Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Middle Grade vs. Young Adult

At dinner Friday night we were discussing the difference between Middle Grade and Young Adult literature.  I found this blog post very helpful. 

My biggest problem is word count.  When I started this big rewrite I was probably about 125,000 words.  I am down to 115,490 words.  I still have thirteen or fourteen chapters to trim, so I fully expect that number to continue to drop.  I mean, I cut 400 words just last night!  But I'll still be at the very top end for my genre.  I'm okay with that.

Thoughts from any of you?  I've been reading more YA lately, but there are several MG series that I want to read.  I still haven't read Harry Potter (I know!  The horrors!) and the Percy Jackson series looks interesting. What have you been reading lately?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wonderful weekend. Also a dream featuring Janet Reid.

It was my birthday on Saturday and it rocked!  I went out Friday night with Becky, Mary, Ami, and Alicia.  We went to dinner and a movie and then ice cream afterwards.  It was such a nice break to be with girlfriends and just laugh and be crazy.  These girls, along with my mom, are also going to be my Phase 2 readers.  Becky, Mary and Mom read my book in November.  I was going to give it to Ami and Alicia, but my first three readers had very similar comments.  I decided to work on a rewrite and then Ami & Alicia could see the new version with fresh eyes, while Becky, Mary, and Mom would have the perspective of the first draft.

I think these women are fantastic readers and I really look forward to their feedback.  As I work through the book this time, I can feel how much better it is.  I think I'm getting close.  But I want it to be as good as I can make it before I start queries, and my readers can help me get there.  They are wonderful friends but aren't afraid to tell me if something sucks.  I love them for that.

Yes, friends, I am KISSING UP!

And who's read "Graceling"?  For serious, go read it.  I want to discuss it on the blog but if only Becky & I have read it, it won't be much of a discussion.

Finally.  Last night I dreamed about Janet Reid.  She is a literary agent with a fantastic blog and the amazingly helpful Query Shark site.  I've never met her (I should be so lucky!), nor do I know what she looks like, but her work has helped me become a better writer and also taken much of the fear out of the query process.  Anyhoo.  Last night I dreamed that she called me on the phone (!!!) and told me that she was doing a conference in Salt Lake this very weekend.  One of the authors she planned to critique had backed out at the last moment.  She was familiar with my work and wanted me to send her a copy of my manuscript right away, and also wanted me to attend the conference.  Of course I was stoked... until I realized that my book is NOT done, and that I couldn't go to Salt Lake this weekend!  Cue panic attack.

If Janet Reid called and personally invited me to attend a conference, I would be there even if it was in Taiwan and I had to sell my leg to make it happen.  Second lesson from this dream?  I need to finish the freakin' book!  :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Let's discuss books

Wow!  I am loving the warmer weather!  It's so nice to go outside without a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, boots...  I hate winter.  Have I mentioned that?  I am going to bed early tonight.  I have finished a chapter for today and I need sleep.  Since I don't always have a lot to share from my endless editing process, I thought it would be fun to discuss YA books that we've read recently.

So the next post will be about Graceling.  I know Becky's read it- has anyone else?  It's a good read.  Also, I'd love suggestions for YA books you've read recently and would like to discuss.  I tend to prefer the paranormal YA, but I'm open to anything.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer

I was going to post about the new trailer for Eclipse. But right now I'm liking this better.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things that make me happy today

  • No more strep throat!  YAY!
  • New Gossip Girl episode tonight.  Only been waiting since DECEMBER (stupid CW and their huge long breaks).  But check out the preview here.  I can't wait for all of the trashy goodness!
  • It's almost 50 degrees outside and my kids are riding their bikes.  Peace for Mommy.
  • Did I mention it's almost 50 degrees outside?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let's catch up, shall we?

My apologies for the gap in posting.  As usual, life at my house is far from predictable.  Last Thursday, I was happily slashing away at my word count when I heard my 4-year old screaming.  I reached his room just in time to see him sit up in bed and projectile-vomit all over his pillow.  That was a happy surprise.  I pulled him off his bunk bed and raced to the bathroom, and we made it in time for Round 2.  My darling hubby is not great at waking up.  Trying to be helpful, he stumbled into the hall and asked if I needed help; his words were so slurred that he sounded like he'd just come home from the bar.  I asked him to get some water, so darling vomiting child could rinse his mouth.  Hubby, still not yet awake, blinked at me and asked, "In a bucket?"

The night was obviously going well.

Not much writing has happened since then.  After pulling all the pukey sheets off the bed (because hubby has a crazy gag reflex and I really didn't need two of them bent over the toilet), I spent the night sleeping on a mattress on the floor with 4-yo and a large bowl, and I woke up every time he coughed.  He was sick all day Friday, and I had to go pick up 6-yo from school because his tummy hurt.  Of course, 6-yo spent the rest of the day running around like a crazy man and playing Nintendo, but always insisting that yes, he really was sick.

By Monday I thought things were getting better.  I sent 6-yo to school, and 4-yo to preschool.  Then Tuesday afternoon, 6-yo's teacher called and asked me to come pick him up from school again.  He had crashed and burned since afternoon recess and was adamant he wouldn't make it home on the bus.  Now 6-yo had told me that morning that his throat hurt, but after the Friday fiasco I was skeptical.  He was awfully bouncy to be sick, and told me he was fine to go to school.

When I arrived at his school Tuesday afternoon, he was resting in the office.  As soon as I saw him, I knew he wasn't faking this time.  He was shivering and pale, and when I touched his forehead, he was burning up.  I loaded him into our awesome mini-van and he cried because he was cold.  By the time we made it home (about a 7-minute drive) he was asleep.  I hauled him inside, which isn't easy because the kid is SOLID, and dumped him in my bed with about seven blankets.  He slept for a few hours.  Then he started crying, ran to the bathroom, and puked.

Okay, now despite his one complaint about his throat hurting, which had made me suspect strep, I figured that puking was something else.  6-yo was also saying that he had a terrible headache.  Now go to the Mayo Clinic Symptom Checker website.  Terrible headache, a bump on the head the day before (his friend tackled him on the playground- on pavement, of course), fever, and vomiting... Brings up a bunch of scary results like meningitis, subdural hematoma, and brain tumor.  GREAT.  Mommy is so relieved.  Daddy convinces her that a trip to the emergency room is not yet required.

Wednesday.  6-yo is doing a little better and I'm thinking maybe we're getting over this weird, nasty stomach bug.  Until I start getting a fever.  And my throat starts hurting.  And I'm thinking, "Crap!  It's strep throat!"  Which is one thing my family has always been susceptible to, and I know it when it hits.  Turns out that in little kids, they often don't complain as much about their throat hurting; instead, they have headaches and vomit.  Moral of the story:  I hit the doctor's office Thursday morning (with crazy fever, a throat so sore I can't swallow, and golfball-sized glands in my neck) and he puts the whole family on antibiotics.  Even though 4-yo and 6-yo seem to be doing much better, he wants to make sure that nasty strep is gone.  Hubby gets it too, since his throat is getting scratchy.  Luckily he never got overly sick and was back to normal by yesterday.  And boy was I grateful for him- he worked from home both days and took care of the kids while I crashed on the couch and groaned a lot.

Today hubby took the three boys snowmobiling with Grandpa and cousins.  They'll ride up the hill and sled back down.  Since I hate snow, I'm not overly depressed that my illness kept me home.  Instead, I'm going to use the quiet to work on my book, since it's been neglected during our fun family adventure.  I'm hoping to actually get something accomplished, although right now my pillow is calling my name.

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