Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I have so much to be thankful for.

I'm going to leave out the obvious and concentrate on the things I'm thankful for in regards to writing.

I'm very thankful for the members of the writing groups I belong to. I've made wonderful friendships with people who "get" me and encourage my writing efforts. What an incredible blessing!

I'm thankful for the rejections I received this year. They were gifts. The first rejection made me face my demons. It also dealt my doubts a death blow. Try saying that five times really fast! The second one motivated me to ramp up my game. I've been studying books on craft, asking advice, and relying on other people's honest criticism of my writing as a result. Another gift.

I'm thankful for the time I have to devote to my writing. I'm thankful for the internet, the library, all of the bookstores, and every other source which I use to research and enlighten my mind.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Eat lots of Turkey. Overload on pumpkin pie. Don't get into too many fights with your loud-mouthed uncle. And, at the end of the day, be thankful.

Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Adapting Sure-Fire Ideas

I'm on fire. My fingers skim the keyboard at the speed of light. The plot of my new book came to me so quickly, I just knew it was a sure-fire idea--until I read an interview with the editor I'm targeting and found out my core idea doesn't sell well in their line.


So what's a girl to do when her perfect idea, her perfect story is deemed unsellable? If that girl is me (and she is), she could be stubborn and write it exactly the way she envisioned it, only to get angry when it gets rejected, or she can adapt.

Adapt. Wow, that's almost a fighting word! I don't know about you, but I adapt the minutiae of my life on a daily basis. I don't always enjoy adapting.

My writing is the only thing I can cling to. It's the only thing I have complete control over. But writing is not my hobby. It is my life. I want to see my books on bookstore shelves. I fantasize about the day I can purchase my own book in a store. So, I adapt.

Decision made, I begin brainstorming ways I can keep the heart of the story but change the circumstances of the characters. And guess what? It takes only a few hours to iron out the details.

And once again--I'm on fire and my fingers skim the keyboard at the speed of light....

Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Walking Turns the Brain On

I finished the revisions for my latest book and sent it off to a few generous souls who had offered to critique it. While waiting for their comments, I started plotting my new book. You'd think I would focus exclusively on the new one, right?


Oh, I'm doing the necessary research and outlining the plot (it's going to be a blast to write!), but my mind keeps returning to the just-finished manuscript. And, as I try to swish the doubts from my mind, little things pop up, but in a random way, leaving me feeling queasy. Did I wrap up the loose ends? Did I sustain the conflict? Is my grammar horrific? Am I lying to myself--should I just burn the whole thing? (I feel sorry my brain was assigned to me. It could have gotten a normal human, but no, it's stuck with Ms. Neurotic.)

I've found the solution to all the angst: I walk.

On Saturday, I headed outside with my warm coat, ear muffs, gloves, and sneakers. The light drizzle and gray cloud cover didn't stop me. I needed the frigid air, needed the blood in my veins to flow. About halfway through this power walk, I realized I had indeed left a loose end. Did it terrify me? Oh no. Instead, I felt the sweet sense of relief. After all, I can't fix a problem until I know it exists.

That's why I love walking. It somehow alligns my thought process to reveal things I need to know.

If you ever get the crippling doubts or the raging fears, try walking. Just go out and walk. It won't solve all of your problems, but it might just solve one of them.

Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Author Loyalty

How do you know when an author jumps from your I-think-I'll-read-this list to your I-must-read-this list? Or, to put it another way, how do you know when an author jumps from pretty good to favorite? I know an author has climbed to my list of favorites as soon as a certain pattern emerges.

I bookmark the author's website and use it to track the release of her (or his, but usually her) next book. Then, when the book comes out, I have to buy it as soon as it hits the shelves. The current release is never enough, though, so I haunt old bookstores, searching for her backlists. When I've found and read them all, tears well behind my eyes, because I no longer have a stack of juicy morsels to relish.

I don't imagine for a second that I'm alone. You have the same obsession. Admit it.

I have several favorite authors and seem to pick up new ones every month. My pulse races when I see the tell-tale cover of a favorite author in the store--I have to buy it. I used to scurry home and devour the book all in one sitting but disappointment would set in as soon as I finished. Would I really have to wait another six months for the next one?

I've changed. Oh, my pulse still races and I still have to buy the book, but now I tend to wait before devouring it. I save the treasure until I've had a really bad day or feel miserable about something. That's when I need that book the most. And, I'm convinced, the book is even more fabulous.

Don't get me wrong, not all books hit me the same way, even when written by a beloved author. The characters might not blow me over, or the plot might not jump out at me, but it doesn't matter. I'll still read it cover to cover, and I never hold it against the author. She can't please everyone every time.

I'm currently reading the latest from one of my top five. And, yeah, I'm loving every minute of it!

Enjoy your week!