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Goals and Affirmations January 7, 2010

Filed under: learn — christineglover @ 2:53 am
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First, I managed to whack out some words on the computer today. Whew. Writing goal met. Personal life goal of going to the gym? Nope. Too busy catching up on errands after I finished writing.

As I write, I am reading Maass’s book, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. Much of what I read challenged me, forced me to think in many directions regarding this book, my life (hey, I can apply the principles to real life battles), and my future writing.

First illumination from Maass:

How can you catch the mood of our times? … be sure that your breakout novel will speak to contemporary readers? By being awake to life as it is around us. By living in our times… How can you engage your readers in your fictional world if you, the author, are not engaged in your own world?

Oh, how true these words are to me. I cannot draw from a wellspring of NOTHING. I am committed to the world at large, I fight my battles, I read the newspaper, I have opinions (many I keep secret here, but they crop up in my writing on a regular basis). I LIVE.

This knowledge gives me hope. Writing in a vacuum is not for me. I must engage in the world around me as I am one who needs the interaction. I love to hear people’s stories, their histories, their reasons for their choices. I love to talk, but only to disarm others. I want to hear their stories. I care about humanity. I believe in justice. I fight for it in my community as a parent and a citizen.

Every once in a while, I wish I could just turn off this need to make a difference, however small or large, in people’s lives. I can’t do it. This drives me. Gives me purpose. I believe this drives my writing and gives me purpose in my writing, too.

Yes, I am new. I only have four books… the first one is badly written, the second one is not so bad, the third one is affirming my efforts as a writer, and current WIP is a constant surprise to me. But this current WIP, while difficult and painful to write, is exciting me because I’m attempting to push past the boundaries and build my writing muscles.

… the moral underpinning … comes from within (me).

I remember struggling for this story to emerge again after a bad critique. And I went back to the basics. At the bottom, underpinning it all, I knew why I had to write the story. And it boiled down to my characters and the depth of their emotions wells up from mine. I’m in love with my characters. The rest of the book, the plot and the setting, is building around them.

In 2009 I learned a lot, and I experienced a lot of firsts. I loved getting so close to the idea of being published and finding an agent. Oh, the heady joy of it all. But the greatest lesson I learned was to push the envelope as a writer. To find that well within me. To patiently mine my heart and emotions and history for a greater story.

And this learning will continue.


Nurturing My Writing Voice May 23, 2009

Filed under: learn — christineglover @ 9:21 pm
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I am in the midst of my revision for book 3. I feel like I’ve been dealing with these people FOREVER. But with each new revision or change, I find I like the book more and more. 

Part of this is the discovery of CRAFT and learning to polish my writing. Another part is taking the Book in a Week class which helped me rediscover HOW I DEVELOP my story. My unique way of getting into my characters’ heads.  And the final part of this is through reading some amazing new books published by fellow writers I respect and admire. There, sometimes, the “rules” of CRAFT  and CONTEST are blurred because the STORY is the key. 
I only read other books at night, or when I am on vacation, right before beddie-bye. If I read them during the day, I will lose precious writing time. Right now I am on a mission! I must finish the next seven chapters (THE LAST SEVEN) in revision in 7 allotted writing days. Then I get to dive into my fourth novel and play around with those wonderful people (who are starting to get very impatient with my constant dabbling with book 3).
The flow of the words in the books I read has infiltrated my own writing; not as an exact duplication, but in the idea of how my characters think, act, talk to themselves, and face the world. In that world, overused words are, well, allowed, and echoes can occur, and “ly” words exist, and “was” isn’t a demon word. 
Thus my inner critic is silenced to allow my people to become who they are: internally. 
Love that feeling.
And the writing is tighter. No doubt about it. The weaving in and out of elements is more precise. I like the new flow. Will it appeal to an editor or an agent? I don’t know. But I do know it appeals to the deeper part in me who enjoys reading a well-crafted romance with a fabulous hero, though flawed, and an independent heroine who’s itching for a bit of subduing. 
It’s like first draft writing but it’s a tighter blend of writing for self, writing for the reader or critique group, and writing for the editor who might one day request it and then accept it with the codicil: more revision required.
I’m determined to move forward with this book. I want to pitch it at the conference. I am ready to try to sell the work. If no one asks for it, well I’ll try elsewhere via queries. Then I will lovingly set it aside and use what I’ve learned by writing it in all my future novels as well as in other revisions. 
This is why I love to write. It challenges me, it changes me, and it moves me beyond preset boundaries. 
And I’ve learned that is quite all right to be a “delusional masochist” while pursuing this grand obsession.

My First OnetoOne Visit at the APPLE Store April 20, 2009

Filed under: learn — christineglover @ 7:21 pm
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I got a MAC 10 days ago and I couldn’t be more thrilled. First of all, it is just the coolest and fastest laptop. And second, it has the capability to run my SCRIVENER program. And I LOVE that program. 

But here is the confession: I am so illiterate and confused by all  my technology that it paralyzes me from learning about it. I have an IPhone and I don’t have music on it! I am pathetic at learning new tech and become impatient and give up if it appears to difficult or time consuming to learn. And I suffer from an innate distrust of turning my computer over to the powers that be to work on it. What if *gasp* the books I’m working on mysteriously disappear? 
I have a memory stick–I back up my work–it is an irrational fear. And I plan to conquer it once and for all.
That’s why I paid $99 for the yearlong 1to1 classes, held weekly, to learn about my toys and make them work for me.
Today’s lesson was supposed to be about my IPHONE and syncing it to my computer. And, if time, learn a few more little bells and whistles. I went to my appointment and the expert working with me, Brian, was a patient and kind man who dealt with every roadblock calmly and confidently. 
Good thing! The first thing I went there to do was impossible without syncing my IPHONE back to my old HP. Apparently, the phone will lose all contacts due to nothing being on my computer. Don’t ask. I don’t understand it either. 
What it means is that my HP and my precious MAC will have to go to the APPLE store and be configured together. Sounds almost sexual, but it is technical. Two things that worry me about it are being without any computing ability for more than a day and trying to find the passwords for all the HP stuff (which is an ongoing frustration). 
Despite my fears and worries, I plan to bring my toys into the APPLE store on Friday afternoon (after working all day), and leave them in the capable hands of the technicians. Of course, I’ll have EVERYTHING I have worked on this week saved on my memory stick. 
The second roadblock we had was the fact that I couldn’t log onto the PORTAL for one to one, because I didn’t bring some silver, credit card thing with my membership number on it. Why didn’t anyone tell me I needed it? Or, if they did, why did I forget.
At this point, I was quite ready to leave. What was the point of staying? But my very nice and patient instructor led me through some other things that made the visit worth my while.
I learned how to add folders to my mailbox, add rules to move mail automatically, and had a great time reconfiguring my mailbox. I also had fun learning more about how the bookmarks on my browser worked. It is so easy to navigate from page to page as well as tab to tab (and I just learned how to open the new tabs as well). We made folders for my saved websites and played around with navigating through the browser. And we changed my home page as well.
On Friday I will bring my computers to the APPLE store and have them synced. On Tuesday, the 28th, I return to the APPLE store, with silver card in hand, to learn more about this amazing machine and sync my phone to it.
I know my family is super happy I paid for the lessons. My daughter literally breathed a sigh of relief when I told her about my classes. She didn’t want to teach me about my computer (she has a MACBOOK PRO) cause I am too impatient. 
But my teacher today was very patient and his calm demeanor made me want to stay and learn more.
I hope he’s my teacher again next week!

To Do Today April 2, 2009

Filed under: learn — christineglover @ 1:20 pm
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Finished the MS–like the ending and that means I want to keep the beginning the same, but just flesh it out a bit. I know the global fixes. I know the tiny fixes. Global first — might not need to handle the tiny fixes if that occurs.

So I am medium pleased with the book. The story is decent. The scenes are good. I have some ideas about what I want to do to add tension and layer in greater attraction. I know how to make my hero heroic and not sleazy in the beginning. And I know I have to get started soon.

But first I want to finish up my character workshop classes and work on my hero a bit more. I will do that, think a bit about the heroine, and then I will start the revision on Monday. I like what a writing buddy said. She said to call it “learning” and then it won’t feel as much as “here we go again.”

I just finished a book by a favorite author and I loved it. She published it in 2007, which means it was probably finished in 2005. There is a lead time into getting these things out the doors of the publishing houses. All kinds of repeats and passive voice and telling but the story was GREAT and the hero and heroine were well drawn. It was a great story. I’ve been so worried about the “rules” of writing that I forgot about the “story being the point.” I wanted to read her book because I was drawn to it. And she is a fabulous writer. No writer is “perfect.” Every writer is working toward improvement in their own craft. And that’s all I am doing except I am not getting paid to do it — YET. I will. One day I will get published. Period.

More about that in another post.

Now my happy news. Two people I know and care about are PUBLISHED. One is my first critique partner and she is published in children’s fiction. As soon as I figure out how to paste that info into a blog (because I am blog challenged… see any pictures in here? I don’t like figuring out all the techie stuff), I will. And another friend I met last year at a retreat in Charleston who is also my other critique partner’s SIL has A FOUR BOOK CONTRACT!!! Yay! After 16 years of writing. And I am soooo happy for her.

As soon as I find out how to post that information, I will do it!!

When I hear stories about people like my friend’s SIL, it gives me hope that I am not whistling dixie and I will get published one day.

Hooray for my friend’s victories!!