Saturday, October 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo is Looming

National Novel Writing Month

All prepped, sort of :), and ready to begin. Have been madly working this week on completing my WIP. I  just have a smidgeon more to go before the first draft is completed but only if I binge write all weekend. I'm not sure how much blogging I will do during November with all the pressure of being a WriMo, but I will be taking several breaks to relax and read your blogs.

For those other WriMos out there, Good Luck!

Update: Yay! 6:35 P.M. CST Halloween Evening and I just finished my first draft! Now that's a Halloween Treat!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Help! Two Questions for Writers of Young Adult Novels

 I've been working hard on this summer's project. After floundering around for a few weeks, I finally hit my stride again and have been moving steadily through it and discovered something, as a writer, about the characteristics of this main character.

Basically, I had created her to be a slightly angry teen who eventually overcomes her anger and learns to trust and love the adult who she perceived to be her personal nemesis. Characters are supposed to grow and change, but during these last 20,000 words, she's developed characteristics I didn't have a clue she possessed. At first I wanted to halt things again, thought about it, and decided it would be better to forge ahead and complete the first draft no matter what she did or who she became.

 Since I have not written a young adult character in depth before, I don't know if this is normal for YA characters in novels.  These characteristics showed up when the character was presented with major conflict in her life because of the plot and the antagonist. MG characters don't have to be this complex. For those of you that do write young adult I have a couple of questions.

1. If your character has changed dramatically, do you go back and add or hint at some of these characteristics when you first presented him/her so it won't be such a big difference from the beginning?
2. Do you just let the changes take the reader by surprise the way it took you, the author, by surprise?

If you faced this in your writing, I would love to know how you handled it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Computer Panic

I use my computer daily. I depend on my computer. I just didn't know how much. I had been working on my first draft, passed the middle, and was clipping right along at a good pace when my computer went on strike. It would freeze and give everything a pinkish background. The error said there was an infinite loop happening. Lots of shutdowns, restarts, etc. I begged it not to crash and burn like its predecessor. I promised it I would treat it right. I said lots of bad words. During the few times I got the computer to act right, I made sure everything was backed up on flash drives, and searched the net for my particular error, no help there. I did all the things you try yourself first.

On Sunday after starting up twice, it acted fine long enough to get on the web. I got Tech Support online and on the phone. Martin said it was probably caused by interruption of an updated install. He had me log off, unplug the printer and cable modem, push buttons, startup, and reattach things. When I restarted it, the computer acted perfectly. Martin said  he thought that would take care of it, but there was no guarantee. All day the computer was fine but I kept waiting...worrying. I visited blogs and wrote some more, worrying the whole time. I couldn't even relax and read for thinking about it. Finally went to my sister's house to get away from it all, I bought doughnuts on the way, the sugar buzz helped. When I came home, I peeked in to see how it was doing.

Oh, how I didn't want to turn it off last night, but I wanted to treat it normally. Would it ever start again? Luckily, no nightmares or tossing and turning. Then this morning I held my breath as I pushed the start button. Whew!

The way I felt during all this, the helplessness of worrying about what will I do without it, the quickly making plans to buy another while this one is being fixed, made me wonder. Should the computer be that important? How about sharing some of your computer panic moments?

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Very Happy Columbus Day

My friend Jackie had lung surgery last week to remove, I'll call it debris for lack of the proper term, caused by what her doctor said was a super bug. After two more days in intensive care, her condition started improving dramatically. After a long, rough twelve days she came home from the hospital yesterday, weak but on the mend. Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes. It is one happy Columbus Day for her family and friends.

I've been enjoying looking at Fall pictures on several blogs and feeling a tiny bit envious. It will take the first frost to make our leaves change colors and that's usually around November 1. But I'm not complaining, I'm just happy the summer heat and humidity is long gone. Right now, I get up early and troop out the door because the cooler weather makes walking in the neighborhood a pleasure.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October Musings

I don't have a one particular topic to write about today because I haven't had too much time to think about it. A dear friend is in the hospital fighting pneumonia so I've been praying for her and worrying. We worked together for over twenty years and became grown-up BFF's. Any prayers sent Jackie's way will be much appreciated.

The October weather has turned beautiful. The crisp air combined with the warm sun has been ideal for getting outside and walking, picking and poking in the garden, and just enjoying the outdoors. I haven't been inclined at all to sit at the computer until today. A neighbor set this out for all us kids so I had to snap it.

I can't believe Christmas decorations are already in the store. When I taught school I hated that. Here we were talking about the Fall season, harvesting on farms, Columbus Day, and getting ready for Halloween and the stores were pushing Christmas. In November we discussed Jamestown and the Pilgrims and looked forward to Thanksgiving Day, but only the grocery stores participated with turkey sales. Why can't retail America enjoy those things? Why are the kids and families bombarded with Christmas in October? A retailer once told me that if you can get the families to shop for Christmas early they are so thrilled to be finished that they are inclined to impulse buy and over spend before Christmas. Profits go up and the retailers are happy. Apparently, it works, because they keep moving up the advertising earlier and earlier. I'm glad it wasn't like that when I was growing up.

My summer WIP is resting. I've come to a little past the middle and am having a hard time deciding which direction the characters need to advance their lives and the plot in the most satisfying way. I decided it needs to be put aside for a few weeks. When I pick it up again and read it straight through it will probably become clear. In the meantime, Halloween is right around the corner, so I've decided to have some fun and write a silly little Halloween mystery for the younger set.

NaNo is just around the corner. They've cleared the old stuff from our pages and it's time to get ready for that. I'm thinking of attempting two MG books instead of one 50,000 word novel. Even if I'm not a winner this year, I decided that would be more than okay if I finished one good draft of a middle grade novel.
So what are your musings as October moves forward?