Sunday, January 30, 2011

Momentum

I decided last Saturday that I was going to finish my first draft.

I sat down at the computer and wrote for three uninterrupted hours while my husband took care of the kids.

I didn't allow myself email, or twitter, or spider solitaire. I just wrote.

And 3500 words later I was done.

Sort of.

I have some characters, a setting, and a pretty good story, but there is still SO MUCH work to be done. I'm so excited to do it.

I know everyone says to wait a few months before revising. It makes sense to wait and get some distance from the story. It's good advice.

But even though I know the "right" thing to do is write something else and let this story simmer for a while, I just can't wait.

I'm excited about this project. I want to work on it. And, after my 2010 (aka the year of crappy writing), I feel like I need to keep this new found momentum going.

So, I'm jumping into revisions tomorrow. It might be the "wrong" way to do it, but I don't care.

How long do you wait before you start revising a first draft? Have you ever been so into a story you couldn't let it rest?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why I May Never Buy an eBook

Last week I told you about my new iPad and how I had no idea what to do with it. Now, thanks to the advice of several awesome commenters I have a much better idea of what this little thing can do. Thanks everyone!

After I read all of your comments I immediately downloaded apps for all of the bookstores (kindle, nook, ibooks, etc), and began to browse.

It was AMAZING. I couldn't believe that every book I wanted was just a tap away. Not only that, I had some bookstore gift cards from Christmas, so I didn't even have to spend my own money! The only question was what I should buy first.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I am not and impulsive buyer. Before I could tap that buy button I had to do some research. So I looked up what it would cost to buy a REAL paper and ink copy of the books on my list, and I was surprised to find that for most of the books I wanted, it cost the same or just a dollar more to buy a book instead of an eBook.

I thought about that real book sitting on my shelf. I thought about lending it to friends. I thought about all four of my kids pulling it off the shelf when they get old enough to enjoy it. I thought about reading it in the bathtub and not worrying about a few little water spots, because it's paper and it will dry. And the eBooks suddenly looked much less shiny.

Yeah, I've heard about Kindle's new lending program. But I've also heard about all the caveats, like the fact that only a few books can be lent, you can only lend a book ONE TIME, and only lend it for 14 days.

Yes it would be convenient to get a book the second I want it and store my whole library in one two pound device. But I don't think those conveniences outweigh my desire to share my books with friends and family and smell paper and ink while I read. Plus you know I'm not taking the iPad with me to the tub.

So instead of buying books online I'll be headed to the bookstore to browse the aisles the old fashioned way.

But don't worry! The iPad will see some reading action too. I downloaded an app that gives me access to my library's eBooks and eAudiobooks and it turns out my library has an AWESOME eBook collection. So I think I'll save myself a couple trips to the library every month by doing more of my library reading and listening on the iPad.

I will probably break down and buy an eBook one of these days, but not anytime soon. The sad truth is I like real books too much.

Do you buy a lot of eBooks? What do you like about them? If you're not an eBook fan, why can't you live without good old ink and paper books?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Tale of the iPad

My husband got me an iPad for Christmas. We don't usually give each other big ticket gifts, but this year he wanted to WOW me.

See, a few months ago, on my birthday actually, he called me up to let me know he'd just bought a car. It was a piece of crap Jeep Wagoneer and it was puffing blue smoke. This was a problem for 5 reasons.
1. He already had a car, a very nice car actually.
2. He'd never fixed a car in his life.
3. It was my birthday
4It was barely a month after my c-section and there was a ton of work that needed to be done in the yard and I couldn't do it.
5. He didn't ask me first (probably because he knew I'd said no).

I was a little upset. He was very apologetic. We made a deal that it would be out of my garage before Christmas, whether it was fixed or not.

He worked on it most nights, pouring time and money into it. I wondered if the dump had a pick up service. Then, one week before Christmas, he fixed the blue smoke problem, put it up for sale, and sold it two days later for a pretty decent profit.

He used that profit to buy me an iPad for Christmas.

It was very sweet of him.

Since then I've been trying to figure out what to do with this iPad. It's a very useful little contraption, with apps to help with everything from calorie counting to tweeting. But I'm finding that we (and by we I mean my three-year-old and occasionally my husband or me) mostly use it to play dumb games.

Truth be told, I have the same love/hate relationship with the iPad that I have with most of the other pieces of technology in my house. It makes me miss simpler times... like last month.

But I'd still rather have the iPad than the Jeep.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by technology? Has your spouse ever bought a car without asking you? Do you play Angry Birds?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bedtime Stories

My kids have requested a lot of bedtime stories lately. Books are still fun, but they'd rather have us make up a story on the fly.


My husband tells the best stories. He has great characters with funny voices and silly names. They go on exciting adventures. He always has the kids giggling by the end (which actually isn't all that helpful just before bed, but it's pretty cute).

My bedtime stories aren't so good. They're pretty much all about dragons and princesses and a quest where they have to get three things. Not very original. And not very fun. When the kids get to choose the storyteller it's no surprise that they always want daddy. Mom's stories are lame.

So how, when I can't even tell a decent bedtime story, do I manage to write books?

I'm pretty sure it's because my creative process takes time. I need to work out the basics. I have to decide where the scene will take place, what the characters are going to say to each other, where the bad guys come in, and how the problems I create will be solved later on. I always say I'm not a plotter, but I think plot more than I admit. I don't outline a whole book before I write, but I can't just make stuff up while I'm typing either.

This might be why I can't do 10,000 word days. I run out of stuff I've thought through after a couple thousand words and I can't go on until I get an hour to do dishes or vaccuum so I can think out the next scene.

Are you a good on-demand storyteller? Can you sit down at the computer and create, regardless of whether you've worked out a scene before? Or do you have to have things planned out before you write?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Keeping it Simple in 2011

Last year I made a bunch of goals. They were good goals. Or they would have been good, if I'd actually been able to accomplish any of them.

So for 2011 I am making just one resolution for my writing.


FINISH WRITING THIS BOOK


That's it.

I'll probably do a lot of reading. I hope I'll keep up with the blog and Twitter. I might even write another book after this one is done.

But if I finish the book I'm working on (and by finish I mean write, revise a hundred times, and polish until it sparkles), and do nothing else with my writing this year, I will be happy.

What do you plan to write in 2011?