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Other Art Forms

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Those magazine covers I sometimes post? I LOVE making those things. But they take forever. I don't know if it's my incessant need to find The Perfect Font for one tiny little heading, or my obsession with coordinating colors. One cover usually takes two-three hours and that's a lot of writing time. I always end up feeling guilty after so many hours on Photoshop. But I kinda think it keeps me sane. It's a type of art I love doing just for me. I really have no desire to become a graphic artist (mostly because the inner critic tells me I can't). I'm not trying to please clients. Or editors. Or anything like that. I'm just doing. And that feels awesome.

So should I feel guilty? I have to wonder if a second form of art---or hobby for that matter---is necessary for a writer. Writers are inherently creative, but writing can be taxing and sometimes you avoid it because of that. But you can't neglect the creative muscle for too long, or it loses it's awesomeness.

So no, I'm not going to feel guilty. Or at least I'm going to try not to feel guilty. I just wish I had more hours in the day!

And speaking of graphics and Photoshop---

I have another MEAT magazine cover that I made for my agent and which I reallllllly love. It's pink and girly! I'm considering posting it, but maybe you guys are sick of seeing the magazines? :P

Evolution of a Writer

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I was thinking the other day how I can come up with the craziest to-do lists in order to avoid writing. And then I wondered what it must have been like for a writer/artist/scribe years, decades, centuries ago, long before Twitter, and TV, and Internet. And that's how this post came to be. 

Favorite Movie Character

Saturday, April 23, 2011

There are so many reasons to love Jack. The ones I listed above are only a sample of what and who he truly is. I love how he stands back and analyzes and calculates and then twists people to do exactly what he wants without working too hard.

I love that he surprises people ALL THE TIME. Like getting off that island? The rumored escape on the backs of turtles, only to find out it was something far, far simpler? Brilliant. People underestimate Jack, and he lets them. And that's what I love about him.

Who is your favorite character?

Spring Zombie Quarterly

Monday, April 18, 2011
Another MEAT magazine cover. Just in time for Easter!

Twelfth Night

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Last night, The Hubs and I went to a theater performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night out at the community college. At risk of revealing my lameness, I must admit I've never been to a theater performance. And I wasn't sure what to expect of this tiny production set at a college surrounded by Michigan backwoods. Oh, and did I mention it was done in the style of Japanese anime?

We took our seats at 7:30 and before I knew it, it was near 10:30. Somehow, the night escaped me as I escaped into the performance.

The show was so well done, the costumes spot-on and brilliant, the small set well-used. I can't believe how much I laughed. My favorite characters were Sir Toby Belch, a drunken uncle to one of the other characters, and his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

Toby (left) and Andrew (right)

Andrew was this tall, chicken-legged man who seemed easily swayed by Toby's antics. The man who played Toby played a hilarious drunk.

Seeing this play made me want to write the book. I suppose in my writerly heart, that's the highest form of compliment I can give. It inspired me so much, it made me want to relive the story again. I don't know if I ever will, but the thing I take away from this performance is how important characters are. The big, bright, bold characters lit the stage and I looked forward to their scenes. That's just as important in writing. Your characters have to be loud (metaphorically), and they have to be vivid, and they have to have presence. Everything they do should be so engaging that readers can't look away.

So my advice? Watch a theater performance. Doesn't matter if you're in NY or in the middle of the Michigan woods. Buy your ticket and study the characters. I promise you, you'll be inspired.

Happy Birthday TRACI!

Friday, April 15, 2011
Today is my BFF/co-worker's birthday. And being the awesome friend that I am, and knowing how much she loooooooves Channing Tatum, I made her a birthday present. To preface, her name is *Traci Waye.

*not her actual name --- I wasn't sure if she'd be comfortable with me using her real name

Books I ♥

Thursday, April 14, 2011
I think, like a lot of people, I've been impatiently awaiting the release of Ryan's last book in the Forest trilogy. And she didn't disappoint. Her writing is so fluid and moody. It's like the most gorgeous thunderstorm you've ever seen. And you can't help but feel the writing reverberate through you, right down to your toes.

So, Carrie, what comes next? Because I am desperate for more.

I enjoy reading historical fiction, but never have I read a book that felt as authentic as this one did. Every tiny little detail, from the setting, to the dialogue, to the main character's internal dialogue. I loved every part of this book. 

From an old LiveJournal post --- Sensory Triggers

Monday, April 11, 2011
About four years ago, my husband switched shifts at work and had to be there at Back then, we only had one car and I needed it to take Son to school. So every morning, the three of us got up, took Joe to work, then Son and I would go to the gas station. It was mid-January. Snowy. Cold. Son and I would get hot chocolates, maybe a donut.

Back at home, we'd hang out in my bedroom. I'd turn on VH1. Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around Comes Around" played non-stop. Now, whenever I hear that song, I'm instantly taken back to those few months in the dead of winter. Hot chocolate in hand, music playing in the background, Son sleeping next to me because he always crashed out. I might have hated getting up so early, and I might have hated driving in the snow, but somehow those months stand out in memory, those dark, cozy mornings meaning more to me than the summer months that came after.

In Altered, Anna's life drastically changes around page 30. While on the run, certain things remind her of home, and those sensory triggers are important, for her and me. Brittle field grass shifting in the wind always reminds her of the field behind her house.

I realized Anna had several triggers, but it made me wonder, what about the other characters? This is something I think I need to do for every character. I don't think it matters what type of person they are---sensitive, stubborn, evil, plain---everyone can experience a sensory trigger. Even an evil wizard might be reminded of his childhood when smelling burning lizard tails. Right?

When I'm working on a project, I spend a lot of time on this site a free stock photography site where I gather photos that remind me of the book or the characters or the setting. Sometimes I make backgrounds for my computer with the photo and a line from the book so every time I open the computer, I'm greeted with the image. It always gets me in the mood. Here's one I made for Anna---

It doesn't just tell me something about the character or the setting, it makes me feel, because I'm so close to it. It helps put me in Anna's head, puts me in that enviroment. I find it helps a lot with writing. 

Romantic at Heart

Friday, April 8, 2011
Remember when I said I pulled out some old words and gave them a shake? And then proceeded to make something new with them? Well, I made a comic. A girly comic. A romance comic?

At any rate, regardless of what you call it, it sucked. But *some* of it was salvageable.

And since I am a romantic at heart, you are all about to be treated with the first 'block' of my romance comic. Probably the sappiest block out of all of them. But I love it.

U of U

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Zombies need schools, too, right?

1000 Words or Less

As any writer knows, many, many stories start and end in under a 1000 words. A character speaks to you. Or a setting comes to mind. And you start writing. But for some reason, the character only has that one thing to say. You don't know what comes next and maybe you have no desire to know.

I have hundreds of files on my computer and flash drive that are less than a 1000 words. And I love many of them. I just have no desire to write the rest of the story. That one scene was enough. I use to think it was such a waste of time and words, but now I look at those files as precious exercise---like a quick five-minute jog in the park. You get your heart racing, you stretch your muscles, and then you're done and you feel good and you go about your day. Not at all like the 28-mile marathon of a novel.

That quick jog is just as important as the marathon. Without it, your body wouldn't remember the way to move, to work the lungs, to keep the muscles limber.

So I made something with those words. Took them out, gave them a shake. And I love them all over again.

From Sub to Pub 3

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

That first week on submission was easy. Because I wasn’t really expecting to hear much. Editors have to read the book, and from my understanding, they almost always send it off to a second reader if they liked it. And that takes time.

The second week, however, I started haunting the Internet and Verla Kay’s message board looking for inspirational and encouraging posts. Hearing what other writers went through during submissions helped a lot. Some waited just a few days for the first offer. Others waited months. Some didn’t even get offers. And I had to remind myself that what happened was totally out of my control. It would either sell, or it wouldn't, and I would deal.

Some part of me believed wholeheartedly that Altered would sell. But the larger part of me just couldn’t accept the fact that any of this was really happening. As any writer knows, rejections are expected. You play this game long enough and you almost brainwash yourself into thinking that it’ll never happen. You work so hard---you ignore your family, you pay your water bill late because you can‘t concentrate on anything other than plot twists, you gain five pounds and drink far too many bottles of wine---only to be told no.

So when it finally does happen, for lack of a better phrase, you freak the hell out.

We got our first offer February 11th. And I was the sickest I’ve been in a long time. I knew Altered was going to acquisitions that day. But I couldn’t seem to stay awake long enough to marry my cell phone or burn a hole through my browser refresh button.

Jo called sometime after four to tell me the good news. I’m not entirely sure what I said in that conversation. I know I didn’t scream because I couldn’t get my voice that high. I know there was mention of abs and hot guys and then Jo told me to get some rest and we hung up. And then I passed out for another four hours.

It took me almost six days to get better. Of all the times to catch the flu! It should have been the best time of my life! Instead, I alternated between ecstatic and comatose.

But, thankfully, by the following Friday, when we got our second offer, I was well enough to squee. And squee I did.

Altered went to auction the following Wednesday. When all was said and done, I felt like Little, Brown was the right publisher for me. And when I talked to Julie on the phone the following day, it only solidified my decision. I never gave much thought to how passionate my future editor would be (would have to be) in order to take my book on, and Julie had passion in spades. I walked away from that phone call glowing.

Altered was going to be published. It was going to be released in the wild. It really was happening.

So for anyone out there still writing, querying, or on submission, even if it feels like you'll never hop the fence to the other side --- the side we've convinced ourselves is far greener --- know that it can, and it will happen. :)

And that concludes my Sub to Pub posts. J