Whether it’s the funny best friend or that goofy kid next door,
we want to know what secondary characters
you just couldn’t get enough of and why.
Theresa Paolo, Kelley Lynn, Jessica Saylor, Jenny Morris
Rachel is also planning on giving away a three chapter critique along with an ebook of Secondary Characters, which releases on May 28th.
Cassie Mae and Kelley Lynn will also pick a winner to get either an ebook of
Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend,
or a signed copy of Fraction of Stone.
So sign up on the linky list below and start thinking about your favorite secondary characters!
Here’s how the blog hop works:
Step One: Sign up on the linky below
Step Two: Dust off those old sappy diaries bursting with teenage angst or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry*
Step Three: Skim through them until you find something share-worthy
Step Four: On Monday, March 25 POST IT on your blog
Optional: We all love seeing old photos, so if you have one lying around of you as a teen, post that, too.
Thank you to the hosts of My So Called Teenage Life (Part Deux): Amy Sonnichsen and Christa Desir and Andrea.
I did this the last time, see here here for my previous post, and it was so much fun looking through old journals, I had to do it again. So thank you ladies.
My journals started around 8th grade and went through the end of high school. Sadly they are filled with so much crap. You know, like, who was seeing/breaking up with who. Mundane boring things. Then every once in a while there are funny little snippets from my classmates. And embarrassing things that happened to others mostly, because I wouldn’t want to put in writing what happened to me.
And then, I find something like this one below. Now I’d like to state that I was a fairly normal, average, boring teenager. A quiet, reserved, good kid. Yes, I did some illegal things sometimes, (alcohol mostly), but I didn’t over do it. So what I’m trying to say is I wasn’t overly dramatic.
So proud of myself at first, but then it degrades into stupidity.
January 1st, 1990 (my sophomore year)
Well in a new way this year has been great. Communist parties falling everywhere. Berlin Wall open. The uprise in China. Noreiga in Panama.
Are you impressed with my knowledge of current events in 10th grade? Well don’t be, cause then I say this:
People argue that people (teens) in the 1920s+ had it harder then now. Depression and all. I disagree.
(Probably because I did NOT live through the depression.)
They didn’t have to deal with AIDS, DRUGS, ALCOHOL, MURDER, CRIME, SEX. Anything of that sort.
Yes, I did capitalize that all.
But, um really, ridiculous teenage girl. Are you serious? Let’s break this down a little.
AIDS: To this day, I still don’t know anyone with AIDS. Of course someone may have it, and I might not know, but in high school? Pretty sure nobody in our school was dealing with that because we probably would’ve heard about it since it wasn’t so common yet.
DRUGS: So as an adult, I realize I was blind to many things in school. Yeah, you know who the losers are who won’t graduate because they’re hooked on alcohol or whatever. But sometimes the regular kids came in to school drunk or high. And I was completely unaware. And senior year, if you would’ve asked me to identify any type of illegal drug, would I have been able to? No. Did I know who the dealers were? No.
ALCOHOL: Okay, I’ll maybe give the teenage me that one. But my friends were good; they didn’t encourage stupid behavior all the time like some teens do. But I did know lots of kids that drank too much.
MURDER: So I’m going to give you some crime statistics from 1991, because that’s what I found, and they’re pretty similar to 1990. Eight people were murdered in the State of North Dakota in 1991. Yes, eight. In six of the cases, the assailant was known to the victim(s). Two were unknown. One of these occurred in my town, the 3rd biggest city in the state. The rest elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that murder was not a big worry of mine.
CRIME: There were 407 violent crimes reported in 1991. That includes murder, manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. 407 out of approximately 650,000 people. I don’t know, that doesn’t seem that high, but what do I know.
SEX: I’m not quite sure what this meant. High rates of teenage pregnancy? I don’t know. There was the rare occasion that someone in school got pregnant, but I wasn’t aware of any until my senior year. Meaning once again, I was probably blind and dumb to all that.
So now you’re probably shaking your head like I did. Because I’m pretty damn sure I would’ve taken growing up in the 80s and 90s rather than the 20s. But I guess teenage me wasn’t so smart as current me.
So did you think you had it bad during your teenage years?
And go check out the other bloggers to see what they came up with from their teenage years.
One thing I worry about with the settings of my contemporary novels is getting it right. That’s why I tend to use fake cities, but usually name a state. And even then, I’ve looked up temperatures and sunset/sunrise times: things that are specific to that area to make sure I get things right.
When I run across little setting mistakes in novels, it won’t make me hate the book, but I won’t enjoy it as much because I’m constantly thinking about the mistake. I’ve got a couple examples, and I’m curious if other people feel this way too. You may think I’m being a little harsh on the authors (feel free to tell me in the comments). But hey, sometimes things just rub you wrong.
I came across a book that takes place in North Dakota. Cool, cause you know, we’re kinda considered boring, so you don’t see that often. Now I will say: I have not read this book. And it is a fantasy, but it should still be right. I wouldn’t read this particular book because I couldn’t take the author seriously.
The cover blurb makes reference to the backwoods of North Dakota. I about choked in laughter.
For those not familiar with ND, we don’t have trees. Not literally, I mean we have a few, but even people who live here joke about how little trees we have.
So when I looked it up to verify I’m right, this is what I found. Yes, technically we have forests in ND, 5 state forests to be exact, but guess what. Forest land is 1.6% of the total land area (According to the US Forest Service).
Did you see that?
1.6%. That means that 98.4% of North Dakota is NOT forest.
We do not have backwoods in ND.
I went to Facebook to ask my friends if anybody knew where the backwoods of ND are. All I got were a lot of funny responses, because there are no backwoods of ND to us North Dakotans.
So, that is one book I just can’t take seriously.
I am going to be as vague as I can here because this book/author is pretty well known. And popular, so I don’t want to look like I’m bashing her. Especially cause you might think I’m being a little tough on her.
The main character moves from a southern state to a northern state in September. This northern state has similar weather to us in ND. It’s September, now remember. And there is snow.
So I stopped reading. Snow? Really? I go back and check the month cause maybe I was wrong. Nope September. And this snow was enough to scoop up (not just frost). It was fluffy white snow (the best kind.) And from what I can tell from the story, it’s early or mid-September.
Now I’ll give the author this. The MC asks a native of the northern state about the snow. And he says it’s ‘rare’.
Hell yeah. Rare as in like it’s never snowed in September. Ever!
How do I know this? Well I looked it up, and the earliest snowfall of the metro area where this city resides is October 12th, 2006. (From the National Weather Service)
Now if the author was familiar at all with this state, she would’ve had the guy make a big deal out of it. Snow in September. That never happens. Like ever. But he didn’t. He said it like, yeah, it’s rare, but happens. Like it’s semi-normal.
So does this keep me from reading this author’s book. No. But every time I saw the word snow, I’d roll my eyes because it’s clear to me the author did not know anything about living in a northern state. Or snow for that matter.
Am I being too hard on these authors? Do little things like this bother you? Have you ever run into mistakes about places you’ve lived? And do you look up average weather temps and stuff for your settings?
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?
When I’m writing, there are those words that I always seem to type wrong. That I can never spell right the first time. And luckily Word tells me it’s wrong. And most of the time, Word knows how to spell—because Word is so darn smart.
It’s annoying as hell because I really know how to spell them right. And when I think about it, I can get them. But for some reasons my brain doesn’t connect to my fingers.
So here are a few of those words that trip me up.
-Nown (noun—as a writer I should automatically get this right, but sadly, I don’t.)
-Ackward (awkward—why do I always get these two backwards?)
And sometimes when I’m typing a word, the wrong one will come out.
-One (on—many times I’ll add the e to on. I don’t know why.)
And of course this happens with punctuation.
Question marks. So many times I forget the question mark. I know it’s a question, but I put a period there.
It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
Does anybody else do this? Or is it just me?
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.
I had decided to participate in Christa Desir’s JanPlan a while back. Here’s the little explanation.
“The Jan Plan will involve committing to finish one project. One. However you define “finish”. Just doing what you have to do to get one project out of your unfinished knitting basket.”
So here are my goals.
1. Revise a little on The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. I haven’t done any querying on this for a while. And then I won a 10 page critique from Kelley York. She had some great suggestions and I decided to rework it. (Thank you, Kelley) So I made my changes and then sent the first few chapters to Theresa to get her opinion on my changes. And she sent it back covered with red marks. (Thanks, Theresa. Naw, I’m just kidding cause really, she pointed out a bunch of things I need to change. So thanks again, Theresa–for real, and be warned, I’m gonna make you read all my other stuff from now on too.)
After I make those changes, I’ll give it a quick once over again, and then go back to querying.
2. Finish my rough draft story (Never Again) from NaNo. Before I can do that, I have to make some calls to find someone to interview. So it depends on them. But I’d better get working on that.
Bonus-but it’s not really on my list cause I’m not sure I’ll complete it.
3. Finish my newest WIP (Tori). Now this is the one I’m worried about the most. I’m only 5,000 words in, so I don’t know that I can do it. I’ve got lots of ideas down for scenes and just need to get going on it again. And that’s why it’s not on my officia list.
So that’s my list. And thanks to Christa for hosting. You can visit twitter at #JanPlan to see how others are doing.
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 shouldn’t complain. Many writers only get one idea at a time. They work on a story for a year or more. And then move onto the next idea when they’re done.
But luckily I’m not that way. I’ve got lots of ideas I’ve written down and usually they don’t take hold if I don’t think about them.
My plans after NaNo were to do some research before finishing up my rough draft. And then I was going to edit a shelved MS during Christa Desir’s Jan Plan. I told my friend Theresa, that it feels strange not to be writing or editing something, but I wanted to enjoy the break.
Unfortunately, after visiting a blog, I got the inspiration for a story. I wrote it down, so not to forget. A few other ideas came and I had to name the main characters so it’s easier to write my notes.
And now they won’t shut up.
So far, I’ve held off on writing. Just recording notes, but they keep calling me to write. I have no ending. Just my characters and the problem the girl is hiding from the boy.
Now I’m not sure what I’ll be working on in January. I’ll find something. Whether it’s a new WIP, or finishing my rough draft, or re-writing the one I blogged about last week. We’ll see come January 1st.
Do voices speak to you like this?
So during NaNo, I was thinking about what to work on next. Of course there are revisions for my NaNo story, but I thought maybe I could tackle another one of my shelved projects. I love them all and hope to get to them sometime.
And now I have the perfect opportunity to do this. Christa Desir has invited us to join her in the Jan Plan. From her site.
“The Jan Plan will involve committing to finish one project. One. However you define “finish”. Just doing what you have to do to get one project out of your unfinished knitting basket.”
Now that sounds easy. No pressure. You define the finish line.
And I’m in. But now I have a question.
The WIP I picked needs a lot of work. When I read through it last month, there was quite a bit of, shall we say… telling. (I wrote this about 2 years ago before I knew anything about writing.) And there is a ton of backstory upfront and a lot of narrative and not much action.
So I started wondering, maybe I should do a total rewrite. Open up a new document, have it next to the original, and start over? My original work would be sort of an outline, then and maybe this would be easier than making the changes inside the original.
Or do I go back into the original document and change things paragraph by paragraph?
I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know the best way to handle it. Have you done a total rewrite? I don’t foresee major plot changes, it’s mostly just the writing style.
Do you have any advice on the best way to do it?