Friday, July 30, 2010

The Day After The Night Before

Milo and I attended a very fun party yesterday hosted by Hanna Howard on her blog.

It was all I could do to keep Milo from over indulging in the dandilion tea, and he's feeling a bit barfy this morning.

But we met some fascinating people.

Two really stunning girls who almost came to blows over Milo's cute cuddliness, but were both a bit put off by the maggots. (Milo is the MC in my MG Adventure, Zombie Rabbit). We had to really try to keep this information from reaching Bonnie, (his owl pellet girl friend). I suspect she knows something becasue she's been babbling about it all morning.

There was also an industrious young lady who kept her hoodie over her face the whole time, but Milo suspects she's lovely. (And I agree)

Milo thinks that there was a spark between this young lady and the male kindergarten teacher that attended. I'm with Milo, I think they'd make a great couple.

And I was particularly facsinated with the albino young man who devotes his life to book restoration. Milo doesn't appreciate how difficult a physical difference, such as albinism, can make life for humans. Albinism is a highly sought after quality in rabbit society. But I really felt for the challenges this young man has to face on a daily basis. At least he lives in Alaska, unlike the two albino orphans I know who live in Africa. These unfortunate children are under threat of being hunted by witch doctors for their body parts. Anyway, I digress.

Milo and I had so much fun. You can check out the guest interactions on hanna's blog: We had never attended a character party, but it was really cool.

Have you ever been to a party where your characters attended and interacted with the characters of other people's books? I thought it really streched Milo to see how he acted around people, not to mention under the effects of dandilion tea.

Thank you Hanna for the party

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Very Interesting Question

Yesterday after my post about the rejection I got on my MS a couple of people asked me if I would consider changing the story based on the feedback. I thought that was really interesting, and something a lot of writers probably have to face.

I thought about it, and it would be possible to change the story to get rid of the animal testing element that he objected to.

However, I don't know if that's the right strategy. I didn't get anything from him stating...if only this weren't set in an animal testing lab, I'd love to represent it. My feeling is that he would pass either way, and this was something he could grab onto that would give him an out, without the dreaded (this is not right for my list).

But if the right agent offered representation contingent on revisions that I felt comfortable with, I'd absolutely do it.

Or if I hear from more than one agent, I really liked this but can't deal with animal testing, then I'll definately change it.

For now though, I'm still hoping for an agent who says, "this animal testing angle really speaks to me." So the journey continues.

But what would you do? Have you ever changed your MS based on the preference of an agent vs the advice of an agent? When would you do this and when would you keep looking?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Cool Is This

I don't ususally create two blog entries in one day, but I wanted to let you know about something really fun I heard about.

On Hanna Howards blog, she's hosting a party tomorrow for you and your character to attend. This sounds like an aweful lot of fun to me.

I'm a bit technology challenged, so I have a hard time makign these links work, I hope this isn't too badly screwed up.

I'm also adjusting my blog a bit, but having some technical difficulties with that as well, so sorry.

Hope to see you at the party.

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that I heard back from the agent who asked me to submit a full manuscript. Since there has to be bad news, the bad news is that he passed on my submission. But on the good side, he sent me probably the nicest rejection I will ever get:

Thanks for letting me read Zombie Rabbit. I think you have done a very good job with this. Your tone and narrative style is very consistent throughout. It reminds me a bit of James Howes' Bunnicula.

That said, the whole animal testing theme bothers me. Instead of contributing to the humor of the story, it makes me feel sad. And it points to a problem in our society that needs to be dealt with. I can't seem to get past this.

So, while I think you have written a good book with the humor that kids enjoy, I am going to have to pass. I do thank you for considering our agency. And I send my good wishes

So while of course I would have loved to hear something along the lines, "I couldn't put it down. You must sign with me or my life will not be complete..." I can totally understand his feelings.

In truth this was better than I hoped for. I really trust this man's opinion and think he is an absolute genius about children's publishing. So if he says it's a good book I feel over the moon.

Another positive, was that I thought it was going to take over a month to hear back and wouldn't have been surprised by two months, so a three week turn around was fabulous.

And on a final note of JOY! This was the perfect excuse to eat a whole pint of pistachio ice cream that I have been craving!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Number 101

I met my goal of posting 100 times in a year with my post yesterday. When I first started blogging, I kept it pretty low key. I was knew to blogging, both to reading blogs and definately to writing blogs. I didn't know what to expect, so I wanted to see if this was something I could do on a consistent basis. I don't blog everyday, and never planned to, ususally about 1 day in three is good for me. But there have been times when it's been difficult to think of something to blog about. At those times I probably let five or six days go by before adding anything. But in trying to add something of value for other writers, I want to be as consistent as possible, and provide information of value.

What do you do when you run out of inspiration for your blog?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

So Much To Do, So Little Time

I'm sure you have all noticed that there are never enough hours in the day. Of course if I didn't have the damned job and could write full time, it would be a whole differenent story, but what can I do. The bills have to get paid.

But even after the workday's done and on the weekends, I can't devote 100% of my time to writing.

For instance yesterday I spent the whole day volunteering at the zoo where I am a docent. It's the most amazing volunteer activity in the world and I love it more than anything. I could never give it up, and it really goes hand in hand with my writing. I write a lot about animals, and being at the zoo inspires my writing. But it's a big time commitment too.

Then after a hot sweaty day at the zoo I had my nieces age 6 and 9 over to spend the night. It's something we all enjoy, but shot the whole day Saturday.

So how do you manage all the extras that take time away from your writing?

Friday, July 23, 2010

To See or Not To See

We had a small critique group meeting last night, which was nice because we got to spend some time dishing on personal stuff, which I always enjoy. We also met in a new location. We have tried both Borders, which was great, we met in the children's section and sat around a small table like when we were in Kindergarten. But alas they started kicking us out at 9:00 and that didn't give us enough time. So we moved to Barnes and Noble, but there's no where to sit in their kids section, partly because there are always kids sitting there, and it's really noisy. So we sat in the cafe, but they're trying to sell more coffee by lowering the temperature to about 50 degrees F. So now we have a new spot, but it's not a book store. Still it has comfy furniture, not much noise of trafic.

So are you part of an in person critique group? If so, where do you meet? Do you like meeting face-to-face?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Half Broke Horses

I don't ususally post book reviews on my site, and especially not for grown up books, but this book was so great I just had to share.

Jeannette Walls, the author of "The Glass Castle" wrote this book about the life of her Grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. What a woman. I love these strong, no nonsence women who literally tamed the West, and made our modern, and easy lives possilbe.

If you haven't read The Glass Castle, I'd highly recomend you read them both together. If you've read The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses will add a whole knew element of comprehension to that story.

Has anyone out there read either of these books or both? What did you think?

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Did It

I finally started my new MS. I know, I know, I said I was going to do all this planning, and research, and..., but you know what? It just didn't work for me. I honestly tried, but I just couldn't stick with it. I kept finding too many distractions.

I know a lot of people spend a lot of time up front preparing to write, and I really admire that. What steps do you take, and how do you keep yourself motivated while you're in the planning stage?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Focus Focus Focus


I'm really ready to start my new MS, but I decided to do a lot of planning and prep work before starting. I've been working on character bios, but I'm having trouble staying focused. I keep getting sucked into different things. I'm thinking I just need to get on with it, start writing the book and then go back and strengthen some of these things after I've gotten started.

I think this is typical of my personality type. I'm not an organized micro-management type. So I think I'm just going to get on with it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Up To My Ankles

So far I've only put a big toe into the blogger, twitter, social networking pool. But I'm trying to bring more value to my blog. Up until now, I've blogged mostly for myself, just to see if I could keep doing it and keep myself on track. But now I want to do more.

But it's hard to find something that people will be able to use as a resource, that isn't already being done. I have one idea, that I'm going to reveal on August 24th.

Do any other writers have anything they'd like to see as a writers resource?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Speaking of Reality TV

I'm a little surprised that someone hasn't come up with a Reality TV Show for writers. I mean they seem to have one for everything else under the sun.

I think a show similar to American Idol could be a big hit. It could be called "I'm the Next Stephanie Meyer"

You could have three agents judging: Nathan Bransford could be the Paula, nice and fair to everyone, Janet Reid could be Simon, and someone really wise and regal like Andrea Brown to be Randy. Then who would be the host... Some cool up and coming writer like Tahereh Mafi she would be hilarious.

Thousands of hopefuls could crowd the convention centers of major cities begging for a chance to show America that they have what it takes to be "The Next Stephanie Meyer" Some of the really amazing goofballs out there who have been dissed by "the man", but know their writing is better than anyone living in this century, can get on TV and really show their butts. Tearful teenagers with deadbeat dads and drug adicted moms can win the hearts of America with their hearfelt sagas.

Once the contestant pool has been whittled down to...say 12, lock them in a house, and make them compete against each other in teams. Then the drama can really begin. Week by week writers will be eliminated until finally one writer can say..."I'm the Next Stephanie Meyer." Of course they'll win a publishing contract with a major house,representation by the agent of their choice, and a nice cash prize.

Can you see it? Sign me up. What do you think? Would you try out for a show like that?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Reality of Rejection

I've gotten sucked into watching Reality TV again this summer. I'm hooked on Last Comic Standing and America's Got Talent. One thing that I find very heart warming about both programs is the personal interviews they do with contestants before they appear on stage. Many of them are very emotional, which is natutal before performing in front of a live audience. One thing that they all seem to say over and over again is, "I just want to hear a 'YES', I've been doing this for so long, and been rejected so many times, it would mean everything to me for someone to say yes, you can move on.

By the way, these are only the preliminary rounds. No one's won anything yet. They're just trying to move on to the smaller group of performers. Then they still have to compete week after week and face rejection after rejection, just to get to the end. And in the end, there will only be one winner. Of course, this type of program normally leads to some sort of recognition, even for performers who don't wind up in First Place, but still...

I know it often feels like you're alone in your rejections, and then other writers tell you, you're not alone, the same thing has happened to me xxxx times. But it's bigger than that. Everyone who tries, faces rejection. Even people who don't seek to entertain. Just ask my friend who's been looking for a job for six months.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What Counts As Writing

I often read that writers should write every day. That makes a lot of sense to me, because I'm basically an all or nothing person. For instance when I started exercising, I had to do it every day. Every time I tried to start an exercise regime only 3 times a week, I'd fail. But once I set my sights on exercising every day, I got into the swing of it, then it became a habit, and now I've exercised 809/898 days. It's a habit that would take some time to break. So the same goes for writing. I've started devoting several hours every night to writing.

But now I'm in between manuscrips. So what counts as writing? I decided that for my next manuscript I was going to try to take time to plan ahead more than I have in the past. So I'm working on developing my main characters right now. (I'm leaving pleanty of room for flexibility, but really want to know my characters well before I start writing them.)

So does this count as writing?
What about nights that I spend investigating agents and querying?
I also spend a lot of time reading the blogs, etc. because I feel this is a valuable way to stay in touch with what's going on. But I'm trying not to get bogged down in this.

So far this month, I did one minor revision of Zombie Rabbit, but everything else has been prep or query.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Goal Setting

I'm finding the need to set some goals for my new MS. Thanks to my terrific critique partner who is always setting really hard goals for herself, I'm feeling like I need to do the same. I won't be staying up until 2:00 in the am to reach them though.

My first goal is to finish all of my character profiles and all my settings by the end of July. Then in August I can finish my research and be ready to start a rough draft in September.

If I don't have goals, I tend to just doodle along, flaking off in all directions.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th

Yesterday I finished one more, yes it's true, one more revision on Zombie Rabbit before sending it to Stephen Fraser. Since today is the 4th and the post office will be closed tomorrow, I'll have to wait to send until Tuesday. And guess what, I'll have time to read through it one more time. I guess it's a good sign that after about 60 readings, I'm still not sick of it.