Wednesday, January 31, 2007

You don't need THAT

One more day left in January and I'm not quite done with my NaNo novel so I guess my deadline has been bumped to the end of the week. Of course I do have tomorrow off from work and miracles can happen. After all this is my fourth day in a row of posting so you just never know.
I did learn something today while reading the last bit of my NaNo novel. I had to go back and read the last part I wrote because I couldn't remember exactly where I left off. And yes I'm pretty sure that's a bad thing but oh well. Anyway back to the thing I learned. You really don't need that as much as you think. I write the word that all the time. Way too much to be exact.
I've decided that I can't stand the word that.
See I could have just said that I've decided I can't stand the word that.
And in the last sentence all I need to say was that I could have just said I've decided....
Once again there was no need for that in the last sentence. I could have kept going on but it would never end.
So I learned something new. I can eliminate a good chunk of my word count if I just go through and take out some thats and when NaNoWriMo time comes around I will put that in every sentence and then edit them out in NaNoEdMo.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My trip to the libraries

Yet another post, goodness. I actually don't have much to say about writing today it's all more about reading.
I went to the library today, well two different branches of the Capital Area District Library. Originally I was searching for a few sci-fi/fantasy books because I'm thinking of writing a science fiction/fantasy story to enter into a contest. I haven't read much sci-fi fantasy although I've watched a lot of it. And I did write an eight page script for a sci-fi/western comic once. Although nothing ever happened with that. Anyway, I thought I should read a bit but I couldn't find any of the books I had in mind and I'm really horrible at just picking a book by looking at it so I ended up with nothing in that department.
I did however think to ask if they had a copy of Hannibal Rising. There are 37 copies in the CADL libraries and only two were available one of which was at the second branch I visited but was the first I asked if they had it. The other was at the first branch I visited but hadn't thought to look and/or ask for it. What are the odds? I think there are like maybe ten branches, give or take a few. Anyway, I've read all the other books by Thomas Harris except for his first book that isn't connected to the others. I liked them all but was a little bit disappointed in the way Hannibal ended. I won't go into details in case someone hasn't read it but it did not end like the movie.
I actually bought the first three for a dollar at a used book store that was going out of business. This was long after I had actually read them but I thought I might want to read them again one day so I picked them up. I couldn't afford to buy the hardcover of Hannibal Rising and wasn't sure I wanted to so I checked it out. Maybe I'll buy it one day if I like it.
And I can't even believe it already has a movie coming out.
I also checked out the trade paperbacks at the library but there wasn't anything that I didn't already have that I would be interested in reading. I have bookshelves of TPBs and I haven't even made a dent in reading them. At least now I have something to feed my comic book need while I'm insufficiently funded to buy new comic books right now. I'll just have very little idea of what's going on currently. It'll be annoying but I'll be okay. I think.

Just watched: Heroes

Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's kind of like a weekly update

If I'm not going to post everyday I should come up with a better posting schedule. Sometimes I don't post for a week and then I post two days in a row. That's okay I like to be unpredictable.
Once again it is Sunday and I kind of felt like giving a weekly update on my writing since I didn't post much this week.
Since today was Sunday it was submission day. Sometimes submissions remind me of preparation for the SAS shoe sale. For those of you who have never worked in a particular crappy shoe store this is what it includes. It starts with going through the computer system and trying to find anyone who has bought an SAS in the last six months but isn't on the list and put them on the list. This may or may not include looking up the address in the phone book and/or fixing several errors. Also you want to keep an eye out for customers who haven't shopped there in years and remove them because they've mostly likely passed away and their family will call or even come in and complain that you sent mail to the deceased and that conversation is not pleasant. I think of that part as looking up different companies and then doing research to make sure my story would fit and trying to avoid letters that have rude comments about how I clearly didn't look into guidelines. After that comes the best part. Folding, stuff, sealing, labeling and sorting by zip code over 3,000 envelopes and if you're lucky your boss will get them at a reasonable time so it doesn't have to be done in four days (but you're not lucky). Needless to say that part reminds me of printing, folding, stuffing, sealing, addressing and recording all submissions.
Speaking of ridiculous tales about a shoe store, I did work on Behind the Naugahyde this week. I try to make Saturdays my Behind the Naugahyde day but I got sidetracked with blog reading yesterday so I didn't get as much done as I hoped. I did however get a surprise visit from the awesome Jenni while I was working at the previously mentioned crappy shoe store.
I'm still attempting to finish my still not titled NaNo novel before January's over. It can be done but if not, I'm certain it will be done by the end of the week which won't be too far off target, only about two months and three days.

Just watched: the Simpsons (yay! Bartman), King of the Hill(yay! Dale Gribble who has a freakishly scary resemblance to my dad) and Family Guy (yay! Rupert they really don't feature him enough)
Currently reading: Illness as a Metaphor and AIDS as a Metaphor by Susan Sontag

Real Life, Not Fiction

I know there are sometimes when I don't post too often but I really hate to write a post just to post something. I take writing very seriously and I attempt to put a lot of thought into things before I let others read them.
Usually I post about what I'm writing. The story that I'm working on right now is one of those stories that is more non-fiction than fiction. I like to use fiction to write about my life rather than posting it here. Many people may not care about the boring life I lead but I feel vulnerable sharing my personal life with random strangers that may happen by this blog. There are lots of reasons I feel this way and to share them would be putting myself out there, which is exactly what I hate to do.
There are people who are willing to put themselves out there and share the most personal things about themselves. They are not like me. I hide bits and pieces of my life in fiction because there people don't know if that's what really happened to me and if that's I really felt. They don't know if it's the truth or some tale that my mind weaved.
Anyway, I hope anyone reading this is still with me because there's a reason for this post, I swear. I read a blog today that was written by someone who did not hide behind fiction but was brave enough to tell an unbelievable but very true story. Read it if you get a chance. Start at the "fire" entries. It may take a while to read through all of it but it's worth it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Here's the plan

My NaNo novel should be done by the end of January. I'm nearly finished and I definitely think it's a realistic goal even though I did absolutely no work on it today. I know I'm super far behind but the last three months have been crazy hectic. To be honest I'm surprised I wrote anything at all. Besides most books about writing say three months is average time for writing a book and I know there are authors that have taken a lot longer than that.

Anyway, as I get closer to the end of a project that has consumed my writing time for the last three months I wonder what I will do when I'm done. Obviously, I'll continue to work with Jenni on Behind the Naugahyde but that isn't something I can work on non-stop because it requires communication between Jenni and I.
There is a novel I've been thinking about that I'm sure I've mentioned it before. Not by title or by idea just that it's a book that is about a very serious topic and that I'm scared to write it. That hasn't changed, I'm still scared to write it. And I think it's time is coming but not just yet. I think I'm going to take a quick break from novel writing and work on a few other things. The first being my comic script that I had come up with a million changes for during NaNo months. There is also a short story contest that I'm interested in entering. I don't have any current works that would qualify so I'm thinking of writing something specifically for it. I'll need to do a little research so I'll know what they're looking for and then I'll decide on that. And of course, I'll work on Behind the Naugahyde.
That's the tentative plan for now. Tomorrow's my day off so I hope to take out a big chunk of my NaNo novel. Then maybe when I'm finished I can come up with a title so I can stop calling it NaNo novel.

Also I just want to thank everyone who's been reading lately and leaving really great comments. I appreciate them but I often feel pressure about responding to them because I can never think of anything to say that might be good enough. Just know that I love them. And from now on I'm going to try hard to respond to them. Thanks!

And speaking of giving thanks don't forget that tomorrow is Hug A Writer Day!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


This weekend Jenni and I have been working super hard on Behind the Naugahyde. I finished my part of chapter 8 and Jenni is coming along well on her part while also managing to educate our future leaders which is a super tough job. YAY Jenni!
My office is now clean, well, organized, I guess. I'm sure it won't stay that way for long but I sure do feel like I get more done when I can find what I'm looking for.
Today was once again submission day. I try to do those every Sunday. They are my absolute least favorite part of trying to be published. Creating a story is the best, editing is somewhere in the middle and then at the very bottom is submissions but if you want to be heard you have to send them out.
So I sat at my desk and sent out boring submissions. Just so everyone has some idea how boring and time consuming it is let me share the process.
After writing a story and doing tons of editing I am ready for submissions. I usually start with my Writer's Market but once I've went through that I search around on-line. I figure out what genre my story would qualify as and how many words it's got then I go through Writer's Market and find companies that the story might qualify for. Then I go to their website if possible, try to read samples and makes sure that my story does qualify. I also check my previous submission list and make sure I haven't sent another story to them in case they do not accept multiple submissions. Then, if I've already sent the story to another company I make sure they accept simultaneous submissions. I also check to make sure they are currently taking submissions since a lot of publications are run by universities and only accept manuscripts during the school year. After that I format the script to their guidelines, write a cover letter and ship it off hopefully by e-mail but usually by snail mail. Once I'm done I put it in my submission log so I don't send it to the same place twice and for several other reasons.
It's not all that boring though. I've had several occasions when I realize that I wrote the wrong story name in the cover letter, wrote the wrong publication name in the letter, or spelled the editors name wrong. I've also stapled the pages together upside down (although I've heard you're not suppose to staple the manuscript at all so I've stopped). Also, I've written on the envelopes so that they were upside down and I can't count how many times I've accidentally written Ashley Review on my Self-address stamped envelope just because I'm so use to writing " _________ Review". Sometimes I catch it but I'm certain other times I don't. It's okay though because I like to pretend that all the magazines didn't except my story because I made some stupid mistake and not because my story was crap. It was probably a combination of both but I can pretend. I am a fiction writer after all.

Just saw: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Just watched: last week's episode of Smallville

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Every time someone post a link to my blog on their blog I feel this horrible pressure to write a really great post. I know that my writing a great post isn't going to happen but that doesn't mean I don't feel the pressure.

My novel for NaNoWriMo which turned into my NaNoFiMo and well is still not quite done, is a novel about a writer. It's a novel about a writer who struggles with the pressure of writing well and about how everyday things in life inspire creative fiction. The short stories that the writer writes are all different but they all have one thing in common, human antagonist.
I've been reading about antagonist and their role in current fiction. What I've found is that most commercial fiction have human antagonist. Literary fiction can be woman vs. nature or woman vs. herself but it's not likely to sell. If you want a book that sells you better have a villain of sorts.
Does that mean the literary books aren't worth writing? I guess it depends on why you write. For me, the person I struggle with most in my life is myself so I like literary fiction. The reason I write is for me, not for money, so when it comes time to decide what to do with my novel I don't think I'll just break it into the short stories and ship them off. I know that means that the book doesn't have much of a future but oh well, for me it's been the therapy I can't afford and maybe it will mean something to someone else so I'll try my best to let others read it. Although, if I read it in a few months when I'm ready to make edits and find that the short stories can be saved but the internal battle of the writer is horrible than maybe it will see a different fate.

Anyway, this all got me thinking about my bad blog posts. I write on here about my struggle to be an okay writer. It's a battle with myself. Maybe that's why few stick around to read it. Maybe I need to come up with some crazy menacing villain who is trying to hold me back from writing.
I'm sure I could think of a few humans that could be considered my antagonist like my family and people who call themselves my friends, the publishers that won't publish me and the people that keep comic books a male dominated industry. Maybe then more people would come back to read.
The thing is that there isn't a person that keeps me from writing. I'm very fortunate to not be trapped behind the bars in the yellow wallpaper. Maybe these people keep me from being published but not from writing. I would like to get published and I do write about how I am trying to get published but it's the writing that matters. I won't get published if I don't write and if I don't do it well. So it is the blank page that is the antagonist on this blog and maybe a crazy villain will appear from time to time. Does this mean that people won't come in flocks to see my blog? Probably, but that's okay because this blog is for me.
I don't have anyone near me (oh Jenni why did you leave me?) to sit and talk to about writing. To be honest they don't really care but my blog cares. That's why it's here. Read it if you want to.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Book search

Today I spent nearly an hour in a book store looking for a book. A particular book but not a particular book, if that makes any sense. It wasn't a book I was even sure existed. What I wanted was a book, preferably humorous, about people at work. And by work I don't mean jobs like police detectives because I'm sure that wouldn't be hard to find, although not necessarily in the humor department. I was thinking more like entry level or slightly above and in the customer service field would be even better. Off the top of my head I can think of a bunch of T.V. shows and movies but I couldn't think of one book. I spent today looking and even asking the store employees and I came up with nothing.
I'm not sure if that's good or bad. In general, that's what Behind the Naugahyde would be. On the bright side there's not much competition. On the bad side maybe it's because no one would want to read it. Although, the second option I must refuse to believe.

Anyway, I was trying to work on Behind the Naugahyde this weekend but my crappy note taking or the lack there of, had me sending an e-mail to Jenni asking to borrow her notes. I must remind her of one of her high school students.

Also, I'm trying to make Sundays my days for working on my submissions. So that's what I did today. I also got maybe 300 words written in the novel from the NaNo months that I'm still trying to finish.

Hopefully, I'll get a ton of stuff done tomorrow. I have the day off and there is suppose to be a bad winter storm over night. It's an ice and freezing rain storm so I doubt there will be any snow to play in. That will leave me plenty of time to stay in and write.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I've bee considering change my template for a few reasons. One of them is that I will be able to use some of the features on new blogger and the other is because I honestly have no clue why I have my current template. I'm not really picky about the set up of my blog so that isn't my concern. I'm just not sure why I picked the color scheme. Not that I hate it or anything it's just that I usually chose red when given a choice. So either red wasn't available, I missed it, or I hated it for some reason. It was so long ago I honestly don't remember.
Anyway, I'm thinking I might change it so that I can have a list of my labels and as motivation to finally make a list of links to all the blogs I read since I'll have to redo all my links. If I do change it I'm torn because they do have an updated version of the template that I have now or I can get something new. Decisions.

In other news, I got my first rejection notice of the year but it wasn't from a submission I sent this year so I'm not sure what it counts as and it really doesn't matter anyway. Jenni and I also got a rejection from an agent (sorry I forgot to mention that in my e-mail Jenni) and that was sent out last year too. Lets hope submissions sent out in 2007 have a little more luck.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Message For Me

I know I'm really slacking but I finally started my first novel of the year. Now don't think I haven't been reading at all because I have made a dent in the the giant pile of comic books and graphic novels but this is the first novel I've started. I'm reading "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham. I've seen the movie and I liked it but I do miss that inner dialogue and detail that you just can't find on the screen so I am now reading the book. I'm only about fifty pages in but so far I really like it. I'll say more when I'm done with the book but for now I hate jumping ahead.

I've been trying to come up with new post that don't just say "I wrote today" and starting to read a new novel got me thinking that I didn't write hardly anything about the books I read last year. So I thought I'd write a few post about the books I read last year.
Today I thought I would mention three of the books I read and what they meant to me. I think the best writing always has a message even if it's slight. I hope that one day I can write a novel that makes people think as much as I did when I read these.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee- I know I should have finished reading this book a long time ago but when we read it in school I was too busy not being at school. Anyway, I did start it long ago and it wasn't until the fabulous Jenni was teaching her students that I decided it was time to find out how it ended. It really made me reflect on what I was raised to believe and what I believe now. It made me think about how I was fortunate enough to step back from what I had been taught and to learn to think for myself. I can't imagine the person I would be if I had continued to believe what I was told and never searched for more.

And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts- This book is about the start of the AIDS pandemic. It tells the stories of some of the first people to become infected and people who were trying to stop it from becoming the problem that it is today. Sometimes it was almost surreal to read parts of it. When I realized that the situations that people were ignoring would turn out to be things that would affect so many lives. I was amazed at how things could have been so different if people had taken action.

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally- I once met somebody who hadn't heard much about the book or the movie. They just assumed that it was about concentration camps in Germany during World War II and that the list was people who were sentenced to death. I guess it would be hard to assume that during that horrible time that anything good could have happened but there were people who chose to risk their lives for the lives of others. And I hope if the day ever came when I had that choice to make that I would do the same.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Getting organized

Why does it take forever for me to sign in to the new blogger? Err!

Sunday was my day off and I did get some work done. Thanks to the awesome hook-up from Jenni, I had everything I needed to start my 2007 submissions. I finally bought my 2007 Writer's Market which comes out way before the new year starts. It doesn't seem to be a waste of money since I sent quite a few submissions in 2006 and this one's got several new places I haven't tried. Also my 2006 Writer's Market was so full of marks, notes and highlights that I couldn't really make sense of it anymore.
I'm also trying to be a little more organized with where and when I send stuff. Last year I used a spread sheet to keep track which worked well but I added a few more columns that will hopefully have me writing less notes in my Writer's Market, in theory.
Now if I could just clean my office, I'd have an organized writing enviroment.

And it's finally cold and somewhat snowy! YAY!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Songs to write by

I haven't posted in a while but I did finish labeling all my post!

Work has been really frustrating for me lately. Details would take up way too much space but I can say that lately I feel like throwing stuff at my boss which is never a good thing.
My therapy for this has been working on Behind the Naugahyde since it's about working at a crazy shoe store with an insane boss which is oddly similar to my current situation. What a coincidence?
My rage from the past two days of work motivated me to sit down tonight and finish my part of chapter seven. I also wrote a much too long e-mail to Jenni. I know I should have been working more on Behind the Naugahyde but it's those novel length e-mails that inspired Behind the Naugahyde anyway.
I've been locked in my office writing for a while and I've been listening to every Barenaked Ladies c.d. I own which, is every one they made. I like to listen to music that I feel fits the mood of what I'm writing. Their songs are mostly upbeat and funny but have lyrics that are still somewhat serious which is kind of how I want work to be at Sole Comfort (and hopefully that's close to Jenni's vision or we might have problems). I want it to be fun and crazy but still have times when the employees are angry and having bad days. I can picture the characters listening to the music while they try to get through the day. Whenever I hear their song Too Little, Too Late, the part
"One day this embarrassment will be behind me, that day I can think of things that won't remind me. These days it's unbearable...,"
I always think of selling shoes.
Not to mention that I love their music and have seen them three times which is a lot for me. They are awesome in concert and I honestly didn't care for them too much until I saw them live. Then I got it. They were so funny and energetic. It was hard not to love. And they wrote one of my all time favorite songs.
And I feel like an idiot because sometimes when I post my "favorites" on things like myspace, face book, live journal and blogger. I never remember to list my actual favorite movies or bands like the Barenaked Ladies. I always list stuff that I've just recently seen or heard and I never really feel like going back to change it. So when it comes to me you can never trust those list.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Yay! It's 2007. I cleared off my dry erase board with my unaccomplished goals from last year and replaced them with new goals for this year. All these goals are things that I can accomplish personally. For instance, I would like my book to be published but time may not allow for a publisher to like it and get it on shelves by the end of the year or it could just be a really crappy book that just isn't going to happen. I'd copy the list directly on here but it would probably make no sense to anyone but me.

I am confident that Jenni and I will finish "Behind the Naugahyde"this year. I'd also like to get around to rewriting my comic book script and finding an artist for it. Of course I'd also like to finish my Nanowrimo/fimo novel. And there's a real giant size project that I kept mentioning last year but I won't be able to start it until the weather gets better.

As for the progress of that still untitled novel, I've written quite a few pieces in different places lately and now I have to find them all and put them together. Also I have a small chunk of writing that I wrote along time ago that I think would fit perfectly into the story. I didn't write it for any particular reason so I've never done anything with it. I didn't want to use it before because that would be cheating on NaNoWriMo and NaNoFiMo but since those are over and neither one completed by me, I can go ahead and throw it in. That's if I can find it.