Blog of a Writer on the Go and Barely Here.
Here by accident?
Looking for something more 'family-friendly'? Check out my Children's & Young Adult Blog:The Wide Writing World of Emily McKeon

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lo, The Summer Has Passed

With Labor Day weekend looming before us in a few days and the kids already back in school, I'm left wondering where the heck summer went. Seems like it just arrived with all its parades and barbecues and it's already on its way out the door.

Those of you who know me well, know that I'm not a winter person. Summer girl all around here. Which is why I'm always sad to see it leave so soon. Summer never gets to stay around long enough. And with its end, my birthday creeps a little closer, reminding me of all the goals I set before I turned another year older. All the goals I haven't *quite* managed to meet. Sort of like my New Year's resolutions. I think they all go off together to party as soon as I make them, knowing they'll never be fulfilled.

Anyway, the optimist in me sees the end of the summer as a new beginning. This year for the first time both children will be attending school full-time. Does this make Mommy nervous? Yes, yes it does. Are they enjoying it so far? Yes they are. With the exception of Bug needing to wear shorts under her uniform dress, they've adapted to the change well. They're making friends and learning in a small classroom environment. Good for us all.

With them out of my hair, I mean off learning and growing, I have time to focus on writing. Yes, it's amazing what I can do when I don't have to jump up every two minutes to break up a fight, fix a snack or entertain two small children. I can FOCUS. It's a miracle. Now to find out if focusing will pay off in the end.

Writing isn't going to be my only focus. I'll be able to query and hopefully my letters will make sense. It's a big step for me. Gibberish in my emails and messages will be a thing of the past. Maybe. If it isn't already hard-wired into my brain as a second language. Who knows at this point?

I was very much hoping to be able to share some good news with this blog post, but the good news has yet come to pass. I will say some of my querying is starting to show results. Will I have awesome news to share before my birthday next month and quite possibly fulfill one of my goals, for the first time ever? I'm crossing my fingers that it'll happen. What I can say is that agents will research writers as much as we research and stalk them. Eventually the mutual stalking will lead to chatting. If you're lucky, it'll end up in a partnership.

So, although the summer is ending, I'm looking forward to a promising fall. So long as the ghosts and goblins stay out of the works, it might be the best one yet.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pitfalls of Talking to Non-Writers about Writing

Well, I survived another round of NaNo, my second time doing Camp NaNo and fifth overall NaNo experience. Which means I have an awful lot of editing to do. Eventually one of those manuscripts will be ready for the big time. I hope.

During Camp NaNo month, I was discussing the MS I was working on with people who don't write and who aren't huge readers. When I mentioned doing NaNoWriMo, I found myself in the following conversation:

Them: I don't think NaNo is a good idea.
Me: Why not?
Them: Because it takes up all your time. And what happens when you run out of words? People will just use filler words to finish.
Me: It's a possibility, but the main point of NaNo is to get the rough draft down on paper. It works the best for people like me who need deadlines or they won't finish a draft. Novels aren't written in one draft.Yes, agents cringe when December hits because people will send out work fresh off the press, without editing it or going over it. But, there have been lots of good books to come from NaNo by writers who are serious and take the time after to get things right.
Them: And if everyone's doing it, they're going to run out of ideas. Then what are they going to do?
Me: o.O

So, this is when I realized talking about the writing process with people who don't write is much harder than I thought it would be. For most writers, ideas will come from nowhere and quite unexpectedly. Everyone has different ways of being inspired. I guarantee doing NaNo and other writing challenges are not going to exhaust all their ideas. Some writers will get stuck, but for many, it's temporary. Sooner or later, something will spark a thought that will lead to characters and a plot.

I decided to shift the conversation to what I thought would be less controversial topics. I may have been wrong.

Me: I'm thinking about rewriting TROUBLE IS MY FRIEND (currently a picture book) and making it a chapter book for slightly older kids.
Them: How are you going to do that? Won't older kids not like the idea of an imaginary friend?
Me: Well, I'm still toying around with the idea. I might make Trouble an actual character, still imaginary, but so he can be interacted with. Won't be for much older kids.
Them: Won't they get confused? Do you really want to promote blaming things kids do wrong on an imaginary friend? Right now I think it has a good message.
Me: Kids will blame imaginary friends anyway. Bug does it all the time.
Them: So why encourage it?
Me: Because it's a story that kids will want to read.
Them: But it won't have a moral. I like stories with morals and a lesson.

So, my friends, if my first 'Banned Book' is a picture book (or chapter book) about imaginary people/friends/things, you'll know why. You'll also understand why I don't discuss the writing process with non-writers, unless they're interested in becoming writers.

Until then, Happy Writing and Reading! I'll be over here in the corner, muttering to myself and possibly scribbling on the wall. Don't worry, I'll blame it all on Trouble.