Friday, November 30, 2012

The End

This has not been a good year for blogging. What's that? You missed me? You didn't notice? You only ended up here because you searched "child eats glue stick" or "Tell Me All Your Thoughts On God Song Meaning?" (Note how I cleverly promote the two most popular search entries leading to my blog. Not sure what I expect to accomplish with this cleverness, since this blog is not about glue sticks or late 90's music.)

But never fear friends, I'm still wasting time. I've spent the last 5 months revising my book, and after countless hours and documents, and even an editing class, I've come to the conclusion that I've come to the conclusion. I'm not exactly sure how a writer is supposed to know when their book is done. But for me, it's done when it's as good as I can make it. And so, for now, I'm done.

That's not to say my book is perfect and there's no room to improve. I'm just saying that at this point in time, I've taken it as far as whatever talent I posess permits. I'm entering the Pitch Wars contest in hopes of getting a mentor, because my own brain has been wrung dry on this book. I need a shot of genius from an outside source. And I need to stop reading my book backward and forward, before I have to pull a Taylor Swift and tell it we are never, ever, ever getting back together again.

So before I burn the bridges with Creepy Boy, I'm wishing it well, I'm sending it out into the world of Queries and Contests and other far distant places. Ours will be a long-distance relationship, and an open relationship too. Creepy Boy, feel free to let other minds twirl around your plot, POV and chapter order. And please don't be hurt if I start writing someone else. I know it's sudden. But he caught my eye the other day. . .no one you know. . .his name's Harm. He's in a rock band. His mom's a psycho. Runs in the family.

Don't worry, Creepy, we'll still keep in touch. I promised you another tweak of your final chapters. I'll come through for you on that the first weekend we get together. It'll be bittersweet and we'll both come away agreeing it's for the best.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Not Bored Yet.

Things to do:

1. Assemble all outgrown kids clothes and toys for a Mom to Mom sale. Note to self--presence of spiders is a good indicator of an outgrown toy.
2. Take 10 Pilates classes with the Skinny Housewives of West Bloomfield, in a two week period. Note to self--pay attention to when those Groupons expire.
3. Attend tax classes, and prep for the RTRP exam in November
4. Run a 2.9 relay leg in the Detroit Marathon.
5. Hair appointment.
6. Facial (See note # 2)
7. Finish 2nd draft of book.
8. Write more.
9. Closets, closets, closets.
10. Pictures, pictures, pictures.
11. Send overdue gifts.

And that's not including all the daily Things to Do, and the afterschool activity carousel, and fall TV schedule and 2nd grade math homework.

For the record, so far, the most challenging thing about 2nd grade math is refraining from humming the Jeopardy theme song while my daughter stares into space for 5 minutes.

Did you notice, Blogging is not on the list? Awwww.

Monday, May 28, 2012

First Draft

I just did it. I just finished writing a for-real, all the way to the end, 96,853 words, 36 chapters, first draft of a novel.

I'm beyond excited about this, which is why I'm bragging about it on my blog. I've spent a year on this story, but before that, I spent many many years with many beginnings of stories that I never had the stamina to take all the way to The End.

So tiny little pat on the back for myself, while I'm still feeling it. Oh, heck, great big pat on the back and a rum n coke! I'm sure it won't be long before the doubts come back out to play, but for now, I'm riding the high into revision-land for as long as I can.

The one thing I have going for me is that I love my story. Okay, yeah, I wrote it myself, so I probably should, but at least I know I'm not going to get sick of it.

That's right, my book, the book I wrote myself, is now right up there with all my favorites, some of them favorites for the whole story, like Bridget Jones' Diary, others, favorites for just one or two perfect pages.

I've skimmed my way numerous times to that delicious scene where Percy literally kisses the ground Marguerite walks on. I've taken on "Phantom of the Opera" over and over, for Raoul on the roof with Christine, bitterly trying to accept their "secret engagement," or for that moment when the Phantom speaks his name, or sheds a tear.

I've read "A Tale of Two Cities," cover to cover many times, just for the joy of that moment when Sidney Carton does "a far, far better thing."

I'm looking forward to revising and revisiting all the tender and twisted moments I love and savor in my own book. I just have to make sure I work on all the other parts too.

What books do you love to re-read?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Random Rants

I haven't posted in a while, because every time I start to write, I go off on a mega-rant. So instead of subjecting any unsuspecting readers with page-long diatribes, I'll just give you the highlights.

1. Toys. Whoever invented all this crap should be shot. Also, if I had these cool toys as a child, I'd be keeping all their damn pieces together in a set like they should be. Don't you kids have any appreciation for the beauty of a Complete Set? And I cannot believe you broke the Mousetrap game in two places after only two days. Do you KNOW how long I've been waiting for that game?

2. Appliances. Seriously, Kenmore and GE you guys suck. I think of how much you guys suck every time I open my refrigerator or use my stinking washing maching. Hoover you are on my shit-list too, but less so, because you are supposed to suck, and you actually did a good job at it for 5 years, which is more than I can say for Mr. Kenmore and Mr. GE. I would LOVE a new vacuum cleaner, but I'm paranoid now about buying any top-of-the line household appliance.

3. Whining. How about I throw away all your damn toys? Ungrateful little. . .

4. Paper. WTF is all this stuff? And why is it so hard for me to throw it all out?

5. TV. Why don't they make any shows any more that are GOOD and yet don't require me to invest 3 seasons of watching, in order to follow the story? And The Office, calling you out on watering down the funny and expecting me to go to your .com to get "more".

6. Bullying. You know what, no one gave a shit when it happened to me, and even if they had, they couldn't have helped more than me figuring it out on my own. But let's just pretend that bullying causes suicide, so we can continue to ignore the deplorable state of mental health care in this country, which so-called "health care reform" is nowhere close to resolving. Also, let's point and laugh at celebrities with obvious mental illness, unless they die of their "self-medicating." Because it's okay to insult people if they are on TV. Just don't call them names at school. Get the difference?

7. Messes. Your mother doesn't work here.

8. Writing. If I let people read it, then they might think. . . .


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cover Art, Yay!

I came home from the Tax Job tonight, to find my family had been busy creating covers for my novel in progress. I'm so glad I live with these awesome people. I love them! Look what they did!

 by Robbie age 5
 From my husband, Matt
 by Sarah age 7
by Sarah age 7

Vote for your favorite! I'll use it to grace the cover of my 1st draft!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One of the characters in the book I'm writing decided to write a sonnet. Which means, I have to write a sonnet. I haven't done that since high-school, and out of curiosity, I headed to the Archives*

Eventually, I found my sonnet, in my poetry binder.** My teacher had generously given it an A. I suppose that's because I followed the proper rhyme pattern and pentameter. The fact that it was stupid apparently didn't figure into the equation.
Other treasures I found:
  • A radio script I wrote for a contest in middle school. (non winning)
  • A picture book I wrote for a contest in middle school. (non winning)
  • My elementary school diary (the complete week of entries I made)
  • Various beginnings of stories about genies, time travel (with stagecoaches), school hi-jinks, ghosts, death, murder, and some lame story that seems to be all about a kid who didn't want to cook dinner for his family. Not sure where I was going with that one.
  • A very funny description of an unsanctioned subversive school club, called "The Writers Bloc" whose mission was to use writing to achive chaos. (not real, but it should have been!)
  • Some excellent examples of bad writing. "She picked up her suitcase and transported it to the bedroom." Seriously? Transported? And who gives a crap about her suitcase anyway?
  • An OUTLINE for my very best story from high-school, the one I'd come up with an awesome ending for, but can no longer remember. Outline was very detailed, and only missing one thing. The ending. I now realise it was also missing a little thing called plot. 
Digging through all this awesomeness kept me entertained late into the night and I'd like to think that as ancient as it may be, all those efforts can still count towards my 10,000 hours to creative breakthrough.

*Two boxes of notebooks, folders and binders that I have transported through 7 changes of address.
**Yes, it is an actual binder. Yes, it is alphabetized. Yes, those are the two most impressive features of the poetry binder. The actual poems pale in comparison.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Hour

(A follow up to my previous blog post Brushing Like an Amateur)
I'm not happy with the new toothpaste I got. What I really wanted was what I had before, which did a decent job whitening, and was a new flavor called, "clean mint" (I think), that tasted WONDERFUL. The first time I tried it, I was all "Wow, I love this toothpaste. It tastes great. It tastes like a minty margarita." I mean, I actually said that aloud. To several people.
I couldn't manage to find it again. If it was there, I must have gotten turned off by all the clinical information on the box, which to me just means "scary yucky toothpaste".
Do you not realize, Oh toothpaste makers, that taste is the only thing we really care about? Even with kids you try to do the marketing thing, putting princesses and cars on the package, but in the end, what my kids really care about is the flavor, which is why my daughter is using the Cars toothpaste, the boy is brushing with "Dora the Explorer" and the princesses are shoved in the back of a drawer, rejected by everyone.
Why should grownups have any less fun? I don't want Bubble Gum or Fun Fruit flavor, but why shouldn't my toothpaste taste good?
I know Crest is looking at my blog, so I'd like to throw a bone to whatever entry-level employee has the thankless job of vetting Google searches of "Crest" for any potential libel lawsuit material. Here is your ticket into a real marketing job. Start making fun flavored toothpastes for adults! I'd love to hit the toothpaste aisle and choose between Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Mai Tai, Pina Colada or Martini. It would be like having a mini-vacation or party for two minutes every morning and night!
Who's with me? Comment below to show your support. Let's make this dream a reality!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Brushing like an amateur

Somebody please tell me, when did brushing teeth become rocket science?

Thanks to a bout of "couponing" a year or so ago, today was the first time I needed to purchase toothpaste and toothbrushes in quite a while. I expected to hit the dental aisle at Target, decide between "fresh mint" or "clean mint" flavor, pick up some cheapie toothbrushes and be done with it.

Oh, no no no.

I only have a few expectations when it comes to toothpaste: It should clean my teeth and not taste terrible.

The first thing I noticed as I looked over the Crest section, was that it was completely dominated by their "Pro Heath" toothpaste line, which I tried during the couponing days, to find it failed completely in the "not tasting terrible" category.

Quickly scanning the shelves for any "Non-Pro" (amateur?) products, I realized that every single package is covered with an encyclopedia of information. "Fights cavities, whitens teeth, prevents gum disease, freshens breath, gentle polishing ingredients, dentist preferred, protection, defense, healthy mouth formula," and on and on.

Most of these were labled as Crest "Complete" apparently to justify being twice the price of the bottom-shelf "incomplete" toothpaste, that only cleans and whitens teeth.

I strongly suspect that the actual toothpaste inside the tubes is practically identical, and that the differences are simply inventions of marketing. At least I hope so. I sincerely hope that the scientific brain-power of our nation is being focused on curing diseases and getting us those flying cars, and not on the minutia of how to cleanse our mouths.

I couldn't find plain ol' mint toothpaste, even among the incomplete, which despite their inadequacy still bragged "with baking soda and peroxide." I just hope it passes the taste test.

Moving on to the toothbrushes, I find an array of bristle configurations from circles to waves to zig-zags, even hexagons, and wierd things that look like bicycle wheels that will spin for you so you don't have to tire your hand. I begin to doubt myself. It is really okay to buy the cheapest toothbrush? What is the latest research on the effectiveness of the circle vs the wave? Are there heated scientific debates on the topic? It makes my head spin just thinking about it.

Well, if my head is spinning, my toothbrush probably doesn't need to right?

I wonder. Do people actually read and believe all the stuff on the package? Is this how insignificant our lives have become, that we have to make a simple daily process into something so complex? Or are people just desperately making up stuff in an effort to justify their jobs?  I'm all for creativity, but let's not waste it, please.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 In Review (The Link Episode)

Remember back in January when I posted my New Years resolutions?

Well, time for a progress report.

First I'm pleased to announce the NEW HOLIDAY TRADITION, which was my daughter performing in her dance studio's production of The Nutcracker.The best part about this tradition is that they only do it EVERY OTHER YEAR, which is totally my style of tradition. Now I just need to adjust the every other year rotation of hosting christmas eve so it doesn't fall in the same year as nutcracker year. How to do this without volunteering to take on 2 years back to back, hmmmm, must think. . .

Then I think I said something about getting more babysitters and going out more, which I have to give a big fat "plbttttt" to as far as my success with that went.

I don't know what my other resolution was.* I don't think it was "get inspired by a band to throw myself whole-heartedly into creativity and really write a book." But it if was, then I made awesome progress. It helped a lot that I broke my ankle so I had an rock solid excuse in the form of a cast, for just sitting the computer all day.

Don't have that excuse anymore, although I'm still using it to justify various disorganized places in the house. Now I excuse my exessive computer time, with the rationization that I need to put in the requisit 10,000 hours to creative breakthrough, and seeing as how I'm already, ummm, well, this old, I don't have time to waste. The book is still in progress, but I'm still counting it in the success column.

I'm going to count the whole year as a success, even though it was the second summer in a row I began on crutches. I may have been in a cast but at least I wasn't in a rut. I went to two My Chemical Romance concerts. I signed up for Twitter so I could be an obsessed MCR stalker (oh, right they call them followers) and from there, I found new writing contacts on Twitter. Thanks to Tina and crew at The Practice Room I managed to stay on track with my writing all year. I had the opportunity to read and critique for Vikki, who's writing is a hilarious joy for me to read. I thank the awesome friends who've been reading and encouraging me. My writing journey this year has led me to some interesting by-ways. In no particular order:

Thank You Galaxy Comics

Dominating the Zombies

Like A Soap Opera, but Fangier

OyMGOyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy

Young Adult Fiction! This isn't the only book I read, but I liked it, and I won this one in a contest, along with a critique of some of my writing from the author.

View all my reviews

Still Obsessed

To top it all off, I've won my class-action lawsuits against Ticketmaster and itunes, so I finished up 2011 $6.35 richer. Just need to fill out out a few legal forms and consider the tax ramifications.

*I'm lying, but since I didn't end up blogging more frequently, let's just agree to forget about that one, okay?