Monday, August 31, 2009

Sad Stuff

Only another writer knows the pain of having your son, who you just blog-loved yesterday, get into your computer and somehow delete 5000 words that you loved, too.

Remember when Amy threw Jo's book in the fire?

Feel bad with me. I will be rewriting, but will I remember it all????

Friday, August 28, 2009

When YA Literature Promotes Marital Bliss

My husband and I are beginning to compromise on something we have differed on since the beginning of us. It is a very difficult subject, and something I hesitate to make public on this blog.

Zombies.

He has grown up in love with the undead, and owns every zombie movie ever made. Lawyer by day, but zombie killer by night, he plays Resident Evil on Play Station 3 (AFTER our son has gone to bed).

I tried to love it with him. I watched Resident Evil with him, but even the clean flicks version was too gross. I even watched the grandfather of all zombie movies. You know the black and white one from the 60's, with bad makeup? Still pretty gross.

But then I read a zombie book. And then another one. Okay, so zombies in literature aren't as gross as zombies on film. Now we can discuss rotting, walking, brainless corpses together and enjoy them. What have I learned from this? The best way to kill a zombie is to chop off its head.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boxes of Ideas

Warning: The following posts contains analogies. If you are tired of posts involving writing analogies, you have been forewarned.

When I first moved into my new house I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of boxes and stuff all over my floor. Would there ever be any order to this madness? And most importantly, would I ever find my Magic Bullet blade?

It was chaos at its best and very intimidating. (Why do we have so much stuff?) It has been almost one month since I have moved and still I have piles all over the house. I tell everyone that there is order to my chaos, but it is only a little bit true. The thing is, the longer I leave things not in place, the more I forget they are not in place.

Like the two end tables that sat in my kitchen for a couple weeks. There came a day when I honestly didn't see them anymore. I had to remind myself that they didn't belong there and move them into the living room.

And so it is with writing. First of all we have boxes and boxes of ideas. And slowly but surely, we find a place for these ideas. (However, there are ideas that will sadly never have a home and must accrue in our junk pile.)* Then we do find a home for our ideas. They are executed in the most beautiful prose and when we read them out loud, they taste good.

But some of these ideas shouldn't be in our manuscript, or should be somewhere else, but we are so used to seeing them there that we don't see that they shouldn't be there. I suppose that's where a good beta reader comes in handy. They tell us the end tables do not belong crammed between the kitchen table and the kitchen set. And sometimes if they are really honest they remind me that these are not end tables at all, but cheap stools with placemats on top that I think pass for end tables.

*Just as there is a Salvation Army/DI for our real-life junk, wouldn't it be brilliant if there were a charity for idea rejects? Some ideas are good, really good, but they will never be used by their creator. Maybe we should give them to those less fortunate. Or maybe a Salvation Army for Rejected Ideas is a horrible idea.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

I really have not forgotten how to post. However, between moving and visiting in-laws in Texas and just being plain lazy, I have not posted for almost a month.

(By the way-it is hot in Texas. Don't visit Texas in August, especially if you are pregnant. Fortunately, Kansas has had an unusually cool summer. I'm pretty sure it is because Kansas likes me and Texas does not. This is why we should stay in Kansas and not move to Texas, probably ever.)

While in Texas I found an in-the-flesh writing friend. My husband's best friend's wife is also writing a book. We have known each other since I have known my husband, but only after our husbands mentioned the fact during this visit did we make the connection that we were both writers.

I intended to do a lot of writing during our visit. I lugged my heavy laptop through the airport with a three year-old in tow because I had such lofty goals. Yet, deep down didn't I know that I would actually do very little writing? My son wouldn't leave me alone. And he's really cute, and how can I choose my laptop over him when he has three months left as an only child?

In a few weeks, I am attending the SCBWI conference in Kansas City. I have nothing solid to bring. I am not looking for an agent or even for a critique. (Plus, they cost more money.) But I'm excited for the experience and the opportunity to meet more writers.

And finally, for more news on the writing front, I did submit my very short children's book that I will forever be attached to in a contest. The Spoonful of Cherrios contest. Of course I did hesitate to enter when I saw that a lifetime supply of Cherrios wasn't stipulated in the prize. However, the winner does get $5000 and an agent and a book deal.

Now that life is regaining some form of normalcy, I hope to write much more. Then again, since I am actually publishing that in my blog I am really jinxing myself.

P.S. I am not talking about the second word-count bar because it may be a little shameful that I swore not to waver from the first book but have cheated on it already.

P.S.S. On a completely unrelated note and yet much more exciting than anything writing related, since I started this post and finished it my son tried asparagus. And he liked it! As a reward he gets to eat a popsicle.