Monday, August 29, 2011

Motivational Monday

"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."

 Bonnie Friedman

These past couple weeks, I've been taking my own advice.  I mentioned not long ago I felt sorta stale, or stagnant with my writing.  That' I'd been revising so long instead of writing something new.  Well, I've been writing new stuff.  And it feels really good.

But, I've learned a couple things I thought I'd share.  And, yes, I knew these things to begin with but sometimes I tend to forget and have to be reminded.

First, I love the way it feels putting words on the page.  Especially good words, words that fit, that tell a story.  I love the creative thought process.  The "what if" and "then what" questions.  I love getting to know new characters and places. 

However, writing is work.  The words don't always come easy and when they don't, it's usually easier to walk away or play some game on the computer than push through the rough spot.  It's so much easier to blame "writer's block" than actually confront why I'm having problems. 

It takes discipline.  I need a word count or page goal.  I need a deadline.  I don't know about you, but I need to be accountable. Sometimes I just have to do the "backside in chair" and write until I get the word count thing.  And you know what, those words are pretty good too.

The most important thing though, I need to make writing a priority.  Writing is important to me and I need to remind myself sometimes.  I need to remind others too, because if it's not important to me, it won't be to them.

And so today, I encourage each of you to make your writing a priority.  Take the time each day to put words on the page.  Set a word count or page goal and then meet and exceed it.  Enjoy the creative, pondering process and be sure to leave out some chocolate for the plot bunnies. :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pet Words

When I first started writing seriously, I had a few words I liked to use over and over.  Just and that.  How many of you have the same problem?   Now, whenever I see either of those words, I always wonder if I can take it out.  My critique partners must be tired of me telling them they had too many 'thats' or 'justs' by  now.  It's one of the first things I notice.

However, they caught me with a new pet word the other night.  "So."  *Insert head to desk*  Seriously, how could that happen?  I mean really...  Now I have to go back and check each time so is in there to see if it's just a filler word or actually needs to be there. Sigh...

Thing is...  We all have our pet words.  Mine just happened to change once I noticed.  I'll have to be more alert as I weed out the all the times I used so and didn't need to.  Cause I know there'll be another word ready to take its place.

One of the best books on self-editing is called The 10% Solution by Ken Rand.  It's a small thing, only 63 pages but honestly, it's the best money I've spent on a writing book.  You can find it at Fairwood Press.  He has a really helpful list of things to check for in your writing.

In fact, I had his list taped to my monitor for years.  Here's a picture of the list.  I don't have it taped where I can see it any longer but still have the list.  You'll notice at the top right, I've added "also."  It was one of my trouble words once.   I'm going to have to add "so" now. :-)

So, :-)  what about you?  Got a favorite word? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Motivational Monday

"If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow." 
 Louis L’Amour

I really like this.  Sometimes I do wait for ideas to come when I should be "doing" instead.  There are times when life gets in the way and sorta drys up the ideas but again, if we prime the pump, they do return.

Ideas are all around us.  We just have to open ourselves up to them, let 'em know we're listening and looking.

Plus it helps to leave out chocolate for the plot bunnies.:-)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ladies Who Critique

This is a bit late getting posted but I wanted to give you the latest info.

Ladies Who Critique is a new online group for all us ladies who need a critique partner.  I'm going to pull some info off their website to share with you...

Ladies Who Critique is a critique partner matching site for writers of all levels – published, unpublished, aspiring, hobbyists, even closet writers or complete newbies!

Here are the core ideas behind our community;
- A place where women writers of all levels can search & find a match based on genre, experience & interests.
- A completely free service.
- Fun and without obligation.
- Safe and trustworthy.
- Fills the current need for such a space online.
- Be up to date with current trends in publication.
- Support the women who wish to pursue the traditional path and those who choose to go down the self publication route.
- Build confidence in those who aren’t even confident to call themselves writers quite yet.
- Offer a variety of articles, resources and blogposts on how to successfully critique, the benefits of critique, and how to maintain a good critiquing relationship.
- Enable our members to be fully savvy on the ins and outs of the new rules of publishing by keeping up to date with the newest and current technology, and developments in the publishing industry.

Now, this is the "beta" version and things are just getting started but there are already over 100 members in just about every genre. 

One of the cool things, you can search member profiles and find a person you have other things in common with.  In fact, I've already found a critique partner, set things up and sent pages to her this morning.  She and I have lots of other interests in common and I'm really looking forward to working with her.

I encourage each of you ladies to head on over and check it out.  I know you'll love it.  I'll be hanging out (mostly) in the Crime & Mystery along with the Short Stories groups so stop by, join and say hi. 

We'll also be using the #LWCritique hashtag on Twitter so be sure to check that out too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday


It's hot in Texas.  How hot you ask? Well....

And it's so dry...
A buddy out of Longview said he'd killed a mosquito that was carrying a canteen. A man in Lubbock said the chicken farmers were giving the chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs. In Lake Palestine, they caught a 20 lb catfish that had ticks on it!

Dear Diary,
Just moved to Texas! Now this is a state that knows how to live!! Beautiful sunny days and warm balmy evenings. It is beautiful. I've finally found my home. I love it here.

June 14th:

Really heating up. Got to 100 today. Not a problem. Live in an air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car. What a pleasure to see the sun everyday like this. I'm turning into a sun worshipper.

June 30th:

Had the backyard landscaped with western plants today. Lots of cactus and rocks. What a breeze to maintain. No more mowing the lawn for me. Another scorcher today, but I love it here.

July 10th:

The temperature hasn't been below 100 all week. How do people get used to this kind of heat? At least, it's kind of windy though. But getting used to the heat is taking longer than I expected.

July 15th:

Fell asleep by the community pool. Got 3rd degree burns over 60% of my body. Missed 3 days of work. What a dumb thing to do. I learned my lesson though. Got to respect the ol' sun in a climate like this.

July 20th:

I missed Lomita (my cat) sneaking into the car when I left this morning. By the time I got to the hot car at noon, Lomita had died and swollen up to the size of a shopping bag, then popped like a water balloon. The car now smells like Kibbles and Shits. I learned my lesson though. No more pets in this heat. Good ol' Mr. Sun strikes again.

July 25th:

The wind sucks. It feels like a giant freaking blow dryer!! And it's hot as hell. The home air-conditioner is on the fritz and the AC repairman charged $200 just to drive by and tell me he needed to order parts.

July 30th:

Been sleeping outside on the patio for 3 nights now, $225,000 house and I can't even go inside. Lomita is the lucky one. Why did I ever come here?

Aug. 1st:

Its 115 degrees. Finally got the air-conditioner fixed today. It cost $500 and gets the temperature down to 85. I hate this stupid state.

Aug. 4th:

If another wise ass cracks, 'Hot enough for you today?' I'm going to strangle him. Damn heat. By the time I get to work, the radiator is boiling over, my clothes are soaking wet, and I smell like baked cat!!

Aug. 7th:

Tried to run some errands after work. Wore shorts, and when I sat on the seats in the car, I thought my ass was on fire. My skin melted to the seat. I lost 2 layers of flesh and all the hair on the back of my legs and ass…now my car smells like burnt hair, fried ass, and baked cat.

Aug 9th:

The weather report might as well be a damn recording. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. It's been too hot to do anything for 2 damn months and the weatherman says it might really warm up next week. Doesn't it ever rain in this damn state? Water rationing will be next, so my $1700 worth of cactus will just dry up and blow over. Even the cactus can't live in this damn heat.

Aug. 10th:

Welcome to HELL! Temperature got to 115 today. Cactus are dead. Forgot to crack the window and blew the damn windshield out of the car. The installer came to fix it and guess what he asked me??? "Hot enough for you today?" My sister had to spend $1,500 to bail me out of jail. FREAKING TEXAS. What kind of a sick demented idiot would want to live here??

Will write later to let you know how the trial goes.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Feeling stale?

Lately I've been feeling kinda stale, or maybe even stagnant in my writing.  Kinda blah if you know what I mean.  And yesterday, I finally figured out what's the problem.

I haven't written anything new in ages.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I've been revising like crazy.  In fact, I'm revising three different things right now but I haven't written anything new.  No new characters or conflicts. No new plots or brainstorming.  For a while, I wasn't even blogging.

For me, this "no creating" is not a good thing.  I need to be writing new stories on a regular basis.  And honestly, I love writing short stories. The benefit of writing new stories, besides feeling better, means I'll have new things to send out and hopefully have published. 

So, today I pledge to brainstorm a new story.  I pledge to get at least an outline on the page.  (Today is payday so I have to run errands this afternoon so won't have all day here at puter.)

What about you?  How are you feeling about your writing?  Written anything new lately?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Monday...

That's right, it's Monday.  Another week is starting and it's time to get things accomplished.  I know most folks don't really care for Monday, but since it keeps showing up, we might as well get used to the darn thing.

So, here's a bit of motivaton for today.

"Don’t write what you know—what you know may bore you, and thus bore your readers. Write about what interests you—and interests you deeply—and your readers will catch fire at your words."
Valerie Sherwood

I love this quote.  How about you?  Got a favorite motivational/inspirational writing quote?  Share with us in the comment section. :-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Character Interviews

Not long ago I saw a blog post where the author had interviewed her main character and posted that interview.  I've seen other authors who do the same thing but hadn't really thought much about it. 

Now, I do interview my characters at times.  It's a way for me to get to know them, what they are all about and discover things about their past which might be relevant to the story I'm writing at the time. But I've never posted these for anyone to see.

But, I can sorta see reasons to do this...

The reader gets to know your character on a more personal, deeper level.
The reader gets to know things about the character other than what's in the story, which could be cool.

And as a writer, anything that connects the reader with our characters is a good thing.

But my question is to you, the reader.  Well, I have a couple questions but I'll start with you, the reader.:-)

Do you enjoy these character interviews?  Do you even read 'em? 

Now, what about you, the writer?

Have you ever posted character interviews? If so, what kind of response did you get?  If not, have you thought about trying this?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Goals

What do y'all plan to get accomplished this week? 

Me, I'll be doing lots of writing.  This week I intend to finish a romance story I've been playing with off and on for a while. I think I need about 10k more on it.  Plus, I've got some revising to take care of on my mystery.