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.
Did you read Archie Comics when they were younger?
I did. Like all the time. Even into high school and college. I loved Archie, Betty and Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and the whole gang, and bought a lot of Archie Comics. Both the small book-like Digests and the typical comic book sized ones.
I had over 150 of the Digest sized comics. And maybe about 80 regular sized ones. I even got into buying 1st editions. Not really old ones, but the ones from the late 80s and early 90s.
The only annoying thing was, because I read them so often, I started to see stories repeated. And I felt ripped off because I was paying money for a story I’d already read.
So not long ago I put up my collection on Ebay. I’d looked into local comic book stores, but they were not interested. So Ebay was the place to go. Sold them in 3 lots. And was pretty stunned to make about $140 total. I was quite pleased.
I haven’t sold my full-sized Archies yet, but they’re next on my Ebay list.
I have a few other comics, Josie and the PussyCats, Richie Rich, even an Annie comic. They’re fun to look at, and even though I tend to be a saver, it was time to get rid of them.
So goodbye Archie. I’ll miss you, but not the space you took up.
Did you read any comics growing up? Or do you now?
A to Z Blog Challenge is coming soon. Have you signed up?
For anyone who doesn’t know, the A to Z challenge is to write a blog post for 26 days, every day in April, minus Sundays. Click on the A to Z badge above to go to the website.
This is my first time. But last year, I was following people who were posting, and it was a lot of work to keep up with everybody. But I saw a lot of fun blog posts.
You can do a theme or anything you want. It just has to follow the letter of that day.
I hadn’t planned on doing A to Z, but right before NaNo, I got this idea. And actually got started on it. Cause no way could I leave it till right before. And my idea came around Halloween time when I was watching lots of horror movies. So hence, my theme. (I am a fan of horror movies. I haven’t watched them as much lately, but used to all the time in my younger years.)
So I haven’t checked, but I think I’m about 75% of the way through the alphabet. With 1½ months left, I think I’ll make it.
As of yesterday, there were 640 people signed up. I don’t remember exactly what last year’s count was, but it seems to me it was in the thousands. So a lot of people do it.
And now I’m kinda looking forward to my first one.
So for anybody else who has done/is doing A to Z. How far out to do start planning/writing? Or do you wing it? And how many A to Z’s have you participated in? Was it hard to find a theme?
Thank you to Annalisa Crawford and Kyra Lennon for hosting the Imaginary Friends Bloghop.
They want to know about your imaginary friend. What were they called? How old were you? Were they naughty or nice? If you didn’t have one, were there ever times when you could have used one? Did you ever set fire to your mum’s favorite rug and have to take the blame yourself?
I did not have any imaginary friends growing up, so I’ll share another story. I don’t remember how old I was when this happened, but I may have been in jr. high. Or around there somewhere.
One day, my mom smelled something funny in the bathroom. From the closet. A place where bad smells do not usually originate. So she looked and discovered a Ziploc bag with a piece of stinky fish. It had been frozen at one time, but not anymore.
Now it wasn’t me. And my older brother said it wasn’t him. And my dad said it wasn’t him. And my mom found it. And our dog couldn’t reach into the freezer and then drop the bag in the closet underneath some stuff.
Even years later, nobody will cop to putting it there.
So who did it?
Our house was new when we moved into it… so no ghosts. I blame my brother—maybe sleepwalking. He blames me. Can’t see either of my parents doing it—it’s not their type of humor. So maybe an imaginary friend?
To this day, it’s still a mystery.
How about you? Any imaginary friends?
Thank you to Stephen Tremp , C.M. Brown, Elise Fallson and Mark Koopmans for hosting this fun bloghop.
Here is what it’s about: An opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the ever-expanding blogging community. Simply take a moment and tell us something interesting about yourself. Anything. It can be about writing. Or blogging. Or a hidden talent. Perhaps you’re in the Witness Protection Program. Feel free to keep your post short. This is meant to be a quick and fun Blogfest.
My name is Suzi. Yes, my given name. (That seems to surprise a lot of people.)
Not Susan, Sue, Suzanne, Sue, Suz, or Suzie Q.
And if you call me one of the names from the above line, and you’re not a good friend or family, I’ll roll my eyes inwardly, because you weren’t paying attention when I told you my name.
But I won’t correct you.
My parents wanted to be different I guess, so they named me about the least used form of Suzi. (Others are Suzie, Suzy, Susie, Suze ) So that means that basically, I ALWAYS have to spell my name out because nobody gets it right.
Growing up, I probably only knew of a few other Suzi’s (and they were actually spelled differently.) I had none in my grade.
I used to hate it. I don’t anymore.
So what about you? Do you have a common or uncommon name? And do you like it?
Not long ago I let a friend read The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. And her name is Chloe, just like my main character. That made me wonder, does it feel weird to read a story with a main character that has the same name as you.
I asked the real Chloe, and she said no, it didn’t feel weird to her.
But I’m wondering what other people think. Especially those with common names that show up in stories. Because mine does not.
I went to the Social Security Baby Names Wesite. I reference this site a lot when I’m trying to find character names. It’s great because you can look them up by popularity of any year. Of the top 1000 names. So if you need a name from an earlier decade, it’s easy to find them.
And big surprise, Suzi doesn’t even rate in the top 1000. Neither does Suzie or Suzy.
Susan actually rated pretty high my birth year. #27. But Susan isn’t my name, so it doesn’t count. Susie came in at 541. But still, it’s not my name.
So my point is, I don’t think I’ve ever ran across my exact name in a book. And I’m curious if it feels weird for you to read a story with your name.
And, have you found a story that has your first AND last name?
That would be pretty cool.
(Come back tomorrow for more name stuff with the Allow Me to Re-introduce Myself Bloghop.)
(And since I was in the mood to talk about beta reading…)
A letter to all the people whose manuscripts I critique.
(Bear with me, it gets kinda long.)
I do not claim to be an expert in writing or grammar. Everything I say comes from my own experiences, and what I’ve learned. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m right. And if I’ve read one story of yours already, I’m gonna skip the disclaimer because you know the final decision comes down to you anyways.
And I know I sometimes mark things that are more a style issue,
but you know… I can’t help it. Feel free to ignore my comments.
And sometimes I get lazy. Do you know how many times I’m writing a comment, and then I have to go back and change a period to a question mark? A lot. I don’t know why I forget the question mark, because I know I’m writing a question, but it happens. A lot. So from now on, I’m not going to waste time going back and inserting that question mark. I will assume you can deduce it is a question even though it ends in a period.
And other punctuation. In my comments, I’m probably gonna forget to add the comma before the conjunction of 2 independent clauses. But in your ms, I’m probably going to add too many commas, even when it COULD fall under the exception rule and even though it seems like everybody’s doing it. But hey, I like commas.
And echoes. I used to mark them all—you know, highlight them so you could see them. But not anymore. I’m just gonna highlight one and make you find the rest. But… if I see several, I’ll let you know that. Otherwise you can assume it’s just one. And just cause I mark it doesn’t mean I think you should change it. But I want to bring it to your attention, in case you want to change it.
And I’m sorry that when I insert a suggestion into your sentence, I have started NOT crossing out the stuff I think doesn’t belong. But again, I think you are smart enough to figure that out.
And I used to say stuff like, show, don’t tell. But now I’ve been writing: telling. Or even telly. Cause I think that’s kinda funny.
And I like to make up new words. (Well someone else probably used them, but I didn’t until now.) Info-dumpy is my latest. It also makes me laugh.
And I think comma splice is much cooler than run-on. So to anyone I beta-ed for last fall or before, I’m now using comma splice instead of run-on. (And technically, they’re not the same thing, but the fix is just the same.) And hopefully I’ll remember to tell you that I changed what I called it. (Oh, I guess I just did right there.)
And I use way too many smiley faces.
And ‘clunky’ means the same thing as ‘awkward’ which means the same thing as ‘I stumbled over this’ which means the same thing as ‘um… huh?’ I bounce back and forth on what I use.
And I hope you don’t mind personal comments that have nothing to do with your story. But it just crossed my mind at that moment, and I thought it was important to mention it. Although we both know it wasn’t.
And sometimes I think I’m funny, when I’m not. I hope you don’t take it personally. If I feel comfortable doing so, I will probably insert more ‘funny’ comments. If I don’t know you so well, I won’t.
And sometimes I way over-explain stuff. But that might be because I tend to ramble,
or…I’m figuring it out as I’m typing. And instead of going back and editing my comment, I’ll just leave it be.
And sometimes I’m not clear on my explanation. I will admit in my comment if I don’t really know why I don’t like something. Sometimes things just don’t feel good, but I can’t say why. But please ask me if you don’t know what I’m talking about, because I know I’m not always clear on what I write. (Like this paragraph.)
And sometimes I’ll make suggestions on how to fix something. But other times I don’t because a.) I’m sure you can figure it out, or b.) I’m lazy, or
C.) I have no clue what to do, I just know it needs fixing.
And feel free to tell me if I told you something wrong. (I’ll just need proof and then we’ll move on. And feel free to tell me if you’re on a deadline, and I need to work faster. I’ll try.
And this is going way too long, although I could probably write more. So in closing… I love critiquing stories and have learned so much. Thank you to: Stacy, Liz, Theresa, Jo, Jade, Kim, Lynne, Cassie Mae & Lara for allowing me to be a part of your novel’s journey. Because although publishing my own story rates as the coolest thing ever, being a part of someone else’s novel is right up there too. And I would read any of your other stories in a heartbeat.
And I promise to do the best job I can.
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.)
1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten?
Two of them-many years ago. And FYI: do not get a ticket in Minnesota, they’re expensive!
2. Can you pitch a tent?
Yes. The last time I did it was this summer with my son at Cub Scout camp.
3. What was your worst vacation ever?
I’ve never had a worst vacation. Maybe I blocked it out because it was so bad.
4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?
Single item. A laptop several months ago. But I don’t use it, my husband does. He didn’t like the three little lines running down the screen of our old one. They don’t bother me though.
5. We’re handing you the keys to what?
A 7 passenger crossover vehicle. Don’t have a specific brand yet, haven’t looked into it.
6. What was the last meal you cooked that made even you sick?
Stroganoff. Not because it was bad, because I ate too darn much. Tummy ache.
7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like a train.
8. What was your first car?
1987 Chevy Cavalier in 1991 (I think.) Had it for two whole months before someone rear-ended me and it was totaled. So I really consider my first car to be a 1987 Pontiac Sunbird, which I loved, and drove from 1991-1997.
9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she’s okay or laugh first?
Definitely ask. Unless she’s laughing.
10. What’s the worst song ever?
I have no absolute worst, but I heard this one today, before I wrote the post. Voices Carry by Til Tuesday. Really, I do not mind the song, except for the chorus. I can’t understand a word of the chorus and it’s repeated often. It’s annoying.
What I think the chorus lyrics are: Oh Josh, even out now, oh so scary. (no, that doesn’t make sense)
Actual lyrics: Hush, hush, keep it down now, voices carry
So thanks to Emily and Tammy for hosting this fun blog hop. And click on either of their names above to go to the list of other participants so you can go check their answers out too.
So here was my general plan. Finish revising The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. Start querying. Then start work on my next story. I have the basic premise, and a few character details and scenes, but I wanted to try plot it out first. Since I lean more towards pantsing, I would be trying something new doing the plotting first.
But my plans changed.
I enjoy dark, edgy dark stories, and I was reading Pushing the Limits by Katie Garry. I like the two main characters, Echo and Noah—who is a foster kid. The last novel I queried, Frosty, had a foster girl as the main character, and I got a new story idea that revolves around two foster kids.
And I’m hoping it turns out to be on the dark, edgy side. (But you never know cause things might change… again.)
So my mind took over, and I had to write out my ideas. Now I still love the premise of the other WIP I wanted to start, but this new one has taken hold. But first, I have to finish The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. (If I can ignore the itch to write.) So I’ll record my ideas, and then I’ll be all ready to go.
Does this happen to you often? When another story idea takes hold and you have to change course?