Writing 101, Day Nineteen

Day 19, freewrite 400 words

Well, that’s not hard.  I am famous for not being able to shut up, not having a problem starting.

So, let’s see.  Right now I’m sitting at my awesome desk, with my daughter’s rats on my shoulder.  She’s cleaning their cage, and needed sitting.  I guess this will be funny in like twenty years when I’m babysitting for her.

It’s the same desk in the picture of my rough draft.  Man, I’m still proud about that.  Took me so long to finish Starting Chains, when the rough draft of the first book took no longer than six weeks.

To be fair, nothing was going right or going on when I wrote Patterns.  Starting Chains was written after PBW was in full swing, and I had a bunch of other story telling opportunities in the making.  Looking back, I think I’m going to shut everything else down when I write the rough draft of the next book.  Maybe write all my articles for a month in advance, and work just on the draft.  Really pour ever bit of my creative energy on that one project for just as long as it takes.

Maybe.  As much as I’d like to think my brain works that way, I’d probably get bored.  No matter how many projects I have in motion, I always want to do something new.  I’ve got a ton going on, now I want to take a day off to learn about ways to boost my twitter following.  I have so many plans, so many ideas, that I can’t ever really focus on one long enough.

Honestly, I don’t know how I’ve managed to write two books in the same series already.  Except for the fact that it’s the series that saved me.

In September of 2013, something really bad happened to my family.  I’d made an outline for Broken Patterns, and made maybe a token effort at writing it.  Then, my whole world flipped over.  Nothing was going right in my life, and it all got worse for the next few months.  The only thing that was going right, that made me feel in control, was my writing.  I finished the last 500 pages in two weeks.  As we went through a nightmare that included my husband nearly dying, a horrible custody fight, and a less than congenial parting of the ways with my old day job, my writing was my escape.  My safety net after days and days of tears and torture.

Brag Board for April, 2015

Welcome, my beloved readers, to the first ever Paper Beats World Brag Board! I am so excited to start this brand new, once a month event where we get to talk about the awesome things we did this month!

Did you finish something big?
Did you make a sale, and want to let us know where your work’s going to be published?
Did you just graduate, get married, have a baby?
Did you write something on your blog that you’re super proud of, and you want to share?

Then let us know! All month long you can e-mail me anything great you did this month, and I’ll put it up on the board. If you’re getting this late, never fear! Just tell us about your awesome accomplishment in the comment sections below. Feel free to add links back to your own blog, too.

Brags for the month-

Me- I finished the rough draft of Starting Chains, Book one of Woven. Finally. I’ve been working on it since November, and it is such a relief to have it done.

I also wrote two really cool short stories. I can’t wait to get them edited.

So, what did you do this month?

Check This Out- Just a Girl and Her Blog

So, this is a super exciting Check This Out for me because, (dum da da da!) this is the blog that inspired me to get into blogging. I would read Just a Girl and Her Blog every time it updated, and I’d think; this is such a cool way to connect with people. maybe even help them get on the path they want to be on. I want to do that, but do I really have the time? Wait, this lady’s got two very little sons, and she’s got time for all this? No way I’ve got any excuse.

Just A Girl and her Blog doesn’t have a lot to do with writing fiction. But it does have a lot to do with managing your life around being a parent, and working, and working at home, around kids. Essentially, this is the blog that helps me do the things I need to do to keep things running.

We’re writers, and that’s a pretty freaking awesome thing to be. But that isn’t all we are. We’re also parents, students, employees, spouses, friends, daughters and sons. There will never be a day when I am only a writer, so I’ve got to have some help with the life around me. If I can learn a cool trick to limit how much time I spend on housework, the I’ve got more time to spend on writing.

Also on this blog, I find all sorts of cool things about self publishing. The author has written a couple, and she loves to share all the things she’s learned.

Some great articles to check out-

* 5 ways going paperless has improved our lives
* Hit me With Your Best Shot
* How to make money blogging

Writing 101, Day 18

The Neighbor Lady

The world always seemed like a less than sturdy place to Addison. He never really found that, day by day, anything stayed very constant. The jobs his mom went to were always changing, right along with the men she brought home. Some were nice and some weren’t, both jobs and men, but none lasted very long. The friends he made, what few he could make at his dark and sort of dangerous school, came and went. When they went it was often to juvenile hall, or the special school for kids with problems. One girl had gone to live with her aunt, and no one would tell Addison why, or why she came back a year later, seeming sad.
The neighbors came and went too. No one moved to this end of town because they wanted to, and they got out as soon as they could.
Except for Mrs. Pauley. She’d been there a long time before Addison and his mom had moved there. According to some of the kids he’d met the first week there, they were all gone now, she’d always been there. Addison didn’t really see much of her. Sometimes he’d see Mr. Pauley putter around the garden, but then he died and wasn’t there anymore. Her sons had come around a lot for a month or so after that.  One of them showed up with a moving truck, and Addison was sure that Mrs. Pauley would be leaving then. The final constant in his little life, shattered.
But she hadn’t left. Instead, she’d had a very loud shouting match with her son right in front of the building. “The presumption!” she screamed, “To think that you can just drag me out of my home, because you think I can’t be trusted left alone to my own devices! I am your mother, Anthony, and I took care of you for twenty two years! I guess I can take care of myself for just as long as I want to hold on!”
“Ma, don’t I know you took care of me for twenty two years!” the son named Anthony yelled while Addison watched from his bedroom window. “That’s why you ought to let me take care of you, now!”
Addison didn’t know what sort of reaction Anthony had wanted from that, but the one he got was for his mother to break a dish over his head. Word must have gotten around to the other five brothers, because none of them dared try that trick.
So old Mrs. Pauley stayed, while the only other constant was the pusher on the corner. Addison like this pusher. He wouldn’t sell to kids, and he didn’t harass the girls as much as the last one. Addison hoped he stuck around for awhile, but he didn’t think he would.
Time passed. Mom got a new job, then a new boyfriend. The new boyfriend soon resulted in the loss of the new job. The loss of the job soon resulted in the loss of the boyfriend. It didn’t seem to matter much to Mom, and it sure didn’t matter to Addison. He hadn’t even bothered to remember the man’s name.
The new pusher stuck around. He was there the night the cops showed up at Mrs. Pauley’s place.
Addison was outside, covering the cement steps with chalk. The rain would come and wash it away in the night, but that was the one thing Addison didn’t mind changing, because he could make it all new again once the cement dried.
The officers came, and Addison knew there was trouble when he saw Mrs. Hubbard with them. “The old bitch,” was what his mom called the woman who owned the whole block, including the buildings that Addison and Mrs. Pauley lived in.
He watched as Mrs. Hubbard marched up to the door, looking very much like she thought well of herself in her fake pearls and cheap cardigans, and hammered on the door.
Mrs. Pauley answered. She, Addison thought, really did look like she had reason to think well of herself, though Addison had never thought of it that way before. Perhaps it was just the stark comparison between the two women. Mrs. Pauly stood straight, wearing a sweater and slacks that were no double older than Addison himself, but so well cared for, so as to not need replacing with money that Mrs. Pauley would have preferred to spend on her children.
“Can I help you?” Mrs. Pauley asked, clasping her hands together in front of her.
“Don’t act like you didn’t know we were coming,” Mrs. Hubbard snapped, shaking her head. “You haven’t paid your rent in three months. I send you letters telling you that this was coming.”
“I told you, I have to wait for Mr. Pauley’s life insurance,” Mrs. Pauley said. “I don’t have any money until then.”
Mrs. Hubbard crossed her arms over her cheap cardigan. “I’m sorry, but that’s not my problem. Everyone’s got bills. I’ve got taxes to pay on this building, and I’ve got to pay for the upkeep.”
“But you’ve never spent a dime on the upkeep of this place, not since the day you inherited it from your mother.” Mrs. Pauley said. “And she never paid a dime for the upkeep since the day my husband and I move in. When the pipes burst in the winter, my husband fixed them, and paid for the supplies. When that crazy man upstairs shot through the wall, my husband patched the hole for you.”
“I never asked him to do that,” Mrs. Hubbard said, but she looked a little pink.
“No,” Mrs. Pauley said, standing taller that Addison would have thought her five feet would allow. “You didn’t have to. I didn’t think I would have to ask you for some patience now.”
Mrs. Hubbard seemed to swell up. She turned to the officers, and said, “Aren’t you going to do your jobs?”
An officer tipped his hat to Mrs. Pauley. “I hate to do this, Ma’am, but she’s within her rights. You ignored the letters she sent, and she’s got them registered. I’m going to have to ask you to come with us.”
“But this is my home,” Mrs. Pauley said, “It’s always been my home.”
One of the officers set a hand on her arm. It wasn’t a stern hand, but it was insistent. It seemed to say that he would be as gentle about doing his job as Mrs. Pauley allowed him to be.
“Hold up,” the pusher called from the sidewalk, and ran over to them.
Addison held his breath, and the officers put their hands on their pistols. The pusher held his hands up, and walked up the stairs. “Grab my wallet out of my back pocket,” he said to one of the officers. The man did so, flipped it open, nodded, and handed it back to the pusher.
“Mrs. Hubbard, I think you need to give Mrs. Pauley some time,” the pusher said. “In fact, if you don’t want anyone to know about some of the ‘tenets’ you keep in the the rooms above your bar, the ones who seem to have a lot of guests who only stay for an hour every night, you should wait just as long as it takes her, Madam.”
Mrs. Hubbard blushed. Addison smiled, and went inside.
Not much was constant in Addison’s neighborhood. Just the pusher on the corner, and Mrs. Pauley.

Writing 101, Day Seventeen.

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

My worst fear used to be spiders.  I don’t like them, they skitter.  These days, though, my worst nightmare is something terrible happening to my daughters.  More specifically, something happening to my daughters, and it being my fault.

Wouldn’t that be the worst?  Like it wouldn’t be bad enough that my child was gone, but having to live with the fact that I did it for the rest of my life.

Fortunately, my kids have been pretty safe.  Even so, I was  a typical scared mommy for the first few years.  I remember one time my older daughter sprayed cleaner in her mouth.  I had a panic attack, and called the poison control center, who’s number I had on every single bottle in the house.  “Alright, Ma’am, what kind of cleaner was it?” the very calm lady asked me.  (And God bless her.  Can you imagine having that job?  I wonder how many lives she helps save every day, but you know there’s the one that haunts her.)  “Um,” I replied, “Clorox Green Works.”

“Isn’t that just orange oil, and some acids?” the lady asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

snort.  Okay, have her drink some water, and keep an eye out for vomiting.  Have a nice day.”  So yeah, let’s here it for all natural cleaners.

I calmed down a lot, enough that when my older one rolled down a flight of stairs in her winter coat, I managed to stay calm long enough to realize she was just fine.  The coat cushioned her, and she didn’t even have a bruise.  She wanted to do it again.

When I first started hanging out with my husband, it amazed me how protective he was over our younger girl.  He babied her, and was constantly telling her not to do things because it was too dangerous.  He got over it eventually, but it took him longer.

Even so, that fear is there.  Are they okay playing outside alone?  Should I let her read that book?  Who is she e-mailing, has she e-mailed them too much?  Who is calling her?  What’s going on when my girls aren’t in my line of sight?  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have at least one moment of worry over one of my girls.

It will never end, that’s the thing.  The girls will grow up, and then my real worry will start.  What are they doing in college?  Are they working too hard, too little?  Are they seeing someone who will be good to them, and are they being good girlfriends?  What about when they get married?  Have I taught them enough to be good wives?  Are their spouses being good to them?  What about their babies?  Are they good mommies?  Are they taking time to take care of themselves?  They won’t tell me, I know.  How am I supposed to know if there’s a nervous breakdown just a second away from that smile?

My fears will never end.  I will always be afraid for my daughters.  Goes with the territory, I guess.  Got to say, spiders don’t bother me much anymore.

The Writing Life- April 28

This week has been sort of rough, home life wise.  Lots of appointments, and sitting in waiting rooms.  Needless to say, I have not gotten as much done writing wise as I would have liked.

Things that rocked this week-

  • I’m reading Broken Patterns, getting ready to write the fourth draft.  I seem to be having a roller-coaster reaction to it, but the farther I get into the story, the better it is.  I can’t wait to get started writing it.
  • The Writing 101 event is going great.  I love how everyone is coming together and making friends.  I’ve had so much fun finding new blogs.

Things I’m looking forward to this week-

  • I’m going to be editing both Letter on the Bar and Warm this week.  It’s been a very long while since I’ve had a short story that I can send out.  Looking forward to being back in the game.
  • Still working on my very exciting top secret project that I’ll be telling you all about in July.  It’s taking a lot of time, and I think it’s all going to be worth it.

So, what are you doing this week?  Any super exciting milestones?  What are you working on?  Let us know in the comments below.

Three Reasons to Love your Rejection Letters

We’ve talked all the live long month about submissions. A few times we’ve touched in rejection letters as an unavoidable eventuality. I stand by this, they are unavoidable. I promise, if you’re hoping for universal love, you will be sadly disappointed, my friends.

I’ve never hated rejection letters, though. In fact, I love them. I’ve still got my very first one, that I got when I was thirteen years old and sent some poor agent a hand written submission. Bless her heart for responding to that silly little girl that I was so long ago.

You should love your rejection letters too. Here’s why.

Agents don’t respond to most submissions they get.

It’s just a fact. Agents and magazines get hundreds of submissions. They don’t have the time or patience to respond to them all, and still have time for things like eating, bathing, sleeping, occasionally seeing their loved ones and, oh yeah, taking care of the clients they already have. If you were an agent, and you got a submission that just wasn’t professional, wrong genre, stupid font, full of typo’s, would you waste your time responding to them?  I wouldn’t.  So if an agent sent you a rejection letter, you should see that as an investment of their time. You’re work was professional enough for them to make that time. Be proud of that, even if their ultimate decision was to not represent you.

It’s concrete evidence that you’re sending your work out there.

You know what kind of writer doesn’t have any rejection letters?
* Writers who haven’t finished their first marketable piece.
* Writers who haven’t had the guts to send their work to an agent.

Do you want to be that guy? Don’t be that guy. You know what kind of writer does have rejection letters? Every single writer with a book on the shelf. King, Rowling, Martin, Sanderson, everybody! I’ve sure got my fair share. Snoopy’s got more than me. But I can point to that, and say, “Look, that’s how many times I’ve tried. Yes I’ve failed, but at least I’ve tried.”

It’s your signal to try again.

And this is the important one. If you sent your work out to an agent, and you’ve just gotten a rejection letter, then you’ve just got something to put on your to-do list for tomorrow; send the book out again! Don’t let it sit for more than a day or two. Three at the most if you’re busy. But get it right back out there. I always assume I’m going to need another agent to send my book to, and so I’ve already got a list ready for when that rejection letter comes. There will be no collecting of dust, or sitting stagnant for my work.

Did you get a rejection letter yet this month? If not, why not! Make it your goal to get one next month, and the month after that. Because trying your best and failing, beats not trying every time.

Writing Prompt Saturday- List Jobs

This week, I’d like to continue a writers notebook building exercise that I started at the end of last month.

That’s right, it’s a list!

I love lists. Today, we’re going to make a list of jobs.

100 jobs someone can have, to be precise. Because sometimes you’re going to have that character that has a job that isn’t a huge part of their story, but what they do for a living still matters. Lots of them, probably. And it’s far more fun to write about some unique or interesting job than a boring one, or one that everyone’s heard of.

Just like last month, I’d love to see a list built here, right on the site. So, same rules as last time. I’m going to list ten jobs. Then, anyone who wants can list ten more in the comments section.

1. Vet
2. EMT, or Ambulance driver
3. Housekeeper
4. FBI agent
5. Waiter
6. Copy editor
7. Police officer
8. Illustrator
9. Librarian
10. Writer

Funny thing is, I’ve also wanted to be all of the things on that list at one time.

What can you come up with?

Writing 101, Day 15

Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.

So, this is ironic, because there’s a chance that’s actually going to happen this year in my town.

My favorite season is fall.  I know, that’s not a normal season to be someone’s favorite, but it’s mine.  I love all things pumpkin flavored, Halloween is my favorite holiday, fall leaves are beautiful here in Western PA, cinnamon is my favorite thing ever, and I really don’t like to shave my legs.

There’s this great fall festival in town, and we look forward to it every year.  There are games, and carny food, and live bands.  My kids get their faces painted, and their hair colored.  We make sand art, and play awful games.  We also take the opportunity to donate to some of our favorite local charities, like VOICE, and our local chapter of GLAD.

One big part of the Fall Festival that lots of people like but I think is rather boring is the car show.  There are actually two other car shoes downtown every year, Cruisaplouza and the Jeep festival.  Did you know that the Jeep was invented in Butler?  People come from all over America for the event every year, if you can believe that.

The problem is, the fall festival isn’t being as well funded as we might like.  In fact, we’re being told that this might be the very last year for it.  My older daughter and I have been going for the past ten years, and my whole family for five.  Last year my daughter wouldn’t let us paint her face, and she was flirting with some boy on the bungee jump.  I’m literally gauging them growing up by the pictures I take of them every year.  I honestly don’t know what we’ll do if this is the last year.

Market- Write Naked

I am a huge fan of writers supporting writers. Write Naked is a great example of this. It’s a writing blog that pays for great guest posts. And I mean well. Also, it’s another WordPress site, so you’ve got to love that. If you want to write for other writers, you’ve got to try this site.

Genre- Non fiction, about writing.

Word count- 450 to 650 words.

Payout- $50, but she will occasionally pay $200 for work she considers truly great.

Wait time- Generally a few weeks. She’s a busy girl.

No deadline to speak of.

As always, don’t forget to check the full submission guidelines here.

Any luck with this market, or any others that you want to share? Did you finish a draft, or anything else you want to brag about? Let me know, and I’ll put it up on the monthly brag board, on the last day of each month.

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑