Friday, June 27, 2008

Amusing the Muse, part II

Attention fantasy writers! Looking for a cheap way to indulge your muse? Consider tuning in to ABC Family's newest show, the Middleman. Based on the graphic novels by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine, the hour-long show is smart, the dialogue snappy, and the characters memorable, and, more often than not, laugh out loud funny. The motto's a hoot, too: "Fighting evil so you don't have to."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Amusing the Muse

I'm more than a bit punchy these days thanks to the retreat weekend and a sicky at home, but my muse is conscious enough to appreciate this news:

Our oldest daughter won a new role at the Bristol Renaissance Faire this summer. Instead of returning as Bridget Manners, maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth I, she leaves the confines of the court for the streets of Bristol where she will play Maggie Pye, the cut-purse of Bristol. You go girl!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Words in the Woods, part one

Words in the Woods left my muse so energized and exhausted that by the time I rolled up to P's folk's house to collect S and E for the drive home, all I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and sleep. I would have if Buffy, our golden retriever, wasn't waiting for us at home.

Before hitting the road, P's folks ordered up a fried chicken dinner from the Wedge Drive In, one of the local diners in town. This place is a story all on its own. Picture a typical greasy spoon, the kind you see in the movies, then place it in a double-wide trailer in the middle of corn country. No joke.

The food and conversation revived me well enough to face the three-hour drive home. Once there, we tossed the bags in the front hall, scrounged up some sort of dinner (I honestly don't remember what we found in the fridge), and crawled into bed.

Monday came too early. E boarded the bus to summer school on her old scooter because we forgot the key to the new one at the folks' house. E came home from school coughing and cranky. By the time dinner came around she was spiking a temperature requiring round the clocks meds to control. Yippee. Let's hear it for ear infections.

Stay tuned. I plan to post highlights from the retreat as soon as I reclaim enough brain cells to do so.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Laundry, Lawns, Resales and Mulberries

On the to-do list between now and tomorrow's writing retreat:

1. Laundry--started but not yet done. Packing it into suitcases as soon as it's folded. A few more loads left to do.

2. Lawn--day three of cutting the grass. On a good day, the job takes two hours. Unfortunately, between the church resale and prep for the upcoming writer's retreat, my available daylight time has been extremely limited. I managed to cut the top hill two days ago. The front yard and the low part of the hill the day before that. My hope is to finished the rest today. (If we wait until we get back, we'll need a thresher.)

3. Mulberries--Maybe all the rain we've been getting here in the Midwest does have a plus side. The mulberry trees along the creek on the way into town are brimming with fruit. E made sure to point them out as we walked to church to help out at the resale last night. In the next few days, the fruit should be ready for harvest. Since berry picking is one of E's favorite things to do, I'm certain she won't let me forget.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Today's Quotable Quote for Writers

"Nothing is impossible to a willing heart." John Heywood

Writer's Retreat Check-List

The Words in the Woods Retreat is fast approaching. I've so much left to do between now and Friday morning that I feel like my to-dos have to-dos. This and that for the rest of the week includes:

Packing—for me and for S & E who will be staying at Grandma and Grandpas house for the weekend while I go play with 50+ other children's book writers. The bags are already out and open. Packing as I wash/dry/fold. Can’t forget supplies for Jewel. Note to self: add service dog supplies and what not to the list.

Tweaking—my first-page prior to handing it in at registration. First pages will be read during two open mic sessions, one before lunch on Saturday, the other mid afternoon. The weekend's honored speakers--Holly Black, Barry Goldblatt, and Namrata Tripathi--will be in attendance. Kudos and hugs to my crit buddies for the advice and support they’ve offered as I fiddle and polish.

Finalizing—my synopsis which cannot exceed 50 words. Using the description found in a movie listing as a springboard template. Frustrating and satisfying the process of condensing down an entire novel into a couple or three sentences. Reminds me of my copywriting days.

Prepping--all the paperwork/reading materials/supplies/files I need in order to write while I’m there.

Critique Group--yeah, even though we're bunking together over the weekend, our face to face decided to meet, more for moral support and general rah-rah-ing before we leave Friday than for work-work. Well, I take that back. One of us--A--actually found time to send in a chapter for eye-balling. A are your ears burning? I sent in two versions of my first page for consideration, plus a little bit more to finish up the scene.

Targeted departure time—9 a.m. Friday, and counting.

Targeted arrival at Grandma and Grandpa’s—noon, as long as Mother Nature doesn’t hammer the water-logged Midwest with another flood or tornado.

Retreat registration opens—4:30

Book I plan to pack: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, a reread with an eye toward the craft.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Especially for Writers

Here's another quote to live by, especially for writers whose imaginations tend to work overtime:

Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined... Leo Rosten

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Words for the Muse to Write by

Next time your muse considers procrastination, flagellation, waddling in self-pity (or all of the above in the face of surmounting odds or flagging progress) consider this quote by Mark Twain:

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

This and That and Words in the Woods

1. E report: After her test last Wednesday, E stayed overnight at the hospital just as a precaution. She didn't sleep very well that night thanks to a colicky baby in the room next door. Thursday, she was so tired after she came home, she ate lunch, crawled into bed, giggled and slept until dinner time. A week later she's doing great, and relieved she won't need surgery any time soon.

2. Crit group report: J, A and I met today. The kids are out of school now; so between J's kids and mine (including E's service dog Jewel), the house was a bit crazed at times. Re my creative, I heard enough to know I'm still on the right track with my new revised opening scene. Assignment upon leaving: cut the scene down to one page by next Wednesday, setting the stage for the adventure to come. Sharpening my pencil.

3. Thinking about: the presentation for the ILA meeting in September, and that fact that J and I need to make decisions soon about what to say and how to say it re the teen writers group we host monthly at the Orland Public Library.

4. Getting excited about: the Words in the Woods retreat. Opted out of a critique from one of the guest speakers in order to take advantage of open mic in which a designated person will read first pages while the honored guests (editors/agents) will be in attendance. Haven't yet decided what "first page" to submit. I'd be lying if I said I felt no pressure about what to select.