Friday, July 29, 2011

Elevator Pitches

Rachelle Garder has been doing a series of posts about elevator pitches.  In her first post, Crafting Your Elevator Pitch, she details 8 steps to take in order to perfect your pitch.  In her next post, Elevator Pitch Critiques, she takes some of the pitches submitted by readers and details why they do or do not work for her.

I started working on mine this morning while I was on my walk.  It went through quite a few revisions, then more while I was driving to and fro.  Finally, this evening, I typed it up.  I'm sure it will be revised quite a few more times before I'm happy with it (that'll probably coincide with the completion of the book. ;))

To celebrate, I'm going to sponsor an elevator pitch contest.  I'm not going to announce the details until I get back from vacation, so you have plenty of time to work on yours!

Here's mine:

It's a young adult science fiction/fantasy/romance story about Earth's most eccentric multi-trillionairre, who has devised an evil plot to seize the Stylithium mines on Mars, free the Neptunian rebels imprisoned there, overthrow the Martian government, and destroy the interstellar treaty, casting the entire galaxy into poverty. When 17 year old Merry Underwood's father is kidnapped by the rebels, it's up to her, together with twin brother Mark, handsome but mysterious Artemus, and overgrown octopus Inky to thwart Uncle John's evil plan before it's too late.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Countdown to Vacation

I took the last five days off of my writing project and just sort of made notes and added my thoughts about the project (even though I kept up with the 750 words/day goal).  Also, today I went and purchased a binder and some paper so that I can start making visual references.  I've found them to be useful in the past, plus I am leaving on Thursday or Friday for our family reunion, so I won't be able to type much, but I don't want to lose my momentum on the story.

It turns out that either the break or the binder did the trick, and I typed more than I have in about 2 weeks.  More importantly, I typed better.  I went back to re-read what I wrote, and my screen saver kicked in, and I was like "wait!  I need to read what happens!"  Ummm... LOL!  It's very rough, but I'm pretty happy with it.  I'll share this part (which has to change, because I introduced a plot hole, but that's ok!)

Oh no! I'd forgotten where I was going! I grabbed my pack and took off running for class. I was finally becoming familiar with how the school was laid out. First a left, then a right, and then boom! I went flying backwards and landed on my rear again. This was not a habit I wanted to continue. I looked up into Stephen's smirking face. He reached both hands down, picked me up and pressed me against a wall, then stepped in uncomfortably close.

"I don't know who you are, carrot top, but you think you're safe because you have Art and Rick drooling around you, but you're not. I'll be here, watching and waiting. When you least expect it, I'll appear. You'll never know when or how, but one day, very soon, our worlds will again collide, and there's nothing that halfling can do, nothing my goodie two-shoes cousin can do."

He stepped back and motioned for me to go.

"Have a nice day."

I ran again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm on a roll!

Nineteen days in a row, I've written 750 words or more.  I'm so proud of me, this is a new record!  It's funny, but I'm writing a fantasy/sci fi/romance novelette.  The funny part: I don't remember what pushed me into it.  I'm enjoying the journey quite a lot, I had no idea world building could be such an adventure.  Anyway, that's what's been keeping me busy and quiet and out of trouble (aka - my excuse for not posting here!  Well that, and life got sucky, LOL.)

Also doing a 100 word story for Dr. Hurley's Snake Oil Cure on the etymology of the Irish town called Bloody Foreland.  I'll be interested to see if it does well there.  I had so much fun writing it, I may do another.

Last but not least, I just made a new post at The Curated Writer25 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Day From Hell

I didn't have a good day.

You can tell I'm practicing my writing skills, because I did my best to not embellish that statement.  I didn't add "very".  I didn't add "!!!!!!!".  I didn't include a zillion adjectives or adverbs.  But just because I did not do any of that does not mean I didn't have a very very !!!!!!!!!!! terribly awfully horrendously abhorrently incredibly sucky day, because I did!

Ordinarily I would not share that thought with you.  I'm one of those "in with the bad, out with the good" type people - no one needs to hear more bad things, life is difficult enough!  But I shared that with you for one reason.  As I've posted about before, I've been doing the 750 words thing.  Most of the time I blather on for about 450 words, then I actually write/story tell for another 300 or so words.  That's what I intended to do tonight, since I obviously had lots to blather on about.  About 200 words into my typing, I realized I had jumped right in to my story.  No preface.  No blathering.  No nothing.  Just picked up where I'd left off last night and moved right along.

This morning I went out and did about 40 minutes of tai chi as a way to calm and focus myself.  I was pleased that it worked so well.  Tonight, writing had the exact same affect.  It took me away from my day, from my stress. I can't begin to express how incredibly amazed and happy I am about this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm on a 6 day streak

I think I posted here about 750 words.  If not, check out my other blog, A Curated Writer.  I'm on a six day streak, so it's working.  I find that I'm making myself spend the time.  Like tonight, there were so many other things I wanted to do... had a busy day, not much down time, but there was no way I was going to ruin my streak!

I feel kind of bad because I haven't spent much time at WVU with my classes, but I feel like part of the reason I'm enrolled there is to make me write, so it's obviously working, right?

Oh, and I have to say, I am having a BLAST.  Here is what I wrote yesterday about the story that I started:
Laura Bradford tweeted today about wanting YA stories, dark intense thriller/mystery, lighter mystery/romance, and then regular historical mystery/romance. My mind has been toying with young adult stories for a few weeks now, I keep wondering if I'm capable. I mean it's not like my mind doesn't hang out on an immature level at times anyway! So I started writing in my mind late this afternoon, and told myself that I'd write it down tonight when I sat here to write my words. One of the things I was most curious about was how far and how fast I could type before I'd run out of story line. I suppose if I'm still going strong after 500 words, I might have to give it some serious consideration. Ready? Here goes!
 I'm going to keep writing and not worry too much about what constitutes YA.  I'm cracking myself up though, so that's a good thing, right?  Here's the part that really amused me tonight:

I stood transfixed as one of Inky's tentacles snaked out to snag a rock.  Back home this would be the time to make yourself scarce.  Here it was obviously the same, but my feet were glued to the dusty walkway.  I guess you'd have to be here to understand, but the "nasty little Plutonian" looked like two transparent dinner plates rolling on their sides with blue goo pressed between them.  When it spoke, the effect was mesmerizing.  The goo changed colors in places, sometimes green, but mostly red, especially when its words were mean.  I'm not sure if I should call it a he or a she, it didn't really look like anything that could ever be a boy or a girl.  Man, I sure have a lot to learn.
"Inky."  I startled myself with the sound of my own voice.  "Let's go.  It's obviously a liar.  Come on."
To my surprise, he dropped the rock. But then, before I knew what was happening, his tentacle thrust out, coiled around the perimeter of the Plutonian, then released it with a classic back spin.  Hearing its "whoaaaaaa" sounds as it rolled across the school yard was enough to make me laugh for the first time in days.  I laughed so hard my sides hurt.  Tears started coming out of my eyes.  People started staring and pointing.  I tried to stop, and then another "person" would stop and look at me, and I'd see them wondering why I was laughing so hard, and I'd start laughing again.  It suddenly occurred to me that I was now a bonafide member of a travelling freak show!  That's all my entire school was, just a bunch of freaks!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Opportunity is Knocking

I've been bad about posting - had the creeping crud - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

The following are some of today's tweets by @Laura Bradford - Bradford Literary Agency

  • Attention YA authors: I am looking for a dark, intense, psychological thriller/mystery for YA
  • I am also looking for a lighter, more episodic type of YA mystery, perhaps with some romance.
  • This specific request is a repeat: I am looking for a historical mystery with strong romantic elements

Makes me want to write something YA!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dr. Hurley Goes to the Smithsonian

That's supposed to sound something like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" but somehow it just doesn't have the same ring.  Oh well, I tried!

Today I was over at Dr. Hurley's Snake Oil Cure.  It's a site I enjoy for a variety of reasons.  One of the most recent reasons is the aptly titled Sometimes.  While I was there today, I happened to notice they had announced a new project called Smithsonian Dialogues, which asks people to go to the Smithsonian's Flickr stream, select a photo and then write, draw, paint, or some other artistic thing about it. Of course I got lost in their 2,200 image library.  I think I'm going to select a random number, then go to the corresponding image, and write from there.  Anyone else game?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

396 Books and Other Resources Writers Recommend

Over at Writers Village University (which you should join, if you're able of course), Grumps posted this PDF by Holly Lisle.  It turns out it's free to redistribute, so I am doing that. :)  I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but Holly's one cool chick, so I'm sure it's excellent!

396 Books and Other Resources Writers Recommend - by Holly Lisle

Thursday, June 23, 2011

There's No Place Like Home - BDCWB Flash Fiction Challenge #2

Response to the DCWB Flash Fiction Challenge


Splat, splat.

Splat, splat, splat splat splat.

The rain began to fall.  First a drop, then two, then a handful.  I turned my head to the sky, mouth opening wide to drink in the heavens.  My nose filled with the pungent mixture of rain, freshly tilled soil, and cow manure.  Arms spread wide, I embraced the storm, inviting its gift to soak into the dirt.

Crack.  Boom!

In a single motion my back arched and I levitated three feet above the ground, then returned to earth with a thud.

Flash! Crack! Boom! Splat splat splat splat splat!

I dove for cover, threading my way between the towering stalks.  I started to choke, breathing in a gagging mixture of water, dirt, and air.  I ran.  The field seemed infinite and the day seemed endless.  At last, hunched over, hands on muddy knees, I stopped trying to escape the tempest.  My initial panic gave way to an eerie calm.  The palpable electricity caused goose bumps to rise and tiny hairs to stand on end.  The heavens cracked again and with them a great rift moved through the middle of the rows.  Not five feet away, Shoeless Joe Jackson appeared.  The electricity seemed limitless, and the awe seemed boundless.

As the rain lessened, I looked down at the ground, once so dusty and arid, now a teeming mud hole, a veritable oasis for our pigs.  Through wet lashes weighed heavily with rain, I could see my shoes.  My ruby red slippers.  My feet moved of their own accord.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Perhaps I *am* Daft

When I posted the Lester story link on my Facebook page, I included the writing prompt and the comment "lest you think I'm daft". Predictably, people felt that my writing wasn't the sole indicator. They also hinted that they already knew my level of daft-itude - the nerve!

Why, you may ask, do I bring this up tonight? Because I found a new (to me) e-zine - Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine. They have a very narrow timeline for submissions:

Issue Three: "Cinderella" theme, submission window opens at 12 a.m., EST, June 27, and closes at 11:59 p.m., June 30.
Predictably, I've decided I simply MUST write a story for this issue. 1,500 words, one week - obviously I can do that! I've also figured out that I stand zero chance of having anything accepted for publication if I don't write and submit something - genius, right? It's ok, you don't have to tell me, I already know. ;)

I started the story earlier today - actually went outside, sat on the patio, and used pen and paper to jot out some notes. When I returned to my computer, I started writing. About 45 minutes later, I'd written myself into a corner. I've let it stew since then, but I think I've now thought my way out of that predicament and am ready to get back to the typing part. That may have to wait until tomorrow, since I'm here typing this instead of there, writing that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

There's a Merry Go Round in my head

All of my writing thoughts keep going around in circles all the while moving up and down, up and down. I'm sure if I tuned in, I'd be able to hear that silly carousel song that goes along with it.

I made a vision board today for exercising/fitness. As I was tearing things out, I started tearing out things for a story telling board. They made me smile. All day long, I've been on the edge of something... something in my head, riding that carousel, singing a song, needing to be heard. I don't think it's Riley and Suzy. It might not even be adult fiction. But there's a story in there, and I hope I find it before it explodes (that'd be messy).

It may have something to do with dogs. Or maybe princesses. Or knights.

Possible Themes/Titles:

Spacemen of Alcatraz
Ol' Red, A Martian's Best Friend
Marooned on Venus: Blizzards, Not Just for Dessert Anymore
The Pirates of Purchance

I seem to have an outer space theme going. hmmmm

Venturing away from the kid theme for a moment:

A Knight in the Lady's Boudoir (Comedy of course!) - ohhhh, I'm going to have to write that one!

I'm having fleeting thoughts of Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice although I'm not sure why. Now that I think of it, it's been in my head for a while. I read it for the first time a few years ago, might have to go back and read it again.

Friday, June 17, 2011


This is in response to a writing prompt at Writer's Village University. But first, an oldie but a goodie that someone reposted on FB today:

If a man talks in a forest and there's no one around to hear him, is he still wrong?


"Lester, my leafy friend, you think it's not easy being green? Being green's a cinch these days! Open a can, toss it into the recycle bin. Done with the newspaper? Toss it in the bin. Eggs all gone? Throw the carton in. Why, you can even recycle the shells. Ever heard of composting, Lester? I could compost you if I wanted, but I won't, of course. But you can compost all sorts of things. You can even compost newspapers! And egg cartons!

"I try to tell people that sometimes. I say 'you know, you can put that in the compost pile'. They just look at me like I'm speaking another language. You ever have that problem, Lester? Like you're talking and the words are coming out but the other person doesn't answer? I mean, I'm a quiet person after all. I don't talk much, mostly I listen. People talk back and forth and I sit and I watch, my head going left to right like I'm at a tennis match. Then, when they stop talking, I speak up. I say what I think. You know what happens, Lester? You know what happens when I do that? Absolutely nothing, that's what happens! It's like I never said a word. People just stare at me. Sometimes I think I have a disease. You know about diseases, right Lester? Well, ok, you know plant diseases, but maybe not people diseases, but still. I mean, maybe I don't talk right. Maybe I think there are words coming out of my mouth, but instead all I do is grunt. Or even worse, maybe I make no sound at all. Maybe I only hear myself in my head. Maybe the reason they stare is because my mouth is moving but nothing comes out. You think that's it, Lester?


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not actually the beginning

Many journeys start before you realize they've started. They begin in your mind. You watch something on television, you read something in a magazine. Soon you're searching on the 'net, trying to find out more information. You begin to look into the details, you start to learn about your destination.

Life's a journey, not a destination - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before you get the incorrect idea that I'm well read, I didn't know that was a quote by him - I was thinking about the Aerosmith song and looked it up.

Here's the Aerosmith song if you're interested.

Anyway, this is not the beginning of my writing journey, I just felt like I needed to have a place to write about writing (!). So sometimes, when I'm not working on a story, I'll sit and ramble - I have a half hour a day goal that I have to meet. Other times, I will probably share what I've written, sometimes in hopes of gaining valuable feedback, and other times just for validation. Oh, and sometimes just because I've found that looking at a story when it's formatted differently makes it read differently. Weird, I know, but I never said I wasn't. ;)

F2K is officially complete until August. I'm pretty happy with how the session went. I made the commitment to write in earnest - that's a big one. I also feel like I learned a lot, most notably in the value of feedback, both giving and receiving. My wonderful mentor Granny picked one of my lessons to feature one week, and also picked my final story as the one to represent our room in the session-end contest. I was very happy about that, it felt like validation. The story did not fair well in the voting, and I'm not sure why. It may be that it's the wrong audience, it may be that the story was too ambitious for only 1,500 words, or, it may be that it sucked (of course, I don't believe that for a moment. HAH!) . I don't want to believe it sucked. I don't believe it sucked. But that doesn't mean it didn't! But it didn't! HAHAH! I will post it and let others decide!

Final item worth noting: if I post something, I would love feedback. If it sucks, I'd love to hear that - but if you're going to type that it sucks, then you have to play along and tell me why. You want me to improve, right? I know you do!