Thursday, March 27, 2014

Update + Some Inspiration

My march writing goals are going along quite well, although they have been slightly revised. John and I have restructured how we're approaching Mobster Monsters--we're sitting down and hashing out what each letter will be. This way I'm not writing a limerick that his illustrations have to conform to, and he's not illustrating something that I then have to write a limerick for. We have our pow wow and then break, with each of us knowing what to do for each letter. So far, we have reached the letter K.

So my revised goal for March is to get through 11 of the limericks. I am also on target to get my character sheets done for the main characters of my novel. I may, however, be putting off writing the novel until the July Camp Nanowrimo. I have a few short story ideas that I would like to get down on paper first. But I haven't fully decided yet. I'll update here once I decide.

Now on to the inspiration of the post. I was perusing some blogs and I came across two fantastic quotes by Neil Gaiman:
  • When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn't even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too.
  • I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Its amazing how creative endeavors help me reduce stress, but sometimes the fear of failure keeps me from being creative. So I think one of my ongoing goals will be to make mistakes and not let tough things get in the way. I'll keep you updated.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Writing Goals

Confession--I have a super difficult time setting realistic goals. Its not that I have a hard time making goals. For example:

  • Write a 50,000 word novel every month for a whole year? Sounds great!
  • Wake up at 4:30AM to start writing (when I normally wake up at 8AM)? Sure! 
  • Don't go to bed until I've written X number of words (usually something like 3,000 when I haven't been writing at all)? Go for it! 

See? No problem whatsoever at setting goals. Its just the realistic ones that allude me.

Hence why one of my writing resolutions this year is to only set realistic writing goals! Thus far, it is going well. I do sometimes feel like the corgi in the above picture though. Am I really making any progress? But "you gotta start somewhere." Better to leap over a puddle and make the jump, than to keep trying to jump across a chasm and plummeting to the ground a la Wile E. Coyote.

So with that all in mind, here are my two writing goals for March.

  • Finish a very rough draft of the 26 limericks for Mobster Monsters
    • Basically, I want to just get something down on paper 
  • Complete the character sketches for my outlined Arches National Park MG novel
    • I have about 3 major characters to look at and a small handful of other characters

That wasn't so bad! I feel like the goals are still make me stretch, but I think they are attainable. I'll keep you posted.

Do you have any goals for March?

The Brat Prince Lestat is BACK!

I've been hoping all week that Anne Rice's new book would be something about vampires and she delivered! I wanted something that would redeem vampires from the last decade of castrated-angst-invested-sparkly wannabees. Don't get me wrong--I give Stephanie Meyer props for turning a complete genre on its head, but come on, its time that the head be put back on straight.

Anne Rice's new book, Prince Lestat, is a sequel to the first five books in the Vampire Chronicles. And it looks like she will be doing another series of vampire books, as she has already signed a contract for a second novel. (source)

PRINCE LESTAT will be out October 28th, and pre-orders start in about a week.

Yeah, can you tell I'm excited?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oh, Yes I Did!

My very first book outline complete! Now for just a few super quick character sketches and then on to writing!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

LtUE: Day 3 + Final Thoughts

I hope that you have enjoyed my recap of LtUE thus far. Today I'm going to wrap up the final day and my overall impressions of the conference.

I only went to one panel on Saturday and it was on the Pros and Cons of Self-publishing. My thoughts and views on self-publishing have come a long way in the last year thanks to last February's LtUE. You can read about just how big of a 180 I made in this post. Basically, self-publishing can be pretty awesome. There are definite drawbacks, but some pretty sweet payoffs as well. For me, the amount of control over every aspect of the book and the marketing that self-publishing affords is exciting. I also like how flexible it is. I set my own deadlines. But that also means that I need to be way more intrinsically motivated. No one will come breathing down my neck if I don't write.

So, if you haven't figured it out, I had a blast at Life, the Universe and Everything. I will definitely go again next year if we are still in the area. Last year, I kind of felt like a deer in the headlights and absorbing everything that I had learned was a bit overwhelming, albeit inspiring. This year I feel inspired in a different--hit the ground running--sort of way.

 I will have my first novel roughly outlined by the end of this week with hopes of starting to write by next week. Is just nice to feel like I can accomplish something. I know its a long, uphill process, but I think I can do it! And I will keep updating here with my progress, so make sure to check back soon.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

LtUE: Day 2

So hopefully I can take a few more minutes on this post as I was running between workshops during the Thursday recap which can be seen here. Hence it was a bit rushed.

LtUE  wrapped up yesterday. I will be doing a recap of yesterday's workshops in th next few days as well as an overall LtUE review. Look for that soon.

Friday was Valentine's Day and my loving husband worked from home so that I could go to a full day of workshops and panels. I learned all sorts of things, but below are a few of my favorite panels/workshops.

Sandra Taylor did a workshop on building a community among your readers. I think the biggest thing I learned is that it takes awhile to get a following--years even--and that that is ok. I'd rather build slowly and have a real community of people actually interested in my work than just a bunch of likes on facebook/ followers on twitter that really aren't interested.

Next I went to an awesome panel on how to see your short stories. This was fantastic! I have a few short stories in various stages of completion, but I have always found it difficult to figure out where to submit my work. This panel helped me tremendously. The (Submission) Grinder just by itself is going to be amazing to use. It allows you to search a beta database of places that are currently accepting submissions. For example, I plugged in that I have a horror short story of 1500 words and it gave me a list of 136 potential places I could submit. Of course, I'll have to go and whittle that list down, but at lease it gives me a starting point. It also allows you to keep track of your submissions. Pretty cool. They also mentioned another site (ray[something].com) but I didn't get the spelling. I wish that I would have spoken up and had them spell it. Ah well. Live and learn.

After lunch, I went to a panel about using Folklore in your writing. Super duper cool and helpful. It was just neat to listen to how the authors have taken elements of both popular and obscure folklore and woven them into some very original and awesome stories. One of the panelists, S.A. Butler, talked about one her books that looks amazing. Its on my Kindle now and I can't wait to read it.

Another great panel was all about Edgar Allen Poe. It was super duper small, which was a bummer because the topic was great. But the smaller crowd made for a more intimate discussion. I was obsessed with Poe when I was in about 5th grade. It was cool to hear form other people that were and are just as obsessive as I am. Did you know that he self-published his first two books? Pretty cool.

The last panel that I attended was about learning from you mistakes. It was another great one. One of the things that one of the panelists said was this: "Writing is crazy--you take the worlds inside your head and put them down on paper in order to try to create a world inside someone else's head." And another: "Writing is crazy--so embrace the mad scientist inside and accept that it is a crazy thing to do." Super good stuff.

After all the workshops, there was a mass book signing. I got to meet all kinds of great people and do some networking. A few of the people that I met and that I'd recommend checking out are Fiona Ostler, Christy Dorrity, Mikey Brooks, Jenniffer Wardell, and Ariadne Kane.

All in all, my experience on Friday was great. Look for my final recap and review of LtUE coming in the next few days. Anyone else out there attend? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, February 14, 2014

LTUE: Day 1

LTUE is here again! Last year was a blast, and this year is going great so far. There are still 2 more days to go, so if you have some time, stop on by. Below is a quick recap of the first day.

I got to meet and chat with some great artists and authors. Jess Smart Smiley has some exciting things that he is working on, and Michaelbrent Collings is nominated for a few Bram Stoker awards. Winning a Bram Stoker is one of my dreams, so I was cool to meet him.

I also went to some great panels and workshops. Most of the ones I went to focused on writing for youth. I feel like I got some great insight that will help me as I continue to write my current book. One workshop in particular by J. Scott Savage (author of the Farworld series) was really beneficial. He discussed how motives determine whether your book will be an easy ready, middle grade or YA. Good stuff.

Today I've got some great panels to attend as well. As a matter of fact, I need to head off to a panel called "Selling Your Short Story." Check back tomorrow for a recap of today!