Friday, November 21, 2008

One Thankful Author

Tip of the day: It will be quiet here at Author2Author next week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving with our loved ones. But we’ll return on December 1st with a fun giveaway to say thank you to YOU, our ever faithful blog readers. The only chance to *win* an Advanced Review Copy of FAR FROM YOU by yours truly will be right here! So we’ll see you then.

2008 will always be remembered as the year my first novel came out. I have friends, including our own Tina, who are looking forward to the release of their first novel in the coming months. It can be a scary, stressful time as you worry about reviews, blurbs, a web site, marketing, sales, etc. etc. So I thought for this post, I would share what I’m thankful for as far as being an author of a young adult novel.

I’ve gained more confidence. Knowing I have an agent and an editor who believe in me has made a huge difference in my writerly life. First my agent, then my editor took a chance on me and my strange little book about a ghost written in verse. While I still struggle at times with doubts, as we all do, it is a good thing to have people in my corner who believe in me. I am more confident in my abilities and perhaps I work even harder, because I want them to be happy with the work I produce.

It’s a dream come true. I can remember a time when I didn’t even know if I could write a novel. But I did. Again and again. And I dreamt of what it would be like if I ever sold one and had kids actually reading a book I wrote. I wanted that. I wanted to know what that felt like. And now I know. Which leads me to the best thing about being an author of a young adult novel.

Connecting with readers. It’s been amazing to see how my book has touched people. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined some of the notes I’ve gotten from readers. Some tell me how they’ve become more thankful of the special people in their life. Some tell me they feel less alone after experiencing the death of a loved one. And some have talked to me about how they don’t especially like to read, but they enjoyed my book, and many ask for my recommendation on other books they might enjoy. I can’t even find the words to describe how amazing it is to know I’ve touched someone’s life and maybe even changed it a little for the better.

So now, I’m looking forward to 2009 and all of the wonderful books coming out. This is an exciting time in young adult literature, and I’m so blessed to be a part of it.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Author2Author!

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I’m Pubbed

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Tip of the Day: Mush up some of the left-over Thanksgiving stuff together in a bowl the next day and heat & eat. It’s good. Really. :-)

I love this week of seeing what everyone else is thankful for and looking back on what I'm thankful for in my writing life too. And sometimes we're thankful for similar things so obviously that means they are extra cool. Like,

1) Critique Partners-- Critique partners are amazing-- they are so smart and see so many things in your writing that you may not see. Like when something really sucks or something is really great or something should be added/deleted.

2) Writing Friends-- They are just the best. They get what you are doing, they understand and share the struggles and triumphs and they are so supportive. I'm especially thankful for the A2A ladies and our cool readers, my Live Journal friends, my MySpace and facebook pals, and the Debs.

3) My Family-- They rock. They just get it and let me do my thing when I need to.

4) Time-- I'm thankful for any time I get to do this thing that I love.

5) My Agent-- I'm happy she keeps enjoying my books and is trying to sell more.

6) My Editor-- I'm thankful for the whole putting a book together experience I've had over the past year and for her helping make my book awesome.

7) Low-fat wheat pretzels from Trader Joe's-- Dang they’re good and I always pack a ziplock of them to snack on while I write.

8) The future- And all the possibilities of what will happen in my (and your) writing life (lives) next. So much to look forward to!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Kristina, Miss Soon-to-Pub

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanking the Thankless (or Yes, I'm Thankful for People, Too)

Tip of the Day: Amidst the business of the holiday eating season, don't forget your workouts. I recommend Hip Hop Hustle!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm thankful for my writing buddies and their LJ posts and Verla's BlueBoard and SCBWI and its organizers. Of COURSE I'm thankful for those people -- I better be or I have no business even using their bright minds and amazing resources to my advantage.

But what about the thankless? Those things that make my writing life so much easier than never get thanked? I'm going to thank them right now.

1) The Table-Mate II. Before the Manpanion bought me this gizmo, I was writing on my laptop on my LAP. Can you believe it? The ergonomic atrocities! But thanks to the brilliant inventors of the Table-Mate II, I can write in couch-cushioned comfort all night long. Thank you, Table-Maters, for your genius crafting of metal and plastic!

2) The Republic of Tea's Blackberry Sage Tea. It's delicious, smells amazing, can be drank warm in the winter and cold in the summer, and it provides that needed boost of caffeine for late night writing sessions without clogging you down with sugar. (I save that for #3 on the list.) Thank you, Republic of Tea, for brewing a tasting concoction that gets me through the day!

3) Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips. Sometimes, despite best intentions, sugar is needed. And if you're gonna do it, you might as well do it right. For best results, freeze before consuming. Use sparingly. And do sets of 30 jumping jacks between 30-minute sessions of writing and snacking. Thank you, Hershey family, for your brilliant combination of cocoa and whatever else goes in your chips!

What are YOU thankful for that you think's been forgotten from most people's thankful lists?

Deena, Miss Recently Repped

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pre-Acknowledgement Post—Writing Things I’m Thankful For

Tip of the Day: If you are in or visiting an area near a casino. Make sure to people watch. Great character ideas abound. And if you are looking for teen or kid character ideas, check out the arcade!

I have a confession to make. Maybe it’s a writer thing or the fact I still have a 6th grade Gossip Girl living inside of me, but I’m an acknowledgementoholic. The first thing I do when buying a new book is open the spine and check out the acknowledgement section. I’m fascinated by all the people that help in making books, and who has helped the writer along the way.

So you can guess I’m excited for this week. Because not only do we get to thank people that have helped us, but we get to talk about general writing things we are thankful for.

So without further ado, here’s what I’m thankful for writing-wise:

1. Critique Partners: Yes, it’s cliché, but having critique partners in the past that didn’t work out for various reasons, I am incredibly thankful for the ones I have. All of them have different strengths than I do, and are incredibly insightful when critiquing my work. Also, they are one of the best writing support systems. I think I might have quit on several books if it wasn’t for them reassuring me that “no, you don’t write like a drunk monkey,” or that they want to see my book in print so I better send it in. See what I mean? Invaluable!!

2. Online Friends: Not only my online critique partners that have been a tremendous support and encouraging force that has kept me going through all the close calls, but blog friends and buddies that I’ve enjoyed reading posts, learning about their writing, and hearing they are going through some of the same joys and struggles I am. It’s almost a necessity in this solitary business.

3. Supportive family (i.e. my husband): I’m incredibly thankful for everything my husband does, but in regards to supporting my writing he’s a tremendous help. Not only as a shoulder to cry on after a harsh rejection or close call, but the fact he’s never complained when I zone out mid-sentence because I’m thinking about writing stuff, when I pause the TV mid-show because I have to jot down my writing idea before I forget it, when I shut the door to write in complete silence, or sometimes emerge much later smelling like a left over turkey sandwich. And even now he’s letting me write this blog entry despite the fact we are in crapped hotel room, it’s way too early, he’s trying to sleep, and the glow from the computer screen and tapping of keys isn’t the easiest to tune out. Is that supportive or what? I’m also thankful for my parents and grandparents who are incredibly encouraging and want to see me succeed at writing, and the fact they instilled a love of reading upon me at a young age.

4. Learning to grow: I’m so thankful that I continue to grow in my writing abilities, and that I’m willing and open to pushing myself further. I’ve had several jobs in the past where I’ve just lost interest in, but with writing, despite how frustrating it is at times, I’m glad I’m still willing to give publishing a try. Because if I didn’t, I think I might always regret the “what if.”

5. Close calls: having written seriously for several years now, I’ve had my fair share of close calls. Several requested revisions that almost made it, but didn’t pan out because of another person not approving, the market, or just general losing of interest from the requesting person. Yes, they are frustrating and yes they make you want to cry. But then after that’s passed, I’m thankful for knowing that I’m close. That at any moment one of the close calls could be The Call. And I’d rather know my strengths and weaknesses as a writer to continue to grow further, and make the best books I can. And I’m thankful these people saw potential in me that they took time away from their busy schedules to write in some cases very detailed revision suggestions that helped improve my books!

I’m thankful for so much more, but if I go on further I worry I might sound like a Hallmark card or movie. Which I generally love, don’t get me wrong. But maybe it’s best to keep some of my thankfulness for my acknowledgement page! Gotta have some suspense, you know?

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent

P.S. I'm also thankful for the Aroma Coffee Shop in Reno, NV, because after driving around all morning, they were the only ones that weren't going to charge me an arm and a leg to use their WiFi for less than 5 minutes to post this! Thank you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And Also I'm Thankful for Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Sandwiches

Tip of the Day: Only 38 days until Christmas!

This week at Author2Author, we’re kicking off the holidays by blogging about what we’re thankful for in our writing lives. And, you know, it’s pretty easy to be thankful. I’m mostly thankful to be born in this time and place. I can work on a PC in the evenings and weekends, rather than using a sharpened quill or spending all my time foraging for food and wood. But all the people clogging the highways with me on my morning commute are also recipients of the gifts of living in a first world country in the 21st century. What makes me different from most of them? What makes me a writer and not a plumber or an accountant or an embezzler?

OK, perhaps I don’t have the education to make a good embezzler. But I think what drives me to be a writer, what makes me most thankful in my writing life, is that I was raised to have a wacky sense of humor. Nothing reminds me of this more than the holidays.

Like, we had this gorgeous old Nativity set that belonged to my grandmother and each piece was about a foot tall. We placed it under the tree every year. One of the wise men lost his head. So we used to balance the wise man’s head carefully on his shoulders and hide gifts behind him. When someone came to our house to celebrate, we’d ask him to hand us the gift we had tucked away. Naturally, the wise man’s head would fall off and my brothers and I would gasp and yell, “Oh, no, you killed the wise man!” This remained hysterically funny to us year after year. We called our Nativity people “the Wise Guys.” We also had assorted angel body parts hanging from the tree since we refused to get rid of broken ornaments, and there was much family laughter when we hung the disembodied heads on the tree.

I was very picky about the tinsel. We called that foil stuff you get at the dollar store “tinsel” and I despised clumps of it on the tree. “Separate the strands!” I’d tell my brothers every year. “Don’t just chuck it on there! No clumps!” The first year I attended college away from home, I drove home for the semester break at night. My brothers had tossed the Christmas lights into one big clump in the bushes to welcome me home.

Every year when How the Grinch Stole Christmas came on, the whole family would gather around the TV and complete silence was mandatory. I don’t know what the penalty would be for breaking the silence because nobody did. I learned the genius of Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones, and of course Dr. Seuss from my father’s absolute worship of this Christmas special. He always laughed, every year. When I asked him why he still enjoyed it so much even though he was an adult, he said, “Kate, we’ll always be kids on the inside.”

I thought he meant everyone, and it took me a long time to realize that not everyone stays a kid on the inside. And I’m thankful that my parents thought it was OK for me to stay a kid on the inside. I’m thankful we had a house where we could laugh all the time, where it was funny that the ornaments were all broken and you could watch the Grinch for free on TV and it was the highlight of the year. I think I became a writer so I could keep that feeling of looking at the world and finding it remarkably, amazingly weird and funny. I hope I can share that feeling with readers someday.

-- Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer

Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting a negative review and living to tell about it

Tip of the Day: Have some Christmas shopping to do? Start now! Only 40 shopping days left!

All right. Let’s talk about reviews.

Specifically, bad reviews.

Good reviews are a piece of cake. Starred ones leave you, well, starry-eyed. A good review, especially a starred one, gives the author validation that his/her book is worth reading. Actually, even better - worth buying!

But bad ones? They hurt. There is just no way around it, unfortunately. As a book release approaches, an author is trying to figure out ways to get the word out. Marketing is probably occupying the brain about 75% of the time two months before a release. The hope, I think, is that some reviews will come in that get people talking. Because that’s what you want, right? A buzz. A buzz that it is so persistent, people just can’t ignore it and so they go to the bookstore and buy the book.

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins is a book that had so much buzz around it I just HAD to go and get the book. And I wasn’t disappointed, believe me.

But how often does a buzz like that really happen? It seems to me, not very often. So is it realistic for us to think that any review might even come close to doing this for us? Probably not.
So what if a review comes in for your book, and it’s not what you were hoping for? In fact, it’s quite the opposite of what you were hoping for. Is it the end for your book? Like, is it over before it even began?

No. Not at all. First I think you have to ask the question, who is going to read the review journal? In the kidlit world, it’s primarily librarians and teachers. Most or all of the reviews will also end up on Amazon and B&N, but I wonder, in the end, how important those reviews are to regular readers? I think readers often put more weight into what other readers have to say versus professional publications, but that’s just a guess on my part.

Negative reviews remind me a lot of a harsh critique. At first, it stings. At first, you want to argue with everything negative being said. But eventually, after some time has passed, your brain begins to ponder the comments, and you might even begin to think, yeah, maybe that is something I need to work on.

One of my reviews for I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME talked about how, beyond Ava, my characters were only “shallowly realized.” I can tell you that those words stuck with me, and as I wrote my next book, I found myself paying more attention to the character development.

As they say, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I’m Pubbed

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Cover

Tip of the Day: Facebook is SO much fun! You should sign up. And then friend me.

I don't want to right out say I'm a psychic but I may open up a 900 line in the near future. Remember earlier in the year when I talked about my Cover Dreams? When I said I couldn't really imagine my cover but that maybe it would have a big espresso mug and maybe it would be brown or pink.

I swear I had no input but check it out:

What do you think? It's cute right? And I'm definitely a fan of the pink. Whenever I hit a bookstore or library I pick up the pink books first. (Hopefully I'm not the only one who does this).

Ahhhh. At first I thought the whole publishing process was going so slow. And now it feels like it's picking up speed! Sure, the book still won't be out until next fall but it's almost 2009! Next stop is ARCs. And then reviews (only good reviews please). And the marketing prep. Fun stuff ahead!

Kristina, Miss Soon-to-Pub

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's the Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of (or "It's the Stu-uffed Green Tomatoes"*)

* With apologies to Carly Simon

Tip of the Day: Never travel via airplane without a bag on wheels -- even if it's just a carry-on. When you have to sprint through the Atlanta airport from concourse E to concourse C to catch your next flight that leaves in 5 minutes and your bag is full of free YA novels, you will regret it.

This past weekend I was in Nashville for a YALSA (Young Adult Librarian Services Association) conference. The sessions were fantastic. I learned lots of things that I can apply as a librarian and as a writer.

And I realized I want to some day speak at a YALSA conference. This is my newest/latest/additional career goal.

It was so amazing to be among so many people who love literature for teens! I could turn to anyone around me and talk about YA books, and freedom of speech. There were other librarians writing books, too! If a presenter mentioned a book but couldn't remember the author's name, at least one person in the audience would know who it was. Usually more than one. So cool.

For the librarians, the visiting authors were rock stars. I've never seen so many women in one room racing for YA novels like it was their oxygen. (And yes, I was one of them.) It's not that I want to be a rock star, but to know that so many people understand the value and importance of literature for teens is reaffirming and rewarding. I want to speak to people who know this.

So I'm putting it out there. I will sell my books, and I will speak at a YALSA conference to fantabulous librarians who know what teens need, enjoy, and treasure.

Deena, Miss Recently Repped

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The J.K. Rowling Effect

Tip of the Day: in between all your writing, don’t forget to make time for reading too!

Working in a library I am exposed to wannabe writers on a frequent basis. I am constantly amazed at the number of people in our community that want to publish a book.

But out of the large section of wannabe writers, I’m starting to notice an interesting trend. These people tend to fall into two groups.

Group 1: Potential writers that read
Group 2: Potential writers that don’t read

And a large portion of these people are in Group 2. People who are not readers, nor do they want to be.

Writing that sentence seems like an oxymoron to me. What’s the point of writing if you don’t read? And if you don’t read, then how on earth do you expect other people to want to read your book? (Yes, even if people are in Group 2, they still want to “publish” a book traditionally and see it on library shelves ::hits head against desk::).

I attribute this trend to the J.K. Rowling Effect.

There are many potential J.K. Rowling Effects. But in this instance, I mean people that hear about J.K. Rowling’s story: about how she was on welfare and looking for a way to support herself and her kids, so she wrote a book, and now she’s richer than the Queen of England.

But they don’t hear about all the rejection she went through to get that success.

There’s a lot of misconceptions about publishing, but I have to say this is one of the ones that baffles me the most.

And I’m amazed it comes up as much as it does.

Because for every one person that is genuinely interested in learning about writing, invested in taking the writing programs we offer at our library, and doing research on the subject by reading books or blogs like this, there’s another person that walks in and basically wants you to publish their book for them. And the last thing those people want to do is pick up a book and read what others are writing, because nine times out of ten, they “don’t think their book is like any out there, so what’s the point in reading others.”

If this happens at our little, local library, I have no idea how publishing companies and agents deal with this on a daily basis.

Nor do I understand where so many people got the idea publishing is an easy process, that most people make a lot of money from it, or that you don’t have to edit your novels before publishing them, but I wish it would stop.

Does this happen in other industries, too? Does every Joe Schmo going to an acting audition believe if they get a gig they can become Brad Pitt. Despite the fact, they don’t even want to read the script before the audition?

Because I really don’t think people would expect that. But maybe I’m naïve like that.

So to do my part to end this particular J.K. Rowling Effect, anytime anyone asks me anything about writing or publishing, I am going to slip in somewhere in the conversation that to be a writer, you have to be a reader.

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent

Monday, November 10, 2008

Working the Rochester Children's Book Festival

Tip of the Day: Check out this blog post Tina pointed me to: on poor book sales in October. Depressing, but there's hope!

I didn't want to steal Tina's find for my Tip of the Day, but it piggybacks on my news from the weekend. I volunteered at the 2008 Rochester Children's Book Festival on Saturday. Can you say CROWDED? Wow! What a fantastic turnout! It was the best turnout for the festival ever. The authors sold out of many of their titles halfway through the day. The onsite bookstore sold out of their titles. We were afraid people wouldn't be buying books due to the economy but that was way off.

Anyway, I'm still recovering from hours on my feet saying "The authors are signing upstairs. Bruce Coville and Tamora Pierce are speaking in the Red Room. Follow the red balloons. The zoomobile is downstairs. Jeff Mack is reading in the yellow room. Follow the yellow balloons. The elevator is behind you." I gave people directions for hours. Almost everybody was friendly except for the parents of kids who didn't get balloons. Look, every kid got a free balloon, but sometimes the balloon people had to restock for a minute. Tip to organizers of children's events: Balloons are serious business!

Anyway, it's amazing how hard the volunteers worked and how long of a day our authors had. But if you get a chance, volunteer! I had a great time! Thanks to the phenomenal Barbara Underhill for coordinating the volunteers and sending me these pictures. And thanks everyone who made it out to Rochester for a successful event. The authors shown here are Bruce Coville, Michelle Knudsen, Tamora Pierce, Vivian Vande Velde, and Ellen Stoll Walsh.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning to love myself at age 41

Tip of the Day: If your kids STILL have too much candy, offer to buy it from them and throw it away. Who knows, it might actually save you money if you prevent a cavity or two!

Warning: I apologize in advance if my posts get more and more angsty with each passing week. I have a book coming out in less than two months. Need I say more?

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when the internet didn't exist. Do people even remember those days? Like, when I was in high school? No internet. We didn't send e-mails or IM each other or even text on our cell phones. We wrote notes and passed them to each other in the halls. By the way, how come I didn't keep those notes? Dang. I want those notes!

Anyway, reading blogs lately is not a good thing for me. It's like I read blogs of really famous authors who are selling mega books and their careers are booming and I think how I'll never be that famous, and I get depressed. Then I read about authors getting awards and how great their books are and I think, I'll never be that good of a writer. And I get more depressed. Then I read about all these new up-and-coming authors with two and three book deals and their stories sound SO awesome, and I think how they could be the next Stephenie Meyer and lucky them, and then I get super-duper depressed.

And now I'm probably making you depressed. Which is not something I want to do. But seriously, I think this is something that writers, published or not, have to figure out how to deal with. Just like in real life, there are always going to be people who have more than me. I have become pretty good at being thankful for what I have in life, and counting my blessings every day. I don't care that much about things. I care about relationships. I care about doing something that matters to me and hopefully helps to make the world a better place. I care about saving money, not spending it, so hopefully I can send my kids to college and do some traveling later in life.

So, in my book life, how can I be thankful for what I have, and not get caught up in wanting things I don't have and letting it weigh me down? Is it possible?

Perhaps I need to ask myself WHY do I find myself wanting the success, the awards, the fame?

Money is a small part of it. No, I don't want things, nor do I want a bigger house or a fancy car. But it comes back to saving for the future, and knowing with some peace of mind that things will be okay. I'd love to have a little more peace of mind.

Mostly, though, I think it's about how I perceive myself. There is something inside of me that no matter how hard I try to turn it off, I want to be one of the cool kids. One of the popular kids. I always have. I never quite made it in high school and I know in my heart I'll never quite make it in the publishing world.

So what's a girl to do?

A girl is to smack herself upside the head and say - "Knock it off." This is no different than me staring at the People magazine and getting all sad because I don't look like Heidi Klum. It's ridiculous! There is only one Heidi Klum. And it's NOT me.

As writers, just like teens, we have to become comfortable in our own skin. We have to be who we are and learn to accept ourselves as we are. Is it easy? No. Of course not! But it's the only choice, really. Every day, we can choose to be happy for what we get to do, which is WRITE, or we can choose to be depressed because of all that we don't have.

Now, I'm off to sit at the benches where the cool kids *don't* sit and there is no internet, and write a book that may or may not be fabulous. Care to join me? I'll write you a note with lots of Xs and Os. That's something I'm REALLY good at.

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Don’t NaNo and I’m Okay

Tip of the Day: Try the new Espresso Truffle at Starbucks. It's YUMMY.

It’s that time of year again—NaNoWriMo. Every year when it comes around I think oooh—that looks like fun. So many writers do it and everyone is blogging about how their projects are coming along and look at them all whip books out in just a month. It’s pretty cool. I’m in awe of those of you who can do it. But I just can’t do it. I’d love to, but it feels like an impossible thing for me.

1) I don’t work that way. I can’t just force myself to hammer out X amount of words a day. For me personally, most of them would probably be thrown out if I was forcing them like that. I need time to think about things—like sometimes days thinking about a scene or what should happen next. And THEN I sit down and write it. I may only get 1000-3000 words written a week this way. Definitely not good for NaNo-ing.

2) I can’t find the time every day. I don’t work really well when I’m tired so waiting until the end of the day is useless. I just want to go to sleep. First thing in the morning doesn’t work out for me either because that’s when I exercise and I can’t just ditch that either. All that time in the middle is all the stuff with the kids. So I have to set planned writing dates where my husband is hanging with the kids and I go out to write somewhere. Totally not conducive to Nano-ing.

3) I also always wonder why this takes place in November. Isn’t November a busy month for everybody? What with Thanksgiving and then getting ready for the winter holidays? Maybe Nano should be in February or March?

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that I don’t NaNo and I’m okay. I used to feel guilty about it (like every good writer should be doing this! Why am I not doing this?!) and maybe that is just a mom thing—we always feel guilty about one thing or another. But I’m okay with it now—my system works for me.

Kristina, Miss Soon-to-Pub

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hallow-Teen Psych Night (or What I Do For YAs)

Tip of the Day: Save random Halloween costume pieces year after year -- you never know when they'll come in handy again!

On Thursday night, I proved that libraries can be cool.

OK, many of you blog readers already know that libraries are cool. I certainly know they are. But this past Halloween Eve, I invited a psychic, a palm-reader/astrologer, and two graphologists to my library for Hallow-Teen Psych Night to help me prove Brighton Memorial Library's coolness to my teens.

And it was a hit! I had 52 teens show up -- most in fantastic costumes! Here's a shot of the fun festivities.

And check out who that is on the left in the blue frock. Why it's children's author Vivian Vande Velde as a fair maiden and her lovely pirate daughter! Yes, I was very psyched that they came by.

As for me, I reused an old dress and dollar store ears/tail for my costume. The lovely DJ Cat (who spun spooky tunes all night long) bailed me out with the whiskers since I forgot my eyeliner at home. Go glittery brown eyeshadow!

I'm not sure if any of the teens who came checked out materials, or if they'll be back for other events, but it can't hurt, right?

What do the teens in your community think about your public library? How often do they use it -- and for what?

Deena, Miss Recently Repped

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Writing Goals

Tip of the Day: Don’t Forget to Vote!

There will no doubt be tons of blog posts today about the importance of voting, so I will leave all those awesome bloggers to the voting posts, since they will put it much better than I can. Instead, I’m going to continue on discussing about NaNoWriMo, as Kate did yesterday.

I absolutely love NaNo and had no idea there was such hate towards it as evidenced here. I’ve participated in some capacity over the past two years and I’m amazed at the motivation it gives me. Having writing buddies that you can compare word counts with and push each other is irreplaceable. Sure you could do this any time of the year, but for some reason the simple act of signing up, allowed me to set better writing goals and follow-through with my actions. Being a competitive person, I love the challenge of it all.

Granted if you are going into NaNo expecting to have a perfectly, polished novel by the end that isn’t very realistic. But it will help you to get writing on the page, and that is never a bad thing in my opinion.

So if you aren’t signed up yet. And are wavering whether to do it. You still have 27 days left in the month to write. So you might want to give it a try.

Unfortunately, I will not be officially participating in NaNo this year, due to edits I’m making on a previous book that need to be completed in a timely manner. And also due to the fact November has become Official Travel Month in my household (YAY!).

Even though, I’m not participating, I still love to do a huge writing push during the month of November. It gives me a sense of accomplishment as the year is coming to a close. And since setting goals is a big part of NaNo, I decided to announce my writing goals for the month of November on this blog. And I’ll hope you’ll join me in doing the same.

  1. Finish edits for CG Book, and send off to awaiting parties.
  2. Complete 20K words on SC book, including the chapters already written.

Doesn’t sound too hard, so hopefully I can follow through. And I encourage you to set your own goals this month. For some reason, November seems to be a great month to write and edit.

Good luck on your November Writing Goals everyone!

--Emily, Miss Awaiting

P.S. My non-writing goal this month is to have fun in Reno and Toronto/Niagara area. So if anyone has suggested sites to visit, places to eat, or things to do in either area. Please let me know!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Good Luck NaNoWriMo-ers!

Tip of the Day: Try a 15-minute sprint and write as fast as you can for 15 minutes in your work in progress. Don’t stop to second guess yourself. You’ll be surprised what you can produce “going for speed.”

Yay, it’s November! I love November. The kids are used to their school schedules, the holidays are around the corner but still manageable, and people’s minds turn to new writing projects. November is National Novel Writing Month, when writers voluntarily commit themselves to writing 50,000 words before December 1. (Check out the website at

I’m not “NaNo-ing” this year due to prior commitments and I’m feeling a little left out, although last year was the first year I participated. I managed to write 37,000 words of a middle grade novel that consisted of 0 words in October—so basically, almost a whole draft of a book in one month! (Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to properly run it past my critiquers yet but it’s coming so soon, my friends, insert evil chuckle here.)

I loved the camaraderie of NaNo: running a word count before I shut down my PC for the night and emailing it to my NaNo buddies in the morning; naming a secondary character in my book after a NaNo buddy who wrote the most words in a given weekend; meeting at a bagel place with our laptops to type as much as we could in a family-free hour. Definitely, there were a lot of unneeded words in my NaNo draft to up the word count (oh, the comparisons I used, and the described characters who never appear in a scene in person) but you’d be surprised how fast it moved. Because I have a short attention span. When I write a little a day, I can stay in the same scene forever. But sitting and writing it all at once, I was like, “This is boring. I’m bored. How could they still be in the basement? I’m making them climb out the window.”

I feel like I got the most out of NaNo, so here’s what I learned:

1. Have some partners in crime. It adds a level of fun to check in with your friends that can keep you going when you feel like watching TV instead.
2. Make an outline. You don’t have to stick to it, but it stops you from staring at the screen when you’re stuck. You need to be typing, baby! Pick something off that outline and get going.
3. When you get home from work or when you wake up, open up your word processing program immediately and leave it open until you go to bed. You can get an amazing amount done in ten minutes here and there, especially towards the end when you might lose your ability to sit still for hours.
4. Office supply mania! Carry index cards, pens, journals, whatever. If you sit down to the keyboard armed with notes from random times and places during the day, you’ll find the process much quicker and easier than starting all over every night.
5. You will have to give something up. Probably TV or reading or whatever else you did in your spare time, but as a writer, you probably don’t have much spare time to spare. So it’s best to face it right off: you will have to give something up in order to get more writing time. You know that. You live it every day. NaNo is your excuse to do it. If you give up sleep, exercise, or eating right, you’ll pay the price, but you know that too, don’t you? Still … something will have to give. And NaNo’s only once a year.

I’ll be doing a Fast Draft January with some friends who are also booked this November because I just can’t stay away for a whole year! For those of you participating now, I salute you, and I look forward to joining you again next year. I can’t wait to hear about your 2008 NaNo experience … when you come up for air in December, of course.

-- Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer