Saturday, July 31, 2010

Photos, Updates, and How I Write

I have given up trying to post pictures into here from our trip to New Jersey, but, you can go here to see the album.  (Please let me know if you have problems with the link-- it links to my husbands account- which is why I couldn't post the pictures into here myself!)

I have finished my edits (so far) for Quest of the Hart.  (Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is the title I want to use).  I need to read through it (especially the last few chapters) then send it off to Katie for her read-through.

Quest of the Hart is a fantasy story about a princess who wants to marry for love, but has an arranged marriage.  After spending time with her prince, she finds herself falling in love with him.  A former friend competes with the princess for the prince, eventually casting a spell on him that can only be broken by his true love.  The princess must undergo a quest, learning about friendship, love, and courage, if she is to wake her prince in time for their wedding.

How I Write:
The sarcastic answer to this is: one letter at a time, forming one word at a time, until I have a book.  Ha. Ha.

OK- all kidding aside.  I write on my netbook, or occasionally on our desktop.  I have a tendency to think about what I write for awhile before I even start to type.  I like to envision a scene --start to finish-- as if it were a movie playing out on the screen, then put it down on the paper.  These scene don't always come in order, but I write them down anyway.

Ever since I was a child, I have told myself stories to fall asleep at night.  Now I do the same thing, only now I think about my characters and the plot I have in mind.  This means, there are times I am almost asleep and I am sitting up, grabbing pen and paper, turning the light on and writing down the scene that just unfolded in my mind.  (fortunately my husband stays up much later than I do, so I am not usually disturbing him).

With Quest of the Hart I re-wrote this story line at least 2-3 times.  I had the basic idea, but it took me a long time to understand my characters.  This last time around, I really focused on listening to my characters and letting them show me how they would react in the situations they found themselves in.  I think it made a large improvement in the story.

I have always had a couple of people who I have asked to read over what I have written (for grammar errors and to show me areas I need to improve.)  I find that I get so close to what I am writing that I could read over a section and not see what is missing because I know what it is supposed to say there.  (That's the problem when you can see the scene in your head!)  A couple of months ago, I became a member of a critique group at Writer's Digest.  There, I met Katie, my critique partner.  We exchange our work on a weekly basis.  I have found this to be a wonderful help to me.  Not only have I really enjoyed reading Katie's manuscript (especially when I have to look up words I don't know-- she is great with vocabulary!!!), but I have found I am improving what I write.  I can see where my story is weak and try to fix it before I send it off to her.

If you are a writer and are looking for a place to help you grow-- I can recommend this site and board.

Upcoming Posts:
What I listen to when I write
Where I write

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

What a weekend we had!!! We joined up with some friends of ours from Maryland and went camping in Pennsylvania.  Saturday, we took the kids to Knoebel's Amusement Park.   We had a blast!!! It was quite hot, and I found the best ride to be the Skloosh!-- a single drop log flume type ride.  When you hit the bottom, the water suspends above you, then drops onto you (it also sprays out in a wall of water to those standing on the overpass, and standing nearby on the overlook).  Soaking wet, we cooled off quickly (and dried quickly, too!)

Sunday, we hung out at the campground, where I read Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs.  It is book two of the Alpha and Omega series (a spin off of the Mercy Thompson series).  It took me a bit to get into the story, not having read book one, but I really enjoyed it.

I also finished reading Hunted, the book I am critiquing for Katie.  All I can say is WOW!!!!  She did a great job with the storyline-- tied up all the loose ends, but left it open for a sequel.  The growth her characters underwent was great to see.  I am anxious to see what she decides to do with my comments and then read the story from start to finish.

As for me, I got back Katie's comments on my new chapters, and was pleased with her reaction.  A friend of mine, who has a young daughter, is also taking a read through for me.  Like Katie,  she began with my rough 2nd draft and has moved on to my more polished version.  It was interesting seeing her comments, compared to Katie's.  I have made  a few minor adjustments, based on her observations, and am now reworking the next section.  Due to some plot changes I made in the two chapters I  added, I needed to make some adjustments going forward.  This has allowed me to develop a few scenes more fully, showing more than telling, as any story should do :)   (Thanks, Katie, for reminding me to do that!!!)

What I'm Reading:

When Demons Walk by Patricia Briggs (actually, I realized after I got it out of the library that I had read it before, but I enjoyed re-reading it!)

What I'm Working On:
Corrections to Chapter 8.  Splitting off the last section of Chapter 8 to create Chapter 9 (with a much more detailed telling of the betrothal announcement and ball that follows).

Upcoming Posts:
Beach Photos (I really didn't forget)
How I write
What I listen to when writing
Where I write

Friday, July 9, 2010

News and progress.

I was going to post the pictures from vacation, but Blogger, Picasa and I are having issues.  The pictures are under Dear Hubby's Picasa account, and I am having issues linking to them (even though I -obviously- have his permission.)

Hopefully I can get it figured out over the weekend and get them up for all of you to see.

On the progress front, I have a new chapter in my story (yea!!) and another one that will be added soon.  After discussion with Katie (and a good friend) concerning the ready acceptance of the men in my story dallying with others (with no real repercussions) and furthering the stereotype that it's OK for the guy, 'cause he's a guy, but not for the girl (Wow! and I didn't even realize I had done that until I was talking about it), I had to make some subplot changes.  I think what I did will be best for the story and actually helps with the main plot even more.  This is why I love the people who critique my work for me.  They always catch the things I haven't seen or thought out completely.

Katie's story is moving right along.  I love where she is going with it.  Amberlyn, while still very secretive to those around her, has made the reader well aware of why she feels as she does about Vampires.  Kaleb, up to his eyebrow in trouble, has more secrets than Amberlyn, and she has just stumbled into one.  Katie did a great job giving the reader enough information to know there is more to him than meets the eye, but there is still a lot she hasn't revealed.  I can't wait for her next installment to see what Amberlyn thinks about (and does with) what she's learned.

As for the news......
Brett, our son, is doing children's theatre this summer.  They are putting on  the musical Alice in Wonderland, and last night he learned he will be playing the part of the Gryphon.  He is very excited about learning his lines and songs (and dances!)  This is his first time on stage, and he is having a great time.  We are so proud of him and can't wait for the performance.

What I read this week:

Hunted by Katie S. Taylor
Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

What I'm writing this week:

Finishing edits on chapter 5 and starting chapter 6.  Then, I will be making some changes to what will now be chapter 7, then I will go through the remaining chapters to see what Katie has said about them and make changes as needed.  My goal is to have the book done by the end of July.

Friday, July 2, 2010


It seems that all writers have ways they procrastinate while writing.  This week I have had many ways to procrastinate.

First, there's the procrastination that comes when you come home from work and don't feel like doing any writing.  You just want to sit and relax and do nothing.

Then, there's the procrastination of life.  Running children around to rehearsals was mine.  I didn't want to start anything, because I might get a really good idea going and have to stop in the middle to go and pick dear son up from practice.  (Yeah, I know-- I could have gotten back to the thought, but it might not have been exactly the same.)

My big distraction has been reading.  My husband and I stopped at the library on Monday so I could return a couple of books and a movie we had rented (Alice in Wonderland, the cartoon one- our son is doing a musical of Alice in Wonderland this summer).  When I came back out, I had two more books with me.  He told me I have a book obsession.  I said, yeah, but you knew that a long time ago.  (Those 2 books lasted 1 1/2 days--  what can I say- I like to read.)

Today I am going to get working on my editing (as well as proofing Katie's story.)  Katie is my critique partner and has been a great help.  She has helped me find what has been missing in my story so it can be the best it can be.  We talked back and forth and I realized I left out the world building in my story and am now trying to put that in.  I am also putting in more description (I edited too  much out)  It seems I can't find the happy medium there yet, I either have too much or not enough description. 

Her YA story is great.  She has great characters and a wonderful story line.  Each week when I finish the chapters she has sent me I am anxious to start on the next set to see where the characters are going to take me. 

I am finding the critique partnership to be a wonderful thing.  I really look forward to seeing what she finds that I need to improve, and reading through her work helps me see things I miss in mine when reading through as I am just too close to it.

Yesterday, she gave me a blog award, so today I am giving her one.  Thanks Katie!

What I'm reading:

Metro Girl and Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich (I liked them, but not as much as the Stephanie Plum series)

Hunted by Katie S. Taylor (can't wait to read more!)

Coming in a post soon:  Pictures from vacation (including video of the rain storm that knocked out our power), more about writing, maybe a picture of the map I made for the world my story takes place in.