Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good morning. I'm sitting and waiting for my granddaughter to arrive. Playing with her is one of my favorite things to do. She is also a great help in fleshing out my characters and keeping them childlike. She says things in a way that would never occur to me. It helps me with authenticity.

Since my own childhood is quite a bit in the past, writing for children can be a challenge. Childlike language and thought process can be a struggle if I don't make a point of visiting children regularly. My favorite place for research is either a McDonald's Playplace or any popular mall. It depends on the age group I'm aiming for.

What is amusing for me is the way language changes, but stays the same. When I was a teen, back in the dark ages. We said that something good was cool, bad, or tough. What I hear is that good things are chill, wicked, or sick. Still so very close to what I know that I can understand.

But don't ask me to read or understand a text message. That's a completely different dimension. I'm so far behind in that area that only yesterday I discovered how to sent a message from my computer to friend's phone. I could use regular language so it wasn't that much of a leap for me.

Maybe soon I'll be able to successfully tackle text messaging. I know a few people in my generation that text on a daily basis. So I guess that means that it is a possibility for me. If I'm going to do this I guess I'd better dig out my decoder ring.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Well it's another week and here I am again. Fortunately the nerve in my back seems to have calmed down so that I can resume my writing schedule. Yeah, like I really stick to that.

Last week while I was waiting for the pain to stop I realized how much I rely on writing and reading for respite from life in general. Not being able to do either was really tough. I was able to return to my nightly ritual of reading in bed for the first time in almost a week.

Now it's time to get back to writing. The characters' voices have returned. It's funny how I've missed their company. Soon they will be telling me what comes next in the story and arguing with me about what they would and wouldn't say.

I used to think it strange hearing them and worry that some weird psychotic process was happening within my mind. Now I just accept their presence and go on about my life.

I'm wise enough to only speak about these voices with other writers. As a psychologist I know how the mention of 'voices' can be interpreted. So the knowledge of their presence is for writers only, people who understand.

It's just good to be back. Great to be typing without pain. There's still a dull ache, but I can easily ignore that. And now it's time to get back to the story. I'll keep you posted on how it all turns out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hi All. I'm definitely back from the writer's retreat, but because I inflamed a nerve in my back I haven't been able to use the computer. I'm really not supposed to be doing it now, but I can no longer resist the need to write.

The retreat was awesome. For once I was able to put the anxiety away and be myself. It was so much more enjoyable that way. I met some great writers. Every one of them was helpful and willing to share tips, advice, and encouragement.

The special treat was that of being able to reading my work in front of an editor and an agent. And here's the coolest part...they liked my work!!! Both said that my current project has a strong protagonist and that the writing is "rich". They found the story intriguing and wanted to hear more. What an ENCOURAGEMENT. Wahoo!

I can't wait to have this nerve thing heal so that I can really put in some writing time.

What I learned is that I am a good writer and getting better all the time. That is really important to me. Being published is something that I really want, but more than that, I want those who read my books to really enjoy them. What would be the point of being published and having your writing have no impact on the world.

I write for children because I really believe in them. I know that it is cliche to say that they are our future, but they really are. Watching them learn and grow in the world around them, taking everything in is a privilege I do not take lightly. So my work has to have a positive effect. Something that enriches their day. A new fact or a new way to view things, something that is more than helpful, something that is enlightening.

I don't want my writing to simply be entertaining. There's nothing wrong with entertainment, it's just that it doesn't last. You read a good book that is solely entertaining and after a while it fades. But if you read a book that is entertaining, but gives you something to think about, too, that book stays with you forever.

That's what I want to do. I've read both of these types of books and enjoyed them. But the ones that gave me that something extra are still in my head.

The annoying ache in my shoulder is becoming a dull roar, so I had better stop for now. Thanks for waiting for me. I'll write again soon.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Okay, here's my newest problem. Maybe not new, but certainly ongoing. This weekend I'm attending a writer's retreat. We will be breaking into groups for critique with the opportunity to read before editors and agents. I have my manuscript ready and am talking to myself about confidence and openness. This I can do.

The problem is the pitch. They expect us to present a pitch of our work. I'm ready to scream. I don't know how to do this. I've been working on it and everything I come up with doesn't sound like the piece I'm writing.

How on earth do you boil everything down to two to three lines and fill them with the strength and excitement of the piece? Ugh! I'm pulling my hair out. I'm sure it can be done. People do it all the time. I just don't know how to do it.

This whole process is unbelievable. Every time I conquer one thing there lies another just waiting to conquer me. Sometimes I wish I were a quitter so that I could just walk away, but I'm not. So I'm stuck.

So here I sit writing these few lines over and over. Trying to tweak them into the boldness and strength of my main character. I know that if I keep at it I'll get it, but this is HARD.

I used to say that I love a challenge because it helps me grow. Now I'm starting to regret those words. There can be too much of a good thing. I envision that when I'm much older and much grayer I will have conquered this whole writing process. But I'm sure that's only wishful thinking. In the end there will always be one more thing to master.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Enough about travel woes. I'm writing again. It really feels good. Watching myself write and seeing how my characters are moving through the scenery of the story is very interesting.

Yesterday while I was deep in the setting of ancient Africa my husband asked me a question. I must have jumped about three inches off of my chair. His voice was the last thing I expected, especially since my character was sneaking around in the middle of the night.

If anyone had told me that a world I created could become so real that I could get lost in it, I would have never believed them. Sometimes when I'm thinking through a storyline I almost expect a character to speak to me.

Because the story takes place in an area of the world that I have never been and a time that is deep into the past, I do a lot of research. I get so involved in the facts that I often find it difficult to break away and get back to writing.

And here's the best part. As a true information junky, I'm in heaven. I'm adding so many wonderful bits of information to my overflowing collection of unknown facts (unknown to me, at least). You never know when these little tidbits will come in handy.

It's time to crank out another chapter. So I'd better get to it.