Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Writing Update

I haven't posted much of anything about my writing the last few months, mostly because first drafts are slippery business. The plot, names, locations, even personalities change. When I start out, most of my characters don't even have names. I leave dashes or nicknames where the names should be. Last night, I realized all of the characters (characters that will have names anyway) I've written but "Floss," "Gloss," (yes, they're girls) and a wicked "---" are named. I've named the locations and will need to draw a map soon.

And this afternoon, I hit my halfway mark for the month. I made a goal to add another 12,000 words this month, and I've added 6,000. Yes, this is pathetic. But I also critiqued a manuscript for a CP during the first half of the month. I think I could hit my goal by Monday night. The story has enough momentum at this point that I'd rather be writing than not because I have to find out how everything is going to play out. Okay, and the boy just met the girl under circumstances that I could never have seen a month ago. Last month, I wasn't sure the story was even worth finishing.

I know that means the beginning will need major revision. I'm okay with that. I wish I could find the first chapter that I wrote last summer. I absolutely loved it, but I wrote it on paper, and I think one of my helpful children threw it away for me, probably the same week I wrote it.

How are your goals for the month going?

Monday, January 17, 2011


I absolutely loved THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA and can't wait to see what Tony DiTerlizzi is going to do with the rest of the series, but . . .

The Search for WondLa

 . . . it isn't so much a fairy tale as it is science fiction. The jacket copy reads: "Inspired by stories by the likes of the Brothers Grimm, James M. Barrie, and L. Frank Baum, The Search for WondLa is a new fairy tale for the twenty-first century." It wasn't what I expected a fairy tale (from the fellow behind THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES) to be, but I thought maybe I was missing something. I asked my daughter if she thought it was a fairy tale, and she laughed and said "No, it's science fiction." The main character, Eva Nine, does go on a quest (to find the other humans), and I can see the argument for it being a fairy tale, but really, it's fantastic science fiction.

The story is set so far into the future that I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to the year. The technology and the creatures are both exciting and a little scary. The main characters have a great combination of love and tension, their trust in each other evolving over the course of the novel. And Tony DiTerlizzi's illustrations throughout the book are gorgeous.

If you're interested, there's also an interactive website at that will show you what the book is like better than anything I've written here.

I rarely find science fiction in the children's section that inspires any kind of excitement in me. There are all kinds of great (and not so great) science fiction novels for adults and teenagers, but not so many for children. Do you think publishers are hesitant to call a children's book "science fiction" because they don't think readers will pick it up?

In spite of the jacket copy discrepancy, I wouldn't hesitate to highly recommend the book. I'll probably read it out loud to my younger kiddos.

Has anyone else read it?

If you'd like to read more Marvelous Middle-Grade Mondays, Shannon Whitney Messenger (our founding mother) has the links.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grateful for Critique Partners

Today, I'm grateful to my critique partners for taking time out of their already busy lives to read my writing so that they can help me make it better. A couple of days ago, I got a critique back from a friend who has a baby due on Saturday. Discussing your story with people who've read it is one of the best parts of writing.

I'm also grateful when they trust me to do the same. The most exciting novel I've read this year hasn't been published. Yet.

And I'm grateful for their patience when I send them enthusiastic e-mails about the pages I'm attaching and then don't attach the pages. Or I do attach the pages, but think I didn't, so I attach them to a new e-mail. Um, yeah. Sleep is NOT over-rated, and neither are great friends.

If you'd like to read a great post on getting the most out of critiques, I just found this one.

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bookduck's Book Giveaway

So, most of you will (I hope) remember last summer's interview with Stephanie Perkins and my recommendation of her debut novel, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. If you missed it or you'd like to refresh your memory, you can click here. I gave away pre-orders for her novel and for Kiersten White's PARANORMALCY.

Well, Steph's book came out on December 2nd, so maybe you have your own copy already (which you've read two or three times) and would like to pick up another copy so that you can share without being parted from your own copy. OR maybe you were really busy last month (December is a VERY busy month), and you haven't picked it up yet. Either way, I have happy news. You see, Sarah, AKA Bookduck, is giving away a copy of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and a copy of DREAM GIRL, by Laura Mechling, but you should hurry over there (like now) before her contest ends and she runs away to Paris or something. She's also thrown in some other fun things, like a french toast stamp, but you'll have to go there to get the details.

Anna and the French KissDream Girl

And F.Y.I., I'm still scribbling (okay, mostly typing at this point) away at the little something I started last fall, so I won't be posting a lot this month either. Isn't it funny how stories that seem so fully formed take so long to get out on paper, and then they look like a pale shadow that you have to revise and revise to get it anywhere near as shiny as it was in your head? It feels a great deal like work.

Have a lovely week!   

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I've been too grumpy to blog the last couple of weeks, and at some point I'll write through it but not now (maybe never in a public forum like this).

I am looking forward to a new year. I'm one of those people who make resolutions/goals/lists of things that I like to cross off. They give me direction, even if I do veer off now and then. I like Mondays, the first day of the month, the first day of class, watching for seedlings to come out of the earth, really any kind of new beginning. Beginnings are exciting.

star birth Pictures, Images and Photos

Brownie points if you can tell me what's happening in this picture.

Normally Christmas break is my favorite two weeks out of the year. It's just that I can't see the outline right now, and even though I have faith in the Master Outliner . . . it is easy to find fault with myself. I'm thankful for Jesus and what He has made possible through His life and sacrifice. The following verses come from my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi, chapter 2.

24But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who aknoweth all things.
25aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.
26And the aMessiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he maybredeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are credeemed from the fall they have become dfree forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the elaw at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

I thank you for your friendship and hope 2011 is a wonderful year for all of you.