Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Onward and upward

Well, the creative juices are flowing. I wrote a short story this evening, sparked by a blog commentary. It needs some revision, but it was fun to write, and a change from my usual type of story. Fantasy humor, if that's a category? This tale's about a dragon in court over charges that he stalked a maiden. Pretty absurd stuff.

Beyond that, I worked on revising my WIP's first paragraph to enter another free blog contest (Nathan Bransford's blog). It's difficult fitting important stuff into that first paragraph without it sounding stilted, but a very good exercise in focus and detailed line editing. And I think the result is an improvement (yet again) on my first page, so that's a nice bonus.

What next, a first line contest? First word? Oy!

Well, hope springs eternal!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


As I sit here in the frigid air of our not-well-insulated old house, fingernails turning blue, teeth chattering, I realize I've also been frozen in this one book I've been reading for SUCH a long time!

If you've visited my blog for a while, you've seen it--Tarzan's Tonsilitis--on my reading list since I don't know when. Not good! (I don't mean the book isn't good--it is!) So what's the problem?

The most obvious issue is that I've made it my before-bed read. And these days, once I get under the covers, there's no energy left!

Next problem is that it has a distinct voice to it (and is translated to English, so has some unusual wording at times) and it takes me a few pages to jump back into the character's heads.

But really, book, it's not you, it's me. I just need to give myself more time to read (while upright might be a good start!). I definitely find that more reading equals better writing. So--no more dawdling--I'm going to finish it and move on to the next book in the stacks!

Now, you tell me--have you ever had a book you couldn't seem to get through?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Aw, nice! :)

I was awarded this awesome award!
Thanks Tanya Reimer! http://tanyareimer.blogspot.com/

So to accept this award I must:
1.Thank and link back to the person who awarded it
2.Share 7 things about myself
3.Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers
4.Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

Seven things about Betsy:

1) At various times in life I have played the violin, piano, clarinet, and bass clarinet (but by now I think I've forgotten how to do all of these)
2) My favorite old movies are _Bringing Up Baby_ and _Desk Set_ (yes, I love Katherine Hepburn!)
3) I have a widow's peak
4) My maiden name means "vulture" in German
5) I have taken a drink from a melting glacier
6) I once was in a small dorm room with a live bobcat, and it slapped me across the face (no joke!)
7) I love books and can't stop accumulating them

10 blogs I really enjoy (some are writing, some are photography, some are silly, but they're all interesting) that you should check out!

Pictureland at http://themoviegoer-danny.blogspot.com
Veni,Vidi, Vito at http://annemarieschiavipedersen.blogspot.com
PK Hrezo at http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com
Erika Jean at http://www.erikajean.com
Serendipitous at http://chune123.blogspot.com
Forgotten Bookmarks at http://www.forgottenbookmarks.com
Milk Moon at http://milk-moon.blogspot.com
Rachel's Ramblings at http://racheldilley.blogspot.com
Shutter Sisters at http://shuttersisters.com
Land of Shimp at http://landofshimp.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sometimes the surgeon must cut...

This is a phrase my dad use to say when he was explaining something unpleasant or painful that must be done in order to heal or improve a situation. Now, my dad wasn't a surgeon, so maybe I should have taken his advice with a grain of salt.
But since I recently entered Lydia Sharp's blog critique contest of your first 500 words (to your novel), I took Dad's words to heart.

This contest (now known as The Awesome) was great, because even the losers (like me) got a great (and free!) critique of our first 500 words. So, having mulled over Lydia's comments, slowly digesting their meaning last night, I took the opportunity today to cut the heck out of my manuscript (well, the first 500 words of it, anyhow!) and try to address the issues she spotted.

The result? A much more interesting, dynamic opening! My biggest problem was that I didn't really give a POV, even though in the rest of the story I do have a clear protagonist who's POV is shown. Know what? I hadn't even realized I'd screwed that up in my hook! That's the danger of knowing your story too well--you can miss big problems that an unbiased mind might see.

So, big thanks to Lydia for taking time to do such a cool contest!

And soon we'll see if my writers' group agrees with my changes. I think they put The Awesome back in my hook. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jersey Flu

So my writing resolution was (momentarily) derailed by this awful stomach flu I got that had me hurling and/or on the toilet for much of 12 hours. After that, I barely had energy to lift myself out of bed. Thus, no writing got done that day. (I call it the Jersey Flu because once I finally DID get myself up out of bed, I had this awful hair bump much like Snookie. Don't pretend--you know who she is!)

Anyway, two days later, and I'm starting to come back to life. I was able to eat chicken noodle soup today (ooh!) and even some pretzels (ahh!), and could stay upright for more than an hour at a time. Very exciting stuff!

Anyway, due to the timing of the unfortunate flu, I only missed one day of my writing regimen. So I took my husband's encouraging advice, and wrote for 20 minutes the next day to make up for my missed day. And you know what? I got a small scene out of it. Pretty good for a Jersey Flu Girl, eh?

And that's my lesson for the week--don't let the small failings kill your dream, or even deplete your momentum. Just get up and try, try again! (And for goodness sake, get rid of the bump!)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

"I'm delightful!"

I've come to realize that being a writer (or any other kind of artist) means having to be selfish sometimes. We probably all struggle with this issue from time to time (either because we are too good at being selfish, or not good enough at it!). In order to focus in on our thoughts and sit down to pour them out on paper, one must shut the rest of the world (and its needs) out.

I was gleefully reminded of this while watching an old episode of Andy Richter Controls the Universe. (If you've never seen it, do--great laugh therapy!) In this particular episode, a friend of Andy's who's an actress is trying to determine whether to give up her dream of acting professionally some day. She's the understudy for a high-maintenance actress in a theater production who will never let her get a moment on stage. Thus, Andy tries to help his friend out by getting the main actress sick so the understudy can pay the role instead. While Andy's in the actress's dressing room, she's very self-centered and self-indulgent, and she says something odd, then laughs and murmers, "I'm delightful!" while smiling at herself in the mirror.

It just made me stop for a moment and think that it's ok to find one's self delightful now and then--that's how we get the courage to try to catch our dreams! If I don't ever let myself think my writing is delightful, I'll never bother to make time for it, or share it with anyone.

So, grab your inner diva and wallow in your own delightfulness for a while--it's good for the artistic soul!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Day 3 and going strong!

Well, OK, it IS just the 3rd day of my new writing life, but darnit, it feels good! That 10 minutes is so small, but that's what makes it doable. I did my writing last night before bed. I did it on the 1st in the middle of the day during my son's nap time. Today I had a half day of work and so spent considerably longer at it, lavishing in my new writing netbook that my dear hubby got me for Christmas, God bless him!

I'm noticing something already though--by this 3rd day, my pen (or fingers, depending on the media) is flowing better each day.

At this point, I'm not forcing myself to write solely fiction--but also allowing for more journal-type writing. The point is to get writing and get in the habit!

The juices are flowing and my brain found a good link in my WIP that wasn't clear earlier, so that's a nice bonus of this new focus, too.

Happy New Year to you, and I hope you meet your own goals too!