Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fun!

Thanks to the stupendous Brenda St. John Brown, I've been bestowed with a blogging award.



In keeping with the rules...
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 deserving blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them

Random Facts About Me
1. My job as a credit analyst also involves making collection calls, which terrifies me. So I send a lot of collection emails.

2. I have a sick obsession with boybands, proven by the notebooks full of bad fanfic and the NKOTBSB cd playing (on repeat) right now.

3. Yes, I am married to a farmer. We live on a farm with cows. In fact, I have almost always lived on a farm with cows.

4. When I gave my daughter the middle name Carlene, I didn't think about the fact that her brother's middle name is Carl. She was probably two before I gave it a thought and now it bothers me a little because it's like I was trying to make their names similiar, when I really wasn't. They are family names.

5. When I find a new song that I like, I will listen to it on repeat for days at a time. Most recently, Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean and Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum.

6. My degree is in agriculture. I work for a company that manufactures broadcast equipment.

7. I used to be a huge NASCAR fan, but I'm not anymore. I still have a picture of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in my cubicle. Because he's pretty. I also wrote bad fanfic about him.

And now, I pass this award along to following wonderfully fabulous people...

Mare, who taught me about fanfic in the first place

Mercy, because she started National Cow Week

Emily, a fellow farm wife and rock star because she just had baby number 4

Quarry Heights Writers' Workshop, it's the closest to home writing related thing I've found

You're Write. Except When You're Rong, because it's an amusing blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Addition...

In addition to my Twitter post, go read this post by Beth Revis in regards to your online presence as an author. It is possible to sell books if you aren't widely known online. I've bought books by authors I've never heard of.

My Twitter Guidelines

I'm still a novice when it comes to Twitter. I putter around a little and tweet irrelevant things. Much like what I write here. But I like to keep up with what people are doing. I like to see pictures. I like to hear about people's lives. Which is why I've come up with the list of examples as to why I will unfollow you without thinking twice (I know there are thousands of people out there who will read this because *my* opinion matters so much to them. ha!)

1- I unfollowed an author because all her tweets were centered around praise of her book. She only retweeted all the wonderful reviews and glowing things people said about the book. I did not like the book so much, so UNFOLLOW.

2- I unfollowed another author because I didn't like her book. I read a few pages or a couple chapters or whatever it was and had to put it down. To me, it seemed to be "just another Twilight knockoff", only it was a werewolf book. UNFOLLOW.

3- Last example. I unfollowed an author because apparently she thought she could bank on only releasing one book. Isn't there a "rule" out there that says when you're shopping your book, you're supposed to be writing the next one? Apparently, she didn't get that. So she tweeted a lot of melancholy crap about writing while still milking the first book (which I loved, by the way). UNFOLLOW.

I've decided I need to be more selective about who I follow. I waste a lot of time on Twitter. A lot of that time is spent filtering through the crap to find the good stuff. But like I said, I'm a novice. So maybe I'm going about it the wrong way? I like to read about people lives. I don't like to click links, unless there's a good description of what's there (hard to do with only 140 characters). Don't only tweet links to your blog. Don't only tweet about writing. If that's your whole life, I think you're doing it wrong.

And yes, I do follow all the agents/publishers/editor-type people I can find because I'm sure one of these days I will stumble upon the magic formula that will allow me to write a hundred best sellers.

So, what's your Twitter formula? Am I doing it wrong?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Picture Post




This is what it looked like when I walked outside around 7:30 or 8 last night. I have a plain old point and shoot digital camera, nothing fancy (in fact, I used credit card points to buy it). The only "fancy" setting I use on it is the vivid colors. But this picture is actually pretty close to what it looked like. Totally otherworldly.

We're several hours away from Joplin, Missouri (where the big storms hit last night), but we had watches and warnings. We had some rain and wind. And this weird sky stuff.

This one was taken with all the auto setting, no "fancy" stuff...


Friday, May 20, 2011

Help?

I need help. I'm stuck.

My current WIP is about a girl on a road trip with a boy. Very general :-) My problem is that I've changed the story since the idea first hit me and I don't know if my MC has the motivation for the trip that she had at first. So if the MC has no motivation for being there, that kinda defeats the purpose of the story, right?

At first, she wanted to leave home because her parents were never around and it was a cry for attention, basically.

Now the MC is a popular over-achiever with great parents who encourage the trip. So it's more of an escape/life experience kind of thing before she goes to college. But, that's sort of what college is about, so why go to the trouble of the road trip beforehand?

I've got it written in to the story that MC found a photo album of trips her parents took before she was born and she used that as a base. Also, the idea came to her after her BFF moved away and then fell off the face of the planet. I don't think that's quite enough, though.

So...is it feasible to have no motivation whatsoever for a trip? She just wanted to get out and see the country (it's a US cross country sort of trip)? That doesn't seem like much fun.

Should I throw in some off the wall reason? Like escaping a stalker or a boyfriend she doesn't want? That seems like a cop-out.

I'm going to try and do some character and plot worksheets (Check out the helpful revision process detailed by Susan Dennard on her blog) to see if I can come up with a solution, but I wanted to put the question out there to see if anyone had an opinion.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Writing "Career"

You always hear writers say that they've been writing for as long as they can remember. Well, here's what I remember.

The first story I remember was written after my aunt took me and my cousins to the lock and dam on the river. There were barges going through and all these noises. For some reason, I remember thinking about these scratching noises and I wrote a story about what lived under there and made the noises. I can't even remember now what it was; but if I looked hard enough, I might be able to find the notebook I wrote it in.

From there, what I remember most is fanfiction. And I was writing that before I knew what it was called. I wrote the Justin Timberlake-era Mickey Mouse Club (but I was a fan of Tony Lucca and JC Chasez) and New Kids on the Block. I stuck to boybands, I guess, because N'Sync followed.

I was a writer of "real" people. I never could get the hang of writing from TV shows or movies. The way I figured it, those were someone else's characters and I couldn't do them justice. Celebrities aren't much different, I suppose, because you only know them from what you see on TV or what you read in magazines.

There were a few other non-fanfics. One was about a girl going to college. The other was about a girl who gets money from an inheritance and leaves home. I don't remember now how they went but I'm sure there were boys and love involved.

That's what I always write about.

In 1999-2000ish, I was away at college. Far from home with little else to do, I started Cowboys and Angels. This would be my life's work for a long, long time. It took on many forms and characters changed. The original idea was always there, though. I know I completed one sequel. There's another one that I don't think I ever finished. I also started a part four. That might have been as recent as last year.

When I got it in my head that I wanted to get published, I thought I could take my last draft of C&A and revise it once to make it wonderful. I thought I could query it and see what happened. That was about a day after finding out what a query letter was.

Now, it's almost a year later. I moved my focus to another story that I started for NaNoWriMo in 2009, and I've been working on that ever since. It's taken on different forms and gone a different way than what I originally planned. But I don't outline. I don't lay out a detailed plot before I start. I take the original idea, jot down what I think will happen, and then I see what acutally happens. Sometimes it goes the same direction. This time it won't and that's okay.

I've got notebooks full of partial stories. Stuff I started and loved for a while. Every once in a while, I'll think that I need to dig out one of those notebooks and see what kind of wonderful thing I can do to it now that I've studied the craft a little. If I thought the story was brilliant when I first wrote it, just think what I could do with all my new knowledge of writing.

Ha.

Have you read all my other posts on focus and keeping up with one project? Yeah. I'm still working on that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011