Death in the Family

My husband's uncle passed away earlier today. We got the call around 4:30 this afternoon from my father-in-law. He was pretty upset, which is to be expected when you realize he just lost his last sibling. Over the last decade he's lost three brothers, a sister, and his mother. His father and oldest sister have been gone for quite some time. He's the last in the family unit.

He wasn't sure if he should call his wife (my mil) and tell her. She's vacationing in Florida with her sisters; something I don't believe she's ever done before. My husband told him to call her but my father-in-law is nothing if not stubborn. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out he waits to tell her when he picks her up from the airport on Saturday. He won't want her to worry about him or feel bad for being away right now.

I wonder when the funeral will be....

Easter Picture. The hubby was not happy about taking pictures so I only had two attempts in capturing a decent snapshot. I had to manipulate this photo somewhat; I lightened the exposure. Turned out half-way decent, I think. Posted by Hello

I got my hair cut and colored this last weekend. This picture doesn't really show the color all that well but I had reds and blondes put in. I'm very happy with the results.  Posted by Hello

The back. Posted by Hello

Personal Heroes

Real-life hereos exist. They run into burning buildings to save people they've never met, they willingly place themselves in danger to protect the innocent, they pick themselves up when they've been knocked flat on their ass and make a life for themselves and their loved ones. Heroes come in different shapes and sizes, different colors. They may speak not at all or be blinded to the world around them. They may be young or old, weak and infirm. Yet, rarely would they consider themselves heroes and they'd be shocked to hear others refer to them as such.

I look at the many people I know in my life and I realize there is something admirable in all of them. Sure, they're your common man or woman but within each of them lives a kernal of something special. Conviction, determination, and perservence have played a role in each of their lives at some point or another.

These are the common heroes. For this excercise I feel as if I should look beyond these fine qualities, that I should be searching for something that glitters and shines, for something that transcends time. Yet, the common hero is something we can all identify with on some level or another. And what if you want your hero or heroine to be your average citizen? What if they aren't saving the world but only themselves?

Knowing what kind of hero you need for your story is important. A story is much like a puzzle. You have to fit the pieces together without being forced to find a hammer to make things fit.

Beginning Step 2

I wanted to begin the second revision step tonight but it's almost bedtime. I'll have to take the workbook with me to work tomorrow. Perhaps on my lunch hour I'll be able to accomplish something?

Rewriting: The Baby Step Method

Be warned: I know next to nothing about revision. I do line edits (a.k.a. "tweaking") all the time but full-fledged revision has always intimidated the hell out of me. In the case of DragonBorn, it's not so much revision as rewriting. I've read several sources full of great suggestions but nothing seems to scream at me to "Eureka!" I will likely use the advice of many until I discover, develop and refine my own system.

I've decided to try "baby steps" on my debut rewriting venture. I may need to reorganize the order of these steps but for now this is how I anticipate things to unfold.

Baby Step Number One:

Determine whose story it really is. In the rough draft did you end up with the right MC?

This may seem a silly question but I discovered I didn't give the right character enough emphasis or viewpoints in my rough draft. This story truly belongs to Ghislaine, not Danken. Theoretically, knowing this will allow me to refocus the attention where it belongs.

That seems simple enough but the truth is the realization has taken two years to hit me between the eyes. I owe this revelation Ansen Dibell, the author of
Plot (Elements of Writing Fiction). He (I assume Ansen is male) raised this question early on and it actually stopped me cold. I had known for some time that I had made a very huge mistake in Dragonborn and suddenly I could identify the mistake.

Baby Step Number Two:

Do the exercises in Maass's Workbook.

I've tried doing the exercises in the workbook during the developmental stage of a story. Now it's time to use it as the revision tool it was created to be.

Because the first draft focused almostly completely on Danken (the wrong MC), I need to dig deep into who Ghislaine is, what she wants, what she fears, and what she risks. I have general answers to each of these questions but I need so much more than generalities. (In a recent chat I was told my writing is often vague or generalized. The insight was on target and I needed to hear it. Although Gail didn't say it, I realize vagueness is annoying. If I have to be vague in order to keep the reader reading, the story isn't strong enough. It needs work. I'm beginning to suspect this is what the "may want to consider more exposition" comment on the rejection really meant.)

I'm not sure how long this process will take. The workbook is thick and the exercises aren't meant to be breezed through. I'm prepared to spend several weeks or more on this phase of the project.

Baby Step Number Three:

Print and Read the Rough Draft.

Guilty admission: I've never printed the entire manuscript. I'm a miser with my ink and I didn't want to "waste" any on paper I'd likely end up throwing away after I was done with it. Seems like such a waste. Ink is expensive! But no matter which way I turn for advice I hear this again and again: Print it out. Reading it on the computer screen is not condusive to revisions.

Fine. I'll print it.

I probably won't be able to stop myself from grabbing a pen and some sticky notes. I'm not sure it makes sense to do this when you consider I may end up tossing the majority of what is currently written but I know my hypercritical-self won't be able to remain idle while I'm reading this.

Baby Step Number Three:

Compose a new scene outline incorporating the elements disovered
in step 1 & 2.

For each scene state the viewpoint character's goal, the obstacle standing in their way, and list what this scene does for the story as a whole. This may prove more challenging than it sounds. I've never broken my scenes down quite like this.

Baby Step Number Four:
Compare the scene outline to the rough draft and determine what you can keep and what you need to toss.

Being ruthless with the story is difficult for me. It's not that I think of any of it as "my darling" that I just can't bear to delete or restructure. What I see is hours of effort and time being unraveled. The rough draft took time and effort to compose. Undoing that time and effort is rather painful.

I know, I know. Get over it. Such is writing!

Baby Step Number Five:

Begin writing, editing, and restructuring.

Pretty self-explanatory, don't you think?

Whew! There and back.

The trip into town was a success! Now it's time to see if dinner stays down. If it does, I'm inclined to think something at breakfast didn't sit too well on his little tummy. He's acting better and better as the day progresses...

P.S. I hate making dinner.

The Baby is Sick

Home today with sick kidlet. My youngest, who seemed perfectly healthy when I dropped him off at daycare this morning, started throwing up not a half hour after I got to work this morning. Nothing like a call from daycare to get you motivated. As you grab your winter coat, shut down your computer, and sling your purse over your shoulder all you can think is: How can he be sick? He was fine when I dropped him off.

But sick he is. Although, I'm happy to say the vomiting has stopped and he seems content to sit on the couch and do nothing. Oh, sure, there's playstation (Mommy's played more than he has) and cartoons to keep him entertained. I know he's not 100% , though, because he's not bouncing off the walls.

Getting a day off work is always a bonus but not when one of my babies is sick. Although I didn't make him throw-up everywhere this morning, I still feel bad. Guilt is such fun, especially when you know it's completely undeserved but apparently unavoidable as well.

The scary thing...I have to bundle him into the car in a few minutes so we can go get his big brother from school. Don't. Throw. Up. That's going to be my mantra all the way there and back.

Bathtub Revelation

So I was soaking in the tub yesterday, reading a book on plotting, and realized I had written Dragonborn, all 500 pages of it, with the wrong MC. The story really isn't Danken's. Sure, things happen to him and he plays a critical role in the story, but it's not his story. It's Ghislaine's. The things that happen to her, her decisions, her actions and reactions, are the driving force behind the story. In realizing this I also realized the theme I had danced around but never addressed head on.

Rewriting the story is going to be a massive undertaking but I'm already feeling better about it. There's a clarity in my thoughts and, since I've already written the story from the wrong perspective, I hope to find the going a bit easier this time around.

Now that I know these two very important things --who's story it is and what the message or theme is-- I think I'm going to break out Maass' workbook again. It's revision time. I can still write the first draft of Redeeming Angels while I muddle my way through the pre-editing exercises.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Comp Time Cont.

Well, I took my comp time yesterday and did all the running I had said I was going to do. I dropped off three pairs of pants and a coat. The pants all need to be hemmed and the coat needed a new zipper. I should be able to pick everything up next Tuesday.

I also went to the bookstore. I adore Borders. I wandered around for about an hour. I picked up only one book. See! Miracles do happen! Only one book. It's the fourth in the Runelords series and I just happened to chance upon it. I have to say when I read the first book in this series I actually told my husband, "This is the book I wish I would have written." I love the "magic" system, the way endowments are given and received. The whole concept is just brilliant to my little mind.

Want to know how much I like these books? I've had it for less than 48 hours and I'm already 3/4 done with it. I feel a tad bit guilty because I really should finish reading Woolf's To the Lighthouse but I figure, as fast as I'm reading The Lair of Bones, I'll still have plenty of time to finish my true reading assignment.

I have some writing stuff to share but I'm suddenly out of time. Back later!

I love this picture. How adorable are we? Posted by Hello

Comp Time

I'm going to take some "comp time" today. I came in to work on Saturday for 3.5 hours. The company can't afford to pay me overtime but they're compensating me allowing me to leave early today and claim it as "worked" time.

I'm going to find someplace to hem my pants and put a new zipper in my son's coat and then I'm going to go lounge around at the bookstore for a few hours (oh, heavenly bliss!). If I get bored, I might go pick up the kids and the dog from the groomer a little early. Of course, me getting bored at a bookstore is impossible; I imagine the hubby will be picking up the kidlets and our family mutt.

Redeeming Angels Update

Well, I managed to write something tonight. The scene isn't quite finished. I should keep going but I'm getting pretty tired and there's still laundry to do.

Our hero has just been bitten and he's very pissed off. Too angry to be freaked out by the fangs or her supernatural strength. Those emotions might come later, they might not. I know you're wondering how anger is even option or how come he isn't quivering with fear. Well, he's got issues and she just pushed one of his buttons. How he copes with it will be a surprise to me, too.

I'm stopping tonight at 10,356 words.

Mommy and the boys. Posted by Hello

Daddy and the boys Posted by Hello

Maximum Destruction, Madusa, Gravedigger, Blue Thunder Posted by Hello

Gravedigger ready to race. Posted by Hello


I didn't make any progress on Redeeming Angels this weekend. I probably could have if I had sat down at the computer last night instead of watching the Count of Monte Cristo again.

However, I did manage to get down a developing story idea for a fantasy romance. It's pretty vague at the moment but I'm excited by what I do have.

Project: Basement Clean-Up

I'm very pleased to report I actually cleaned my basement this weekend. If all goes well, I should have new bookshelves installed next weekend. That was the deal. If I cleaned the basement, the hubby would create some bookshelves in my scrapbooking room. I'll post pictures when it happens.

Monster Jam

Ken and I took the boys to the Silverdome on Saturday to see Monster Jam. I'll try to load pictures later tonight. No time right now.

Joined Deviantart

My babysitter is a member of the site and in order to post comments on her "deviations" I had to create an account. I've decided to post some of my short stories there. These are works I have no intention of trying to publish. Reasons vary but I just don't feel they're strong enough to send out.

I'm going to post a link to my gallery in my sidebar. Visit if you feel like it!

Update on Personal Diary

Found one. Nothing fancy but it works.

Yay me!

Schedule booklets for Spring, Summer, and Fall 2005 are being printed as we speak. That's one down!

2005-2007 Catalog proofs are on their way to the appropriate contacts. Due date March 11th, which means I have 6 whole days of blissful catalog-free work ahead of me.

I'm so happy I could sing. But I won't. It'd hurt your ears.