Sunday, January 26, 2014

A PitchWars Reflection

This past month, I was lucky enough to take part in PitchWars. For those of you who don't know of it, it's a contest created and facilitated by the amazing Brenda Drake

First things first, I got to work with the incomparable Cora Carmack. 

*If I could insert a subliminal message here it would be: READ HER STUFF! IT'S ALL SORTS OF AWESOME.* 

It was so incredibly helpful getting feedback on my story from Cora. I think of all the suggestions she gave me the one I enjoyed most was to write a creation story for my world. I had general societal background already, but I hadn't really thought about how this world originated or what deities these people believed in. If you write fantasy, I highly recommend doing this when you're thinking about world building. 

My origin story ended up being around eight pages. I'd say 85% of what I came up with did not make it into the book itself, but just having the information in the back of mind made such a huge difference in the way certain characters interacted and how particular events unfolded. It also has made the drafting for the sequel exponentially easier.  

In conclusion, do this. It's worth every second. 

Now, back for a second, to Brenda Drake. If you're a writer and not following Ms. Drake on Twitter, you need to rectify this post haste. She is a prime example of everything that is awesome about the writer community. And, as was illustrated by my PitchWars experience, there is a lot awesome about the writer community. 

But one thing really stands out to me - writers care. 

They care about their own work, of course. But they care about the work of others as well. Twitter is an excellent showcase of this. As writers sat at their computers waiting to see agent responses to their pitches and entries - most likely biting their nails and engaging in some maniacal nervous laughter - they did more than just keep hitting refresh on their own pages. They consistently posted or retweeted links to the work of other writers taking part in the contest. When they weren't doing that, there were countless tweets of encouragement or gratitude.

Writing can sometimes feel very isolated. While having the opportunity to get my work in front of agents was definitely amazing, I think what I really took from this contest is that though writers don't necessarily have a shared water cooler or conjoined cubicles, we are definitely still working together. 

And now that PitchWars has come to a close and we're all returning to our querying/revisions/drafting/hobbit holes, it's nice to know that we have a huge cheering section out there. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snowed In

Greetings Snow Lads and Lassies!

I don't know if you're snowed in right now, but I can safely say there's enough snow outside to inspire me to hunker down next to the fireplace and do a little drafting. Not to mention I'm wearing fleeced lined leggings (which is basically like being hugged by angels) and have enough Dr. Pepper in the house to float a boat. Why in the world would I give any of that up to venture out into the tundra?

You know, unless someone wanted to have a snowball fight. Then I'm there. And armed. I mean, I have terrible aim, so I'm probably not going to hit you. But I'm extremely enthusiastic in my throwing of misshapen wads of snow in every direction, which is confusing enough that you're probably not going to hit me.

Any takers?


Fire, fleece and Dr. Pepper it is. Along with some writing and frequent checking of today's PitchWars updates. (If you have some free moments, you should definitely check that out as well. Some really amazing stuff going on there. And in the alternate showcases. I'm over here!)

Also, at some point in between all this and my constant humming of the Frozen soundtrack there will be a movie break. After all, every day should have one of those, but snow days must.

In that vein, I offer my five of my top movies for snowy days:


I'm a sucker for cartoon musicals. And who doesn't like to pretend to be trekking through the Russian winter to see if you might be royalty? Or maybe just to hang out with Bartok?

The Shop Around the Corner

A precursor to You've Got Mail. Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and a Budapest winter. Apparently the snow sends my mind on international wanderings. (And yes, that is the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.)

The Mighty Ducks

Been watching this one on snowy days for over two decades now. Can't watch this first meeting without feeling a bit nostalgic for blanket tents and buckets of Legos.

Empire Strikes Back

Because I pretty much always want to watch this. Plus, if I'm inside watching this, it means I'm not freezing outside and in need of slicing open a tauntaun. Watching this movies saves (tauntaun) lives.

The Long Hot Summer

Because sometimes I like a nice contrast.

How about you? Snowed in and watching anything good? And if you say last night's Mindy Project for the second (or maybe third) time, I'll totally understand. We have to wait until April? What the what??

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dispensing Good (but Mostly Non) Fortune

I had a lovely evening recently of researching fortune tellers and eating Chinese food. Once I had fully consumed my fortune cookie (as I was told I must), I was again struck by how much the "fortunes" aren't fortunes. 

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1. Order. 2. Order. 3. Observation. 
In reference to #3...stop watching me cookie makers!

I was also very aware that I don't care about that at all. I love these silly things. They're rather like the Dove Miniatures' affirmations, only with slightly fewer references to chocolate.

Long ago, for some reason that I can no longer remember, I decided that I would never throw the fortunes away. However, I have no plans on appearing on Hoarders: Fortune Cookie Edition. Thus was born my containment method.

If I happen upon a "fortune" that I really enjoy, I keep it, but hide it from myself. Stick it in a pocket or a purse or a book - somewhere I'm likely to forget about and find again down the road. And then try to remember why the hell I thought this particular one was worth saving.

Now if the "fortune" doesn't resonate with me, that's when the real fun begins. I neither trash them nor keep them. Instead they become the property of unwitting family, friends, coworker and occasional strangers. No, not any of the people reading this, of course. I would never do that to you. The random fortunes you've found in your belongings came from another Fortune Dispenser. 


Stop looking at me, already.

Okay, you know what, we should really talk about one of your quirks now. Mostly because I need something to distract the person next to me so I can slip this fortune in her pocket.