Thursday, April 29, 2010

Third Draft Update

It's been a week. I'm about 35,ooo words into my third draft and hoping to reach 50,000 before I send it off with my sis. She should be here tomorrow night. I might actually finish this draft in two weeks. It's been so much fun to read through it quickly, making ticky tacky changes, deleting boring paragraphs, adding relevant details, and falling in love with my characters again. So far, I haven't had a single new character tap me on the shoulder and demand to be included. What a relief!

Thank you for your encouragement and advice. Obviously, I didn't stay off the internet the whole week, but I did pretty well for a couple of days. ;)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mormon Writers Blogfest: Faith in Jesus Christ

First of all, I just have to thank you guys for all of your encouraging comments on my last post. You. Are. The. Best. My revisions are going well. I may not finish the whole thing this week, but I'll have enough to keep my sister busy until the rest arrives in the mail. It's been a doozy of a week so far, but more on that later.

Detail #1

The funny thing is, as I was writing last Thursday's post, I kept looking at the date and thinking, "I have something today. What's going on today?" Two days later, I remembered. This has nothing to do with the rest of my post, but Beneath Ceaseless Skies published Adam Heine's short story, Pawn's Gambit, last Thursday. If you like or are even curious about steampunk, you should check out his story. Aw, you should check it out anyway. I loved it. I'm linking to his post because he has links to everything else, and he's having a contest to celebrate. Adam's querying a novel set in the same world as Pawn's Gambit, so go read his story and wish him luck.

Did I mention that Adam and his wife live in Thailand, where they take in orphans?

Detail #2

I also forgot I'd agreed to be part of Krista's Mormon Writers Blogfest. Yes, the date of the blogfest would be today, April 27th, which is why I am blogging. She asked me right after my post on resurrection last month, when my friend died. So, here's a list (for your clicking convenience) of everyone involved.
I can't think of any funerals I went to last year, but last week I went to another one. I've had a lot of thoughts pushing around in my brain, and I'm hoping that writing this post will help sort them out.

You know how, when you're growing up, there are families where you're not just friends with one person? You connect with siblings, parents even. I'm bringing this up because saying that one of my friend's older brothers committed suicide wouldn't be accurate. I felt like I had to go to the funeral because I love and respect their mom so much. I don't even want to imagine what it would be like for one of my children to commit suicide. Saying you're sorry feels so inadequate.

An old wrestling coach talked of the challenges we face, that we don't know what battles other people may be fighting. Sometimes we win our battles, and sometimes we lose. I've read a couple of articles in the last year about teens committing suicide because they were bullied in school, and there were quotes from their friends and parents saying they wished they'd known their friend or son or daughter needed help. The funeral I went to wasn't for a teenager. He'd made it through those years to his forties. I don't know what happened. I don't know if anyone knows why this man made the decision that he did, but I do know there were a lot of people who loved and admired him because he'd gone out of his way to help them when they needed help.

There have been times in my life when I've struggled with depression and the hopelessness that goes with it. Since I've been married, it's only gotten ugly during my pregnancies, but it's gotten worse with each of my pregnancies to the point where I'm not sure if I can handle another one. I've never been able to bring myself to tell my doctor. I can barely talk to my husband about it, and he's my best friend. During my pregnancies, hormones and other factors I can't control determine the seriousness of my depression. But normally, my choices play a big part. It's not a serotonin deficiency or something that I need medication for. Ironically, the only time I actually need anti-depressants is when I can't take them because they'd harm my unborn child. I'm differentiating because I don't want anyone who's reading this to think I'm suggesting that they or someone they know should stop taking medication and pray more often. While praying more often won't hurt, not taking a medication that keeps them from the edge of the abyss might.

But praying does help. Reading my scriptures helps. Reaching out to help other people - especially when I feel rotten - makes me happy. Singing hymns of praise can lift me out of the abyss. In the Old Testament (of the bible), there's a scripture I love. Isaiah 12:2 reads: "I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song." And in Moroni 7:41-42, we read:

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning ahope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?
41 And what is it that ye shall ahope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have bhope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life ceternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

I know that Jesus Christ, my redeemer, lives. He showed us how to live, how to find hope and be happy. When he could have passed judgement, he said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." I can't think of anything he could have said, after suffering for the sins of mankind, to better show his love for all of us. I am so grateful for the hope and strength that having faith in Jesus Christ has given me. I hope that we can make time to love and help each other. After all, friends are more important than revisions.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Third Draft

My oldest sister called me this afternoon. She's coming to visit next Thursday, and (as she also writes) I would like to send my story home with her (to be scribbled upon). She starts school next month.

I'd like to say that I'm halfway through my third draft - that I'll have it all nice and shiny by then. But the truth is: I've been writing poetry and a picture book and reading/critiquing drafts for my critters. I've been taking a break.

I work better with a deadline, so I'm going to see if this visit will motivate me to push through a draft in a week or so. My first revision only took me eight months. I can do this, right?

Seriously, the only way I can do this is if I stay off the internet for a week. We'll see how I do. I haven't stayed off the internet for a whole week since I started blogging in October. Okay, it's been longer than that. I couldn't tell you the last time I went more than a couple of days without internet.

*deep breath*

Have a lovely week!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

This is the fifth and final book in a series, so I'm going to go ahead and recommend the whole series. They are all complete books - no cliff hanger endings - but you want to read them in order.

Fablehaven, Book 5:Keys to the Demon Prison

I've read reviews that compare Brandon Mull's series to Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, but the author he most reminds me of is Rick Riordan. Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series gives the reader just enough details without getting bogged down in background. And yet, at the end of "The Last Olympian," I still had questions. The Fablehaven books are much the same.

In this final installment, my only gripe is that I want more. The series is over, and I wanted the astrids to play a bigger role (the guy on the cover is an astrid). There were so many characters that I want to know more about. The book has 588 pages, and he kept me up way past my bedtime turning them. The action, the characters, the love interests, the betrayals, the climax, and the ending - they were perfect. Le Sigh.

This is one of those series that get better with each book. For those of you who don't know what the series is about, I'll give you a little bit of spoiler free background. The story is set in our world, the USA of today. The catch is that there are secret preserves that house and protect mythological/fairy tale creatures and there are secret societies that know about these creatures and disagree about how they should be treated. Oh, and let's not forget the demons, mostly bound or buried in the heavily guarded, almost unreachable prison, Zzyxx. You'd think these societies would at least agree that Zzyxx is a place best left alone, but what kind of story would that be?

I'm just going to add that Brandon Mull wins the prize for the absolute best break-up scene of all time. But that's in the fourth book. I seriously got up and danced a little "that is so cool" dance when I read it.

Do you have any book recommendations for me?

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Library Challenge

I realize that government programs are cutting back all over the country. I just hope that other states and counties are showing more wisdom in their decisions than my own. These are our elected officials, and one would hope they were making their decisions in accordance with their voters' preferences in mind. Today, I'm challenging you to make your preferences known.

Today, when I took my daughter to story time at the library, the librarian wasn't there to start on time. All of us looked around, wondering what was going on. Miss Debbie is NEVER late. She came in about ten minutes after she usually starts, trying to look cheerful, wiping tears off her face, explaining this is the last month she will be able to have story time.

Our library district offered over ninety of their most expensive (most tenured) employees a buyout option. Only about twenty of those employees took the option (including our two most tenured local librarians), which means the library district is looking at a lot of layoffs. This isn't cutting the fat; it's more like amputating the heart. I can't imagine what our library will be without these women. Although, our other librarians are also wonderful.

On the bright side, we get to keep our library, and there's a possibility we won't lose any more librarians because we have such high circulation numbers.

If libraries are important to you, please, visit yours and take home some books.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Best Writer's Contest vs. Random Destruction

If you are a writer, click here to check out Sarah Wylie's Contest. I copied and pasted the prizes, in case you thought I was exaggerating.

1 Lucky Winner will receive a critique of their first 30-40 pages by the fabulous Suzie Townsend + a pack of Twizzlers + a copy of Hex Hall

3 Lucky Winners will receive a query letter critique byone of these three agent extraordinaires: Kathleen Ortiz, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, or Colleen Lindsay (One agent will be randomly assigned to each winner.)

1 Winner will receive a writer's survival guide consisting of Twizzlers, a copy of Silver Phoenix and When You Reach Me, and a cute notebook and pen so you're never tempted to do this:

1 Lucky winner will score a lunch date with THE Janet Reid and THE Suzie Townsend. Um, yeah, that's not a typo. (I'm tempted to enter myself. Would it be so wrong?) Unfortunately, this is not a free trip to NYC. BUT if you live in the NYC area, or whenever you're visiting NYC? You. Janet. Suzie. LUNCH.

And now, for the random destruction:

Yeah, and this next one takes a while to load (on my computer anyway), but it's totally worth it; you're going to watch it more than once anyway, especially if you have a little boy.

Now, let's go out with a bang, something closer to home.

On a constructive note, I'm mailing a revised poem to my favorite editor tonight. Wish me luck. ;)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We Have a Winner

At 94, 268 words, my second draft is complete. I hope round three is shorter. But it's going to have to wait until I've had some sleep.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Video

I'm still not done, but I wanted to share this They Might Be Giants podcast because it features one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Fake Believe." If you've never watched one of their educational movies with your kiddos, you've been missing out.

And just for fun, I'm throwing in one more.

What? You think I should get back to work? You're absolutely right. But the kids really want to watch this one again. It's their favorite.

Happy April Fool's Day!