Sunday, January 26, 2014

Story Ideas Never Stop

After I came up with the plot line for my first novel (which I call Some Secrets Aren't Secrets) I wondered how in the world I would ever come up with plots for other books. It seemed like everyone around me had all these ideas for books that piled up, and I was so proud of myself to have come up with one.

Now here I am with three main characters and three (mostly) solid plots, and I'm worried that the ideas won't stop coming. How will I have the time to write all of these books? Luckily, I've got one of them sort-of written (but needing loads of re-writing and editing). But the other two are still in the very early stage of establishing characters and places and sub-plots. I hope I can just get these stories down before I think of any more ideas.

Where do you get your ideas?
How do you choose which ones to tackle and which to leave by the wayside?

Write on!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I Submitted To An Agent

That's right. I submitted my manuscript to an agent. It was time, I guess. I felt like my novel was complete enough to start sending out (and of course the next day I had all these ideas on how I could possibly change it and add to it--is that normal?). I feel excited, and very nervous.

I've began a slow research for the next agent I will submit to--once I get my rejection from the first one.
I know that some people will send out their manuscripts to several agents at a time, but I'm not sure I can do that. I know there are probably dozens of agents out there who could represent my book and do an excellent job of it, but I am currently of the mindset that I must really be convinced that the agents I choose to submit to will be the best for my book (and for all my other books to follow).  I want to be able to wear this t-shirt (to the right) and really mean it. The agent I chose to submit to very first is someone I've met in person and who has a lot of experience. This agent is someone that I feel like I can say I heart already. That's important for me.

It might make the rejections hit a little harder, but the important thing to keep in mind is that literary agents are busy people and they can only do so much. Just because I think an agent would do great work for my novel does not mean that particular agent thinks the same--and that's okay.
It might make for a very SLOW process, but for right now, that's what it will be.

What's your tactic for finding an agent?

Write on!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Review

I found this weirdly titled book-on-CD stashed in a compartment in one of the trucks at work. Because I have become an avid driver, I stole the set of CDs (okay, maybe borrowed is a better word) and let this book become my driving companion on long solo trips.

I have already been mostly committed to being vegetarian (and I say mostly because I have eaten meat on occasion over the past few years), and I've always told myself that "one day" I will be vegan.

When I was in college I ate like a vegetarian most of the time simply because I did not like to buy meat or to cook it. I also hardly ever felt a craving or desire for meat (unless it involved a bottle of barbecue sauce). Because I didn't eat a lot of meat (meaning, I guess that I didn't have it at every one of my meals) I had a few people who asked me if I was vegetarian. I thought this was a really weird question--why would I ever be vegetarian. I, like most people I know, seemed to have a negative idea of vegetarianism. Vegetarians were portrayed as crazy, extreme, animal rights activists. I was not one of those. However, despite not being "one of those" I still had little desire to eat meat. It just wasn't what my body wanted.

Without really thinking about it, I stopped drinking milk and eating eggs. Maybe I just hated buying them and there was never enough room for things like that in a fridge shared by six girls, but it's something that I just slowly stopped doing and never gave any real thought to.

When I met Jo, I began to learn all kinds of things about food and about listening to my body. She has taught me to slow down (though I still am not good at this) when I eat and take the time to enjoy my food. At first it seemed weird to me because I think I grew up eating quickly for a couple reasons. One is that any good food was gone very quickly if my brothers were around. Another is that nobody in my house was a very good cook, so eating quickly was helpful if you didn't want to taste what you were eating. I've since come to learn (thanks to Jo) that food can be amazing. And it really is worth it to slow down, because it really is possible to enjoy food.

After reading (listening to) the Omnivore's Dilemma, I've discovered new ways of looking at food. I am  still not exactly the crazy, extreme, animal rights activist, though I'm a little ashamed that I'm not. I am not only committed to never eating meat again, but I have very strong convictions now about any "foods" that have been heavily (or even lightly) processed.

As for the book itself, I think it was good overall. The stories were good and personal,  and the information was well researched. I did get lost a few times trying to listen to the words and words of facts, but I feel like they were facts that I needed to hear nonetheless. The ending was disappointing and abrupt, which seemed to steal something away from me, though I'm not quite sure what. The book was informational and eye-opening. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone because I think it's important for people to know what exactly they are eating.

Have you read this book or one like it? What do you think about food?

Write on!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Not All Bats Are The Same

This is a fruit bat:

This is a baseball bat:

This is a softball bat:

The difference between the last two is very important if you are writing a story about someone who plays softball (which I am). I am a fiction writer. I used to think that I wrote fiction because I get to make up the story and don't have to do research and know all the facts. I'm learning now just how important in-depth research really is. 

The other day I went to a sports store trying to find a cheap bat that I could conduct an experiment with. I was surprised to find out that the scenes I had written (and needed to test out) were completely wrong because of one small detail: softball bats are metal, not wood. I was also (not really) surprised to find out that sports equipment is outrageously expensive. Now, I have a few changes to make to my novel so if a real softball player reads my book they won't think I'm a complete loser. 

If only my characters were runners instead of softball players and swimmers--things I know nothing about. 

What research have you done for you fiction writing?

Write on!