Monday, July 18, 2011

Balancing Act


Yeah.  Trying to find it.  

We're moving in couple of weeks.  Homeschool starts soon after.  I'm in the middle of a re-write.  And advocating for special needs orphans has become beautifully time consuming.

Each one of these things is such a blessing; but each comes with the potential of a lot of stress.  And since I'm not by nature a highly organized person, juggling these plus the regular day to day is going to push me a bit.

But I'm determined to stay on top of it.  To stay organized.  To stay scheduled.  And most of all - even in the moments when I feel overwhelmed - I'm determined to remember just how blessed I am.

Life is good.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Killing Characters

...or rather, wiping from existence.

That's what I'm doing today.

I'm a little bummed about it; the character in question was one of my favorites.  He had a very small role in the books, but I'd fallen in love with him.  Unfortunately, his presence will (as the story changes with this rewrite) muddy things up that I don't want muddied.

Au revoir, old man.  I'll miss you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Morning Music

Good music is a huge motivator for me.  I stumbled onto this gem yesterday, and it's been stuck in my head ever since.

If you dig it, visit their kickstarter page here, and give these fabulous musicians a boost if you can - either through funds, or simply spreading the word about them through FB/Blog/Twitter...whatever!  Support the arts!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Titanic-Hating-Goo-Covered-Squid (or, Rejection)

You know how some people are gorgeous criers?  Their eyes glisten as they well up with tears.  Their already doe-like lashes seem to amplify with the moisture.  Their complexion becomes rose-like and dewey from whatever happens physiologically when we cry.  I had a friend in college like that.  Two of my kiddos are that way.

I'm not.

This is what happens when I cry:  My skin becomes blotchy and swollen (my husband likens it to how a food allergy looks on some people).  And it's not just a quick there and back again kind of blotchy.  It sticks around for awhile - at least twenty minutes after the waterworks have stopped.  And for whatever reason, when the tears begin for me, my nose runs.  Fiercely.  I'll go through a mega-box of tissues for one good cry.  When I cry, I become a blotchy, swollen, snotty mess.

I avoid crying, and things that will make me cry, like the plague.  Especially in public.  Oh my goodness, I'll never forget the humiliating moment when the lights came up after Titanic, and the people around us in the Nebraska movie theater were staring at me like I was some kind of squid who had dropped from the sky: trembling, gasping for breath, covered in goo.  Horrifying.


Last night, Thomas and I went on a date.  The first in months.  It was a much-needed outing.  We've got a lot going on, and we needed some grown up time, big time.

As we were waiting on our food at this great new dive we found (Fizz in Wichita.  Seriously excellent food, people.  Go there.  Now.), my phone dinged.  New email.  From an agent I was waiting on an answer from with baited breath.  I really liked the looks of this agent, and my hopes were high.

Oh, man.  Rejection.

I'm getting better at this rejection thing.  Anybody who has queried a book will tell you, rejection is just part of it.  Nobody's book is going to be everybody's cuppa.  That's just the way it is.  And I'm cool with that. But this rejection caught me off guard.  It actually hurt.  Not because she was harsh or mean or anything like that.  Not at all.  It hurt because, one, I really really liked this agent, and two, because (oh, crap), she said something that caught my attention.

Actually, it'd be more accurate to say it caught my husband's attention.  Back to the date.  We're sitting across from each other in our booth.  I have just slipped my phone back into my purse.  My face is rapidly changing from it's freckled-ivory self into a swollen-blotchy monster.  My nose is immediately out of control, and I'm grasping blindly for napkins.  Thomas is watching this, wondering what the hell is going on with his wife.  I'm finally able to spit out the word, rejection.

He immediately gets it.  He doesn't have to ask which agent I mean.  He knows me so well; he knows who I've been waiting to hear from.  He asks to read the email.  I refuse.  (Did I mention that crying also makes me utterly irrational?)  He insists.  I cave and wait, sniffling, as he reads it.

When he's done, he asks this question:

What does she know after reading the first 50 pages of your book?

I answered the question, and he looked at me kindof funny, and said,

Myndi, sweetie, that's not your book.  Your book starts when...

and then he went on to give me a run-down of my book through his eyes.  The things he loves about it, the things that make him care about it, the things that make him want to read it.

And none of those things are in the first fifty pages.

We paid our check and left.  I cried some more as we walked and talked, now not nearly as upset by the rejection, but by the fact that I'd missed something.  Something BIG.  Something writers aren't supposed to miss.  Granted, I'm an untrained newbie, but whoa.  If I haven't enticed the reader to care about the big picture of the story within the first couple of chapters, I'm screwed.  And the scary thing was, I thought I had done that.  I mean, good grief.  I've read, re-read, read aloud, re-read aloud, and read again.  I've polished until you can't see some of the letters on my keyboard any more.  I've spent sleepless nights going over plot, developing characters, imagining in fine details.  How on earth did I miss something so huge?

Anyway, all this to say, I'm stopping querying immediately.  I'm going back to work.  I love this story; I love my characters; I love these books.  And, yeah, I could stick them on a shelf and say they were my first try, and just be proud of that.  But I don't want to.  I want to do this right.  I want to grow.  I want the pain of criticism and rejection to spur me on to do better things than I would have otherwise.  I want to be able to say I gave this story everything I had, that I didn't cut corners.  Even if, in the end, it never sees the light of day, I want to be able to look at it and know the real success in the endeavor can be found in the process - in the growing, the changing, the learning.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Imaginary Letters from Mynniesue (To: Google)

Dearest Google,

How did you know when I woke up this morning that thatched roofs were on my mind? Not simply thatched roofs, but little cottages with thatched roofs? And how did you know that I was wondering how a person would go about thatching a roof if they were inclined to do so? It's almost unbelievable that you'd know I was wondering how a person would go about doing it without any proper tools. But you must have known, because all I did was ask. And you, loyal friend that you are, answered.

Photographs, examples, blogs, descriptions, websites and step-by-step DIY ideas for thatching roofs - with or without tools. All within a matter of mere moments.

I remember the days of the encyclopedia back when I was a kid. Those bleak days when the definitive knowledge on anything was at least five years old. Our encyclopedia was never in tune with me. Had I needed this info back then, I would have been screwed. I'm pretty sure our letter 'T' volume was on extended vacay somewhere exotic, like, under the couch or behind the fridge.

And then where would I be? The hero of my story wouldn't be thatching a roof to try and mend his broken heart, and that would just be wrong.

Crap, Google. I just read that last sentence. Is the hero of my book really trying to mend his broken heart by thatching a roof? Did I really just write that junk?

New Google search (don't let me down!): How to turn crappy writing into good writing.

New Google search (really don't let me down!): How to drown your editing woes in a bottle of Kraken.

Thank you, Google, for being so good at your job, and keeping your trap shut when I suck at mine.