Thursday, December 5, 2013

Made-up Words Swaying like Seaweed

My middle grade novel revision is completed-almost. My made-up words are swaying like seaweed-back and forth with the tide. I have two worlds in my book, human and anamorphic. My critique partner says to keep the the made-up words in the anamorphic world . I've gotten great advice from Laura Backes, Co-founder of  Children's Book Insider (CBI). From the sentences I submitted, she said they worked assuming the world is not realistic. If your a children's book writer, I highly recommend subscribing to CBI online; they offer a treasure trove of information!

My dilemma is the worlds co-exist. They're not separate like in Harry Potter. More world building? Axe some of the made-up words? Or all? Back and forth, back and forth until the water becomes still.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ocean of Revision

Lost at sea- Cea of revising, reading and organizing and I'm finally back. Happy Hallows Eve! 
SCBWI OC Editors Day is always a great event. This time I got a critique on my MG along with my one page synopsis which I had to further edit due to the double space request-Arghh! Joanna Cardenas, assistant editor for Viking Children's Books, gave me a lot to work with. She gave a great presentation as well. Kate Bryzozowski, assist.editor of Thomas Dunne Books, gave a worthy piece of information on series: include a short synopsis for book 2 & 3. This means I'll have to map it out and that's like being tossed into a riptide for an organic, right-brain writer. Something to work on after I've sailed across the ocean of revision. My latest challenge: sending some fringe characters to their watery grave.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

YA Summer Reads and Mine Adrift

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin is a YA that I finished last week. A paranormal genre that had moments of Carrie in it, but with mystery and intrigue. It definitely drove home the idea of your thoughts become reality so, careful what you think, especially in Mara's case! Loved her "love interest," Noah-intelligent, sweet with a few secrets of his own. I was disappointed by the ending because it wasn't the end. It's a trilogy.

The other YA was the infamous 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. A brilliantly woven story: a string of characters, a suicide, tapes, and a POV that goes from Clay to Hannah, the dead girl. I'm someone who has to re-record my voicemail message several times before I get it right. When it came to Hannah's recordings, it was flawless. I had to suspend reality there along with her being so calculative. If she lived, she could have created a challenging, devious, teen version of the game, Clue. Jay Asher truly drove home how destructive rumors can be-I hope teens continue to read this book.
As for my YA, still adrift on chapter three, but I'll be swimming out to it soon.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our Planet and Writing

A profound statement and photo to match that I discovered on my FB feed this morning. It truly resonates with me, and therefore, is showing up in my books- my first picture book, my MG and even my YA. I can't avoid the deep pain I feel with how we are treating our planet. I also read about an oil pipeline that carries 309,000 barrels a day in Ecuador burst after a landslide, and the oil is on it way to pollute the Amazon. When will it end? No wonder dystopian novels have been so popular. I'm ready for a little Utopia. How about you?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Snorkling Break

The last two weeks I've been pelted with waves of information: researching agents, going over the SCBWI Blog on the last conference, logging on to the WriteOnCon conference, and reading the five critiques I recently received. Definitely time to swim away from my computer. Yesterday was the day! Ideal conditions for snorkeling at my favorite beach (pictured above). Snorkling is always a magical experience-the graceful movement of the kelp, the bright orange Girabaldi fish darting in and out the seaweed, purple starfish clinging to the rocks, and an occasional Bat Ray cruising across the sandy floor. Refreshed and inspired, this morning I dive back into revising.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Still Water

I sailed into to chapter three of my young adult book and then, the wind died. I can't go forward until I go back. My paddles await while ideas wash around in my head. I like what I've written, but I feel I need to get to the magical part sooner. While my YA floats in still water, I dive back into my middle grade novel. A recent critique triggered a wake of ideas and one is happily anchored in place. The submission current has taken me. I'm being pulled through the research. This is where I'll be until a few submissions are completed, unless a strong gail comes in from the east.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The current of a brilliant book

Ok, so I allowed the current to take me without resisting. Then again, it's unwise to fight a strong current-you can become worn out and possibly drown before getting to shore. The current was The Apothecary, by Maile Meloy. It was brillant! I loved the characters and the premise. Janie, at age fourteen has to move to London from Los Angeles because her parents were placed on Hollywood's infamous Blacklist in 1952. This grabbed me right away. When she befriends the Apothecary's son, Benjamin, the mystery and adventure begins and rewrites of my YA, drifted away. At least I didn't drown! Her sequel came out this month, but I need to revive those rewrites first, before I plunge into The Apprentices.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

YA Author Tour

A couple of weeks ago, I voyaged out to Mission Viejo Library for the "Summer Lovin' Tour". A group of women YA Authors: Jessi Kirby, Suzanne Young, Sarah Ockler, Shannon Messenger, Kimberly Derting and Morgan Matson. I had read/purchased books from a couple of the authors that were there. The ladies each talked about their latest book and then had a Q&A. It was nice to discover that Shannon had written a MG first, like myself. These author's books have elements that are similar to the YA I'm writing so it was nice to experience how they presented themselves. They did a great job in creating a fun atmosphere for all.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Research then Real-Time

 Three days after finishing my first draft of chapter one in my YA, the town of Moore, Oklahoma was hit by a category four tornado. It gave me the chills as I watched the Giant in action, the devastation left behind, and the interviews of the victims. The first paragraph of my YA, my main character seeks refuge from a huge twister that is about to strike. I did a lot of online research on tornadoes and shelters, but it was nothing like viewing real-time and listening to those affected. My heart goes out to all of them!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chapter One Surfaces

Chapter One of my YA has finally surfaced. My editor has gained strength and experience from the turbulent seas of critiques and rewrites that I plundered through with my middle grade novel. A treasure and a curse. I sail back to the beginning of a sentence, fishing for stronger words whilst casting away others. Time escapes like a sea lion darting from a shark. Nevertheless, I stay the course.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Prologue Prolapse

After diving into the 3rd or 4th re-write on my YA prologue, I dove into Chapter One and the water had receded. Something didn't feel right-hitting the sandy bottom never does. I'm new to writing prologues, though I liked what I did, I had doubts. I cruised through several blogs on the subject and soon, my prologue went into prolapse, and sank to the bottom of the Cea. Bits and pieces are floating up, and will be resurfacing into Chapter One. Praise Google for making this painless!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Writing What I Imagine-Instead of What I Know

Last night's news made my heart sink as I watched a bomb go off during Boston's Marathon. As horrifying as this was, it's worse on the other side of the world. According to the United Nations, the two year civil war (only 2 years!) in Syria has now a death toll of 70,000 people-adults and children. My heart plunges deeper into these forsaken waters of mankind. There is only so much the heart can take. As a child-age ten to be exact, I was exposed to the atrocities being committed to my best friend...sexual and verbal abuse by her father. Sworn to secrecy, I told no one. There was no Oprah Winfrey Show back then. In the midst of this, I lined up to see Star Wars and loved reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I suppose this is why I choose imaginary over reality, when it comes to writing for children. Escaping to a magical world in a book can inspire hope and ignite imagination in the mind and heart of a child, and sometimes,even as an adult. Wasn't it Star Trek that inspired the invention of the cell phone?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reading and Rolling

I just completed Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer and I liked the challenges Anna was faced with when her best friend's brother dies. Two years prior, I bought Jessi Kirby's book, Moonglass where the the main character, Anna, sorts out her painful memories of the death of her mother. Funny, how I stumbled on two great books that take place on the beach and weave seaglass into the story. Another coincidence or not, both authors will be touring together this summer! I'm reading my second YA book as ideas for my young adult story rolls around in my head. My father's old leather camera case inspired it. (see pic in earlier blog). My main character also deals with loss but it's in tornado alley, far from the beach. I've got the prologue, but the water has to be warmer before diving into chapter one.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Submissions-A Sea of Creativity & Discovery

You don't have to drown in the submission process when the sea of creativity and discovery is just a ripple away. Dive into finding something about the agent/editor that you can relate to. Google is the gift for research. Take notes on what you find on blogs, and even likes on FB. This is also good to do before a conference. A bit of knowledge can spark a conversation with an agent or editor when you happen to be standing next to her/him in line for lunch. Remember, it needs to be genuine! Take notes on what you discovered about him or her.The creative part is formulating one or two sentences from the information you gathered to kick-off your cover letter. Every agent and editor seems to want something different,( i.e. one page synopsis, a paragraph synopsis in cover letter, a jacket flap synopsis, first two chapters, the whole book). Don't  let this wave knock you down; make it an adventure across uncharted seas. Your creativity will be your lighthouse and your determination will get you through any turbulence and before you know it, Land ho!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Loved this Book!

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip Sendker touched my soul like no other book or film has. The title grabbed me right away, along with the beautiful cover-unfortunately I was unable to post it.  After reading the jacket flap, I bought it from Laguna Books, our local bookstore. The change of points of view from first person- Julia Win, a young woman living in NY, who flies to Burma to find her father, then to U ba's story that shifts it to third person, was brilliant! The writing is exquisite; I could feel, see, smell and taste everything. With all the mystery, intrigue, and surprises, it's the ego-less/deep unconditional love of Mi Mi and Tin Win that makes it profound...beyond romance. A true treasure worth discovering! And if it becomes a film, I'll be first in line!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Every Rejection is One Less 'No' to a 'Yes'

"Every rejection is one less no to a yes," an acquaintance of mine said to a group of young musicians. Nice to know this as a writer. I received my rejection letter from Francis Gilbert of Doubleday Children's books, a Random House imprint, a couple of weeks ago. She is resurrecting Doubleday here in America which can't be easy. When I got a personal letter, I was pleasantly surprised. Upstart Crow Literary Agency felt like a form letter which was my first and it wasn't bad. Then I received a nice email from Abigail Samoun of Red Fox Literary Agency, who said my book had a sweet, classic feel but she didn't fall in love with it. Love is what we all want. Falling in love can happen fast or it can take some time. But you want it to be a lasting love. So, today I paddle boarded with the dolphins and next week I will venture into new waters for that yes-the editor and/or agent that will fall in love.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Port of Fluville

I'm leaving the port of FluVille now that I'm finally stabilized! I've never visited this place before and I plan on never returning. Despite how this place made me feel, I was able to clear my head enough to submit to another agency, Upstart Crow Literary. I explored their website after landing there whilst searching for that editor. He/She was nowhere to be seen, but I liked what I found on each page and what turned up in my research on this agent that was accepting submissions. Now I wait and see what the tide brings in while spying other possible ports for my book.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lost at Sea

After pushing my one page synopsis rewrites for my last submission, it became lost at sea. My emailed submission bounced back and I didn't notice until yesterday! I checked and double checked the editor's email and I had it right. I went on to Google this editor and I discovered a write up that was posted that morning about him/her. Apparently, this person is no longer an editor, but is now employed as an agent. Interesting, I thought. It seems that people in the literary world move around and this was my experience of it. Regardless, I'm happy with what I sent, though there were further revisions done for my submission yesterday. Rewrites are like waves constantly crashing on the shore; right when it seems smooth and calm, more appear on the horizon.