Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can you handle the truth?

Joanna Volpe of Nancy Coffee Literary is having the best contest ever!!!

Monday, August 29th, for one hour (7am-8am EST), you may send her an email query and she will respond with completely honest feedback.  You need to go to the contest rules to make sure your query will be considered.  You can do that here

I am so excited about this contest.  Can you imagine?  Sending a query to an expert and having them provide more than just a form rejection.  Really getting to know what they thought.  Whether or not it's the query itself or the story line that needs work.  I mean, we all want the agent to call and offer representation, but we get more rejections than we do that dreamed of phone call.  So why not take this opportunity and get some real feedback.  Who knows, maybe your feedback from Ms. Volpe will even be a request for a partial or full.

I know that my story as a stand alone chapter book is a tough sell to publishers.  What I would love to know is if the story has promise.  Enough promise to convince an agent that it's worth it to represent and try to get it published.  If it's not, it's time to move on and chalk it up to experience.  If it is worth it, then I'mma gonna keep on pushin' it.

Yes, I can handle the truth!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

From Ideas to Story

"I've got so many ideas I just can't get them all down."

"The voices of my characters are in my head and I need to write to get them to be quiet."

I've read these statements on Twitter, on writing chat rooms, etc.  I'm not envious of these people, I'm amazed by them.  It's these kind of statements that make me wonder if I'm fooling myself into thinking I'm a writer.  I like to write, I enjoy writing, and I want to write stories that others will read and say 'wow'.  I know every writer does things a little bit differently, but do they all have ideas and creativity flowing all the time? 

And I don't have so many ideas that I can't get them all down.  I don't have voices in my head demanding to be put on paper.  Does that mean I don't have what it takes?  Maybe I'm not creative enough?  Is every writer bombarded by ideas and story lines all the time?

For example, here's the way my thoughts normally go.  I rarely start with a story idea.  I actually start by thinking that I want to write something.  But what should I write about?  I daydream for a bit and then I get an image of a character in my mind.  It unfolds like a movie.  He's in 7th grade.  He's popular.  He's good at soccer.  He's walking down the hallway at his school and there are some nerdy boys watching him.  But not out of jealousy.  Like they're waiting for something to happen.  For him to join them in some adventure.

But what?  What adventure?  What mystery can ensue that will force a popular boy to team up with some nerdy boys to ......whatever.  I'm stumped.  Is there a bad teacher threatening to do something?  It's been done before.  Is there a bomb in the school by the school bully?  Too quick to solve.  I don't know where to go from the original thought.  So the boy is just stumbling around in my brain.  I've got nothing for him to do that hasn't been done before.  And he's not speaking to me, telling me what he should be doing.  So he isn't even helping!  He just keeps walking down the school hallway.

So this is where some writers claim to be pantsters.  You know, they don't plan, they just start and see where it takes them.  But I have trouble really understanding how that works.  Do they start out with just a character and see where he goes, or do they really have a general idea of the mystery/activity/heart of the story and just don't know the details on how they get there.

Are you a pantster?  How much of a story is clear to you when you begin writing it down?  Help a sister out, wouldya?  Leave a comment so I can find out what others do.  Thanks!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I won the lottery!!

I won the Lottery!!

People are fascinated by the concept of winning the lottery. 

“If I just won the lottery…” people say, and then launch into all the different things they would do.  It’s fun to think about having all that money and getting to make all your own choices.  It seems like it would be so freeing.  And yet a lot of people that win don’t handle it well.  They divorce, they spend all the money, they change who they are.

But, what if you did win the lottery?  What would you do first?  Would you be practical or wild?  Would you tell everyone or keep it a secret?

I admit that I like to think about winning the lottery.  I haven’t bought a ticket this year but I bought a few last year.  So, since this is completely hypothetical, what would I do if I won? 

This is how I would handle it (at least in my imagination).  My husband and I would rejoice, smile, cry, hug, get busy….   Then we would contact a lawyer to understand the best way to protect the assets.  Once we had a good grasp of what would really occur and how much money it actually would be, we would contact the lottery people (whoever they are).

I assume we would want to keep our win anonymous.  Even if it doesn’t change you it can definitely change how others view you.  I would quit my day job, which I really do like, but would give up for the opportunity to spend more of my time with my family.  I like to think that I’d work out in the mornings since I wouldn’t be running off to work so early.  Right now I always come up with some excuse not to work out – work, too tired, meetings, etc.  I’d also like to think that I would cook nice dinners for the fam.  Normally I don’t get home in time to do this and my husband cooks.  He does a nice job but I would like to have the time to actually think through some meals and plan. 

I would also like to travel.  There are so many places in the US and beyond that we haven’t seen.  The magnificence of this earth is overwhelming and it would be nice to experience different cultures and climates.

One of the big wins would be the freedom to write.  Winning the lottery would take away the financial burden which requires me to work outside of the home and would give me more time to write.

Lastly, or maybe firstly, I would volunteer.  Not just money but also time.  There are so many wonderful causes that need time and attention.   We already do a lot of volunteering but it would be nice to have more time to be involved.

What would you do if you won the lottery?  Am I too tame/boring?  Would you jet-set all over the world?  Have huge elaborate parties?  Move to Hollywood and hang with the celebrities?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to my blog

A funny thing happened on the way to my blog. (Badum bum!) I had all these wonderful blog post ideas for July and before I could write and post them I was kidnapped by aliens!  They held me against my will and forced me to do all these unmentionable things, which I am going to mention here.  Ha, take that you alien abductors! 

The first task that needed to be completed was a major undertaking.  It required immense brain power, long hours, and… statistics.  Yes, you read it right.  The torture!!!  The aliens informed me that if I didn’t complete this task called a “Project at Work”, the aliens would die of starvation and lose their alien shelter and spaceship.  Well, I couldn’t let something like that happen since they seemed so nice.  I mean, they did kidnap me but they were very nice about it.

The second task required me to spend a week of evenings after the “Project at Work” hours educating more of their kind about a very special book.  There were several captives performing duties during this time period for a whole bunch of alien offspring.  The other captives were required to sing songs, make snacks, do crafts, and play games.  I worked closely with the main alien kidnapper telling stories from this special book.  I surmise that he didn’t want me out of his sight.  There might have been a slight attraction between us, I admit.

The third task required spending an exorbitant amount of time at the most awful place of business where they sell everything.  I mean everything.  From food to clothes to cleaning supplies. Everything aliens need, I guess.  And boy, that place has a lot of weird looking aliens.  All types were there.  The aliens forced me to spend a tremendous amount of time choosing between different colored folders, scissors, paper, and pencils.  Apparently the young aliens were going to be doing a vast amount of learning in the months to come. 

I planned to escape but I was enamored by their sweetness, their neediness, and their lack of maternal support.  The main alien was obviously good for the two little aliens, but they needed more.  Someone had to be here for them, to guide them, to educate them, to love them.  So, I gave up the July blogs but I got so much more in return.

What did you do in July?  Any alien abductions to share?