November 24, 2011

Musings

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With today being a time to give thanks, I thought it’d be fun to reflect on some of the things I’m thankful  for in my writing life this year.

  • My Golden Heart final. Having “Beauty and the Ballplayer” final in the GH did more than open new doors. It introduced me to a group of supportive sisters. (Hi, Starcatchers! Even when you don’t hear from me all that much, I treasure the time we spend chatting, whether it’s on our loop or  Twitter.)
  • The chance to go to RWA Nationals in NYC. I learned a lot at the sessions I was able to attend, bought the CD so I can listen to the ones I had to miss and was inspired by more than one keynote speaker. My credit card didn’t fare nearly so well, but that’s another story.
  • Chatting with some of the authors whose books I’ve been reading, and loving, for years. That was a great experience, if a little surreal. Even greater? Realizing that they pull their pantyhose on one leg at a time, too. Wait — does anyone ever wear pantyhose anymore?
  • A great RWA chapter. The ladies of NARWA are cheerleaders, sounding boards and, above all, friends.
  • Finding not one, but two CPs. The relationships are still new, so we’re feeling our way — but I’m hoping they’ll lead to more success for all of us.
  • Time to write. Whether I’m writing alone or with chaptermates and other friends, I cherish time with my trusty iBook. (I am, however, ready and willing to upgrade to a new MacBook Pro as soon as I win the lottery … or sign a book deal that advances me enough cash to augment my paltry “buy a MacBook” savings account.)
  • Starbucks. You knew I couldn’t leave the Bux off my “what I’m thankful for” list. I spend so much time there that all the baristas know me by name. I should probably count that as more curse than blessing, no?

Yes, my writing life has truly been blessed in 2011. Here’s hoping 2012 will be just as great.

October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo 11

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I’m pretty sure pre-planning was the reason I powered through 53,000 words in 30 days in 2010.

So as much as I hate to sit down and “plot,” I spent part of the weekend doing exactly that.

I’ve had the idea for this story for a while, ever since reading a story about a state legislature (I think it was in Oregon) that passed a law saying health care facilities needed to hire an interpreter for any language a patient spoke — including Klingon.

My first thought was: Wouldn’t it be funny for an uptight health care administrator to be forced to hire a Klingon interpreter? Melissa and Donovan were born. (Except I had to change her name to Allyson because I just finished writing a heroine named Melinda and didn’t want to get the two confused.)

Allyson — don’t dare call her Ally — is the uptight health care administrator; Donovan “Van” is the laid-back, happy-go-lucky guy who taught himself Klingon one long, boring summer. While she tries to get him to follow the rules, he makes it his project to get her to loosen up.

I’ll be trying something new with this MS — Scrivener. I downloaded the free trial Saturday and started playing around with it. Looks like it’ll be interesting.

I’d like to be able to say that won’t be around as much this next month while I immerse myself in the craziness that is NaNoWriMo. But considering how little blogging I’ve been doing lately, I don’t need to say it. Once or twice a month is already “not around much.”

So I’ll just say “sayonara” for now. After a month of writing dangerously, I’ll see you on the flip side — with a brand-new manuscript for editing/submission.

What do you do when one trusted friend tells you to scrap the first chapter of one of the stories you plan on entering in the 2012 GH?

If it’s a chapter you love, chock-full of hilarious lines and
you’re not ready to hear the fateful directive to “chop it,” you seek a second opinion.

And when the Starcatcher sister offering said second opinion concurs, saying that she, too, thinks the beginning makes both hero and heroine look less-than-heroic …

Well, you bite the bullet and cut your beloved first chapter, which began life as a prologue to begin with. (I should have known that no one would be fooled by my slapping it with a “Chapter 1” header.)

It wasn’t easy to cut a chapter that starts out like this: “When Melinda’s now-ex-fiancé admonished her to grow up, she doubted playing tonsil hockey with a man old enough to be her father was what he’d had in mind.”

Okay, maybe a wee bit of “ick factor” lurks in that beginning. (Thanks, Anna, for putting your finger on that one. It may be why I didn’t final in the Rubies’ first line contest this time.)

Finally, I was willing to admit to myself that the pages didn’t paint either of them in the best light — even though they you see right away that Mel was overexaggerating Dave’s age.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t as painful as I expected. I plan to work in some of the funnier bits as part of the backstory — and when this novel makes it to publication, don’t be surprised to see Dave and Melinda’s “how it all began” pop up on the blog as an online extra.

I will survive my MS’s massive surgery — without too much bleeding, I hope.

I’m glad to have friends who’ll tell me the cold, hard truth — even when I’m not quite ready to hear it.

October 5, 2011

Musings

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Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a Mac girl — always have been. So it’s no surprise that I, along with the rest of the world, was saddened by Steve Jobs’ death.

The man truly was an innovator, and we wouldn’t be who we are without his creations. I’m typing this blog post on my iPhone right now.

Since I’m an almost-40-year-old dinosaur, my first experience with computers was in a nine-week eighth-grade computer class. They were old gray Radio Shack computers with green screens and big floppy disks. About the only thing I remember was typing in lines of code to run a Frogger-type game.

I didn’t think computers were for me. Same thing happened in college when I took my first journalism class. We had IBM computers with blue screens and c: prompts. I hated using those things.

Then I visited the college newspaper office and had my first experience with a Mac. It was one of those classic one-piece Macs … And it was love at first sight. It was the first time I could see a computer becoming part of my life.

Did it ever! I became an editor at the paper, so I had a key to the office and could often be found there late at night, writing papers and jamming to Depeche Mode.

By the time my campus opened a snazzy new Mac lab, I was doing all my papers on the computer instead of the Brother typewriter my Mom got me for Christmas while I was in high school.

Sadly, I left the Macs behind when I graduated. My office used a Sun system until a few months before I left, when they switched to iMacs.

When I bought my first computer for my place, in 1995, there was no question it’d be a Mac. I replaced it with an iMac in 2000 and a laptop several years later.

I’ve completed all of my MSs and many great research papers on Macs. Thanks, Steve, for helping me become the writer I am.