Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNo Update and Other News

Word Count: 24,152
I have until midnight to get to 25,000. I'm confident that I can.

A quick question to you NaNo veterans. Do you still upload your story, even if you didn't reach 50,000? I think you do, but I'm still getting the hang of the NaNo thing.

In other news, I finally joined Twitter! I'm @prernapickett, so look me up. I'm going to add a gadget to my side bar on my blog page some time later this week. So far it's really interesting to see SO many writers on there. It's crazy how all this social networking connects everyone. Pretty cool.

Okay, so I've mentioned on here before how much I dislike writing Query letters. Mainly because I suck at them. I've been practicing, and have improved, but it's still a pain. Then I realized that a synopsis is so much more evil than a query letter. Having struggled with this for quite some time, I found this awesome post over at rubyslipperedsisterhood on writing a Seven paragraph synopsis. Yeah, you read that correctly- SEVEN. This post has helped me SO MUCH with the dreaded synopsis. Now that I have a clear outline of what my goals should be for each paragraph, it's much easier. Follow the link and see for yourself. If this is something you struggle with, much like myself, it'll change EVERYTHING *says in a deep, booming voice*. Okay, the caps was a bit dramatic, but it's the only way to get you to understand how much its helped me out.

Hope everyone is enjoying their last day in Novemeber. All you NaNoers, write your hearts out in these last few hours left in the day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNo Update and a Cry for Help

19,552 words so far. There are only a couple of days left, but I think I can make it. For some reason I keep forgetting to update my word count on my NaNo page. Oh well, if I do it before the 30th I think I'll be in good shape.

Moving right along to my cry for help. Many of you know I finished the most recent edits of my finished manuscript, Fire and Ice, and I've finally come to the point where I can do no more...on my own. I have a couple people looking over it right now, but I could always use more insight (and I welcome it). So, my request is this: are any of you interested in beta reading for me? I need two or three more perspectives, and it would be so wonderful to get a little extra help. I mean, I think we all get to the point where we can't do anymore without it. I've really pushed myself and I'm finally comfortable enough to let others take a look at it and give me some advice on what I'm doing wrong, and what I'm doing right. It's harder to notice your own flaws. I am more than willing to do a tradeoff. If you a need a beta reader, or even a critiquer, I am your gal. I've been focusing so much this month on writing, that in December I want to rest a little, which is perfect timing if you want me to read your stuff. And I'm a very fast reader. If you are interested leave me a comment with an e-mail address or e-mail me at prernapickett at and I'll give you the details. Thanks for sticking with me you guys! And I should also mention that I don't take critiques personally. I've learned that in order to improve, constructive criticism is much needed. Good luck to any of you still participating in NaNo. There's only so much time left, but you can achieve your goal!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaNo Update and Gratitude

18,779 words so far! I'm hoping to get to 25,000 before the end of the month. I don't think that's a far fetched goal at all.

With Thanksgiving tomorrow (Yikes!) I wanted to write out a list of some of the things
I'm grateful for. Even though you may not celebrate it, I don't think it's ever a bad time to just be thankful for all that you have.

First off, my family. I love my husband and children for putting up with all of my imperfections (and there are many). They accept and love me for who I am. And my husband continues to encourage me in this crazy writing thing, even if it doesn't amount to anything except heartache. And my extended family is pretty great too! I have parents who love and encourage, as well as in-laws who do the same!

I'm thankful for my imagination. If i didn't have anything going on up north, then i wouldn't have ideas for stories. I love making up a brand new world of impossible possibilities.

For the writing community I discovered this year. You all are so kind and welcoming. It's nice to know that I'm not alone. If I ever need any encouragement, you guys are there, ready to comment away!

For all those materialistic and technological things I enjoy : my home, clothes, food, that my husband is able to provide for our family during these tough times around the world and the economy. Air conditioning during the summer, and heat during the winters, my washer and dryer, my microwave and oven. So MUCH More.

And for books! They inspire me,and push me to do my best (much like you guys). I love curling up on the couch with a blanket and a good book to keep me company. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's like heaven.

What about you guys, what are you thankful for?

And of course for the simple things in life

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five for Friday

1. I know it's late, but technically it's still Friday in my neck of the woods. Who else hears Al Roker's voice in their head when you hear that phrase? No? I'm crazy all by myself?

2. Word count:14588 Editing:100% donezo! Okay, I really didn't get as much writing in as I wanted, but I finished editing! Hooray! My focus all of next week will be working on my NaNo novel. Like I said before, I don't care if I get to 50,000 words, I just want to dig deeper into the story and find the heart of it. That sounds kind of gruesome, but you know what I mean.

3.Kristan Hoffman wrote this amazing post about what really matters in writing. I read it and it goes along well with my post earlier this week about doubt and comparing our work to other's.

4. Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Yikes! I know not all of you that read my blog are in the States, but I have a huge place in my stomach (and heart) for Thanksgiving. I love the food, the whole idea of remembering to be grateful for the things you have, as small as they may seem, and being together with family. Although this year it'll be just our little family celebrating together, it's still wonderful. My husband has been traveling SO MUCH for the last month that the idea of traveling again down for the Holiday kills him. And he feels like he hasn't spent any real time with us here at home, and he just wants to focus on spending time with our little ones. Especially since he'll be traveling again next week from Mon-Wed (he'll be back in time for Thursday's huge meal) and the week after also.

5. I just wanted to wish you all a happy weekend. I'll keep working hard on my writing, and check in on your blogs. I might be absent later next week with Turkey day and everything, but I'll be here in spirit!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNo Update and Doubt

Word Count: 13,684 Editing: 95% done

I've been experiencing sluggishness and self-doubt. As authors, we often have these symptoms, sort of like the Circle of Authorship. It's almost a rite of passage. When you do this job (and yes it is a job, so stop stifling that laugh in your sleeve you in the back) it's difficult to keep things in order. There is no specific set of skills that one needs in order to succeed in it. Well, you do have to be willing to sit your butt down and work and be passionate about it (passion is very key), but other than that you don't need much else. There's no test to gage our moral compass. We don't have to share an experience where we had to overcome a difficult work situation involving a hostile co-worker(unless you count yourself as that hostile person).In these times of confidence crushing moments, we have to remind ourselves why it is we do what we do. Because we love it.

You know what makes these times even worse? Comparing yourself to someone else. Let's be honest, this is a waste of time. All authors are unique. Each of us has our own way of telling a story. A way of conveying a mood or scene. Getting yourself down because you can't write like someone else is pointless. Can you imagine if Stephen King had written the Hunger Game trilogy? (And yes I'm using The Hunger Games in lieu of all the frenzy everyone is in over the trailer). It would not be the same masterful piece of work it now is. I'm sure Mr. King would have thrown in a haunted house or monsterous alien creature in there somewhere, or some other supernatural element, because he's really good at those things. But he didn't write it, Suzanne Collins did. And I can't imagine anyone else doing it. Do I wish that my prose was as beautiful and purposeful as Maggie Stiefvater's? Yes. But it isn't. And that's her thing, it's what she's known for. Do I wish that everything that came out of my characters' mouths were as witty and sarcastic as the ones from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series? Of course! I don't know how that woman comes up with such fun exchanges, but she's way good at it. You know the great thing about reading? You can learn from it. How awesome is that we get to read in order to learn? This is the best job ever! We may not be able to get it ALL right, but we can get better at it by enjoying someone else's work, and practicing our own. If I can't write it, at least I can take enjoyment in reading it.

At the end of the day we have to remind ourselves that we are who we are, and we write the way we write. You may hate the way a sentence sounds right now, but you can always go back and change it. That's the great thing about writing and editing.

Nothing is going be as perfect as you envision it in your head. Writing is a continual learning process. I don't think there will ever come a day when one of us says "Finally, I know ALL the things!I'm the master of my craft!' And if you do, more than likely it probably sucks. Yes, there are days when I think "All of this is garbage, who would ever want to read it?' And others where I think "Hey, this isn't half bad.' I don't think I will ever get to the point where I think it's great or even good. But that's the burden we writers carry with us. It's our job to be self deprecating. It keeps us going. And if you have one of these Circle of Authorship moments, make sure you have people around you to keep you going. Encouragement is huge in this industry. We feed off of it. Criticism is helpful, too. But with self-doubt continually looming over our heads like that one grade school teacher that never cut you a break, we need support. So, I support all of you. And I hope you'll support me. I'm not going to wallow in misery, I'll rise above it. Sometimes it just takes time. I'll get back to writing in order to make it more presentable. And some day I'll share it with all of you. Thanks for sticking around!

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo and Edits

Word count: 12772. Yes, I got work done this weekend! Even with the madness of Saturday evening. Turns out we had some last minute family come into town along with family that had already planned on coming. It was kind of stressful and crazy, but it was fun to see everyone. And the kids love to play with their cousins, so it worked out in the end.
Edits:85% done. I'm getting to the end. It's so close, I can almost taste it. But I've been REALLY tired the last couple of days, after going to sleep after midnight on both Saturday and Sunday, so I'm not sure how much work I'm going to get done. My only desire for the day is to take a nap! Ahh, that sounds heavenly. But we'll see. Might be near impossible with the kids.

Tonight the hubby leaves for a couple of days for work. I'm thinking I'll be much more productive by tomorrow night. AFTER the kids go to bed. Well, that's it for today. Hope everyone else is doing great with this challenging month. There's so much going on, especially with Thanksgiving fast approaching. And with Thanksgiving comes Christmas preparation. Seriously, what's up with all the Christmasy things already EVERYWHERE? Give Turkey day the acknowledgement it deserves! It is MY favorite Holiday! Great, now I'm craving Turkey and stuffing. And Pie. Okay, better go eat some lunch. I'll be back for another update!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A NaNo Update On Friday

Okay guys. I don't have a usual Five for Friday since I've been pretty busy writing and editing. My mind is all mushy and gooey from the amount of brain energy I've exerted this week. Unfortunately, that leaves very little left over for everything else. So, NaNo word Count:11,295. I'm making progress! And I'll do even better next week when I have time during the nights to write. And Edit Update: 50% done! I've spent most of my time editing my story over the course of the last two days and I'm not doing too shabby. Hence the reason I haven't written as much as I should. But I'm getting work done, and that's all that matters. With a hard copy in my hand, it's so much easier to see the mistakes I've made, and to cut scenes that just aren't doing anything to move the story along. Good thing, too, since my word count is still a little bit on the high side. Hope all of you are doing great with whatever projects you're working on. I'm going to keep up, but we have family coming to visit over the weekend, so I might not be able to get much of anything done. Have an awesome Saturday and Sunday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inspiration and Nano update 4

Word count as of this morning? 10749. Yeah, I kind of lost momentum, but I predicted that this would occur. But on the plus side, I finally have a hard copy of my other story to edit by hand! Which is another reason for the slow word count. Isn't it amazing how many things you notice once you have your story on actual pieces of paper? Yeah, I have a ways to go with that one. But the husband is going out of town yet again next week, so I'll catch up then. Moving on...

I wanted to write the story I'm working on for NaNo because of a dream I had. But that dream was inspired by a few movies from my past that I absolutely loved. Mostly the scenery. So I'm going to share some images from those movies and talk about them a bit. (Note, I do not own any of these pictures.)

First up syfy's original movie, Alice. I watched this for first time last year and loved it.

The scenery was amazing and I really loved the original take on Wonderland. I am very inspired by nature in all its glory.

And then there's this guy. Hatter!

Another Syfy original I loved was The Tin Man with Zooey Deschanel.
Like I said, I love original takes on classics. And this was no exception. Who doesn't love the Wizard of Oz? It inspires many people.

Water plays a big rolec in the story.

I loved the new take on the evil witch and her tower. Very modern and industrial looking.

The last movie I watched when I was in middle school. It has stayed with me after all these years well...because I loved fairytales and magical lands. The Tenth Kingdom is kind of a long one (at almost ten hours), but was so much fun for me to watch when I was younger, and even now. I can't wait to show it to my kids.

The scenery was so beautiful, and it totally transported me to that other world full of magic.

And, of course, you can't forget the evil Queen.

There you have it, a few movies that inspired my new WIP. Love them all. If you haven't watched any of them, give 'em a try. They're pretty fun and make you feel like a kid again.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nano Update 3

Sorry about no blog post yesterday. But I was having one of those days, where reality becomes all too real. Life is hard, and it only seems to get harder. I'll admit I shed a few tears, because sometimes crying is the best medicine. Then I wiped them away and put on my big girl panties and told myself to get over it. It may be hard right now, but it'll get better. No, this had nothing to do with my ventures in writing, it was just life telling me to suck it up and deal with it. But I am in a better place and I've been writing. My word count is now at 10,246. I'm proud of myself for moving on. Life is still very real, but it's so nice to have a way of escaping. I love that about writing. The ability to get away to the world you've created in your own head. If nothing else, at least I have my writing. But I'm lucky because that's not the only thing keeping me going. I have a wonderful family and awesome friends. Life is good. The word count hasn't vastly improved since last week, like I had predicted, but it's better than nothing! And I'm way more motivated to get more done. Yesterday I worked on a scene that reminded me why I fell in love with this story in the first place, and felt so strongly about writing it. I'll be back to share a few pictures of what inspired the NaNo project. Other than that, hope all of you participating are typing away at that big 50,000 number. And to everyone else, good luck with any projects you may be working on. Have an awesome day. And please, if life gets to be too much, don't be afraid to cry. It does help...a little.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Five for Friday

1. Nano update 2: 7661 words. Way more than I thought, but once I get going, nothing can stop me. I'm a fast typer. This number won't likely change over the weekend b/c I plan spending it with my family. And the husband returns this afternoon.

2. Edit update: About 2/3 of the way through. I spent most of yesterday ( when my children allowed it) working on the edits. The other 1/3 will get done once I have a printed copy to go through with a big old red pen. I'm proud of myself. You have no idea how much I was dreading having to make even more changes, but I felt inspired and it worked out.

3. For others doing NaNo, you can feel free to add me as your writing buddy, I'm prernapickett on there. If you want me to add you, just leave a comment and let me know. I would love to know how the rest of you are faring. And encouragement is much needed.

4. As I mentioned, my husband comes back today. Thank goodness. I do not sleep well when he's gone. Every single sound I hear is an intruder or ghost out to get me. It didn't help that Wednesday night was the windiest its ever been around here so there was much shaking and rattling in the night.

5. I don't have a fifth...sorry. I'm boring, I know. Good luck to all you NaNo participants! I'm cheering you on from behind this screen, so it's probably a bit muffled and hard to make out. Have productive and fun weekends all!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNo Update 1 and Halloween

Okay, I'm 4,233 words in. I know, that's way more than I expected only a day and a half in. How did pull this off? Well, there's the fact that I've been planning this story out in my head for about a month, so I knew exactly where I wanted it to start. I've been itching to put it down on paper. Also, my husband is out of town, so my nights are pretty lonely, which makes it possible for me to stay up and write. And my oldest is out of school the rest of the week for parent/teacher conferences so I can stay up late without too many consequences. Nice! Unfortunately this means that the miraculous word count will significantly dwindle once next week rolls around. I also wanted to give a Halloween update.

Did you notice the picture? Yeah, we went as the Superhero Family! I was Super Woman (obvs), the husband was Captain America, my oldest little guy went as Spiderman, and my little little guy was Iron Man, while baby Princess went as Super Girl. (Which was cool since her outfit was pink, silver, and white while mine was the traditional Superman colors of red, blue, and yellow. More often than not people thought I was Wonder Woman.) All in all everyone loved our costumes and we had lots of fun. And the kids got enough candy to last them until Easter, the next big candy holiday that we celebrate in our home. Okay, that's all folks. Tell me, how's it going with you guys, if you're participating on NaNo? If not, I'd still love updates on what you're working on and what not. Other than that, I'll try to be back on Friday for a Friday Five post.