Writer PMS

Lately, there has not been enough chocolate in the world to satisfy me.

Also, the Washington Post’s review of the last Harry Potter movie made me cry – and I’ve only read a few of the books and seen two of the movies, it’s not like I’m invested.

Finally, I’m a bit …. how should I put it … snarly.

So it hit me today, PMS has snuck up on me again. Yeah, I’m real quick that way.

What does my TMI have to do with writing? Well, just as scientists have declared that men get PMS too, so do writers. Ours is a special strain and by using the following self-diagnosis chart you can determine if you are suffering from Writer PMS.

1. Is Everything You Write Crap?

Now, that’s not what other people say about it. That’s what that cranky-pants who lives in the back of your head whispers to you while you’re staring at your computer screen.

2. Are You Unable to Spell?

Most of us have…
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C’est La Vie

Happy Bastille Day, everyone!

I spent the morning trying to figure out how to make this blog post relevant to June 14th, but I could not come up with anything decent regarding the rise of the bourgeoisie or cake. (Anything decent about cake.) I went through a few popular French phrases: Ou est mon chat? and Lassiez les bon temps rouler! and Ceci n’est pas un pipe, but none of those really spoke to me. And I only have about fifteen minutes to write this blog post, because the Fairy Goddaughters spent the night (the internet is down at their mom’s house) and I had to make sure they ate, and I had to tell them some more stories about my recent trip to Vermont and give them a few things to do around the house today because I have to get read for working a none-hour shift at the bookstore today.

Notice how nothing in there included writing? That’s right. I’m having an abundance of Life right now. So…
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Exercise and Writing–Yea, Write! . . . I Mean Right!

How many of you find yourself working on that scene—you know the one where your characters are finally getting into the juice of the story, working on that love scene you just can’t walk away from until it’s finished and bam, another day has gone by while you promised yourself you’d start exercising again? Okay, maybe it’s just me. Lately I’ve been so focused on my writing/editing/researching and yes, checking out blogs/websites/Tweeting—all in the name of my writing career. In the meantime, I’ve managed to find my clothes a bit snug and soda cans piling up in my trash can. My favorite words lately—‘Just a few more sentences. Let me finish this scene.’ By the time I’m done I don’t have the energy to work out or it’s time to fix dinner, or some other excuse. That was me, a year ago. I was spending time applying to jobs on-line along with my hubby who’d been laid off (I was…
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Shut Up and Listen

I’ve been out of touch recently, lavishing in the brief respite from the buzzing schedule of my normal life. My family and I have seen a few sights, visited with grandparents, attended a reunion and just relaxed. I’ve enjoyed basking in the sun by the pool with a favorite book (that I’m reading for fun, not research), the air permeated by the familiar scent of sunscreen while my kids swim with their friends. I’ve enjoyed taking my girls to the mall where we can walk and talk, have lunch and window shop. And of course lots of giggling over boys—I do live with two teenage girls after all. For me, a family vacation allows time to unwind and reconnect with each other without the day-to-day distractions of home life.

During the school year I’m all about schedules. Who has to be where? Soccer, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, track, chorus, cello, friends,…
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Summer Lovin’

Summer Lovin’, had me a bla-aast…

Don’t you remember the anticipation of summer?  Counting down the days and planning adventures with friends.  Just waiting for life to begin. When every day was a gift and you yearned to make the most of it. 

I’m not talking about the scents of freshly cut grass or wild honeysuckle or even the feeling of sand between your toes and the sun’s rays tingling the tanning oil on your body.  I’m talking about feelings of love and anticipation and a world ripe with…possibilities.  The possibility of falling in love.  Again and again.

I remember the excitement about boys.  I can now look back with the realization that summer relationships taught me a lot.  It was that first taste of all-consuming love—when you knew IN ADVANCE that it wasn’t meant to last beyond the season so you tried to make each and every little moment count.

Sleeping in and sneaking out.  Giggling into the night with girlfriends about boys and willing to sneak out for…
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What reality TV has taught me about writing

I love reality TV. Love it. Over the years, I have wasted countless hours watching shows such as Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, Top Chef, The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette. Among others.

But were these hours really a waste of time? For one, reality TV has provided me with a much-needed way to unwind after a long, stressful day. For another, amidst the drama and the scandals, these shows have actually – gasp! — taught me something about writing.

Goal. Interestingly, the only reality shows I watch are the ones based on a competition. From the outset, even before we know anything about the contestants, we know what they want. To be the sole survivor. America’s favorite dancer. The biggest loser. Recipient of the final rose. Their goals are clearly defined, and the entire season revolves around the progression towards achieving…
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New York City, Nationals and the Creepy Crawlies

Bed Bugs!  My attention from Nationals was diverted by an abundance of urgent discussions on this topic amidst the WRW loop.  Shuddering, I firmly pushed aside thoughts of infestation and focused my attention on the conference and all the whispers that I had heard – “ overwhelming, awe-inspiring.. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.. your life will never be the same again.”   Yeah, sure, I thought, assuming the adage applied to those earthlings who have not been able to reign their emotion to such perfection it should be introduced as an Olympic sport.    

On the first day of the conference, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off.  Don’t get me wrong, there was NOTHING wrong with the conference.  Compared to the millions of others I attended for work purposes, this one rivaled anything I had ever seen; efficient and organized and with attention and preparedness for every detail. 

But as day one morphed into day two, I could no longer keep at bay the creepy crawly feeling seeping into…
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What’s the Buzz? – Self Publishing

RWA Nationals 2011 had loads of inspiration gushing from every workshop, meal function and hallway conversation. You name it. I loved it. But I usually do. The annual RWA conference is a drug that fills you up with the kind of joy and excitement that can keep you motivated through New Year’s Eve.

But that’s what Nationals is all about. The people. The connections. The camaraderie. The inspiration.

But like in other years, there’s always one topic that haunts me. No matter where I went or what the workshop was supposed to be all about – this subject found a way to worm itself into the moment…yep, I’m talking about self-publishing.

At my RWA 11, there wasn’t one workshop, luncheon or publisher’s spotlight that didn’t feature a comment (or more than one) about self-publishing. And those comments varied dramatically in tone and flare.

Some agents…
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What Is It Worth To You?

Being at the RWA national conference must have triggered some deep-level thought processes I was unaware of.

What do you want? What are you prepared to do?

Here’s the story – I was a member of NYSC for several years.  I loved that gym and all it had to offer.  I’d  joined with a friend who later discovered that she would get a cheaper membership with her school district’s corporate membership, and she loved getting that bargain.  I tried every trick in the book but I couldn’t match her. She worked closer to home. I didn’t. She made more money. I certainly didn’t! Even with a husband who’d been tossed out of work, there was no mercy. Pay the price, or take a hike.

But, because her school district had negotiated a corporate membership, she had advantages I didn’t. And I was supposed to be happy. I wasn’t. I kept thinking about leaving, but couldn’t find a gym that would…
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Conflict and the Ten Year Old

Conflict…an essential element of any story in the 21st Century. 

I know this because I’ve just come back from the Romance Writers of America’s National Conference in New York City where I attended several workshops attempting to really show us the core of what conflict means.   And not just that, but how it affects almost every aspect of your writing.  If you know what you’re doing with internal conflict, then you’ll have characters the readers care about.  If you can boil the main conflict of your story down to 25 words or less, you may just have a high concept which will help you have a dazzling pitch.  A tight, fast-paced novel with no sagging middle means you know what you’re doing with external conflict and your readers will appreciate that.   Every stage from the pitch, query, synopsis, the meat of the book…if you’ve got the conflict down, then you’re on the right path. 

Pages and pages of copious…
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