Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snowball Fight!

Click (or copy and paste) link below to view my fun with my dog, Bella, as well as Obama, Einstein and Oprah.

Best people in the world to have a snowball fight with *snort*

Wishing all of you the very best Christmas and much joy in the coming year!

I'll be back with more posts in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

What to get for the author who has everything

Most people who know me know that I don't enjoy shopping. It makes my eyes twitch and gives me cramps. This time of year is hell on a person like me. I do a lot of shopping online and in-store shopping gets done in November because I don't want to be trampled by crazed lunatics who've been imbibing in too much eggnog.

This year, I'm very proud of a couple purchases I made for myself.

Deadly serious sticky notes! On the back it claims they are perfect for letters of resignation and hit lists! What's not to love?

And the door mat pictured below. I seriously crack up every time I come home!

When delivery people arrive and Bella is barking like the crazed beast she is, I smile like the lunatic I am just because I KNOW they must be reading that mat and getting some snarky level of enjoyment out of it! So far, though, not one arrival at my door has appreciated my bastardized John Donne quotation nearly as much as I have ... nobody has even mentioned it. Except my kids. Who are embarrassed by it. But who cares? Doesn't matter squat to me because I LOVE it!

Have you bought yourself anything special lately?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

How to Write Your Stupid Book: Tip 4

Tell your internal editor to go to hell.

You open your manuscript with the idea of writing a gazillion new pages and finally reaching that mid-way point in your two-gazillion page book. Except the minute you open Word you’ve gotta, just GOTTA, go back and check to see if the fact you mentioned about your protagonist liking chai tea is accurate to the story.

I mean, what would happen if you said she drank chai tea on page two hundred but waaaay back somewhere in the first couple chapters you’re pretty sure you mentioned she hates the stuff? There would be obvious anarchy, right?

So, yeah, you’re forced to go back and search through the pages for every mention of chai tea. Then you spend an hour googling the benefits of chai tea and trying to figure out what kind of messed-up creature you’ve created if she doesn’t like chai tea when it’s so damn good for her! Three hours later you close your laptop with a satisfied sigh. You haven’t written a single new word today but you feel like you accomplished something because of all the time you spent editing. You totally grabbed that little chai tea matter, wrestled it to the ground, and beat it to death with your laptop.

Here’s the thing; first draft is for writing from beginning to end. It’s all about getting the damn book DONE and having the satisfaction of writing “The End” (which your editor at any publishing house will promptly edit out).

Every single time you go back and fix stuff and don’t write something new, you stand the chance of turning into J.D. Salinger.
“Wait a second!” you say. “J.D. Salinger is amazing! He wrote Catcher in the Rye and it’s never gone out of print.”

Except that’s the ONLY book he ever published because it took him 10 damn years to write it and, afterward he turned into a recluse. Do you want to be a recluse? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life writing and fixing and never allowing anybody else to read what you’ve written? I didn’t think so.

But … but … but what if you REALLY need to fix that chai tea question? How can you possibly move forward with the entire matter burning a sizable hole in your brain?

Here’s the other thing; this happens to all authors. Some can go back and spend a couple seconds fixing and move on to their new work without issue. They’re amazingly adept at this back-and-forth stuff and they mock those of us who get sucked into the vortex of doom that is our internal editors. If you can fix issues and NOT get sucked into the vortex then, please, carry on (and I hate you).

That’s not me.

So when a burning question crops up that I know from experience will suck me into the vortex, I use a place holder during the first draft. So if I come across something like the burning chai tea question, I would make a notation in the manuscript like this: [confirm if Jane really does like chai tea] and then I just continue writing the first draft.

In second draft, every time I come across a bracketed item [ ] my internal editor goes to town and researches and fixes all those suckers to her sick delight.

Does this make the second draft cumbersome and grueling? Sometimes. But I can fix a chaotic or badly written page, or an incorrect comment in dialogue, in second draft. It’s harder to fix the blank remaining two hundred pages in a manuscript.

Off to fix some blank pages in my stupid book.