Monthly Archives: July 2006

Plotting

A few weeks ago we started a writing topic of the week on my local RWA chapter loop. This week we’re talking about plotting.
It’s kind of funny because plotting is probably the thing I stink most at. Especially with romantic suspense. At least that’s what the editors say. 🙂
Too much plot, not enough romance. But isn’t romance PART of plot? I know when I sit down to pre-plan my books, I start with the romance and then work the plot in. Obviously I’m doing something wrong. 🙂
So me trying to point the group in the right direction is kind of like asking a vegetarian for the perfect steak recipe.
We just did Vickie Taylor’s plot blob workshop in June. It was wonderful.
How about it? What plot essentials have you used? I’ll include a link to the blogs of those who respond when I post answers on my local group’s loop.

Whoa

Summer’s over. It’s back to work for me Monday. The air’s on in the building and I’ve got to get my room set up. My goal this year is to be SUPER organized. It’s the key to staying as far from last year’s mess of deadline havoc as possible. I’m not the most organized of people, so it’s going to be interesting.
I have two staffs of 30 kids each on pretty demanding deadlines, plus this year I’m adding the Internet to the mix. We’re shooting for an awesome website ready to go live as soon as school starts. I figure web publishing is as essential a tool for my kids as strong writing skills and design knowledge. We’re hoping for podcasts, video packages and breaking news. It’s a BIG goal since I know nothing about podcasts and video and little about website building. But I figure when I started all I knew about design was cut and paste and lightboards. Give me a sheet of layout paper and a roll of 1 pt. tape and I was good to go. The Macs in my room scared the crap out of me. They didn’t scare the crap out of the kids and over time, I learned. I’m excited about both publications and the kids I have running them. I’m even excited about book sales: full color. YIKES! Another one of those times are changing decisions I had to make. I’m excited about using a lesson I saw at camp this summer presented by McKinney yearbook adviser, Lori Oglesby. She taught me all about show don’t tell using the Bruce Springsteen song Glory Days. It was easy and fun and I can’t wait to share it with my students. I did it at a camp I taught this summer and it seemed to be a hit. If you’re interested, go get a copy of the lyrics. It’s all there.
I can’t wait to read all about Nationals from those who went. I hope y’all post lots of good info!!!

Awesome Resource

Lisa Gardner’s website is an AMAZING resource for writers. She has her workshops on synopsis and romantic suspense posted for download as well as several other great articles. If you haven’t already, check it it out!!!!

I’ll be teaching the next few days, so I don’t know how often I’ll be able to check in. If you’re going to Nationals, have a wonderful time!

Teaching

I taught at the Walsworth yearbook camp in town this week and had a BLAST! My class was theme development and the schools there are going to have incredible books. They blew me away! Next year, my kids are going to be HIGHLY encouraged to attend this camp. Even my newspaper kids.
Tomorrow I’ll be in San Antonio teaching again. I’m so ready for school to start. I’ve loved my summer, and I got a lot accomplished, but it’s time to get back to work.
Strangely enough our sermon tonight started with “the details”, the little things that make a difference. It’s true in life and it’s true in writing and it’s true in publications too. That’s what we’re going to work on at camp this week. The DETAILS. And then, I’m going to make something for my wall to remind myself that the details matter, they make the difference. I’m reading Margot Early’s new Super and that really rings true there. Her books seem so REAL because of the details. She does the same thing that Karen Templeton does. Their books aren’t incredibly fast reads, or packed with snappy dialogue or super sexy. They feel real. I love that.

Still working

The synopsis is NOT done.
I did however find Lisa Gardner’s fabulous synopsis workshop on her website.
I’m sincerely hoping it helps me.
I DO have the first and third paragraphs of the query done. I need to figure out the hero’s paragraph and then I’m good to go. WHY didn’t I do a good synopsis BEFORE I wrote the book? And where are all these doubts coming from?
UGH!!!!

Ups & Downs

I love my lunch group. It’s summer, but some of us met last night for drinks anyway. They’re one of the best parts of school starting soon!
One of the worst parts will be figuring out a way to get my fresh fruits and veggies to school. And I’ve got to because Cancun is right around the corner.
I was feeling bummed about my writing until I realized it’s just my massive sadness that I’m not going to Nationals this year. But it was Nationals or Cancun with the family. Cancun won. I’m going to keep reminding myself of that. Waaaa.

Synopsis: Still not done, but it will be. Today. Because I’m teaching the rest of this week and next week. So it MUST be.

Finished Gena Showalter’s Enslave Me Sweetly. OMG. It’s sooooo hot. DH loved the cover. He wants me to continue reading the book forever. The guys at the Y loved the cover too. I liked Eden even more than Mia, and I loved Mia.

Edited to add:
I went to Wal-Mart last night to buy baby gifts for my sister and left with Laurie Marie Altom’s new American and Margot Early’s new Super. Woo Hoo!!!!!! I have more to read while I’m trying to ignore the 110 temps outside. 😦

Synopsis

What is it about that one word that drives me crazy?
You’d think I’d have a system developed by now that I loved. But no. I hate writing a synopsis. I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t for my last book. But the truth’s back and it’s driving me crazy. I don’t know why. It’s just an overview of the book. So what’s the big deal?!
UGH!

Pirates

Cindy Vallar spoke at our last RRRW meeting, She says pirates are going to be big. I tend to agree. After all, I spent money today to see the new PotC movie today, even though I KNEW it was a big set up for the next movie.
It was definitely that.
I thought it was way too long for what takes place.
Elizabeth’s characterization is WEAK, weak, weak. She’s all over the place. In the end, she’s awesome. I don’t know why they couldn’t let her be that person all the way through the movie.
It seemed to me the writers were far more interested in special effects than story. I sincerely hope the third movie is better.
That said, Johnny Depp was great once again.

I read a great book this weekend. Mood Swing by Jane Graves is awesome. Three great stories in one. I started reading Saturday night and was tired all through church because I couldn’t put the book down until I finished.
I need to find a great new pirate story so I can forget my disappointment in PotC. Anyone have suggestions?

Dear Mother Nature

Okay, I realize global warming is a problem. I understand we use way too much gasoline because we don’t like to carpool or use public transportation. And I KNOW Wichita Falls is terrible about that. Our public transportation stinks and I drive to my friends’ houses even though they only live a couple blocks away.
But please, I’m begging you, PLEASE, give us a break. This 110 stuff is driving me crazy. Yesterday I went to the Y to get away from the heat. That’s crazy. I think I’m losing it.
I hope you’ll consider my request.
Sincerely,
MBLee

critique partners

I love mine. I mean seriously. They don’t pull any punches. When I wimp out on a scene, they tell it like it is. When I do a great job, they say woo hoo. When I blow characterization, they point out the problems. I got to experience all of those at yesterday’s session.
And I got to read more of Karen’s upcoming book. I swear, she just gets better and better. And she gets the BEST covers. I mean, look at these:

YUM!!!!!

And

Perfect.

My other CP is unpubbed, but she’s awesome. She just doesn’t submit enough. She got a terrible rejection right off the bat, I mean TERRIBLE. I know they say rejections aren’t personal, but this one was. Of course, she’s grown a ton as a writer since then, but she hasn’t submitted much since then. I hope that changes. Sure, rejections suck, but submitting keeps you going.
Speaking of which, I’ve GOT to get busy revising my synopsis. I’d like to get it out the door by Wednesday. I realize this close to Nationals is kind of a crazy time to send something out there, but I want a jump on all those requested fulls from appointments.
We didn’t get the dates for next year’s J-Camp. I hope I can go to Nationals. Hopefully it won’t be as hot as its been this year. I think we’d jump for joy at 100. I know I would.