Category Archives: Fanatic Friday

A Little First Draft Fun

   This one was just to get the Juice flowing. I’m just scribbling. Gosh!

One serving of Juice:

 My mother stood at the counter with a salad bowl in one hand and a towel in the other as she danced to her favorite Salsa music. She set the towel down and tossed the salad with her hands as she danced. Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, avacado. Delicious.

     “Mamita!” She spun to face me. Our salad was already up in the air. “I think you are confused. I’m pretty sure that lettuce isn’t a bowl of mardi gras beads you can toss to the crowd.”
     “Hija! I’m not tossing beads! I’m…uh, well what does it matter. She wiped her hands and shook the stray lettuce out of her hair. Anything new today? Where’s your sister? I know she’s not really study partners with that boy.” She gave me the look. I may as well have been el diablo the way she was looking at me.
I glanced at the salad on the floor and began to step away. She gave me a playful pinch on the shoulder.
     “Ouch!” I quickly dodged the next one.
     “You can’t hide it from me forever hija. It all comes out with the wash.” I knew she was right. She always was. That’s the last time I kept a secret from my mother, or maybe it was the last time I kept one for Angela. It didn’t matter. It was the last time. I was waiting for it to come out in the wash. Better to wait.

So what is this first draft? Let’s look at the recipe first. It is a sprig of  horrible. A dash of frustration. A life jacket labeled, “I hope you can do it,”  with all that comes the magic of jumping into revisions…but not yet. First comes pity, self loathing…and eventually a Puño of “Aha I know how to fix it!”

First drafts are all about love. Let the mess begin…

Happy writing over the weekend friends! 

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Fanatic Friday

Today is all about what I like! Yea!

I have to mention a great lady today! An Author from Aurstralia, who I will be bold enough to call friend even though I hardly know her, has reached magnificent-reach-the-stars status. I first met her at the online conference writoncon and discovered she is one of the hosts of pblitchat! Since then I have been amazed with her and her publication success. I’m so happy that Samuel’s Kisses is now in print!! Go Karen Collum! You Rock! Join her as she spreads the word about her book! Who doesn’t like to help out a fellow author anyhow? I’d love to do an interview with her! I’ll just have to see what she says about that!

I came across this fantastic list today. One that should be near and dear to authors everywhere, even if you don’t know about it yet. The author of the blog Playing by the Book has divulged information on Book Charities! What fun! I’m all over it! I just may use this fantastic list someday when I have books or money to donate, etc. The list is being updated so if you know of a charity currently not on the list, contact the blog author. I wonder if there are book charites in Mexico! I’m sure there are. It is just a matter of looking. How’s that for a nice little treasure hunt over the weekend?

Reminders:

Tomorrow, December 4, 2010 is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Click the banner to the right for locations! If you can’t find a participating bookstore, well who says you can’t take your kiddo to the bookstore! I say go for it!

Also, don’t forget about my Author Birthday Reading Challenge for the month of December! Read books and earn prizes! Spread the word! 

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Fanatic Friday

Here are some of my great finds from all over the web–things I’ve been focusing on learning and mastering:

Cynthia Leitich Smith put out an interview with Gayle Brandeis who is the author of My Life With The Lincolns. You can read the interview at her blog Cynsations. Brandeis answers questions about being an author and a mother. She also speaks about her research process, etc.

Observe:

Now this is the kind of librarian we all need! This is one determined librarian! I certainly wish all libraries had enough dinero for all the wonderful programs that they provide the public, especially those that are for children.

I sometimes still have a bit of trouble classifying my WIP. Do you? Well, have no fear! The Big Ol’ Genre Glossary is here to help–brought to you by Jennifer Laughran, a literary agent specializing in children’s and YA fiction. This is a moment you should have full clarity on–a defining moment for any author as they realize what it is they truly love to write!

Ever wonder about those confusing paragraph/chapter breaks? Sometimes they can be a kick in the rear…unless you understand them. Not Enough Words certainly cleared it up for me!

I’ve been watching the SF Giants baseball games with my DH and I have to say that not only is their pitcher Tim Lincecum quite handsome, but he is also extremely talented! I’d like to be able to say I’m just as good a pitcher myself. I’m hoping you feel the same. So here’s a head start on that. Here and here are some more wonderful links to help out. I hope it helps!

Also, If you haven’t checked out who my wonderful fellow crusaders are, please do so by clicking the badge to the right!

What aspect(s) of the craft have you been focusing on in your writing? Post the link if you have it!

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Fanatic Friday: Spinning with Advice

Don’t ever duplicate (what I call) Mad Hatter Syndrome in your writing unless you intend to confuse your audience or create an extremely unusual character. Did this character ever make any sense either way? DO emanate the power and endurance of the Energizer Bunny–you are going to need it. Always, ALWAYS be ever so curious–go beyond imagination– seek out the surreal, then simplify it–condense.


“There is profundity in simplicity.” –Burt Stout, my college humanities professor at the wise age of…????


The above is my own advice for writing. While browsing the web I came across several others. To read them all click here  and read the comments section, maybe even put in your two cents and get a chance to win a copy of The Forrest for the Trees. 


These are a few of my favorites from the comments section:

“Know when to STOP editing.”

 Edit yourself ruthlessly.”
“Select a topic. Prepare the facts. Establish a structure.Eliminate distractions (hardest!!) Dash to the finish.”

“Good, better, best- Never let it rest ‘Til your good gets better and Your better gets best!”—WandaV

“Come in two scenes late and leave them early.”

“Imagine the possibilities.”
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass…” ~ Anton Chekhov
“Start your story where the action is.”

“The other ‘best’ writing advice I’ve ever received came from several sources before it finally sank in a couple years ago, and is specific to my own writing weakness, TMI (Too Much Information, given too soon). ‘Does the reader really need to know this now, or can it wait?’ That’s the most helpful question I can ask myself during the editing process.–“Lori Benton

“A professional is just an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~Richard Bach

very simple – “have the characters touch one another at some point, or touch something in the world.”

“You may be told that you can’t write, but never let anyone say that you don’t write.”
“Do your research. It applies to everything: craft, content, publishing, marketing … every aspect of being a writer. Do your research.”

“Don’t force it. Writer’s block means something’s wrong. Either something’s out of character, or you don’t know your character(s) or their goals or something well enough to continue.”

“Concerning'”resist the urge to explain:’

Don’t tell the reader anything — ANYTHING — let them figure it out for themselves.”

“Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.”– Finding Forrester

“BICHOK. Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.”
 

And here is a great post posted by, MotherReader. She is the organizer for the Cybils Fiction Picture Book category.

Picture Books Aren’t in Trouble Just Because NYT Says So

Much can be said about both. What do you think? Personally, I feel we need to educate everyone about picture books–share them whenever we can. We need to voice our concerns about the market–be sure that we get the facts straight. We need to let people know who we are and what we do or things like this NYT article will do it for us. Stand up. Stand out. Have a voice! Be immovable and steadfast in promoting the picture book and children’s literature. Thank you to those who do so already. You ARE a priceless commodity.
For more fun, check out (I came across this one while visiting this wonderful blog ) this sound advice full of Tips for Writing Picture Books.

And finally…well, I’ll have to get back to this one. Ciao. Much ado about nothing was never more fun than now. LOL. Keep guessing. Eventually you’ll figure out what I’m up to. Hee hee! If you can guess, maybe I’ll scrounge up a prize.




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Fanatic Friday

Today is all about me. Anything I fall in love with ends up in this post with besitos all over it. It might be my writing. It could be a few links I love on any number of topics or miscellaneous things. It could be a craft I’m working on or head over heels for. Either way they can all be tied back to writing because without them I wouldn’t be me! Sometimes I post research here too. So here is the catch of the day boys and girls:

Literary fun for Kids and Parents:

Take a tour here of the literary spots in England. You will discover places like J.M Barrie’s birthplace and many others! The tour continues through fall and winter so join in when you can!

Follow the The September Carnival of Children’s Literature here for some wonderful finds.

If you have tried to find children’s books in other languages and failed? Well, here is a link to assit your search! Have fun in French, or any other language for that matter! You will have a hard time saying Adios or Ciao to this site!

Research:

I love research!

I love beaches and sea life. I guess that’s my life in FL coming out. Anyhow, I stumbled upon these the other day.

Visit the Magic Porthole, bring your child along and learn about coral reefs and oceans!

Ever wanted to live in the ocean? Well these scientists AKA aquanauts do! This is one of the coolest finds for me:
You can follow them on twitter here so that you know when the live cams are operating and you will be able to get a view of the amazing under water life they all live. You can ask an aquanaut  anything about what they do or about the coral reefs or ocean. How cool is that? Way cool! I wouldn’t be doing them justice without mentioning that there is this fantastic book about them. Yes! Go read it guys!

And finally the current craft:

You know that dress I’ve been raving to you about, well, here it is (almost finished).  It was something I wanted to do while writing one of my novels. I like to put my self in my character’s shoes by experiencing a few things they might do (embroidery just happend to be one of them). IF you are wondering what kind of dress it is here is a hint.

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Miss Alaineus Finds the Miscellaneous

Last night we sent Miss Alaineus on a mammoth-sized hunt leading to the (ever divers and sure to keep us guessing) miscellaneous and here is what she dug up: slide shows to make you envy every writer’s haunt–hideaway/getaway/retreat, and a book full of fantastic storybook travels and destinations every child should have the opportunity to visit or read about. Did I mention we came across some superbad pet peeves and something stickier than gruel? Read on for the scoop? I say, please do!

Most amazing bookstores in the world.

Kidlit History

Storybook Travels a must read!

The great typo hunt.

Mixed up or mangled words? Who does it? Almost Everyone.

Proof that age doesn’t matter for the debut novelist.

Hemingway’s Hangouts

Peter Rabbit, Mother Goose, and more

And finally something stickier than gruel…just because it is stuck in my mind and I absolutely love to write while listening to it as it is a genuine and worry free, confidence boost for the writer mind. For anyone really.

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Spilt Milk

     I know I have been away for a while but I have a clever excuse. Yes one of those lame things that keep me dawdling deep in adventure and away for random spurts of time. Yup! There I said it. Now if it weren’t for these few and frequent things I wouldn’t be near as any fun by the next post. Think of them as a way I rejuvenate my writer senses, or just another way to kill time while coming up with the next idea for a book or revision. Speaking of revisions they just might be the death of me–figuratively–but at least it will be a fun death. LOL.

     So amidst all the critique, revisions and the mountain of editing I have done these past two weeks I have found that spilt milk is the genius of it all. Being a liquid, milk is clearly without form, but somehow in the hands of a testy toddler it becomes a fish, a tree, a unicorn, or even a giant chicken–sometimes a rather large nose with a goober hanging from the corner of it. Now of course the trick is to spill it first. Now I’m not saying to make your writing an accident. Instead, be okay with the mess that it is and wait to see what comes of it as you ponder its possibilities. Give it room to spread across the page and flow over the edge–let it take on form in your mind. Let it develop legs or inquisitive little ears. Let it question its existence and bask in the light until it is just feisty enough to call you to acute attention. This is usually about 24 hours for me, but each writer has their own red and green light when it comes to  revisions.

See what I mean? Spilt milk. All you ever need to know.

What are your rules for revisions after you receive critique? Are you a spilt milk kinda gal/guy?

 

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Fanatic Friday

Bloomability Thursday got skipped along like a rock on the water. I notice there are no ripples because of it. Duly noted. Here is a teaser.

I just entered the Sharks lair…follow me in to find out what book I’m after. Read my 100 word entry here. Don’t delay; piranhas await.

Looking into googlewave and googlebuzz. Anyone else place kudos on these? Comment away!

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Fanatic Friday

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” C.S. Lewis

Isn’t this great? I keep telling myself, “Check the market!. Look at other books similar to your own! Compare them. What makes the one that is published stand out?” Yes, all of this is good, but without sincerity, without telling the truth, it is nothing. Yes, I believe this. Truly, I do. Be genuine. Keep it simple. Stick to your roots, the adventure stems from there. Liberate yourself from the idea that you have to be so original, that you are almost like the next guy, but not quite–you have a twist. The best I can explain it is with this dialogue from  Stranger Than Fiction, a movie about a man named Crick, who’s life is lent to chaos as he discovers someone else is narrating his life–something only to be found in books. 

Dr. Mittag-Leffler: I’m afraid what you’re describing is schizophrenia.
Harold Crick: No, no. It’s not schizophrenia. It’s just a voice in my head. I mean, the voice isn’t telling me to do anything. It’s telling me what I’ve already done… accurately, and with a better vocabulary.
Dr. Mittag-Leffler: Mr. Crick, you have a voice speaking to you.
Harold Crick: No, not TO me. ABOUT me. I’m somehow involved in some sort of story. Like I’m a character in my own life. But the problem is that the voice comes and goes…
Dr. Mittag-Leffler: Mr. Crick, I hate to sound like a broken record, but that’s schizophrenia.

 

While noticing something is different about his life, Crick comes to believe that the narration in his head is somehow unique. Dr. Mittag-Leffler points out that it is nothing rare, but only likely to be schizophrenia.  Crick tries  desperately to explain that his case is original, unique. Not only are the voices not talking “TO [him] but ABOUT [him]” and telling [him] what [he has] already done…accurately, and with a better vocabulary.” So all along Crick was quite original without knowing it, even without the voice in his head, but only because the author made him so, without knowing it! After all, they do not meet until the end. Do you see my point?

“There is profundity in simplicity”–Burt Stout

 

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Fanatic Friday

It’s been a busy day in Neverland. We had the luxury of lounging around a pile of books fit for a king! Now I must say not one of them was dull. No. We were tackled with inspiration. Yes, it flew off the pages. Anything can happen right? Inspiration is quite the funny thing and I often find it in another book not to mention all around me. Consequently this blog of mine suffers while I put the next book together. You can’t blame me for my aspirations. Like I said, the inspiration flew off the page. I had to go catch it–slippery thing of a shadow I’ll say. So forgive me. I meant no harm dear blog and reader. I hope by the hook of my next creation you’ll understand.

On another note, I am still debating how much of a MS I should post on here considering they are sometimes below the 500 word mark. Who could object right? Opinions anyone? Thoughts?

Forever yours,

Neverland

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