Monday, September 24, 2012

Seahawks win!

...please tell me at least one of you is a fellow NFL fan and caught the Seattle Seahawks/Greenbay Packers game tonight...

Whether you agree with the final call regarding the Seahawks winning *touchdown* or not, it was a crazy game. On the good side of things, every moment was exciting and the stadium was charged-up full, on the bad side, there were so many bad calls on the field, which made the game messy and confusing.

Hopefully negotiations with the regular refs will be resolved soon.

...at least no one stepped on/slipped on a replacement ref's hat in the end zone during this particular game.

Okay, too much trouble typing on my phone. G'night all.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Edge of the earth + me + falling = no posts

Yeah, I've been MIA this week.

Some friends of mine do humanitarian work on the side (mainly involving fresh water projects) and are in Haiti for a couple of weeks.

...and I have their 9 month old, partially-trained, 50 pound rescue puppy staying with me.

In addition to having lengthy talks with a water-filled squirt bottle about how I don't like her barking at 2am, we've also been having multiple discussions about not chasing/barking/snapping at the cat, what is, and is not allowed to be destroyed, and how I don't much appreciate standing outside for 15 minutes in the pitch darkness waiting for her to go to the bathroom, then give up, and 5 minutes later have to clean poop off the floor.

Thursday night, after meeting with my local writing group, I was blessed with half-dried vomit on my leather sofa when I got home.

I've also been spending between 2-4 hours at the off-leash dog park every day, and my 4 year old beagle keeps trying to take refuge on my lap, between my legs, under my desk, behind the cat tree, wherever she can, because she doesn't much appreciate being stepped on/bowled over by a dog 3x her weight/size with about 6x the energy level.

We've also working on the leash pulling, the not-coming-back-when called, the biting, the barking/growling, the escaping out the front door (and then not coming back), and a few other things that will, overall, make her a better citizen while staying as a guest in my house.

Needless to say, while I'm happy to do a favour for a friend, this one is a little more taxing than expected.

Now, it's time again to throw on some running clothes and head to the dog park. Because I've been trying to write this post for the last 45 minutes.

See you guys when I'm puppy-free again :)


Monday, September 17, 2012

Fear & Connection

It's been a while since I wrote a post about writing...

I think the mental exhaustion of so many deaths/funerals is finally lifting a little off my mind.

I had a bit of an epiphany on the drive down to Seattle. Not one of those glorious, "Oh my goodness I understand completely how the physics of the universe works!" kind of thing... no, this was more of a Homer Simpson slap-in-the-forehead "Doh!" moment.

One of the kicking-off-points would be this post on whether the genre you're writing fits you.

Due to all the good feedback I received from agents when I sent out the 10 queries for Simon's Oath last November, I've been thinking hard about why I write the way I do, and why SO wasn't "enough".

And after reading that post on genre, a few things clicked together while on the long, 7-hour trip from Victoria to Seattle. The main being, I've always been scared of first person 'cause I don't want to connect too deeply, which is part of that whole emotional intelligence thing.

So the slap-the-forehead-Doh-moment was the realization that, if I'm afraid to connect deeply with my own characters, then obviously that will come through in the writing, and readers won't be able to connect deeply with my characters.

Yeah, it was a "Doh!" moment indeed.


Now, the funny thing is that I never used to write YA. I started my Project #1 (the one nearly permanently shelved) as a gift for someone else, specifically to write something that person would love. For example, there are a ton on horse/riding references/influences because that person loved (and still loves) riding. The school uniform was based on the traditional riding costume, one character's name is "Roan" (a term for a specific horse colouring), and many other things like that.

I was writing for someone else.

Before that, I used to only write short stories that were dark, twisted, and mired down. Writing was a way to get the bad stuff out of my head so the rest of the time, I could be upbeat and optimistic. Kind of like a literary-cleanse to re-set my brain/emotions ;) Even when I was a young teen, I wrote stories meant for adults with adult characters.

"Brake Fluid", although still a YA story, is certainly way closer to those short stories than to the first YA story I wrote. Unlike SO, I did let myself connect to the nameless/genderless MC.* While I didn't mind connecting with Hector (one of the reasons I started Project #3, to explore another innocent character), Simon was someone I wanted to stay far away from 'cause he just spirals down through the story and I didn't want to be there when he hit rock-bottom and didn't bounce.

While it's out with readers/CP's right now, I'm left wondering if my connecting to the character will make the reader connect more to the character.


Maybe, because I'm afraid to write in first person 'cause I know I'll connect deeply, this is a sign that I should be writing in first person.

Maybe this is a perfect time to feel the fear and do it anyways.


How about you guys? Have you analyzed how/why you write the way you do? Have you always stuck to a similar style/genre of stories? Have there been things you've held off from writing about?

And have you ever had one of those slap-to-the-forehead-Doh-moments that completely changes your perspective on writing?



* Just to be clear, I'm not saying that I'm nameless (well, kindof, at least online) or genderless (female=yes), or that I have been involved in twisted bets where someone ended up dead.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun comparison

Beth Revis has an awesome comparison post of YA, MG, and YA/MG crossover.

Calvin & Hobbes has inspired me on more than one occasion...

...and it also gave me hope that Project #3 (Left & Right) is a crossover, and wouldn't necessarily have to be re-written entirely 'cause of the subject matter. In fact, Project #2 (Simon's Oath) could also fall into that category, but only once the narrative has been re-written to be less distant.

Go check out the post and let me know... do you guys think it's an apt comparison?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back next week

Sorry guys, been in bed for the last 2 days and I'll be gone all weekend (seeing my family in Vancouver and watching the Seahawks play the Cowboys).

Crummy way to spend my birthday today, eh?

Don't feel too sorry for me, the husband is going to cook tonight :)

...and we got a couple of really nice bottles of wine last Christmas from my in-laws, so I might crack one of those open when he gets home :)

mmmmmm... Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape*






*To my writing group: aren't you glad I took out that super-nerdy wine joke from 'Brake Fluid'? ...the reference is still there in a much lesser form, though the nerdiness has certainly been toned way down.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Writer Therapy Contest

I know, I know... I've just handed off my first draft to eight fabulous readers for feedback...

But contests are always a lot of fun and the prizes are awesome:

Query critique from agent Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger
Query critique from agent Molly Ker Hawn, The Bent Agency
1st Chapter critique from Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency

The judging is on your first 250 words, polished or a WIP, so go here for the full details.

Monday, September 10, 2012

woo-hoo-done

I had an absolutely crazy week last week. It was a good week, but so many unexpected things piled up at the same time, which spilled over and took over my weekend as well.

BUT, today I finally saved 'Brake Fluid', and all my major/necessary changes have been completed, which scraped in at 54,172 words.

I also sent it out to... (hang on a second, my brain is a little fried...) ... SEVEN now EIGHT wonderful people who have agreed to read/shred 'Brake Fluid' into itty-bitty-scraps. ...and maybe three more later who (I know) are very busy at this moment and might not want to plough their way through this story until their schedules free-up a little.*

Now, this is a first for me. Sure, I've handed over full manuscripts to my local writing group before, and worked with online CP's on a dozen or more occasions... but I've never sent a single story to so many people at the same time...

And it makes me really excited :)

Before, I was always leery of sending out unpolished work 'cause that horrible voice in the back of my head would whisper that I messed up something big, and someone was going to laugh. Even though I've got a pretty good poker face, it took a long time to even be comfortable handing work to my writing group and getting feedback on all my idiotic, dyslexic slip-ups/mistakes. I could really only handle a few people reading my work at a time. I'd brace myself for impact, endure it, then suck it up and get to work trying to patch holes and blast-out unnecessary sections before taking a deep breath, and letting one or two more people shred it to bits.

I feel very grateful for this online community of writers who all let me in, were friendly, chatty, and encouraging, even when I posted first-draft-sketchy-writing.

Thanks everyone :) It's 'cause of you guys I managed to take this (bigger) step.

Sure, I'm still apprehensive that someone's going to find something huge, glaring, and un-fixable in 'Brake Fluid'**, but at the same time, I'm hoping all those wonderful readers will find all the awful problems so I can continue to improve. The desire to make my writing better now outweighs the fear of getting laughed at.

I'm up for the challenge :)

So slap me with a rolled-up newspaper and say, 'bad writer!' whenever I need correcting :)

You guys are awesome.

Thanks again (in advance ;p).



* I've sent it out, so if you think you should have received it, and didn't, please send me an email.
** ...or worse, tell me it's flat-out-boring

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wow, that's embarrassing

I finally had a chance to sit down and read/reply to comments from the last couple of days, and do you know what embarrassing thing I noticed?

...the writing voice in the last few posts isn't *mine*. It's my MC's.

Yup, I think I need a straight jacket and some meds.

I've had this happen before... where I'm so deep into a story that the mood/emotions/voice of the characters leach over into my way of speaking, but not quite as obviously as in the last few posts.

Please tell me I'm not crazy...

...or at least tell me where I can get some professional help ;)

Alright... it's time to attack those 23 reminder emails and gets-to-workin'

Monday, September 3, 2012

Long weekend

Well, one more busy day before back to routine, hope you all are having a great long weekend!

Our long weekend started on Thursday morning, on our way to Seattle for the last Seahawks pre-season game, which was FREAKING AWESOME! Also, Fin, the Killer Whale mascot of the Vancouver Canucks made an appearance.


(click for full size)

For the half-time show, all the local team mascots (and Fin) played football against a local high-school team. The funny part was, since Fin was the only non-football mascot, he pretended he didn't know what he was doing and proceeded to lay down on the field, start fights, etc. Whenever he blew smoke from his blow-hole, the crowd went wild.



Oh, and if you're interested in a writing prompt, here's a picture I took on the I-5 going into Seattle:


(click for full size, yes I removed his licence plate number)

We couldn't figure out what the heck was going on... was he trying to contact aliens (note the giant antenna on the top) or were those fins bolted to the side of the car supposed to be solar-panels?

Also, what's with the fake *blasters* where the licence plate would normally go?

On the front there was even more weirdness, including more randomly bolted on parts, and an interesting paint job featuring the jolly roger (skull & cross-bones) that was obviously painted without using a stencil or professional materials. Seriously, it was literally just a matte black rectangle with the skull hand-drawn in white.

I think the oddest thing about the car was the age of the driver. Probably late 60's-> early 70's. I would have expected to see a teenager driving it. Maybe he was borrowing his grandson's car?


...as for finishing my edits? One of the best thing about long car rides is the brain gets a chance to roll around and made interesting connections it might not have before.

Long story short: I send myself 23 emails of reminders of things to change/check/add in 'Brake Fluid'. Luckily most are small things, BUT I did manage to finish the main chunk of edits and my document is now 23 words shy of 54,000 words.

Pretty close for my guestimation of 55,000 after the first edit... and after I clear out those 23 reminder emails in my inbox... who knows? I may just hit it!

How about you guys? Any wonderful log-weekend plans? Did you play or work? Writing? Travel? Camping? 48 hour X-Box marathon?