Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Almost NaNoWriMo Time!

It's National Novel Writing Month! I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm scared. I'm worried. Yep, all that and more. 'Course it doesn't help that I'm doing NaNoWriMo (or just plain ole NaNo) both for myself AND with my students (we're doing the Young Writer's Project NaNo). So, in essence, I'm working on two books this month.

I've been a little stressed out this week because I haven't had a plot in mind for NaNo until last night, when it finally came to me. I hope it'll be good--kind of a superhero-ish story...I don't have it all worked out at the moment but that's part of what I hope to do today.

I don't think that my friends realize that I'm going to become a veritable recluse over November, rarely going out to play. I will have to schedule some play-time, especially because one of my really good friends just had a baby and I can't disappear on her. But I'm really focused and want to be successful at this venture.

Also, I need to set up goals and projects for my students so they will be able to accomplish their goals for YWP NaNo. Most of my students are really excited about the project--it is something completely different than anything they've ever done before, especially in school--but there are some who are scared and not very confident. I want to make sure that everyone succeeds in this project, even if they don't meet the word count goal that they set.

Hey, not everyone's a writer and that's okay. There's so much that my students can learn from this-organization, scheduling, deadlines, as well as plotting, setting, mood, character, dialogue, and all the lovely literary stuff that comes with writing a story. So, even those who can't or won't be able to write to their write goal will learn a lot and, hopefully, enjoy the process.

All in all, it's going to be a crazy month. But I think it's going to be fun.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wordle

Have you tried wordle.com yet? It's this really cool site that'll take a bunch of words and make a picture out of it. I did it with my novel:

  Wordle: Unveiled

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Geeze, It's Just Twitter

There are some people who take Twitter way too seriously.

Yesterday, one of the authors I follow asked what she could do for Halloween with a corset that she already had. I (and others, too, I'm sure) suggested that she "Use corset & go steampunk...skirt, Victorian-style hat w/ feathers, funky mechanical weapon".

She later tweeted, "Unfortunately, "Steampunk" is not a costume, guys. It's an adjective."

Maybe this wasn't meant to be snotty, but I took it that way (one of the problems with email, comments and tweets is that everyone has their own interpretation of what someone else says).

I didn't want to make a big deal of it but I felt it needed a response so I said, "
Steampunk isn't just an adjective--now, it's also a sub-genre AND a style! It's growing...transforming..." (can you see my lighthearted tone? Well, at least that's what I tried for.)

She comes back with, "
Neither is a 'style' a costume, though. Costumes are nouns, can be described with 'I'm a BLANK.'"

I unfollowed her. I don't need a grammar lesson from someone with zero sense of humor. Good god. I mean, really.

Then I had to stop and think about why this exchange so got under my skin. It could be that I'm an English teacher and I'm supposed to know what's grammatically correct and what's not. I do but I'm also an author and I love to manipulate language. Our language is ever-evolving and developing. Just look at the dictionary--each year, new words are added and others are removed.

Twitter is not all about grammar. You only have 140 characters to play with and that's not a lot of wiggle room. Twitter's valuable in that you get to interact with an amazing variety of people, learn more about what interests you, and have fun. Maybe I have different tweeting rules than others. I don't know.

Mary's ever-evolving "Miss Manners for Twitter" rules:
1) Don't be rude.
2) If you ask a question, be accepting of the answers you get. You may not like all of them but, hey, you asked!
3) Don't over-tweet. To me, over-tweeting is posting one tweet right after another so that, as I scroll through my back-tweets, all I see is your avatar. Too much, people, too much.
4) Try to be aware of the tone of your tweet. It's easy to be rude when you aren't face to face.
5) Interact, people! That's what Twitter's all about. Ask questions (expect answers!), retweet, share, follow.

It's pretty simple. Do unto others and all that. And, most of all, don't take it so seriously!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oops!

WAY too long since I posted--sorry (to all my many readers out there...LOL). Anyway, been super-busy working on the second draft of my novel. What's bad is I keep thinking of different ways I can make it better. And then a whole section (or more) changes. Can't keep doing that or I'll never get done! I'll be one of those writers who's been working on the same novel for the past ten years and still isn't done. That's so not what I want to do. I want to get it done, write my query letter, get an agent and get this sucker sold!

My goal has always been to be published at some point in my life. Whether it's with this novel or the next--or even the next, I don't know. But it'd be wonderful!

I'm hoping to make some serious progress this weekend. I'd be super-happy if I could actually get through this revision by the end of the weekend but that may not happen. My friends KK&C finally had their baby and she's coming home tomorrow. I went to see her today after school--she's so tiny! And not as squish or alien-like as most babies. She's actually quite adorable. And she has the biggest feet, toes, and fingers I think I've ever seen on an infant. I swear, they're prehensile. She's gonna be swinging around the house like a little monkey soon. Go, little monkey!

This year, I'm also participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in which I work to write a 50,000 word novel (175 pages) within the month of November. I've signed up, found a local group, found a couple of writing buddies and am looking forward to it. I've already warmed up with my editing/revising of this current work in progress.

However, I still don't really know what my plot is. So, I'll be working on that this weekend, too. Along with revising. And visiting the little Monkey and her parents (Mama is all fired up about the Vandy-USC game tomorrow but I'm thinking it's still the hospital-grade pain medication talking. She's gonna be wiped tomorrow!). And errands. And the usual cleaning of the house. A typical weekend.

Off to work on my WIP and try to brainstorm a new novel idea for NaNo!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I know you're jealous...





Oh, my god. I'm so excited.

Check out my fantastic pile of books I got myself for my birthday. Thank you, me!

So, I know that you're jealous. But you can read my reviews of each and every one of them, as I finish.

Demon Forged by Meljean Brook
Demon Ex Machina by Julie Kenner
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
Rampant by Diane Peterfreund
Fire by Kristin Cashore
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Don't know how long that'll take, but it'll be worth it! Hope they're as good as I've heard. Happy reading, indeed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Up Yer Kilt!

This just made me laugh--our drummers used to go "commando" and, every time we did the 4th of July parades, the girls on the sidelines would try to take a gander, you know, just to see if it was true. Poor LOL cat. He found out the hard way!

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's the weekend again...

So, as you may have figured from my lack of posts this week, it was a rough one. I don't know what it is about this year, but I'm having a hard time getting it all together so that I can do everything that I both want and need to do. *sigh*

And I think that the Retirement System "lost" one of my years of service--they claim I've only completed eight when I KNOW it was nine (um, yeah, I worked them, I know for a fact that I didn't disappear for a year!). Typical South Carolina. They must hire absolute geniuses to take care of our retirement. So, I'm looking forward to hours on the phone this next week to get it all sorted out. Yea.

But enough complaining about the brilliance of South Carolina's government employees. Even though I made NO progress on the book this week, I've got some forward momentum going today and I hope that it will continue into tomorrow. And possibly the rest of the week.

My goal is to have this book's second edit done in the next two weeks, so I'll have enough time to plot out the second in the series. I would really like to participate in NaNoMo and get a novel written in a month (boy, that would be cool). Of course, for me, it's the 1st edit and the 2nd edit that seem to take forever. Maybe after I've written a pile more books, I'll be able to streamline the process. One can always hope.

The weather here's turned absolutely beautiful--cool at night, so I can leave my windows open and sleep under my sheets and duvet cover, and warm during the day, so I can sit on my screen porch and write. The porch has been my saving grace and has helped get me back into the writing groove. After all that crap happened, I lost my groove. I'd talk it up, converse about writing, stare at the printed and edited manuscript, but I never could open the Word document and get back into it. Finally, the weather changed and I discovered the porch--and rediscovered my writing! Yahoo!

Well, enough updating today. I've got work to do before I head over to a friend's to cheer on the Gamecocks tonight. Go Cocks!