Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There can never be too many writers

I am currently reading Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing by Ted Kooser & Steve Cox. I've been coming across all sorts of great quotes. Here is one on their purpose for writing the book:

We want to help you write because we believe there can never be too many writers. Why not a world in which everybody is writing? Surely writing, and the contemplative life that goes with it, is a much better way to spend your time than a hundred time-filling activities we could name. Besides, nothing is so exhilarating as to work at something you enjoy, and that's an experience that writing can give you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What is success?

On Rachelle Gardner's blog today, she poses the question, What is Success? in the writing world. She invited people to offer their answers to that question and many have. People were honest as well, admitting that money and respect from others does matter even when you are doing what you love.

This is a question I've pondered a lot in my life. What would it take to make me feel like a success? It is something that I have always struggled with.

What would it take for you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maybe writing soon . . .

I have an idea percolating . . . Maybe I'll be working on my next story soon.

Meanwhile, here is an article on an agent blog on why agents can't do anything more than a form rejection letter (if even that): Why oh why did I get rejected I should probably stop reading these things. All they do is get me discouraged.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hints for a Successful Series

Jennifer Chiaverini, who writes the Elm Creek Quilt series, is one of my favorite writers. Therefore, I was very excited to see an article by her in the latest issue of Writer's Digest. An expanded version of her article, "Hints for a Successful Series" is available online:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Letters to Juliet" is one of my new all-time favorite movies

The reality of my life is that I have to wait a while for movies I want to see. I see them advertised at the theater, read the reviews, decide which ones I am interested in and then wait for the DVD. Sometimes, the movie does not live up to my extended expectations. Other times, my patience is richly rewarded. Last night was one of those times.

I was so excited to get to see Letters to Juliet  last night. It tells the story of a wannabe writer, Sophia, who goes off to Verona on a vacation with her fiance. He's busy scoping out suppliers for his new restaurant, so she takes advantage of the time to do some sight-seeing on her own. In doing so, she comes across a group of women called the "secretaries of Juliet" who write back to the women who leave their letters asking for love advice at Juliet's wall. She joins them, and finds a letter written 50 years earlier (it had been stuck behind a brick). On a whim, she responds to the woman who had left her one true love behind when she was a girl. The letter finds the owner, the owner's grandson finds Sophia and the adventure to find Lorenzo (the man left behind) begins. I am a sucker for a good love story and this one certainly met the bill. It is a sweet story, rated PG, with nothing objectionable in it. It has a sense of mystery, a good sense of humor, and shows that love can come in many different ways and at different stages of life. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mourning the loss of 20,000 words

I was doing some work last week formatting my manuscript. As I read the expanded version, I decided that I really didn't like it very much. The parts I added were alright, but they just didn't add to the story, they changed the mood of the whole manuscript, and I really don't want that. I liked the story as it was. I'm facing the realization that I wrote 20,000 words for nothing (other than the experience of writing them).

So, where does that leave me? I haven't heard back yet from the publisher looking at my story, so that is still a hope. If that falls through, I'm not sure what to do. Unless a story is 80,000 words, an agent won't go near it. I'm praying about the whole situation. I guess my best hope is to start another story, but honestly, I am a bit tired at the moment. It is both emotionally exhilarating and emotionally exhausting to write a fiction piece of length. I need a bit of a breather. Plus, a new idea would be helpful. Therefore, I am keeping my ears and eyes open for a source of inspiration - hopefully, something that I could actually write 80,000 words about (a feat I have never accomplished).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Now that is a book signing!

I follow Nicholas Sparks on Twitter. Today he did a book signing for his new book "Safe Haven" that lasted all day. He signed 5,600 books! I can't even imagine that. 

Good resource for Catholic Fiction

Looking for the latest information on Catholic Fiction? Check out Catholic

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sell Shares in Your Book?

I read this article about writer Tao Lin in my local newspaper today: True stories invented: author Tao Lin at work. I know nothing about Tao Lin or his work, but he did come up with a rather innovative way of raising money to support the writing of the book - he sold shares in it in exchange for the percentage of the profits. Rather than patron(s), he had investors. It is an intriguing idea. 

Would you sell shares in your book in order to raise funds?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keeping an Idea Notebook

After posting about all the places novel ideas come from a couple days ago, I decided to start an "Idea Notebook." I grabbed one of the one-subject notebooks I had picked up at Staples for 1 cent each when school was starting. (That was just way too good a deal to pass up!), scrawled my name and "Idea Notebook" on the cover and put down the two ideas that had been bouncing around in my head the past couple weeks. I was listening to some 1990s country music tonight while I worked, and was inspired with a couple more ideas. Who knows if anything will ever come of any of these, but if I write them down, at least I won't lose them.

Do you keep an idea notebook? Have you found it helpful?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Decides when a Book is a Book?

The following is from an interview with Jesse Ball in the January 2010 issue of Poets and Writers. I think that it helps keep things in perspective.

"When you write you don't want to surrender to a publishing company the moment when a book is judged to be a book or not a book. You decide if it is a book or not a book. That's your prerogative as the writer. If you imagine yourself as a postapocalyptic world where - somehow you managed to survive - you're in this log cabin and there's a little printing press there, you're writing these books. You produce a book. Then it's a book. You just made a book. . .

In terms of giving the manuscript out as a little book to people, for poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries sometimes their audience was just the few friends they managed to pass the book out to. You're no less a writer. As soon as someone makes a book and gives it to someone else, that's the whole thing. There isn't anything to be added to it."

Monday, September 6, 2010

The End of Take Two

Tonight I finished adding the additional story line. I had hoped that it would bring me to the 80,000 words I am aiming for (or close to it). Instead, I got to 67,578 (an increase of 21,000 over the original story of 46,468). So, I guess I need to come up with a third minor story line to buy me another 10,000 words. I figure tomorrow I'll start editing Take Two of the story and get that to a point where I am happy with it. Then, I will start work on Take Three, just as soon as I come up with another story line, that is. 

Where do Ideas for Novels Come From?

I was reading the January 2010 issue of Poets and Writers today and came across an excerpt from the book Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne.

Dufresne really hit the nail on the head with this paragraph on where ideas for novels come from:

"Where do you begin writing a novel? At the desk of course. And how do you begin? The idea for a novel might come from the events of your life. Examine your past. Write about what hurts, what broke your heart. Write about what you don't understand. Write about what you can't forget. Write about your regrets and your outrage. A novel might come from the events of someone else's life. A novel might be inspired by what you've read, in fiction or in a newspaper. It might begin as an anecdote overheard or a snatch of dialogue from the folks at the next table in the restaurant. Novelists are inspired by whatever attracts their attention, by what pops up in their notebooks. A novel might begin with a strong emotion, a character or a situation, a place, an overheard line, a provocative image. In short, a novel can begin anywhere, with anything, so long as it fascinates you, worries you, or makes you wonder."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Slow night

Only 702 words tonight. The TV was distracting me. Total to date - 67, 212 words

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rewriting and Fixing

This is one of those days when my net word count gain doesn't actually reflect how much writing I did tonight. I had to delete a couple of scenes and rewrite them due to the added story line.

Today's count - 538 words   Total to date - 66,510

Looking forward to "Safe Haven"

I just requested Safe Haven, the new book by Nicholas Sparks, from the library. I am currently the 32nd person in line. Hmm . . . wonder how long that will take. I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Emotional Night

I was doing fine. I settled down with my computer as I always do after I tuck my children into bed. I was feeling reasonably happy. All things considered, it had been a good day. And then I saw something on Twitter that made me collapse into a big heap of tears. I know that person had no intention of making someone cry with her post - she was just sharing a bit of good news, but there I was - crying like I haven't cried in ages - big, heaving sobs.

And then, in the midst of crying, I attempted to get something out of the freezer. It fell. I picked it up and whacked my head on the freezer door as it was closing which only served to make me cry harder (not to mention gave me a huge bump on the back of my head). I continued to cry as I made cookies to bring to my homeschool group's First Friday get-together tomorrow. We are celebrating Mary's birthday (September 8th) a little early. I must have cried for a good half-hour. I guess I had a bunch of emotions that just needed to be released. I eventually managed to pull myself back together, and managed to work a bit on my story.

Today's count - 832   Total to date - 65,972

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two days totals

My internet connection wasn't working last night so I didn't get to post yesterday's totals. Tonight, my head feels about to explode, so I gave myself twenty minutes to write, and now I am going to collapse in my bed. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

Yesterday - 1,162 words
Today - 613 words
Total to date - 65,140