Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Another month down, another to go. I just organized my email files. I have so many of them now. A lot of people hate Outlook. Perhaps I'm just uneducated, ignorant, not cool, but I like it! I have folders within folders and folders and more folders, adn they're all right there for me to easily behold and navigate.

I'm sure there is many an email program that allows one to do the same things, but I don't care. I like Outlook.

Until it crashes. What does it mean when a window pops up and says, "Would you like to auto archive your files?" Where do those files go?

Do you know, I don't really care.

I finished sending out all edits and clean ups today, and it felt great. I approved three proofs, which also felt great, and now I'm down to sending out final scores for the month and nitpicking with a handful of MSS that need to be ready for layout by the end of the working day tomorrow. I think I can get this done; however, I've got meetings upon meetings tomorrow. Four meetings? I think so, yes, four meetings.

I'm looking forward to next month, I think. We'll see how a full month with a regular workload goes. I'm hoping it will go well.

I'm "friends" with the new RUF intern on Facebook now. I can't wait to meet her!

What else, what else...

I am going to be 30 a week from TODAY. That is a strange pill to swallow.

Last night I went through a bunch of old grad school notes. Note about pieces I was writing; notes from class; actual old MSS; handouts. It was a lot of fun. I think I'll use a lot of this old work to craft conceptual notes for the editors on my team. I might also post them here. We shall see.

Not much else about the pub world today. I'm too happy to have a bit of a day of rest tomorrow. And then comes the new load Friday.

I also came across a bunch of old songs I used to play. Many of them I had written, and I didn't even remember them. I had a lot of songs in the early 2000s. I did a lot of writing. In fact, I found a bunch of "song doodles" in the class folders I was going through last night. I might have to rework some of those lyrics to new music (since I don't remember the old music). Might be fun. C and I have been talking about "jamming" lately. Although we always end up sitting around, working in our free time, not doing fun stuff like jamming.

Sorry so scattered. More quality blogging to follow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No to Nuptuals!

Weddings are a beautiful thing. They are a picture of Christ and the church, a great mystery. Lovely. Exciting. I cry at every wedding I attend, without fail.

We went to a beautiful wedding last weekend in fact. Kim was a beautiful, blushing bride, and I mean beautiful. Wow. It was so much fun spending time with friends I hadn't seen in a while, and I can't tell you how excited I am that one of those friends is moving back to Oklahoma.

So, weddings are great.

Not so in print.

If you are considering writing nuptuals into your novel, think long and hard before you implement them. How much of the grand event do I absolutely HAVE to include? How many details MUST be in the story? Who is my audience? What percentage of my readership will I alienate with an extravagent wedding scene? These are good questions.

Further, in evaluating the necessity of the nuptual, ask whether this is just you taking the opportunity to be "descriptive." If it is, be assured you can employ brilliant description elsewhere (or less description here). A wedding slows the pace of the story exponentially...ultimately because conflict is key. Unless there is a shooting in the middle of the wedding; unless there is something that hinders the hero, some conflict arises there, it probably doesn't need to be there. The story MUST move forward!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reading at Home on a Friday Night

Yes, when my husband and I feel like we're not being social enough for a Friday night, we just remember: we do things with friends on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays are for us, for relaxing. Well, Sundays are for the real relaxing. Saturdays are for working, and tonight, Friday nights are for working. Why? This is how my day played out:

8 a.m. - Got to work an hour early. Set up shop at my desk, which involves turning on my computer then going to the cafe for coffee, coming back (checking the thermostat on the way) and hoping my computer has booted.

8-9 a.m. - Caught up on email with a couple of authors, made notes in their files, opened, put in my ear buds, sent out two staff emails, and got started reading. Goal for the day: at least 21,000 words.

9-10 - Got a new cup of coffee, ate a nectarine at my desk, and kept reading.

10 - Meeting with team member.

10:30-11:20 - Read like a maniac, make lots of comments, try to view minimal email.

11:20 - 3:20! - Batman: The Dark Knight (That's right: field trip...for artsy purposes.)

3:20 - 4:00 - View minimal email, answer teammate's questions about issues he's having with a couple of authors, read?

4 - 5 p.m. - Meetings!

Did I meet my reading objective? A resounding no. Will I meet it tonight? Perhaps.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The man that v. The man who

I got caught up a bit more at work today. Good thing.

I've been thinking about common mistakes writers make and thought I'd address a few of those. (For those of you who read Pub Rants, yes, I'm unabashadly copying her, but this is genuinely what's on my mind.)

1) Stick to the story question(s). If you want to go of on a rant, fight the urge if that rant does not further the story. Description for description's sake does not work. It is boring, and you will lose your reader, as well as the interest of your editor. I want conflict, and I want it now, and I want to feel like I'm moving toward resolution.

2) Do not include the first description that comes to mind unless it is brilliant. Chances are, your best descriptions will take time. I've sat in front of my computer for five minutes trying to think of a way to describe a character's nose (and whether it was even worth describing). I ended up going with strawberry seeds. Stop being cliche. There are many great resources out there that discuss description, where it belongs and doesn't, etc. I'll stop there.

3) Learn the basics and copy edit your material. Don't send an agent or an editor anything less than your best work. If you're not good at syntax, have a friend who is read over your MS before you send it out (lest your work be thrown away). I'm in a different boat, as those MSS that come across my desk are contracted. But when I see five errors on page one, I cringe. Do I really have to trudge through this?

--As a side note, this may sound harsh, but I assure you: New York is harsher. And I am not even close to New York.

4) Work with your editor. When I make comments, heed them...and probably employ them. Your editor knows her stuff. She is not perfect, but she has been studying the craft since she was eighteen. She knows story and has good ideas for you. She also cares about your work.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So Busy and Still Slacking

I got back from camp with the kids Sunday around midnight. I only now feel back to normal, yet I'm still tired. So is life. I have so much catching up to do at work that I'm having trouble seeing straight, yet I can't make myself dig into the book I should reading right now. It is about Richard III. It's an interesting premise...a woman looking for the "real" history of Richard III and being basically hunted down by a group of Druids. Present day. New York. New York City Public Library, which always and forever will make me think of the original Ghostbusters. I need to start writing more on this thing. Resolution: blog more. Easier said than done.

Camp was amazing. I only wish hubs had been able to go. The ocean, on a clear day, was absolutely beautiful. So much so that I couldn't drag myself out of the water. The sand was like sugar, and the sun felt so good on my skin. Until my skin broke out in hives, but that's another story (and why I did NOT come back with a tan).

Driving over 2,000 miles is difficult, but the crew I was driving was wonderful. How I love the CTK Norman kids. How I love beach games. How I love reading.