Friday, July 31, 2009

A very Carrie daydream today....

Today I was folding laundry and my mind wanders when I do that. I thought of the things I needed to do this shopping...and I wanted to go to Target too. Then somehow it turned into a Carrie Bradshaw type daydream. I was at Target, paying for my stuff...the cashier looked at my credit card, noticed my name and told me she was a huge fan. It was like that scene in the last Sex and the City episode (I think part 1 of the last episode) when Carrie is in the bookstore in Paris and the worker recognized her and they planned a little dinner for her. So anyway, in my day dream I am in Target, not Paris, but still..... and the cashier tells me how much she loves my books. She makes a huge fuss and people gather around to see what's going on.

Now, she didn't invite me to dinner...but if she know I would not miss it like Carrie missed hers!!

A girl can dream...right??????

Do you use pretty words??

One day I was sitting here...editing...hubby was on the adjacent couch watching some TV (probably UFC...ewwwwwww). I needed a different word for ivory. So I pulled up my favorites and went to most used word site. I typed in 'ivory' and clicked thesaurus. In 2.5 seconds, I had tons and tons of words that meant ivory. One jumped out: nacreous.

I made a comment and hubby asked what I was talking about, so I told him. His response: Why would you use that? No one will know what that means.

In the end, I agreed and went with something else. But it made me writers, do we often use words for their beauty on the page and the sound they make rather than if they are really the right word to get out point across to the reader?? Cause in the end, it's the reader that matters, right??? And how many people out there would know what 'nacreous' means? I know what it means now, but before I typed 'ivory' into my thesaurus, did I?? No. There was probably a way to add in my pretty word and use surrounding text to let the reader know what the word meant...but why confuse the reader and make them have to reread the sentence?

I've read pieces where it seemed like the writer took a thesaurus and replaced every word in the piece with the most ostentatious word they could find. Are writers who do that just trying to show off...make themselves look like a really fantastic writer??? I don't know. For me, the bottom line...if my reader can't understand what my story is is a failure.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Laptop is going in for maintenance today...

It is in desperate need of some cleaning out and updating and all that good stuff they do. Lucky for us, our computer guy is my husband's he takes real good care of us. I have complete faith, but will be backing up all my files before she goes in....which I do from time to time anyway, as we all should. But the hardest part is being without it for a day or two. He said he isn't backed up right now and can probably work on it this afternoon, but still. I hate being without it!! Gonna try and get some editing done this morning before she goes in.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's a slow slow process.....

But an important one...the editing phase!!!

I am doing one last round of self edits before I hand my manuscript over to my editor. This is step one in the process. My publisher requires their authors to do one last self edit to clean up silly stuff....searching for those dreaded 'no no' words, fixing the passive voice and basic grammar stuff.

I am 2/3 done with my 'was' search and that one is always the worst for me, especially in pieces that are written in 1st person. But I am proud to say, I have knocked off more than 400 instances of the word...I am quite proud of that!! (and I do not care to share what the starting total's quite embarrassing!!) I feel like every elimination makes the story stronger...helps the reader get into her head better. I can't wait till this thing is all done...everyone that's read it in the past...well...I think they will be blown away by the improvements!

The hardest part though, is how slow this process is. I sit for an hour, two if I'm lucky, and I have only reviewed 20 pages or so.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I don't want to run a marathon

I don't think, anyway. Maybe some day I will.

I started running. Well, okay....I can't use the word 'running' yet. I walk very fast and hope to build up to jogging, then running. I needed to change something in my exercise routine and this seemed like something fun that would hopefully tone my whole body.

But anyway, that's not what my post is about.

When you start something new, do you have a goal in mind? As of right now, my goal is just to run and get in better shape...tone up my body. I have no desire what so ever to run a marathon. But who knows....a year from now, if I reach the goal I want (a kick-ass bod), maybe my goal will change, and I will want to run a marathon.

It's the same with writing. When I first put pen to paper...I had no thoughts on publication. I was just doing it to do it...get the story out of my head. Shortly thereafter, I developed a strong love for it. Writing had always been a part of my life...just not like this. This new desire grew and changed and I wanted to share my stories. It didn't take long for me to start pulling away from my chosen career and long for a new one. I gave up my business to pursue writing full time.

So what about you?? When you start something you do it just to do it...have fun? Or do you start something with a long range goal in mind??

Monday, July 20, 2009

Peddling your wares

For many years, mall kiosks have been leased by those hand lotion salespeople and the unforgettable "Do you have a crack in your windshield?" people. Nearly every trip to the mall my husband and I whispered our mantra as we walked by these kiosks: "Don't make eye contact! Don't make eye contact!" Cause once you did, you were sucked in and the only options were to either be rude and and ignore them or stand there for five to ten minutes while they gave their spiel (and make you try their nail buffer and hand lotion) and it ends only after multiple uses of "Sorry, I'm not interested."

This guerrilla marketing really isn't new, but recently I've experienced it more. And for art instead of some random product. In April I took a trip to LA. A friend and I were approached several times as we took in the sights on Hollywood Boulevard. We were asked to take a listen from a pair of headphones. We declined, naturally. (two petite girls, 3000 miles from home, being approached by large strange men in an unfamilar, gigantic city. Um, I don't think so.) Anyway, these men were peddling their music and asked people to listen to a sample then buy their cd. And just a few weeks ago, here at home, my husband and I attended a concert at a local club. Afterwards, we were approached by a member of the opening band, asking us to buy their cd. My husband was a bit flustered and gave an answer that sounded a bit rude, but he later told me he really didn't mean it that way. He was just caught off guard and couldn't manage a simple "No thanks."

So all this had led me to wonder, does this sales tactic really work? My first book will be published soon, in eBook form, but if it were in paper form, would I really have the guts to walk up to people and ask them to buy it? Or worse yet, put myself through the pain of rejection time and time again? I think not. I don't understand why poeple put themselves through this.

When I shop at the mall, Target, anywhere, I like to browse, take my time, do my own thing. Nothing irritates me more than a salesperson who just won't go away. Ask me once if I need help; if I do, I'll tell you. If I say no, then later on need help, I'll come find you.

Have the current economic times made people more eager to pounce on possible buyers?? Are people getting desperate and resorting to means they wouldn't have done otherwise?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"I don't know what 10 is in Chinese."

That is what my 6 year old said to me this morning while I was getting her breakfast ready. She had the tv on..not sure what she was watching, but it kinda blew me away that she was concerned that she didn't know Chinese. I said "Sorry honey, I don't know either."

I started thinking about her statement. There is so much that we don't know...even simple things. In this case it's a basic number in a foreign language, but the point is, even in our own daily lives, there are things we just don't know. And I think that's okay. The problem is when poeple don't know something and could care less. I think the 'don't know, don't care' attitude is one of the major things wrong with our society. No matter how much you think you know, it's never enough. We need to keep learning, keep growing and that's what we need to teach our kids.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Playtime is OVER!

Had a great time last night!! Went to a concert at a small completely awesome!! We were there early, got right in the front, little left of center. So amazing to see a show like that!! Opening bands were totally blew us away....local band (Buffalo, NY) and not one looked to be over the age of 16. We asked them after wards if they had a cd...not yet. Please check them out on myspace music:

So anyway, now it's time to get back to work. I NEED to work on my edits, but honestly, it's been a challenge. Days are oldest is home from school for summer and I get a tiny amount of peace while her younger brother naps (right now) but usually it's interrupted every ten minutes or so for something. And hearing Phineas and Ferb in the background doesn't help either. I work best in total silence.

Tried doing my editing at night, but that was rough too. By the time both kids were down for the night and hubby left for work, I started getting sleepy myself. I tried doing it two nights in a row....I just couldn't think...each night I barely got 10 pages done.

But, it's a new week and hopefully we can get back into the new routine we were supposed to implement...the one we started and we did for a whole one night.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I met my editor yesterday!!!

I am so so excited!!!

I didn't meet her face to face; she's in Colorado....that would involve a cross country trek. But she sent me an email! I think we will get along fabulously! She has written romance novels too and before I knew she was going to be my editor, I read the blurb for one of her books and really wanted to read it!

The email came with an attachment for yet another form to fill out!! Funny thing though, I've always loved forms...forms at the doctors office- medical history, etc... I do hate my Chiropractor forms though...they are really really idiotic.

Anyway, this form is info for to reach me, the best time of day, etc.... Also it's for writing the tag, blurb and content warning. I had to detail the conflicts in my book and how they're resolved and details about my characters. Then I had to come up with my own tag, blurb and content warning. Also a 2 page synopsis of the book...darn it...I already have a 1 page, 5 page and 10 page.

She also sent me some instructions for editing and a check list. I will need to do one more self edit before submitting it to my editor for her edits. It shouldn't be too hard. Most of what was on the list were things I had already spotted in the manuscript and fixed long ago. But in all honesty, it's been a while since I've been through this story with a fine tooth comb. I'm kinda looking forward to it...I haven't read it in a while!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm poor but I want to read!!

What is a girl to do???

I feel completely under-read and I need to stay on top of my genre. But funds are tight these days and buying every newly released book in my genre is just not doable. I try the library, but it's horrendous. I picked up a book the other day from the shelf labeled "New Fiction". It was published in 2006.

Luckily I can request books from the library and sometimes they take a week, sometimes more to come in. And they charge you a quarter for the service. I can handle that.

So what do you do?? I so badly want to support my fellow authors! But in this time and place, I just cannot. I promise to buy books when I am making some actual cash!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What makes you want to read a blog post???

Are there certain bloggers you read no matter what??? Or do you browse titles and only click if it sounds interesting enough??

I have to say I am mainly guilty of option #2, though there are a few I read no matter what the title says.

I scroll through my blog list and click on the ones with titles that really jump out at me and sound interesting. So in return, I try to come up with titles for my own blogs that will lure someone in...make them just have to read what brilliant thoughts I've come up with that day!!

Hopefully no one is disappointed...though I'm sure they are!! What makes an absolutely captivating blog??? I need to know....I don't want to bore my readers! I'm kinda impressed with my 32 followers! Thanks guys!! I wanna make sure you stick around!!

I blog about my writing and the process and journey to publication. I love commiserating with fellow writers, learning from them. I hope I can help a fellow writer by sharing my experiences. But I do blog about other stuff too...stuff that few people have interest in (like my obsessive love of NKOTB and Disney World!) But I like to think readers can at least identify with me...even if their obsessions are different!!

The internet is a fantastic thing. It amazes me every time I meet and connect with someone knew from some far corner of the country, or planet for that matter...people I would not have met otherwise....people just like me. I rarely feel alone or feel like no one gets me. I know there are poeple out there, writers who feel my pain, who know how insanely crazy and hard this business is and how lucky we are when we actually find some success.

And when we do find sweet it is to share it with so many poeple!! They celebrate with me just as I do when their success comes in.

Amazing little thing we have here...this world wide web.

'Blog'...who came up with that word??? Doesn't matter...whoever invented this way to connect with people is a genius!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Using words that are a no no?

I have a list of words compiled from several writing articles, blog posts, etc....words that are supposedly big no nos. You should avoid these words at all costs and many writers go through their work and search specifically for these words and find ways to eliminate them. The words: was, had, like, been, just, etc.... My biggest is 'was'.

Now I have to ask...are established writers banned from using these words or just newbies???

I have been editing a short piece for a few weeks now...perfecting it before I start submitting it out. I have been doing my word searches and proudly cut a decent portion of 'was' from my story. Yesterday I picked up a newly published romance novel from the library...started reading it last night. With my current edits, I am highly aware of these no no words...and counted 3 instances of 'was' in one paragraph. The author is very popular, NYT bestselling author. Is it okay for her to overuse the no no words? Can she get away with it because she has sold thousands, maybe millions of books???