Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Way We Are: November Goals Met?

I'm guessing pretty much all of us made writing-related goals in November. It may have been NaNoWriMo, NaNoRe/Rev/ReviMo, or your own tailored writing / revising / query writing / synopsis writing / querying / researching goals. Am I right? Since it's the last day of November, my question today is....

Did you meet your goals this month?

My goals this month consisted of revising, revising, revising, oh, and a little bit of revising. It ended up that I went through this goal a bit faster than I had anticipated, and finished early! Yay! So then I set new goals. Drafting goals. Did I meet them? Even a little bit? Um... I'm going to have to go with a big NO. I ended up going with the more manageable goals of doing everything on my daily to-do list. I even fell short on those more often than not.

But DECEMBER, oh December. That's when I'm really going to figure out how to be a million times more efficient and have more days that I cross everything off my to-do list than days when I don't. THAT'S my goal. Get above 50%.

How about you? Did the fact that you met or didn't meet your November goals effect your December ones?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Q&A: Agenty Questions

Thanks for all your kind words yesterday, everyone! You all make me sound so much cooler than I am. It was actually a really hard post to write-- it kind of weirds me out to write all about myself like that. I know how much I love reading book deal posts with the details, though, so I bit the bullet.

But I'm really grateful that today's questions are about other things.

In the comments yesterday, Iain asked, "Is this just a US release date? Are there any international plans yet?" 

To which I answer, Uh...... Um..... I guess I don't really have a clue! They bought World English rights, but I honestly don't know what that means for other English-speaking countries. I don't even know how long it will be before I know that kind of information. I'm sure that's not something I'll hold back on when I do know, though. ;)

Why did you have to write a new query letter after you had representation?

This question came from someone I did NaNoReviMo with, so they knew about my crazy synopsis / query writing day. The reason I had to write it was because Random House wanted to decide whether to offer a one book deal or a two book deal. Since they wanted to make a deal quickly, I ended up sending the query and synopsis to Sara sixteen hours after I started them! (Sleeping time included.) And yes, like I told them, every perfectionist bone in my body was twitching. My advice? Get really good at writing queries. And then convince yourself that you LOOOOVE writing them. I’m pretty sure you have to keep writing them for every single book, whether you are querying for agents, giving them to your publisher, or writing them for them for the back cover of your book, no matter which publication route you take. It really never goes away.

Have I mentioned that I LOOOOVE writing queries? No? Hm... Maybe I better keep working on convincing myself.

Did you meet Sara Crowe at the conference you were at shortly before you were signed up? [This was referring to a conference I went to at the beginning of October.] If yes, was she expecting your MS when you sent it?

No, actually, but I did met her at a conference I attended this past May. I had a pitch session with her then, and she had requested my full manuscript. I wanted it to be as golden as I could get it first, so I worked on it another five months after she requested it, but agents are cool like that. Pitch sessions at conferences definitely help, but if they ask for pages, don’t be in a rush to send them! Get your manuscript in the best shape you can get it first. They’ll wait. I promise. They'll even wait patiently.

Anyway, Sara hadn’t read my manuscript before another agent called and offered, so I told the other agent that I needed to think about it and get in touch with Sara first. I asked Sara if she wanted some time to look at my ms before I committed to the other agent, and she said yes. She read my ms over the weekend (while on vacation(!), because she’s sweet like that), and offered representation on Monday. So yes, pitch sessions help. But I had cold queried the other agent, with no connection to her whatsoever before that point, and she offered, too. So regular querying does the job just fine! Don’t stress out if you can’t go to conferences, or if you can’t get a pitch. Just get that query to shine, get your manuscript to shine, and you’ll be just fine. You can totally do this.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Q&A: Publication Questions

Thanks to everyone who emailed me questions! You saved me from sitting here, staring at a blank screen, wondering what I should share. (Although I STILL wondered that.) I know y'all don't love really long posts, so I kept this one to mostly publication stuff. Tomorrow I'll talk a little about the agent questions I got (because I had never really figured out what to share about that before, either). I got some query-related questions, too, but we're going to have a query writing extravaganza next week! Okay, maybe not an extravaganza, but we'll talk, okay?

When will Through the Bomb's Breath be on shelves? / Is there a launch date?
2013, more than likely fall.

How many words is your MS?
60,000. -ish.

Have you been sent more revisions from Random House?
Nope. Nothing will happen until January. Then I’ll get my editorial letter, and jump right into revision mode. (And have I mentioned how much I love revisions? (You read that without any sarcasm, right? I really do love revisions.))

What does pre-empt mean? / Did it go to auction? / Didn’t that happen fast?
I’d actually love to answer this one, because before I went through this, I'd THOUGHT I'd understood what a pre-empt was. It turns out I really didn’t.

Yes, it did go quickly. I had originally guessed that we wouldn't even go on submission with TTBB until January, but Sara felt that right now was the right time for it. Still, though, I hunkered down for the long haul, because these things take forever, right? I was taken completely by surprise at their speed. Sara told me on a Monday that Random House was interested, after being on submission less than a week. By Tuesday morning, Sara called me at work and told me that the editor, Shana, wanted my query and synopsis of book two that day if possible. I got off work at lunchtime and went home and worked like crazy, every muscle in my body tensed. (Apparently when I need to focus tons and work fast, I tense EVERYWHERE. Seriously. When I finished, I was exhausted in every muscle from the top of my head to the ends of my toes.) I got the synopsis to her that night, but the query wasn’t in a good enough state yet, and my exhausted brain couldn’t see a way to fix it. Sara told me that the three page one was good for that night, and the query could wait until morning. I emailed her the query at 7:03 Wednesday morning. At 7:20 am, she emailed to say that both were in the hands of Random House. At 9:00 am, she called me with their offer. By 9:09, I had nearly passed out from shock and excitement.

So why the speed? Random House’s offer was a pre-empt, which took it off the table for everyone else. They offered the pre-empt so quickly to prevent it from going to auction. (I had thought  pre-empts only happened when an auction was scheduled.) Would an auction have been fun? Of course. I mean who wouldn’t love an auction? When Sara told me about the offer, she said that we could turn down Random House’s offer and push it to auction if I wanted to, but that I should talk to Shana before deciding. She was convinced that my mind would be made up if I did. But really, it was already made up. I could tell by the way Sara talked about Shana that she thought it was an amazing match up, and every single part of me felt that turning them down was the exact wrong thing to do.

So when I got off work at noon, Shana called. Sara was so right! I was pretty much convinced at “Hello.” Shana had so much excitement for TTBB, wanted to push it great directions, and was someone I could talk to like I talk to you guys. She’s unstressful, amazing, positive, helpful, and I knew instantly that I would love every minute of working with her. Was it hard to turn down an auction? Not one tiny little bit. It was the easiest decision in the world to make. I mean I had already struck gold with RH! Plus, I couldn’t imagine another editor ANYWHERE who would be as perfect of a fit as Shana is. I love her. I love Random House. And to have a publishing house love my book enough to push it with that kind of speed? Yeah. There was no way I was going to turn that down.

The announcement said it was a two-book deal. Will the second book be the M.I.S. HAVEN you've been so cryptic about in your "What I'm Working On" page, or will it be TTBB 2?
Hahaha! Cryptic. I actually didn't mean to be cryptic. Writing the summary for that page is a lot like writing a query. It's just a little bit possible I may have been procrastinating... But to answer your question, it is THROUGH THE BOMB’S BREATH number 2. It’s a trilogy. Although I love M.I.S. Haven, it will have to go on hold for a little while. Instead, I'm going to go have a blast writing a book I have been dying to write.

Any questions I missed? Just ask me in the comments.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Evil Friday

It's wise to avoid black holes like your life depends on it.
When you are bad, you get black coal in your stocking.
The bad kid in the family is called the black sheep.
It's bad luck when a black cat crosses your path.
The stock market crashed on Black Monday.
The pot AND the kettle are black.
 A heart can be black.
Pitch is black.

Now, I don't think that black is evil. I actually rather like the color. I'm just pointing out that it's not a stretch to say that
Black Friday Is Evil.

I hate it for a mix of reasons ranging from sleep deprivation, to frustration, to unbelievably large crowds of sleep deprived, competitive, and often frustrated people. Plus, it's cold outside! If I go, I am reminded why I hate it so much. If I stay home, I am left feeling like I missed out on some really great deals.

Maybe my attitude comes from being burned for a few years in a row on this special day (burned... as in black... as in EVIL! I'm just sayin'. Logic wins here.)

But I know that not everyone feels the same.

It's my sister's second favorite day of the year. It should have federal holiday status in her mind. It should be on all the calendars you buy, and everyone should get the day off work to celebrate.

She loves the routine-breaking excitement of being out shopping at an hour she'd normally be sleeping. She loves hanging out with family, friends, and crowds much in the same way people love going to midnight showings. She loves coming home so early in the day with her arms laden with great deals. I think that when she goes shopping on Black Friday, the world turns green as summer for the day. The sky is filled with rainbows. Choirs of angels sing. The sun smiles down on her even when she starts shopping at an hour that is indisputably still the middle of the night.

So, where do you stand? Love it like a huge party, or hate it with a fiery passion?

Either way, happy official start to the Christmas season, everyone! (I'm feeling nice and rested. How about you?)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit

I hope your day is full of                                                                        
Loved Ones
                     and Pie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Way We Are: Holiday Writing

Three things:

1. THANK YOU! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your kind words and excitement and happy dances and emails and tweets and blog posts about my book deal. Seriously, HUGE thank yous! I got choked up on every single comment. For the first time ever, I decided to do personalized thank yous by email. When I replied to your comments, it just listed your name in the to: field; not your email address. I know that not all of you have email tied to your Google account, but like the noob that I was, I figured if you didn't, I'd get a Hello! That wasn't a valid email address! message. I was probably 90% through thanking everyone, completely impressed by how many people had entered their email in their profile, when I realized that if I hovered over the name, it showed the email address. And TONS of the last 10% had the email listed as Doh! So if you commented on my post on Monday and didn't get an email from me, it's off floating in cyberspace. Please accept my apologies and an extremely heartfelt thank you.

2. I'm going to do a question & answer / parts of my story thing on Monday. I'm a little weirded out writing a post about me, unless I know it's going to help you. And honestly, I don't know what to tell. Help a girl out? If you have anything specific you want me to share-- like how things worked, or what a certain part of the process is like-- or if there are any questions you have that I might be able to answer, please email me. peggyeddleman [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks, guys!

3. Okay, the ACTUAL POST! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in US. And then of course we have lots of holidays coming up in December. (< tangent > Oh my gosh. I am SO EXCITED! < /tangent >) So my question is:

Do you see a holiday as a time you can get in more writing time,
or as a time to take a break from it?

For me: Actually, it switches. Sometimes it's driving me nuts that I haven't gotten enough writing time in, and I'll decide to put more focus into that. Sometimes it's the house that's driving me nuts, and I'll decide to put more focus into that. A lot of times, all I really want to do is spend the time doing fun stuff with my family, so I put more focus into that. Which is sort of how it is every single day. I answer the things calling the loudest. And wow. That was a completely vague answer. What kind of an example am I?! Okay, I'm going to make a graph right now. It's going to have an "It makes no difference" option. I guess my answer falls into that category. :)

So what category does yours fall into?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Something to Write About

Hey, guys! I'm over at Abby Fower's blog today, guest posting about enjoying this journey we're all on at Something to Write About. Come on over!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yes. This is *THAT* Announcement.

 From Publisher's Marketplace:

Children's/ Middle Grade: Peggy Eddleman's debut THROUGH THE BOMB'S BREATH, about twelve-year-old Hope, the worst inventor in a town of great inventors struggling to recover from the green bombs of WWIII that wiped out nearly all the earth’s population; but when the town is invaded by bandits, they find that inventing won't save them, but Hope's daring and recklessness that usually gets her into trouble just might, to Shana Corey at Random House Children's, in a pre-empt, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger, Inc (World English).

Oh my gosh, you guys. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. RANDOM HOUSE! (Did I die of happiness when I heard who offered? Why yes, actually, I did. Am I still? Um, yeah. Little bit.) And I'm not kidding when I say that Sara found the one editor in all the world who was most perfectly matched to ME and most perfectly matched to THROUGH THE BOMB'S BREATH. I couldn't be more thrilled. I am so incredibly grateful to Sara, and to Shana, and to Random House-- so full of gratitude, I'm ready to burst! (And seriously-- could this huge amount of gratitude come at a more appropriate week? I think not.)

Thanks for hanging out with me on this journey, guys. And thanks for being here with me to celebrate! You all rock my world.

P.S. I'm going to do a question and answer day after Thanksgiving. Like next Monday. So if you have any questions you'd like me to answer-- about the book deal, or meerkats, or querying, or why having every light on in the house is a good thing-- just email me at peggyeddleman [at] gmail [dot] com.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quotes and Cookies: The Moment of Decision

Today's quote is brought to you by the 26th president of the United States.

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing."

~Theodore Roosevelt

Is this great advice for life in general? You better believe it.
Is this great advice for your characters? Ohmygosh, YES! A huge, huge, huge YES!

So... is it okay to make your MC indecisive? Of course! As long as you deliberately want them to fail as part of their character arc. If it's not part of their arc, or if it's later in the book, then I think the answer is NO.

Of course you want your characters to be sympathetic. You want the reader to root for them. If the MC can't make a decision, or if they don't care enough to decide, or if they just wait for other characters to decide everything for them, the reader stops rooting for them. They may, however, start rooting for that secondary character who IS making the decisions, but do you really want the reader to wish the MC would just die so their title of MC would be available for the secondary character? Of course not!

So yay decision making! Go out and make a decision right now! Even if the decision is to stare at these cookies for a while. I know that's what I'm deciding to do right now. Mmm. Plus, there's chipotle powder in them. And lemme tell you. Cold day outside... warm heat in a a cookie... heaven. (The recipe is in the photo credit link if you're drooling right now.)

Photo Credit: Merryweather Mama
Have a FABULOUS weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

WINNER & You Guys Are So Funny!

And the winner in the Divergent giveaway is......

Congrats, Prerna! Get me your info, and I'll get it sent right out, new-hardback-crack and all. I wished I had ten more copies! Some of you pulled at my heart-strings, and some of you tickled my funny bone.

I was going to write a post about garbage men and triggers today, but I changed my mind. In the giveaway, remember how I said you'd get extra credit for using the words holy frijole!, blue 42, snowplow, kablam, and/or meerkat in your comment? Well, some of you darn near killed me! I just HAVE to include some of the responses, so you can love them, too.

This one... well, didn't LITERALLY almost kill me, but it could have. I read it as I was leaving work and stopped in the middle of the street to double over in laughter. I've probably read it a dozen times since then.

JeffO said... " The snowplow, the one with the blue42 on its side, swept away my mailbox last week in the storm, so the mailman left my copy of Divergent on the doorstep. That dang meerkat from across the street ran off with it. I saw him sitting at the edge of his little meerkat burrow, reading MY book. So I threw open the window and took a potshot at him with my trusty 12-gauge - kablam!

Holy frijole, I missed the meerkat but hit the book! So, I definitely need a copy."

@laurathejane said... I was going to cook a holy frijole tonight in the oven, but read the ingredients and was snowplow'd by the blue 42 and meerkat. Seriously, what happened to chicken and red dye? I could totally use a copy of Divergent to read while I stand at the oven, and hope the food doesn't kablam over the sides.

Cassie Mae said... Holy frijole batman, this book is so awesome, I want it more than a snowplow! And that's totally sayin' something since I live in the blizzard capitol of *ahem* Utah. Every time it snows, it's like KABLAM! And all the meerkats go scurrying into their holes.

And this one, for her creativeness in splitting up the Blue 42 and the Holy Frijoles!

Carterista said... This coming winter I'll be watching an enthralling episode of Snowplows Gone Wild when KA-BLAM! Out of the blue, 42 meerkats will waltz in looking all holy. Frijoles will be served with rice and the show will be enjoyed by all.

I should probably stop now. But if you guys have time and are looking for a laugh, definitely go check out the comments! Just click here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Way We Are: Writing Munchies

I know there are some people who can't eat while they're writing. I'm pretty sure the larger percentage of us, though, get the munchies as we write. So my question for today is:

What's your favorite writing food?

Do you go for the junk food, or the healthy food? Or do you skip food entirely and barely even realize you are hungry?

For me, sometimes I get so in the zone, I don't even realize I haven't eaten. That's when I know that some really good writing is happening! When I'm in more of a procrastinatory mode, my favorites are Diet Coke (which I am honestly trying hard not to love so much!) and something crunchy. Like pretzels or M&Ms.

But man. One of those smoothies is looking really good right about now...

Oh! And today is the last day to enter the DIVERGENT giveaway!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I've Got a Theory: The List

I'll admit: I'm a list-maker. I make lists for everything. Lists cover my desk, my kitchen counters, my fridge. I kind of make them often. In fact, a couple of days ago, my son sat next to me while I had my blog open, and he pointed to that About Me paragraph over there on the right and said, "You should probably change that line that says 'I make lists as often as I eat lunch.' It makes it sound like you eat lunch ALL THE TIME."

But lists are a good thing! Really. I even have a theory about them.

You see, in your brain you have spots to hold a items in a list. The average person has six slots. Really incredible people have ten. A select few have a freakishly large number. (In your main To-Do list. You've got lots of other lists in your brain, too. They look remarkably similar to your main To-Do list.) Your list stuff fills those slots.

But once your list spots are full, if you add another thing anyway, it just flops down on top of the first thing in your list.

And these things are heavy! One spot can definitely NOT hold two things. So it breaks the slot, and the stuff from that list breaks through to the next line... and the next line... and the next line...
Until all the lines are broken, and the list is all free-floating in your brain. That's what causes overwhelmed, stressed-out feelings to surface. (Unless you're one of the few that thinks it looks like confetti, and then your brain thinks, PARTY!)

I know what you're thinking. Sometimes I just have TOO MANY things in my list! Oh, no! What do I do to keep it from breaking apart?! (Or something entirely less dramatic.)

The answer's easy. Transfer the things in your brain list to paper lists, and it thereby frees up brain lists. Your brain's happy. The people around you are happy. All is well with the world.

Oh! But it does remind me of a quote!

“I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.”
~Beryl Pfizer

Just keep telling yourself that all is well with the world, and you'll be alright. But tell me: Are you a list maker?

P.S. If you want to enter the DIVERGENT giveaway and haven't yet, you still have until tomorrow night!

Monday, November 14, 2011

We need less space!

I took a lot of keyboarding classes in junior high and high school. Do you know what they taught me?
Put two spaces after each sentence.

Apparently that's wrong! It changed years ago, and I NEVER KNEW. Until a year ago or so, that is. (Are you doing it wrong, too? Read this article.) Here's the quote in the article that really got me:

"I talk about 'type crimes' often, and in terms of what you can do wrong, this one deserves life imprisonment. It's a pure sign of amateur typography."

I don't know about you, but I pride myself on being a law-abiding typist. LIFE IMPRISONMENT doesn't sound all that fun, so I re-trained myself. It wasn't easy, but now I sleep better at night without that crushing guilt weighing me down.

What about you?

Were you taught right the first time? Or did you have to reteach yourself as well? Or are you still doing it wrong but you never knew and now that I told you that crushing guilt is going to keep you awake at night and curse me(!) for ever bringing it up?

And this, just because it's funny: My son typed a report for school, and wanted me to look at it before he printed it out. It looked a little something like this:

I looked at it and said, "It's good... except for all these extra spaces everywhere! What the Sam Hill is up with that?"

To which my son replied, "Oh, it's supposed to be that way. My teacher told us to double-space it."

Have I mentioned how much I love my kids?

Happy spacing, everyone.

P.S. Go enter in the DIVERGENT Giveaway if you haven't yet and still want a chance.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quotes and Cookies: Courage to Begin

I wrote a post a couple of days ago about how you knew when you had the guts to be a writer. I was surprised how many people were unsure if they did have the guts! Because do you know what? I THINK YOU DO. Even if you haven't realized it yet, you do. How do I know? Because you ARE doing it! You're showing you have the guts to do this with every single thing you do.

"If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed."

~David Viscott

See? You've already mustered that courage! All you have to do now is follow through. Piece of cake, right? Or... you know... piece of cookie. Hey! Speaking of cookies-- let's have one! We can celebrate having all that courage and all.

Happy 11/11/11, everyone! Have a FABULOUS weekend!

P.S. If you don't already own DIVERGENT (and you totally should), scroll down just a bit and enter in the giveaway!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I interrupt the regularly scheduled post to bring you A GIVEAWAY!

Holy cow. I just finished reading Divergent last night. It's the first book I've read in a while that sucked me in so fully that for the last 150 pages or so, I was incapable of getting anything else done. (Seriously. I was sitting at the kitchen table, dying of thirst, and couldn't seem to tear my eyes off the page long enough to walk to the sink.) It was intense. Like HUNGER GAMES intense.

And by a happy twist of fate, I happen to have two copies of the book! One I've read and loved. One I want to give away. You know how, when you open a hardback book for the very first time, it makes that sound? You know the one-- it's a crack! like the sound of words escaping. The book I'm giving away STILL HAS THAT SOUND INTACT. See how selfless I am? It's sitting right here next to me, calling me to open it so I can hear that sound, but I'M NOT. The sound is part of my gift to you if you win.

So, what do you have to do to win? Just leave me a comment saying you want it. That's it! No other steps needed. (Although someday, I'm going to design a giveaway with 50 steps. It'll be epic.) You can spread the word through the usual channels if you feel compelled to do so, but it's definitely not necessary. I just want this baby to go to a nice, loving home.

Ooo! But you get extra credit if you use the words holy frijole!, blue 42, snowplow, kablam, and/or meerkat in your comment. And no, the extra credit doesn't actually earn you anything.

I'll let a random number generator pick the winner at 10:00 pm MST on next Wednesday, November 16th. May luck smile down on you. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Way We Are: You can handle it

Okay, so there was that moment when you first got the SPARK to be a writer.

And then there was that moment when you decided what you were going to DO with that spark. Where you were going to work to have it take you. You might have decided that you only want your posterity to read what you write. Or maybe you decided you want as big of an audience as you could get through Indie publishing. Or through a regional press. Or through a traditional publisher. Maybe you want everyone in the world to read what you write!

And let's face it. If you are going to have people read your stuff, it takes guts. So... my question this week is:

When did you realize that you had the guts to handle being a writer?

For me, it was realizing I could handle the critiques that came with being a writer. It happened about 3 1/2 years ago. I took a college creative writing class from a teacher who, quite frankly, scared me. I had only been writing for a few months, and was still about six months from meeting my writing group. My teacher announced that we were going to do in-class critiques, and we were going to start with me. My very first critique. I showed up with copies of my story for everyone the next class, the teacher passed them out, and then the class went silent as everyone read.

I sat at the back of the classroom, watching everyone read what I wrote. I didn't have butterflies in my stomach-- I had them flapping around my heart. The excitement built and built in my chest until I tingled everywhere from the thrill of people reading my stuff. Something I created. By the time they finished reading and drew that last breath before giving me their critiques, there was no nervousness-- only intense anticipation that I hungered for like nothing else. I knew then that I wouldn't ever cringe from a critique-- I'd crave it. I left that class knowing that I could take any critique I got thrown at me.

So there's mine. Now let's hear yours!

What was the moment that told you that you could handle it? (Or the moment that let you know you could at least handle a part of it.) Was it when you first made a blog and put your thoughts out there for strangers to read? When you figured out how to reorganize your life to fit writing in? When you stared at books in a bookstore and knew that you'd handle whatever came your way whenever to get yours there, too? When you realized you could reach "the end" in the novel you started? When you realized you had more than one book idea in you?

We want to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I've Got a Theory: The End is Near

Okay, so I have this theory that if you don't expend creative energy, chaos will ensue. (Seriously. Do it. Bad things will happen if you don't. I stand by my theory.)

Well, I also have this sister theory to my use-creative-energy-to-quell-the-maniacal-monster theory that goes a little something like this:

Witnessing OTHER PEOPLE'S creative energy expenditures can increase yours.

Have you ever been in a creative slump, then you looked at an amazing piece of artwork or photography or a creation of some sort or listened to an amazing song, and suddenly you want nothing more than to go create something incredible yourself?

Yes? See?! It totally works!

Even the simplest of creative expenditures in others can fuel you. My husband and I went to the mall to eat at P.F. Changs. When we walked outside the restaurant, we saw two men in their lower twenties, holding signs written on pieces of cardboard. Their backs were to us, so we couldn't read the signs, but they were well enough dressed that I didn't think they were there to ask for our doggie bags (one was dressed hobo-ish, but it was obvious that it was by choice, not by necessity). Plus, not in an area where people tend to hold cardboard signs. So that left what? Religious zealot preaching the end of the world? We had to find out.

We got in our car and drove around to see them. And that's when I giggled. Or... you know... let out a very un-ladylike guffaw-- depending on who you ask. And then I cursed the fact that I don't take my camera with me every where I go. Nope. Not religious zealots. Just a couple of guys expending creative energy for our benefit.

And do you know what? Their creative expenditure fueled my creativity. I wanted it to fuel yours, too, so I've attempted to re-create the scene.

I hope not too much got lost in the translation.

Here's to hoping we all run into random bits of creativeness that fuel our creativeness! (Because that monster that runs lose in your brain when you don't isn't nearly as cute as he looks.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

The book I'm most grateful for

Crazy thanks to Angela Brown at In a pursuit of publishness for awarding me the Stylish Blogger Award! I love it.

So have you guys heard about this?

Beth Revis is doing an incredible giveaway on her blog. She collected 19 SIGNED BOOKS from the people who really helped her on her journey, along with a whole lotta swag. So what does Beth Revis want?

She wants people to share a book they are grateful for. How awesome is that? During this month of gratitude, sharing a book I'm grateful for sounds pretty much perfect. (Want to share yours? Click on the picture above, and it'll take you to her post.)

Without a doubt, the book I'm most grateful for is MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson. I don't read a ton of fantasy, but I do love it almost every time. A friend HIGHLY recommended this book, and so I read it.

I can't express how much this book BLEW ME AWAY. I finished reading it, and just sat there, not moving, completely in awe. I couldn't even imagine how many hours... days... years this book had to percolate to become what it was. It was definitely one of those books that stay with you long after you read it. I'm talking LONG after. (Plus: kick-butt female protag, plot where tons of stuff happens. Me=love.)

And the thing is, Brandon Sanderson writes A LOT. It doesn't take him three years to put out a masterpiece like this. He writes a book in like three minutes. Okay, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration. But the guy is definitely prolific.

Brandon is amazing, and one of the most efficient people I've ever met. Even his thinking process is efficient! Man, I'd love to live in his brain for a day just to see how he does it.

My gratitude for Mistborn started with the book, but it didn't end with it. I read Mistborn about six months after I decided I wanted to pursue writing professionally. I got to the end of the book, and found out that Brandon taught creative writing at a university half an hour from my home. I knew-- knew-- that if I could learn from someone like him, it would make all the difference. The thing about Brandon is, he's a REALLY nice guy. And he likes nothing more than to help aspiring authors on their way. He and a few friends do a weekly podcast called Writing Excuses just to help us out.

I owe Brandon a lot. I owe him for my writing group. I owe him for teaching me more about writing than any other person, by far. And I owe him for writing a darn good book that still makes me wistful whenever I think about it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Quotes and Cookies: Read Without Effort

Because so many people are either working so hard at writing or working so hard at editing right now, possibly wondering if all the really hard work is worth it, this quote is for you:

"When something can be read without effort,
great effort has gone into its writing."

~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

I think it's a great reminder that not only does really great writing take A LOT of work, but it definitely is worth it to every person who will read it.

And as you're putting such great effort into your writing, have a cookie! These remind me of both the blue skies we had here yesterday, the snow we're supposed to have tomorrow. Plus, someone put great effort into making these! They're like the culinary equivalent of a really great scene.


So what about you? Have you been putting great effort into your writing this week? Or have you read a book lately that could be read without effort? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy NaNo-ing, writing, revising, playing, relaxing, to-do listing, quality-timing, or whatever else you have planned this weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Five Things

Five random things that are exciting me right now:

1. The water here is REALLY TASTY. Straight out of the tap. I've lived by really good tasting water all my life, though, so it's not something that usually excites me. But this time of the year? Definitely does. The ground the water pipes go through gets all cold, so when you turn on the tap, it comes out tasting like a mountain stream. It's bliss, I tell you.

2. Flag football season is OVER! Now don't get me wrong. I love watching my daughter tear it up on the field each week in a league filled with only boys and all, but let's just say that it's a darn good thing that sports come in seasons. Especially since it overlapped with soccer season, and it's a 3 DAY A WEEK sport. Whew! Plus, now that there aren't five camp chairs claiwming my trunk, I can use it for groceries again.

3. The tree we planted in our front yard two years ago looks like this. And when I walk in and out of my house 57 times a day, I get to walk right past it.

4. Revising. Have I mentioned lately how much I love revising? Drafting is like framing a house and putting up the plywood. Revising is like turning that into a show home, with all the details finished and sparkling. Revising is a thing of beauty. Plus, I've had a blast doing it with a group of people! (See this post if you don't know what I'm talking about. And it's never too late to join in the loads of fun we're having!) Tara Tyler even made us this awesome button. How cool is she?

5. M.I.S. Haven. Because there's nothing that can possibly get you more excited to work on your WIP than committing to revise something different. :) Plus, without even realizing it, NaNoWriMoers send out writing vibes. Great job NaNoers! I'm feeling the waves of writing awesomeness hit me clear over here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Way We Are: Name Inspiration

One of, hands down, THE greatest / hardest thing about being a writer is being able to name people other than your own children.  I mean, seriously! How many people get that opportunity? And let's face it: it's a pretty hefty responsibility. The perfect name can make such a difference. Which prompts the Way We Are question of the week:

Where do you get your inspiration for character names?

Baby name websites? Street signs? The credits at the end of a movie? People from your childhood / your life now? A box of crayons? Maps? A distortion of a quality that character possesses?

Do you go for names that are bizarre? Different? Common? A combination of common and uncommon for first and last names? Do you look at the sound, initials, or nick-name potential? Do you look for words that AREN'T typically names?

Let us know! I think I speak for everyone when I say that we're all dying to find out.