Saturday, October 31, 2009


...and a blessed Samhain to you all! Wishing you writing inspiration in the New Year!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

"All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life."

Oscar Wilde

What Teens Read

Fascinating Publishers Weekly article about a survey of YA readers. Although the publishing industry itself has been hit by these hard economic times, I found this survey very reassuring for authors of YA scifi and fantasy.

(X-posted with Children of the Night)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bear Witness

My current wip is a YA paranormal romance in which one of the characters is a lycanthrope. Recently, I wrote a scene in which another of the characters has to run from him when he is in werewolf form. I casually described the werewolf as bigger than a bear and talked about how fast he was and didn't think much of it. Then, last Friday, I had the fun of taking my son Harrison and my daughter Shanika to the Minnesota Zoo to see the Russian grizzly bear exhibit. Suddenly I was faced with actual bears and I found myself revisiting the words I had written. What does it mean to be "bigger than a bear"? The beautiful creatures swimming just beyond the glass weighed in at 700 pounds or more and had to put on about 400 pounds every year to prepare for winter. What did it mean to be incredibly fast? Although the huge animals looked lumbering, the sign by their cage assured me that one of their running strides was equal to four human strides. As I watched the bears swim, I imagined what it would really be like to run from one. Then I tried to imagine what it would be like to be one, or to be something like that-- that big, that powerful. I left the exhibit with a whole new notion of my scene, a new respect for bears and for my lycanthrope character-- and a new appreciation of writing. Because sometimes seeing the world through the lens of my writing makes me a more curious, interested person. As a busy mom trying to write my first book in my supposedly free time I often have to stay goal oriented just to keep my momentum going. But sometimes it is good to focus on all the benefits that writing brings to my life, like how my writing gives me an excuse to research things I wouldn't otherwise learn about, or how writing has introduced me to a host of fascinating people I might never have otherwise met, or how writing can turn an ordinary trip to the zoo into an encounter with something mythic.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How I spent my November

I love nanowrimo. Making writing a first draft into a month long community celebration just works for me. This year I'll be using the November habit to force open a word production block. What has it done for you?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Future Fangrrl

The Jedi knight is my daughter Miranda who turns two tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Panda, and may the Force be with you!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cool Trailers

Okay, you all know how I adore book trailers! Here's a link to the three finalists in the Kirkus Review's contest for student filmmakers. Each filmmaker was asked to create a trailer for an upcoming YA novel. I think the results are excellent. Take a look and vote for your favorite.

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Writer Tough Love

I was listening to one of my favorite writers and speakers, Carolyn Myss. She offered the following insights: (paraphrased from memory)

Writing is a job.
You must treat your writing like a full time job. (Even if it isn't.)
Every day, you must sit down at your space and write.

If you cannot commit to writing your novel because you lack the focus, then step away from your novel. Try something smaller, like journaling every day. Practice, talking about your day in metaphors, symbols etc. Also, work on expanding your vocabulary, and develop your voice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saboteur on the Road….

The saboteur, we all have one.

What’s a saboteur?

A saboteur is that voice inside your head giving you every reason NOT to do something. Sometimes, it takes the form of the inner critic/editor…. No matter what you call, this ‘little voice’ can hinder us from finishing stories; prolonged side tracking (of goals) eventually leads one to self-destruct. (i.e. NOT finishing stories, revising and NOT sending them out, equals NOT getting published!)

What’s writer to do?

First of all, learn how to spot your saboteur. Ask yourself what is getting in your way; do you need a day off? What is it your afraid of? What are your excuses for not writing?

Secondly, find the solutions to the issues. There is more than one way of doing something, make a list. From the list, pick one solution. Give it a try. Try it for a three weeks (21 days), if that doesn’t work, try something else.

Ask yourself the tough questions: what is it you want? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen? How far are you willing to go for your dreams? Do you have the discipline, the focus, and the commitment to follow through?
This is a tough conversation to have with your self but an honest one. Especially, if you are not finishing your work (and its year 2, 5, 15 working on your novel.)

In the end, ultimately, you have to go toe to toe with the saboteur. Learn how to be comfortable with your saboteur; you become more confident in yourself.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Write It Wrong

That is my mantra this week. I am coming into the final third of this draft of my book and, although the ending is pretty much written, there are scenes between here and there that don't exist at all. I have tried to plan them out in advance but I know there is going to be a certain amount of trial and error involved here. In some cases I'm going to have to try a few different alternatives before I know exactly how a plot point should go. So my goal is to just get words out without judging them too harshly or over-thinking to the point of paralysis. I am giving myself permission to "write it wrong" and hoping that in the end that helps me get it right.