27 May 2013

It's Away!

You may have noticed the distinct lack of anything happening on this blog.

Sorry about that, I've been busy.  With lots of stuff. But the most important bit is this...

My publisher, Jolly Fish Press, send me my first round of editing revisions two weeks ago.  I had until today to get them back.  Pile this on top of an already bloated work schedule, the end of the school year for friends and family, the boyfriend (he is SUCH a time sucker) and trips and my life kind of went into overdrive mode.

Well, it was more like this:

But I'm feeling a little better now.  Mostly because I finished my edits, saved the file, took a deep breath, and sent it back.

Has anyone else ever felt like if they had the time they could rewrite the whole dang book and make it SOOoooo much better? Because that's how I feel.

I don't want to rewrite the book-I've beat the poor thing to death. But I see myself as a better writer now than when I wrote the novel, and my OCD is twitching like crazy to fix it.  All of it.

Lucky for me, a very helpful package of Thin Mints talked me down, and I only changed what I felt had to be changed.

This was pass 1 for editing. I didn't really know what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised that JFP didn't have much for me to change.  That was nice. But it didn't stop me from reading the whole thing aloud all the way through looking for issues.

Because I'm that author. The crazy, needy one who wants everything to be perfect.

That's why I sent it as fast as I could this morning, so I couldn't think about it any more.

Now I'm going to play with Babes in Spyland.

And for my reward, I'm going to see Star Trek.

So there.

12 May 2013

Be Mean To Characters-The Little Things

Everyone is busy. If it's not kids, it's aging parents, or a needy spouse, or soccer practice, or a day job, or a night job, or a service opportunity, or a random obligation you didn't mean to say yes to, or an old friend in from out of town, or a cold, or the microwave blows up, or pursuing a hobby, or a mental illness or a struggling friend, or a lack of sleep that is about to drive you batty, or the simple fact that you're in a bad mood and have no extra energy by the time 8pm comes around.

And I came up with those from just three people. Imagine what it's like when we put everyone's stresses in one pile. I think that's what is now referred to as “Going Postal.”

But that's not what this blog post is about.

A few minutes ago, I sat staring at my computer screen, wondering what I should blog about. I'm frustrated about things that have nothing to do with writing, but they're effecting my writing. Affecting? Whichever. I didn't think I had anything writer-ish to type about.

But then my brain kicked into gear.

Oh yes, go brain.

Are you ready for this? This is so brilliant I'm pretty sure I've stolen it from somewhere.

Think about the last character you wrote or are writing. What are their worries? Sure, they've got those pesky aliens who are about to invade and destroy all the rolls of toilet paper on the planet (hey, this is really serious), but what else is going on? Ex-girlfriend bugging him? Maybe his dog is at the Vet for a haircut and must be picked up by 5:00pm or they charge an extra $50, which he just used to buy the last cell phone charger at the store because his phone was about to die as he was talking to the woman in charge, who is his now girlfriend and is really, really mad that he hung up on her.

Maybe his mother doesn't approve of said girlfriend. Or his best friend is trying to sell an old Porsche and keeps asking what price he should put on it. And his tap dancing instructor wants him to do a show on Friday night.

Who knows!?!?!

If we have these little concerns, than our characters do too.

So put them in your story. If your character isn't at least as stressed out as you are on TOP of whatever the story is about, then their life is way more fair than yours is.

You'd better take care of that.

01 May 2013

Fairy Godmothers Inc.

Hey all!
Today we have a guest. I would say to be nice to her, but I'm pretty sure she can hold her own.

Meet Jennifer Wardell, author of Fairy Godmothers Inc., lover of bacon and all around instigator of trouble.  The good kind, of course!

If you could eat anything for breakfast, what would it be?
Bacon. Glorious, glorious bacon.

Do you prefer leather or cloth seats in cars? Why?
I generally prefer cloth seats, because if I’m sitting on a leather seat I’ve probably lost my mind and stolen some rich person’s car. Since they probably wouldn’t let me have my laptop in prison, I’d rather avoid getting arrested if I can help it.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
London. I’ll be able to geek out simultaneously on Shakespeare, Sherlock, and Doctor Who, and it’s the perfect place to feed my shameful museum addiction. I do promise, though, not to harass the guards at Buckingham Palace – they seem to get in enough trouble as it is.

What is the most interesting job you've ever had?
Being a journalist. I’ve talked to mixed martial arts fighters, watched someone build a guillotine, roamed behind the scenes while they were filming for a video game, and gotten an up-close look at mummies. And that’s just been in the last year.

Tell us about a strange writing habit that you have.
When I really need to concentrate on a tough scene and the outside world is too distracting, I’ll write in the dark. In the summer, I like to go out on the front porch after the sun sets. If it’s cold enough that hypothermia might be an issue, I’ll go into the bathroom and sit with my back to the door.

What is your favorite quote/saying about writing? What does it mean to you?
I collect quotes about writing like other people collect buttons or stamps, so this is a tough one. I don’t think I can pick a single #1 quote, but one of my favorites is by Barbara Kingsolver: “This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don't consider it rejected. Consider that you've addressed it 'to the editor who can appreciate my work' and it has simply come back stamped 'Not at this address'. Just keep looking for the right address.” I re-read it so many times when my manuscript was making the rounds, and it never stopped being a comfort.

What scene of this novel proved to be the most difficult for you to write?
The first time Kate’s heart gets broken. I really felt everything she was feeling, and at the same time had to struggle to explain it precisely enough that everyone reading would understand why she was so upset. Also, I understood what the person who had upset her was going through as well, so I just felt bad for everyone.

What scene turned out exactly as you imagined it?
Oddly enough, the second version of the ending. My original version was a little bit of a cop-out, and even though it was good I thought I could do better. In the final version I amped up the action, gave all of my lovely cast more room to play, and orchestrated everything with a much more precise sense of timing. I re-wrote the chapter in a big burst one morning, and it just flew.

What aspect of your life has most influenced your writing?
My reading. I essentially write the stories I wish were already on the shelves, and they’d be right next to Terry Pratchett, Patricia C. Wrede and all the other authors I’ve read and loved over the years. Their words inspired mine, and I’ll be forever in debt to them.

Why should people read your book? What does it have to offer them? (Besides the simple fact that it is awesome?)
“Fairy Godmothers, Inc.” is funny, romantic, exciting, emotional, and like nothing you’ve ever read before. If Terry Pratchett was a girl, he would have written this (but please don’t tell him I said that.)

If you could write a spin-off novel about a side character, who would you choose?
It’s not technically a spin-off, but I’ve already got the outline for a sequel in mind that would give Lawton (Prince Jon’s friend) much more room to play. He’s so sarcastic that he’s a delight to write, and I have a sneaking suspicion there’s so much more to his back story than he’s telling me. It would be fun to see how he handled being shoved into the spotlight.

Tell us why you love this story.
This is the fairy tale for everyone who’s spent their lives being pushed to the sidelines, who had to sit by and watch while the crowd’s eyes were on someone else. Everyone who always felt the sidelines were where they belonged, since only pretty, popular people deserve to be the heroes.
I wanted to show them how wrong they were. How wrong I’ve always been to feel the same way. We all deserve a story.
This one’s ours. 

I dare you to read this book and not love it!

You can stalk Jennifer here: