Dropping Balls

Oh hi there. It’s me.

I missed Sunday’s check in and nearly missed the #midweekupdate. Guys, it’s hard to get back into blogging. Especially with a little dude rolling around.

Another issue is work has been extra busy. I kind of have a last minute boss. It’s just how he rolls. So currently it’s last minute and here we are.

  1. Blog Again. We’ll, at least I’m making progress here.
  2. Edit my MG Novel. No progress.
  3. Enter at least 2 writing contests. No progress here either.
  4. Regularly attend my writer’s group. This one is still in progress. I think we meet next week or so.
  5. Bonus Goal: Write the sequel to my MG fantasy during NaNoWriMo. At least it’s still October, right?

I think I need an animated cat to dance with, because two steps forward, one step… Wait… *googles* Hey, that’s not how the song goes. Well there’s my whole problem! Until next time!

What’s Up Wednesday: Sep 5

Oh hi blog world!

So I’m a bit out of practice when it comes to this whole blogging thing. But here’s what I’ve been up to since we last spoke:

1. Still not dead. Yep, alive and kicking

2. I finished a major rewrite of a YA Thriller that takes place in Tokyo. My writer’s group’s frequent feedback was it wasn’t following enough of a thriller track and after some hard looks I had to agree with them. So I pondered and pondered for months. Part of my process is basic outlining, because then I know where the paths lead and if that’s the path I want to take or not. I feel like it’s a combo between plotting and pantsing.

It didn’t turn out exactly the way I had thought, which was fun. And I ended up creating a new character because of it, but I think it made sense. Plus I seem to have a habit of creating characters and then not really using them, but in this draft I brought an underutilized character to the forefront. I understand the appeal in imagining you can get it right the first time, but when you realize that writing is a journey and rewrites are going to happen if you want a good story, you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Well, okay, most of it. There are those moments where you want to pull your hair out because the rewrite still needs some tweaks. But overall, worthwhile.

3. Finished a short article for a magazine. Another writer friend of mine said she thought it was the best thing I’d ever written. I’m going to submit it to the magazine this week and see what happens. Fingers crossed. And of course I’ll keep you updated.

4. The hubs and I are trying something called My Miracle Tea which is supposed to be like a major detoxifier. What does that mean? You get to poop, a lot. But it’s supposed to help with your liver and kidneys which, if too junked up, may contribute to stomach weight gain. We both feel like our stomachs could use a little extra help. I’ll let you know more about that as we go along. Why did I even get on this tea in the first place?

5. Foot zoning! It sounds like witch doctoring, but I feel like it’s legit. What is it? Someone gives you what is likely the most painful foot massage of your life and is able to tell you what’s going on in your body. I might still be skeptical of that much, except she knew stuff I hadn’t even mentioned. But to add to that, I also went to see a hormone specialist and they pointed out and recommended the same things.

Now granted, I’ve only been one time, so I can’t attest to the validity of all of it. But the friend who recommended me has personal stories of migraines going away after drinking teas this lady recommended, as well as discovering the lactose intolerance of a kid that doctors hadn’t pointed to. You can still skeptic away if you want, but I’m keeping an open mind after hearing and experiencing all of that. Besides, I’m more of the homeopathic mind when it comes to health these days.

That is NOT to say I think all pharma is bad. Some people really do need the medications they are on. Are we overprescribed in general? I think so. But does that mean all pharma is bad. Nope.

And that about covers it. I’m letting the rewrite of item 2 get cold before editing it. So in the meantime I’m kicking around another idea. I don’t know if you’d call it urban fantasy. Or steampunk futuristic, but it’s more of a middle grade story. And it’s weird. But I’m really liking it.

Okay, that’s what’s up with me? What’s up with you?

Say Whaaaaaaat??!!

We interrupt this regularly schedule blog day for an important announcement. How many of you like that movie, the Dark Crystal?

Okay, I thought there would be a few of you. Now, how many of you would like to write a Dark Crystal novel and make your writing debut?

That’s what the Jim Henson crew is offering. Whether published or not, you now have a chance to compete to write a Dark Crystal novel. Check out the details more specifically on this site.

The idea is you write a “7,500-10,000 words that represent the story you would tell in a full-length Dark Crystal novel.” The deadline is between October 1 and December 31, 2013. They want the final novel to be somewhere in the 50,000 range, so try and make yourself a nice, tight-knit story.

They’ll also be posting all of the lore and world details on DarkCrystal.com, but all the creativity is up to you.

What do you think my hearties? That many words is about 14-18 pages, depending on your spacing, font, etc. We’ve got until October. I guess my thinking is why not? What better exposure for your work than writing the new Dark Crystal novel? And even if you don’t make it, it’s good practice, especially if you’ve been laboring on the same novel for years (like me).

I’m going to check out the website and see if I become inspired. We’ve got this peeps!

UPDATE: Thanks to a few good writing cohorts, I was made aware of this blog post. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are published with the Henson company name, I’m sure agents and publishers will be clamoring for your next book. But it’s good to know exactly what you’re getting into. I guess this contest is much like the Amazon one when it comes to rights, but read this post carefully before you submit. Also the official RULES.

SMC: Voice

This was a panel given by agent Michelle Witte, who has also authored a couple of books. One is The Craptastic Guide to Pseudo-Swearing, something you children’s, MG, and even some YA writers may find valuable. The other is The Faker’s Guide to the Classics, a snarky version of cliff notes for those who want to up on the classics, but don’t have the time to read them. Having read some of the Craptastic Guide, Witte’s snark is something you’ll find extremely enjoyable. They’re both available to Kindle sample, so give ’em a try.

Okay, NOTES:

She said there’s three parts to writing that form the “story” triangle of sorts:

  1. Voice
  2. Writing
  3. Plot

Two areas of the “triangle” can be bigger than the other. But if one is big while the other two remain weak it may be why your story falls flat.


Character is the central part of voice. It’s the character who brings voice out onto the page.

“The writer’s voice in a novel generally belongs to a character.” –Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

There are two kinds of voice: the writer’s voice and the voice of an individual book. The main character defines the voice of the book.

Take Mary Higgins Clark, for example. Her novels all sound the same. Your writing is what works for you. Each book should have its own unique voice.

Continue reading

A Midwinter Update

Time for an update. Woot! Okay, not that kind of woot. Just a general let’s get this done woot.

jae scribblesSHADE – I finished my most recent round of editing on my novel. It was a major change again, like the one I did over the summer, but I think it’s stronger for it. My Pitch Wars mentor Marieke said she’d take another quick look at it (I’m guessing just the parts that have changed). Hopefully I’ve made much improvement. I know there’s more to be made, but I need a break and so I’ve been letting it get cold. I’m pleased with its progress thus far, however, and there are a few scenes I’m particularly proud of. I’ll probably take parts of it to writers group and bother a few of you peeps for feedback soon. But like I said, break needed.

QUERY – This is what I should be working on right now, but I’m still in recovery mode from Pitch Wars I think. But this is next on the docket. I’ve got a decent-ish one now, but Marieke gave it a once over and now I need to fix it up again—which I’m fine with. I’d rather have a query that kills than a query that chills.

CONTESTS – Unfortunately I heard back on my Gotham Writers contest and it was a no win. *shrug* I still have the Writer’s Digest coming up which I entered my short story Trick or Tree into. I should know about that at the end of February or so. I’ve got Cupid’s Literary Connection running next week, at least the “bouncer” round of it. If I get a “you’re in!” then I move on to the agent round. I’ll be sure to update you on that progress.

There’s a few other short story ones I’m looking into, but first the query. If you’re interested in trying to write short stories, I recommend reading a lot of them from either Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, or Anton Chekhov. A lot of Anton’s are available online for free. I wasn’t sure about being able to write short stories (I’m long-winded) but after reading a few dozen of these I started to get a feel for how the story flows when it’s short. Plus these are all great writers and they’ll help make your own writing better for being exposed to them.

BOOKS – Right now I’m reading Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. It’s a lot of great stuff on getting your plot and characters to as he calls it, a breakout level. Some of it is similar to Story by Robert McKee, but obviously more novel-focused. I had wanted to read On Writing by Stephen King next, but my bro let me borrow The Wiseman’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, and I’m probably going to look into that next. It’s thick—real thick. But hey, can’t be any longer than Atlas Shrugged, right? Right?

squier guitar kitGUITAR – I did get my replacement guitar, for those who remember my previous post. It’s been a lot of fun. Too much really. I go back and forth between softer songs and hard rock. I’m getting close to nailing the timing on Thunderstruck and Johnny B. Goode. Apparently most of the Top Gun theme is ridiculously easy. I’ve also been messing with Danger Zone (another easier-than-I-thought piece).  I usually get home from Kung Fu around 9ish and play until 10 (don’t want to tick off the neighbors). I really hadn’t been playing guitar that often before the electric. It’s interesting what a little change will do for your habits.


And that pretty much takes care of life in a nutshell. I’m excited for another Studio Ghibli movie coming out next month, and of course the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3.

What about you? Making lots of progress in writing and otherwise? Any contests you’re waiting to hear back on? And you’re looking into entering? What movies are you most excited for?

Oh, and I should also mention one more thing. Kid History finally came out with another full episode. *grin* I’ve posted it below. Enjoy!