Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Deadlines . . . what good are they?

Tomorrow is July 1st, and I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not . . . because it is a deadline I set for myself and I haven't figured out if I'm going to make it yet.

I usually work well with deadlines . . . I always have. I'm a fairly organized person who needs the structure of knowing what I need to get done and when it needs to be done by.

I'll admit I've never had to deal with a formal deadline set by an editor. I have, however, followed deadlines set by magazines, ie: sending a story with a specific theme and/or metaphor, in to a magazine by a certain date to make sure it makes it for an upcoming issue's deadline.

Anyway, I often make deadlines for myself so I can keep myself on task.

Tomorrow, July 1st, is the date I was supposed to have Sophia ready to send to the editor at Viking. Unfortunately as I have been going over her, there are too many questions marks brought up by myself, and my fabulous writing group, that make me wonder if she's ready to make that jump.


So we'll see what happens. I still have until tomorrow night to make my decision.

And figure out when my next deadline will be.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's WOW Friday!!

It's that time of the week again . . . WOW Friday!

And that word is:


Now everyone knows what a kaleidoscope is, I hope. I spent many an hour playing with one of those long plastic tubes creating all sorts of magical color combinations.

But not everyone knows there are two other definitions . . .

- A constantly changing set of colors.
- A series of changing phases or events.

Although the definition of the series of changing phases or events feels very applicable to my life right now, the constantly changing set of colors is more of what I'm thinking of.

Today's word was inspired by an amazing sunset I saw the other night. It was about 9 pm, and the clouds in the west had formed a cover making the most incredible sky. The top layer was a whitish-gray color, then a medium gray took over . . . but the combination of the two with the setting sun created some four or five different hues of pink. And although the word gorgeous aptly describes how it looked, as I took a detour driving home - staying west the entire way until the last of the pink had disappeared, another word popped into my head . . .


sigh . . . I wish I could see more of them . . .

Enjoy your weekend! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

An ode to my dad . . .

I know Father's Day was Sunday, and I meant to post this yesterday, but life got in the way . . .

I have always been envious of writers who when asked, "When did you want to be a writer?" they answer with something to the effect of, "I've always wanted to write." or "I've been writing since I was a kid."

I never thought about being a writer when I was a kid . . . in fact, I hated to write. In 3rd grade I wrote an 'All about Me' book and my three least favorite subjects were, math, spelling, and creative writing. Not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea.

Lately, my frustration would mount when I compare myself to other authors thinking, "Maybe this isn't in my blood . . . I don't have the same passion because I didn't intuitively know from a young age that this was what I was meant to do."

But all that HOGWASH (ha ha) went out the window when I thought about another writer who has worked just as hard, if not more so, to get to where he is.

My dad.

My dad is good at math and science. My dad wanted to go into aeronautics when he was a kid. And then something changed all that, my grandpa took him to see his first race at Elkhart Lake when he was 14.

Suddenly the light bulb went on and he decided he wanted to spend his life writing about and taking pictures of cars.

Why am I mentioning this? Because it was not an easy road for him.

Like I mentioned, my dad excelled in math and science. English and writing were NOT his strongest subjects. In fact the principal at his school pulled him into his office to lecture him about his chosen career path telling him, "We need more scientists, John. Your country needs you."

But that didn't matter. He knew what he was meant to do.

It took me a few years, and three kids, to get to the point where I knew, without a doubt, that writing for kids was my "thing".

So who is always one of my biggest cheerleaders? You guessed it! My dad has read every novel I have written and several of my short stories. He has no problem wearing his editing hat and giving things to me straight. Regardless of how he thinks I might take it.

And I will always be grateful!

Here's to my dad . . . "Never say die!"

Thanks, your ever-loving daughter, Lisa :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

WOW Friday . . . finally!!

Okay, okay, so now that I can't depend on the school marque for my WOW inspiration, I need to come up with my own. And for some reason I came up with the word . . .


Interesting one, isn't it?

Hogwash:(n) - Worthless, false or ridiculous speech or writing; nonsense.
OR Garbage fed to hogs (I didn't know that one!)

I came across this word as I was reading some celebrity blog about someone, I can't even remember who . . . oh well . . .

Anyway, the word HOGWASH popped out at me. I've always liked this word. It's fun and unexpected in an exclamatory kind of way. When I was a junior in HS I was in English honors and there was a guy in my class who had to critique a piece of my writing during the first week of school. Unfortunately I had misunderstood what the teacher had asked us to analyze. So I was COMPLETELY off the mark.

Without holding anything back, my classmate called my writing hogwash. And his comments questioned as to why I was in that class.

However, the guy ticked me off so much with his commentary, that I busted my butt and earned the admiration and respect of my teacher.

It's amazing what a little hogwash can do . . .

Have a happy weekend!! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sometimes you need to just . . . breathe.

Breathing . . .

Breathing is a good thing, and not just for the obvious reasons. Breathing clears the mind. And for some people, it clears the soul.

I am an anxious person thanks to genetics and certain childhood experiences. When I get to a point where I feel my anxiety creeping up on me, the first thing I do is try to breathe.

Unfortunately, that usually causes me to hyperventilate and then I get that needle-and-pins feeling in my hands and feet . . .

So why am I talking about this, and what does it have to do with my writing?

Well, it has to do with my LEAST favorite part of writing . . . revising.

There's something about finishing the rough draft of a novel (or any other piece I'm working on) that puts me on another plane. Almost a giddiness. Then reality sets in and I realize, once again, that the easy part has been completed, and the real work needs to be done.

I mentioned in my last post I had figured out the tie my two main characters in the current book I'm working on share. I've spent what little writing time I've had today (apart from writing this post) focusing on that.

But I'm fighting off that "feel like I'm over my head" feeling I get when I do.

The Quote of the Week I posted on my FB page is, "If at first you don't succeed, try . . . try again." I wrote that because I've been going through some stacks of papers today and found my REJECTIONS folder. It used to be that my "old" pile - the rejections I received very early in my writing career - was bigger than my "current" pile - the ones I've received since 2004.

Seeing the "current" pile kinda hit me like a ton of bricks and that quote immediately popped into my mind.

However, I'm hoping my revising work on Sophia, Alison, and their problems will help me forget about mine.

Revising, rambling and breathing . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

So much for being bored . . .

Figures that right after I wrote my last post, all heck broke loose in my life and I had NO time to breathe much less write so . . .

Hello again!

I have always subscribed to the belief that everything happens for a reason. That means EVERYTHING, good and bad. Over the past couple of weeks I've been dealing with a whole lot of good and bad stuff, and even though I haven't been doing the physical act of typing on my laptop, it's amazing how stuff still affects what I write.

I've had a number of people in the past ask me why I write for teenagers. The truth is, I don't write for teenagers, I write about the teenage experience. Now given that I'm turning 40 this year, you'd think that was a pretty difficult task . . . I mean, you know, the brain's getting older . . . and I've had 3 kids (that right there has killed off God knows how many brain cells). But it's the feelings, the friendships, and yes, the drama.

Despite what a lot of kids think, drama happens just as much with adults as it does with kids. But we either hide it better or it's about 'adult' stuff.

Now my question of the hour is, how does drama help me?

Well usually it doesn't, at least not me personally. I am my father's daughter in that I avoid conflict like the plague. And because I'm a people pleaser, I feel bad when it does happen (think Betty White in the Golden Girls when her character, Rose, finds out a co-worker doesn't like her and she spends the entire episode trying to get him to change his mind).

This past week I've been dealing with some 'adult' drama. I won't go into it here, because I learn my lessons well. However as I was trying to NOT think about it today, a brilliant idea hit me.

My wonderful and supportive writing group has been helping me with my current novel that I'm getting ready to send off to an editor, but one of their sticking points was that my main character and her best friend seem to have this non-existent friendship. It's there, but there's no basis for it. With Cat, it all had to do with her bonding with Heather over the loss of their mothers. But Sophia's relationship with Alison just doesn't have that.

Until now.

I've figured out what these girls have bonded over. Drama. What kind of drama? I'm not sure yet . . . I still have to figure that out. But now I'm pointed in the write direction (ha ha).

So as you can see, everything does happen for a reason.

Even the yucky stuff. :)