Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I need therapy

Let me clarify... I need novel therapy. I need story structure therapy. I need help!

I can't figure out what my story is about. Like down deep.

When people ask I usually reply its about a girl who wants to change her school and get rid of bullying.

Sometimes I say it's about a girl overcoming tragedy and realizing it doesn't have to define her life.

Other times I say other stuff that is rambly and incoherent. (Okay, most times.)

Inside my own head I don't have a defined theme to my novel. This is a problem.

At a recent critique session I gave my first answer about the bullying, but was met with blank stares, so I quickly added "Her boyfriend was killed in an accident because of bullying." Click, click, click all the light bulbs went on above my critique buddies' heads. Suddenly there was a motivation attached to the story of a girl who wants to rid her school of bullying. The satisfaction was fleeting for me, though, because my MC doesn't really know in the beginning what caused the accident. It can't be her motivation. Sadly, I was still without a viable story theme.

I needed help, so...

With my manuscript crisis in hand, I went to lie/lay (??) on Writer Friend Tamara's book psychiatrist's couch (sat on a chair at her dining room table). She got me digging. Digging deep passed/past (??) the layers of surface story to its very core. She asked me about plot points and themes...it was grueling. But I discovered my story is about a girl and forgiveness.

It was a startling revelation. It changed how I look at my story. I still struggle with structure, but I try to always go back to that one truth about my story. Forgiveness.

And to those of you who have received different answers when you've asked what my story is about or you have read parts of my story and now you're saying "Forgiveness? What the...huh?" Just bear with me.

Book therapy. I recommend it.

[This blog is a total rerun...I posted it yesterday at anwafounder.blogspot.com. Recycle, reuse...right?]

Monday, June 28, 2010

THE OFFICIAL RENAMING OF JAKE, the awesome, but deceased character in my YA novel

[If you don't know what I'm talking about click on this link... http://valerieipson.blogspot.com/2010/06/random-acts-of-contests.html]

I've come to a decision.

It was a very difficult decision.

Not so difficult to narrow it down, but difficult to choose between the two I narrowed it down to because even though the guy formerly-known-as Jake is not really a character in my book per se, he does affect Taryn's life and I care what his name is.

The new name I have chosen for Jake is...

++++BLAKE++++


SUMITTED BY KBREBES
(AND APPARENTLY HER FAMILY)

You are the recipient of one 4th of July vinyl lettering design
as pictured in a recent blog post!!!

I know. Jake...Blake. Do you see how kbrebes' genius mind works? Well, it worked for me and now Jake is officially Blake, or at least he will be when I go into my 25 chapters and change it.

If it's any consolation, Brett submitted by Landi was a very close second, but Landi is my daughter and I'll make vinyl lettering for her anytime and she knows that.
*kbrebes, please email (check my profile) me your address and I will get this lettering in the mail ASAP. Oh and let me know what color you want it.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

NOVEL WORD COUNT ALERT!

I've topped 70,000.

Now we're getting somewhere.

And that somewhere is to the end.

It's so close I can almost taste it in beteen bites of Hershey Milk Chocolate Toffee and Almond Nuggets.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CONTEST REMINDER

There's one more day to enter the NAME-THE-DECEASED-CHARACTER CONTEST! See me pointing to the sidebar? That's where you can click to get all the details. Here's a sample of the prize for the winning name...



This is just the lettering done in white, but it's still on it's blue backing--that part gets thrown away. I'm going to put it on a red or navy blue painted surface and hang it on my door. (Winner, you'll get to decide on the color you like, so if you want to put it on a white surface I can do it in red or navy. I'm versatile that way.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

why i love my writer's group meetings: REASON #28

I love my writer's group meeting because my fellow writer friends say things like this...

"You know, when Taryn*..."

And this...

"I like how Taryn..."

And they also say...

"I think Taryn..."

I'm not the only one who thinks that Taryn is real. They talk like she's real, too.

It warms my heart.

*Read my previous post and you will find out that Taryn is the name of the main character in my YA novel-in-progress.

!Oh, and notice I updated my OFFICIAL WORD COUNT in the sidebar! WootWoot!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Random Acts of Contests

Today's contest is... (drumroll)

NAME-THE-DECEASED-CHARACTER CONTEST!

!!URGENT MESSAGE TO READERS OF THIS BLOG!! Up to this point I have revealed very little about my novel's story content, but today that is all going to change...well, it's going to change some...okay, I'm going to tell you one thing.

I have a deceased character named Jake.

Jake was a wonderful young man--bordering on perfect, as the deceased often are. He was good-lookin' as heck, kind to the less fortunate, and had big plans as the future student body president. He was the MC's boyfriend.

But Jake has one flaw.

His name.

I know, who doesn't love a guy named Jake, but I've come near to the end of my little tale and I find I have a Jackie, a Jen, and a JT, in addition to the aforementioned Jake.

Jake's got to go. Two many J's in the mix.

WILL YOU HELP RENAME JAKE?

A few things to keep in mind...

+My main character's name is Taryn (Eek! BIG REVEAL!)

+(In my mind) Jake is tall with darkish, slightly longish, but not too long hair that curls at the ends

+His name must be pretty nondescript since he is not a main character--just an often-mentioned deceased character

CONTEST DETAILS:
I will choose a winner from among the entrees received in the comments section, and, mind you, it will be completely subjective.

If I choose your name for Jake you will receive a 4th of July vinyl lettering design. (I'll see if I can post a picture of the design at some point.) If there are multiple suggestions for the same name, then I will make a rule, like, the first one who sent it in wins. Something crazy like that. I will run the contest for (approximately) one week.

Please note that there are no guarantees that the winning name for Jake will stay that name in the book's published form. As always, all novel content is subject to the whim of a future editor. The future editor I can only hope (and pray and plead and cry and beg and bribe) to have someday.

And just so you know, I may always call him Jake in my heart no matter what the name on the page says. He was conceived as Jake and he'll just always be Jake to me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

WRITEONCON COMING TO A COMPUTER NEAR YOU

I just heard about this crazy new idea over at Elana Johnson's blog--a Writers Conference ONLINE! It's for YA Writers and it's free, free, FREE! After viewing the vlog (Humor them. They went to all that trouble to make one and who wouldn't want to see Elana eating Oreos and bacon) click on the widgety-link image on my sidebar to get to a website spilling all the details.



"See" you at the conference!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy endings and happy beginnings...

Just going through the whole summer-mode-regroup-thing.

Now I'm back.

Maybe.

We'll see.

My week and a half of awesomeness laced with craziness is over, but really the events are like stories with happy endings that aren't really endings, but new, awesome beginnings. (I already used the word awesome in that sentence...sorry.)

First, a high-schooler's graduation.



She finished in the top 20, so mom and dad got to sit on the field in a chair with an actual back.


Love that.

Now on to college paid for by scholarship. Completely sweet.

Next in the line up...a temple wedding for daughter number one. All the planning resulted in a beautiful day and dream reception. It's all over, but of course life is just beginning for the happy couple.



Then Girls Camp...easily the best event of the year Young Women-wise, and I didn't have to cook a single meal for nearly 4 days straight. This is always the beginning of strengthened testimonies and greater unity among the girls. The excitement of a shared experience was evident on Sunday morning as we giggled and shared testimonies again.

[No camp photos yet]

So now an entire summer ahead and a return to my almost finished manuscript. :D

[Check back next week for a fun contest with a great prize!!!]


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