Monday, August 30, 2010

Melissa's Myths for Mondays

Myth # 2

Real Writers Don’t Need to Read Books About Writing

When I want to learn to do something, the first thing I always do is grab a book. I wanted to learn to knit, I grabbed a book, easy peasy. I wanted to learn about orangutans, I picked up a book. But because I believed that writing was a God given talent, I echewed books about writing. Why on earth would someone read about writing. Surely you can’t “learn to write” from reading a book. If I’m a writer I can write, and I don’t need no stinkin’ book. If I have to resort to a book to become a writer, then I’d failed.

Well clearly that was rediculous. Sure I could write a book, nothing to it. But to become a better writer, I needed to read a lot of books on craft. And I’m still reading them, and re-reading them.

Do you have any favorite books on the craft of writing?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fonetic Friday: Word of the Day

Hey, you know those cool words they make you type when you comment on a blog, the ones that prevent spammers from commenting? If they were real words, what would they mean? See if you can come up with a definition for the word, and use it in a sentence.

Today's word is: MOGIS


Mogis: This is the answer to hagis on the Hoth Ice World. Instead of a sheep’s stomach/intestines, this recipe uses the stomach and intestines of a ton-ton. "Hey Luke, can you pass me the mogis?"

Also join the blog hop at

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three Thing Thursday

Amie at I Am Alive see above link (I hope) Asked on Three Things Thursday about our pets. I love the question, so I'm trying to respond, but you all know how technically challenged I am, so...

First I must say I'm terrible jealous of Amie because she has horses and I do not. But I've had lots of pets so I'll go by species.
1) Cats, as a family, we always had cats. The first family cat was solid black and named after a character in Uncle Rhemus tales, but since it's apparently a racial slur, I won't repeat it. (It starts with a T not an N). Then we got Walter Mitty and he was around until I moved out. My first cat all on my own was Captain Butler, called CB, the love of my life. Then I got Katie Scarlett (called Katie) the sweetest cat that ever lived. They have both passed on. I now have Margaret (called Molly) and Mitchell (called Mitchell Lafayette because his behavior is so bad I had to give him a middle name).
2)Dog-we had one dog as a kid named Rosie. This poor creature was adorable but psychotic. We found her as a stray and she had been abused. We did the best we could, but new nothing about dogs. She mainly just rolled around on us licking our faces and her nether regions intermittently. She also chased Walter Mitty constantly.
3)Mice- I have now had four mice. The first two Charlotte and Emily passed away recently. (They only live about two years.) I recently got Laura and Louisa. They are very cute, and a lot of fun to watch run around on their wheele or in their little rolling balls. they even inspired me to write a picture book which I may try to get published someday.

So anyway, head over to Amie's blog I hope I did this like thing right.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Would Your Character Do/Say Wednesday?

I’m always looking for questions to ask my characters; anything to pull them out of their shell and see how they act in foreign territory. I wondered what it would be like if my characters participated in other Middle Grade and Young Adult stories. How would they act in Narnia, or at Hogwarts? It’s interesting to see how your characters act in a completely different setting.

For my inagural post in this series I'm doing Interview questions for your character based on "The Hunger Games" THERE ARE NO SPOILERS

1) If your character lived in Panem, where would they live? The Capitol or one of the districts? If one of the districts, which one?

2) Are there any characters that your character would look forward to facing and defeating in The Hunger Games? Are there any that your character would sacrafice their life for?

3) What type of competitors, if any, would your characters align themselves with, if they participated in The Hunger Games?

3) What type of person is your character attracted to? Brooding rebel, golden haired boy, cynical anti-hero?

4) What people in your characters life would The Capitol be able to use against them? How would they be able to do this?

5) Would your character join/lead a revolution, even if it meant the people close to them might be hurt?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Feature Starting Tomorrow

In an effort to make my blog more of a resource for my readers, I'm starting a New Feature Tomorrow. It's called "What Would Your Character Do/Say Wednesday." Every Wednesday I'm going to post a series of questions inspired by my favorite kidlit books. The questions are designed to take a character out of their normal environment and stretch them by seeing how they would react in a totally foreign world.

I've been using these questions for a while, and I'm finding it helpful. Believe me, putting a zombified cotton-tail rabbit into "Twilight" has made for some interesting responses. But it's given me a whole new perspective on Milo, and some of my other characters and I think made them much deeper. I hope the questions will help you as well.

So check back tomorrow when I kick off my WWYCD/SW with questions inspired by "The Hunger Games" THERE WILL BE NO SPOILERS for Mockinjay, since I haven't even gotten the book yet.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Melissa's Myths for Mondays

Myth # 1

Writers Are Born Not Made
I used to believe all writers were born, not made. That anyone who had written an interesting book must have exited the womb with that story in their head just waiting to be spit up. And that God would have endowed them with a preternatural gift for punctuation and spelling to support their talent.

Since He clearly skipped over me when it came to punctuation and spelling (along with other things which shall remain nameless), I decided that writing was not meant to be. It took me almost forty years to realize that writing is about more than comma placement.

What, if anything kept you from making the leap into writing?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Trying Again

Okay, I've gotten some advice on how to do this link thing, so I'm going to try again. Fingers crossed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Testing Testing

I'm going to test the "Link" button to see if this works. I guess maybe if I wanted to "link" something, a good place to start would have been the "link" button. What a numb skull I can be!

I put in the link to querytracker as a test. Here goes nothing.

Technically Challenged Blogger Needs Help

I admit to being seriously technically challenged. When I see anything that looks like //\\.gfaaddlepat.\\/#@ I run the other direction and tune out. Since programers have made things easier for Mo Rons like me by putting buttons with actual words like Save, Delete, Copy... I've had an easier time.

But I'm really stuck when it comes to blogger and trying to link things to my blog. For instance, I want to post a link to the query tracker web site. So I open up query tracker and I copy paste the URL into my blog here: But this is just a dead string of blah blah blah. On most peoples blogs, you'd be able to click on that link, and it would take you right to that site.

So then I try this (Add enclosure link) thing that I see. Again, I cut and paste the URL, past the http://. When I preview, there is no link.

Then I tried to create a link to the post, but that didn't work either.

I've looked at the help available for blogger, and it's all greek to me.

So does anyone have any advice for me? I would love to be able to link to other sites.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Long Walk

I admit to having read The Long Walk by Stephen King several times. I used to do so in a rather surreptitios manner, after all how do you explain to people "what the story is about".

For those of you who haven't read it, it was originally published in 1979 under King's psuedomym Richard Bachman. It's a dystopic story about 100 boys age 14-18 who volunteer to participate in the National Sport, a walk that begins at the Maine/Canada border, and ends when only one boy is left walking. Each Walker must maintain a speed of at least four miles per hour; if he drops below that for 30 seconds, he receives a verbal warning (which can be erased by walking for one hour without being warned). If a Walker with three warnings slows down again, he is shot dead. The winner earns fame, fortune, and anything they want for life.

In many ways it's very much like The Hunger Games (only it was never marketed for a YA audience, even though the MC is 16 and all the major characters are 18 or under.)

Have you read/Would you read The Long Walk. How do you think it compares to The Hunger Games? Why do you think this type of book appeals to people of all ages?

Monday, August 16, 2010

What is it About Kidlit Series?

I have been counting the days until Mockingjay comes out. I haven't anticipated a book this much since The Deathly Hallows. (I did read Breaking Dawn, but wasn't as crazy about that series as everyone else).

But wait a minute, I'm a grown woman. And not even a just barely grown woman, I mean I am a fully grown woman with the grey hair to prove it.

I've read quite a few adult series also, Steven King's: The Dark Tower, Larry McMurtray's: The Berrybenders, but none that I was anticipating as much as I did Harry Potter and The Hunger Games series.

What about you, are you anticipating Mockingjay as much as I am? Have you read any other series, adult or kidlit that had you running to the bookstore at all hours of the night to get a copy as soon as possible?

Friday, August 13, 2010

The First 30

Hi all-

I just wanted to give a shout out to my first 30 followers. When I first started blogging, I just wanted to stick my toe in and see if I could get the hang of it. It took me some time to figure out how the whole thing worked. But once I felt confident that I could come up with something relatively interesting to say at least three times a week, I decided to try to find more followers.

What I love about having wonderful followers like you, is that I feel like we'er all part of a small group within the larger community of writers. I follow your blogs and you follow mine, so I feel like I know you, or at least what you reveal on your sites. And those first 30 people are just so special to me.

I doubt if I'll ever have hundreds of followers, but even if I did, you would still be my first 30, my core peeps.

So many thanks to all of you.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Back

I'm back from vacation and as expected trying to "catch up" on everything.

I'll be spending most of my day at Write On Con today. If you're a kid lit writer, and haven't already heard about this from the hundreds of people blogging, tweeting, etc about it, you really should get over there and check it out.

Even if you're not a kid lit writer, you should still check it out. There's tons of great info that can be generalized to adult writing as well.

I just read two amazing posts one from a local bookstore buyer, and another from an actor/writer who uses acting techniques to improve dialogue. There's a lot more great stuff out there.

So have you been to Write On Con? If so, what did you find most helpful?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blogging on Vacation

I know, I know. Most people just say, "Hey, I'm on vaca, won't be blogging, commenting, etc., see ya..." But I thought, that seems like information that burglars would use to stake out empty homes and target them. So maybe I should just not mention the vaca. (Don't get me wrong, if anyone burgled my home, they would be like WTF, this broad has NOTHING of value), but still... So I've been trying to keep up on my blogging, etc. this week.

Plus with Write On Con coming up, I need to keep in the swing of things.

So you tell me. Do you continue to blog, tweet, etc. while on vacation? If you mention that you're going to be out of town on a social networking sight, do you ever fear that people will exploit that information?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Wasn't Going to Do It

I wasn't going to blog about my vacation, but it's just such a constant source of amusement(and I mean that in the most sarcastic sense), I thought you'd get a kick out of it.

Yesterday my two sisters, my parents, my 9 and 6 year old nieces and 71/2 year old nephew drove across Kansas to Colorado. In Denver we picked up my brother-in-law and my 3 year old niece at the airport, because no one can deal with her on a long car trip.

So my sister has an SUV that is used, but new to her as of the night before. We have no idea how anything on the car works. And out in the middle of podunk, she inadvertently put E85 fuel in it. It did not like that at all! So we spent 3 hours at the Lexus dealership in Denver while they flushed out the tank and replaced the fuel. (If you have to be stuck in a car dealership, Lexus is a really nice one)

That was day one, so far this morning, we've had enough hillarity to create an entire MS that would make Erma Bombeck weep. It just goes on and on.

But it is fun to spend time with the kids. I see them all the time at home, but it's only on the annual family vaca that I get to spend 24/7 with them for several days in a row.

Here's the observation of the day: As soon as they've finished with something they discard it. No matter where they happen to be, or how appropriate the spot is. My sisters say at least 100 times an hour, pick that up, don't leave that there, but it's some sort of compulsion. When they're done, they're done. Follow through is just not happening. One of my nieces actually took off a shirt and casually dropped it in the toilet, because that was where the arc of her arm ended when her fingers opened to release the garmet???? What's up with that???? I have noticed the 9 year old niece actually makes some effor, perhaps she's learned the hard way about what happens to items when they are discarded in inappropriate places.

This is my question: If you're writing kidlit, or even adult lit with a child character. Have you ever added those little common place nuances to make a plot point

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Just Like Exercise

I got some great suggestions about my procrastination post yesterday. Thanks everyone!

One person said that once she forces herself to get into it and "just does it" she feels great about it and loves it. (Sorry Suzi, I'm madly paraphasing here)

But that made me think of exercise. I have been exercising now for 1038 days, out of those 1038 I have exercised 957. Yes, I keep track, every day. Some days it's hard to make myself go, and some days I can't wait. Some days I have to force myself to complete my whole program, and some days I feel I can go on forever. But one thing that is consistent is that I always, always, feel better for having done it.

So I'm taking a "just do it" approach to writing from now on. Even if what I write is totally lame, I've always got the revision stage to fix that.

So what about you guys? Where's everyone at with their current projects? Anyone had any major breakthroughs? Exciting news?

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Not Doing That

I'm not doing that. I'm not spending time blogging and trolling around the web trying to avoid writing the opening of my new WIP. Not me, never!

Okay, maybe I am.

Maybe I just need to skip the beginning and write another part of the book. That sounds like a good idea. Anything to get with the program.

What do you do when you feel like you're hiding out from writing by blogging, trolling, stalking, etc? (Like right now, ha ha). Do you have any special tips for getting over that hump and getting back to it?