Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stop The Voices

Peanuts: Lucy, Big, Loud, Screaming Blonde by Tom Everhart
Peanuts: Lucy, Big, Loud, Screaming Blonde

OK...I really don't want them to stop, but rather be a bit more moderated.  How about being there when I'm at the keyboard looking for those choice words, that perfect intro or the "too good to be true" story conflict.

I returned from my weekend writer's seminar with new vigor and commitment to my skill. And yes, lots of voices running around in my head composing the transition I needed in my story, or words for the ideal hook for a new story.

In the course of two days I have gotten two critiques--both very different.  One might consider one of them devastating, but I'm a realist and had expected there would be work to do. And...you know what?  I'm excited!  The other critique was surprisingly encouraging--she loved the story.

If you've had a critique or feel you'll never get there.  Take heart.  I'll leave you with the words of free lance editor Pam Halter.  She responded to my email following her critique of my picture book, "You have a dream. A vision. Try not to stray from it while you are learning. There's something to be said for a fresh voice and style. You will hear lots of opinions. Your job is to sort through all the differing opinions and ask yourself, what is the right thing for my book?"

Remember, fellow writer, be true to yourself and your dream...I am.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Real Life Stinks

Recession vs. Depression:  A recession is when your neighbor loses his job.  A depression is when you lose yours.

This week was a shocker for us.  My husband Bob came home from work at 11:30 in the morning and announced that he had been laid off from his banking job along with many others in his group in Northern and Southern California.  My heart sank...Oh no!  We hugged...I sobbed.  We talked about how we would get through this one too.  We have always been wise in our finances and so do not have overburdening debt.  Thank God.  He will see us through and things will be better.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

We processed the situation most of the day, but my sweet and caring Bob demonstrated his noble character.  Being concerned for others in his office that got the bad news, he spent some of that time calling them and letting them vent.

Tomorrow I leave for a writers seminar.  I sent them my book manuscript for a critique.  I'm very excited to hear what they have to say.  And being that realism is in the air, I'm prepared that there will be lots of work to do after that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Carpe Diem

"Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."  William Congreve

Last week I finished my magazine article, a fictional story about Erina who went to Haiti and had experiences that inspired her to want to be a missionary when she grew up. It really turned out horrible. My brutally honest critic husband let me know so. Ouch! He was right. I knew it wasn't good. So after dinner we decided to jump in the car and head for a local coffee shop, Carpe Diem.

It was great to get away and forget about it--the horribleness and all. At least for a while, I put the whole article out of my mind. I'll come back to it later. My fertile brain is already working on a complete rewrite with a different theme--same result.

Carpe Diem had a jazz quintet playing that night.  We ordered, found some seats and enjoyed sipping our drinks as we listened to the soothing music.  It was quite nice.  We lingered for a while.  After finishing our drinks, we left feeling that "Ahhhh" effect.

Despite a disappointing day of writing, it ended on a good note--smile.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hello...Are You There?

Oh...Sorry!  I've been busy doing life, writing the magazine article, and well...you know how it goes.  I just have to get used to writing for the purpose of publication and at the same time, posting relevant and interesting items for my blog in hopes I can get a loyal and growing following.

Monday I received the "turn-down" from my first manuscript submission.  You know you've been rejected when you get that eerily familiar envelope when you open the mail box. It's the one that you addressed and applied postage to.  The material inside is pristine as the day you inserted it into the envelope, addressed it to the publisher and mailed it off.  At least I'd feel better if there were a few stains on it giving it the appearance that someone did look at it.

Oh well.  I thought I'd likely get rejected--a harsh word--perhaps passed over would be better to swallow.  After rereading the submission letter I wrote, no wonder I got rejected.  As my writer friend Keli Gwyn says, "Don't fall into pitfalls that make your work cry Newbie!"  Why did I think that letter sounded good at the time? Is it because we writers, if we are honest, can always improve upon what we write?  And, of course, we always seem to do our worst when representing ourselves...arghhhh!  Any thoughts on this?

OK, gotta go.  I have to finish my article for the critique group tomorrow, register for the conference later this month and get my manuscripts prepared for submission.


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