27 February 2011

Lesson from My Dogs

First, I won! Pia Bernardino hosted a contest on her blog ( http://solittletimeheresmine.blogspot.com/ ) and I won a $10 gift card to Amazon. How amazing is that.  I'm going to have to put some good thought into what books to get...hmm...

Sometimes, in my writing, I have a hard time with silence and have to put a lot of work into sections where I do not have dialogue.  I try to put time and thought into what a characters mannerisms are that will make them unique, so if a reader only reads their movements or thoughts they will immediately know which character it is.  This is a lesson I have learned from my dogs (and have to continue working at!!).

Prefontaine is my Boston mix (both dogs are rescue mutts) she has a firecracker personality.  I don't mean she's loud and rambunctious, but she is intense.  She always lets you know what she is thinking and feeling.  She's the dominant female of the family and often butts Piglet out of the way so she can get attention.  This includes crawling on top of Pig if she's cuddling with me.  When she's happy she squiggles; she'll roll onto her back and twist back and forth, grunting.  She'll belly crawl across the carpet with a huge smile on her face in the morning.  I've never seen a dog so happy to wake up for the day.  Along with her happiness, comes an opposite pouty nature.  She lets you know when she's mad.  If I go out on a run and don't take her I come back to her sitting on her dog bed.  Her head will be down and she won't come see me for an hour, at least not until I am fully punished.  Pre also does not like carrots.  She'll sniff and push her head away to tell you so.

Piglet (German Shepherd/Pitt Bull mix), on the other hand, is not an attention seeker.  She often lays at the opposite end of the couch and does not like cuddling all that much.  She'll give kisses, but they're tentatively given- you can tell she thinks hard about who and when she'll give them out.  She snorts when she's happy, when she's sleeping, and when she's getting her belly scratched.  She loves nothing better than swimming and running off leash when we're at the trails.  Often, she'll disappear in the house and we'll find her asleep on our bed.  It seems to be her 'safe' place.  Not much bothers or upsets her, she seems to be even keel in emotion.  She also has refused to learn how to walk on a leash so we have to walk her on a harness, which she absolutely hates and backs away from when we start putting it on.

Their picture is to the left.  I will to post some other pictures of them later today.

How much do you learn from someone from their body language, without talking to them?  Quite a lot.

The happiness tip for today isn't really a happiness tip, but a piece of advice for writing.  I have real life inspiration for my character, Rupert.  To get to know Rupert better, I sat and watched my inspiration and wrote pages purely on his mannerisms and things that made him unique.  After that, I picked out the ones that were Rupert.  My advice, is to take time getting to know your characters actions, the parts that make them interesting and be sure that is put into your writing.  This will develop those characters in your readers imaginations and will stick much better than any dialogue!

26 February 2011

I am a Writer

I have thought many times to myself that I would like to be a writer someday.  How ridiculous is that?  I was just sitting on my porch eating dinner (scrambled eggs with cheese, and milk) when I thought, "you already are a writer!"  At least 65% of what I think about during the day has something to do with writing.  I could be putting words together, playing with plot, or pretending to actually be one of my characters and seeing where the story goes from there.  There are numerous aspects to writing that I think about.

What I probably should think to myself is not that I would like to be a writer someday, but mostly that I hope to be published and am able to share my work with all of you out there :)

How awesome is it to know that I get to spend the rest of my life doing what I love the most?  Whether or not I am ever published or make any money from this, at least I know that I am a writer and that is what I love best.

Happiness Tip: eat dinner outside (unless you live up North, than eat dinner looking out the window, haha), and let yourself think clearly about the very thing you love doing the most.

22 February 2011


I'm in need of some genuine advice.  What do you do when your library does not have a very good selection of books and you're too poor to buy new ones?  I need something to read.

Maybe I just need to spend a day scouring the counties around mine for a better library.
Alright, I got some fabulous advice from my wonderful aunt and am feeling much better about the situation.  It's time to go to the library again soon!  I will have to make a day of it.

As a GED instructor, it is frustrating to have students register for the class and then never come back.  It seems that once a person realizes how much work they have to put into getting their GED, it scares them away.  Cale and I talk around and around this problem at work and we never come up with any good solutions.  It is a discouraging issue to be confronted with.  So, while this problem is on my mind, here is my happiness tip:

Happiness tip: learn something new.  Enjoy learning and relish the fact that your brain can soak up so many amazing things!  I don't care what you learn or how you learn it, just learn something brand new that you never imagined knowing before.

Today, I learned...actually, I can't think of anything I've learned today!  I guess my goal now for the evening is to learn something and get back to you all with what it is.

21 February 2011

Happiness Tips

I have compiled a mental list of things that make me happy.  Some of the things are small, some big, and I'm always adding to it.  I keep this list around because I really hate being in a funk.  When I'm not in the best of moods, I'll go down this list and find something on it that will help blow the dark clouds away.  I've decided to post a 'Happiness Tip' at the bottom of all my posts, just to make sure you all come back and visit me :)

Yes, some of these may not interest you what-so-ever and may not work for you, but then again, maybe there will be one posted that is exactly what you need at that exact moment.

Aaaand, here's the first:

Happiness Tip- do something you're not particularly good at.  The secret to the success of this is that you must already know you are not good at it.  Choose something you enjoy but don't have to be perfect at.  My favorite thing to do, that I am not good at, is drawing.  I'm at terrible artist, but I still do it because it very rarely fails to put me into a good mood.  Often, I'll attempt to illustrate scene's from the stories I write.  Most of the time when I do this people can't tell what I've tried to draw, but it still allows me to see something on paper that I have in my mind.

I drew this the other day.  It's on the back of a pizza box.  As you can see, it's not the best dragon you've ever seen, but it's still one of my favorite things to draw.

So, go do something you're not good at and have no expectations of yourself.  Just go out, do it, and have fun!

18 February 2011

Writing is Hard

Enter contests. Edit.
Find critique partners.
Post on blog.
Post on twitter.
Write something new.
Think about taking out an old piece to work on.
Outline chapters.
Get someone in my family to read my work.
Think in circles.
Be rejected and told something doesn't make sense.
Go back and re-work again.

Writing is hard.  It takes a lot of time.  Sometimes I feel great about it, call my sister talking non-stop about something I've just written.  Othertimes, I want to lay down and not lift my fingers.  Sometimes the only reward is knowing I've put a few thoughts down.

Today, I'm having to force myself to work because I'm reminded about how long a road it is until a story is complete...something I am very far from.

Alright, it's time to go to a baseball game- the perfect place to sit and think in circles some more.

15 February 2011

Uh oh...

Today, I hit a wall.

I don't make much money.  To save I make a pb&j sandwich almost anytime I need to bring a lunch or snack somewhere.  I've done this for almost two years now and today I just couldn't do it.  I choked down two bites and had to put down the rest.  It was terrible.  Mom says I should switch to bologna sandwiches...at least that would be cheap too! haha


14 February 2011

Major Conflict

Today I am reworking the second chapter of Rupert.  Sophia, a wonderful woman who has read/critiqued my first chapter, commented that since Rupert is a middle grade book the major conflict needs to come pretty quickly.  Geeze, how did I miss that!  Here I am, writing a book where the major conflict doesn't come in until the fourth chapter, that's 1/4 of the way through the book (there are twelve chapters currently planned and written).

At first when I realized this I was pretty bummed and didn't know how to rework those first few chapters as I love what I have already written.  Writing is a process of editing and knowing when to delete and change.  I have decided to write a new second chapter and introduce the conflict earlier.  Doing this, I am avoiding having to completely delete my second-fourth chapters, but I will have to change them a little.  Clever, eh?  haha

Anyways, there's where Rupert is currently at.

Also, here's a great piece of advice Dad gave me earlier this week.  When you are critiquing a piece of work don't focus on content but on helping them becoming a better writer.

07 February 2011

I love to read...

Cale reads.  He reads a lot.  He reads more books than I have ever known anyone to.  He pours through books like he’s drinking a glass of water in the desert.  And I don’t mean easy books.  I mean “The Secret History of MI6” that has 540 tiny words a page, for 752 pages (I counted).   And he is ridiculously excited to read “The Journal of Southern History” that’s published quarterly and is filled with scholarly journals.  He reads those like they’re candy and can’t get enough.  How on earth does he do it?
I love reading and I love stories, but I also love running, playing with my dogs, working, cleaning, etc. and it seems that a lot of the time I actually have to remind myself to finish books unless they’re powerfully captivating.  Is this a bad thing?  I sure hope not.
How do you guys make time to read all the books you want?

04 February 2011

How do you delete?

All writers experience the need to delete entire sentences, paragraphs, and pages of work.  Thousands of words down the drain.
How do you make those necessary changes?  How do you delete writing you have fallen in love with?
The easiest way to delete is to not actually delete.  I have made the decision to re-work a big part of ‘Rupert’ even though I love what I have already written.  Instead of erasing it completely, I’ve merely moved it into another document.  Maybe I’m keeping it for sentimental reasons only, but who knows, maybe I’ll be able to use it in some other piece of writing.
This is not the first document I have saved works goes along these lines.
How have I made the decision to take this part of Rupert out?  Simply put, I have to.
 I’m a believer that stories tell us what happens, and what they need to say.  Characters have their own personalities that we, as the writer, have to be true to.  The story line is not something we decide on but is merely something that happens.  Either we are true to that, or not.  Either we force it to change, or not.  If we listen, it is not hard to make these changes.
When a particular part of a story doesn’t work it is easy to take out, even if I am in love with the writing or the idea behind it.  If I do love it, then it gets saved somewhere at the bottom of my documents folder. Someday, perhaps I’ll take this portion of ‘Rupert’ out and a new story will come of it.

01 February 2011

Check list

Do you ever feel like there’s too much to do?  The funniest part about this feeling, for me, is that I’m really not that busy of a girl.  I work an average of 40 hours a week, and don’t have many responsibilities besides that. 

 I exercise when I want, write and read when I want, and clean when I want.  I take care of my dogs, call my family, see friends, and grocery shop when it’s convenient.  How do I fall asleep feeling like I’ve forgotten to do something, when I live such a relaxed life?

Tomorrow is my day off and I have a full day of writing (mostly), bathing my dogs, going for a run, and cleaning planned.  Hopefully it all gets done.  I’m going to have to make a check list to keep everything straight.

How do you get all the things done that you want to do? 

Also, huge shout out to the finalists in Nathan’s contest, read them at:  www.nathanbransford.com    I especially enjoyed Anonymous and Daniel Wheatley’s.  I absolutely would read a book with those as the first paragraphs.