Monday, August 31, 2009


I got an award last week from the sweet Pen Pen. I feel so honored. Yea me! I'm just feeling so London Tipton. I'm a superior scribler. 

Whew! Who knew? I'm also a rule breaker so as per my rebellious nature, I will not be following the rules for the award. Mwa haha!

I will however pick out the 5 blogs I follow that have helped me most lately. So in no particular order:

There's always a great discussion going on over there.

Tess gives up to the minute advice about working with her agent and submissions, plus she does contests.

Michelle is one of the most supportive people on the net encouraging us all to do our best writing and giving us some great tools to do it with.

I love Natalie's amazing insights. Seeing her writing life helps keep me going.

Beth's book reviews and interviews are very helpful and the classroom antics keep me laughing.

If you haven't checked them out yet you should. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a week!

I was so determined to be back on track with my blogging, but... Yikes! I should have thought about the first week back to school. With my youngest, it was no problem. She's going to the local elementary, so there's really only the homework time when she gets home that is extra. Oh! but with the 2 middle kids, my homeschoolers, time has been eaten up completely. 

It's been nice, though, getting back into discussions of Charlemagne and feudalism and whatever comes up. The whole getting organized and signing up for classes has overrun my days. (I didn't even get a whole book read this week. For those of you who know me, you know what that means.) I think things will actually be a lot lighter now that we're all in motion

I was really worried about trying to teach a High Schooler (aaaaaaaaaak!), but I found an accredited HS transcript program online through a University where she can eventually take college credits in HS. It is working out really well, and she's loving it. (Well, all except the math) Whew! She's even getting to take a Philosophy class (Oh boy! Her first objective in there distilled down to something like--learn the elements of an argument and improve your arguing skills. Oh great! She's already really good at that. It's all I need. But, hey, she'll be reading Plato and Descartes.) and Japanese that she's been working on learning for a while now. (Of course, she picks a language I know nothing about. Languages are my thing. That's what I taught in high school. It would be so easy to help her through French, Latin, Spanish, even German some, but noooooo! She has to learn Japanese. I've had to find her a tutor. She has her first session with the tutor today. Crosses fingers that all will go well.) Actually, I'm happy for her. I want her to be able to study about what she loves. That's a big part of the upside of homeschool to me. 

I hope all of you with kids in school are getting back into your routines! 

Friday, August 21, 2009

I've got a question for you...

I took a writing class with Orson Scott Card a few weeks ago. One of the things he encouraged us to do rings true, but it also disagrees with so many of the things I've been taught about writing and rewriting and editing. I thought I'd ask you guys what you thought about it.

He feels that the best way to proceed through writing a book is from the beginning to the end--to make what you have right and good before you move on. He doesn't believe in multiple drafts. That's not to say that you don't let things flow when you're being creative, but, as I understood him, he feels that the story is freshest and best in the first draft. With editing you can kill what makes the story vibrant. He advocates rewriting as you go and making the story what you want before you move on to the next element. He says what we need to do is make our first draft the final draft--that if things start getting off track we should go back straight away and fix them. Don't put it off for later. Don't skip ahead. Make it work or change it before you move on.

This doesn't mean you don't go through it at the end and make grammatical corrections and small adjustments, but for him when he types the final page the MS is done. The story is what it must be. 

What do you think of that approach? There's a lot in me that says it's a wonderful way to proceed. I wish I could do it, but I like the idea of being able to go back and fix things later. It frees me up to let things flow. I'm afraid I can't get it right the first time through. Is that just a cop out? Is it just my insecurities that makes me think I have to do multiple drafts? Have any of you written from beginning to end correcting as you go without tons of drafts?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--my first Anne Tyler

Up for today: BACK WHEN WE WERE GROWNUPS by Anne Tyler

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler: Download Cover

Why I bought it? A well-read, discerning friend recommended it as one of the best books he'd ever read. The next time I went to the BN I bought it and immediately read it.

Synopsis:  Rebecca Davitch begins by questioning who she has become--if she is her true self. She's 53 and wondering if she should have traveled a different path through life. Her husband that led her into her current path had died many years before leaving her to continue in his family without him. She does, even though it takes her out of her comfort zone. Her life since has been out of her comfort zone and she wonders if life would be better if she went back to what comes natural to her. She decides to give it a try by looking up her high school sweetheart, the man who was perfectly suited for her. 

What I thought?  Tyler is amazing at writing daily interaction in a family. She's captures it completely. The story is extremely well written. I was a little put off by the nicknames of so many of the characters. It made it hard to figure out who was who at first, but after a while I got it. There was a lot of humor. I came to care about the characters slowly, and by the end, it surprised me how much I was invested in them. Some books I've read lately are wonderful the first time through but less so with repeated readings. This is the kind of book that I think will get better with a second reading. It's rich with depth and resonates truth. I'm a new convert to Anne Tyler. How have I never read any of her books so far in my life? What have I been reading? I'll be reading many more in the future. 

My rating: ****1/2 out of 5 

Cleanness Score: 4 out of 10. There is a little language but not much. This score is mostly for adult situations and themes. There is nothing indiscrete really, but the book is intended for grownups. 

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm back!

Hello! It's been a crazy summer around here! How about you guys? I'm finally making myself buckle down and post. Back in May I thought I was going to get so much done in the summer. Lots of writing and thinking and creating. I was full of hope. That was my word for the year, and I was full of it. On the other end of the summer I realize I was just full of it, and I don't mean hope.

I promise I didn't just abandon you for nothing. I've been chaperoning and driving kids--camps and conferences and lessons and friends, oh my! Hosting visitors and being hosted. I attended a writing class (yea for me! It was very informative and helpful. I even have some new story ideas to work on--one I'm particularly excited about.) Planned, organized, and put on activities for teens and sometimes younger. A friend and I wrote a script for a skit and helped the kids perform it. (They did a fantastic job and stole the show at the skit night. Someone who didn't realize I had helped write it went on and on about how much she and everyone else loved it. What greater compliment, eh?) I could keep going, but I think you're getting the picture. I'm beginning to realize as my kids get older my summer gets more and more devoted to what they need me to do. Such is life. I'm thinking that for the next 10 years my summers will not be my own. (My youngest is 8.)

For those of you who don't already know, I received an award from Beth Revis! Woohoo! I'm her blog of the month for August. Aren't you impressed?
Here's my award. I feel really honored. I appreciate all of you new followers who have come over from Beth's. If you haven't already read her post featuring an interview with me, check it out. I almost feel famous. She interviews real published authors and everything. I promise I'm getting my show back on the road and will have posts coming on a regular schedule. Summer's over, and it's time to get back to work.