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Monday, March 29, 2010

Post Library Blog Challenge Wrap Up

The winners of the two signed copies of Sliding on the Edge are Diana (post 100) and Tracy (post 47).  I'll have those in the mail this week, winners! I wish I could send each of you a copy who wanted one, but there are limits to my budget. (That's what my husband said last week.)

While I ran the Library Blog Challenge I had a couple of things to take care of.

One: I did the second round of revisions on my second book and sent the manuscript off to my editor with a huge sigh and an equally huge prayer. Please let her like it. Please have her tell me it's a go. Please don't send it back with "Sorry, but" at the beginning of the message.

Two: I went back to work on that WIP that I stopped working on  . . .  I think at day 10 according to my blog. I'm glad I was doing posts day by day. It will help me pick up where I left off.

Three: I attended Carrie Ryan's book signing event at Books Inc. in San Francisco. It was great to meet her in person. I'd "known" her from the 2009 Debutantes, but this was our first face-to-face. I also was excited to be with other authors that I have done appearances with (L to R) Cheryl Herbsman, Daisy Whitney (we just met that night) Sarah Quigley and Malinda Lo are in the picture below. That's me in the blue thing.


Here's Carrie signing my copy of Dead-Tossed Waves.

Four: I met Graham Best, the author/illustrator of The Tightrope Walker's Dream, and he's agreed to come on the Write Game next week to talk about his wonderful picture book. I think you'll enjoy what he has to say because he's in 100% charge of this book: writing, illustrating, publishing, marketing. Come take a look on April 5 to find out about Graham Best.

The rest of my time has been lots of vegetable plant maintenance. If you read any of my earlier posts you know that in spring when the words don't flow I plant vegetable seeds. This year we'll have a bumper crop. I had a few days when there weren't even two words in a row that happened.

Okay, that's the post Library Blog Challenge wrap up. Gotta write the check to the Los Gatos Public Library and gotta send off two books.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Library Blog Challenge Wrap Up

It happened.

It really did. 

I have 100 comments and I'll be donating $100 to the Los Gatos Public Library

Thanks to all of you who took the time to stop by and leave a little library love. Thanks also to Writer Jenn for coming up with such a wonderful idea and organizing this large group of bloggers. There are still a few of us with a challenge ongoing, so check out Writer Jenn's index of bloggers and leave more comments.
I've also chosen two winners for signed copies of Sliding on the Edge, so check your email and get back to me about how you want them signed and where you want them sent. I'll keep these winners open until Sunday night 8 pm Pacific Coast Time. Then I'll have to give the books to my next choice(s). All of these choices were random and all the comments I chose from included the words, "I WANT A BOOK." Congratulations winners.



Now I gotta go lie down. This challenge business takes a lot out of you. See you back here next week.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Library Challenge_March 23-26

I don't remember the first time I entered a library. If I'd known the important role this place would play in my life when I walked through the door that first day I would have taken pictures or written something in a journal, so I could have a record of the day my life changed.

Since I have no record, I'll have to imagine the feeling, but that's not difficult. Every time I enter a library I feel the same. The best way to describe it is appreciative closely followed by excited and complete. I always feel I'm in place of possibilities, a place where ideas are waiting, where words crafted by some of our greatest writers are available for me to enjoy.

Our libraries are feeling the pinch of the economic woes reducing hours, staff, acquisitions, so when I was invited to participate in this Library Challenge I accepted. Here's how you can help your local library as well as others in the U.S.

1)Between March 23 and March 27 leave a comment here on The Write Game. For every comment I will donate $1 to the Los Gatos Public Library up to $75. If I get more comments I will up that commitment, but I'd rather raise than lower my goal.

2) Follow this link to Writer Jenn where you'll find an index to bloggers around the U.S. who have joined in this Challenge. Leave a comment on any or all of these blog sites and those bloggers will donate to the library of their choice.

3)I'm adding another small incentive. I'll choose two random comments with the sentence, I WANT A BOOK, included. To those people I'll send a signed copy of Sliding on the Edge.
I'll announce the winners in a March 28th post so they can send me their snailmail addresses and if they have any special requests for what I write in their books.

4)You can also help by sending this link to five friends and asking them to take part in this event.


Thanks to all of you who stop by and help me meet my goal.  Wish me

Sunday, March 21, 2010

W.I.P Middle Middle Middle


Some burning issues came up last week--well many things came up--and I was only able to blog once. But here's a quick update on the WIP.

I decided on the real end. Bittersweet is the way I like my chocolate, so I'm going with that as a way to end my book.





I'm at almost the exact middle of the book with 35,000 words as of yesterday. *Whooopie*





My MC is suffering, but then so am I because I rather like the kid and keep yelling, "How can you be so stupid?" or  "Please don't do that. Wait. Think. No!! Don't! Arrrg!" You can see the dilemma. I have to keep in trouble and yet I'd rather he were safe. Many sleepless nights lie ahead.

Next week I'm going to join THE LIBRARY CHALLENGE, so I'd love it if you'd stop by and leave a comment and tell others to as well. We need to support our libraries in these tough economic times. Hope you'll help me as well as other bloggers in the U.S. to do that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New WIP, Last and Middle

On day 7 I wrote the last chapter of the book--actually I wrote two last chapters because I haven't decided if this will end happily or unhappily.

I also wrote a lot of single sentences from the beginning I have started that I hope are the major scenes leading to the end. From past experience I know I'll be adding and deleting scenes, but at least I have something of a path since I'm not an outliner.


1ST ARREST

JIMMY’S GONE. NOTE ON THE TABLE.

SCENE WITH FAT NYLA AT SCHOOL  

(KEEP LIZ COCHRAN OR DELETE)

AFTER SCHOOL SESSION: USE STEINBECK HERE

2ND ARREST

GLASSES AND DOUBLE NEGATIVE

3RD ARREST



On day 8 I did 1)Yoga and 2)walked in the Santa Cruz Mountains, then I went to the farmers' market for fresh veggies and came home to work in 3) my garden. In other words, I let my characters take a break from me and me from them.
                                                 1                                                           2
                                                                                 3

On day 9 and 10 I dabbled with what I'd already written. Made changes. Wrote the chapter for 1ST ARREST, and left my poor MC in a mess.


I close my eyes. I like the way sleep takes me outta here into a deep, dark place that doesn’t smell, where DD smiles down at me, where Jimmy swings me between his knees, and where Polanski hands me a cup filled with sharp pencils—World’s Greatest Kid.
Flashing lights dart through the grimy window. In my dream they’re crazy night birds shattering the cup and shooting the pencils into the air like bullets. I bolt to my feet and open the side door. My first thought is that the garage is on fire. I blink into the high beam of a flashlight.
“Put your hands on your head and turn around.”

Should he get in more trouble? Wanna vote? Thumbs up the story turns into a happy for ever after story. Thumbs down, the MC has a bumpy road for about two hundred pages.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New WIP, In the Beginning

MY SLUGGISH APPROACH

Day 6, 7, . . .130: I try for an opening scene. 


When I wrote Sliding on the Edge I had three different starts before I wrote the one I liked. Here's how the book started as a manuscript.


#1 That Monday morning started like all the others during those months in Las Vegas. I woke up on a lumpy roll-away, blinking at the damp veins in the ceiling. The apartment above had a toilet flushing twenty-four seven. There were at least ten people living up there, and our ceiling took the brunt of 4B’s high-density living. The air conditioner wasn’t humming and my hair had plastered itself to the side of my face. I knew I’d paid the electric bill. So what was with that thing being out again?


I'M IN PAST TENSE HERE, THINKING OKAY THAT WILL WORK. IT DID FOR ABOUT A DAY.



#2 There are a couple of places to start my story. Both of them lead to the same end. If I start when the monster first arrived, that will be a little scary. If I start when my mother left, that will be kind of scary too, but maybe that makes the most sense. None of the rest would have happened if she’d stayed.


THIS ONE DIDN'T GO OVER AT ALL! IT WAS TOO MUCH LIKE A PREFACE. I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST PREFACES, BUT I NEEDED SOMETHING MORE IMMEDIATE FOR THIS STORY. "WHAT?" MY MIND KEEP SCREAMING.



#3 I wake up to Friday morning, roll onto my back, and blink at the damp veins in the ceiling – leaky pipes from the apartment above ours. The air conditioner isn’t humming and my hair is plastered to the side of my face.

“I paid the gas and electric bill. Is that damn thing broken again?”

The wall clock says eleven.


SO I'M KIND OF BACK TO #1, BUT THIS TIME I'VE CHOSEN PRESENT TENSE, THINKING THAT WILL DO WHAT I WANT IT TO DO. NOT!!!!


#4 Something’s wrong. It’s not a heart-grabbing noise like when somebody jiggles the doorknob to see if it’s locked. It’s not a bitter smell like the electrical short we had last month, when all the breakers popped. No. It’s something in the air, something like a ghost making its way through the room. And it can’t be Monster, not after last night.



 THIS CASE, THE FOURTH TIME WAS THE CHARM. THIS IS HOW THE BOOK STARTS. I DID NOT WRITE IT ON THE 6TH, THE 7TH, OR THE 20TH DAY. I WROTE IT AFTER THE BOOK WAS DONE AND DURING THE LAST EDIT BEFORE I SUBMITTED THE MANUSCRIPT.




SO HERE I AM AGAIN, LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT OPENING. THIS IS WHERE I AM IN THE WIP (STILL WITHOUT A TITLE).


# 1 Blaze Cooper took another hit, then leered through the grassy haze at Hutch. “So, what about it?” Blaze had just made the offer of something dangerous. Better than any grass he’d ever sold at the Smoking Tree. Something he said would send Hutch over the moon.

Hutch pulled on his bored face, the one that covered up the knot in his stomach. “I don’t have the dough, man.”

GAH! DAY 6 WAS A BUST.



#2 Blaze Cooper inhales; then he looks at me through the smoke leaking from his nose. “So, what about it?” he asks.

I’ve got knots in my stomach. “I don’t have the dough, man.”

“I’ll front it. You can pay me back.” Blaze grins and takes another hit. “It’s way cool.”

I RECOGNIZE THIS AS THE OLD SWITCH FROM PAST TO PRESENT PLOY THAT DIDN'T WORK THE LAST TIME. WILL I NEVER LEARN TO READ THAT SIGN?


#3 Polanski’s office is my second home. I spend more time with the principal than I do with DD. Good thing the principal’s friendlier.

“This makes seven times this year you’ve cut Mr. Diakos’ class.” Polanski opens a thick file and writes something at the bottom of a page. When he finishes, he looks up. “Did I miss any?”

I shake my head. “Nope.”


SO HERE'S WHAT'S UP FOR THE OPENING SCENE IN MY WIP. SO FAR IT'S WORKING FOR ME. I'M AT DAY 7, BUT LIKE LAST TIME I MAY HAVE TO WRITE THE WHOLE BOOK BEFORE I FIND JUST THE RIGHT WAY TO START IT. WE'LL SEE. 

WOULD YOU KEEP READING IF THIS WAS THE FIRST THING YOU READ IN A BOOK?



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New WIP, Onward

I left off with Day 1 of STARTING A NEW NOVEL in which you saw the immensely thrilled author, ME, linking up my character with my treasure trove of articles from my FILE OF IDEAS, also known as IDAS as in "I'd as soon not be organized." 




So we are now at Day 5 and I need to catch you up on this process:

Day 2: Spends the day writing a sentence. 

This is not my idea of fun, but it's the only way I can think of to start the engine on a new WIP. This is my "elevator pitch" sentence, the one I use when someone asks, "So what's the book about?" It's also my light in the tunnel. It guides me from Chapter 1 to *prays and offers incense* The End.

It's not set in stone, btw, and I often have to go back and tweak it when that pesky character takes a turn I hadn't expected.

This was the sentence that I kept in front of me while I wrote Sliding on the Edge (SOTE).


A suicidal teenager and her cynical grandmother are strangers when they are thrown together. Each has secrets that stir mutual distrust until saving a doomed horse unites them and gives each a reason to live. 









Day 3: Plants more vegetable seeds because Day 2 was such a bear.




Day 4: Writes the story.

WHAT? Well, let me explain. I write a very bad what happens first, then next, then last. It's not an outline, but it is a beginning, a mushy middle with all kinds of space between incomplete sentences for filling in as I go. I also write the end. It looks kind of like this, and again I'll use SOTE as an example.

Shawna's mother abandons her, leaving money and a bus ticket to find a grandmother Shawna hasn't known existed.

Shawna meets Kay Stone. They don't "get" each other at all. Shawna cusses, Kay hates it. Shawna doesn't care about anything (bring out with shrugging), Kay troubled by Shawna's isolation--wants to understand, but can't. Show slow transition from not understanding, to some, to major climax--use horse as bonding point, way to make Shawna care about something.

Horse disappears. Shawna unites with Kay to find and save him. 

Day 5: This is that day and here I am blogging away. Today I may not have time to do a single word on that WIP because I do have another life . . . sometimes. So I'll be back, starting at Day 6. Wish me luck. 


Are any of you starting a new project? Are you going through anything like this process? Do you have some ideas for how to do it differently? Would love to know. All suggestions greatly appreciated.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

New WIP

Last month I was  REVISING, REVISING, REVISING. Then I took a small break had a guest here for an interview, and went to San Francisco to celebrate the Chinese year, 4707. Now I'm back to tackle writing again.

One question I'm often asked when someone finds out I'm a writer is, "Where do you get your ideas?" And I guess that's really a compliment to any writer when you think of it. I mean writing a book, like other creative acts, is crafting something from nothing more than a thought, maybe one that's rattled around in your head for a while or has newly arrived.

This is Nan Marino's great Middle Grade book that reaches back to the first moon walk, but is a wonderful story about kids right here on earth. It's a recent Honor Recipient of a Golden Kite Award.  Where did Nan get her idea?


I think of what I do as being very similar to what a gardener does, the difference being writers don't have to   study an almanac for when to plant. So the metaphor isn't complete, just appropriate for spring which is fast approaching here in California. Hope you'll bear with me in this seed-plant/thought-book comparison.

In February whenever the REVISION stalled, I'd go to the greenhouse and plunk in a few seeds while I  balled out those stubborn characters for not shaping up as they should. Then in March about the same time as my characters started behaving and my plot thickened,  those little seeds did what they were supposed to and popped out of the ground, perfect little tomatoes, squash, peas, and beans. I wrapped up the book and off it went, not as perfect as my vegetable plants, but as close as I could make it.





The next few weeks I'll be blogging about this process called, STARTING A NEW NOVEL. I hope you'll chime in and share what it's like for you when you enter this honeymoon phase. Or maybe it isn't like that for you at all. If not, I'd love to hear what it is like. Here's how my WIP began. This is my journal entry.


Day One: Eureka! I have this fantastic MC who's sprung from my head and somehow I've linked him with a news article I read a year ago. Run to file (box full of clippings), retrieve article and re-read. So the journey begins.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Year of the Tiger-2010


I'm almost recovered from the celebration in San Francisco Saturday. Almost. I took a lot of pictures, but these are my best shots. I'm standing at the corner of Market and Geary. Forgot my camera so had to use my cell. Loved this tiger when he pranced by.

I found out that the "tigers" are many things--not all good. According to this horoscope I shouldn't be attending any family functions.


2010 is a White Tiger wearing armor. This Tiger doesn't like armor on the top of its body and keeps jumping around. For safety, we should keep our distance from it. That's why many Chinese don't like White Tiger.  It has the potential to become vigorous, ferocious and cruel. The Tiger is a symbol of power and authority. This kind of personality is good for leadership, but has an inflexible and destructive personality.  Tiger has very poor people relationship, especially, with family members. In traditional Chinese families people born in the year of the Tiger aren't invited to private wedding ceremonies.


Well, *Inserts loud raspberry here.* I decided to keep looking until I found a better description of my year.


 People born in the Year of the Tiger always take pride in being different from others, and normally demonstrate their originality best in their homes. Their homes are typically filled with exotic possessions. It is no surprise that one of the Tiger’s favorite gemstones is the cat’s eye, but tigers also love the sparkle of rubies and diamonds. They like to spend money, and also to share it. They can be very impulsive spenders because they know they can at all times make more.


The Year of the Tiger is the third year in the cycle of “Heavenly Branches”. Customarily, it is called “Yin”. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are compatible with the horse, dog, and dragons


I like rubies and diamonds and I love to spend money, especially if I can do with friends. As to making more of the that lovely green stuff, I'm not so sure. I was really happy to learn that I'm compatible with horses, dogs, and dragons--especially dragons since I love to write about them.

What's your Chinese sign? If you're a horse or a dog or a dragon that's great. We're going to get along beautifully. If you're a member of my family--look out. It seems we're in for a rough ride.