Friday, May 22, 2009

I think I'm in love...

I just re-watched the pilot episode of Glee and literally can't stop singing the last song. I want you all to join in my experience... so here you go. Watch. Learn. Love. ;)

You tell me... do you love it?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some of the Most Amazing Writers

Lately it has struck me how incredible the writing is for many TV shows. Often, it's nothing short of brilliant, and like novels there are some shows where the writers excel at certain areas (plot, dialogue, storytelling, characterization) and there are some where the focus is obviously in a different place.

There are shows where the focus is on the twists, turns and surprises in the plot. Some of those that jump immediately to my mind are Lost, Heroes and Alias.

Others are focused on dialogue and character. The most obvious of these to me is Friends or perhaps The Office.

Other writers are excellent at dragging us into a foreign environment and making us experience it with them. Grey's Anatomy, 24, and Lie To Me are good examples. Every time I watch an episode I'm convinced I'd fit in perfectly in the O.R., the FBI, or that I'd be excellent at reading peoples' faces. (Just make sure no one hands me a scalpel)

The one I saw last night, Glee, was unlike anything I've seen lately. It brought on such intense nostalgia that my husband told my I'm not allowed to watch it in bed anymore. Apparently it's difficult to sleep when the person next to you is singing along with the TV.

Who knew?

What are your favorite shows? What do you enjoy the most about the way they are written?

Monday, May 18, 2009

What I learned on summer vacation...

I've been crazy busy lately, so sorry I haven't been posting as much. I just wanted to quickly share a couple of links that I have found the most helpful lately.

First, is this Writer's Digest article on "Five Steps to Strengthen Your Scenes." I thought it was fascinating and spot on! (see look! I sound like I'm a British movie-star!)

Second, is this post from agent Rachelle Gardner on knowing when in a writer's career we should be focusing on art and when on business. [Yes, sometimes they overlap. ;)]

Third is a post from my friend, Aprilynne Pike. Who just debuted at number SIX on the NYT Bestseller List!!! Seriously, one of the most exciting things I've seen, pop on by and congratulate her! Then read this post and you'll understand why she deserves it! :)

Have a lovely and productive Monday! Cheerio! (teehee)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rely on Others - Trust in Yourself

Something I've learned in the last few months is that other writers often know better than I do. I have an awesome group of writers I turn to frequently to get ideas, opinions, feedback and a good kick in the pants. They are incredible and they each have different things they are better at than anyone else I know.

If I want to work on a certain kind of scene - I talk to one. If I want to work on dialogue - it's a different one. Scenery is yet another and so on.

I used to implement every single suggestion any of them gave me. Sometimes they were fabulous, sometimes they contradicted each other, sometimes I just got befuddled.

This has caused me to rethink the way I edit and take feedback. Every suggestion I get, I think about, mull over and decide whether I agree with it. Often I do, occasionally I don't. I go with my own instincts about the edit no matter what.

Here is my advice for you. Surround yourself with people who have strengths where you have weaknesses. Help them and let them help you. Don't be afraid to rely on their expertise and assistance.

But at the end of the day, it is more important to trust in yourself. You are the defender, protector, promoter and perfecter of your own story. Don't shirk your responsibilities to your characters. Believe in them and in your own ability to tell their story.

Also, make sure you have toothpicks handy to prop your eyes open for those late night edits. ;)

Monday, May 11, 2009

That Gut Feeling

I am a fan of the gut feeling. I love that somehow, my gut knows whether something is right or not. Does my gut have the instincts of a snarky editor? Perhaps. What I do know is that there are parts of my first book that I've always known in my gut didn't work.

I've just completed my 6th complete rewrite. Why have I done this? Well, because my head couldn't figure out what had my gut so unhappy. I've known there was something wrong since the beginning. I've had many, many readers go through and point out things that need to be fixed and every time it has gotten better... but my gut still wasn't happy. I added characters, cut characters, added scenes, cut scenes--all to no avail. Still I got only unsatisfied grumblings in response.

I am here to say, that finally, with this sixth rewrite. My gut has been satiated, and I can comfortably say that I've never been happier with the results of a rewrite. It transformed this book and I love it. Here are a few things I've realized.

1 - Although my readers have had many fabulous suggestions, and improved the book in ways I'd never considered--I was the one who finally solved the problem in the last rewrite. I knew the answer, I just had to be ready to do it.

2 - I don't resent having to do so many rewrites to get it right and this is why. I don't consider that I have fixed one problem at a time from one book. I consider that I've fixed one problem at a time from all of my books. I won't make the same mistakes again, and if I do, I will recognize them before I make it all the way through. I'm not saying I'll never have to rewrite books in the future, I'm saying that with each one I will grow and learn different things, but I'm grateful for the things I've learned with this book.

So, to all of you out there doing miserable rewrite after miserable rewrite--listen to your gut. It knows more than it lets on and it's almost always right.

My gut and I will rest well tonight. :D

Saturday, May 9, 2009

You know I don't do this, but...

I have to show you the cutest picture of my adorable boys in honor of Mother's Day Weekend. :D

They are the reason I love being a Mom. :)

Let me share a story with you that may explain why:

Today my 4-year-old and I were walking back from dropping my 6-year-old off at school. We were talking about which trees and flowers we liked, when he noticed two bushes next to each other. One was green and lush, the other was almost white and dead.

He asked me how it died and why it turned white and a few other similar questions. I saw this as another golden learning opportunity.

We talked about how plants can die if they aren't watered enough, or if a bad bug starts eating it. Then I really got going, I explained how plants breathe out what people breathe in and vice versa. I explained how plants were beautiful and very important. I explained how if a plant dies, it turns white because the green in the leaves is what helps them drink water and get nutrients, I explained photosynthesis--yes, you read that right. I explained photosynthesis to a 4-year-old.

He listened quietly and nodded a lot. After I finished, I thought I was a genius for taking such advantage of this opportunity.

Him: Mommy, can I ask a question?
Me: Sure, sweetie, what is it?
Him: Well, you know how when you're outside and you breathe out for the plants, so you open your mouth?
**at this point, I'm thinking, Yay! He got it! the plants use what we breathe out! I'm a mothering genius!**
Me: Yes?

Him: Well, is that when the bugs can fly in?
Me: --Fly in what? your mouth?
Him: Yeah

*crickets chirping*

Me: Yes, if your mouth is open and you're outside, then I guess a bug could fly in.
Him: Yeah, I thought so. I don't like bugs in my mouth. The plants aren't that pretty.

The End

So, to sum it up.

If you don't think plants are pretty enough to end up with a bug in your mouth--then don't breathe when you are outside.

Thanks and Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I refuse to have Swine Flu!

Sorry I've been missing a few days.

I have been feeling sick, but I don't know what it is. It doesn't sound like the flu, I haven't had a fever... It is like a severe case of--


I do have allergies, and I'm on claritin. Usually that works great, but for some reason I've had some horrible allergy-like symptoms for a few days.

I've determined that I WILL rest today and I WILL feel better tomorrow! This is my decision and thus... it is law.

So, prepare for a momentous and moving post tomorrow. For today... feel free to use hand sanitizer after posting a comment. Also, I'm not opposed to an 'elbow bump' in lieu of the customary handshake. ;)

P.S. If anyone wants to get entered for a free antique book giveaway--go visit my overseas clone, Jenni James. I'm pretty sure she has less germs over there :P