Thursday, February 26, 2009

Drive-by Readings

How many of you have broken the rules of safe driving a few times? Talking on your cell phone, eating or drinking, texting, reading email, or reading a novel??*

Can you see this guy? He is the most interesting person I have ever seen in southern Maryland. First, I noticed his wild, crazy hairstyle. So very Einstein-in-a-Windtunnel. Then I saw that he was reading a novel. See that? Propped up on the steering wheel? Awesome. And scary. (Sorry about the photo quality. I took it with my phone after I finally caught up to him.)

He also had a nice assortment of furry animal-print hats in the back window. I would love to know who he is and what's on his reading list.

(˙ƃuıppıʞ ʇsnɾ) ¡ǝʌoɯ ǝɥʇ uo sǝɹnʇɔıd ǝʞɐʇ uɐɔ ı--ɟɟo pıɐd ʎןןɐuıɟ ʎɹɐʇıןıɯ ǝɥʇ uı ǝɯıʇ ʎɯ ǝʞıן sʞooן

* I have, I must admit, done all of these things. And now I must add taking a picture with my cell phone to the list. I promise to be more careful in the future...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yes! Almost 2,000 words!

Although my daughter did not nap*, I managed to sneak away to ancient Arabia for a few hours. I sipped orange-mint tea and found out that my MC is going to have an annoying but adorable friend tag along for a bit... Fun!

*She does not nap because she thinks she's grown up, hence the photo:

Any Writing Today?

Sadly, I didn't write this weekend. It's only party my fault, though, since kiddo #1 was running a high fever and I had to take her to the ER. (She has bronchitis and is as defiantly-not-napping as usual today.)

I thought I might get some quiet time today in which to write, so while the sick one was eating lunch and the baby was playing on a blanket, I cleaned house and set up a perfect writing spot away from my computer. Then, after lunch, I put #1 in bed, nursed #2 to sleep (and then had to transfer him to the swing), and ate my own lunch. Since then, I have been running in and out of #1's room and placing her gently back into her bed. Grrrr.

What's a mom to do?

If she does nap, the baby will undoubtably awaken at that precise moment.

So now, in order to write tonight, I'll have to skip my yoga class, which I had been looking forward to.

Please tell me, if you are a writing parent, that these days get better. Don't tell me they will continue for ever. I just can't handle that.

*sigh* I need a video monitor.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Thinking Place

Where do you do most of your plotting? At your desk? Eating dinner? On a long run?

Since my devoted writing time is limited, I have to force myself to think about my book throughout the whole day. The best times are when I'm cooking, folding laundry, nursing, or in the bath. (For some reason, the bath tub is the best place for me. I get the best ideas there. Why is that?) If I'm constantly immersed in my own little writing world, then when I get that hour to sit down and really write, I spend less time warming up. The same is true if I write every day--it's easier to slip back into the story.

On the best days, I put in a CD playing music that relates to my story (currently: Loreena McKennitt's Nights at the Alhambra) and the kids and I dance, sing, and play around the house listening to it.* Then, whenever I can escape and not get distracted by blogs, facebook, and twitter, I write down what has been rolling around in my mind all day.

My husband doesn't know it yet, but I'm escaping the house shortly after dinner to slip into my other world and pound a bit on my keyboard.

* No, the baby doesn't sing and dance yet, but he is just about to start rolling all over the place. I'd rather he'd just stay put and warble.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dancing + Music = Enforced Writing Mood

First, there was some dancing:

Then a little music video to get me in the right mood for writing:

The video is great because it's romantic, exciting, and has a beautiful horse in it. Just like my WIP. ;-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A good day

Yes, today was a good one. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, watched my neighbor's kids for an hour, took E to gymnastics, had lunch with the hubby, then came home and worked on my book. The kids BOTH napped at the SAME time! *gasp* I even made some tasty soup from scratch without needing a recipe to follow. Dang, I was on top of things today. (<---That was supposed to sound like Chris Rock there.)

I even emailed back and forth with my agent and she said she LOVES my new project. Woohoo!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Octavian Nothing is back on the shelf

I'm going to have to lay off the other books for a while. I was about to delve past page three in The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II, but I had to put it down. M.T. Anderson is a genius, and reading his book will only frustrate me and my new baby. (And by "baby," I mean my new tale, not my baby.)

You see, when I finished reading Vol I, I had just finished the first draft of Rohana and was depressed for a month. Not only had I just finished writing my very first book, but it was a rough draft and therefore pitiful, and Anderson's novel (a National Book Award winner and Printz Honor) was gleaming and perfect. Yes, the story itself did depress me a little since it made me more aware of this country's dark side during the Revolution, but that wasn't it. I was comparing my dribble to a masterpiece. Not fair, really.

I can't let that happen this time. I can't get distracted by my emotions or by other books. I just don't have the time, what with being a mom of two little kids and all. Besides, my new tale rocks and I don't want to be interrupted.

When I feel like taking a true break from the first draft, then I'll delve into something. But not now. And not another masterpiece.

So back to the library you go, Octavian. May you find your way to safety in Boston. I will rejoin you soon, I hope.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Heroine, painted by Dulac!

I lurve my new story. *sigh* These are all illustrations of my heroine, done by Edmund Dulac in the early 20th c. Isn't she beautiful? Although my hero is Arabian, the princess in my story is from China, and lo and behold, someone has drawn her up for me.

I can't think of anything else except this book! It's such a wonderful feeling!

Visual Thesaurus

Have any of you heard of the "visual thesaurus?" I just came across it today when doing a web search on a word (because I was too lazy to reach up and grab my hardcopy thesaurus). It's pretty nifty, but it costs money to subscribe. Before going out on a limb and purchasing the software or a subscription, I was wondering if anyone out there has used it before. Is it worth it?

Other news: I got time to work on my book today. Yay! It comes at a cost, however. Both children are currently napping because Eldest woke up at 3 a.m. Yes. Really. She did. Then she came into our room and woke up Youngest, who was contentedly sleeping curled up in the crook of my arm. This was the second (third?) night in a row that she has woken up in the middle, but this time, she didn't go back to sleep until 11:30 a.m., when I forced a nap upon her. Then I got some new batteries for the swing and put the baby to sleep. (Hate to use it sometimes, but it is a lifesaver. Plus he's upright and therefore less likely to spit up.)

I got THREE HOURS of time in which I got to call all the shots. I briefly tried to nap, but after delving into a story in The Arabian Nights, my mind was whirring and there was only one thing I could do: jump into Scrivener and outline my plot. Then I got to write about each scene. I didn't attempt any first-draft writing because my brain is jumpy from lack of sleep and large doses of caffeine, but I will do so later tonight if I get a chance. (Which won't be until hubby gets a nap. He had to get up with our daughter since the baby was up at the same time.)

Because of this week's events, hubby and I have made one belated purchase: a coffee maker. Alas, tea no longer does it for me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why I Love Childrens' Book Writers and Illustrators

BOOK BY BOOK: the making of a monkey man from Jarrett Krosoczka on Vimeo.

History to Fantasy

How do books evolve? Well, sometimes the writer's mind is a little warped. At first, the writer believes she is creating a work of historical fiction. Something that could have happened. Then she adds some elements of adventure, weaving it into the plot and dashing the main character here and there. The whole time, the writer thinks she is delving into history. Staying accurate. Researching the past by reading books written by archaeologists, historians, even linguists. But then something happens. The writer goes astray. She ignores her research. She ignores the carefully thought-out plot. She even ignores the thought that the past six months of writing will have to be dumped into the trash folder.

She writes. The characters tell her they want something more. Something fantastical.

And voila! The novel bleeds into another genre. Fantasy. Now it's an historical action-adventure fantasy.

Exciting. Yay!

But now the questions are: Where would this book be shelved? Is it too different from my last novel? Am I making a career-long mistake?

And you know what? I don't care. This book is rich.