Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I've Leaned This Week

1. There really aren't enough hours in the day. Sorry the posts have been a little less consistent than in the past. You may have caught my previous post about being crazy busy and needing to give yourself permission to take a breather from time to time. Well that craziness seems to be spreading to the point that my husband and I have now created a shared Google calendar. Type A? Check. Organized? Check. Feeling like my summer vaca is already booked up? Check. Let it be known, however, that my commitment to the blog is no less but as you'll see some weeks it's two posts instead of the usual three or really ambitious four you sometimes saw. No week will pass where there won't be posts though so please keep coming back and if there's anything you definitely want to see here, let it be known.

2. There is something exciting about going to NYC no matter how many times I visit. I just got back from a business trip to the Big Apple and though it was a whirlwind, my stomach still gets those excited butterfly feelings every time I pull up into the city. Sure, there's more people on every block than I see in an entire commute during rush hour in DC and no they don't have cell service in the subway like we do, but still...there's a certain allure. Center of the universe? I'm not quite on that team yet but it certainly is a great place to be and a wonderful backdrop for films and novels which is probably why it's as central a character in some of our best loved stories as anything else.

3. Nothing smells as bad as trash in a hot house. Unfortunately in my scurry to get out the door for my trip I didn't take the trash out. Enough said.

4. Nothing and I mean nothing is a time suck like the crazily addictive Words With Friends. If you don't have this app on your phone I'd like to tell you not to download it...only I can't. It's virtual Scrabble with your friends and though you'll sneak in way too much time during the day (or during the commute like I do) trying to figure out six letter words ending in "o" to get those triple word points and temporary bragging rights, it's just somehow too alluring to pass up.

5. I'm thinking of re-reading Breaking Dawn. "Are there tons of books I haven't read sitting on my shelf as well as piling up on the floor?" you ask. "Yes." Do I often re-read books particularly those in the paranormal genre let alone the Twilight Saga, you might wonder. "No." But...somehow I'm feeling that pull to brush up on the storyline before this Fall. I know some of you are re-reading Book 7 of Harry Potter and no, I'm not saying Twilight is Potter. It is not. But, you know the feeling of preparing for an end film and feeling like so much time has passed since you read the book. These are characters you've been with a while and, well, you want to familiarize yourself again. Crack-candy Twilight reading or not.

6. Characters are more real when you try not to "fix" them. I'm at the climax of my WIP right now and I'm feeling pretty good about things. For those who are new, this is my second novel in progress. The first got a handful of partial and full submission requests along with a full manuscript request for edits but alas nothing came to fruition. I was disappointed though something told me that the next story (aka the one I'm working on now) had more marketability and certainly more action. What I've learned in this process is that in my first manuscript I tried too hard to dictate what the character should or shouldn't do. I was playing the mother of sorts in writing my teen character instead of really allowing her to be herself. This time I swore if I was going to do it right then I couldn't censor my character. This has given my prose--and my main character--so much more depth. In the first manuscript I tried to be flowery and use particular prose instead of having my character just tell it like it is. I realized that like friends, you can't fix your characters or change who they are. You need to embrace them and as good writers, listen to what they have to "say."

What have you learned this week?

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