Monday, April 28, 2014

Blooming Cacti

I've been a bad blogger.

Nothing for more than 20 days - completely ignoring the advice I give my blogging Webinar students. (Like the ones I've been creating a brand new class for).

 Yes, I've been developing new classes, and yes, my family and I also went on vacation. So I (kind of) have reasons.

But. Also.

Been kinda -

Yup. Me and kitty, that's us.

Why? Because - editing.

Got two mss I'm trying to polish, and you know how it is ... eyes crossed, slogging through bad writing you were once very hopeful about .....

And it wasn't until I saw this:

And these:

That I began to feel inspired again.

They reminded me: even prickly things bloom.

Spring in southern Arizona (where I live) is not quite as miraculous as it is in other places - where you've survived Snowtopia and feelings of doom that suggest you'll never be warm again. But even here, in the land of the mundane winter, there is beauty when it's over.

Because things here flower too. Not the things I grew up with: we have no lilac, no forsythia, no hydrangea.

What we have is cacti.

Cacti are not particularly lovely. They're spiky, thorny, unfriendly things that don't need a whole lot of water and thus they live a long time and don't care much if someone doesn't love them.

There's a simile there. (My 8yo is studying simile, therefore I am too).

I think my writing is like the cactus. Not the part where it doesn't need TLC  - all writing  needs that!! But, rather, the part where it's unlovely and unremarkable.

BUT THEN. I remember that similes are only perfect for a small moment in time. Because even the cactus BLOOMS. And then it's remarkable. And everyone stops and looks at it and takes pictures and says, "What an amazing thing this is! How lovely and worth my taking a moment to stop and admire."

So if that can be true of the cactus, it can certainly be true of my writing, no?

Do you ever feel like your writing is like a cactus and you're just desperately trying to coax the blooms from the thorns?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Blog Hop - My Writing Process

I'd like to thank Michelle Hauck, prolific blogger, contest runner (she's running a mini contest right now!), and newsletter writer, for inviting me to join this blog hop. Check out her post here:

Michelle is also the author of Kindar's Cure, and a contributor to the anthologies Winter's Regret and Summer's Double Edge.

 Winter's Regret

For those new to the blog hop, the idea is this: Each contributor to the hop will answer 4 questions about #mywritingprocess, then invite 3 more bloggers to contribute. Learning about how others work is interesting and also a source of new inspiration and ideas.

SO, here's my writing process:

1) What Am I Working On?
I'm editing two manuscripts - one which has been complete for about 8 months but has gone through 3 very dramatic rewrites, and another which is in its first draft revision stage. The first is EXQUISITE SENSES, a YA Thriller with light sci-fi elements. Leila and Dane learn they have extra sensory talents just as they're launched on a cross-continental rescue mission after Dane's mother. They battle old family enemies and their own personal demons in order to save all of their lives.
The second is an MG Adventure with light sci-fi, untitled, about a young boy who gets bionic legs when his own are amputated.

2) How Does My Work  Differ From Others of its Genre?
I have yet to read about stem cell biology as a source for plot in YA speculative fiction. It's a fascinating subject, ripe with ideas. I love the process of taking very real science and asking the question what if? The concepts I write about are so close to being reality they're really only a decade or less away - so my work could possibly be contemporary before long!

3) Why Do I Write What I Do?
As a kid, one of my favorite authors (among many) was Madeleine L'Engle - spec fiction writer extraordinaire. So I guess one of the reasons I write what I do is because I loved reading her work and then dreaming about it endlessly. I couldn't get enough. Now I want to write like her. 
Later, ironically, although I dutifully studied Bio, Physics, and Chemistry in high school, none of those classes caught my attention - I basically just showed up, had no passion. But now, I am back to my younger self - completely fascinated by cellular and molecular biology and quantum physics. I'm in love with the process of taking a theoretical concept and throwing it off a cliff, adding people and narrative as it flies.

4) How Does Your Writing Process Work?
My writing process reflects the fact that I have two young children!  I write when I can - before my children wake up, when my toddler is napping, after my children go to sleep. My amazing husband often takes over on the weekends so I can string together a few more hours in the day to really dig in.
Usually I muse about a book subject for a little while, then outline it, then let it marinate until I can't stand it anymore and I have to start writing it down. I take notes everywhere - spare pieces of paper, on my iPhone. I try to keep them consolidated, and try to do a streamlined recap every now and then, as new ideas alter the flow or fix plot holes. Because I cut my writing teeth as a reporter, I write quickly - used to crushing deadlines!! But I am still new at creating novels, so I edit pretty deeply.
I also have to plot my characters and their arcs by hand - somehow I think better for my people when I write them longhand before I type them.

Now I get to invite three other bloggers to hop on!


Rebecca Waddell:
By day, Rebecca works for the beautiful county of San Luis Obispo, but writing is her true passion. Between working on her middle grade and young adult novels, she enjoys dabbling in short stories and poetry. Her motto is: "If I don't write, untold numbers of fictional characters will die!

She writes a poetry blog that is well worth your time:
Follow her on Twitter: @GloWolf143

Kathryn Howes:
Kathryn is a writer, mother, blogger, former physical therapist, and guinea pig groomer, among many other things. She writes a hilarious blog about mothering, raising readers, and writing.

Here's where you can find her:
 Follow her on Twitter: @kateywrites

Lea Dickson:
Born and raised in a small, Scottish village, Lea had no plans to drastically change her life. Then at twenty-two, she married her high school sweetheart, graduated from college, and moved to Texas where she decided some kids were needed to complete the madness!
She loves MG and YA and hope to one day join some of her favourites on the bookshelf.
Here's where you can find her:
Follow her on Twitter: @cobalt714