Monday, March 31, 2008
Words: some, many more to go
Caffeine: morning cup + midmorning cappuccino
Evil Calories: apple fritters from 1/2 off bin at market (I'm not made of wood, people)
So, today I was walking through my local super-mega-ultra grocery store, and found this:
A home baby daddy kit. So I guess there's no need to leave the trailer and stand in line for the Maury show anymore. I'm not sure what I loved more, that it was crammed in with the condoms, or that there was only one left.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Words: zero down, 1400 to go
Caffeine: morning cup + midmorning cappuccino
Evil Calories: enormous, herculean cookie from Starbucks
Reality TV: (when the hell is The Office & 30 Rock coming back?)
I hate word count. I hate relying on word count. I hate trying to figure out word count. I hate keeping track of word count. I hate that word count lingers in the back of my mind while I’m writing. I hate the words "word count". Dear word count - you totally stomp and squish the creative process. You force me to wade in the minutia. Do you not know me but at all? I’m the scattered one, remember? We’ve gone over this. I’m not a good candidate for OCD. Shiny things distract me. I’m not focused. Today I almost dropped my library book in the slot at the post office and for the third time this week I left the house with my slippers on. They’re pink. Not a soothing pink, a screaming, blinding, throwing off satellites kind of pink.
*Insert very long sigh here*
You non-writing types probably didn’t know this, but when you submit a book, it isn’t based on pages. It’s based on...you guessed it, word count. Average book: 80,000 words. My first book at completion was 120,000 words. Editing it was like plucking my arm hairs one by one using the teeth of an angry badger. So for this book, I’m mindful. Keep track of word count. By 20,000 be here in the story. By 50,000 be here. But it’s all making me want to stick my finger in my eye and swirl it around until I reach my brain.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Words: zero down, 1400 to go
Caffeine: morning cup + midmorning cappuccino
Evil Calories: chocolate cookie thingys I found in back of cupboard (I hope those are nuts)
Reality TV: Biggest Loser. I know, I know...it's all bunch of marketed, corporate vomit. But I can't help myself
Today, I picked up this little card thingy at my local Starbucks. It said “Have an idea for us?” on one side, and MyStarbucksIdea.com on the other. So, here are my ideas:
a) Stop employing people with mullets. It just goes against nature. Call me a purist, but I don’t want a dude with flaming red hockey hair to foam my milk. He might dribble some of his Stetson in it. Then I find myself craning my neck over the bar to see if he has a fanny pack and well-accentuated front-butt. Why is he working at Starbucks? Shouldn’t he be home running his Walker Texas Ranger fan site?
b) Stop serving vanilla-orange-mint-caramel-kiwi-chocolate abominations to cater to the brain dead, overly tanned, overly highlighted muffy masses. Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu would spin circles in his grave if he saw what you were doing (and if you don’t know who he is, shame on your crooked little soul). The point is to ENJOY the flavor of coffee, not do everything with every sugary substance known to man to cover it up. I’ve never met anyone who took a sip of coffee for the first time and went, “yummy, give me more!”. Coffee is not blatantly enjoyable. The first taste can sometimes throw you. It’s strange, bitter and almost hurts. That’s where the complexity lies. One must venture further to gain appreciation. It’s the difference between meeting someone who’s overtly friendly, cheery and welcoming and meeting someone who is interesting, dark and intriguing. The latter is lost on some people. And that’s ok. Not everyone should drink coffee. It’s an acquired taste. To acquire a taste for something is a sign of character. Not everyone HAS character. Therefore, not everyone should drink coffee.
Now, the funny thing is, I actually like Starbucks. I forgive them for their blatant bastardization of coffee because along their crooked path they gave birth to the Frappuccino. (Yes, I drink those from time to time. It’s coffee, cream and chocolate, people. I’m not made of wood.) And had they not set these little cards out, I would never offer up my feelings. But they asked, right?
Monday, March 24, 2008
Words: must write 1400 (I'll explain...)
Caffeine: morning cup + midmorning cappuccino (bubbly, sudsy foam from Starbucks today, presented to me by a dude with a frightening mullet. Apparently Starbucks is recruiting at NASCAR events now)
Evil Calories: Totinos frozen pizza (hospital please)
Reality TV: None! Away with you, oh sucker of brain cells!
Well, I did it. I took the plunge. I am now a proud (pathetic) member of MySpace. I resisted for a while because it just seemed silly, especially since none of my friends are on there (except Jason, and his friends are Maxim magazine the giant Uniroyal tire). But, did you know you can make friends with celebrities on Myspace? I had no idea!! I am proud to say that I am Zach Braff's newest friend. Yes, yes. Me! And...well, probably about seven thousand other people, but whatever.
But anyway, I downloaded this time counter thingy for my profile which is keeping track of how many days I have left to finish this book. I'm giving myself until May 12th to finish the first draft. Now, every time I log onto my profile page and see it ticking away, it makes me want to puke, but, I'm determined to stick to it. So, I have 48 days to finish. I'm already about 25,000 words in and I'm going for 90,000 (sorry, gagged just there.) In order to make it, I need to write about 1400 words a day. That's really not a lot in the grand scheme of things. Okay, it's an ass load (and if you don't think it sounds like a lot, try it. You'll see what I mean.)
But I just need to do it. I need to work through my internal clefts of insanity and get it written. Then I can put it down and not think about it for two months. I'll eat cake, buy shoes, get drunk, pet my cat. Then, I’ll go back and begin the rewrite where I’ll figure out if it’s really something sparkly and interesting, or if it’s just a big bag of wank (fingers crossed for sparkly and interesting; no idea how to sell big bag of wank).
Friday, March 21, 2008
Caffeine: morning cup so far
Evil Calories: Too tired to even ingest trans-fat
Reality TV: .....huh?
I'm having a little trouble sleeping lately. This happens to me from time to time. Not as much now, in my crotchety old age (I'm turning 35 in a few weeks and I'm not pleased. Not sure how it happened, and plan on taking it up with the authorities), but when I was younger I would go through week long spells of not sleeping at all. I'd try and sleep. I'd run around all day to tire myself out, I'd drink sleepytime tea right before bed. I once even took a Unisom. It just made me really tired.
But I specifically remember once dragging myself into work in the midst of a sleepless bought, and a co-worker informed me that someone was simply trying to make a psychic connection with me, and they were blocking my sleep mojo. At the time, I was quite sure she'd spent her formative years eating paint chips, but in light of recent events, I'm willing to give that theory its day in court.
Now, of course, there are a few people that immediately come to mind when considering who may be attempting this. Clive Owen, for instance (I tend to have delusions of grandeur when I'm sleep deprived). Whoever it is, they really need to know that tuning into the universe and throwing a mental monkey wrench into my brain is not necessary! I have email! Send me a little note. Leave a comment right here on my blog. Seriously, constantly banging on the door to my subconscious is a bit overboard.
But if you're insistent on getting into my head, could you please limit your cerebral badgering to regular business hours? When I'm actually okay with being awake? 9-5 EST would work just swell for me. I promise to stop every few seconds and check for incoming messages.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Caffeine: morning cup + mid-morning cappuccino (my travel mug suddenly started making weird noises. Seriously, it hisses and groans when I take a sip. Who do I call for that? Would Ghost Hunters give much attention to a possessed cup?)
Evil Calories: someone PLEASE come and take this yummy dark chocolate sauce before I eat it all!
Reality TV: reruns of something mind numbing
So, there are a few sites I visit daily, including Pubrants, Kristin Nelson's blog. Yesterday she posted what I found to be a harmless declaration that NLA no longer reads snail mail queries.
Now, I should note that if you look ANYWHERE - on their actual site, agentquery.com, publishers marketplace, etc, it clearly states they ONLY want e-queries. It's an environmentally friendly decision and it makes things easier on them. They're a business and can have whatever policies they want, right? Some of us left comments agreeing, applauding their decision, blablabla. Everything was all butterflies and ice cream. And then in walks this bitter, ranting troll.
Now, I won't go into it, if you want the play by play, just visit the blog. But the part that really killed me was that Trolly-McBitterpants was all bent because she felt Kristin was always complaining and whining about various aspects of her job. Well...did she miss the title of the blog? Pubrants? And, it's a blog. What other purpose does it serve but to enable lots of pissing and moaning? That's all I ever do here, really. I may have the occasional informative and moving quip, but overall it's just a bunch of self-indulgent yammering.
But here's the main thing, Trolly. You didn't get out of bed, walk out into the hall to find Kristin standing there ready to attack you with her insights. You sought them out. Clearly they make you mental. That's okay. Here's what you do. Take her blog out of your bookmarks, delete your history, and DON'T READ IT! It's simple. I hate water chestnuts. They taste like feet. Do I walk into Thai Garden, order a plate of them, and then start flipping out and chucking them at the waiter? It's bizarre behavior. Seek help. Find a hobby. Track down all those gun-toting crackheads you were blathering on about and leave the rest of us to glean what we want from her blog.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Caffeine: morning cup + mid-morning cappuccino, which I spilled all over my bad-ass new shoes
Evil Calories: mozzarella sticks
Reality TV: ANTM
Is it me, or have people making the news been extraordinarily stupid lately?
For example, what is with the woman in Kansas who spent two years on her boyfriends toilet? I'm so confused by this story I almost can't find anything to say. He kept checking on her every day, asking her to come out, and she just kept saying "maybe tomorrow". When the police finally did come, her butt had grown onto the toilet seat. What I want to know is, why, after two years, did he call for help? You'd think after a couple days he would have suspected something was amiss. Now, clearly she had issues too. No normal, red-blooded woman would ever embark on such an enormous bowel catastrophe in a potential mate's bathroom. At most she may go in to dab her T-zone or check her teeth for spinach. If you decide to park it on his cammode for more than an hour, it's done. Game over. The magic is gone.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Caffeine: morning cup so far (switched from my regular brewer to my French Press. Ah...bliss)
Evil Calories: ice cream w/yummy overpriced dark chocolate sauce from Whole Foods (aka Whole Paychecks)
Reality TV: American Idol
So, thanks to my fellow writer, Ramen w/Cheese & Tuna, I found a nifty website called querytracker. I'm always looking for new and refreshing ways to obsess about my queries, so I decided to take a look.
Now, this review is based on the five short minutes I had before the repeat of the finale to Project Runway came on (I like to see Christian cry at the end. It makes him seem more human and less like a bitchy Malibu Barbie). Basically, you can keep track of your queries, how long they've been out, etc. You can also search for agents and see what their response time is. Interest piqued! So, I searched an agent that I queried but never heard back from. Now, the cool thing is that they have average response time AND comments that other writers have left about response time. The good news was that this agent's average response time was something like 120 days. I'm still within 120 days. Shoulders relaxing. However, when I looked at the writer comments at the bottom, several said "heard back within two weeks with a very personalized rejection, advice on how to improve and an invitation to re-query after revisions have been made." Shoulders tense, brow furrowed, stomach in knot, panic setting in as well as a distinct itchy feeling.
The good news, I now have something else to send me into a complete brown out other than checking my email every 3.2 seconds. Ain't life sweet?
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Words: shut up!
Caffeine: just shut up!!!
Evil Calories: seriously, shut UP! (..and dark chocolate)
Reality TV: a new show called SHUT UP!!!!
I love my library. It's huge yet cozy, and has that yummy library smell. They also have a great selection of books and all the free wi-fi you can handle. And - the kicker for me - they have these adorable little private work stations that make you feel all chic and intellectual. Much better than parking your keyster at a noisy Starbucks for three hours.
So this morning, I go to the library and pick my little station and open my computer and the creative juices just start flowing. EXCEPT WHEN THE DUDE IN THE VOMIT-INDUCING HAWAIIAN SHIRT SHOWS UP AND BLATHERS ON AT TOP VOLUME ON HIS CELL PHONE ABOUT LETTUCE!
Yes, lettuce. YES...LETTUCE! I don't get it either. I was sitting in my adorable little workstation with my cappuccino trying to finish chapter eight, and ass-hat comes walking over, pulls out his cell phone and makes his emergency lettuce call. The lettuce was wilty and brown, and he prefers green leaf, and when you put it in the crisper you should wrap it in paper towel, blablabla. Dude...YOU'RE IN THE LIBRARY!!!!! You know...books? People reading? It's ten in the morning! Why are you complaining about lettuce at ten in the morning? IN THE LIBRARY??
All of my fellow chic intellectuals just looked at me, confused. Why is there suddenly an abundance of lettuce information screaming through our quiet little section? Where's the angry looking librarian with the crooked bun? And why is he wearing a Hawaiian shirt? It's March. All of thirty degrees. I just shrugged, wide-eyed, unable to offer much else.
I had a lot of hope for chapter eight. Now it's just...wilty and brown.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Caffeine: the usual (new Starbucks at Macy's. Guy who works there makes awesome foam.)
Evil Calories: Fig Newtons (semi-evil)
Reality TV: Celebrity Apprentice
I'm a total wuss. I'm sure I miss out on a lot of amazing books because of my wussiness. For example, there's a book out right now called Hope's Child. It's the true story of a boy who was taken away from his mother and raised through the foster system. It's being hailed by critics and has won several awards. However, I would probably make it about three pages in before I curled into a little weeping ball (as I did when I read Lolly Winston's Good Grief. It was a great book, and she's an amazing writer, but it just turned me into a withering mess.)
I just simply cannot read heavy, emotionally draining books. I want funny, light-hearted, semi-poignant stories with decent romance and a jolly good ending. I know that probably makes me completely unrefined, but so be it. I get heavy and depressing every time I turn on the news. I prefer that my escapism actually makes me smile.
I take the same approach with my writing. I don't write things that push me to a place I don't want to go. I write the types of books I'd want to read. However, with the book I'm currently working on, I'm taking myself into uncharted territory because I'm writing about a death that is very significant to my MC. I'm struggling because I keep thinking, "Is she sad enough? Is she mourning enough?" Is it possible to write about a heavier topic, but still keep the tone light and funny?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Caffeine: the usual
Evil Calories: Ritter Sport
Reality TV: America's Next Top Model
I just had to post this. It's an email from a very good friend of mine. I found it freakin' hysterical, possibly because I have my own head-case felines roaming about.
So I'm sitting in my living room yesterday when I hear this terrible ruckus in the kitchen. It was Friskie fussing and meowing like I've never heard him before. For a split second I thought he might have found a mouse behind the refrigerator or something. Instead what I find is him standing on his hind legs with his front paws flailing wildly and his head stuck between the wall and the cabinet. His tail is all puffed out. I have to slide the cabinet over to free his head. Now I've always fancied Friskie to be the slightly more intelligent of the 2 felines. But there he is sitting there all indignant with large tufts of hair pulled out from his near death experience. . .I haven't been able to look at him seriously since.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Words: TOO MANY!
Caffeine: the usual
Evil Calories: entire box of Cheese-Its
Reality TV: Project Runway reruns
I am such a complete ass-hat!
I've been working a submission for the Writer's Digest My Story competition. They give you a plot, you write something mind-numbingly brilliant, etc. Well, apparently, somewhere in reading the guidelines I hallucinated, because I thought the word count requirement was 1500 or less.
Um...yeah, I just went to submit my story, and the word count requirement is not 1500. It's 750. 750!!!!!! My story is 1398 words. I'm no math whiz, but I believe I might be a little screwed here.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Caffeine: the usual (morning cup + midmorning cappuccino) - the guy in front of me at Starbucks blessed me. No, I didn't sneeze. I simply walked in, he turned and looked at me and said "God bless." I was completely thrown. How the hell do you respond to that? So I just stared at him for a minute and then meekly thanked him. Reason #876 why I'm going straight to hell. I have no idea what to do when someone randomly blesses me. I am ill-equip spiritually for spontaneous blessings! What do I say? "You too"? "Right back atchya"? "Ditto"? And then I get defensive. Why are you blessing me? Do I look like I need blessing? If I need to be blessed, I'll ask for it!!!! (not really, I'm Lutheran)
Evil Calories: mini vanilla bean scones from Starbucks (I blame the holy roller mentioned above)
Reality TV: Project Runway finale (go Rami!)
So, I've come to terms with something, and I'm not afraid to say it out loud. I like to write stories with happy endings.
There. I said it.
See, the annoying brainiac, emo-listening, melancholy side of me tries to push me to write uber-literary stuff with deep meaning and emotionally draining endings. But as hard as I try, the hopeless romantic in me always elbows her way in and takes over. So, I'm letting her win. I will freely write stories with happy endings. And the annoying brainiac, emo-listening, melancholy side of me will just have to go pound sand.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Caffeine: morning cup + midmorning cappuccino
Evil Calories: none! I just discovered that I've gained 8 pounds since the holidays. 8!!! Therefore I will spend the remainder of my life on the treadmill. Send bottled water and protein shakes.
Reality TV: A new show called "Fat-Ass on a Treadmill" starring me
This week I'm going to do two things. One, I will walk/run/trot/skip/lumber/trip/cough/wheeze/lie down on treadmill for at least 23 hours every day. Two: I will write 1500 words every day with remaining hour of each day. Might even try to write while on treadmill.
Hmmm...note to self: writing on treadmill might result in head wound. Investigate some kind of writing on treadmill helmet. Or put wonderbra on head as makeshift helmet. (might as well use that dumb-ass thing for something useful)
I will finish my next book by June. That is my goal. I will finish it. I will no longer sit around waiting for agents to call me about my first book. I will sell my second book, then my first book will sell, and it'll be less work for me later, and will give me more time on treadmill.
By the way, I have to give a big ups to my new friend Ramen w/Cheese & Tuna, my fellow soon-to-be published author! Check out her blog!
And lastly, thanks to Eileen Cook for being fabulous and writing a book that made me laugh when I REALLY needed to!