Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Ticker Tuesday

Oh, sad, sad little ticker!

10,345 words. I wish you were double that, Word Count. But it's progress none-the-less.

Life has intervened and kept me far too busy with other tasks the past few days.

Today I celebrate my youngest girlie's eighth birthday, and she's pure JOY!

BUT, I wanted to check in with you (ever so quickly) because you all have been rockin' it! One more day of March. Let's go out like a lion, shall we?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Moment #63: a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my character(s) better just by answering the question. I hope you do too. )

Can you have too much of a good thing?

My weekend proved the answer is a big fat YES!

This weekend was made up of four birthday celebrations. FOUR!!!!

Too much cake = stomachache

Too many little girls = very, very loud

Too much wine = first fun, then blah

Too loud music = ringing ears and sore throat

Too much birthday partying = too too tired

Too tired to type too many complete sentences

What does your character consider a good thing and can they or have they over-indulged, making it not such a good thing?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Let's Blow It Up!!!

The word count, that is!

It hit me suddenly this morning. I realized how truly little time I have left this month. Tomorrow starts conference week for my girlies, which means they are out of school at 11:00 (ridiculously early!). That carries all through next week. The following week (I know it's April) is spring break. We all know how much gets done over spring break.

So, today's the day to BLOW IT UP. I seriously want to see that little shamrock make a big shift down the shaft of that pencil! Seriously! (Can you tell I'm serious about that?)

I'll be here all day, working and hoping you jump into talk to me in comments so I can come up for air and procrastinate by commenting back. :)

Oh, and stay on me. Make sure I'm blowing it up!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: One week to go!

What? Huh? How?

I hope you're thinking that very same thing.

If you are signing in on Laini's Mr. Linky list, today's the day.

Knowing it's the last week, I had to look at what my goal was in the beginning. Initially I said 21,000 words. Then I was inspired by Laini and I said 25,000 words. But, HELLO, I only have 8000. Yikes.

Okay, I won't complain about those 8000 words but I'd like to inch closer to the initial goal, at least. A 13,000 word week? Possible? Especially during a week when there's much going on? Sure. Why not. Might as well believe I can, right? If I don't believe I can, then I can't. 'Nuf said.

I smell a 5K challenge day coming on. Anyone out there interested? Come on. It will be fun. Really, it will. So, if you think you might be even a little interested, let me know and we'll try and get a day scheduled.

How's it going for you today?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Ticker Tuesday

Good afternoon, my beautiful bloggy friends. Can I just tell you, you look gorgeous today. I should tell you that more often. You know why you look so lovely (or handsome)? Because you are doing what you love, because you love it (even when you hate it). It makes you radiant (even those of you in your jammies).

So, how goes it? What's your ticker or progress looking like?

I'm at 7,406. I would like to be more impressed with myself, but 7 K is 7 K, right?

Today, for me, success will be 500 words.

Keep shining on!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Moment #62:a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my character(s) better just by answering the question. I hope you do too. )

Okay, I admit it. Right this second, this very moment, exactly right now, I admit to you that I'm a total fraud.

Okay, that's a bit of lie because it might be "right this moment" as you read this, but I'll actually have been making this admission around 4:45 pm on Sunday. However, to you, it will look like 4:45 am this morning.

You see, most often (especially if you see a Monday Moment posted right away on Monday morning) I have really written it and scheduled it to post the night before.

So, this past week when Jane was so very impressed that I was up and working already, I really wasn't. That post went live while I was still cheek to pillow.

Here's what Jane wrote in comments: "Well how encouraging are you, Jolie? Up at 5am and blogging!"

Wasn't that nice of her to think that? Then I let her (and possibly you) believe it all week long! (Although, I will admit, as soon as I read it, I thought of this Monday Moment post, so I've been waiting to let you all in on the scheme.)

But isn't that just like human nature? One thing or another happens or is said that makes a person look good, perhaps in ways that aren't quite true or when the person isn't worthy of the praise or compliment, yet the person says nothing.

Has your character ever not fessed up to the truth-of-the-matter in order to make him/herself look better?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Completely Unimportant Shenanigans

Happy Friday, friends!

So, I steal my title post from my bright and shiny 100th follower, Laura Atchison. Go check her out. Not only is she adorable, she has a great post with a suggested writing exercise that just might kick your writing into gear today.

So, how about some shenanigans here at Cuppa today. It's Friday. Do you know where I am?

Oh, yeah! That's right.

I'm sittin' by the brick at the Under Town. (I wish you were here with me.)

I was a bit out of sorts last Friday while here, but feeling stronger and braver today. That said, this place is PACKED right now! (If you missed previous brick shenanigans go here then here.) But I think we should band together and come up with a plan for the brick.

What should we put behind the brick?

I want your suggestions. Last week, a quote was suggested. But which quote? I've thought about including a note, which includes this site (or my email) so that I could meet the finder for a Cuppa. Then maybe I could feature them on the blog. Or maybe I could by a cuppa from the counter and the finder could redeem it and choose to replace it for the next finder.

Now, I don't want to distract you from your writing goals today, except that I really do want your thoughts. It will be much more fun if we can play with the brick together (you've been with me since the first pulling).

So, tell me, what are your ideas. (Oh, and leave any goals and successes you have today, too!)

I thought there was new stuff back there.

Three new toys (ball, fish, and a top).
What should we put there? There's clearly some planting going on.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Time for some catch-up!

Hey there, my bright, shiny, and productive friends. I totally missed you yesterday. (Did you notice I wasn't around the Internets?)

I did not feel well AT ALL. AT ALL! But I'm feeling better now, a bit tired maybe, but better. And I returned to Cuppa to see I have 99 followers. Really!?! Hey, that means I'm one away from hitting three digits. That's so cool. Who will it be? Who will be magic number 100?

Did any of you make your way over to the lovely Laini's blog to plug your name in the Mr. Linky and add your weekly goal. She has a great post in which she talks about zero drafts. I like this concept. Go see what she has to say about it.

I think this whole idea of the zero draft is one I'm struggling with because the start of my W-I-P is in pretty good shape since it is being seen by eyes that need it to be so. So, as I move forward, needing to let the work (right now) be of zero-draft quality, I struggle because I want it to match up to those beginning pages. So, I say to myself, "Let it go, Jolie. Let it go. Just write the zero." (Thank you, Laini!)

Tell me what you're up to today! My goal is to be okay with zero-draft quality and just write, write, write. I'll check in with where that's getting me with word count.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Ticker Tuesday

I wish that four leaf clover was a bit further along that it is, but I can turn my nose up at movement it's made this last week (a little over 4000 words). And even more than word-count movement, I did figure out some character "stuff" that matters. *smiles*

5,844 words! Wheeee.

So, I've just figured out something about these trackers (you might want to know, too). It updates all the embedded html, so I don't know what my number was last week (will now start typing it in as well).

Your progress has impressed me so far. You all ROCK! Feel free to tell me (and all the others checking in) how it's going and your goals for today.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Moment #61: a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my character(s) better just by answering the question. I hope you do too. )

Every time I step into a particular restaurant/place-of-entertainment, I tell myself I will NEVER go back.

But I have found myself back there sooo many times. In fact, I was there yesterday celebrating my nephews 6th birthday.

For some reason my girlies continue to be invited to birthday parties at this particular establishment. I'm sure you know the one: the host is a rodent, the food is eew, and the sound is beyond irritating.

Now, I'm a mom, so I totally (please hear the emphasis on the italicized totally) get why parents plan parties there. It's not in your house (no pre or post cleaning), they make the food, they provide the entertainment, it's a couple hours of your child's enjoyment, then you're outta there. Done! Pretty smart actually. Much smarter than the upcoming sleepover I have planned for too many eight year girls.

Still, the place is my nails-on-the-chalkboard of locations. We all have them, right?

Describe a place your character abhors being, especially if that place is one where others find huge amounts of enjoyment.

Crack Your W-I-Pers: Hope you're off to a great start this week, and if you're stuck, I hope you might tap into this or other Moments to get your fingers and mind moving. I'll happily meet you in comments for writerly camaraderie.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Friday Frenzy

Guess where I am today???

Yup. The Under Town. (You can read about my last experience HERE.) Except I'm not sitting there, next to the loose brick. Although I want to be. People (how dare they) are sitting my table. Oh, wait...there's movement. I shall move myself next to the brick once more.
Now, the question is, should I put something behind there? Hmm...
Okay, we must also work, yes? What do you have in store today (I'll also accept behind-the-brick ideas).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Little Help From My Friends

I'm in need of some help today in order to Crack my W-I-P.

I have time today (until 2 pacific time) to get mucho work done, but I'm having one of those blah days. Yeah...pretty darn blah. It's hard to focus and feel good about your work when you feel BLAH.

That said, with a little help from my friends, I think I could pull myself from this bit-o-funk and get something done I can be proud of today.

Who else is working and would like a little help from a friend?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Wednesday Weekly Word Goals

It's Wednesday, which means Laini has a Mr. Linky up to post a new March mini-NaNo goal for the week. Go on now, commit to what you want to get done between now and next Wednesday. Then, head back here and we'll linger in comments together as we work toward it today!

My goal this week: 7500 words.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P: Ticker Tuesday

Okay, friends! I've decided each Tuesday is when I'll share my ticker. If you're adding a ticker to your blog, share it in the comments, so we can all head over to place and cheer on your moving shamrock (or your object of choice). (Man, my shamrock looks like it's got a long, long ways to go!)

You can see I didn't do so hot yesterday, but making it to and from my critique group is still a good writerly accomplishment. Plus, there was ice cream, hot fudge and sprinkles. (Thank you, Jaime!)

Who's joining today? Daily W-I-P goal for the day, anyone?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P! Movin' on Monday

Okay, if you're playing along, and you find yourself having a block, there's no excuse while at Cuppa. Any time you feel stuck, take a peek at a Monday Moment (today's, or one of the past...there are 60 now...whoa!). Let yourself free write (that'll rack up some words, yes?) and who know what might come up for you and your story!

So, I'm not off to the most lickity-split start. I'm taking it one word at a time. My goal will be smaller today, as to make it actually accomplishable. I'm shooting for 500 words before I hop in the car and then on a ferry to head into to see my fab city crit group (they are worth that 4-plus-hour round trip).

I'm also going to start playing with this little ticker counter, just because it makes me feel like I'm moving along.

Feel free to post your goals in the comments and pop in any time!!!

Monday Moment #60: a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my character(s) better just by answering the question. I hope you do too. )

I was struggling with what to write about for today's Monday Moment. No recent moment was coming to mind. The only thing that floated through my brain was watching the Oscars last night.

The Oscars are cool, right? For me, like most, the best part is seeing the dresses and hair and make-up and jewelery (oh my!). That got me thinking about those times in your life when you get to or have to dress up. Those times, good or bad, are a big deal.

Why my own personal, long-ago memory popped up, in a very vivid way, I'm not so sure. But the thought made me recall a time in middle school, on the night of a choral concert. Choir has NEVER been my thing. I've always been a lip-syncer. But I remember the dress I wore that night. It was gray, with these bright color blocks of pink and blue, and I wore matching opaque, pink tights (woo-wee). The 7th and 8th graders were also performing that night and at one point we were all lined up in the hallway. Some of the 7th grade boys started barking and howling, as quietly as 7th-grade boys can, and I was pretty sure those sounds were directed at me. But see, I felt as pretty as a 6th-grade girl can in my bright dress and tights, and I thought those noises were complimentary, not a put down. (Ah...that make me so sad for my 6th-grade self).

A funny thing about that night (a truly horrible night) is what happend next. I sat down on bleachers as we waited to sing. This was an older school with wooden, falling apart bleachers. When I shifted, I felt a searing pain in my upper, inner thigh (a tender spot, no?). I was pretty sure a piece of the bleacher was now in my leg, but what could I do? It's not like I could reach up my dress and feel it, or even take a peek. Can you imagine? So I suffered through the singing, suffered through the pain, but thankfully I didn't yet know know that all that barking/howling business was mean...mean...mean. Not only that, but I ended up in the ER after the concert, having a chunk of wood removed from my tender thigh (we're talking an inch long and quarter of an inch wide).

Side note: even though those nasty boys were howling and barking, who knows if it was at ME. It's a good reminder that teens think any words or whispers, good or bad, must be about them.

So I jump from the Oscars to an awful choral concert...don't ask how I made the leap. It just happened.

When did your character get to or have to dress up? How did they feel about it and how did it actually go?

Friday, March 5, 2010

CRACK YOUR W-I-P: Friday Frenzy

Shall we call it that? A gathering on Friday to produce a frenzy of work before the weekend hits?

I wish I could say I were back at that little cafe table by the loose brick.

Unfortunately for me, I'm not.

I'm afraid I'm stuck at home today, while my car is in the shop. Which means I'm home praying to the car-repair gods that the reason the engine light is on is no big deal.

Me working from home = Need help from writerly friends to produce.

Who's with me today?

Let's cheer each other on. I'm shooting for 2K!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P! (More Motivation Needed?)

The more outside accountability the better, right?

Funny enough, I didn't know that friend, Laini Taylor, had just declared March a mini-NaNo. That pink-haired lovely is set to finish the rough of her W-I-P by the end of the month. She has a Mr. Linky set up if you want to join and check in on Wednesdays HERE.

But don't forget to leave a goal for the month of March HERE, especially since Jane offered up red licorice whips for those who meet their goal! All the motivation the better.

I plan to post Monday through Friday (mostly) as a gathering spot for daily support. I don't know about you, but I dearly appreciate the daily writerly company. A heart-felt thank you to those of you who join me. :)

How 'bout today? Anyone with me?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Crack Your W-I-P!

I officially declare March to be CRACK YOUR W-I-P month here at Cuppa.

Yeah, yeah. I know it's already three days in, but 3 is my favorite number and therefore I believe a great day to start CRACK YOUR W-I-P all March long.

For the most part, we are all in some stage or another with our W-I-Ps; outlining, rough draft, revision, maybe even submission. Whatever that stage of work is for you, I hope you'll join me (as you've already been) and crack it here during the month of March.

Some of you may remember the wonderful month of June 2009 when the lovely Holly Cupala and I put on the Summer Revision Smackdown. Well, I guess whip cracking has been ongoing theme here at Cuppa. So...here we go again.

But this time very informal.

Let's crack our writerly whips and get our works-in-progress where we want them to be by March 31. Leave your CRACK YOUR W-I-P goal in the comments.

And feel free to state your goals for today...we'll keep cheering each other on (seems it's producing a lot of work!).

**This just in: The sweet Jane Makuch has just said she will send each person who meets their goal a bag of red licorice whips! Wowza. Make sure your goal is whip worthy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Behind the Brick

If you missed it, I dealt with a bit of mystery while I attempted to meet my world count goal on Friday.

I could not stop thinking about what could be behind that brick. Clearly something was back there.

Put yourself in my seat. I was there, alone, in this busy coffee shop. Who randomly pulls a brick from the wall? Not me! I wanted to, but I felt uncomfortable doing it. I knew if I had friends there with mem I could, but I couldn't sitting there all by myself.

BUT, I DID HAVE FRIENDS. That was the cool thing. Just like this whole business of making writing goals and meeting up each day to support each other; it helps you get it done. On Friday I needed you to say, "Do it!" And you did. You had my back and were in it with me. I had to pull the brick, I just had to.

Now, I wish I could say I found some long-lost mystery or a stash of cash, but we all know that didn't happen (or at least I do). But here is what did happen (Sorry the video is sideways. It wasn't when I taped in on my phone but that's how it uploaded on YouTube.)

Take a look-see:

So, yeah, I know...not all that exciting. But at least we know, right?

Obviously, object number one was the devilish rubber ducky, but item two was more questionable. It came rolling out as soon as I removed the brick. I think it was a really old orange...I think. It was small and hard and brownish and I think a bit moldy. I really didn't want to touch it so much.

I put them back in, replaced the brick, and left. I've wondered if I (or we) should add something in there.

What do you think?

On a working/goal note: Today's been teaching, getting cleaned/dolled up, because I forgot I had to go to a bridal shower luncheon...which means I still need to go get a gift.

Day gone.

BUT...you should be working and I'm sure you ARE WORKING.

Feel free to check in here, I'll still be seeing what your up to and maybe attempt to sneak in my own work here and there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

This Just In: SCBWI Golden Kite Winners Announced!

Wow, this Cuppa has been hot lately. Steamin'! The blog post have been many and fun. But announcing great news is my fave. Whoopee!

For ficiton:

by Julia Durango

For Nonfiction:
By Ashley Bryan

For Picture Book Text:

By Marion Dane Bauer
(illustrated by Ted Lewin)

For Picture Book Illustration:

Illustrations by John Parra
(written by Pat Mora)

Golden Kite Honor Recipients:
Fiction - NEIL ARMSTRONG IS MY UNCLE by Nan Marino

Nonfiction - ERNEST HEMINGWAY: A WRITER'S LIFE by Catherine Reef
Picture Book Text - BELLA & BEAN by Rebbeca Kai Dotlich (illustrated by Aileen Leiiten)
Picture Book Illustration - BAD NEWS FOR OUTLAWS illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson)


The announcement of the Golden Kite Winners is the first little taste of the upcoming SCBWI summer conference; a party you don't want to miss. The winners will be honored at the Golden Kite Luncheon. Some of the most touching, wonderful speeches I have heard at the many SCBWI conferences I've attended have been at the Golden Kite Luncheon.

Let's Start the Week Off Strong! Who's In?

Don't miss today's Monday Moment (previous post)...'cause I heard something really cool over the weekend.

Okay, time to get busy. OR to beg you to hang out with me again because you make me get stuff done, and getting stuff done is good. So good.

Who's in? And what will you accomplish today? Together we can conquer anything. ANYTHING!!! (See what you've done to me?)

Plus, I will eventually share my "What's Behind that Brick?" story. As techie as I pretend to be, I've yet to get the video off my phone in a way I can share it here. Promise, I'll figure that out soon. (without sacrificing below goal)

MY GOAL TODAY: 2000 words (Without the distraction of the lose brick, I should get there.)

Monday Moment #59: a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my character(s) better just by answering the question. I hope you do too. )

You won't believe what I heard the other night!

I was at the beach. It was a beautiful night, not too many clouds, and a nearly-full moon.

There's something very cool about walking and sitting on the beach at night; a completely different experience than the daytime variety. Certainly there was a visual aspect, but it's the other senses that make you "see" it in a different way at night.

I could actually see fairly well (well enough to walk without a flashlight) because the moon was bright. There were clouds floating across the moon, lights across the way, and the water a flat of silver, plus logs and rocks and birds shadowed on the beach. Of course there was also that salty sea air, but it was really all about the sounds; the lull of waves, the screeching of the Killdeer, and the scampering of birds and who-knows-what other critters all around me. I sat there, on a huge driftwood log, taking it all in until an unexpected sound took me by surprise. A big whoosh of air came from out in the water, followed by a splash that sounded like an over-sized man in a belly flop competition.

I listened to the same repeating sounds for at least five minutes until they moved further and further away from me. I'm certain it could have only been one thing; a whale. I strained to look, to get visual proof, but saw nothing. But I trust my sense of sound.

I'm sure I HEARD a whale that night, and it was just as cool as seeing one.

What is something your character experiences with a sense other than sight?