February 27, 2005

Laziness

I've been sitting here for the last hour trying to figure out how I can keep a private (aka non-published) journal/diary on my computer. I want this to be completely private. Something accessible only to me. Password protected would be nice.

Why? Do I have something to hide?

Well, just my general bitchiness, really. I wouldn't want my hubby to happen upon it and read about something I was pissed off about over two months ago. I don't want to worry about censoring myself, which I do quite often here. After reading about this or that blogger being fired for bad-mouthing their place of employment on their "private" blog, I'm very conscious to edit out a lot of the more negative shit I would love to rant about here to you, my faithful handful of readers.

Seriously...there's like two of you, I think. :)

I must be boring....

But I digress. This post is about my search for a journal or diary I can use here at home, something completely private. Now you may be wondering why I don't grab the perfectly adorable journals I've got stashed away in my dresser.
I'm not wondering. I know why. Typing is so much quicker than writing long-hand. I type around 90 words a minute (yes, that explains the typos...I never said I type accurately at 90 wpm). I write at about 20. No sense in writing it down if you can't read it later, right?

So I tried creating one using Access. Didn't work.

I really want to find a free one off tucows.com but I'm afraid of virsus and all that other crap you can download so easily these days. I guess I'll need to talk to hubby about it since he's my computer guy and he tends to get really pissy about me downloading "shit" to the computer.

If he's totally against the idea, I think I'm going to have to break out those buried journals and get friendly with mundane writing utensils. Back to pen and paper. Egads.

February 25, 2005

Snippet

Excerpt from Redeeming Angels
© Krista Heiser, All Rights Reserved


Note: The following snippet is from my vampire romance. If it ever appears in print, it's very possible it may read nothing like this. You know how I love to revise, revise, revise! This is also rough draft and likely filled with typos, missing words, mis-used words, and terrible grammar.

What little backstory you need to know is this: Makenna had been out hunting for a suitable donor earlier in the night when Gabe happened by. Driven by lust (and not just for blood) she strikes up a conversation where she learns he has something she wants...and, no, it's not just his body. In an attempt to get it from him she tries to use her talent for psychic manipulation on him and fails. He may be a mere human but he isn't completely powerless. In the following scene she's just driven him home and is determined to get that item and more from him.

I hope you enjoy this!

She stretched upward, forced to stand on her tip toes, and bit down. He screamed as her teeth punctured skin and sank deep into tissue. She didn't rend the artery; she had no intention of killing him. She bit into muscle, bursting smaller vessels, vessels that would bleed and provide her with the nourishment her depraved body required without leeching him of his life.

Shock held him in its grips for a brief moment and then he began to struggle against her hold. "What in the hell are you doing? Stop it!"

She bit down, her fangs probing the depths of the muscle and surrounding tissue. He yelped, his struggles becoming more pronounced. His fingers found their way into her hair and he tried to yank her head away from him. A growl of warning cautioned him to not try it again. Her nails dug into his scalp, into his arm where she held him. She couldn't stop now if she wanted to.

Blood flooded her mouth. She savored the coppery warmth, swallowing that which her fangs failed to pull. The liquid pooled in her stomach. It raced through her veins as her body's membranous tissues absorbed it. As the sweet nutrients replenished her depleted cells, the darkling hummed with pleasure.

He yanked on her hair again and tried to slip from her hold. He knocked them sideways into the dimmer switch, their entangled bodies sliding it until the room began to glow with an ambient light. "Stop it! Damn it, I said stop!"

She could hear the panic in his voice. Felt his anger in the tense muscles. She could smell his fear, his normally musky scent overwhelmed by acrid sweat.
She lifted her head, licking telltale smears of blood from her lips, and settled down onto the balls of her feet. Holding him by his hair, one arm pinned to the wall, she looked at him. "You shouldn't have pissed me off."

"Are you insane?" He yelled at her, not even bothering to glance down toward his still seeping wound. "What are you? Some kind of freak? You probably just signed your death warrant, lady."

She smiled and revealed the fangs. "I don't think so."

He glared at her, a grimace of distaste flickering across his handsome face. "I have HIV and I'm pretty sure drinking my blood is a guarantee you're going to test positive, too."

"I don't think you get it. I'm a vampire."

He rolled his eyes. "Sure. You're a nut, is what you are."

She couldn't believe it. It was obvious the man thought she was playacting. The knowledge was nearly enough to get him bitten a second time. She held herself in check by putting some distance between them. "I am a vampire. Have been since God placed man on Earth."

"What? No one turned you? Isn't that how vampires are made?" His snide remark mocked her existence. "

"That's Hollywood. Not reality."

~end snippet

Get Your Birthday Cake Here

Today's the big day. My first born is now 7 years old. I tried to start his day out right by singing Happy Birthday to him first thing this morning. He woke with a huge grin and I got hugs and kisses before he'd even left his bed. I guess the morning serenade worked.

I can't believe he's seven! How did that happen?

February 24, 2005

Cutest Little CryBaby

My youngest son is 4 and he's developed a nasty habit of crying over anything and everthing. This is relatively new and positively annoying. Perhaps not new. No, he's always been a bit melodramatic. However, the frequency is accelerating.

Anyhow...

Not five minutes after a crying jag he comes into the bathroom (no I didn't need an audience but a closed door means very little to this little fellow) and tells me he doesn't have any toys to pick up. "I don't have to pick up my toys, Mom. They're all in my toy box," he says, eyes sparkling with wonder. "They got in there all by themself!"

How he can go from aggravating to adorable so effortlessly is beyond me.

Lame Update

I don't really have all that much to report. I haven't written anything in a week. The WIP has been at hand several times but the very thought of opening the thing and getting busy makes me want to weep. I'm certain I know what my problem is and I believe it to be temporary.

Of course, I'm talking about the day job. It's been draining me mentally, emotionally, and physically for months. Frustrated hardly begins to describe how I'm feeling.

I have two major projects underway at the moment. Now, this isn't unusual but add to it the hours I have to spend away from my desk and suddenly the pressure is doubled. How in the hell they expect me to get all this done when I spend more time away from my desk than at it is beyond me. I guess I'll just do my best and be prepared for the "why isn't this done yet?" questions.

You know, my job has always sucked but our new operating schema has made it unbearable. The sad thing is it wasn't even my boss's idea. She doesn't like it any more than the rest of us. She's been turned into a part-time receptionist, too.

I'm trying very hard not to name names and give specifics here. As unhappy as I may be, I still need the job, which is why I haven't walked out the door.

February 21, 2005

How Times Have Changed...

Someone in my class commented on an annoying habit early 20th century writers seem to share. Now, I'll grant you that we're only on the fourth book and this observation may not hold water. The texts we're reading may be anomalies but I doubt it. For grins (and so you have an idea of what the following opinions are based on) here's our reading list so far:


A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf



In each of these books the reader is told what is happening. Very few scenes actually show anything. My classmate felt these characters, regardless of their respective authors, seem to share a proclivity for thinking and little interest in acting. Things may happen to them or around them but the reader never shares in the ride. We're simply told...this happened and this is what Y thought about it. When the character has a reaction, they're usually so watered down they fail to impact the reader.

There is little to no intimacy between character and reader. This method of storytelling distances the reader from the character. It fails to engage emotions. The writing begins to feel more intellectual and less personal. When bad things happen it doesn't make the reader's heart race or pulse quicken. (At least not mine...)

On thinking about the standard of good writing in the early 1900s and what sells so well today, I realized why showing is in such high demand. Today's average reader is all about instant gratification. They're accustomed to fast-paced entertainment. From video games to movies to books the demand for more and more action is being met within a relatively short time-span: the first 10-15 minutes of a movie; first few chapters of a book; ready motivation for putting a video game character into action.

Now, I don't know how many times I've heard writers at Forward Motion tell someone they should be showing and not telling in this scene or that; I can't count that high. Now, I understand and can even agree that this rule can and should be broken upon occassion. Actually, I don't even think of it as a rule. It's more of a well-intended suggestion. A tool in the writer's toolbox.

So, my advice (mostly for myself) is if you're writing and intending to sell to today's mainstream market, think of your audience. Meet their demand for action because if you don't, someone else will. They want to be entertained, to feel a connection to the character and partake of the risks and they don't want to have to wait until they're 1/3 of the way through the book to do so.









Scrapbooking Weekend

I got home from my weekend away around 3:00 pm yesterday. What a long drive! It had started snowing early in the morning and by the time we left the roads were already getting slick. We saw several cars in the ditch, including one that had rolled. We also got stuck in a traffic jam. Not fun.

On the upside I completed 15 pages. I did pre-school pictures, ice-fishing pictures, bath pictures, a picture of the hubby and I together, and a picture of my youngest son's baby blues (I turned the pic black and white but left his eyes as blue as blue can be. Gorgeous.).

We didn't go to the bar. We were all pretty focused on our scrapbooks and the idea of getting dressed and putting on makeup--hey, you can't go to the bar looking all frumpy!--held absolutely no appeal. So, we put on our jammies and did some more pages.

The food was part of our package deal: dinner Friday night; breakfast, lunch & dinner Saturday; breakfast on Sunday. The dinner buffet was delicious. Prime rib, stuffed salmon, crab legs (ewww), duck stirfry, shrimp (ewww again), fruit, vegetables, breads, and dessert. Of course, we didn't know about desert so we didn't get any.

Other than scrapbooking and eating, we did take about an hour away from the tables to sit in the hot tub. I so need one of those at home!

February 16, 2005

This and That

Sorry I haven't been updating this regularly for the last week or so. Good intentions sometimes fail to bear fruit.

Let's see, where to start? The hubby and I had a parent/teacher conference yesterday morning. It went much better than expected. It seems our little guy is doing a bit of day-dreaming (a.k.a. "zoning out") during class. His teachers find this worrisome as everyone, especially the little guy, has worked so hard to get his test scores up and they don't want to see him fall behind again. They'll be sending home behavior slips indicating whether or not he's paying attention during class. I have a feeling this alone will be enough to snap him out of this newest phase. The child hates to get into trouble.

The good news is his reading has improved dramatically. When they tested him he scored a 14. Now, if you're like me, you have no idea what 14 signifies. Well, it seems anything above a 10 is excellent. Yay, little man!

The bad news is his math has suffered the effects of focusing so much on his reading skills. He's testing below average on things like fractions, subtraction up to 12, number sequence 26-50, and graphs/charts. I'm sure with a little practice he'll be fine, though. Strangely, I'm not even worried about the math issue. I'm confident in no time at all he'll be on par with his classmates.

In other news, I'm going to the doctor on Friday morning before I leave for my weekend away. Antibiotics are going to be prescribed. I guarantee it.

I need to call the MIL to tell her she's going to need to pick me up later than expected thanks to the appt. Hm. Should add that to the "to do" list.

Writing? That involves typing, concentration, and focus on imaginary beings with imaginary problems, right? Yeah, thought it sounded familiar. I haven't opened the WIP at all this week and today's, what, Wednesday. Lovely. Maybe tonight....

Here's what I have to do between 6:00 pm and bedtime:

-Call MIL about pick-up time on Friday

-help first grader with his homework

-eat dinner, which hubby will cook while I do the homework thing

-do laundry (must do this if I'm going to have any clothes to take with me on the trip)

-give kidlets a bath

-settle kidlets down with a movie until bedtime

-do my homework (read at least 50 pages before bed & post to the discussion threads)

-find spare minutes to at least open WIP and "tweak" a sentence or two

Damn. No wonder I'm exhausted all the time. I have no down-time scheduled into my evening.

February 13, 2005

Not Again

I can't believe I'm getting sick again. I've lost count of how many times I've been less than healthy this winter. This latest bout started out as the sniffles and is progressing into a full-fledged cold. I'm taking meds, eating oranges, and trying to stay warm.

I'm blaming this one on the miserable weather. We've had some significant changes in temperature from one day to the next lately, which would explain why everyone I know has been or is sick.

I haven't written anything this weekend. Other than this post, the longest I've sat at the computer has been to chime in on the dicussion boards for my online class and to do a little bit of journalling for a scrapbook page yesterday. I keep telling myself that the story won't write itself but I guess I'm still hopeful. Although, truth be known, I'd be disappointed to turn on the computer and find the story already written. As crazy as it sounds, I enjoy the challenge of stitching a story together.

I know. Geek.

February 9, 2005

First Kiss

Well, I did get a chance to write yesterday after the kids went to bed. I ended up deleting a hundred or so words and tweaking a sentence or two in the previous chapter for continuity purposes. Only then was I able to make some forward progress, including the first big kiss between the hero and heroine. I'll reread it tonight to find out if it's as good as I thought it was last night.

I'm sure I'll tweak it here and there. I'm forever tweaking...

February 8, 2005

How Do Stay-at-Home Mom's Do it?

Home today with the munchkins. My oldest is fighting off a cold--I won't go into disgusting detail but it's more than just a cough here and there. Poor little guy. I hope this OTC cough medicine helps soon. Soon would be good. Yesterday would be better.

Anyhoo...so I'm home. I have time to get caught up on my reading, to do some writing, and, if I'm feeling really industrious, perhaps do some laundry. So what's my problem? It would be the momming. You know what I mean.

"Mom! I need a drink."

"Mom, I want a snack."

"Mom, Gage hit me."

"Mom, watch this!"

"Mom, KC won't share."

"Mom..Mom...Mom..."

Does it ever end? How do the stay-at-home mom's who do this daily not shoot themselves? Maybe they invest in ear plugs. That has to be it!

In any event, wish me luck on the writing front. I want to add a few hundred words to my total before bedtime tonight. At this rate, I'll be lucky to get more than 15.

February 5, 2005

Small gains

Using the Novel Diagram described in Plotting a Novel, I figured I would need to accomplish the following during my revision of Dragonborn:

For a 125K novel:

00-30K: Put MC into motion; lock the confict; build up to the first major turning point; all major players have to be introduced

30-60K: Deepen conflict by presenting first major turning point; expose true nature of plot; play out consequences of first plot point

60-90K: Reversal of conflict; give advantage to "other side"; deal with consequences of giving advantage to "other side"

90-125K: Introduce second plot point; deal with consequences (a.k.a. "agony of choice"); confirm premise by allowing one side to "win"; denouement.


Well, seeing it laid out like this, it doesn't seem so bad. Breaks it down into manageable components. The challenge will be taking the events from a proposed trilogy and condensing them down into one stand-alone novel. I believe a lot of extraneous things will have to be excised.

I also believe this means a complete and total rewrite.

From scratch.

February 2, 2005

Tonight.

I didn't get any writing done tonight.

I didn't attend my writing class.

I didn't read a single word in Lord Jim.

I didn't check the discussion boards for comments.

What did I do? Something I think is much more important than any of those things listed above. I spent time with my son. We rented movies, splurged on McDonald's, ate snacks upon snacks, and snuggled. That, my friend, is time well spent.

February 1, 2005

Would you let your daughter wear this to Prom?



This morning the local radio station I listen to on the way into work was discussing this prom dress. Yes, you read that right. Prom dress. This dress is intended for young ladies attending high school proms.

Maybe I'm over-reacting but what parent in their right mind would let their teenaged daughter walk out of the house wearing this? And what parent would be okay watching their teenaged son drive off with such a scantily clad date?

Maybe this is just a sign that I'm getting old and prudish but I can't help but to be appalled.

Editing Jitters

If you've been around the site for awhile you've likely heard me mention that I need to edit Dragonborn, the result of my first ever attempt at writing fantasy. In all honesty, I didn't plan to write the story I ended up writing. My main character was supposed to be a woman, a half-breed child capable of controling dragons. Well, when I sat down to write her story, I discovered I didn't know enough of the details necessary to begin.

I was anxious to start writing though. I hadn't written anything in such a long time. Years. Seven, to be exact. So to satify the urgency I decided I'd start writing a history of her world. The novel I ended up with serves as a prologue of sorts. Unfortunately, it's not even a complete one at that. I figured I'd draw it out into a trilogy.

The funny thing is I do like the story even though it's not what I originally set out to do. I've had a couple of beta readers take a look at it and, other than grammar and spelling issues, the comments were mostly positive. It even got a hand-written rejection from Tor.

Yes, I sent it out almost immediately after completing the first draft.

However, two years after sitting it in a drawer and ignoring it, I think it's time to take a serious look at either revising it or pitching it. For the record, I'm not sure I can pitch it.

Here is what I think I'd like to do:

1. Turn this proposed trilogy into a stand alone.
2. Clean up the cliches. (This will only require identifying them, I hope.)
3. Figure out how to write a kick ass synopsis.
4. Query at least 10 agents a week upon completion of revision.

My only question is when do you admit defeat? When do you suck it up and say "okay this one was a failure but at least I learned from it"?