underwhelming given all the build up, but, with two more books to go, I can see she had to spread the plot out. Loved all the characters. I especially liked Kartik, but I was disappointed by his character arc. He was so confident and menacing in the beginning, and although Gemma did her part in fighting back with sheer nerve and tongue lash, I thought his character petered out rather unchacteristically and without particular good reason given his "mission." I'm curious to see how the second book plays out...

Now, I need your help. A friend of mine is going through some hard times. She and her husband seperated late last year and then she got laid off a month or so ago. She's looking to "escape" into some really good, inspirational and/or feel-good adult fiction while she tackles divorce and job interviews. But, as I do not read any of the sort, I have no suggestions for her. Can anyone give me some?

Lastly, if you haven't voted in my book poll, please do! I seem to have a four-way tie at the moment. I think I listed too many options. There is one day left to vote unless I extend it. I may pick up the next book in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy and let the poll sit another week. Hopefully a few more people will vote so I can prioritize what's next!

Have a good day everyone!

A Writer's Lack of Confidence

This is HUGE for me. Over the last few months I've been able to pin this down as THE biggest thing that hurts my writing. Sometimes as soon as the second chapter I'm second guessing the writing or the story itself. This is exactly why I give up on my stories. If nothing more, I'm trying to overcome a measure of this lack of confidence this year. Because... even if it does suck, I'll never get good unless I practice. Right? Right.

What brought this post on? This article: How Successful Writers Keep up Their Confidence by Consulting Editor Alan Rinzler. As chagrined as I am that I have this issue, as confidence is, according to Rinzler, "...the single most essential ingredient an author needs to succeed, since good writing is never that quick or easy," I feel optimistic that I can overcome it since I'm painfully aware of it.

Nathan Bransford posted this amongst his "This Week in Publishing" bits. He has some other great articles this week, so make sure you stop by there as well.

Also, pop on over to The Crowe's Nest (Agent Sara Crowe) to read a post by Lisa Schroeder (I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME) regarding her feelings on her editorial letters.

Happy Friday!

Book Poll

I just devoured HOW NOT TO BE POPULAR by Jennifer Ziegler. Yes! Even with my mom visiting. I LOVED it!

I'm going to begin A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray next.

After that? I don't know!

So, I've put up a poll to the right of the books I'm considering after AGaTB. Please vote! Multiple votes are allowed.

Thanks!!

Wednesday's Word Count

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday!

Prior Goal: Write a chapter / 3000 words.

Achieved: Check.

Goal for new week:
Write a chapter or at least 3000 words.

Excuses / comments:
I'm looking forward to writing this next chapter, but the bulk of it probably won't be written until early next week. My mom is visiting and writing time is more scarce. Shouldn't have any problems though - I'm having a lot fun with this story!

How are your goals looking?

Word of the Day

My mom is visiting until Saturday, so you might get a few of these this week. They're easy and fun!

Today I've chosen...

Platitudinarian:

"One given to the use of platitudes."

Platitudes:

"1. The quality or state of being dull or insipid."
"2. A banal, trite, or stale remark."

I think we've all come across a platitudinarian character or two in our lives! Books too!

Kindle 2 is here!

The Kindle 2 made its debut today with a release date of February 24th. I can't wait for the reviews to roll in. I'm hoping to get one of these beauties this year. I'm excited!

Anyone else planning on making the Kindle leap soon?

Goodreads

So who's on Goodreads? I just joined this morning. You can find me here. I need friends!

Does anyone know if they have a widget like Library Thing?

Character Arc

Character arc is, essentially, the development of your character over the course of the story. Why is this important to you as a writer? Because real people change over time and real, strong characters do too. Besides, would it be very interesting if your character went through a story’s worth of events and came out the same? No, not really. Readers, agents, and publishers don’t think so either.


I'm no expert on this, but here are some things to consider when creating a character arc.


Know your character’s makeup.


No, not her favorite flavor of lip gloss or particular shade of eye shadow (although that can be important too!) I’m talking about your character’s constitution – what makes him/her who they are. Give your characters layers. What are the past experiences that have created the character we’re meeting? Figure out their upbringing, give them fears, opinions, beliefs, traumas, and joys. You are who you are because of your past – a compound of experiences – do the same for your character. Make them real. These are the things your character is going to be protective of. You now have vulnerabilities.


Consider who you want your character to be at the end of the story..


If you can decide what changes you want your character to undergo in the beginning stages of your story, you’ll be better able to steer your character arc towards that goal.


Create incidents that will require your character to change.


You need to create incidents that will impact your character’s life and the layers you have given them. Use the vulnerabilities you’ve created to carry your character away from who they were and towards the person they will be. Once you begin to impact the outer layers of who they are, a ripple should take place, and eventually their core-self should change too.


Reflect on your character's makeup and vulnerabilities for each major story incident.


Every time your character tackles a plot hurdle or incident, take some time to consider how it will affect the layers you’ve given them. Has it challenged a belief? Did they face a fear? Was an opinion swayed? Did they learn something about themselves? And so on and so forth. Once you’ve examined what did or did not change, you can begin to shift how your character acts and reacts to things in the future. Small or large, these shifts in character will propel you toward your end goal – a changed character.


Create a moment of change but don’t overdo it.


Most stories have a moment where the character has an epiphany or the change they have undergone becomes especially apparent. It can be straightforward or implied. It can refer back to an earlier moment subtly or it can be blatantly stated. Whatever course you choose, don’t overdue it. It’s easy to be overdramatic but its best to be subtle. Don’t insult your reader’s intelligence. They are picking up on a lot more than you may realize.


Do you have thoughts or advice on character arcs you'd like to share? Please comment!

Wednesday's Word Count

And here we are. February, and Wednesday again already. Can you beleive Dresden will be a month old tomorrow? Crazy!

Prior Goal: Write a chapter.

Achieved: Yup.

Goal for new week:
Write a chapter or at least 3000 words.

Excuses / comments:
No excuses, yay! I had a fun week of writing. MG is a blast. I put up a word counter during the week for my WIP. I'm pretty good about updating it, so if you don't see it move for a couple days feel free to give me a comment nudge or jab!

How is everyone else fairing for the week?

Word of the Day

I don't have much of interest to post right now, so... a word of the day for you! One related to writing even.

Boustrophedon: "The writing of alternate lines in opposite directions (as from left to right and from right to left)."

Word origin per the Online Etymology Dictionary...

"1783, ancient form of writing with lines alternately written left-to-right and right-to-left, from Gk., lit. 'turning as an ox in plowing,' from bous 'ox' + strephein 'to turn.'"

Pronunciation: boo-struh-FEE-don.

What an interesting mouthful of a word! I can't even imagine using that in a sentence.

Happy Dance

Whenever I feel particularly accomplished, I think of the scene in Love Actually where Hugh Grant dances. It's my favorite part of the movie.

I pulled it up and watched it today because I'm thrilled with how things have been going. I feel very accomplished in handling the kids, the house, my work, and my writing (not that I've been doing a ton of work or cleaning, but still.)

So, in honor of my (self-proclaimed) awesome juggling skills, I'm posting it here for your enjoyment.