Friday, July 30, 2010

Jumping off the Cliffs of Insanity

Do not fear gentle readers, I have not lost my wits and taken up cliff diving. What I have decided to do is to leave my lost manuscript behind for a while. It feels a whole lot like cliff diving though. It means I am free to work on other projects. I know that my full manuscript with wonderful revisions is really on the stupid pink flash drive ... somewhere. It can be regained (for a price - between $350 and $900). What I'm writing in trying to replace that which my flash drive is holding for ransom is pure and utter crap. I'm three chapters from the end of the story and about 20,000 (yes that is twenty thousand) words short. Which means, boys and girls, that I've left out a whole bunch of sub-plot (which I know there was some) and character development (which I know there was a whole bunch of) and it is necessary information for the story. SO, I am going to let it sit there as is. I'm not even going to finish the rewrite. I am going to continue with getting the first in this series published (I mean the missing book is the fourth in the series). When the first book is published then I'm going to pay those nice people at the data recovery place their big bucks and get Jason's story back. Until then I'm moving on.

And it is a big step for me to do. There are all these other books that are calling to be written and I have editing that needs to be done and query letters to formulate and send and meanwhile I've been sitting here spending this time, pulling my hair out while trying to recreate something that will never be as good as what I originally wrote and I know it. Therefore, for my sanity (and yours so you don't have to listen to me whine about this - at least for a while) I'm going forward with that next book in my head. So. Off. We. Goooooooo!

(This is where there should be some really cool inspirational music.)

A fresh clean sheet of paper (or because this is the digital age a smooth blank word document) sits in front of me and Jo March has left the burned manuscript in the fire. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Too many blogs

I've decided I need either A) another day that I catch up on my blogs added to my schedule or B) a better way to handle all my blogs so that I read them spread out through the week rather than on just one day. Unfortunately, not all the blogs I read are on Blogger so I can't add them to the "follow" feature and I haven't figured out how to manage the RSS feeds (and some people have websites that can't be -or I'm not tech savvy enough to figure out how to - be RSSed.) Anyone have a good tutorial? I tend to read a person's blog almost immediately if they actually tweet that they have a new posting, otherwise I wait until Thursdays and work my way through my list.

This week has been sort of odd. I finished another book and then took a break from writing to do the second edit on a different book. I always find it interesting that I will still find typographical errors in my second edits. Silly things like there instead of their or or instead of our and of course Word doesn't pick it up or find it completely nonsensical. Sent out a few more queries and received a few more no thank yous (thank you agents who are thoughtful enough to at least send a form e-mail).

In the knitting front I finally finished my Kiama shruggy-sweatery thing that I bought the yarn for at Stitches South. It is beautiful and drapey and soft and perfect as a summer sweater for here in the deep south where the temperature is 152°F (factoring in the heat index) outside and -15°F (with windchill) inside. I cast on a new shawl (Maja) out of Malabrigo. It is coming along nicely. And I joined a mystery knit-along that will also be a worsted weight shawl in the end. I'm using the yarn that I frogged from my Clapotis. The hexagon socks are still hexagonning and will eventually be finished.

I'm getting ready to try some new cookie recipes. I need to keep endeavoring on my cookie recipe idea that I've been working on. Anyone have any good ideas on what you think would be good in your perfect cookie?

OK, that is all. Back to blog reading.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

A big thank you to PoMoGoLightly for this idea from Caroleknits. I love the idea of lists (you should see me prior to a vacation) and needed something to fill a weekday posting, so this is just perfect for me. Hopefully I will remember to do this each week (even though I've been following this for several weeks. le sigh.)

10 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

(OK, these first four shouldn't surprise anyone)
1. Knit
2. Cook
3. (You know it) Write
4. (It's related) Read
5. Sew on that quilt that is cut but not pieced
6. Make some fresh mozzarella (yeah, I know it is something like cooking, but it's really different. It's more like science in the kitchen.)
7. Browse a thrift store for funky shoes
8. Play Sock Monkey Bananigans
9. Go for a walk (but only if the temperature is under 90°F)
10. Ponder why I have the largest non-fruit bearing tomato plant in the world

I will freely admit that I love my television set. Not because I am a TV junkie. In fact, there are many things that I would much rather do than watch TV. However, I happen to love movies. Love love love love love movies. One of my favorite guilty pleasures is to go to the movie theatre all by myself and sit in the dead center of the auditorium and watch a movie while munching on trail mix (the one that mysteriously fell into my bag and I had no clue as to how it got there until after the movie started and then it is there, so I might as well eat it. Right?) I love almost every genre of movie except truly stupid humor and horribly graphic horror. I love rom-com's, comedies, animation, suspense, dramas, action-adventure, classics, art pieces, foreign films, children's movies, and (especially) baseball movies. I just love a good story and seeing that story come to life. There are movies that I go to when I am working on a project. I've been known to put on a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movie while I'm quilting or knitting, just to entertain something that probably isn't my prefrontal cortex. It's background noise. I can't tell you the number of times I have seen Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing while I worked out a complicated knitting pattern.

And if you are nice and promise not to talk to me during the movie I'll even share my trail mix.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Penultimate Writing Prompt

OK, maybe not the penultimate. Although it might be if the world ends after my next prompt and then I would be correct in naming this the Penultimate Writing Prompt. I named it the Penultimate Writing Prompt because, well, I just wanted to use the word penultimate this week and couldn't fit it into my writing. So what is the purpose of all this? To bring up the concept of lesser used words. I love the word penultimate. It's a truly cool word. For those wondering what it means, I turn your attention to Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: pen·ul·ti·mate
Pronunciation: \pi-ˈnəl-tə-mət\
Function: adjective
Date: 1677
1 : next to the last

It's a much nicer way of saying, "the next to the last" don't you think? Wouldn't it be cool if you were the penultimate kid chosen for the basketball team rather than the next to the last kid chosen? (Of course that usually is better than the last kid chosen, isn't it?) Penultimate just sounds more regal, more accepting. There are so many other words that are just as wonderful.

So, here's your task for the week: Find five really good words that sum up an idea that would otherwise need an entire phrase to say. (Is there a word for that?) Use those five words to make a logical story. How can you use this idea to better your writing overall? Expand on it as you work this week and see if you can't find tired phrases and bring new life to them by using a single, better, word. (And much thanks goes to PoMoGoLightly for her inspiring this prompt idea in suggesting that I actually google a reverse dictionary.)

The Big Re-Write

So remember when I lost all those books during the great Flash Drive Mishap earlier this month? I still haven't recovered them, but as I mentioned Tuesday I did find those first few pages which helped me push through some energy to consider trying to recreate that book. It's going pretty well, but it just doesn't seem the same. It's going to take months of edits and revisions before it looks anything like what I remember. The saddest part of having to rewrite something lost is that you never seem to be able to get it exactly as you had before. You try and try, but still it seems but a shadow of its former glory. I tweeted earlier today that rewriting a lost book is like trying to rewrite a classic. It just never is as good as the original author wrote it. Even a favorite book will never sound as good rewritten by someone else.

Consider, if you will, that suddenly all the Harry Potter books are mysteriously sucked up into a black hole (along with J. K. Rowling) and Scholastic Books comes to you and says, "Help! You are our last hope. You are the world's biggest Harry Potter fan and we want you to rewrite these books so that these stories won't be lost!" Unless you have a photographic memory (and have memorized all 4,175 pages) there is just no way to recreate that work. Rowling was a wordsmith and it was her world and she would probably be at a loss herself to recreate what she had worked so eloquently before. Can you remember the exact order of everything that happened in every book? Can you remember all the wonderful witty things that Professor McGonagall said? Do you remember who all were knitters in the books and what they each knitted? (BTW, bonus points to anyone who can list all the knitters and what they were referenced to having knitted) See? It's the little things.

Today I was writing away, and feeling good about the groove I was in when suddenly I remembered a scene. But where does it go? When did it happen? It had importance, but when did I reveal it? Was it before or after Merry was injured? Was the story spoken or thought? If spoken to whom? And what exactly was that wonderful line that Lexie delivered at lunch? But I persevere. I will prevail even. Can someone pass me the pitcher of Margaritas now?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ten Whole Pages!

10 pages and 3,088 words! That is what I found today of my previously missing novel. I am so happy I could almost scream! OK, it really isn't much, but I have that start and the outline to this book. I almost feel like I can write it again. It has to be written. I can't just shrug it off as a lost book. It's part of a series and a much needed story. Plus it was one of my favorites. I remember when I finished it - my NaNoWriMo '09 manuscript - and how complete it felt. It was the first book that I got to the end of and truly felt that I had covered everything and nothing felt missing. And then it all died (see previous blog entry of backing things up). Gone. Lost. Hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing, keeningly heartbreakingly gone.

And then this morning I found this file marked, "Sangali Notes 1" and thought to myself, "Hmmm. That's odd, because there should not be a file called Sangali Notes 1. There should only be a Sangali Notes." So I opened it and there was the first beautiful line and I almost cried. "Jason rolled over." That's it and ten glorious beautiful fantastic euphoric pages! I truly understand the phrase, "Oh joyous day Callou Callay!" And yes, I chortled in my joy!

I'm so happy I may take my children to go do the recycling today. And the car wash. Oh, heck, let's throw in a trip for Taco Tuesday as well!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Writing Prompt Sunday (Oh goodie)

Sometimes our characters are all too perfect, even if they are loathsome. Villains can even be the perfect villain - they smoke, they drink, they deal in drugs. The princess can also be far too perfect - she dresses well, she sings beautifully, she has long flowing tresses, she uses gentle words and believes that the world loves her. So here's what you have to do: Find the fault in your character's life. How does your character feel about this flaw? How do you feel about this character's flaw. Describe the flaw and your character's association with it in 500 words.

Now go to a self-help group.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New (and surprising) Electronics

I eluded to the acquisition of a laptop in a previous post. Yes; I finally entered the "go to the coffee shop and write without pen and paper age." She's a lovely little laptop that came preinstalled with Microsoft Office 2007. Can I say that Word '07 is the least intuitive writing program ever? It took me over ten minutes to figure out how to "Save As" last week. So I'm looking for a better writing software.

I must say, though, that I am thoroughly enjoying the writing process even more now. I have taken Charlotte (that's her name - and yes; she's named for a Bronte sister) with me to cafe's, bookstores, coffee shops and (ready for this?) the living room! And Mr. KCW was kind enough to finally get the wi-fi going in the house properly so that I could (if I so desired, which I don't have any desire whatsoever to do) carry my laptop with me while I do the laundry. Amazing. Right? I'm married to a freaking network engineer and I think I'm the last gal in the world to have wi-fi in her house.

To add to this wonderful step into writing freedom I have also been gifted a nook. I have resisted having an e-reader for years. Despite my voracious appetite for reading, I never could bring myself to pay a whole lot of money for a "book substitute." As a former librarian and a struggling author, I love books. I love the feel of them, the look of them, the way the letters dance across the page teasing you to read the next sentence. There is nothing like the weight of a book, especially when you fall asleep reading and wake to find it smashed against your face. I even dream about the smell of books - the musty smell of paper and the stringent scent of ink, glue and bindings. There is just something about a book that is so amazing and wonderful. Why would I want to purchase an e-reader if I have bookstores and libraries.

And yet here I sit with a nook at my side. How did this happen you ask? Well, I came to realize that there are just some authors (Stephen King I'm talking about you) who write very large books. Even in paper back they are enormous. And heavy. So having an e-reader that weighs less than twelve ounces is better than a book that weighs three pounds. My second point of justification is that there are tons of free books out there to download. Some of them are even pretty good or are old friends. I was secretly thrilled to find that Little Women was included in the initial free books that came with my nook seeing as it is my most favorite book ever since I first read it at ten years old.

The most wonderful thing about the nook is that I can download knitting patterns onto it and take them with me. Isn't that amazing? I am thrilled beyond belief. Books and knitting patterns all there contained in twelve ounces of plastic and electronics. I think that Louisa is about to become one of my best friends. (Yes; her name is Louisa. Doesn't everyone name their electronic friends?)

Sunday, July 11, 2010


After much hemming and hawing I finally got a laptop. It's for my writing. I love her. Her name is Charlotte. This was prompted by my flash drive fail (see an earlier post if you want to read the entire horrid story) and then my desktop getting corrupted by a drive-by infection (fortunately, not my external hard drive and Mr. KCW was able to clean it without any problems.) Through those ordeals I actually lost several books. It made me just sick. I transferred everything over to the new laptop. I have a new YA book that I've been working on and it is just nicely flowing along. Today I went to work on it some and so I opened Word, opened the document and sat there waiting for it to load. The screen stayed blank. Empty. Nothing. Word count: 0 Character count:0. ZERO! It's gone. Couldn't even restore a previous version. Thankfully most of it is on a flash drive, but I've lost nearly 2 weeks of work on that story. Good work, too. I hate trying to rewrite stuff. I never seem to capture the same spirit. :(

I feel like the technology gods (anyone know their names off hand - I'm thinking a burnt offering of some sort is in order) are out to get me. I'm half tempted to go back to an old fashioned manual typewriter (I have one of those) or maybe pen and paper. The worst thing that ever happened to Jo March was that her sister burned her work. She never had a computer eat her work. OK, enough pity party. I should get back to writing. Maybe I can figure out something and rewrite that first kiss scene better than before (doubtful - it was really cute.)

Writing Prompt Sunday

Write your MC into a situation in which s/he is facing a fear. How does s/he cope? How does s/he work through the situation? How does s/he feel afterwards? Now (because we don't want to leave our MC's needing therapy) write how your MC recovers from the ordeal (which may or may not include therapy).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Writing Prompt Sunday

Write a scene where one of your characters faces a struggle with freedom. What is keeping your character from achieving this freedom? With which freedom is your character struggling? How do you resolve this conflict? Or do you? How does this change your character's outlook on his/her current situation?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dear Mr. Creepy Guy

Yeah, so, I was at the bookstore writing in the cafe. This really creepy guy sits at the table next to me. Out of the side of my eye I think that he might be reading what I'm writing, so I moved my laptop (Oh yeah, I need to post about that) a bit closer to me. He adjusts his chair almost immediately. So then I turn my screen a bit and he moves his chair again. I keep trying to tell myself that it is all in my head until he tells me that I used the wrong word! No I am not kidding. I wish that I were. He said, "I think you mean the word propagate." I turned and looked at him and said, "Excuse me?" He says again, "I think you mean the word propagate. You used propagand." I said, "I know what I used. I meant to do that. Would you stop reading my work?" Then he says, "It looks interesting." So I said, "Fine. Buy it when it's published." I closed my laptop and left. I am totally dumbfounded.

OK, that is all. Just had to get that off my chest. Off to go to a different bookstore's cafe for a while.