Wednesday, August 30, 2006

COMING IN FOR A LANDING....

Yesterday, I finished the 2nd draft of my novel. What a great feeling! The major structural changes are completed, and my book is close to being done. I must confess, I'm anxious to start the querying process, but in the back of my mind I know the worst thing I could do is rush this part. I don't want to send anything out there that is less than my best work. I've said it before, but patience is a virtue....that I don't have.

I started my novel back in February, and I have a good 6 weeks to go before it's spit-shined. That puts me at 9 months or so from start to finish. I write about 2-3 hours per day, 5 days a week. At least I'm finishing this one. I have several partials that I couldn't bear to finish, and 1 completed manuscript that stank so bad I had to bury it.

Here's how I wrote my current WIP, Table for One:

*The first draft was getting the story out of my head and onto paper. There are scenes where I wandered around figuring out what was happening next. I had to move somewhat quickly during this phase to keep momentum, and prove to myself that there was a good story here. I didn't bog myself down in the small stuff.

*The second draft was for eliminating the garbage and moving things around. For example, my black moment came entirely too soon in the first draft, which made for a loooong ending. I also checked facts I wasn't sure about. During this 2nd draft process I worked each chapter a few times to get it right. At least I hope it's right!

*The next draft will be for fluff and puff to make it "pretty." I need to deepen characterization, and add detail. There are a few scenes that need to be deleted, like all the scenes where my heroine is driving, except for one that is important to the story. I know driving scenes are a no-no, but somehow everyone talked a lot in the car. I also need to check punctuation, since I tend to be comma-happy. And I love.... and ---'s.

I'd like to hear about your writing process. How many full drafts do you write (though that's a subjective question based on what you consider a draft) and do you layer details in after your rough draft, or write a long first draft and snip a lot out afterward. I'm always so interested to see how other writers work.

Because I feel like I'm taking FORever to finish my book, I'd like to see how long it takes the rest of you. So please vote. I don't have any "I VOTED" stickers to hand out, but still! It's my first official poll, and I didn't pay to have the ads removed, so if there's anything naughy let me know!



HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO COMPLETE YOUR BOOKS?
0-3 MONTHS: I'm really fast!
3-6 MONTHS
6-9 MONTHS
9-12 MONTHS
12+ MONTHS: I'm careful, do my research, and do not rush the process
OTHER
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

WEARILY WE GO ALONG….

Bogged down in the routine of life? Bored with the mundane? Yesterday, that was me. Every morning we go through the same routine (with only a slight variation now that my oldest is in school): make breakfast, pack lunches, get babies ready, drive to school, dishes, vacuum, blah blah blah….

I caught myself grumbling over spending time on the necessities of life, because those things were preventing me from pursuing my goal. After a bit of S.O.S. praying, God spoke a word to my spirit.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we
do not lose heart. ~Galatians 6:9

I forgot that the things I do, I do for my family’s good. Keeping that in mind as I go throughout the day stain-sticking the laundry and chopping vegetables, will bring me joy during this season. As I sow into my family, I will reap a healthy and joyful family. Everything has its season, and I’m determined to enjoy the time with my kids, even if it means my writing goes on the backburner (say it isn’t so!)

Whatever your circumstances are, I hope you find encouragement in God’s word today too!

Friday, August 25, 2006

UPDATE AND A PROMPT

It's the end of the week, and it's only my second post. What's going on? Could it be that I'm actually working on my WIP instead of puttering around on the net? Yes, it is so. I have to confess something funny, though. Remember when I told you I was streamlining my internet time, and stepping away from so many online groups? I was proud to be down to three. Then I joined RWA. I'm so bad, but RWA is cool!

My oldest daughter completed her first full week of school, and the babies and I started adjusting to our new schedule. Remember I was going to establish a routine that included a two hour nap for the babies so I could write? I confess, you were right to laugh. But, I have found that I can, in fact, write in five minute snatches. My book is literally being written two sentences at a time. Whatever works, right?

My favorite part of our new routine is leaving the house to pick up my daughter from school. When the babies and I are in the car they fall asleep, and I park out in front of the school and read. (Today I also fell asleep along with the kids, and probably looked like a dork with my mouth hanging open catching flies, but that's beside the point.) The school marching band meets the last hour of the day, and with the windows down I can hear them practice. And do you know what? I totally miss marching. It was way fun, and I don't care who thinks I'm a nerd:)

On a completely unrelated note, an interesting idea for a writing prompt dropped on me today, and I wanted to share it. You may not know this, but patience is a virtue.....that I don't have. My lack of patience has lead to many a stupid argument over the course of my life, arguments which, when I have a chance to think rationally, could have been avoided. Today I wondered what I look like from someone else's POV. The next time I catch myself on (a-hem) less-than-my-best behavior, I'm going to write the scene from my antagonist's POV. I'll write it with the same care and crafting as I do my book. I have a niggling feeling that I'll discover the one I consider the antagonist is NOT the antagonist, but the protagonist and gorgeous hero.

Monday, August 21, 2006

TAGLINES

Last week on the ACFW e-loop there was a short discussion about taglines after signatures, and why writers have them. Most people want their tagline to represent their writing, and what one can expect when reading their work. I spent some time looking at everyone’s taglines, and decided I want one too. (It’s that Bandwagon Syndrome flaring up again!)

Boiling down what best describes my writing into a few concise words is more difficult than I anticipated, never mind the fact that I can’t remember how to insert a signature into my e-mail. And that’s where the last MEME comes into play. Remember I said one of the biggest influences in my work is Proverbs 17:22?

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Many of you know that I primarily write chick lit, which for me is akin to a romantic comedy. There’s also a spiritual thread to almost everything I write. With that in mind, here are a few ideas I came up with:

**At the crossroads of faith and funny

**Stories to make the heart smile

**Where faith and fun collide

I think the first one is my favorite, but I’m still debating. And I’m open to suggestions. My question to you is, what’s your tagline and how did you choose it? If you don’t have one already, it’s a great time to brainstorm!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NERDS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

Today was the big day, the day I sent my oldest child off to high school. I admit it, when she closed the car door and walked away, I cried. My daughter is everything I was not when I was in high school, and I can’t help but wonder how she turned out so awesome! It must be a God-thing! (By the way, she’s attending the same high school I graduated from, and has at least one of the same teachers I had. Cool, eh?)

See, when I was in high school, I was shy, and I loved books and writing, and I was in the marching band. I thought band was cool. Really cool. I could tell you about all the dorky things I did in high school, like getting a splinter lodged so deep in my tush during volleyball practice that it had to be removed by a doctor, or the time that—well, never mind. You get the point.

Then I moved on to college, not quite as shy, but I still loved writing, and once again I was in the marching band. (I can’t tell you how many times my husband has laughed at my college marching band picture still hanging on the wall in my parents house. I have a big cheesy smile, and I’m wearing my band uniform complete with a cape, and my organ-grinder monkey hat.) At least my parents were proud.

And here I am today: still a wallflower, at least in new settings, I love books, and writing is my passion. Are you seeing the same pattern I’m seeing? I’M STILL A NERD! Now, let’s not get ourselves worked into a lather. I’m not suggesting that all people who love books and writing are nerds, I speak only for myself. But come on, tell me I’m not alone!

Monday, August 14, 2006

STAPLES AND A BRAND NEW ROUTINE….

The countdown has begun, and if you’re a parent, or even know a school-aged kid at all, then you know which countdown I’m referring to. The best part of back to school season? Shopping for supplies at Staples. I’m sure I’ve told you all about my love affair with notebooks, pens, Post-Its, folders, and other assorted office supplies, so I’ll hold back from re-telling the same ol’ thing. (I think many of you have the same secret love of paper products, if the truth be told!)

But this year is different for us because it’s my daughter’s first year back in public school after two years of home school. What shall I do with all of my free time? LOL, there isn’t really any free time coming my way, but that’s OK because I’ll compensate with good scheduling. It works on Super Nanny! My new schedule includes the babies sleeping from noon until two o’clock so I can write. STOP LAUGHING! It could work.

My question to you is, how do you structure your day so you can write? Do you schedule it in? And, for the record, how many hours per day do you write? (Surfing the net doesn’t count!)

Friday, August 11, 2006

TUMBLEWEEDS AND A MEME….

Gee, it got quiet around here. I see tumbleweeds blowing across my blog. I’ll bet you’re wondering where I’ve been, right? (C’mon, play along!) It’s been a chaotic week, but the kids and I have been out and about enjoying our last week together before my oldest goes back to school.

Next week our routine is going to get mighty shuffled since we’ve home schooled for two years, therefore, in the near future I’ll be soliciting your advice on daytime scheduling. So, in the words of every teacher I’ve ever known, “Put your thinking caps on!”

Now, when I last left you, Delia had tagged me. (Remember playing tag in grade school? I was the slowest kid, and had little or no coordination, so I was always “it.” I get the feeling nothing has changed.) This meme is pretty cool for writers, AND you get to pick your question.


A Novel Idea:If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be? (Just the subject–don’t give away your plot idea!)

Or, if just the thought of having to write anything gives you hives, what would you like to read about in a novel that you’ve never seen done before?

Or if you hate reading fiction (you can get counseling for that, you know), what subject might make you change your mind or try it anyway?


**I pick the first question. Most of the stories I’ve written have been about women/family issues. (Although once I tried writing a first person story from the POV of a middle-aged man. It wasn’t pretty.) Once I started taking my faith seriously, I continued along the same lines, but now everything has a Christian worldview, which is refreshing because there’s actually hope! Another thing that changed in my writing was the joy factor.

One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 17:22

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

God has given me great joy throughout the years, and if I can spread a little bit of it through my writing and make someone laugh or smile, then I will have accomplished what I set out to do. Do I impart great wisdom and theology in my writing? Probably not. But I do hope to present real Christians with changed lives loving God and having fun along the way.

As usual, feel free to self-tag, because I’m the slow kid who can’t catch anyone. Remember? Seriously, this is a good meme, and it made me think about why I write what I write. And let me know if you do this one so I can check it out:)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

THREE THINGS THAT TICK ME OFF….

1. Salesgirls who rip off kids when they aren’t looking. (I wanted to throw water on one today and watch her melt, but God wanted us to pray for her instead.)

2. Fashions for teens: too tight, too short, too thin—paper thin. Not regular paper, mind you, but Bible paper. Do you have any idea what it’s like BTS shopping for a teen girl?

3. Public restrooms that are way too small, especially since the door opens inward…duh! Maybe someday I’ll post Desperation in Stall Number Three, a story based on true events when I was nine-months pregnant.

4. Semi trucks that pass other semi trucks up a steep hill, thinking it’s all cool because they can go 25 m.p.h. instead of 20 m.p.h.

Oops, that was four. Sorry. My ranting is done. Must remind self that God is good, He is in charge, and we are blessed!

On a completely unrelated note, thanks for the great suggestions last Friday on how to squeeze more time into the day! Trying to make time to write seems to be a universal problem. I’m in good company. OH, and here’s the best part: our pastor’s son came forward with something God had been putting on his heart last week, and it totally related to finding “me” time/looking out for self.

**Believe that you (I) are in God’s hands, and He is the one looking out for you. When you know that God has your best interest in mind, it frees you up to focus on and serve others, and your needs will be met too.**

See, I don’t have to fight/struggle for a few bits of free time, because God is looking out for me. I still need to stay organized, and do my part to save time here and there, but ultimately God has the situation under control. (I wish I would have thought of that when I was puttering along behind the semi earlier today!)

Friday, August 04, 2006

IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!

Not really. Of course, if you’re an adult you already know that. I’d even go so far as to say it’s almost never about me. By the way, I’m talking about the proverbial “me,” not actually just myself. Admit it, we all crave a little “me” time, and for me that’s the only time I can write. When you’re unpublished like I am, it’s hard to justify spending scads of time indulging my “hobby” with no promise of a future career. So how do we make more “me” time? Here’s what I do:

*Stay up late. I’ll bet you already knew that. After the babies are in bed is the only time I can spend writing 100% guilt-free, and with 2 free hands. Thankfully, my teen is great at entertaining herself.

*Skimp on hygiene. That sounds bad, I know. All I’m saying is that I try hard to stay low-maintenance by taking super-quick showers, wearing little make-up, and throwing my hair in ponytails when possible. (By the way, remember I told you I cut 8 inches off my hair? Not one person noticed, not one! Talk about it not being all about me!!!) I figure the time I save here will add in to the total somehow.

*Take long drives. The only way I can get the babies to nap at the same time is to drive them around. (Does anyone know how to get babies to sleep simultaneously? Help!) Sometimes this buys me an hour in the afternoon, and if I’m lucky, a bit more. Today, instead of writing when they fell asleep, I fell asleep too. The lady sawing logs in the Target parking lot? Me. Probably not a great idea since they passed a “no-camping” inside city limits law, which includes people sleeping in cars.

Now it’s your turn. Please, tell me what you do to make a little “me” time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

FESS UP....

Remember when I posted about how I spend too much time online? Part of the reason I was spending so much time hooked to the computer like a lifeline is because I was involved in too many groups. For both writers and home makers there are tons of groups available, and each one fills a slightly different niche. I seriously wanted to stay involved in all of them, but it became clear that something would have to go, lest I accomplish nothing at all.

At my all-time high I was involved in seven groups. It took me about two months to wean myself down to three (mostly): ACFW, FW, and MIH. Sadly, I still spend the same amount of time online as I did before, just without spreading myself so thin.

Now I'm curious. Am I the only true addict? Surely not. C'mon, tell me how many online groups you regularly participate in or read faithfully. (I tried adding a cool poll to my blog, but alas, I am a techno-dummy.) Let me know if there's a whopper of a group I need to check out. Wait, scratch that, I'm supposed to be cutting back.

Add to Technorati Favorites