Sunday, June 7, 2015

Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

I got the Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde as a birthday gift. Started reading it on my vacation. A lot of nice short stories in here. My favorite so far is the Nightingale and the Rose. Wanted to share a line from it that was very true to me.

"What a silly thing Love is. It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

I first learned about this book from my coworker. His cousin wrote this book, the Wig in the Window, by Kristen Kittscher. It's a Middle Grade (8-12 year old), 368 page novel.

I loved the concept of two girls playing detective. Immediately I was drawn into this book, the characters are very much their age, middle schoolers, and their interactions and conversations are exactly what someone their age would think and say. The first chapter really hooks you in as they spy a teacher at her home whacking something and spraying what looks like blood all over herself.

My favorite scene is when she describes the S.M.I.L.E group for the first time. It was hilarious and I had to read it over a few times because it's a perfect example of show, don't tell. I could picture this group of girls in how annoyingly happy they are.

Little details like what the cafeteria is serving and references to Chinese tai chi moves add some humor to the story.

This book had a lot of twists and it's not obvious how it will end. Clues along the way help the reader draw their own conclusions. It had my interest until the very end. It's a good length for a child looking for a longer read. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, even adults!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Goal Update

Here's an update to my winter break goal: I finished Save the Cat and figured out the muddy middle to my plot! At least for now it works, I'm sure I'll have to go back and change some details but at least I have an outline.  Writing out the beats was really helpful for this. I found a website with a beat sheet spreadsheet where you input your word count and it tells you where your beats should go:

My next writing goal is to get my second draft completed before the April SCBWI conference. It's sporty, especially since I'll be out of the country for half of March, so I've got my work cut out for me. Though my writing group has expressed interest in going to the LA conference in August. I can't afford both, but I'll consider LA, depending on cost.

And I am almost done with my oil painting. Already got ideas for my next one, so I'm looking forward to putting this one on the wall and starting my next one.

Here's to 2015!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dream Big But Be Thankful

I set some goals for this winter break so I'm not being lazy. First one, I need to finish Save the Cat, because everyone keeps telling me this will help me figure out my plot problem. It's a craft book for screenplays but also works well for novels. Second one, I need to figure out my plot.

Outside of writing, I'm going to finish an oil painting I've been working on. I keep forgetting about it and the paint dries and I basically have to start over. Other than that, hoping to go snowshoeing or hiking. Most of my friends are out of town this break so it might have to wait until January.

Having goals and dreaming big are good to do, but this time of year I have to sit back and be thankful for what I do have. It can be easy to complain about things in your life, I am guilty of it myself: getting rear ended, losing a friend, and being heartbroken. And sometimes I forget to remind myself that I have an amazing life! My friends and family are all healthy, I have a roof over my head, and food at every meal. Other people are lucky to have just one of those. I am so blessed to have a good job, with money to pursue my other hobbies, like photography, painting, and writing. None of these come cheap. Writing classes, retreats, and conferences are very expensive and I did one of each this year. I'm thankful that I get the opportunity to do these things.

I guess my takeaway is, your life will never be perfect, but be thankful for what you have, because other people in this world will look at your life and wish they could have it.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sophie's Squash and The Gruffalo

I like to buy my nieces books, because they have enough clothes and toys already. Unless they MUST have those plush Frozen dolls, then I give in. But for my 1.5 year old niece who can't tell me what she wants, I bought her 2 books, Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.

I learned about Sophie's Squash in my writing class. There was a lot of hype for this book, especially for a first time author. We had to get our hands on it, so finally someone found it at the library and we passed it around in class. It's a really cute story about a girl and her pet squash. She takes the squash everywhere and gives it a name. And as you know, a squash wont stay a squash forever. So she lets go of her squash, and at the end something amazing happens. This book won the Golden Kite award, you can see it here:

The Gruffalo I heard about when I was in Germany visiting my brother. It's extremely popular in Europe, so popular they made a cartoon show that my nieces were obsessed with. The author has several books and all have done really well. The Gruffalo sold 12 million copies, which is unheard of for a children's book! It's about a mouse who gets approached by several animals in the forest who want to eat him. But he tells them it's not a good idea, because he's about to meet the Gruffalo, a scary creature he made up. Then the mouse actually does meet the Gruffalo, and the Gruffalo wants to eat him, but he says that is not a good idea, because all the animals in the forest are afraid of him. And he back tracks through the same animals he meets in the beginning. Really fun story, highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Writers Block

I've been in sort of a writing funk lately. The dreaded middle *shudder* is falling flat and I don't know what to do about it. I'm at around page 66 with my writing group. But once it gets to be around page 110 they're going to be like, "Whaaat???" because the story line is not coming together. It's getting frustrating. I wake up at 5am (hit snooze about three times) and sit at my computer to stare at the pages, not sure where the plot is going. So instead I fix my tense and punctuation just so I feel like I've accomplished something.

I'm a planner, I like to have my week planned days in advance. That's usually how I write my stories too. In my previous books, I outlined the entire novel. But with this book, I decided to just go with the flow and let the ideas come. And they did at first, I think my beginning is pretty good. But I need to rewrite about half of the novel to make the rest work. Which is okay with me, that's what revising is all about. Not giving up on it yet.

This year my life has definitely had its highs and lows. I blame nobody but myself. I just need to remind myself that no matter how low you get, the highs are just so much sweeter. And they will come, you just have to wait for it. People in your life will come and go, but if they want you in their life, they'll put you in there, you shouldn't have to fight for a spot.

I hope this funk, in writing and in life, turns into something amazing :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Words of Motivation

Sometimes I wonder, what if I put in all this work, and I never succeed? But then I remind myself, you only fail if you quit. And if I never get published, I know I gave it my all. I will have no regrets or doubts.

My hope for you, if you can't find your motivation, or don't know how to keep going, that you never give up.