Bruised Purple

Personal Notes: I would rather have a kid who yelled and argued than one who whined any day. My middle son is the one who seems to think nothing is fair if he doesn't get his way exactly how he wants it, on his own time schedule.

He, um, kind of got that from me. Existentially, I'm very bossy.

I got the letter yesterday, the one telling me, despite the agent really liking my work, and thinking I'm a "wonderful writer", she couldn't offer to represent Silver. It gave a whole new meaning to the term 'paper cut'. I don't want any of my awesome betas or ladies getting angry with her, because the agent was really amazing about it. Really, really. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt, if I made you think I've brushed myself off and forgotten it. I haven't. I still want to cry. All the fore-knowledge and scary publishing statistics in the world can't immunize you to the pain of coming so close and missing. The part I found the most perplexing was being told a few parts of the novel sounded too young, or too immature. After everyone kept telling me the opposite.

I need to fall back in love with this book, because I have lost my faith in it a little. The rejection brought doubt with it. Of course it did. That is part of the nature of rejection. "No" is negative, after all. Anyway, I need to have myself a good sit down and remind myself why I want what I want for this book, all the wonderful reasons outside of myself to get it out there. Things like loving the characters, and loving my readers, and loving how the book brings me closer to them, giving me the oppotunity to pass on what I learned during the chaos of my own teendom, and how I intend to donate to so many causes from sales. I need bigger reasons than fame, and material gain to put myself out there again.

But just so you know I'm still human, there is definitely a part of me going, "WHAT THE HADES?!?"

Scotts Taped

Personal Notes: My youngest, Ben, is terrified of cats. I'm not terrified of much, except cockroaches. If I see a roach (not other bugs, or even spiders, snakes, rodents, etc.--I'm kind of cool like that) and there's someone else around of a grown-up nature who can kill it instead of me, THEY are going to. I'll be over here in my corner, huddles in revulsion until it's all over, thanks. On the other hand, if I'm the sole adult in residence, I can make myself do the deed . . . because I'd much rather know I killed that sucker, risking it touching me, then think it's going to crawl away somewhere and send out a cattle call to 500 of its closest friends.

Also, sometimes our neighbor's cat shows up in our house. That--and I am not a bad mother for saying this--is hilarious because suddenly the house if RIFE with panicked toddler screaming.

So, I think I finally overcame that whole character-block thing a couple days ago. The thing, of course, is I can't really tell you about it, because it's some major spoilerific, and would probably ruin Golden and quite possibly aspects of Bronze for you. I am not a fan of spoilers, and can only think of two times in my who reading career when I stooped to look up "what happens" online or wherever.

But suffice to say, I'm a very character-driven writer. Most of you know that. Before I do anything, I ask myself, 'Who is this person, and if I stick him or her in this situation, what is the natural thing or or she will do in reaction?" before I do anything else. And that has a domino effect for me. That question's cousin is, "Okay, this is the way I want the EVENTS to take place, so, knowing this character so well, what do I have to do to him or her to make her take that particular action?" Yeah, it's kind of like putting mice in a maze and expirimenting to find out what makes them take the long route verses the short one, to the end. On a basic level, it's pretty obvious; most characters will redirect to avoid a 'bad' thing or redirect to come into contact with a 'good' thing. So you have to ask yourself, "What's my character consider good? Bad? And when faced with two bad options, or two good ones, what's the factor that will make one a lesser evil or a greater good?"

I was fighting with myself. I couldn't write the next scene. I didn't know why. I didn't know why I couldn't just sit down and say "character A is going to do and say this to character B", but I didn't understand why not. And then it hit me. I didn't have all the information. It was one of those monster "story math" problems, you know, the ones where you get a little story about Christopher and Pam, and eating apples, only instead of the problem asking me, "So, how many apples did they have left after they ate X amount?" it randomly wanted to know what the temperature was in Nova Scotia. How the Hades was I suppose to devine the weather patterns on another continent from Christopher's and Pam's lunchtime brouhaha???? How was I suppose to know what Character A needed to say and do around Character B right now to produce the outcome I wanted later . . . when I wasn't--um, quite sure, I mean I kind of knew, but not totally--what was happening at that unspecified future date?

Well, I know now. And even better, I know WHY, and what it all means not just for Characters A, B, and maybe even C, but for the whole rest of my insane Dionadir posse.

Someone, I'm am not even kidding, you better be sending me some brownies. With no nuts.

Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Foe

Personal Notes: First off, seriously, why in the world are all the sounds effects in the old-school computer RPG game MYST so freaky? I've been scared of the elevator 'whoosh!' and the 'half-tuned static' noises since the first installment, and any other game or movie with similar sounds makes me cringe. For the record, I'm not normally scared of elevators or static. Just the MYST ones.

Secondly, I'm the second generation mommy in my line to play the "Fire-bumper" game with my babies. That's where you touch the referenced body parts while sing-songing, "Fire-bumper (forehead), eye-winker, tommy-tinker (left eye, right-eye), nose-smeller, mouth-eater, chin-chomper, BELLYBELLYBELLYBELLY!!!!"

Sometimes I am my worst enemy, whether it comes from writing a scene and having all the important information out of order (I totally reorganized a scene yesterday, realizing how bizarrely I had it after fighting with it and/or ignoring it for a week) or letting statistics get me down (on my bad days I look at the reality of how possible vs. impossible it is to become a published author and want to cry).

Both are kind of stupid.

Of course, at those moments, it doesn't feel stupid. It feels enormous.

For Silver I didn't actually write a formal outline until I was 3/4 into the book. I kind of just forced something out and hoped like Hades one of the many characters in my head would let me know whether or not the info was realistic. And that worked, for a first book, first draft, until I realized, "Crap. I have to think about what consequences things in this book have for the second and third books, and vice versa. Because yes, things from book two definitely have a bearing for how things in book one work. Make a little posty-note about that. You wanna write a multi-book story? Yeah, you want to think of the whole enchilada, even while you write the first part.

Now, I know I've mentioned my main form of plotting and organizing involves scribling nearly-indecipherable, cryptic non-proper sentences on Post-It Notes and small scraps of a paper. But around chapter three of Golden (when I had figured out about two dozen plot points which I'd scattered on dead trees all over my very pretty accordian file folder doohickie), I realized I needed an outline, because I had to decided where everything WENT.

Insane. It was really difficult for two reasons; obviously, because it wasn't a natural way of doing things for me, but even more so because I HATE the feeling of being told how to do something. Which, again, I realize is kind of dumb. I mean, I wrote the freakin' thing, didn't I? I'm the one who said how it would go, yeah? Doesn't seem to matter; it's still too much like 'authority', with which I have issues. Like the Mellancamp song says "I fight authority, authority always wins." And worse, my characters, perhaps because they all have a little me in them, are the same. They do not do well with the restriction of "This is how it's gonna go."

So, it's a little frustrating, because I know all this AMAZING stuff that's going to happen, really fantastic I'm-so-excited-about-it-I-could-puke stuff, but it isn't making it onto the page very well. And the pressure's on. Last chapter turned out beautifully. In at least one beta reader's opinion, the best chapter of the series so far. Talk about pressure. Talk about, "Hey, Ame, this next chapter, it's really gotta score, because if you don't get it JUST RIGHT, you're so going to BOMB, and not in the good way."

So, I've been hiding from the next chapter. Hiding, I tell you. I mean, yeah, I've legitimately had a lot of stuff going on outside of making Joss's life a guilty hell-hole, what with the painting of the disgustingly blue doors to a much better and prettier red, but still, if I'm honest, I'm hiding. I have questions I'm not entirely sure I have answers for.

But, if I remember correctly, I felt the same way about the last chapter too, before I figured it all out. You know . . . the chapter my betas adore.

I have the feeling pizza might make everything better. For me, not Joss. There are some things even mushrooms and mozzerella can't fix for you.

Moral of the story? Don't psych yourself out, and have your local Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's, etc. on speed dial.

Oh, and here.