Monday, August 31, 2009
1. a shield decorated with a coat of arms
2. the protective metal plate around a keyhole and lock, drawer handle or pull, light switch, etc.
3. the panel on a ship's stern bearing her name
Now I know that the metal thingey around a drawer handle is called an escutcheon.
*Yeah, lame sentence. Perhaps you can come up with a better one?
Friday, August 28, 2009
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. - Douglas Adams
Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like. - Lemony Snicket
I had washed up there on the riptide of my husband's confidence and the undertow of my children's needs. - Barbara Kingsolver
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. - J.R. Tolkien
He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it. - Douglas Adams
Every hair on my neck stood up and then wilted. - Obert Skye
Sometimes lies are more dependable than the truth. - Orson Scott Card
Just because you have a mind like a hammer doesn't mean you should treat everyone else like a nail - Terry Pratchett
You dont love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not. - Jodi Picoult
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, "There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me, and Who's in charge?" - Elizabeth Gilbert
Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. - Douglas Adams **Hey, I didn't say it.**
I thought I had a great idea today, but it never really took off. In fact, it didn't even get on the runway. I guess you could say it exploded in the hangar. - Calvin and Hobbes **I hear you, Calvin!**
Do you have any favorite book quotables?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I just discovered this really super-awesome thing called.. get ready... Google Reader!
I know I'm probably the last person on earth to finally use it, but now I can get to all of the blogs I want to read when I'm procrastinati... I mean, when I have spare time.
Because I try to be honest, I did peek at Google Reader months ago when a friend suggested it might be easier than my spreadsheet method to keep track of blogs, but I seriously didn't "look" at it until today. And yes, it's instant *heart*.
The orderliness! The rows! The columns! The lists! The capability to see all blogs and updates in one place and know what I've read and what I haven't! *swoon*
Another discovery is editor A. Victoria Mixon's site and her free hook critiques for the month of August. Excellent!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Yea! It's Work in Progress Wednesday. Which means you all get a peek into the strange and twisted pathways of my brain. (You lucky readers, you.)
I almost have a PLAN put together (see post a few days ago on my first attempt to make a PLAN) and the structure of my WIP is coming along as well. I think the goal of 6.5 pages a day is, unfortunately, unrealistic so I will have to adjust my date for finishing the rough draft.
But what I really want to talk about today is the importance of falling in love.
I'm assuming that those of you who are writers decided to pursue your dream because at some point you fell in love with the printed word. Maybe it was a certain book or author that made you fall in love, or maybe it was when you realized that you could share the stories and characters in your head. Or maybe, like me, you have always loved reading for as long as you can remember.
You decide to write because it's part of who you are as much as your hair color, even if you sometimes try to dye it. You carve out time to write in the middle of all life throws at you, usually sacrificing time that could be spent doing other things. You work hard to put your stories and thoughts down, and somewhere along the way your characters and stories start taking on Terrible Two tendencies. They get rebellious, difficult, and alternate between just sitting there and pouting and running away from you screaming and shedding clothes as you're trying to head out the door for an appointment.
You think, I have to write today, but you stare at the screen, convinced that everything you've written so far is drivel. You read more writing books and blogs, get a little motivated, and get moving again. And the cycle repeats itself. And when you finish your masterpiece, you submit it to an editor or agent, and you wait. Or you get rejected and move on to the next submission. Repeat.
Somewhere along the way it changes. It's not *fun* anymore. You move from the Tunnel of Love to the Sea of Tedium. We all languish in the Sea of Tedium doldrums from time to time. It's part of life. And just like you have to work at staying in love in a marriage, sometimes you have to fall in love with writing again.
For me, that often involves reading. Not books on craft, or improving my writing, or a book to review and critique, or to analyze story structure or characterization or what I can take from it, but reading just for fun. Just to get sucked into a story so much that I sneak into the bathroom to get in a few more pages and actually dream about it because it's on my mind so much.
I remember the high that comes when someone else reads my words and likes and appreciates them. I remember why I love my characters who become a small part of me. I remember how much I love when I get into the zone and things just flow. I remember how writing and reading completes me. I remember why I LOVE what I'm doing. And I fall in love again.
We all have to do it, and I think it applies to more in life than just writing.
What about you? What do you do to get through the Sea of Tedium?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I'd like to thank my husband for his unfailing support, for the authors of Twitter for their examples, my friends and critique group, and, most especially Deborah of the Dragon Wrangler blog and Elana at Mindless Musings for giving the award to me. :)
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
And I try and teach my kidlets to follow the rules, so here goes...
2) Logo placed.
5) 6) & 7) Will do.
And now the exciting part: 7 Things about myself people might find interesting... Hmmm.... And I'll try to keep it non-book related because you already hear all about me and my book addictions. Okay, here goes:
Interesting factoid about Jaime you always wished you knew #1.
I am a Morning Person to beat all Morning People. No matter how late I go to bed, I still wake up early. Unfortunately, I passed the morning person gene on to my kids. If they're still asleep at 8:30 we go check on them to make sure they're breathing. Last New Year's we stayed up until 1:00 a.m. and my kids were up (and *really* cranky) by 7:00. Just a warning, past 10:00 at night I'm not good for much (except maybe to laugh at as the synaptic pathways from my brain to my mouth get funky).
Interesting factoid about Jaime you always wished you knew #2.
I was run over by a car when I was 3 years old.
Interesting factoid about Jaime you always wished you knew #3.
I used to have posters of Glam Rock bands all over my bedroom walls in high school.
(Oh, the hair! The glorious hair!) My husband still teases me about it. They inspired me to play the drums, although I never got really good. I was a killer tympani player, though.
Interesting factoid about Jaime you always wished you knew #4.
I graduated from college with a degree in Pre-Physical Therapy and a minor in Composite Dance. I tore my ACL during a Jazz Dance final in college, then went to a general practitioner who said I just "sprained" my knee and I tried to dance on it for another 2 years. Didn't go so well. The ACL is a main knee stabilizer and mine was gone, so you try going up on one leg in ballet without a stable knee. Yeah, it wasn't pretty. So I switched to Physical Therapy and knew within the first semester that I'd torn my ACL. Now I have cool scars from the surgery and am good as new, except for the one screw that has wound its way out a little and *kills* when wacked just right.
Interesting factoid about Jaime you always wished you knew #5.
I used to play tennis in high school and played League Tennis for the first couple years of college. I even placed in a few tournaments. But then came the ACL surgery mentioned in factoid #4, closely followed by the first of 3 babies and I haven't quite gotten back into the swing of things. (Ha ha.)
Interesting factoid about Jaime you always wished you knew #6.
I could easily get addicted to texting or Instant Messaging if I let myself. *beep* Oh, wait. I got a text. Hold on a minute...
Interesting factoid about Jaime you always wished you knew #7.
I don't like chocolate. *ducking and running* (I just shot up about 50 points on the "She's a freak!" factor, didn't I?)
Isn't your life complete now?
So I will pass the Kreativ Blogger award on to blogs that I like (and haven't already nominated before) ...
1. L.T. Elliot over on Dreams of Quill and Ink because she's the closest thing I have to a fan.
2. Julie Wright at Scattered Jules because she rocks.
3. J. Scott Savage on Find Your Magic for having some truly great posts.
4. Tristi Pinkston at her author blog because she juggles more blogs than anyone else I know.
5. Annette Lyon over at The Lyon's Tale because I love her Word Nerd Wednesdays.
6. Jody Hedlund at On The Path because I like her blog.
7. Jana over on The Meanest Mom *not that I think she'll be awed by the award, with her 1000+ followers, but because I just love her blog and want you to go read it.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Being the only example of its kind; constituting a class of its own; unique.
One of the challenges of an author is to balance the familiar and the fresh to create a sui generis story that will draw in readers (and an agent).
Friday, August 21, 2009
You can find out about Mike the Headless Chicken and his yearly festival (I'm not kidding about that either) here. My favorite quote from that site is "It is a great comfort to know you can live a normal life, even after you have lost your mind." Ha ha ha!
Anyway, back to the blog post. Much as I appreciate Mike for putting Fruita on the map, I don't want to waste 18 months emulating him. So I decided it's time for a PLAN.
And to do that we need a huddle!
**In keeping with the random bits of trivia I'm in the mood to share, did you know that the huddle was invented by a deaf football player? Here's the story.**
I've invited all the various parts of me to the huddle--the lazy me, the computer junkie me, the productive me, the mommy/wife me, the writer me, the silly me, the blogging me, the psycho-exercising me, and the time wasting me.
In the huddle:
Productive me: We're here to come up with a PLAN.
Lazy me: Do we have to capitalize plan? Because that takes more work.
Productive me: Yes, it's all caps. PLAN just sounds more serious than plan. And this is serious.
Silly me: That's my problem sometimes--being too serious. It makes me seem like an old fuddy-duddy.
Time Wasting me: Is this going to take long? Because I haven't checked facebook yet today.
Productive me: Facebook can wait. Don't you dare open Tweetdeck, either!
Time Wasting me: But Twitter is so helpful.
Writer me: It really is. All those editors and agents put good stuff on there. As well as authors, too. Just check out this blog about how Twitter is not just a waste of time.
Blogging me *smirking*: I showed her that.
Mommy/wife me *raises hand*: I need to get the laundry out of the dryer.
Productive me: Fine. But do it quickly and come right back!
Lazy me: I think I'll go eat a banana--
Productive me: Hold it! You're not leaving until we have a PLAN.
Lazy me: You let her go.
Computer junkie me: I wonder if I have any new email.
Productive me: You just checked it 10 minutes ago.
Writer me: We've just been wasting valuable writing time. I gotta get in my 6.5 pages today.
Psycho-exercising me: I could go for a 10 mile bike ride and think this all out in my head.
Productive me: You know that exercise/planning thing never works. And don't worry, you'll get your writing time in.
Lazy me: But I'm hungry. And you don't want to get your blood sugar so low you almost pass out like yesterday in the dentist's office.
Silly me: They all thought it was watching them pull your son's teeth.
Psycho-exercising me *indignant*: It wasn't that at all. It was the 5 mile run in the heat and not eating enough.
Silly me: Yeah, right.
Psycho-exercising me: It had nothing to do with the blood!
Blogging me: This will make a great blog. I better go write it down before I forget.
Productive me: Do! Not! Leave! We're having a huddle, people!
Writing me *tapping watch*: 6.5 pages...
Psycho-exercising me: I'm not huddling next to her *points at silly me who is making funny faces*
Time Wasting me: I think I'd like to try out a new station on Pandora.
*huddle breaks up as everyone starts talking at once*
Productive me *yelling*: Stop it! This isn't getting us anywhere!
Um, yeah. Maybe I'll get back to you next week once I have an actual PLAN.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Yes, I know it's supposed to be Work in Progress Wednesday, but this week we're going to do Work in Progress Thursday because yesterday was last-minute-scramble-to-get-everything-ready-and-have-the-most-fun-possible-without-killing-each-other-day-before-school-starts-Wednesday (or if you like acronyms, then LMSTGERAHTMFPWKEODBSSW). Let's just say it ended up involving lots of running around, karate, friends over, hiking, climbing rocks, sliding down a slippery rock in freeezing cold water, soccer practice, and Wipeout. You'll notice "computer" wasn't mentioned in that list. Hence the lack of a blog yesterday.
The word count for my WIP has been slowly inching forward because most of my progress has been in plotting and figuring out my story structure following the great stuff I told you about last week. And if you forgot or haven't read it, then you can click here to read about it on last WIP Wednesday (which actually was on Wednesday). So though things have been going slow lately, get ready for me to get SMOKING! Because today is the...
(And yes, I'm really *that* excited. All of my children are in school full day now.)
I got a little behind this summer, but I figure if I just write on school days then I can still reach my goal of finishing the rough draft by the end of September if I write 1645 words/day, which is 6.5 pages/day. I can do that! (Right?) *cracking knuckles*
But first I think I'm going to just sit on the couch, stare at the wall, and enjoy the silence for a few minutes.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
As in a half-marathon. Yes, my hubby finally succumbed to spouse-pressure and agreed to run a half-marathon with me. For those who may not know, a half-marathon is 13.1 miles. We'd been told that this race was a bit disorganized in the past. Um, yeah.
First of all, I almost broke out in hives every time I had to go to the website for information. I'm pretty sure that English is not the primary language of whoever organizes this race. The directions were about as clear as some of those assembly instructions included in furniture-in-a-box from Wal-Mart. And as we got reminder emails for what to do as the race approached I realized that we were dealing with an English-language free spirit. I am obviously way too rigid in my use of punctuation and the old-fashioned notion that you must string words together so they make sense. Pshaw!
Punctuation is optional and can be placed any! where at random? poin,ts . Spacesarealso used only when, you feel likeit and sentences ?don't even have to! make sense. Something else I learned was that !!exclamation! marks in different colors! are really ! nifty (especially red) and that you can leave a sentence at two words and an exclamation mark so that your reader has to guess the rest. Like: Pick Up! (Pick up what? Where? When? Aaargh!)
**Do you see why I almost went into a seizure every time I had to try and decipher one of these horrible emails?! My poor, aching writer brain!
So after figuring out the instructions (sort of), we decided we had to leave at 4:45 a.m. so we could get to the place to be in line for the bus up to the starting line because we simply must! be on the bus! by 5:30!! or else we would miss the start time of 6:30! I repeat: the start time of 6:30!
We managed to get on a bus fairly quickly. *whew* We were talking, laughing, and enjoying the Ben Gay scented interior until we began wondering where we were. The driver had turned from the road we thought he should be on (but, hey, we'd never run this race before so what did we know) and we were trundling in the dark up a little one-lane road with mountain chalets on either side. Suddenly the bus just stopped in the middle of the road. The driver had obviously figured out he was lost. And there wasn't enough room to turn around a full-size school bus. Soooo, naturally the driver slowly backed down the little road with parked cars on either side. In the dark. And we're looking at our watches as the start time of 6:30 creeps closer.
Eventually we made it up to the starting line. It was really cold and we were glad for our sweats, esp. as the start time! of 6:30 came and went without a single sign of someone who actually was in charge. After 7:00 we finally pressed with the 2000 other people toward the start line. The gun went off and it was time to run with the herds of the Serengeti.
Yep. That's what the first four miles felt like. Dodging runners of various speeds and girths and others dodging us. But once the runners spread out we were able to enjoy a good, scenic run. And it was nice to see so many people we knew.
We made the whole race together--hubby with his monstrous blisters (I didn't post pics, you can thank me later) and me with a hip that decided 10 miles was quite enough, thank you very much. We ignored hip and blisters and finished with a time to be proud of--1:43:35. Not too shabby!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Then you can enter some of the other giveaways if you want. I'll let you. ;)
A mixture; a medley.
As the summer break progresses and my children grow increasingly bored and tired of "togetherness," we experience quite the melange of bugging, pestering, provoking, fighting, arguing, and attacking.
Friday, August 14, 2009
One to change the light bulb.
Four to say that they'd already had the idea for changing a light bulb, but they didn't want to show anyone what they were doing until they'd polished their light-bulb-changing.
Two to point out that someone else had already changed a light bulb, so changing another one was unoriginal and thus not worthwhile.
Three to call light bulbs a new technology that was going to be catastrophic for traditional candlelight-driven writers.
And one to figure out that writers are lousy at math.
I read this joke on Joshilyn Jackson's blog and chuckled so much I had to share.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Or should I say, "Freeze those Fingers!" I found something yesterday that made my WIP fingers freeze. But in a good way. Not in a wallowing-in-the-depths-of-writers-block-or-the-sagging-middle-despair.
They froze in a holy-cow-this-is-awesome-stuff-and-I'm-going-to-stop-everything-to-read-it-print-it-out-and-highlight-and-take-notes-all-over-it way. I ignored my kids for a good hour as they ran amok (and the paint all over the front porch will attest that they did, indeed, run amok) to read and print it. The fact that I was so freaking excited also proves that I'm a writer at heart. I'm hoping that some of you will get excited, because my hubby just got this glazed look and occasionally mumbled, "That's nice" when I waxed eloquent about my find.
"Alright already, Jaime! What did you find?" you ask. Well, only a blog series so awesome it's BEAWESOME!
And I'm going to tell you all about it and even link to it. In a minute. After I...
Just kidding. Here it is. Author Larry Brooks breaks down story structure in a super clear, super easy-to-follow 10 part tutorial on the fundamentals of story structure over on Storyfix. (First of all a big thanks to Kait Nolan for linking to it on her blog.)
*I just read my last paragraph and realized that it sounds dull and boring and not Beawesome at all. Let's rephrase:
Imagine a website that gives writers a valuable look into the architecture of a story so that you can know what to write and where to put it! A site that helps you understand the basic framework of stories that sel,l and how to arrange your stories to really satisfy readers! And imagine it explained in a clear, non-threatening way, both for those who like to outline, and those who don't like it so much! Well, you don't have to imagine any more! Check out this 10 part tutorial on story structure over on Storyfix!!
*Is that better?
The link above will take you to the introduction of the tutorial, but for some reason I had a hard time finding Part 1, so I'm linking to it directly for you. See how much I love my readers? <3
I've read books on plot structure and taken classes and just had a gut feeling to go by, but for some reason this way of presenting it resonated with me. So, for WIP Wednesday I'm shuffling, fixing, and making the structure of my story better so that I can keep moving. Yippee!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Nightmare Before Christmas **Thank you for the clarification by Anonymous who obviously knows more than Wikipedia. (That'll teach me to only look on Wikipedia. Bad Jaime!). Tim Burton *did not* direct Nightmare Before Christmas. He was one of the writers. Henry Selick directed it. Sorry, Henry! I've been wrong for many years.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
In case you haven't heard about his newest project, here's the teaser trailer. I'm not a big fan of the story, or necessarily Tim Burton's movies, but I'm definitely curious.
I wonder what some of my stories would be like in the hands of Tim Burton. Wow. At least I'd have a good chance of Johnny Depp being in it. :)
Monday, August 10, 2009
Smooth; having a surface without hairs, projections, or any unevenness.
Oh, to have glabrous legs! Five o'clock shadow on your calves doesn't look so hot during swimsuit season.
Friday, August 7, 2009
So, without further ado: Good stuff . . . elsewhere:
- A Forest Full of Trees on Deadline Dames
- Nathan Bransford's Revision Checklist
- 5 Evergree Editing Tips on Editor Unleashed
- Ten Things I've Learned As a Novelist by Brandilyn Collins
- How Not to Write a Story at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
- The Blood-Red Pencil's Self-Editing One Step At A Time: How to Identify Dragging Narrative
- 8 Habits of Highly Effective Writers on Quips and Tips for Successful Writers
- Author Vicki Pettersson talks about Competition and Camaraderie over on Bitten By Books
- Nathan Bransford on dealing with the question, "Am I Crazy?"
- What Keeps You Going When You Want to Quit? by Michael Hyatt and Deborah Talmadge's answer to his questions.
- The Unsung Villains of Writing guest blog on Nathan Bransford's blog
- Agent Don Maass Explains Your Tools for Character Building on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog
- Training Our Internal Editor Part 3a: Point of View on the Blood Red Pencil
- Get Better, Not Bitter at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
- License to Drive on The Meanest Mom
Thursday, August 6, 2009
And on to the post...
I find lots of things interesting. Tis a fault of mine. So when my dear, darling brother posted a blog about the economic classes of America, I naturally found it interesting. But I got really excited when he mentioned the hidden rules of generational economic class.
Oh-kay, you may say. Why on earth would this get Jaime excited? Besides the fact that we now know without a doubt she's a nerd...
Well, stick with me here and others could start accusing you of being a nerd, too. You see, each economic class has its own ingrained standards of behavior and speaks a different hidden language.
Hello character development! Hello motivation! Hello dialogue! Hello natural conflict! And hello the answer to why rich people will spend obscene amounts of money on some dead movie star's used toothbrush.
Now open another tab so you can check out the table on my brother's blog. I promise it will be worth it. I tried to swipe it from him but I'm not blog-savvy enough to get the whole chart to fit on my blog. And the rest of this post will make MUCH more sense if you can see the table at the same time.
Is the other tab open? Scroll down to the table and look at it for a minute. Don't worry, I'll wait.
You're back? Good. Did you see what I see? Can you say essential character development in a chart! All of us nerd-types love charts. With all their orderly rows, and cute little columns. *cough*
Let's say you have a character who is poor. His parents were poor, and their parents were poor, and so on. He is coming at life from a standpoint of generational poverty. Naturally when he's faced with conflict he's going to try to resolve it with his fists (see the handy box under the "poverty" column and "conflict" row). He might also wolf down his food rather than savor it, would likely make crude jokes, and spend money before it even makes it to his pocket.
Now take a character born into wealth. We're talking generations of money. He would be much more concerned with social standing, think about investing and business, and pay a lot of money for a teeny-tiny plate of food that sure "looks pretty."
Now throw the two together. Maybe they have to solve a crime. Maybe they're on a quest. Or maybe one's a woman and it's a romance. Can't you just see all the possibilities for conflict, dialogue, humor, and interesting plot twists?! *squeeee*
I don't know about you, but as a writer this information is totally *Fab*
**As noted by excellent commenter Robison Wells, this could be used as a tool to add some more spice to your characters, but be careful not to fall into the trap of stereotyping and making your characters cliche.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
In Progress (progress, progress, progress)
Wednesday (Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday)
*Imagine it being announced with a voice like the movie trailer guy. Or, if you can't imagine it then watch this. (Not the greatest quality, but hilarious!)
Sorry I don't having anything witty or profound to share. Try back tomorrow. I'm sure witty and profound will happen tomorrow. You won't want to miss it. I think...
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Awesome bootcamp attendee Jenn Johansson of the envious hair awarded it to me. *Sniff* I'd like to thank my husband for his unwavering support, my kids, my mom for giving me my first pen, Dell for my new computer that I love so very much, Comcast for their semi-consistent internet service...
Anyway, here is the boring detail type informational stuff:
1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.
Here comes the hard part--awarding this on to 5 other people (who haven't already had the award). I'm going to pass on this "major award" to:
- Deborah Talmadge for having the best pictures of dragons, being an awesome critique partner and willing to talk about all things writing, and having the courage to start over with major life goals. (And she's my mom - "Hi mom!")
- Kelly Beeson of None of Your Beeswax for her funny blog that I read just to get in my daily allowance of laughter.
- Graham Chops for being willing to review any and all books, for his big goals, and his wicked cool sword. (Now can I borrow it?) And for calling me one of his "peeps."
- Kimberly VanderHorst for one of the most honest blogs around.
- Kristi Stevens for her funny blogs. And she's a runner, too, (with a mega-inspirational story of how she started).
And because I want to shake things up, I'm going to give it to a sixth person. GASP!
- Matthew Buckley of Chickens Don't Have Armpits. You can only imagine the hilarity over on that blog. He's pretty techno-savvy, too. And another budding runner. (You can do it!)
Monday, August 3, 2009
1. The lowest degree of desire; imperfect or incomplete volition.
2. A slight wish or inclination.
At my call, the cat leisurely stood up, stretched both her front legs and back legs, stopped to wash behind her ear after a few steps, and wound her way across the room to me, displaying for anyone to see her velleity for obeying her owner.