Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yikes...where have I been? Well, let's see: back to school shopping, planning an insanely hectic Luau party for my 8 year old's birthday, breaking a toe (yes, you can say ouch!) and editing, editing, editing...

Still, no excuses. Now school is back in session Monday and my daytime will once again be my own...well, if you subtract the time necessitated by a 16 month old...okay so nap time will once again be my own!

Can't wait to sit down and delve into all the wonderful blogs I follow and have been to you all soon!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To prologue or not to prologue - that is the question!

I've been pondering this question for a while now and then decided who better to poll then my fellow enthusiasts!

My first novel, which I am currently about to finish editing, begins with a flashback. In actuality, it begins with two flashbacks which I consider more of a double prologue. You see the story is told from the POV of a daughter who finds her mother's body after she commits suicide and then follows her along the path of self-discovery as she searches for the reason for her mother's death. It becomes apparent during the course of the novel that her mother and father's relationship was doomed from the beginning and the two flashback sequences - one told from the father's POV and one from the mother's POV- foreshadow this revelation.

I love this beginning (of course, I do since I wrote it!) but have been advised by a few readers (mostly other writers) that I shouldn't begin this way. I realize it breaks many rules: begin with heavy action, keep the same POV throughout etc. But I am reluctant to scrap it because it felt right to me...but am willing to do the old heave-ho if it is truly in the best interest of the work. Mostly I'm afraid that it will turn off the agents I am submitting to if they only read the first chapter or two.

At the moment, I'm thinking of compromising and only including the flashback of the mother. It is shorter more action packed.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'm desperate to get this right!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My reading dilemma

Here's the dilemma: Once I begin a book, I cannot stop - even if it is REALLY, REALLY bad!

Does anyone else have this problem?

Last night I got all the kiddos to bed and climbed into my bed looking forward to a couple hours of uninterrupted reading before hitting the hay. As I reached for the book on my bedside table (the book I've been reading for a week now and am on a whopping page 150!), I groaned a little. This current book I've committed to has proven to be less than exciting and even less inspiring.

Why don't I just put this book aside (or swap it on my favorite site: Because I can't. I can't bring myself to stop reading until the very last word has been duly noted and processed. I've made it through many a novel this way, all the while wondering when it would get interesting and begin to captivate me.

Often, I've been bountifully rewarded with a great ending or a story that finally grabs me in the middle. It's how I made it through The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Fortune's Rock by Anita Shreve - I hung in there and am ever grateful that I did. But just as often, I struggle through the beginning pages of a book and reach the end only to be thankful that it is over and I can move on - my commitment to the author complete.

And of course there are countless books that I sail through, greedily devouring each word from beginning to end - like the Kite Runner that I read large parts of while stirring macaroni and cheese on the stove because I was so busy reading that I almost forgot to make dinner!

But what irks me is my misguided need to finish every book I pick up. Even now I feel confident that tonight I'll choose a new book and put to rest the current one (which shall remain nameless), but I know that when that fateful time comes, I'll likely be consumed by guilt and fear that on the very next page - the very next one that I'll never get to - there will be the great break through: those awe inspiring words I've been waiting for.

Hmmm...what to do...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

Kids are the best.

I have spent the greater part of my adulthood raising my kids. Teaching them, nurturing them, advising them... Yet it is always surprising when they turn around and teach me a lesson back. So this morning I thought I'd share one of these moments while the cherubs are all still asleep and I enjoy my morning coffee.

We had a family meeting this weekend as the last month of summer arrived and thoughts of back to school supplies and new teachers swirled in our heads. It has been an especially fun summer with lots of friends and beach time and the baby starting to walk. So we wanted to regroup and refocus. During our meeting, we spoke about goals for the next year...specifically what we wanted to accomplish.

When it came time to share our individual goals, I specifically chose ones that were family friendly and things I thought the kids could relate to (you know, eat more carrots and less chocolate, more exercise...)

Then my 7 year old daughter looked at me with these big brown eyes and said, "Mom! How about finishing your book? That should be your goal!"

Duh, right? I had been thinking that my writing life was simply that: MY writing life. But when I stop and think about it, my writing is a huge part of their life too. It is the "other" part of me that compliments the mommy and caregiver part to make me a whole and fulfilled person. And, yes, finishing my book IS my goal, I just didn't think my children would see that. So no more procrastination, no more whining over how tedious this editing is becoming. Back to work!

How pleasantly surprised I am to learn that in my children's eyes, I already am what I have always wanted to be: A WRITER.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A hard nut to crack

Have you ever wanted to hit your head against the wall for missed opportunities to plug your work and yourself as a writer? If I followed through on this urge, I'd for sure be missing half of my temporal lobe by now!

My characters and story are in my head CONSTANTLY to the point that I should set them a seat at my table along with my children, yet I have the hardest time speaking about them to other people.

Recently, a good friend asked me what my book was about. She was genuinely interested but I became a bumbling idiot sadly resembling my first attempt at asking a boy to the Sadie Hawkins dance in high school. I don't know if I'm worried that the person isn't really interested and just being polite or if I just generally am too close to the whole thing to put it into words. It's almost as if someone had asked me to sum up my whole world in a sentence or two.

The most frustrating thing is that I know talking easily and convincingly about my work is essential to success. I KNOW that if I'm not enthusiastic and clear then neither will anyone else be.

But it is proving to be a hard nut to crack for this aspiring writer...