Monday, May 31, 2010

Word of the Week #101 - abecedarian

abecedarian - [ay-bee-see-DAIR-ee-uhn] - noun

1. One who is learning the alphabet; hence, a beginner.
2. One engaged in teaching the alphabet.
3. Pertaining to the letters of the alphabet.
4. Arranged alphabetically.
5. Rudimentary; elementary.

The boy might think he's good at basketball, but his skills are too abecedarian to make the team.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Fantasy of Passion

If you have a passion for anything, you need to read this post by Travis Roberston.

I don't have a whole lot to add to it, besides Amen!

Go read it. I'm not kidding.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Words of the Week #76-100

Last week we hit a milestone for the Bookmom Musings blog:

100 Words of the Week


And in case you missed some or just want to review your favorites, here are links to them all. You can find links to the first 75 in the sidebar.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thoughts on Inertia, or Getting Your Butt Moving is Half the Battle

Warning: Running analogy to follow. (I know, you're not surprised.)

A friend of mine says that she runs races not only for the thrill of the race, but to make herself exercise. And I can attest that there's nothing like a looming race to get you out to train, even when you really don't want to.

Some of you may know that I ran a relay race a week ago (184 miles with a team of 12), and several days before the race I knew I had to run. The upcoming race hovered menacingly over me, but I didn't want to do it. I really didn't want to. However, my stubborn will dragged my reluctant self outside and we went for a run. (Do you like the use of the royal "we?") And you know what? After 1/2 mile, I hit my groove, began to enjoy myself, and I was glad I did it. Oh, I'm sorry. I mean, after 1/2 mile, we hit our groove and began to enjoy ourselves.

*cringe* Forget the royal "we." Now back to the point...

Let me tell you a little secret: this scenario plays out to some degree every time I go to exercise. Getting started is always hard, but once I get going it's easier to keep going.

Dictionary definition: Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion.

And I think that mental, emotional, and motivational inertia is even harder than physical inertia. One of the biggest hurdles in achieving goals--no matter in what area of life--is overcoming that internal resistance.

So just get your butt moving, because that's half the battle.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

MadLibs #2

Here's our second literary MadLibs from a few weeks ago.

On his 11th birthday, young Reginold Potter discovers the facial pore he never knew he had, the facial pore of a patent agent. In his first 3 megabytes at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Mechanical Pencils, he meets his two motley friends Ron Weasley, an expert at Wizard capture the flag, and Hermione Granger, a girl with gleaming parents. Harry learns the game of Quiditch and Wizard capture the flag on his way to facing a Dark flagpole teacher who is bent on charging him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jokes for fun

This is the true story of George Phillips of Meridian, Mississippi, who was going to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the shed. George opened the door to go turn off the light but saw there were people in the shed in the process of stealing things.

He immediately phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and George said no and explained the situation. Then they explained that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be there when available.

George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again. "Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I've just shot them all."

Then he hung up. Within five minutes three squad cars, an Armed Response unit, and an ambulance showed up. Of course, the police caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Word of the Week #100 - grok

grok - [GRAWK] - verb

To understand, especially in a profound and intimate way. Slang.

Only fellow writers can truly grok the highs and lows a story will put you through.

Monday, May 17, 2010

MadLibs (a little late)

So, like a month ago I asked for some help composing some MadLibs. And then I forgot to post the results. So here's our first Bookmom Musings MadLib. Thanks to MT for participating!


“You know how everyone enjoys different flavors?” he began. “Some people love chocolate oversized radish, others prefer strawberry?”

I nodded.

“Sorry about the food analogy – I couldn’t think of another way to explain.”

I lunged. He smiled ruefully back.

“You see, every person smells different, has a different essence. If you locked an alcoholic in a room full of windshield wipers, he’d gladly drink it. But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic. Now lets’ say you placed in that room a glass of hundred-year-old rootbeer float, the rarest, finest rootbeer float – and filled the room with its warm aroma – how do you think he would fare then?”

We sat silently, looking into each other’s pinkies– trying to read each other’s thoughts.

He broke the silence first.

“Maybe that’s not the right comparison. Maybe it would be too easy to turn down the rootbeer float. Perhaps I should have made our alcoholic an aloe vera plant addict instead.”

“So what you’re saying is, I’m your brand of aloe vera plant?” I teased, trying to lighten the mood.

He smiled swiftly, seeming to appreciate my effort. “Yes, you are exactly my brand of aloe vera plant.”

Text © Stephenie Meyer & Little, Brown Publishing. From Twilight, pages 267-68.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quotable Quotes & Linkable Links

Here are some good things I've stumbled across lately:

Sean Ferrell:
I write every day. Especially when I don't feel like it. Especially when it's not working. I can always choose to not use something that I wrote and that I realize later is the wrong tone, doesn't fit, contradicts other parts. I can't decide to use something that isn't written. I can't use something that is still in my head. Better to have something come out half right than have all of it perfectly in my skull.

Some gems from author Lilith Saintcrow:
* Want to get good enough to be published? Write every day.
I always get flak when I post this. But I keep saying it, because I believe it’s important. No day is too busy that you can’t find ten or fifteen minutes to write. Plus, getting into the habit of doing it every day will help on those days when you Don’t Wanna Butya Hafta. It also makes the point, to yourself and to others, that writing is important. You can’t revise what doesn’t exist. ‘Nuff said.

Let every rejection, bad review, hard edit, or misunderstanding be an invitation do do better. Anything else is a waste of your time.

Agent Rachelle Gardner reminds us of one of the realities of pursuing writing:
Life is all about choices, and when we choose to pursue a passion that's time-consuming, we have to say no to other things.

**Jaime's aside: Like TV. Even now that I've joined the rest of humanity with a DVR, I still don't watch it.

Agent Kristen Nelson points out the 2 biggest culprits for starting your novel in the wrong place: Back Story and Minutiae.

Getting skinny isn't just a weight goal, it's a writing goal too. KM Weiland gives you 10 Ways to Write Skinny Sentences.

Sometimes it is best to say Me First!

I am thrilled to know that my children are not the only ones who pawn stuff off on the neighbors. (Check out this post on The Meanest Mom blog.) Although I have to say that usually my children are selling the stuff, so they're entrepreneurial rather than generous.

I shouldn't worry so much about evil creatures in my books. They can't be worse than Mongolian Death Worms. I didn't know worms could roar. Do they even have vocal cords?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Word of the Week #99 - eristic

eristic - [e-RIS-tik] - adjective

1. Pertaining to controversy or disputation; controversial.
2. Of argument for the sole purpose of winning, regardless of the reason.

as a noun:
1. Argument for the sole purpose of winning, regardless of the reason.
2. The art of disputation.

My oldest child loves to engage in eristic discussions. All. The. Time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Becoming Legendary

This is a presentation we showed at the 2010 LDStorymakers Writers Conference a few weeks ago. I would have posted it sooner except I had to teach myself how to do all sorts of technical stuff to get it in the right format to share online. (I'll wait for the Ooohs and Ahhhs at my newfound technical brilliance.) For those who like a little inside info. my co-chair and I spent months trying to find the right motivational/inspirational message. Every idea we came up with didn't feel quite right, until this hit two weeks before the conference and we both knew it was what we'd been looking for. By the number of people that stopped us to ask if we could make it available, it seems that it touched others, too.


Please visit the website of awesome independent artist Jennifer Thomas at She has some serious talent (click on it and I dare you to disagree) and was generous enough to let us use her award-winning song "Fly Away," which is available for purchase at her website.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Debunking the Hard Work Myth

I had an experience with a child the other day that got me thinking. Kidlet #1 is extremely intelligent (and no, I'm not just bragging). Fortunately, and unfortunately, that means that a lot of things come easy to him. As a parent, I am trying to get him to see the value of work, especially hard work, because intelligence will only take you so far.

We had a conversation with his karate instructor, who observed that Kidlet #1 is putting forth the minimum amount of effort. Commence parent lecture. One thing that hit me during the lecture was that Kidlet #1 equated hard work with torture. I halted everything to make sure he understood that hard work is not bad.

He disagreed.

I could lapse into codger-like lamentations about the pitiful state of the younger generation, who expect everything to be easy, but beyond that one statement, I won't. Instead I'm writing this blog post. I think this hard work myth is a major obstacle for a lot of people.

Hard work IS hard. Hard work IS NOT bad.

Think back on some of your achievements. Are the ones that stick out to you the things that came easy, that took little to no effort on your part? I'm betting the achievements that still make you feel a flush of pleasure and a "Wow, I really did that!" moment are the ones that took hard work. The effort is part of the value.

So when things get hard (and they will), remember:

hard work bad
hard work = worth it

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Word of the Week #98 - interlard

interlard [in-tuhr-LARD] - transitive verb

To insert between; to mix or mingle; especially, to introduce something foreign or irrelevant into

My children always want to interlard breakfast foods with syrup; apparently scrambled eggs and syrup are "yummy."

Monday, May 3, 2010


Now that the LDStorymakers Writers Conference is over, I can focus a little more on actual writing. So I've gathered up my snacks, water bottles, pens, post its, and creative brain power to dive in and finally rewrite my 2009 NaNo train wreck. And yes, it is a total train wreck. I had reached my goal and was so sick of the book by the end that I cut off the last chapter with the mother of all info-dumps and ended with the sentence: And they all lived happily ever after. I kid you not. I laugh and cringe every time I read that last page.

"So, how's it going?" you might ask. (At least for this blog I'm pretending you would care enough to ask.)

The answer: It's going slowly, but good. It seems to take 2-2 1/2 hours per chapter so far. Here's a little glimpse into why it's so slow.

You may or may not be able to see that there is very little actual typed words left on these pages. I left maybe half a page, total, and the rest I tossed. And it is sooo much better than it was, too.

I think one of the most important things I've learned from Holly Lisle's "How To Revise Your Novel Workshop" (you can read past blog posts about it here and here and here and you can find out about the workshop itself here) is that anything is worth sacrificing to get the book you want. Rip out any character, any plot line, any chapter, paragraph, or line that doesn't get your book where you want it to be. And, that's really hard to do sometimes because you spent all that time writing it in the first place. But I'm willing to rip out, change, tweak, or completely rewrite (what I'm doing now) whatever I have to.

Now back to the rewrite-o-rama.