Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

“For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.” ~T.S. Eliot

Wow, here we are, another New Year's Eve. What are your plans? Something out and extravagant? Or something quiet and at home? Will you stay up to see the ball drop or raise a glass earlier and go to bed long before the stroke of midnight?

There's something about a new year that inspires us to change, to reach, to set goals or perhaps reflect on those we set one year ago. It's like a Monday. Or the first day of summer break. Or the day you wake up after a loss and realize this really is the first day of a whole new existence.

I'm not sure what I'd like to accomplish in 2011. I'd like to continue to enjoy my health - that's probably my #1 goal. I'd like to sign another publishing contract - that's a close #2. I'd like to travel someplace I've never been before and I'd like to meet someone new.

I think that's enough for today. Mostly, I'd like to remember to take advantage of every day, to appreciate the little things and always keep a positive outlook. And you? My wish for all you blog readers is that you have a safe, warm, wonderful 2011 - and that whatever your dreams and goals are, they come true!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Writers' Wednesday: Words from Writer's Digest

Time for my round-up of the January 2011 Writer's Digest - there are always so many good nuggets of information, it's tough to pull out my favorites. But here you go!

One author featured in the Debut Writers section talked about finding his first agent. He rewrote the entire structure of his book, which took several months, and then ultimately the agent who requested that change declined representation. In the end, though, he found an agent based on that revision. Talk about believing in yourself even after rejection!

"8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter Chapter One" has terrific advice for tackling that challenging part of a novel. My favorite piece of advice: agents are editors are looking for "honest, original, and brave" writing - not perfect or careful. Free yourself to be daring & different, and that's what can grab them. Among two "great chapter ones" mentioned: Jane Eyre and Little House in the Big Woods.

"Hooked on a Feeling" talks about emotion-driven ways to develop characters. Among the advice I really liked: make a list of people from your life (include a few physical details & their effect on you) that could include the following: a family member you're close to a family member you dislike, your first love, your greatest love, the person from childhood who annoyed you most, the person from adulthood who annoys you most, your favorite co-worker, an older person who inspires you, a person you deal with on a daily basis...There are more, but that gets you started thinking how many real-life characters you can draw from when you write.

And "What to do When Your Novel Stalls" was great for me because I am STILL struggling through a 3rd? 4th? revision of Entwined. The article compares fixing your novel to diagnosing and repairing a car and has some good advice for jump-starting problem areas or dealing with your own insecurites and doubts: "Expecting too much from an early draft will result in frustration and disappointment. You write a first draft in order to have something to revise. It will be a failure. Writers are the ones who don't let failure stop them."

There are also great articles on finding a mentor, saving face after email gaffes, and other secrets to great story-telling.

OK, venture forth and create! Happy writing :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Mentionables: Regrouping After the Holiday

Well, we didn't get a white Christmas after all - but the snow arrived last night, about 6" worth. Depending on where you are, you probably got more than we did!

Hope everyone had a nice holiday - ours was busy but filled with friends and family, all the most important things we need :) I actually blogged over at Samhain on December 25th - if you didn't have a chance to see it, please stop by and check it out :) The post was inspired by a conversation hubby and I had a couple days before the holiday, all about shopping for people and how we decide what to buy.

And here are some pictures from our Christmas!

Stockings (sans mantle)

Smooch helping to open gifts, of course

Hanna, our exchange student, making traditional Norwegian Christmas porridge