Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Starting A Project

I'm always fascinated to learn of how other writers begin their projects. I read a post where an author shared that a scene will come to mind and she'll explore it by creating a playlist. Others may just sit for hours before something finally comes to them. Then there are those that see something that sparks the flame of exploration. For me, it starts with that one scene. The scene that you build the rest of the story around. For my current WIP, it started with the idea of serendipity and fate, how chance plays a role in our every day interactions. Then all the other magical stuff came in, because that's just how my mind works. Another story that I find myself drawn to started with the loss of everything, kind of like Job in the Bible. And much like Job, who lost his family and friends, and wealth, what if you were surrounded by those things every day and had no way of getting them back. That constant reminder of what you once had haunting every part of your life, of not being able to escape it. I have many different stories that are on the back burner, and more to come through, but it's that one moment in the book that starts you on the path of discovery. We don't go into a story knowing where it'll lead us, or how it's going to end, it's an adventure of self discovery, not only for the characters but also for the writers. That's what I love about writing, I can explore those 'what ifs' that are constantly bombarding me and realize the true meaning of what is behind that wall of mystery. What works best for me to continue in the discovery is a quiet, darkened space, with the recorded sounds of the ocean waves sliding onto the sandy beaches, bouncing around in the room. For some reason I get my best ideas as I'm about to fall asleep. The recipe is just perfect for inspiration, and I've found that if I'm struggling with a scene, all I have to do is go into my bedroom and just lie there while our sound machine is going, close my eyes and mind off to the chaos of the world, and the scene will begin to unfold and I'll know exactly what to do next. Sometimes I'll replay one scene over and over again, studying every movement of the characters involved, or the landscape of said scene and how the colors change in variation to the mood, and it'll just take over without me knowing what's going to happen next. It's a pretty awesome process, and I love living in my head sometimes because some of those things are so beautiful that you find it difficult to leave and separate yourself. The movie 'Inception' comes to mind. Anyway, I find that I'm kind of rambling on, so I'll go. Some time I'll have to tell you about how my dad came to be friends with Leonardo DiCaprio- true story. For now, I'll just say adios!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Five

This is my first Friday Five, and I'm not quite sure if I even have five things worth discussing. Okay, I'm a pretty random person as it is, my mind is like a minefield of cluttered thoughts, all squished together, spouting out every now then after an explosion of a thought that seems to have nothing to do with anything, but in my head it makes perfect sense. Kind of like Lorelai Gilmore, I can connect the dots back to where the random thought came into play, but to most people, I appear crazy. So here goes nothing.

1. I am still waiting to hear back from a few different agents. Some of them have stated they don't respond unless interested, so I might be waiting for..well..forever. Not fun.

2. I just recovered from a pretty nasty cold, but it appears that my daughter has just caught the tailend of it as everyone else was getting better. Now I'm all freaked out because I think the germs around going to respreand and we're all going to get sick again. Which sucks because we have a family vacation coming up next weekend.

3. That family vacation isn't really a vacation. We're just visiting some family that live a few hours away for my oldest son's birthday. He's turning five and I'm freaking out because he starts school in the fall, which doesn't seem possible because sometimes I'll look at him and he still looks like that newborn little baby that I held not so very long ago. Other times, though, he seems way older than he is. Time flies by way too quickly when you have little ones, cherish every minute you have with them.

4. It's the long weekend, which means that my house will be a complete disaster come Tuesday morning. I don't know how he does it, but my husband manages to cause substantial disarray in our home when he's around. I find socks stuffed into the couches or on top of the dining table (what is up with that???), dishes are piled higher than normal, my floors are covered in grime, things are just ugly. I am not looking forward to the deep cleaning that must take place once he returns to work.

5. As I mentioned above, it's the long weekend. I plan on enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. I'm excited to hang out with my family, and watch my kids run and play. We don't have anything exciting planned, but the kiddos always enjoy having dad around for an extra day. I hope that anyone that reads this also has an enjoyable time with friends and family. It's always nice to have some down time, no matter what kind of disasters you may find in your home afterwards.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


It's part of the business, right? You're only dreaming if you think that every agent you query is going to immediately fall in love with your work. It's not that easy, and that's pretty much the impossible dream. I have a few queries floating around the World Wide Web, sitting in the computer of an agent that might possibly end up representing me, waiting patiently (or not) with all those other queries that carry the dream of their author in their words, and it's a little scary. First off, does my query suck? I don't know, I don't think it does, but it's quite possible. Second of all, I would very much like a rejection, even a form rejection, rather than the silence. It may be that the agent is too busy making someone else's dream come true to worry about mine, but it's hard not hearing back. I have recieved one official no, but that's alright. At least I can check that one agent off my list. This is going to be a long process, I get that, and I barely started, so I know I've still got a ways to go. Confession: Patience isn't my strong suit. HA! Then again, when is patience someone's strong suit? For anyone out there in the blogosphere that is raising and waving their hands up, screaming 'me!me!me!', I salute you- you are a better (wo)man than I. Okay, time to go. I need to work through this lagging time period- literally.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Career Choices

Who in their right mind sets out to be a writer? The answer is- you don't choose writing, writing chooses you. And it chose me a long time ago, but I ignored the call- at first. I thought that I wasn't good enough, or special enough to be a writer. I remember being in elementary school as I dreamt about sitting on my bed with a notebook on my lap, a pen in the other, outlining the adventures of the characters I had in my head. But as you get older the doubts begin to creep into your head, twisting and bending your confidence into something unrecognizeable, and let's be honest-ugly. It's not pretty to see someone who doesn't believe in themself. It's hard enough to be confident in oneself in 'real world' jobs, but choosing to go into a field that is riddled with self-doubt is like admitting you enjoy people critcizing you and bringing you down. So, bottom line, it took a while to get here, but I'm finally confident in my choice. Writing chose me, and I love what I do. There are those out there that are searching for an easy way out and think 'I know, I'll write.' But here's the thing, writing is not easy, it's hard. And if it isn't, then you're doing something wrong. Anyone out there that believes that writing is their shot at the big times- think again, that's not going to happen. I have realistic expectations about this journey, and I STILL want to pursue it. That's when you know that you're doing it for the right reasons. I have fallen for my characters, hard. I can't get them out of my  head and I continue to pursue their story. I hope that one day someone else will also fall for them and will want to come along on their journey. Until then, I'll be working my butt off to make the story perfect- which is also an impossible feat. The story is never going to be as good on paper as it is in your head, but you continue to give it your all until it's close enough. I'm excited about where this writing thing will take me, it may take years to get there, but I'm patient- I can wait it out. And until then, I'll be working on my craft.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How Writing Is Like Being Pregnant

Okay, so for all you non-preggos out there, getting pregnant is not like swallowing a whole watermelon at once (although giving birth is living pushing one out). There's a little bit more to it than that. Sometimes it's more subtle- for the lucky ones, anyway. It can start off with a twisting sensation one day (or with you hanging your head over the bowl with gut wrenching vommitting- as it was in my case), gradually turning into an ever increasing flutter that thrums through you, eventually to the hard kicking of the babe as it lodges it's foot into your ribs. At that point all you want is to hold that little baby in your arms and have the whole thing over with, because it's exruciating having to wait, and you feel like you're carrying an entire watermelon in your stomach. Then there's the birthing part. It's painful, agonizing, and you want to scream on the top of your lungs for it to just be over with already (side note: epidural's are like a little piece of heaven). Then you finally hold that baby in your arms- the finished product of an unbearabke process, but it fills you with joy that is like nothing else. As you can tell from the title of this post- this  process is a lot like writing. For some it's more gradual, it starts off with a vague desire (for some it's like the vomitting, the words just start heaving out of you), that grows to a burning sensation (women have to pee A LOT while they're pregnant) then it starts to hit you in the gut, driving you, consuming every part of your life (like the baby consumes your body). All you can think about are those characters and what they would do in certain situations you find yourself in. What kind of food is their favorite? Would they enjoy listening to a little bit of 50 cent? By the way- I have never played 50 cent to any of my babies while I was pregnant- although I have been known to enjoy his musical stylings now and then. It's like that baby that keeps kicking you, bruising your insides. Then you go into labor. This is it- you're done baking that bun in the oven. So you start writing your query letter, sending it to any and all agents that sound like they might be a good fit for your metaphorical baby. Now the next part I am familiar with when it comes to birthing, but is one I have yet to experience in my writing career. You did it, you got yourself an agent- someone who loves your characters almost as much as you do, because let's be honest, no one can love your characters as much as you can. The pushing is like revisions. It makes you want to pull your hair out in frustration and scream because you just want it to be over with (again, I've read of other author's experience with this and it sounds like what I'm writing about). Then out comes that perfect little bundle of joy. You sold your book to a publisher and are now holding your book baby in your hands. And you relish that happiness because it's nothing like what you've experienced before. Now- imagine eighteen years have gone by- wow, that was fast! But in the publishing industry your book is finally released. Now comes the really scary part-judgement. You grew and nourished this child of yours, you loved it, gave it your all, and now other people are going to make judgements about you based on the finished product. It's hard not to take it personally, this is your child (book) after all. But at the end of the day, you love it just the same, no matter what anyone says. I can only imagine the joy that authors experience when they've accomplished such a difficult goal- one that the internet claims is near impossible. For me, I would very much like to finish giving birth, I'm tired of being pregnant with my book. It's time for it to go out there in the world and find some fans.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Favorite Author Spotlight: Juliet Marillier

I have several authors that are my favorite. As long as the story is engaging and well written; I am most likely going to enjoy it. But there's a way that a certain author will weave their words together that just gets to me, making me fall into the story, hoping for more. Juliet Marillier is one of these authors. I remember reading Daughter of the Forest my sophmore year in high school. It changed my life. There aren't many times you can say that about a book, but I can say that about this particular book with certainty. It was beautiful, sad, poignant, and crafted with such delicacy. I love Ms. Marillier's style of writing, it speaks to me. This book changed the course of my reading habits. I wasn't really into fantasy before randomly selecting it out of a shelf because of its eye grabbing cover, especially not historical fantasy-which is Ms. Marillier's specialty. Since then I have read every single one of her books. I just recently finished Seer of Sevenwaters- the fifth installment in her Sevenwaters trilogy, and folks, let me tell  you- she's still got it. I hope Ms. Marillier continues to write, her stories are compelling and leave me satisfied- with just an after taste of wanting more. So thank you, Juliet Marillier, for opening my eyes to an entirely new genre of books. If she hadn't, maybe I would still think I was crazy for making up stories in my head that involved magic and lore.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Confessions of a T.V. addict

Hi, my name is Prerna, and I'm a tv addict. The first step is to admit you have a problem, right? I don't know what it is, maybe the escape, like with reading? But I enjoy many shows- MANY. Here, let me list you a few (or more): The Office, Parks and Rec, Community, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Middle (don't worry, comedies aren't the only ones to make the list), The Killing, The Walking Dead, How I Met Your Mother, Dexter, One Tree Hill (a guilty pleasure, I've been watching it since HS), Supernatural. And more. Those are just some of those shows that still on air. I have many more that I still love watching re-runs of. I know, I have a problem. If that wasn't enough, we just ordered the first four seasons of Friday Night Lights- add one more to the list! You would think since I enjoy writing fantasy, that I would watch more of that genre. I enjoy The Vampire Diaries, but miss the days of Buffy and Angel- those two are my faves. I also loved Roswell, there was just something about those aliens. Heroes was another favorite. Okay, I should just stop now. It's just sad. BTW, just because I love a lot of shows, doesn't mean I sit on my butt ignoring them all day. There's this thing called a DVR that is my saving grace.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why it is the way it is

My days are pretty hectic. I have three little ones that demand (yes, DEMAND) my attention, I have make sure my home doesn't look like the site of a nuclea disaster, provide food for said little ones, make sure they have clean clothes, and that they themselves are clean, and make sure I don't lose my sanity while all of this chaos surrounds me. On top of that I have to find time to write. Actually, I don't HAVE to do anything, but I WANT time to write. In order for this to happen the planets must align perfecly causing the Earth's rotation to...blah blah blah, you get the picture- it's difficult. But I do it anyway, because it's what I love. And i firmly believe that all moms (and non-moms alike- pretty much anyone with a crazy life) deserve so 'me' time. It's not selfish, it's reasonable. Even if it's just fifteen minutes. You  have no idea how incredible those fifteen minutes feel. It's like taking a bite out of the most decadent, moist, delicious chocolate cake (you can change this visual to whatever dessert tickles your fancy, I'm a chocolate gal myself). Okay, truth be told, in order for my life to feel balanced, in order for me to not lose it, in order to feel even more fulfilled than I already do, I make time to write. I get up earlier than my kids, at least an hour, I stay up later than them, I write while they're too distracted to notice my absence- pretty much any opportunity I can get. I grab my laptop, or notebook-which ever is on hand, and start going. Everyone has their own way of doing things, all that matters is that we do it.

Book Review: Warm Bodies By Isaac Marion

I just finished reading this the other day and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't the longest book, which was good, because it never felt like it was dragging. I wasn't sure how I woud feel about it because of my fear of zombies (they scare the hell out of me) but that was never an issue. I truly fell for 'R' and really wanted him to come out on top. Isaac Marion really did a good job of making the setting believable, and also the possibility that a zombie might just have feelings. Now when I watch AMC's The Walking Dead (shout out! that show is awesome, and gives me nightmares, but I don't care because it's so brilliant) I'll wonder if a particular zombie chomping on some dude is feeling more than just that hunger that seems to drive him. All in all, it was  a satisfying read and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I've been having a hard time classifying my book. Is it YA fantasy? YA paranormal romance? YA urban fantasy? I've had to look up the differences online, and I guess it's a YA paranormal romance with a bit of the urban fantasy mixed in. What I loved about writing YA in any form is helping your characters pull through those emotional tornadoes you often experience at that age. My characters on the older side of the spectrum, but they're still trying to learn about themselves, and I really enjoy watching them grow- with or without my help. It's kind of amazing how they shape themselves as you continue to write along. Anyway, I should do a post about the books I've been enjoying lately. I just finished 'Going Too Far' By Jennifer Echols and really enjoyed it. I thought the author had a great grasp on the YA format and the story was engaging. Okay, off to work on my story!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Fear

The fear of failure keeps us anchored. When we are unable to free ourselves of this heavy weight, we can lose sight of our final desination. And not everyone's destination is publication. I'm not quite sure how to overcome this fear, the best thing I can think to do is keep my eyes closed while I press the send key. I started writing for myself, but somewhere along the way I started getting this burning in my chest, I don't know how else to describe it. That burning let me know that perhaps it was time to share my story with others, that it was good enough. Then the doubt would sink in and I would think ' what if I'm completely delusional?' But I knew the truth in my heart, that I loved my story, and even if others do not, at least I have that. At least I can say I tried if I don't succeed. I don't want any 'what ifs' in my future.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Agony of Writing A Query Letter

I've been agonizing over this for the last few WEEKS. I have several different variations on my query letter, but can't seem to make up my mind over which one works best. I've asked for some feedback, but at the end of the day, the decision is in my hands. I thought that writing my manuscript was going to be the hardest part. I love my story, I love my characters, I love writing, but why does so much have to ride on a query letter??? It's frustrating, and I'm sure all you other writers can relate. I've done my research and have found several agents that might be intersted in my story, and each has a different set of criteria for query letters. Oh well, at the end of the day you can't please everyone. As hard as it is to realize that, you need to in order to move on. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The First

I've been debating this whole blogging thing for a while. It's a little scary to put yourself out there for the whole world to see (though I doubt that the whole world or even one person will read this). What pushed me over the edge is that I want others to see my journey. As a writer I thrive on reading another writer's blog. Why? For hope. I love reading the success stories of others. They inspire me. I hope to one day have my own success story to inspire a fellow author. I love what I do, and will continue to do it even if I never see my book on the shelf of a bookstore. That's not why we write, right? It would be nice, but it's not the ultimate goal. What is? Finding yourself through your work. I learn a lot about myself from my writing. It can be scary to see my MC dealing with issues I have yet to deal with myself. At the end of the day it makes me feel better to put something down on paper, and I'm not going to stop anytime soon. Even after the rejections start piling in.