Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sometimes I just need to ramble

I may have hurt some feelings when I complained about people who ask me about the status of my book. Upon reflection, there is only one or two people I wish I'd never told I was writing a book. On further reflection, only one of those people is a smart ass about it, and he's a smart ass as a rule, anyway. Someone I work for to those who might know me. The only men in our office are the bosses. So I apologize to anyone who thinks my comments suggested for them to shut-up already. Ask away.

I'm looking forward to the ROW80 challenge goal. If this goes well, I might be on the track to becoming a certified goal-maker. I feel like once I get started, the thirty minutes will grow to sixty and so on.

Aw, the weekend. Like some of you, I live for them. It's the most productive time for me. I wake up and start writing. It's a joy, and I would throw a complete hissy if someone tried to take them away from me. It's also the only time during the week that I can spend with my husband doing special things. I would hope he would throw a hissy if someone tried to take those away from him. There's talk that my bosses have other plans for my weekends. Retirement might be closer than I thought.

I'm glad the holidays are almost over. A lot of us have gotten off subject, become like normal people for a short time. My boss suggested I get out and live. Huh? He thinks if you're not outside mowing the yard or shoveling the snow, you're not living. Okay, how many people who shovel the snow drop dead from a heart attach. That's not living.

So, until next time, cheers.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goals, yuk

When did I stop with the New Years resolutions? About the same time I stopped making goals. Unless I'm passionate about something, I rarely stick to it. Will, I'm passionate about not spending another five years finishing my two manuscripts. I took the Row-80 pledge. It can be any goal that is doable to you. It's designed to give the writer an excuse to write and have a life too. My goal is to work thirty minutes every day on one of my MSs. I can knock out, say, five hundred words a day if all I'm doing is writing. But there's much more to writing than writing, isn't there? There's the rewrite, the editing, the cutting, the proofing, the research. Yes, research is part of the process as well. Then there's the sweating, the frustration, the blocks, anxiety, fear, and just plain craziness. This part doesn't need a goal, it just comes naturally.

But I really, really just want to get to the end as fast as possible, but at my own pace. Does that make sense? I think I'm just going to write, write, write. If I see I'm making good progress, that's all the incentive I need. You know, if you're busy writing, you're not looking at the clock anyway and thirty-minutes stretches into forty, then an hour . . . it's limitless. Now, if I could only achieve the weight loss like this.

What about you? Are you goal makers, or do you feel you have the discipline to stay with it without goals and actually make progress. The world is full of both.

See ya next time
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Who do you write for?

Is there such a thing as too much praise? Probably, but I've never reached the peak. Some people think only one compliment is necessary. It's all psychology, you know. Maybe I grew up unappreciated. One compliment should suffice.

As writers every word is agonizing. To put thoughts on paper and make them flow so future readers can be wowed by them . . . Oh wait, that's not why we write, is it?

In the back of your minds, who are you thinking about when you write? Are you trying to impress or do you do it for the shear joy of writing? Dig deep.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Trust your instincts

Trust your instincts. So you've been writing for awhile, learned a lot from critique partners, wrote a first, second, and third draft. It's almost done. One more read through and you're done. So you put the MS down for a month and do something else. You come back, now as a reader, not a writer and you begin to read. It's working great. You are enjoying the read as a reader, and then, there it is again. There's that section that every time you edited it, you paused. But the writing is so amazing. People will think you're a literary genius when they read this.

NOT, and your subconscious knows this. For me, there's usually several scenes that could use a rewrite or a cut. Put your subconscious to rest. It's not going to hurt too bad and you can copy that profound piece of literature into a file for use at a more appropriate time. Maybe in the next MS.

What usually happens, if you are me, anyway, is you forget about it or when you read it again, you wonder why you thought it was so exceptional.

You can fight any emotion, but you must satisfy your subconscious. It will send you ulcers otherwise.

Those are my profound words of wisdom. Just trust your instincts and you won't get ulcers. As a byproduct you might produce a bestselling novel. Who knew?
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finding those unclosed quotation marks

In the world of Microsoft Word you must find some little tricks. In doing so, you may actually learn a thing of two without having to read the help menu. So I'm trying to get by cheaply without having to spend an arm and a leg for proofreading. Better to fix it now, than later, right? Talking to my hubby, who seems to have a good grasp on Word, I got the idea to find and replace all the quotation marks with, say, a, "%." sign, then highlighting the "%" sign with color. Here's how I did it.

1. Copy/Paste your completed document into a blank, new document and save that as something else.(Edit/select all, Edit/copy, Edit/paste) Psst . . . there are those who don't know how to do this.

2. Go to Edit/Find

3. In the "Find What" box, type in, Shift-', which equates to quotation marks

4. Click on the "Replace" tab and in the "Replace with" box, type "%" (Shift-5)

5. Click on the "More" button,

6. Click on the "Format" button

7. Highlight and click on "Font,"

8. Highlight "Text Font, Font Style, Font Size," you are using in your document, then click on the pull-down menu under "Font Color," select a color.

9. "OK" out and do a "Replace All"

Now scroll down and count, "One, Two, one, two" If you get off count, you've found a missing quotation mark.

Reverse the above to put the quotation marks back into the document. I wouldn't replace the original document with this one. That's just my fail safe way of always having a back-up copy. Just rename it and this will be your new submit doc. You could even name it that.

You might think this is time consuming. It's really not so bad. I had over three- thousand quotation marks. I had missed twenty-three closing or beginning quotation marks. It took an hour or so, but it was worth it. I wish I had figured this out a long time ago.

There are a lot of little secrets inside the "Find" option. Check them out.

Of course, there is always more than one way to perform the same operation. If you have a little trick you'd like the share, put it in the comments. Someone will appreciate the tip.

As always, God Bless and see you next time.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting out of my rut

If you've read my two blurbs up top, you've probably noticed similarities. I tend to enjoy writing about top corporate businessmen. Maybe it's time for a change. In Dancing in the Stars everything is different. I enjoy writing from the man's pov. I like men. I like getting into their heads, but DITS is from a woman's perspective, it's a YA genre, and for the moment, no one gets killed or maimed. It's also a love story of sorts. I like a good love story, but I usually don't make it the focus of my stories and you'll never see a sex scene in my books. I get off on the passion and emotions leading up to love, not sex. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against sex.

DITS is a coming of age story about a former prom queen who doesn't want to move on past high school. She works in a dance studio in her small hometown while her friends have moved on with their lives. Her mother ran out on her and her father, leaving her father bitter towards love and he discourages my MC from pursuing anything but the most casual of relationship. Nice parent, huh?

Then she goes to a five year class reunion. Really? who has a class reunion after just five years. Any more years than that and she'd be too flippin' old for this story, so it's five years. She hangs with her old crowd, the "in crowd," and after awhile they start talking about their successful careers, yada, yada, yada. My MC, her name for now is Halle, like Halle Berry, gets depressed and drinks too much. She gets so drunk she spends the rest of the evening in the john. When she comes out, most everyone has left.

Well, I don't want to give too much away. Suffice it to say,she runs into a classmate who has always had a crush on her. She and her snooty friends used to call him owl because of his big magnification glasses. He takes her home, she tries to seduce him, but all she gets is a nice kiss. When he's gone she realizes she doesn't even know where he lives or what he does, but she remembers the kiss they shared. Now you think they will get together doncha?

I might post an excerp from Bum's Rush in the next little while. You don't want to miss that.

Hugs and good wishes to you all.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Self Doubts

Some days I wish I had never told anyone I was writing a novel. Why? Some of you already know the answer to that one. People want to keep asking, "When can I read it," "When's it going to be done?" "Aren't you finished with that yet?" "What are you doing, working on your book?"

I admit, it's taken me forever to write this dang novel. Thankfully, some people have forgotten I'm writing one. I really don't mind the occasional question. I'm a little shy about it, is all. I shouldn't be so sensitive. After all, I've posted it on my Facebook profile that I'm writing a novel. It's only natural people would be curious about it. Well, it's so close to being done. I'm back to formatting it and actually making progress.

I think, sometimes, I'm the one holding myself back.Questions like, "What if its a piece of crap?" "What if people don't like it?" "Will anyone buy it?" "What if its a piece of crap?" I'm not one to blow my own horn, so promoting it will be grueling for me, yet none of these questions will be answered if I don't tell people about it. Only one person, besides my husband, has read. She said she liked it, especially the surprise ending, but she's one of my BFFs, would she have said it was a piece of crap?

Do all writers go through this self doubt? I've read other writers say similar things. I wonder if Dean Koontz, or Robert Crais, or John Grisham have these doubts? If they do, do they care, really? All the way to the bank. I'm not writing to get rich. I guess I ought to remember that I'm writing because I love to write and not worry about what people think. But then I wouldn't be human, would I?

See ya next time. Until then have a great week.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dancing In the Stars

The thing about rewriting a novel you've finished twice, six years ago? It's impossible to keep a running tally of the word count. The reason? Well, because it's constantly evolving. I find I'm doing more adding than rewriting. Still, it's coming along a little at a time. So my meter is really off by several thousand words at any given time. That's okay. As long as I can write a couple thousand words a week, I'm happy. I'd be able to write a thousand words a day if I didn't have to work. By the time I get home, my eyes are at half mast and my brain is mush.

The good news is, I've started, yet another novel. This one, since I don't have to think too much, I can write between patients and sometimes there's a long lull between them. For those who don't know, I pretest for an optometrist. Anyway, I'll post the cover, which I've already designed, with this post. It's titled, "Dancing in the Stars." That may be a working title, I haven't decided yet. It's about a former prom queen, out of school five years. She can't get her head out of high school and into the real world. She's a wannabe dancer who works in a small town (completely made up town) at a dance studio teaching classical dance at night and kindergarteners during the day. It's a rite of passage with a love story. I don't think I've completely found my genre yet. Still experimenting. Or maybe I have more than one.

See ya next time. Until then have a great week.
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