How Do You Know?

WS Meg here. (I won’t post twice today, unless I do.)

As most of  y’all know, I’m a packrat. A nasty habit, to be sure, in this day of minimalism. But how do you know what to keep, and what to pitch?

My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman–I’m blessed to have her in my life–and her stories are fascinating as well as endless. Recently, she gifted me with so old letters that I truly treasure. If she hadn’t kept them, I wouldn’t have a first hand account of what happened to them during Hurricane Celia, August 3, 1970.

While she didn’t realize it, she provided facts, high emotion –I cried in some parts– newspaper clippings, photo, the bravery of her husband and oldest son (my DH!) and the aftermath. They lost everything but their lives. If she hadn’t taken the time the day after the storm to write her sister-in-law, this terrible chapter would have been lost. 

In our tech-savvy world, the written word is still so important. May we each record some of our own experiences for those future generations.   How do you know it won’t impact someone else?

‘Twas the Day After Thanksgiving

. . . popularly referred to as “Black Friday.” I don’t like that name; I understand its meaning, but it just has a negative connotation to me.

Not that it matters. I’m not a post-Thanksgiving shopper. Can’t stand the crowds, and the only thing I get up at 4 a.m. for is a trip, surgery or my grandkiddo. I’ve got a nephew-in-law who’s a super Black Friday shopper. He once camped out to be sure he was at the head of the line when the doors opened and got some fabulous deals. Me . . . I’d rather pay the regular price.

Our BF plans are much simpler: since we spend Thanksgiving Day with my family, it’s just DH and me at home being lazy. I cook our own (smaller) Thanksgiving meal, and we read, watch TV or surf the Net. I might do some cleaning. He might do some dishes.

This year my goal is to get all the cleaning and rearranging done today and tomorrow so the Christmas tree can go up Sunday. He’ll have to do most of the decorating since he’s not yet comfortable with my new knee on a ladder. Our tree has to go on top of a 3′ high table to keep the puppers from trying to use it as their indoor bathroom, so a lot of it will be out of my reach.

When do you put up your tree and do your decorating? And (borrowing from Susan), curious minds want to know when do you take it down. (We once had a friend who pitched a fit if everyone’s decorations weren’t down by New Year’s! Heck, I’ve had my tree up through April a time or two.)

Not My Story, You Won’t!

I’ve been lurking on several writers’ loops that are discussing what the future of publishing might be.  Some say it will be similar to the present system…writers submitting to an editor or agent, the book being “packaged” for sale by the publisher, then distributed for sale.  The main debate with this system seems to be how the books will be released.  Paper, then eBook?  Both together?  EBook first, then paper?  EBook only?

Some people are saying that submitting to an editor or agent will be old hat.  They think that when an author finishes a manuscript, they will hire an editor to “polish” the story, an artist to do a front cover, and publish the book them self.  No agent.  No publisher.  Just the author, her paid editor, an artist, and whatever promotion the author can do.  At first, the author would have to do most of the work themselves, but as they advance in sales, they should be able to hire someone to do everything…except write the actual books.

Another possible future  some are foreseeing is called the “interactive book”.  This is the book where the author starts the story, but the reader can either join in as a spectator to the action or actually “forward” the story by directing the action themselves.  The thinking on this kind of book is that the new generation of readers, having been raised on interactive games, videos, etc., they’re going to WANT to be interactive with their reading.

What do I say?  Not my story, you won’t!  Excuse me?  Reader, do you know my characters GMC?  Do you share my  voice?  Do you see my vision of the story?  No?  Then butt out!  And how do I sell part of a story?  Do people read a part of what I write, decide they want to add their two cents, so they pay me for the privilege?  How’s that supposed to work?  And if what you “add” isn’t what I like, what then?

Now, you guys know I’m all for some of the changes coming down the pike.  Wasn’t I one of the first to be published in eBook format?  And I’m sure there are many exciting changes in the future.  But I’m stating now and forever.  Whatever book I write, sell, barter for beer, or prostitute to Hollywood will be written by me and only me.

That’s my story…so keep your hands off!

You Can’t Win…

if you don’t play the game.

Meg here–AGAIN. Didn’t mean to post twice–old age and not having  Internet for an entire day! I was whining to TS/WS Marilyn the other day about my lack of getting things out for submission when she reminded me of the above saying. For me right now, writing isn’t my top priority. I tend to put everyone and everything before it.  Until I start taking myself seriously. . . yeah, I know, I know.   I can’t play the game with a blank page.

So why is it so easy for me to blog, email or post? Because there’s no pressure. No rejection–maybe some flaming. 🙂

Even though this year is almost over, and winter starts my SADD season, I am determined to hit the reset button on my writing.

Potter Addiction

Meg here,  and I admit to loving the Harry Potter series. Even though the books have ended, the last movie–Part 1–has been released. I haven’t seen it yet as that is something my daughter takes me to, with a NICE lunch included. But even if she didn’t, I couldn’t go because I haven’t finished rereading THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. Usually I do some kind of total recap before the movie, but I don’t have the time to do so.  (I’m not really reading, but listening to TDH on audio.)

Why am I so enthralled with a ‘children’s’ book? Because JK Rowling can make me totally escape into another world. I love the flow of her words and story. I don’t like everything that happens–and I won’t put in any spoilers–but that’s real life even inside magic. Life isn’t fair, and if you think it is, then …. I digress.

The Harry Potter series has opened the love of books and reading for a whole new generation. That is something to be thankful for!

Honey, I’m Late

Here I am, perusing my email at a leisurely pace while eating vanilla yogurt with banana granola (yumm!) when I come across a reminder that Friday’s my day to blog. Yeah, okay, I remember that. I meander on through the email — I haven’t been online in two days — then happen to glance at the day/date on the email. Aack!! Today’s Friday! I’m late! Again.

Wish I could say something fabulously wonderful has made me lose track of time. The new idea’s going well . . . though in a completely different direction from what I’d thought. I did go shopping for some new clothes and found two great sweaters, four shirts (all plaid! I love plaid!) and a jacket that I love, but that doesn’t excuse me from being on time. I’ve watched hours of Criminal Minds on TV the last couple days — oh, but wait. I do that every day.

Nope, it’s just me. Things flit in and out of my brain without leaving even a trace behind. I read a funny article about people getting forgetful as they get older; the author was enjoying the company because she’s always been forgetful. That’s me. I’d tell you where I read it, but I can’t remember.

I take comfort in the fact that if I get senile, no one will know because I’ve always been this way. 🙂

I’m Behind, But I’m Winning!

Don’t gag, but yes, another blog about NaNoMo.  For those of you who have slept since you last heard about the National Novel Month, that’s the national challenge authors accept the call to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  By today, participants should have completed 26, 672 words.  So far, I’ve completed 7,081.  Way less than I should have.

Actually, I would have had 12, 581, except I wrote myself into a corner and had to dump 55oo words.  I’m not sure if that’s allowed; if not, it makes no difference.  I might not be officially in the challenge but I intend on keeping on.  Why?  Because I’m winning!

My primary goal was NOT to end up with a 50,000 novel.  I had several alternative motives for joining NaNoMo.

First, I wanted to change my identity as a writer.  I want to treat writing, not as something I do in my spare time, but as an actual SECOND job.  I told my family I wouldn’t answer my phone in the mornings unless the call concerned fire, blood, or an emergency with my father.  I’ve signed up at the hospital to work extra four hours shifts if they need me…but never in the morning.

Second, I joined NaNoMo to get myself back in the habit of writing every day.  Yes, I do give myself permission to miss a day now and then, but so far, I’ve only missed one day.  A couple of times, I’ve missed writing in the morning, but I have written sometime during the day.  It hasn’t always been NaNoMo.  I discovered I missed working on my other stuff, so sometimes, that’s what I worked on.

Third, I wanted to get back the joy of writing free-form.  I haven’t been able to completely keep the internal editor off, but most of time, she’s muzzled.  I have learned I can no longer work without a synopsis!  Me, who once was able to sit down and write a short story straight through without stopping, now find myself having to write each scene ONLY after blocking out what is going to happen in the scene.  Ack!!  Oh, well, next year, I’ll have a synopsis ready and will STILL write without the editor nagging me.

I’m meeting all these personal goals, so though I may not end the month with a 50,000 word novel, I will find myself an author who is making her work a priority, who writes almost every day, and enjoys writing again. 

I’m winning!