Friday, October 30, 2009

My Brain is Mush

I am sitting at my computer and my brain is mush, my fingers want to write but I can't think of anything to write. This is not good. I need to do some yoga, or spent a few hours outdoors, or find something, ANYTHING, that will kick start me. Otherwise I'm going to sputter out before I even begin on Sunday when NaNoWriMo starts.

Maybe I'll pray for a muse, or beg the writing gods for some inspiration. Or maybe, I'll just sit at my computer and type, type anything, just to get my fingers moving and my brain past the wall of writer block.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Writing Plan - Year End 2009

Ok I've fine tuned my approach of how I'm proceeding with my writing - the business side of things. Instead of putting all my hopes into just one project, here's my plan. I want to have several writing pieces that are at different stages at any one time, so as one gets published then there's always a next one either in the works or ready to go.

1. I'm doing some minor revisions to my children's book ("Petunia Wiggles, Giggles, and Hops"). I had it tucked away for a few months and now I see it with a new perspective and I'm ready to do some much needed revisions.  Then I will start submitting it to contests, agents, children's magazines - everywhere. I feel that it's nearly ready, just a few minor touch-ups. Then it's submit, submit, submit until I find the right home for it. In preparation, I need to review and tweak my query letters and here are some great tips on query letters from agent Janet Reid: 20 tips on Query Letters.



2. My YA sci-fi/fantasy novel, "The Hidden Force",  is still being revised. I know in my gut that it's still not quite where it needs to be. The plan is still to whip it into shape in time to enter the Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel - the deadline is 12/31/09.

3. Of course NaNoWriMo is only a few days away and that will take up most of my writing time come November 1st. By the end of November, I'll have an extremely rough draft but at least it will be another project that will have all the main elements and structure and will be ready for some revisions. Then that draft will be shelved until "The Hidden Force" is revised.

So, that's my plan! It's sounds so simple on paper doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Process of Getting An Agent

Here's another great post from Rachelle Gardner on her blog, "The Process of Getting An Agent." It's a great look into the process from an agent's point-of-view. A must read for all of us, even if it's just a reminder that rejection just might mean not "bad work" but not the "right fit".

Monday, October 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo-Only 6 More Days!

Only 6 more days until NaNoWriMo...and I'm super excited (and silently starting to get the jitter-bugs in my stomach). Yes, I've done this before, I tell myself, but I have yet to finish this daunting task. On that note, I'm hoping to hook up with writing buddies - anyone looking to hookup on NaNoWriMo? I've pasted a link to my profile below to make it easier.
My profile: http://www.nanowrimo.org/fr/user/170996




Friday, October 23, 2009

Event - WHY WAS MY MANUSCRIPT REJECTED?

This sounds like a very productive workshop for any of you children's writers out there. Check it out:
WHY WAS MY MANUSCRIPT REJECTED?
Date: Sunday, November 15, 2009

Place: Shelburne Hotel, 303 Lexington Avenue (at 37th Street), New York City

Time: 9:30am to 4:00pm

Here's a blurb from the website:
"3 Literary Agents, 3 Opinions is a seminar-style, one-day workshop designed by literary agents Andrea Cascardi, Anna Olswanger, and Ann Tobias to bring to children's book and YA writers much-needed, seldom-offered feedback on a manuscript rejected by agents and/or publishers..."read more

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Off track - Obama was here!


So today's post is a bit off track, but I wanted to share what happened yesterday. It started out as a normal day at work (yes, my full-time job), but by mid-day we all knew it was going to be extra special. Cops starting piling out of vans, and lining the streets on watch. And then we found out what was happening...President Obama was scheduled to drive by on his way to a political rally to support Governor Corzine.

What a surprise!

It was about a two hour process in total, and we weren't sure if he was actually going to drive by us or if it was just a shut-down of all the streets for security purposes.

And around 5:20 by golly President Obama's motorcade drove within inches of me. I snapped a couple pictures, as you can see above, from my cell phone. How cool is that?! I never thought in my life that I would be so close to a president. It was definetly a thrill.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's a Complex Business, This Writing Thing

Who ever thought that "writing" would be so complex. As readers, we're innocent to the long, tedious process. I think most non-writers out there think that all you have to do is write a book, and it will easily slide into the bookstores, people buy it, and voila you're rich!

I, myself, never realized how tedious the whole process can be, and how hard it is to break out into the industry and then to make money.

Sometimes it's exhausting just thinking about it.

But, I love writing. I've written since I was in first grade (so many years ago) and I will write for the rest of my life. I just hope someday I'll be able to share my writing with the world. And maybe, just maybe, make some money out of it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Contest Alert - Narrative Fall 2009 Story Contest

Here's a quick blurb about the contest from the Narrative website:

"Our fall contest is open to all fiction and nonfiction writers. We’re looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.
Awards: First Prize is $3,250, Second Prize is $1,500, Third Prize is $750, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication."

Click here for more information.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good News: Children's Sector Beats Market

I love to report good news, and particularly when it's about books & writing. I found this article on Bookseller.com and it talks about the "Children's sector beats market".

Here's a piece of the article:
"The children's book market will benefit from strong growth in retail sales in 2009 and longer-term demand for digital books for children. Digital will grow as a result of the proliferation of devices such as the iPod Touch and games consoles, and the increasing availability of e-books on mobile phones.


These were the main findings of the Children's Conference, hosted last week by The Bookseller, and attended by more than 100 children's publishers, retailers and digital specialists...read more".

How about that for a little silver lining in the dark cloud surrounding the industry!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Book Award Finalists

The National Book Award Finalists have been announced...one of which is a debut fiction writer!

Here's a quick intro to the article on Publishers Weekly:

List includes one debut fiction writer, three previous NBA finalists and the second graphic novel in the Awards' history


By Lynn Andriani -- Publishers Weekly, 10/14/2009 10:17:00 AM

The National Book Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2009 National Book Awards. One debut fiction writer made the list, as well as three previous NBA finalists and the second graphic novel in the Awards’ history. Farrar, Straus & Giroux landed three nominations and Holt two giving Macmillan five nominees. Random House has three finalists, one from Little Random and two from Knopf; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Norton each nabbed two...read more

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Calling all Writers - A Contest Not to Miss!

If you have a work-in-progress and you want to see if the beginning is ready to get the attention of a literary agent, then try this contest over on Nathan Bransford's (literary agent with Curtis Brown Ltd) blog.

The 3rd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge

I entered today, how about you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marketing - National Bookstore Day


Sunday November 7th is National Bookstore Day and a great opportunity for you to contact your local bookstores and setup a reading or book signing.

And for those of you with books in progress, you can still contact the local bookstores to find out if they are open to local authors participating in the event. They may allow you to read some of your short fiction or poetry, which helps to get your name out to the world. Hand-out postcards or other promotional materials (with the bookstore's permission) directing people to your website or blog. If nothing else, it helps to build your mailing list.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brainstormed for NaNoWriMo Novel

I got up early yesterday morning, before anyone else was up in my family, and got to it. I woke up with ideas in my head for my NaNoWriMo novel. I had been toying with two seperate ideas but I've decided to work on a follow-up to the novel I'm revising. I worked for about an hour on brainstorming ideas and I feel good about it. I still want to create a chapter by chapter outline so I know where I'm going for each one, but I've still got time for that. Of course, I'm leaving myself open for any changes. As I know with my current novel, the story can take on a life of it's own and meander around in a totally new directions, and I'm ready for that too if it happens.

Yes! I feel really good about NaNoWriMo this year. 50,000 words here I come!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Contest Alert - 30 Below Story Contest—2009

This is a contest for all of you between the ages of 18-30 years old. (Darn, not one I can enter!) It's a call for a variety of artists: writers, visual artists, photographers, performers, and filmmakers. It's the 30 Below Story Contest-2009.

As quoted from the Narrative website:
"Awards: First Prize is $1,500, Second Prize is $750, and Third Prize is $300, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. The prize winners and finalists will be announced in Narrative. All N30B entries are eligible for the $5,000 Narrative Prize for 2010 and for acceptance as a Story of the Week."
 
Good luck!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Book Giveaway Contest - "Catching Fire"

There's another book giveaway contest I found online that I wanted to share with everyone. This one is for either an ARC or Hardcover edition of the much talked about new book by Suzanne Collins, "Catching Fire". I have it on my list of books to acquire & read so I'm entering the contest myself.

So if you're interested in the book, check out the blog, The Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

NaNoWriMo - I'm ready!


I am SO ready for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I just updated my profile and signed-up to participate in this years competition. I've already been toying with the idea of what my novel will be about this year, but I still need to formally sit down and draft an outline.

Last year when I participated, I tried to do it by the seat of my pants. It was a great experience for me to not know from one day to the next where my story was going to go, but I also think it hindered me in trying to complete the 50,000 words in 30 days as I didn't have a direction. This year I'm going to have a solid outline, as I find I need to know where I'm going to keep up the pace needed to reach the 50,000 words.

It's a daunting task, but I'm up for the challenge. Any one else ready to participate this year?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Motivation - Where For Art Thou? (PART 2)

Ok, so my plan was to get up and get some writing done, remember? Well, I slept an extra hour after my alarm rang, and then, as my son was getting ready for school, he pulled his neck muscle while putting on his shirt. Needless to say, not only did I NOT get to my writing, I also had to spend extra time taking him to school, talking to the school nurse, and arriving an hour late for work.

BUT, I will say that I am even more determined to get some writing done today. I've brought my laptop with me and I plan on taking a trip to the park during lunch and working on some revisions there. So Ha!, I laugh in the face of procrastination, lack of motivation, or any other device that creeps in my way.

I'll keep you updated, as I wrangle my way through this.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Motivation - Where For Art Thou?

I've been lacking motivation the last couple of days, and I don't know how to get out of this slump. I know I have a lot of work to do to stay on schedule with my novel revisions, and still I can't get going again. And yet, I find myself constantly thinking about my writing, and where I want the novel to go, and what areas I need to strengthen. But, everything else has been taking up my time. My son has SO much homework to do every night that between that and cooking dinner I have very little time to sit down and write. Once he falls asleep I'm too exhausted. I want to get up early in the morning but I can't seem to get myself out of bed.

Argh - what a dilemna! Maybe I just need to give myself a swift kick in the ass! I'm going to head off to bed now, read for a few minutes, and try to get a good night's sleep. Maybe then I can get up early and write in the morning tomorrow. That's the plan anyway. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Let's Appreciate The Act of Reading

As a writer and a mom, it has been a great process watching my 6 year old son learn to read. I think we all take for granite what an incredible leap that is for a youngster. For those of us that are surrounded by books on a daily basis, I think we tend to forget the effort it takes to get to the point of actually being able to enjoy the story in a book. When kids are learning to read, the majority of the effort is in remembering the sounds that each letter makes, and then stringing those letters together to make words, and words turning into sentences. At this stage it's often hard for them to enjoy the story, as most of the work is focussed on the reading of the words.

But I look forward to the day when I can see my son make the next big leap. I know that he will love the stories that books contain - he's a creative kid.