My good friend and writer, Lisa Harris has had great success participating in the weekly contests held over at Faith Writers. They give you a word or phrase, like – Up and Down – and you have to write a story between 150 to 750 words. They have to have an element of faith, but other than that, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of limitations on what you can do. People can read it, leave comments, and they have a judges panel that chooses winners in each category. As I’ve said, Lisa has won several and it’s let to a semi-regular gig at a magazine.
So. I thought, why not try it for myself? They give a new word each Thursday and I dutifully signed on to find the word – Owl. Hmmm. After a couple of hours, I came up with a short story about a teen in detention and the teacher everyone calls Mrs. Owl the 3rd because she seems to have eyes in the back of her head. Yeah, not great, but WHATEVER.
Luckily, I had coffee with Lisa and mentioned that I had my Owl story ready. And that’s when she broke it to me. It wasn’t OWL, it was Ow! As in “Ow! That hurt.” or “Ow! All of the comments about how my stupid story wasn’t supposed to be about an OWL really hurt my pride.”
I am SO GLAD I saw Lisa before I uploaded the stupid thing. And that my glasses will be here any day!
I know, who cares right? But staring at 68,000 words and trying to work up the courage to slice and dice, is daunting. So the fact that I FINALLY jumped in is worth a post. I have two agents who have said they would be willing to read it again, and that I should take my time and “hit it out of the park.” No pressure!
So I started. And I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to do. At least through chapter two. Sigh.
I went to see New Moon last night with several other movie goers – all of them much younger than I. Which probably explains why I kept wanting to yell at the screen- A vampire and a werewolf – THESE are your choices? I’m on Team Goofy Kid that vomits at Punch Face.
But I digress. I read that Stephenie Meyer wrote the original book based on a vivid dream. So I went to bed with great expectations, “C’mon crazy dream world, bring me the new novel!”
And I DID have a VIVID dream. In which I find out that an old friend of my husbands has been secretly video taping me in the shower and hosting parties where everyone comes over to watch. And he calls them “Born FAT” , which he sings to the tune of Born Free.
It did hold my interest, and it’s got legal thriller written all over it, but I don’t see it spawning four books, several movies and a cult following.
Oh well. Tonight’s another night – bring on the dreams! Perhaps one where the dialogue doesn’t include “fat”, please.
Stephen King says a writer should either be writing or reading at all times. I went to the library AND the bookstore today, managing to come home with about 14 books, 2 of which I read today.
Man, the secret to his success seems simple. I wonder when Random House will send my check.
I started writing a new book today. Okay, I started it a while back, but I think I found the voice, and the first paragraph, so I’m off and running. I read that you have to write a million bad words before the good ones come, so I want to get them out of the way. Does 12,852 pages of “poot, poot, poot” count as bad words or do I have to get really vulgar?
Me: Look at my life! I’m going crazy with all the stuff I have to do. When am I supposed to write, huh? WHEN?
Husband: I know. Why don’t you embezzle a lot of money? It’s a federal crime. You’ll go to a nice jail, with PLENTY of time to write.
Me: How much time will assault get me?
I like YA. That’s just how I roll. But recently I found a Jodi Picoult novel on my bookshelf, courtesy I’m sure of my mother-in-law an avid reader, and decided to take a peek. It’s called My Sister’s Keeper and was written about five years ago, made into a movie, talked about, written about and reviewed extensively. Still, I had no idea.
It was REALLY good. You’ve probably heard that already. It was so good that I couldn’t imagine WHY I hadn’t read any of her books before. I remember picking them up, scanning the back, then opting for something else. But why? Tonight I went to the library, and remembered. They are so MATURE. They are DEEP. They are for grown up people with sense. Totally explains why I’ve been left out. But I went against my nature and picked up another one. A girl can change, you know.
As an apology, I’ve penned the following poem to Ms. Picoult.
Dear Jodi, Dear Jodi, Dear Jodi Picoult,
Am I pronouncing your name right, cause I don’t know.
Your books are deep, and I am slow,
But here I am reading, two in a row.
Wow. I am GOOD. Perhaps I should give up the YA book and start a book of poetry. It’s a thought.
is not accurate. Writers always say, “it’s MAKING the time to write.” You know, writers can be annoying. Anyway, I’m trying to MAKE more time to write this week. It is always interesting to me to hear how fast and how much other people write. I read a Jodi Picoult novel this past week, and she says she writes a novel in nine months. NINE months. I don’t know if you’ve read her stuff, but if she can do THAT in 9 months, mine ought to take about 9 weeks.
Check back in eight. I’m feeling inspired.
I was lamenting to a friend that my daughter and I had a very tough day of homeschooling this week. You can lead a kid to homework, but you can’t make them write a two-point expository paragraph. Anyway, she raved about a book called, How to Have a New Kid by Friday. So I’m thinking that I’ll read it, then write one called, How to Have a New Kid by THURSDAY. Who would buy his when they could save a whole DAY?
I’ll start writing my query now.
I’m involved in two critique groups, and I think they are INTEGRAL to my success as a writer. I use the term “success” loosely. While I’ve not been published (YET!) I don’t think my book would even be finished if it weren’t for the encouragement/harassment/prodding of the group. Certainly, my book would not be nearly as good if it weren’t for them.
It’s interesting, because the members of the writer’s group, are very different from me in writing style. One is writing a romance novel, and another an epic, family drama involving World War I. Someone else is writing primarily things of faith. Mine is the only YA novel, but somehow it all works.
We get together every few weeks to encourage each other, give honest feedback about each other’s work, and share the high’s and low’s on the road to becoming published authors.
If you’re a writer without a critique group, I understand the FEAR of sharing with strangers. But do it. Your writing will be stronger, and you just may make life-long friends. Nothing binds people together like fear and humiliation!