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I’ve Always Depended on the Kindness of Critique Partners October 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 1:50 pm
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First of all, I am very grateful to have the most amazing writing partners and critique partners who are HONEST and who are ENCOURAGING.

I had despaired earlier this week when I had my own worse convictions about the story confirmed. I had also super freaked when my people stopped talking to me. They exited the brain cells and went to a country far far away when I considered, briefly, punting a key part of their history. 
Oh they were mad.
And only other writers can understand that truth. 
I promised these people I’d write their story, but I couldn’t find a way through my tangled web of words. So I made a decision to write a different story and incorporate elements of their story in a desperate attempt to salvage my work. 
No. That was not a good idea at all.
I’ve never had my people leave the building. Ever. I have them following me into the shower (I remember Alex in Sweet Sensations nagging me about another love scene and I couldn’t get him to stop until I helped the randy boy out). They drive with me when I am running errands and tell me stuff. They wake me up in middle of the night with something else to say.
Yes. I have other people in my head.
Till Thursday night. That was a bad night.
But I slogged away, a CP called and helped me rediscover the core of the story and then we brainstormed a brilliant way to save their story without compromising their integrity. And now they are waking me up early in the morning to get up and write it.
Good times. 
Of course, the one thing I hadn’t prepared for was researching PIs and other cop stuff. Thank goodness the universe in her infinite wisdom had me sign up for a course online to cover elements about this world THIS MONTH. And my other writing chapter is posting an online workshop in the same field so I signed up for it as well.
Now that my peeps are back. I am back in action.
Feels good. Feels really good.
 

BIF, GMC, ABC & 1,2,3 October 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 12:12 pm
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My brain is full. And for the first time since I forced my butt in a chair to write 4.5 years ago, I have no idea where to go next with this story.

Last night, for the first time, I told my husband I wasn’t sure I could pull this story off. Every time I fix X, I find another problem with A, B, C and the list goes on and on. If I change her GMC, I lose his story. If I change his GMC, I lose her story.
It’s a nightmare.
My original concept was so fun and light. Now I keep finding great conflicts, but I lose the fun part. I honestly don’t see a way out. DH said I needed to look at it abstractly or just write and not worry about it at all. Oddly, I believe the GMC is there. I did like that he had a history where he knew who she was, but she didn’t know him at all. Now if I have her know who he is at the beginning, that takes away an element of surprise, too.
It’s like knitting with four balls of yarn and hitting a snag, untangling it, and finding a totally different color at the end of the line.

So I sit here, inert. Brain dead. Wondering. Worrying. In a well of doubt.

Do I scuttle it and lose $50? Write what I originally planned and the heck with the issues facing it?  Tweak it and hope for the best in regard to the GH? Or do I rework it completely and slap the title on the entry even though it no longer suits the story for the GH? AAAAACCCCKKKKK!!!!!!!!

Yesterday I read BREAK INTO FICTION. The entire thing. Front to back. Great for the next book, and it’ll help with this book, but I’m not sure how much I can save. It’s like throwing a lifeline to a boat with holes and too many people inside. Someone is going to drown no matter what I do.

I brainstormed. I plotted. I bought sharpie pens. I got poster board. I made gobs of notes.

But now, today, in this moment. I got nothing. Nada. It’s not a writer’s block. I can write. I just don’t know if what I choose to write will be the right write.

Yesterday, I reread my reasons for writing the story and the original hero/heroine cards I started with and I feel the answer is lurking in them. But where? I have my fishing line out, a hook in the water, and a minnow on the end. But no nibbles are answering my line.

So today? What to do?

I’ll play around with it all a bit more. I’ll fill out note cards, make my GMC charts, review my brainstorming notes, go through the BIF templates a CP sent me (thanks G!), and pray for serious AHA solution moment to show up between now and Monday.

And I’ll query another agent with the third MS just feel some sense of accomplishment.

 

Colored Pens, Sharpies and Poster Board October 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 1:31 pm
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I brainstormed yesterday for four hours, hashed out an inciting incident with my CP up in VA after chatting for an hour, and then drove to STAPLES (my home away from home) to buy poster board and colored pens for charting my characters.

The writing is strong, the voice is there, the work will get done. There is no avoiding this phase of the writing process. It happens to all of us. We must accept it. Perhaps, as I progress and write more, it will happen faster or I’ll travel through it earlier, but I don’t think I can sidestep it.
Nope. Can’t. Be. Done.
Lots and lots of new ideas. Cliches pitched, unoriginal ideas punted, and a plan is evolving.
Woke up this morning to read a rejection email from an agent. No biggie. One. Of. Many. Immediately made decision to send out another query to another agency today after I brainstorm more ideas and work through the s/l problems with deeper intent.
Two books at my elbow are:
I can’t wait to play with my colored pens and sharpies. I love to collage and color and this will help free my brain for the big work facing me in the days ahead.
Onward ho!
 

Hero and Heroine Attitude Readjustment October 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 12:00 pm
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I got my first five chapters back from my CPs (2 of them) and the questions they raised are questions I have as well. And they are biggies. I don’t know if I can pull these two characters’ stories off without a MAJOR overhaul of the s/l. The good news my writing voice is strong and the craft elements in general are improved. However, the s/l has a lot of weak points to it as far as the premise is concerned.

I was/am in a bit in a panic.
BUT overnight I had an epiphany of sorts. I am giving myself time to do it right, regardless of my preset deadlines. First of all, this book was written in a week. Yup. And I pitched the basic story to an agent after I had spend a month resetting the bones of the story based on what I had written and my thoughts about it at the time.
She asked for it. I offered to send a partial by the end of the year. I had thought I’d clarified the careers of the hero/heroine (don’t ask, but his changed during the first draft and hers changed during the first pass through) I had believed, based on the current cast on the story, I could revise it further from that point and fine tune it by December. I also entered it into the GH because I knew that would force me to kick it into high gear and make me do the dang synopsis and get the partial ready to roll.
Upon my own self-reflection and the comments I received from the CPs, I must step back and reevaluate the story’s plot line. I’m not sure if I can do this properly by November 20. Hence MY PANIC. My epiphany is that I can send the GH entry, written as best as I can, by the 20th without worry about the prospect of being a finalist with this story. The most I can hope for is to have the new plot line reflected in the story. Period.
How do I accomplish this goal? Can I even achieve a semblance of beauty by the 20th of November? I think I can if I don’t stress too much about the word county or the pages after page 50. So my plan of attack is as follows:
*keep moving forward on the story scenes and writing the story as it stands so it LOOKS GOOD when they open the file. I can always change what I’ve written after Nov. 20. Realistically, I was truly done revising SS by January 23/09 last year. The pages after P. 50 weren’t so fabulous for the GH LOL. But I continued revising it AFTER I sent it in. And we all know how that ended. I didn’t final in the GH, but I did final in the MAGGIE. I had improved the story by forcing the deadlines. And I had a synopsis!
*brainstorm the front end of the story, the first meeting, and the careers of my hero/heroine. I’ve come some conclusions about them and while a part of me wants to toss the whole story out and start on something I KNOW is marketable, I HAVE TO TELL THEIR STORY. I have to. I love them both. This is for them, not me. It won’t be easy, but I feel if I can muddle through this story and tell it for them, then my next stories will be so much stronger for the all I’ve learned in telling this one.
*go through my hero/heroine book and my BREAK INTO FICTION book and answer the tough questions when I am not writing their story.
*brainstorm with my CP up in Fairfax this afternoon –run some of my thoughts I have by her
*Keep moving forward–the ending of this story is very important to me. I know it reveals a lot about the characters and the beginning may reveal itself in those scenes. I’m stuck in the middle chapters right now. I might reflect the changes I need to make in those middle chapters as I move forward. The beginning scenes can incorporate the scenes.
*print out CPs‘ comments and pages. Reflect and note changes I agree with into the story.
*Set target to begin again–November 2. So keep moving forward till then, step back, restart my engines and go forth
*research a bit more on the careers I am considering for my characters
*try not to stress out
All of the above is easier said then done, but writing is hard. Fun, but hard.
I shall solve this conundrum and be true to my characters’ stories.
 

Gurgle, Bubble, Toil and Trouble October 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 12:10 pm
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Yesterday, in a fit of efficiency, I decided to streamline my life. First I planned the menu for the week, then I hit the grocery store, and I prepped all the raw veggies for the week.

All was well in my world and I was happily patting myself on the back until I tried to shove all the carrot peels down the garbage disposal. And it backed up. Big time. Darling Husband read up about the GD and said to plunge it. I got the gross plunger out, yuck, and tried desperately to dislodge the nasty clog.
Didn’t work.
At this point, I decided to pretend it would drain and took DD and her friend to the pumpkin patch. It was a beautiful day. For pumpkins. Not for sinks.
I stopped in at LOWES and spoke to a very nice young man about my dilemma. He sold me a funky little key turn metal gadget that’s supposed to move the GD’s motor. I took it home. I convinced my DH, who really didn’t want to fix it himself and would rather park in front of the TV watching the COWBOYS kick butt, to save over 200 dollars and try.
If I’m going to spend 200 dollars, I want to get a new ALPHASMART.
Well, we readied ourselves with two bath towels, a bucket, and two bowls. DH released the tube connecting the GD to the DW. OMG, the amount of water and disgusting carrot bits flowing out of there was like watching Satan’s child projectile barf.
Super gross.
We quickly put the tube back. Then we tried to use the GD again.
Nope. No go. He poked around the open tube, and discovered THE CARROT PEEL CLOG. A wire hanger was transformed into a poor facsimile of an auger. DH dislodged a few more bits of carrot. But the clog refused to budge out completely.
Now DH was ready to call a plumber. I saw visions of my AS flushing down the toilet and called my neighbors… retired Air Force flyboy to the rescue! My next hero arrived with a wrench and a bucket.
He instructed DH about how to undo more of our plumbing. We did so. We got rid of the clog. Now the underbelly of our sink looked like someone with a very bad hangover had thrown up in it. But the clog was gone. Woohoo.
We turned on the power and the GD leaked! Yikes. Even I was ready to relent and call a plumber on Monday. But our next door neighbor said the plunger we used had probably dislodged the GD seal and we had hope that we could fix it again.
I took my DD’s friend home and went to STAPLES to buy a poster board for her in an effort to avoid all moans about how much of the COWBOYS game DH was missing. I returned to discover all was well in our world again.
And that is how I set up my most efficient writing week.
PS: the following items should never be pushed down a Garbage Disposal–carrot peels, potato peels, egg shells and goldfish (the swimming kind, not the eating kind). You didn’t read it here, but when my DD’s goldfish, PING AND PONG, died, I ran them through the GD cause I didn’t want to plug the toilet.
 

Goals and Disruptions October 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 1:32 pm
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Goals for the week:

*continue moving forward in the WIP while I wait for my first five chapters to return.
*layer more into the synopsis for the GH
*work on the first five chapters once I receive feedback
*keep up daily blog
*read through my CP’s first ten pages of her YA concept
Known Disruptions to my routine and goals include:
*dentist on Tuesday
*hospitality group for DD’s HS Wednesday afternoon (really want to quit-and might)
*joint doctor on Friday with DH to learn about his hip replacement (stay tuned–good times for sure for this caregiver)
*send back ALPHASMART to the seller–getting my money back TG
*the usual ferrying of DD to all her venues
The usual unknown abyss of issues that may arise and how all that will impact my writing remains–unknown.
How to deal with the disruptions?
*bring laptop or CP feedback to the dentist/doctor and read/work while waiting…….waiting….. waiting
*be flexible about when and where I write
*even if I don’t have an hour, I might have twenty minutes. Use them wisely
Time suckers to avoid at all costs:
*the phone–only calling when walking and exercising
*the forums–must not get embroiled in negative feedback loops
How?
*ear buds are a wonderful invention. When they are in, the rest of the world is muffled
*the microwave timer set for 60-65 minute intervals
*changing location of my writing nest–if the walls start closing in on me and I get tempted to head to the forum pit, I am moving to another room or another venue like my favorite coffee shop
 

AlphaDUMB

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 1:33 am
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Ah, my long awaited Alphasmart arrived yesterday. With great excitement I opened it and drew it out of the box only to discover the cord didn’t work with my beautiful MAC book. Now that was okay, I’d just use it with my DHs HP laptop, right?

Wrong.
First I went to the MAC Resource store to see if they had a cable to use with my used ALPHASMART.
I think it was all they could do not to laugh when I whipped out my handy dandy used ALPHASMART.
Apparently it is an ANTIQUE!! They don’t even make cables for it anymore
It was advertised as “almost like new” machine. Huh?
Well, I was miffed, but still undaunted. I came home, typed on the clunky keyboard, ever optimistic and tried to plug it into my DH’s laptop. A PC.
Nope. Didn’t work. Nothing connected.
I am now officially beyond miffed. I refuse to work any longer trying to use this ridiculous antique that I thought I had saved money (smart me???? not). I emailed the seller and asked how to return it and get my money back.
But now what? I had such high hopes. But I refuse to spend over $200 on a machine that might increase my productivity while I am sitting in the car at a red light cursing the traffic.
I decided it was a cheap lesson (well not so cheap for me, but cheaper than buying a new one) and I really don’t need it. I’ll read other MS contest entries and haul my lovely MAC out to write if I feel like it. I do prefer the long hand, fix it way anyway method for first draft ideas.
Oh well… this just teaches me not to buy a used KINDLE.