Blogging Slump

That’s right. I admit it.

I’ve been in a blogging slump. I just haven’t felt like blogging lately, but I’m totally okay with that. I do miss my bloggy buddies as most of you are the reason d’être that I started branching out into reading and writing other things.

But I’ve been focused on writing, reading, more reading, tons more writing, and a little sleeping/working knocked in there somewhere.

On top of that, this week is my last week at my current contract before I head to Maine for the spring/summer.

I’m too stressed right now to be 100% excited because I have so much to do before then, plus I’ve been dealing with some medical issues lately–the last three months, really–but haven’t mentioned it to anybody until last week. And the docs don’t know what it is. So. Yay.

Anywho…

A quick update on my life: I’m 60-some books into my 115 book goal for the year, reading-wise, but that doesn’t include books I’ve already re-read since the beginning of the year. If I did, that number would be in the high 70s.

I did a complete 100k rewrite in six weeks and I won a couple auctions through a literary agency and am getting feedback on my query letter, first 10 pages, and first 50 pages, from three different agents. Squee!! I’m most excited about that. How often do you get that opportunity?!?!?!!

 

What’s going on in your lives, my bloggy pals? I’ll update with more pictures and try to get back on the blogging bandwagon, especially since I signed up for Camp NaNo in April to help me finish the second book in my MG fantasy series.

Hugs and happy writing/reading to all!

 

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
― Octavia E. Butler
“A normal reader reads to enjoy, a writer is in training”
― Bangambiki HabyarimanaThe Great Pearl of Wisdom

“You must write as if each word is a precious drop of blood, or a tear to be saved in a glass phial.”
― Chloe ThurlowKatie in Love

Reading Challenge 2016

I’ve already started the New Year by lagging sadly behind on my blogging. However, my writing and reading have been happily productive, so I don’t feel too bad.

This year I’m taking part in a reading challenge hosted by John Guillen over at Johnny Reads. I follow him regularly and if you don’t follow him, you should. He’s not afraid to share his views and frequently posts book and writing news I don’t see in any of my other frequently visited sites.

I haven’t done a reading challenge before because, let’s be honest, I’m a voracious reader and it doesn’t take me long to paw through books. But his list is fun and doable and will stretch me out of my reading comfort zone in a few areas.

Check out the challenge here and maybe join us on our reading ride!

I do need some advice, though.

Two of the challenge requirements are reading a crime novel and a book by James Patterson. I am not well versed in either, so I’m hoping some of you can recommend a few good choices.

I usually don’t take reading recommendations from people because I like to find my own books and many peoples’ recommendations have ended up being DNFs for me.

So if there are any gateway-books into the crime and Patterson lists, I’m happy to hear your suggestions.

Thoughts, anyone?

Happy reading!

 

“My eyes hunger to read more books then time allows me to devour.”
― Jazz Feylynn

“You read too much.” Daemon exhaled slowly. […]
“There’s no such thing as that.”
― Jennifer L. ArmentroutObsidian

Every Character Has A Crutch

We know it’s true. And yet so many writers try to deny it. But I believe that the best and most complex characters all have a crutch of some sort.

And crutches get such a bad rap.

As a physical therapist, I know how important real crutches are to people who literally cannot stand on their own two feet. Crutches get them past a painful period when they need something to lean on.

Characters are no different. They all have crutches.

Whether it be alcohol, sex, bitterness, holding grudges, revenge, food, cruelty, unhealthy relationships, and, yes, even exercise. All characters have one thing in common…

None of them are strong enough to survive on their own. Even characters who are physically alone in the story need something to keep them going.

I’ll use some famous examples from my favorite works:

Anne Shirley from “Anne of Green Gables” – Most especially seen in the first book or two, Anne holds onto the fact that she is an orphan, and keeps grudges for a LONG time. Those grudges and her need to fall back on the orphan plot keeps her engaged in the story and gives her something that keeps her moving forward. She also has a fierce imagination which, while rich and verdant, can also be her downfall. When she can’t handle a situation, she resorts to fantastical ideas of resolution. These crutches make her a well-rounded and likable character.

Celaena Sardothien from “Throne of Glass” – Celaena is motivated by hoping to achieve her own freedom. Which, given what she’s lived through, is definitely a goal. But she falls back on her hatred of the king and her sharp temper as a crutch. She uses them to propel her lofty, and often insanely gutsy, goals towards fruition. She also leans on Chaol and Dorian, despite the fact that she claims to be self-sufficient and doesn’t need anybody. And you know what? That’s okay! We all need something to get us past dark times and difficult situations. As long as they don’t encumber our growth as a character.

The Big Friendly Giant from “The BFG” – This character is so adorably quaint and down-to-earth, it’s almost ludicrous to think he has a crutch. But he does. His fear of the other giants, and his nightly excursions to capture dreams are his crutches. He uses them as a means to make excuses for why he doesn’t take more of a stand… until little Sophie comes into his life.

I like each one of these characters for different reasons. Do I think they’re weak because they have a crutch or two? No. Not at all. Broken and imperfect characters give us an ability to relate to them. And when we see them rise from the ashes of their crutch and their dangerous or unhealthy mannerisms, we celebrate their victory all the more–because they’ve worked hard to prove themselves and strengthen their own resolve.

I’m sure if you thought about it, you’d realize all the best characters have them. And they make the story more compelling and add layers of richness and complexity to the narrative.

What do you think? Any famous crutches from your favorite characters?

Happy writing!

“Being vulgar to be funny is a crutch, and I prefer wheelchairs.”
― Jarod KintzThis Book Title is Invisible

Book, Interrupted

Oh, shame on me. But also, not.

I was at the laundromat tonight when an older gentleman started chatting me up.

Now, normally I wouldn’t mind, but I had my nose BURIED in a book! And I mean, I was engrossed in it without any thought for the world until I heard the buzzer for my laundry.

I answered as politely as I could, and kept trying to read, but he kept talking.

I’m pretty sure my RBF showed up somewhere in there, because I hate being interrupted when I’m reading. Hate it.

Blargh!

But my parents raised me to be respectful, so I conversed with the man. Though my mind was firmly entrenched in the book world I’d been torn from.

How do you respond when someone interrupts you while reading? Do you go all snarly inside like me? Or is it not that big of a deal? Am I overreacting?

Happy writing and reading!

“Hell hath no fury like a woman interrupted while reading a really good book.” ~ Lauren Hunter

3 Quotes, 3 Days… Day Three!

For my third and final 3 Quotes, 3 Days challenge, it will take even more thinking and probing the depths of my memory to bring you a quote that I adore from my readings.

I believe I will choose a quote from the author that has most inspired me as a writer. Since I’m choosing quotes from books and since I’m a writer, it seems fitting.

But narrowing down the genius of L.M. Montgomery is a monumental undertaking.

Hmm…

anne_shirley_and_gilbert_blythe_by_mcdalek-d68jqoi

It was hard to choose, but here it is,

“In imagination she sailed over storied seas that wash the distant shining shores of “faëry lands forlorn,” where lost Atlantis and Elysium lie, with the evening star for pilot, to the land of Heart’s Desire. And she was richer in those dreams than in realities; for things seen pass away, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of the Island

I believe this encompasses my love for all things imagined, and one of the most inspirational books for me as a writer. I adore L.M. Montgomery, and if she were still alive, I’d do almost anything to meet and talk to her.

For my last day, I’m going to tag Herminia Chow over at aspiringwriter22. She posts beautiful poems, thoughtful questions, fun trivia, and generally makes me smile on a daily basis.

There you are! My three quotes in three days. If anyone else wants to participate, feel free!!! Tag yourself and be off! I love to see other peoples’ favorite quotes.

Cheerio!

A Day of Reading

It’s been a few long, hard months finishing up the most recent edit for my book, but I’m within pages of formatting it and shipping it out to agents.

With all the hard work and long nights after work polishing my story, I felt the need for a writing break.

So, today, aside from a few hours spent at a baby shower, I’ve enjoyed a couple books, lazing around the house and feeling cozy and sleepy while I read. Like I’m sitting cuddled up in front of a blazing fire in the middle of winter sipping hot chocolate.

A reading day was much needed.

Here are the books I’ve been reading today:

“The Nethergrim” by Matthew Jacobin

“Hooked – Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go” by Les Edgerton. (I know it’s a book about writing, but it still counts as a good read).

“Egg & Spoon” by Gregory Maguire

They’re all interesting for different reasons, and I’ve been pawing my way through them.

I’m a polygamous reader, if you know what that means. I rarely read only one book at a time because most books can’t hold my attention long enough to read straight through in one go. But since I read well over a hundred novels/reference books/non-fiction/etc per year, I’m not really worried about my reading style.

As a writer, these reading days are essential. At times, we can get so mired in the logistics and demands of writing we forget that writers first began as readers. Usually voracious readers. So I’m working on my voracity today. 🙂

Go ahead. Grab a book, curl up in bed/on a couch/a big comfy pillow and read, read, read to fill your heart and mind with fresh faces, new ideas, and an ever-widening view of the world.

Happy reading!! (And writing, too).

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. MartinA Dance with Dragons
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. SeussI Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“Her soul belongs to words and books. Every time she reads, she is home.”
― Anonymous

Eager Beaver Readers

diverse-hands

For some reason, when people find out I’m a writer, they either treat me with scorn, or they want to read what I’ve written.

I have people nearly demanding to read my book, or any story I’ve ever crafted. While at times it’s flattering, at others it’s frustrating. And then folks get snippy or offended when I tell them, politely, ‘no.’

Does this happen to anyone else?

I feel like it is a way people express their supposed interest and support for my work, but it also shows a marked ignorance towards writers and artists in general.

To me, it equates to someone asking a painter or sculptor to expose their art to the world before it has been finished, while it is still a work in progress.

I often tell people this: that I’m not done with it.

They simply say, “Oh, I’ll read it anyways!” As if an unfinished story is somehow insignificant and there shouldn’t be any reason for me to be reticent for others to read it.

Am I wrong to be frustrated by this? I think I’m more frustrated by people being offended when I deny them access to my story.

But all you writers, safeguard your writing. Don’t send it out to everyone who asks, simply because you think they’d like it or because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. This is YOUR art, YOUR work, YOUR masterpiece and should be handled with as much care and safety as you can manage.

Happy writing!

“I don’t care when people think I’m an antisocial, controlling bookworm because that’s what I am. It’s when they interpret me wrong that I have a problem.”
― Kasie WestPivot Point

“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.”
― Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book