Take A Moment

With kidlet #3 arriving soon, I’ve felt massive amounts of stress weighing me down. Every week I tell myself I’m not gonna plan for anything, and every week I feel so booked that I remind myself that “next week will be emptier and I can relax.

Sanity is important to me. In order to achieve that, balance is required. And one thing that I do to help me balance is to freely write. Whether that’s a free-write from a writing prompt, write something completely random, or work in my WIP somewhere other than the next scene, I feel much more grounded and balanced when I do it.

My mind gets so full sometimes that it’s nice to release some of the random ideas, especially with my WIP. This past week, I decided I didn’t like the way chapter 4 ended and just wasn’t feeling what chapter 5 would be. Well, I ended up writing “Chapter X-1” because I know it’ll end up as the 2nd to last chapter (at the very least). It was such a helpful task to look far enough ahead and mention things that I’ve only considered having happened, but definitely feel like they should happen.

Writing is so nice, especially when I just take a moment let the thoughts freely leave my mind and get into the Word document. But it is only one of many options for what I can do when I just need that mental numbness.

What do you like to do when you need to take a moment?

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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LTUE Review

Last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I spent about 24 hours at LTUE, which stands for Life, The Universe, and Everything. Wow….thankfully, I didn’t spend all 24 of those hours in a panel or presentation. Man, that would’ve killed me!

Of course, I did go to a few good panels, such as “Plot, Subplot, and Foreshadow” and “Feeling Fake”. I also got to hobnob with some of my awesome author friends. (You know you all like the word hobnob; it makes it sound like I was amongst the rich and famous.)

So…highlights to share?

I have a friend who smells everything (rather this than a friend who smells, trust me.)

Speaking of smells: No matter where you go, there will be people who haven’t showered that day/week/month/year. Sadly, they’re in higher concentrations at LTUE.

I noticed one author’s dislike for another is just as strong as ever.

I actually passed a handwritten note from one woman to another (made me feel like I was in high school for a moment.)

Parking in Belgium is much better than parking in Egypt, but not by much.

I met Bree Despain and promptly got her lost on our way to the conference. Thankfully, ran into a group of about 10 others that also got lost with us.

Brandon Sanderson is loud, but just as awesome and insightful as ever.

Robison Wells is alive and…well…he’s alive.

Also, I have the official job of fetching Rob’s drink for him. Yes, yes, mock the fanboy.

L.E. Modesitt knows so much about economics, he could talk about it for days on end.

Dan Wells mocks his younger brother.

Sarah Eden shouldn’t pay for LTUE since they keep asking her to be on a panel.

I impressed the “Newport Ladies Book Club” authors by carrying Julie Wright’s Olivia around with me…even read some while I ditched panels I wasn’t interested in.

Julie Wright, the only of the 4 authors for NLBC to have a sci-fi/fantasy related book and not be present at this sci-fi/fantasy related conference.

Also, Heather Moore, Annette Lyon, and Josi Kilpack each gave me insights into NLBC. I now know…well…not a whole lot, to be honest.

You want the weight of the dagger to be in the grip and for there to be curves around the sides. (I also learned I should’ve taken better notes in the first presentation I attended.)

Eating a small piece of chocolate when I’m already hungry will overdrive me into starving. (Personal pan pizza did not rescue me.)

I learned that no one seems to know how to introduce Jeff Savage–er–J. Scott Savage–er–Mr. Savage.

Sometimes it’s better to sit out of a panel and write/critique/read/socialize, than it is to actually attend one. (Okay, let’s admit, I already knew that from past experience.)

And I learned that the best panel I attended was the last one I attended. But sadly my laptop ran out of battery and I could only take notes for half of it.

Well, that’s been my review of LTUE. Until next time…

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Current Standings

So, I don’t know why, but I really like starting a blog post off with the word “so.” There’s something cliche and common about it that I really like. Nothing relevant to the rest of this post. I just thought I’d share that.

Writing update: I’m not worrying about word count in my new book, “Stilz”. I’m more worrying about getting the story written. Right now, I’m on chapter 3, feeling like I need an outline. I really do prefer “discovery writing” so I’ll probably outline it after I’ve written it or if I really do write myself into a corner. But for now, I’m gonna take my time on chapter 3 (mostly because that’s what I’m accidentally doing.)

This week marks the beginning of 2012’s writing conference season (to me anyway). I view LTUE as a great way to get my butt into gear when it comes to writing. I love going and hearing about different authors and their books and feel my jealousy determination to write rising.

As long as all goes as planned, I’ll get to go to LTUE for the 3rd year in a row. In 2010 I heard Dan Wells give a presentation on the 7 plot points. An informative thought process that has helped me in writing. (Maybe I should do that for this book and realize what I’m missing.) I also got to hear a live recording of Writing Excuses, which was beyond awesome.

Last year for LTUE, I was debating taking a sick day so I could go to all 3 days of. That was a huge hope for me. So imagine my joy when I woke up the first day of LTUE with a pretty high fever and saying things that made no sense. My wife and I argued about me going to LTUE, work, or staying home. I lost all arguments and stayed home. The next day, when I was supposed to be at LTUE, I instead read tweets about LTUE and watched movies on my couch attempting naps.

But I did get to attend the 3rd day of LTUE where I had difficulty sitting in classes because of this cold. I stood in the hall and talked with my awesome friend Taffy during the times I couldn’t sit through class. I did get to sit through 2 hours of Wrighting Excuses recordings. And got a tweet from Taffy that said something about me looking like I was still pretty unwell. Oh well. I made it to LTUE, that was the goal.

So, this year, as long as I can get all my work done that I need to do by Wednesday night before I go home, I can go to all 3 days of LTUE.

But, also, let me advertise something else, if you’re a Utah-resident author. Precision Editing Group is putting on a workshop the first Saturday in March. If you’re up for some critiquing from some awesome women, then I suggest going. I’ll attempt to be brave and bring my writing to get told that I’ve misused commas, used the wrong “their”, and wrote the most confusing sentence ever. (Okay, hopefully I didn’t use the wrong “they’re”. That’d be a heinous grammar crime if there ever was one.)

Until next time…

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Welcome Back

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. But this is something I miss a lot. The free flowing-ness of my random thoughts.

So….what have I been up to?

Really, work. And a lot of it. Work has been so busy and life has added its busy-ness that I have not had the time to blog or even write much.

I’m supposed to be doing NaNoWriMo….it’s more like NaNoFailMore. But, because of a friend of mine, I joined a critique group, with which I met last Friday. But instead of printing off the over-revised chapter 1 (which I probably would’ve done a ceremonial burning of the pages had I brought it instead of getting it critiqued), I brought chapter 6. Why? One simple thought: I know that the storyline from chapter 6 through the end of the book isn’t getting overhauled. Yeah, it was hard on my critique group and it took some explanation. Also, I was stupid and didn’t read through that chapter since I originally wrote it last year. So really, we’re talking a MAJOR rough draft. It was pretty embarrassing to be honest. But on the same token, it lit a fire under me. Time to revise. I’ve dreaded revising chapters 1-5 because of the major changes to those plot points. But now that I’m ignoring those, I’ve enjoyed moving forward.

Like Willie Wonka says “You can’t go backward. You’ve gotta go forward to go backward.” I’m gonna apply that to my book.

Also, I finished reading 2 books in the past month. That amazing? For me it really is. Oddly enough, they were by brothers.

First, I finished Variant by Robison Wells. It was nice to have a good fast read. And the book itself was really good. Also, if you haven’t bought it, I recommend it. It is a worthy read. If there were more books like this when I was a teenager, I would’ve read a lot more. And the twists and turns in this book were awesome. I really liked the plotting here.

Second, I finished I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells. And oh my gosh! I wanted to cry when I was done. I also finished it on a flight from Vegas to SLC. I think I should’ve been reading the Hunger Games, though, since the lady next to me was reading Catching Fire and the lady next to her was reading Mockingjay. Of course, I’ve already read it. Anyway….Dan Wells’ 3rd book is honestly my favorite of the trilogy. I really didn’t expect to like it so much. I loved I Am Not a Serial Killer and enjoyed Mr. Monster. But there was something about I Don’t Want to Kill You that was more awesome than either of the previous one. Like when…wait that spoils it….oh but when John…no wait……and then when….Dangit! It was really good.

Also, if you haven’t heard by now, in September, my wife and I found out we are expecting child #3. Seriously, this is scary. I already have one of each, so I don’t really mind if we have another boy or another girl. Half of me wants a girl. (If you can’t guess what the other half of me wants, then here’s your sign.)

If you’re doing NaNo, go you! I’m failing miserably at it. But I’m loving revising again. Like really loving it! I’m so excited to revise and bring a much better chapter 7 to critique group than that crappy chapter 6. Go me!

By the way,

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Nothing to Be Seen Here

Yep, basically, this is an empty blogpost with nothing really important to say.

See, I’ve been busy. Writing? Nooooooo. Work has decided that it needs to eat up my brain so that I can’t funciton properly to do things for NaNoWriMo. I have achieved over 10,000 words. Only 40k to go, right? I can do that in..um….8 days….meh, who am I kidding. Goal will be (as long as I ‘fail’ at this one) is to finish by December 31st. And somehow, get enough ready so that I can pitch at LDS Storymakers in May.

Just an FYI, I can’t wait to register for Storymakers. Why? Mostly because I want to pitch to Sarah Crowe. Why? Because she’s awesome. Two of my favorite authors have her as an agent. One of my favorite writer friends is hoping to one day have her as his agent. I just think I should be added to that list. (Yes, I’m that entitled. 😉 )

And other than that. I have nothing else to say, except:

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

LDStorymakers

LDS Storymakers was a two-day event that I nauseating talked about for the last few months. Out of the three conferences I attended in the last year, it was definitely the best. Let me give you a rundown of the events:

Bootcamp: I paid extra to do a two-day, morning bootcamp session. And let me tell you, whoever you are, that it was awesome. I am very willing to pay that again. My table’s writing guru (or whatever they were called) was Kirk Shaw, senior editor of Covenant. He was very awesome to have as the guru (or whatever). The rest of my group was Tamara, Graham, Deirdra, and Julie. I have to say, each of them are more talented than me at writing. Tamara actually has a new book coming out from a small press publisher. Graham had been at the conference before and seemed to know everyone. Deirdra has finished two separate books that seem to fit in a series and ended up with a manuscript request from one of her pitch sessions. And one of Julie’s entries in the young adult category won that category. So congrats to her. My manuscript got a little ripped apart. And oddly enough, it didn’t hurt. I learned that my story is good, but my ‘craft’ needs to be honed a lot.

There were four breakout sessions on day one. It was a difficult process deciding which ones to attend.

#1: Laura Rennert, a senior agent at Andrea Brown Lit, did an awesome presentation about query letters and pitches. I thought that it’d help a little to attend this class. Well, I was wrong. It helped a lot. I really want to redo a lot of stuff for my book and try to send it to her.

#2: Aprilynne Pike, author of NY Times Bestseller Wings, did a presentation on fantasy in the YA (Young Adult, if you don’t know) market. She’s a great presenter because she’s got the right amount of energy along with a great presentation.

In between the second and third sessions, I bought Dan Wells’ I Am Not a Serial Killer, which I can’t wait to read (after the other two books that I’m trying to read right now.)

#3: J. Scott Savage is in my top 3 favorite all-time presenters. I mean, the man is awesome. He did a presentation on writing villains. Like Aprilynne, he’s got enough humor mixed with knowledge mixed with energy that makes him awesome. I was too intrigued by his presentation that I forgot to take notes. Oh well, I’ll just email him to get them (hopefully he’ll hold up to his promise).

#4: I was originally going to go to a different presentation. I acutally wish I did. I went to someone else’s presentation and checked out early. Which was fine. I needed to get out and stretch my legs after all the sitting.

Keynote: David Wolverton is awesome. The man has written under both David Wolverton and David Farland. Sadly, I’ve never read any of his books, but I intend to. There’s just so much for me to read right now. He gave so much insight. Ending day one with his insightful words made me want to go out and write.

Throughout the day, I got the privilege of meeting Heather Moore, Annette Lyon, and many more people. Mary also got Rachel Ann Nunes’ signature on one of her books as well as purchasing a Janette Rallison book and getting it signed. Most importantly, I got to get James Dashner’s signature in his second 13th Reality book. I also got to meet aspiring authors Gail and Debbie, who were from Colorado during our dinner before getting a headache from sitting far too close to the speakers during Shaun Burrows mini-concert. We ended up buying two of his cds as well.

More from LDStorymakers in my next post. Until then:

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.