Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break

.... or Christmas?

This weekend was for building snow-bunnies, snow-forts and sledding. A most magical beginning to our Spring Break.

I know this is not unusual for some folks, but here in the Pacific NW, the end of March is typically rainy, not snowy.

I was glad to see my little hummer feeding. See him? Hope he's staying warm in his nest.


Thursday, March 27, 2008


This is harder than I thought. It's quite one thing to revise 150 words, making each word shine. I can't even think about the words right now for my novel. I need to think of the big picture. Does this chapter even belong? Shouldn't this little bit come before that bit? Would my character do this? During the writing of this novel, I've gotten to know her better, know all these story-people better. And what fits the plot doesn't necessarily ring true. So, must rethink. A lot of re-visioning. Parts of it are dead on ... and other parts ... dead beat.

Sometimes I do math ... a little number-crunching is not only relaxing but puts things into proper perspective. A short story typically takes me a month to write and about a year to polish. Sometimes more, especially if it's poetic, where every word counts. Sooooo, if a thousand words takes me one year to polish, will fifty thousand take me fifty years? I hope not. I'll be in my 90s by then ...

I have to remind myself that I like to revise, make every word shine, but I also feel overwhelmed at the task at hand. I know I'll be very happy when the overarching things are fixed. Then I can get to examining each sentence, each phrase, each word ...

How do you approach revisions?


Thursday, March 20, 2008


A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson -- Most of this stuff in this book I'm aware of. I know it sounds highly conceited to say this, but I've taken serious courses in physics, chemistry and biology. Still, I'm thoroughly enjoying thinking about everything -- life, cosmology, dinosaurs, inventions. This is a lucid account and the the extensive bibliography means that if I really want to get into a topic, I only have to look in the back.

Hermux Tantamoq mysteries by Michael Hoeye -- The first one, Time Stops for No Mouse, was an absolute delight. Hermux is a watchmaker who inadvertently falls in the middle of a mystery. The writing sparkles with wit and humor and the pacing is pitch perfect. I'm a wee bit disappointed in the later books. Too much going back and forth between the main characters. I like staying in one person's (or in this case, one mouse's) head for the whole story.

Which brings me to point-of-view or POV for short. I tend to prefer single POV stories. There are very few writers who do multiple viewpoints or omniscient well. Books that were good in multiple POV or omniscient that I've read in the past few months:

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsberg

What do you prefer to read and write? Single POV? Multiple POV? Omniscient?


Monday, March 17, 2008

The Basics

It's almost bedtime and I am pondering what to say in this newfound tool of communication -- the ubiquitous blog.


Over the last few weeks I've had an overwhelming urge to shout out all the wonderful things happening in my critique group and it felt appropriate to toss these words into the blogosphere.

We've been together five years now, and how we've grown. Jen has a new book out! So does Molly! I gave my first talk to my local SCBWI. So here we are celebrating (you can click on the picture to get a better view of the book):

We write in isolation, but to test whether we wrote what we meant, a critique group is a must. And the fringe benefits are priceless: friendship, trust, growth. Tell me, how do you grow as a writer? Do you share your manuscripts with a few trusted writers? Or do you show your work directly to your agent or editor?