Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Brief Musical Interlude

Tonight I began the process of sorting through all my ACFW papers and business cards. I recieved a few submission invitations but I'm not ready yet. Hopefully thank-you cards will be going out next week. I promise I will finish my ACFW Overview blogs soon. The creativity is pouring out of me tonight, so I'll be working on the book. (The perfect ending to book 1 just fell into my head)

I'm doing all I can to keep those post-conference writers blues away. After QCCWC this spring, I stopped writing for two or three months. I won't let that happen again.

I enjoy music while I write. I especially enjoy Bond.

Bond-- Explosive

I would love to create a playlist to go along with Demon. I also find Ben Folds and The Xx to be creative favorites.

Ben Folds-- Gracie

The Xx-- Islands

Ludo is one of my favorite bands ever. If you love the weirder things in life, you'll probably love Ludo. (A warning, the following song is very serial-killer-esque.)

Ludo-- The Horror of Our Love


Skydiving

The tiny plane rose higher and higher into the sky. I hunched over on the floor, sandwiched between the pilot and small door. My instructor, Dennis, sat in front of me. Only the pilot had a seat. Too late to go back now.

I pressed a finger to my carotid artery. My heart pumped stronger, but no faster, than usual. I fought the urge to fiddle with the chest straps on my harness. Are these tight enough? I looked at the pack on Dennis’ back. I check my altitude bracelet. The needle danced at 9,000 feet.

Dennis turned around. He joined our harnesses so that my back touched his chest. He checked a bunch of clasps I couldn’t identify. His right hand extended over my shoulder and gave me goggles. “Are you ready to jump out of a fully functioning airplane?”

I’m not sure if I nodded or said yes. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a ‘No’.

He twisted the handle, and the plane door popped open. At that height, there’s almost no way to conceive how fast you’re going. I remembered the instructions he gave me on the ground. He’ll put his right foot onto the step. My right foot goes outside his. Then I’ll move my left foot onto the step. He’ll pull back on my head and count into my ear. Then we’ll jump. While in freefall, I only need to let my arms and legs relax. He’ll do the rest.

I moved closer to the doorway. Something in my body railed against this. In that moment, I knew I should be afraid of falling. I laughed in my head. That’s why I’m here! And the fear was gone. I looked down and saw his right foot on the step. I guided my foot to the place it should be. Or I tried. The wind was so strong that it blows my whole leg around like a flag. I don’t remember how my left foot ended up outside of the plane. Neither of them ever touched the step.

Dennis spoke and counted. Then we fell, twisted and flipped in the air. My body was not relaxed and concave. I had pulled a ‘Superman’; my legs and arms were stiffer than a sheet of plywood. I felt his ankles wrap around mine and yank them back. We steadied out. His hands gripped my biceps and cracked them into the proper position. I felt something snap on my left shoulder. My arm had come out of socket and he pushed it back in.

The rest of the flight was smooth. At 6,000 feet, I pulled my own parachute. We landed to the cheers of friends. It wasn’t like the drop on a rollercoaster, but it was definitely fun.


My right foot reminds me of when God asks something of us and we obey without commitment. On the ground, Dennis said “I have a vested interest in your safety. We’re strapped together with one parachute. I want to live. You’re going to be fine.” It put my mind at ease. I knew I didn’t really have to try very hard. Dennis would fix it. When we obey God’s original call to action but do not follow it through with the actions He requires of us, we’re bound to get hurt. It is important to put your right foot onto the step, but a lack of commitment will have you in an uncontrolled freefall and your endeavor will not bear fruit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oooops

I have fallen off my blogging bandwagon tonight. I played cards and conversed with some fellow writers. Meeting other minds that enjoy the fantastical genre (and yes, it is fantastic) has been incredibly refreshing. Hence why it's past 3am, and I have just now returned to my hotel room.

My brain is too tired to recount my full day, so I'll leave you with this. If I ever become a James Bond girl, my name will Candy. Caramel Candy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

ACFW Day 2 Overview

What a day! I haven't hit a breaking point yet, but there is no way I could do this for four days. I really enjoyed my three classes today. One of them was about writing humor. My series certainly doesn't fall into the comedic genre. It has parts that are dark and face the problems of being broken, dirty and ugly. Humor is a nice way to keep a reader energized and remind them of that light at the end of the tunnel.

I ate lunch with a publisher/editor I really like and other writers who proudly wave their geek flags. Geeks are the best. Where else is "That's so weird!" a giant compliment? Geekland, that's where.

I also had my first chapter critique today. It went really well. My criticizer (I'm not positive that's the word I want) made two assumptions about me based on my work. One, that I was a college grad and two, that this manuscript was not my first writing project. Neither of these are true, and it was pretty awesome to hear from someone in the publishing world.

The following is her evaluation sheet. :)


She complimented my synopsis. I had never written one before, and all my research had outlined was a required length that varied from two paragraphs up to five pages. It needed a few more things, but since this was my first attempt, I'm proud of what I accomplished.


I could actually bask in this. Even the low point, "Most of the dialogue is flawless," is awesome. I've never had a single class on dialogue, and I know it's not nearly as strong as my action writing. She told me the tension I build is fantastic and at some point she got chills, even though this isn't her usual genre. Even you could see me right now, I might actually be glowing with happiness.


It wouldn't be fair if I posted all the things that were great about my first chapter, and then excluded the weaker points. I've done a decent job forcing myself out of passive voice, but there's always room to improve. My progress is even showing in my longhand. I'm honestly surprised with how much trouble I have conveying emotions to my readers. Relating to people is not something I struggle with in real life. It baffles me a little that I can lack that strength in my writing.

That was my day! Overall, it was excellent. Tomorrow I have class on dialogue. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that. I also have a mentor appointment lined up as well as an agent appointment. No, I'm not pitching Demon. Not yet. The appointment was part of the conference fee. I'm confident my manuscript will be strong enough for publication this time next year. I figured I may as well sit down with an agent and ask some questions that will benefit me when the time is right.

The conference has been great so far. I even met a few gals who live in Bettendorf! Imagine that! Right now, I want to finish my homework, soak my feet in hot water, and get to bed!

Fog

The fog is rolling in thick today!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

ACFW Day 1 Overview

I had a great first day. Things got lonely in the beginning. I headed over to the conference hotel three hours early, figuring I would register and go back to my room and write for a while. I got outside, and it was drizzling.


And those pants turn sheer when wet. Luckily, the rain was nearly nothing. After I registered, I looked out the window and the drizzle had turned into a downpour. So I was stuck there and didn't know anyone. Thankfully I had my Kindle in that giant bag.

My day turned brighter after that. I started meeting people, mostly women who were dying to know where I had gotten my shoes and/or earrings. I honestly got at least thirty compliments on my shoes today. I hope ACFW has an award for best heels. I would totally win that.

I also had a publisher comment on them. He then stated that running in them would be impossible. I said I could hit a brisk jog, which he then invited me to demonstrate. And I did. That's right. Not even a full day into the conference and I'm making some very unforgettable first impressions by running across a room in 5 inch stilettos.

I also attended a class called "A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss." I didn't realize that this was a class for Christian romance writers. The advice was helpful to an extent. The principles can apply with some tweaking, sort of how a vaccination is a watered-down virus. A fiction novel just isn't going to have the same stylized passion scenes as a romance novel. Though, at some point I had to restrain my laughter. Apparently a wife's neglige strap slipping off her shoulder is considered very risque and using words like throb simply will not fly.

Tomorrow I have my critique at 3pm. I'm very excited to get feedback and learn how I can improve.

A Journey to St. Louis

I made the drive to St. Louis for ACFW yesterday. The drive wasn't too bad. I stopped at a diner for lunch.


This sign was hanging in my booth. "No tinkers taken in." Pat Rothfuss would not approve.


At the end of my meal, the waitress brought me a complimentary cheesecake in a jar. Too adorable.

I arrived in St. Louis and checked into the hotel. I knew my room was a King parlor suite, but I didn't expect to have an entire living room. The view isn't too shabby either.



That was taken out of my living room window.

After settling in, I drove out to West County Mall. H&M taunted me with sweaters that were too boxy and dresses that were far too short. Oh well. I got a few cute accessories which will polish off my conference outfits nicely.

Today I'll check in at the ACFW booth. I originally planned to go to the aquarium this morning, but I think I might come back to the room and do some writing. Seems like a good way to start a Fiction Writers conference. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Disasters

We've had a lot of natural disasters here in the US lately. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Floods. Some people will tell you it's Mother Nature. Others will say it's God's judgement and a sign of the end times.

What do I think?

I think we can blame this.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Circles

Tonight Pandora suggested some Florence and the Machine. Pandora knows me so well.



I've been feeling like waving the white flag. My writing has dropped off and its got me feeling down. I have plenty to do. Most of the book is written in longhand. I have a hand full of chapters typed that need edited. I still have several (Five? Six?) chapters that need to be created. Creation takes time. When a new subplot reveals itself to me, it's a vague jumble of essential information. I have to let it simmer on the back burner of my brain for a while while the details fall into place.

Few people understand how taxing that can be.

I've hit a molehill that feels like a mountain. I've gone as far into typing as I can go before I need to create again. I'm adding in a new character, which means there are several existing chapters that need moderate to severe re-writes. I could skip ahead and let this new character simmer, but I only have a few chapters of longhand material before I hit another sub-plot that I haven't written yet. Plus if I type chapter 10 without writing chapter 7 and editing 8 and 9, I'm wasting my time.

Writing a novel is not an action with forward motion; You spin in circles until you're so dizzy you could hurl, and you hope you end up better than where you started. You also hope you don't ruin your shoes with vomit.

I can't force something that doesn't exist yet, but I really want to be working. The goal of typing everything was to have manuscript that I could sit down and edit from start to finish. Right now everything is riddled with holes and I don't know how to start patching.

It doesn't help that ACFW is in 10 days. I really wanted to be able to say "Yes, I have a finished, 94,000 word manuscript." But then my uncontrollable creative side kicked in and threw a giant wrench into that. These new subplots will add a lot of depth, and at least two of them will come full circle by book 4. I really love it when things come full circle.

For now, things are at a standstill; I need some direction.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ripped

I hate it when this happens. I just tore out the previous page. Then I see this. It's from chapter six, and this is my only draft so far. A survey of my loose papers, but didn't find a match. Drat.


Writing Update

I submitted my synopsis and first chapter of Demon for a critique at ACFW this year. September 21st is getting closer and I'm my nerves are growing. I'm excited to see St. Louis. Something about this conference has me feeling like I'm really branching out into the writing industry.

In other news, I'm going skydiving with a few friends this weekend. I'm getting pumped for that! Hopefully I don't have any joints pop out of socket!