Spring cleaning time.
Okay, maybe it’s not spring here yet. But I’m optimistic that we won’t have snow in April. (But chances of that happening are pretty low.) So I started doing spring cleaning with my writing stuff.
I am one of those people who writes notes on anything. As you can see, I have a variety of things: little brown envelope, small spiral notebooks usually kept in my purse, scratch paper from our printer, whatever piece of paper I could find.
I don’t usually do this with life in general, mostly just writing stuff. Silly things my daughter says. Plot/character ideas, agent stuff, descriptive words I might use in my manuscript. Title ideas and character names. Sometimes dialogue. Anything that strikes me related to my writing. And unfortunately, if I don’t write it down, it has a 95% chance of being forgotten.
So I’m cleaning things up. When I start working on a story, I get an 8×10 spiral bound notebook to write those ideas. I went through all this crap and moved it to the correct notebook. But some of my notes are for stories I wrote a while back, and have no notebook, so then I just throw it into a manila folder. (I have a folder for each project. Even ones that got pushed aside for better ideas. But if I started creating scenes in my head, it has a folder.)
What I’m wondering is, how many people do this too? Do you write little notes like this for everyday things? Or is it mostly writing stuff like me?
Or are you the type of person who will put the information down in the correct place right away instead of leaving notes around the house?
I’m trying to get better at this. I should just leave small notebooks in several rooms, so that it’s there when I need it. But then I have to leave a pencil too. And the kids like to move them around. Or use the notebooks themselves. And if I hide it somewhere, I might forget where it is.
Maybe I should work on some memory exercises, so I wouldn’t have to write it all down.
So do you write yourself notes like this, or are you an organized person?
Since I started writing, I’ve stumbled into these weird coincidences between life and my reading/writing. Coincidences that make me go—whoa, did that really just happen?
I’m not a superstitious person, but I would like to think it’s a sign.
Unfortunately, nothing’s happened with my novels yet. But maybe this sign thing is on a little delay. The good thing this sign was hinting at might not come for years. Who knows.
Whether it’s a sign or not, I still find these coincidences interesting. Hopefully you will too. This one was probably my first and happened May 2010. (Yes, I’ve been waiting that long to share this story.) So without further ado…
I was working on a story that had a character who becomes addicted to crack, so of course, I was reading books about crack addicts. One was a memoir by William Moyers (son of PBS’ Bill Moyers) William got addicted to crack and ended up at the Hazeldon treatment facility (several times).
All I knew of Hazeldon before reading of this book, was that it’s located in the Twin Cities area (that would be Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN & suburbs for those who don’t know), and that sometimes famous people go there for treatment. That’s it.
So I was probably about halfway through the book, and he’d already been at Hazeldon at that point.
My father and I had this training session in Arden Hills, MN, which is in the north central part of the Twin Cities. (You probably didn’t know that I am certified to do pollution prevention plans in Minnesota—but I am—and that’s what the class was for.) We ended up staying with my aunt/uncle who live on the MN/WI border. Unfortunately it was a long drive—about 45 minutes to get to the class.
Instead of going to the interstate, Dad took a highway through the northeast side of the Twin Cities, passing through lots of little towns. We’re driving along and I look up to see a street sign.
Pleasant Valley Road. Hmmm. That sounds familiar-why? Because I haven’t been up in this area—like never.
Then I see it… a sign for Hazeldon. I was dumbfounded. Here I was reading a book that took place at Hazeldon, a place I knew almost nothing of, except by name, and now I was driving right by the facility.
Coincidence. Or sign? Either way, it’s very strange.
So that was actually my first coincidence. Now that novel is the 3rd one I wrote, and it’s been temporarily shelved along with the other 5 companion novels cause I got interested in YA. But I’ll go back to it someday. And make lots of fixes, because it’s probably pretty crappy. (The whole I sucked at writing until just recently thing cause I didn’t know a damn thing about writing back then.)
So, any coincidences with your writing life ever happen? Do you believe in signs?
In case you’re interested in seeing the first two coincidences/signs.
Here they are: Part 1 and Part 2.
The end of 2012. Another year gone by. So many people have inspiring posts about the past year and what they are looking forward to in the new year.
I am not one of those people.
Instead I’m going to post some of my favorite search terms that led people to my blog. Because I totally laugh when I see other people do this. And I love being able to figure out which post a weird search came from.
Things that make you go huh?
-boys suitable to bring Emily to the debs: Who’s Emily? And where/what are the debs?
-frosty swirl meaning: Maybe it’s Wendy’s version of the Blizzard.
-sex engineer: Um, huh? This isn’t an R-rated blog.
-how to abbreviate got to: If you mean gotta, that’s the same amount of letters. And is it really necessary to abbreviate 2 words that are 5 letters long?
-“good” or “bad”: I think we need a little more info.
-butt pogo: I don’t want to know.
-why do you want to an engineer a literar: I’m sorry, huh?
Reading is important
-what is reading important: Take a look at the first word in your sentence. That is why.
-important of reading in engineer: Well, engineers should be able to recognize the difference between importance and important.
-how to get rid of to many “that’s” when writing: Ooh, ooh. I can help with this one. I’m a former that-a-holic. I’d also like you to work on the correct usage of to/too/two. If you don’t mind.
-my friend says reading is not important: I think you should smack him… Or her.
Does this mean I spelled those words wrong in my post?
-interview dialog for civil engineering: A writer who can’t spell dialogue. Not good.
-litery of engineer: This is just bad. I mean it’s the title of my blog for goodness sakes.
-literary enginerr about liteary fiction: You spelled it right the first time, why not the 2nd? And note the word enginerr. Oh crap, that means I spelled it wrong too.
I doubt you found your answer here
-what song is at the main menu of harry p: No clue
-oh theresa looking good bahamian song: I’m wondering what this is too. *Hey Theresa, I bet this is you.*
-book where a girl goes back in time and stays trapped: You might have to narrow it down a little more.
-can I call myself an engineer in ohio: Um, I don’t know. I live in North Dakota.
-convert 1.1mil to 1100000 in excel: I can do this, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t demonstrate it on my blog.
-mindy mcginnis author favorite song: I don’t know, but I could e-mail her and ask. I kinda know her. You know in that online sort of way. (Which means I’ve never met or talked to her in person, but she has appeared on my blog in The Big Reveal, and she’s helped me with my query and she’s totally funny with her Thursday Thoughts. So sometimes I post comments on her blog. Oh, I’m out of breath.)
I’ll be back next Sunday.
I hope everybody has a safe and happy holiday.
Halloween of course!
I love horror movies and books. I don’t read/watch them as often as I used to, because I’ve been doing more contemporary YA, but someday I would like to write a horror. YA or adult.
Perhaps it started with Christopher Pike—the master. I read Slumber Party in 6th grade (I think), and I was hooked. I read all his books through high school and into college a bit. Christopher Pike is probably the author I’ve read the most books of… ever.
Christopher Pike led to Fear Street with R.L. Stine and then up to the next level.
One of the early ‘adult’ books I remember is April Fool’s Day. Looking back, I was probably too young to read that, but hey, who doesn’t like partying and sex and murder! (In fiction that is.) So in high school I moved on to John Saul and Dean Koontz, among others. I also got into horror movies.
So in honor of Halloween, here are a few of my favorites horror book authors.
And favorite horror movies.
I’m not sure what type of horror I’d like to write. Serial killer. Supernatural evil. Biological terror. I don’t know. I have no ideas yet, but someday…
How about you? Are you into horror books or movies?
(WordPress was doing some funky things, and my post wasn’t showing. I’ve reposted, and hopefully it’s working now.)
So I was sitting at my computer Saturday morning—less than 24 hours before my blog post was scheduled—and I didn’t have any idea what to write. It’s been busy this week, getting into the school routine and organizing a garage sale at my house. (This is the last one I’m holding… perhaps forever.) I checked Google Reader for new blog posts and saw one I hadn’t read yet from this week, so I went to Mark Koopmans blog, Aloha! Mark Koopmans Says Hi fro HI and read his IWSG: Are you unfollowing to me post. And voila. I knew what to write about.
Mark wrote about being unfollowed by people on Twitter. Did you know there’s a website that will tell you who unfollows you? I didn’t. (Go to his site to get the link, I was too lazy to add it here.)
That got me thinking, maybe I should go clean up my Twitter account. I’m one of those people choosy people, I guess. I went through the list of people I follow, and I know about 95% of them from reading their blogs, or have some other connection to them. Not always just because they followed me.
I hate my Twitter feed getting filled up with people I don’t care about. (I hope that doesn’t come off as snobby.) And I don’t follow many celebrities/entertainment feeds either. The vast majority are writers, agent-types, and a few other friends.
So I figured it’s time to go through the people who follow me and see who I want to follow. Check out their blogs and see if I’m interested, and maybe I can get to that this week. I’m sure in the end, I’ll add a few more.
My low numbers are just fine with me. Maybe when I become a published author, I might feel differently because it might be a way to connect with readers. But I’m not there now. So I’ll stick with my low numbers.
What’s your Twitter style? Do you follow anyone who follows you? Or do you look for more of a connection? Do you periodically go through and clean up your Twitter account?
I’d first just like to say a quick thank you to Melissa Landers at her group blog Honestly YA. I won two books in their Who-Needs-Summer-Loving giveaway. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally and While He Was Away by Karen Schreck. Thank you Melissa.
So Melissa sent the two books this week and included her author bookmark. And I thought that was so cool. Of course I’ve seen author bookmarks before, but it just hit me that hey, this is a totally great perk of being an author.
And I can’t wait to have my own author bookmark someday.
Yes, that is a little nerdy maybe, but who cares. Also nerdy is the fact that I have a little bookmark collection. When I was younger and went to the library, they always had free bookmarks, so I’d always take one. That collection grew over the years. Then as an adult I stupidly started tossing them.
Some of the bookmarks in my collection have the yarn tassels and some are advertising different events. I bought this one for my son, a thin hand-painted surfboard made of wood. It was very cool–he unfortunately doesn’t fully appreciate it yet. And one of them is from 1981. Yes, 31 years old—an antique. And I could barely read in 1981—not novel lengths at least.
So I decimated my bookmark collection. But recently I’ve decided to start growing it again, grabbing free bookmarks when I can, because one day I can pass my collection down to my children. Yes, kids, that is your inheritance. A bookmark collection. Don’t get too excited.
The funny thing is, half the time I don’t even use them. Instead using ticket stubs, receipts, post-its or whatnot. But they sit safely in a special little bag, waiting to be used. And someday, I’ll add my own author bookmark to my collection.
What do you use as bookmarks?
In my short writing career, I’ve ran across several coincidences that amaze me. Coincidences between my life and my writing. I posted my first story here, and now I’ll do a second, the most recent.
I like to think that they may be signs of good things to come. Now since I haven’t gotten anything published yet, related to these signs, it just may a far-in-advance sign. We’ll see.
Not long ago I participated in the Hookers and Hangers blogfest. Another participant gave me a terrific compliment on my mini-pitch of The Proper Way to Say Goodbye, which I also included in my posting. We went back and forth in e-mail a few times and decided to beta read for each other. Although I didn’t have a summary of her story, she had her first chapter posted on her blog, and it intrigued me too.
She got mine done quickly, and I’m getting closer to finishing up her story, but the interesting thing is the coincidences between our two stories.
-suicide of a loved one
-both our main characters love to run
-characters named Murphy. (Okay, hers is a dog, but still. Murphy is not a common name.)
These things are not huge, but when I got to the part where her Murphy (the dog) shows up, my mouth dropped. I couldn’t believe it.
So coincidence or sign?
I don’t know what it means, but I hope something good, for both of us.
Have you ever run into little coincidences in your writing journey?
I’ll admit I was a bit lazy. I typed this up the day ahead, and although I’ve got a few other posts I could’ve used, I didn’t feel like using them now.
So instead, I’ll tell you about a couple things I’m excited about.
Remember Christa Desir’s Band Camp flash fiction contest. There is still time to vote on your favorites. And if you come back here next week, I am offering a $10 gift certificate to B&N or Amazon to the one who guesses which is mine. If there is more than one correct person, I’ll draw names.
So come back here next week to guess. Christa’s contest ends July 31st.
Click on any of their sites for more information.
Take a traditional fairy tale and ask what if? Then write a 300 word or less scene that falls into one of four categories: plot twist, tragedy, love story, or comedy.
Each judge is offering a special prize.
I have officially joined Team Plot Twist, judged by Cassie Mae. My story involves Cinderella, but that’s all I’ll say.
It was hard to get it down in 300 words, but mine is written and now I’ll just have to do some editing.
Gearing up to get an agent blogfest/pitch contest in September.
This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve sent my manuscript to beta readers. And barring any major changes, I can be ready, or almost ready, by September. This will be a good way to test the waters with my new story.
There is a lot of stuff going on during the month, so clink on the picture above to find out more about Deana’s blogfest.
And this is totally random. My twenty year reunion is next weekend, and I am so excited for it. I’ll get to see some good friends I haven’t seen in ages. Along with all my other classmates I haven’t seen since the 10 year, or before.
So is anybody going to participate in the The Fairy Tale or Gearing up for an Agent blogfest? Or are there any others out there that sound like fun?