Friday, April 27, 2007

Man vs Child

This is awesome! A must see. It's a video spoof of Discovery Channel's Man vs Wild. A father is left alone with his two-year-old and gives tips on how to survive: Man vs Child

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fox did it again

Why do I put myself up for these falls? Once again I got caught up in a FOX TV show that has been canceled. What show this time? Drive. After only four episodes (in two weeks), FOX has canceled Drive! They have two more episodes filmed, to "air this summer". Why can't they show the two before deciding ratings aren't good enough? I enjoyed this one. The characters were intriguing, good action and drama, engaging plot, lots at risk, good actors. I want to find out what happens next, but now we'll never know if Alex Tully gets his wife back (or find out why she was kidnapped), or get any answers for Corinna Wiles. And if those two episodes somehow manage to finish the race, well, that would be anticlimatic. This wasn't supposed to be a miniseries!

I suppose I set myself up. I know FOX has a bad track record for canceling good show. Which is why many people have stopped watching, which then results in low ratings, which is enough reason for the network to cancel the yet another show. Vicious cycle.

Other shows I loved that FOX has canceled:
  • Firefly - (don't get me started on how the network doomed it from the start) great characters, Joss Whedon humor and witty dialogue. at least we eventually got a movie
  • John Doe - (season one finished, but with a major cliffhanger) loved the mystery, characters, and story idea. wanted to keep watching and find out what really happened to John Doe, and why he knew everything except who he was. at least the secret to his knowledge has been revealed.
  • Tru Calling - Another that ended with a big cliffhanger with season one, but they did eventually air the six episodes filmed of season two (well, five of the six. last one was a Christmas theme they didn't want to air in Spring).
All these shows had good stories, characters, and no reliance on sex and soap opera relationships to carry it (maybe that's why they didn't stay... the irony). Currently, I admit to watching American Idol. Once you get down the final ten it's usually pretty good. There's some talent, and the show has turned out some great artists - Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood... I'll be watching The Loop and Hell's Kitchen when they start up again in June. 'Til Death is awesome - hilarious and so true to married life. They better bring that back for another season. I don't know what they expect of their shows. I'm sure American Idol didn't do awesome in season one. Fox isn't all bad. But they can sure be frustrating.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday Tally

Status of my novel
total words to date: 34,879
pages: 152
completed chapters: 8

Current goals:
  • get out of "telling" rut. all my writing lately has been stale and too much summary, not enough action
  • 1,500 words this week
I didn't hit my count for last week, but I spent a lot of time working on a hook - similar to a book blurb, to hook the editor/agent's interest in the story. I wrote it for a contest. First 250 hooks submitted got critiqued by one of the judges, who would then pick their favorites to send in the first 5 pages of their novel. Best overall gets to send in their first three chapters for review by an actual agent! I didn't make it past the first round, though I'm happy with the feedback (which is really why I entered). If you'd like to read my hook, it's posted on Fangs, Fur, & Fey, mine is number 216. Feel free to leave your own comments, here or there.

See the nifty little progress meter I have up? I saw it on a couple different writer blogs. Liz Fenwick pointed me where to get it for myself. Thanks!

Writing has been stalled the last few days. Two problems - stuck in a rut where I'm telling, not showing; and I hit a scene with a setting I haven't visualized at all. Even though I didn't write as much as I did the previous week, I'm still happy with what I accomplished.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Phone problems - Updated

Apologies to anyone who might have called us. After not getting any incoming calls for an entire week, my husband tried calling home from work. The phone rang and rang on his end, but no ringing here. We think it's the phone, so will have to get a new one. Hopefully we didn't miss any important calls...

Edited to add:
We now have a new phone, which does ring. At least it was a phone problem and not the line. I guess it's no surprise the old one finally died. We had it since we got married (over five years). Hopefully this new one works well. Had a cheap one for a short interim - horrible reception, but just needed to determine where the problem was. Yesterday we got a nicer one - with answering machine! Still need to set up the answering machine, but it will be nice.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First ever Tuesday Tally

Status of my novel
total words to date: 33,845
pages*: 147
completed chapters: 7

* standard manuscript format

Current goals:
  • 1,500 words/week toward novel
  • finish chapter eight this week
I took a break from my novel today and worked on Mirror. Happy with my progress. May write a bit more later, either on that or my novel.

With all the writing I've been doing, I realized I was neglecting other things. I'm learning to balance writing with relationships. Both very important to me. One trick I've found to help me finish my word count earlier in the day is to leave the document I'm working on open. Then I can think about it, and add a sentence or two when I have the time. Speaking of time, the one year old boy I babysit just woke up from his afternoon nap, so time to go. But my story will still be waiting for me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

novel update tomorrow

Starting tomorrow, I will do a weekly Tuesday Tally, where I report the current word count of my novel. I've also created a chart to show my monthly progress, which I will update at the end of each month.

Progress Chart

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Call for Potty Training Advice

I'd like to start potty training my son (three years old). We've had the potty chair for a while, he's sat on it before (usually before baths), but more to get him familiar with it rather than seriously using it. How do I get him to sit on it when he needs to? He's never communicated to me when he needs to go, so I've tried to catch him in the act. I don't want to sit him on it too often, as I don't want him to get tired of it. He always grunts before pooping, but for a while now he'll hide in his bedroom during the process. I tried going in today when I heard him grunting, but he didn't want to go with me into the bathroom, just got upset and hid in the closet. He seems to be embarrassed by it. How do I talk him into using the potty? Keep in mind he doesn't talk much. Not entirely sure he understands what the chair is for. We do have him in training pull ups already, as they fit better than the diapers he was using and he likes pulling them up instead of having to lie on the floor for changing. Any training advice? What's worked for you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Benefits of an Agent

When I first started writing this novel, I never considered the idea of having an agent. Now that I've been doing more research - examining publisher websites, reading blogs of people in the industry (authors, agents, editors), etc. - I'm seriously leaning toward targeting an agent first instead of a publisher. Though there's always the option of getting an agent after receiving an offer from an publisher, but before negotiating the contract. In a case like that, it would be easier to get an agent as it's a guaranteed sale.

An agent blogged yesterday about receiving a phone call from an unagented author who had an offer on the table from a publisher. In the comments someone asked why an author would need an agent if she already has an offer. Diana Peterfreund (author) responded:

...agents do a whole lot more than just send books out to publishers.

Yes, an agent can negotiate the contract. The author could do it themselves, but they aren't necessarily going to know everything to look for, or be able to get the same responses as an agent could.

In addition, the agent can turn the original offer into something else entirely -- a one book deal into a multi-book deal, etc. They can see the offer the publisher is making as well as the potential of the project and advise the author NOT to take it. Since there is an offer from one publisher, there may be an offer from another, and the agent can help facilitate this through her contacts.

And that's all before a contract is agreed upon. An agent's job isn't over when the contract is delivered. She can help guide the author through the entire process -- cover design, publicity concerns, editing concerns -- everything.

Great information. Makes me wonder why someone wouldn't look for an agent. Especially as a first time author with no experience in the business. Especially when there's proof that, on average, authors with agents get higher advances than those without.

Of course, this all brings me back to needing to finish my book. I'm about halfway through chapter eight, sitting at 31,950 words total. Not sure yet how many chapters there will be. I should go figure that out (after my daily writing of course).

edited to correct author genre mistake

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thoughts of a Ten Year Old

The girl in the short story I'm writing is currently ten years old. I got stuck, so I thought it would be fun to look back in my journals and see what I was writing/thinking around that time in my life. I had to look at age nine, as I have no record of journal entries for the following year. Lots of "I'm bored" and school gossip. And no medium in emotion - either very, very, very happy, or I HATE SO AND SO, or bored and depressed. I read a lot of books, mostly mysteries, adventures, and ghost stories. I think I read every "Choose your own Adventure" book our library and the bookmobile had. Another common series that comes up is "Encyclopedia Brown". The majority of my reading now is fantasy or romance, with the occasional mystery. I didn't really start fantasy until fifth grade, after my teacher recommended "The Blue Sword" (still an awesome YA fantasy novel by the way).

Another interesting trend back then was writing about songs and stories, then in the same entry stating I want to be an artist when I grow up. Here's a real excerpt (parts about friend rivalries removed):

April 23, 1992
... I feel like writing stories again. When I get home I’m going to ask my mom if I can make a storybook or give me a notepad (a big one). ... When I grow up I want to be an artist.

Actions speak louder than words. It wasn't until later that I decided I wanted to be an author and illustrator, then eventually just an author.

I used to have imaginary friends. Not one, but many. Not for lack of real friends. It was a small town, knew everyone, friends with just about my entire class. But sometimes I'd go off in my own imaginary world. Apparently they weren't always present:

May 19, 1992
Missie Lue Nae is sick today. She is one of my secret sisters [aka imaginary friend].

They even accompanied me much later in life. Even as late as high school, if we went on a long drive I would look out the window and picture these friends (six of them, three boys and three girls, don't remember their names anymore) riding beside us (on super speed bicycles). Maybe it was a defense mechanism against motion sickness. Maybe it was because I didn't have the same close friendships after we moved in fifth grade. Or maybe I'm just loony. ;-)

And now that I have wasted time reminiscing and revealing my weirdo self, I should get back to writing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Chance to Win a Dyson Slim Vaccuum!

5 minutes for Mom is giving away a free vaccuum! It's the new Dyson Slim Vaccuum. Lightweight, versatile, and worth a lot of money. Easy to enter, go now!