if you want to destroy my sweater

While on the way home from school, Weezer’s “Sweater Song” came on the radio, and Z was intrigued. “Can you really destroy a sweater like that?” Not being a knitter, I don’t know the answer, but I said you could definitely do some damage. Then we brainstormed other ways to destroy a sweater. Here are three:

Run over the sweater with a car.

sweater 1

Bake the sweater in a pie.

sweater 2

Bake the sweater in a pie and feed it to an alligator.

sweater 3

When I listen to the song, I always picture the sweater as red. Not sure why that is.

NaNoWriMo continues to be fun! I’m going to run out of story before I hit my word count goal, but that’s what revision is for, I guess.

one gopher says "Did you eat all the Halloween candy already?" and the writing gopher responds, "Don't talk to me. I have a masterpiece to create."

And the beat goes on…

I’m having a blast with NaNoWriMo. The one big tragedy that I confessed to a writing friend the other day is that sometimes I write a scene that cracks me up, and I’m laughing out loud while I type it. This is great, actually. The tragedy is that I can’t share it with anyone. It would require so much explanation that by the time I get to the punch line, it isn’t even funny anymore.

So I live in the hope that a) leftover Halloween candy is calorie-free, and b) when I finally revise this monster and work up the guts to share it with critique partners, it comes back with LOLs written in the appropriate margins.

There was another big tragedy – for awhile, every time I thought about the story, the soundtrack from Disney’s Aladdin got stuck in my head. Specifically “Friend Like Me” and “Arabian Nights.” I like these songs. They have their place in my childhood and in my heart – I don’t need them, however, stuck in my head for a week. Thankfully, this has mostly been remedied by Christiane Karam, a vocalist/composer I stumbled upon on Youtube. I don’t really have the vocabulary to talk about music intelligently, but I really like the songs of hers that I’ve listened to so far.

And since I’m sharing videos, I just finished reading the ARC of Stasia Ward Kehoe’s THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, and the main character plays this song, which I now love so much I think I’ve listened to it eight times since yesterday. Probably more. As Z would say, “Seriously. I’m not teasing.”

Now. Go. Have an amazing weekend.

One gopher saying to other gopher, "Yup, you're still crazy, I see." The other gopher stands in front of laptop with a box of Leftover Halloween Candy next to her, with thought bubble, "But I'm having fun!"

And let the madness begin…

National Novel Writing Month has begun. I wrote straight through Maverick’s nap and am 63% of the way to my goal. For the day, people! Not for the month!

Blog posts will be short on Fridays (or not at all) while I join in the writing frenzy this month.

Friday Five: Beta Bliss

1. I’m beta-reading a book that I like so much, I’m cranky I have to take time out to write this blog post at all. Seriously, the beta reads I’ve done in the past year? Really enjoyable. Friends, keep writing fab books, because you’re making the “work” part of critiquing, well, less like work!

2. The Mentalist – Homes and I are addicted. Or wait. Were addicted. Because we breezed through the DVDs of Season 5 in, like, a week. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and wondering what is it about annoying detective-types? Columbo, Patrick Jane, Richard Castle, the guy in Lie to Me, the guy in The Finder, the doctor in Bones. Sherlock Holmes! Gone are the hard-boiled detectives with the checkered pasts…actually, this isn’t a new thing at all. Take a quirky person, give him or her a mystery to solve, and watch how those quirks put a new spin on solving the same question over and over: who killed the dead person?

3. I’ve been feeling super lucky this week – a shiny new idea for a novel (see more below), the way-fun beta read, and an awesome contact to talk about 1950s Hawaii with. It’s incredible how kind and generous this woman is, exchanging emails with a total stranger about random personal facts. Now if I can just find someone to tell me the exact dates of the Makaha International Surfing Championship in the winter of 1956/57, I’ll be good to go. (That’s a lie. I need about twenty or thirty other questions answered. But one thing at a time. One thing at a time.)

4. The Shiny New Idea! And National Novel Writing Month! They happen to very nearly coincide, which is a first. I never thought I’d do NaNoWriMo, because what are the chances that I’ll be in a place where I can start a new project right at the beginning of November? It has finally happened, so I’m going to join the insanity next month. I’m nervous, because it sounds like a recipe for frustration. I get most of my writing done during Maverick’s naps, while Z is in school. But in November she has seven days off (five for Thanksgiving, one for Veteran’s Day, and then an inservice day). Worst-case scenario is I don’t “win” NaNoWriMo, so I don’t have 50,000 words. But I bet I come close, which is better than nothing, n’est-ce pas?

curiosities5. For awhile I was on a short-story kick, and that seems to have passed. This makes me a little sad, almost nostalgic for that month of short stories. This last time I was inspired by reading The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. Whenever I put the book down, it seemed I had a new idea to write about – it was incredibly energizing. Maybe after I finish my NaNo novel, I can read through The Curiosities again.

three gophers - one dressed as a surfer, one with a blond ponytail holding cash, and one dressed as a witch

Battle of the Protagonists

Let’s just assume it is normal for a writer to have her characters talking inside her head. I’m not saying this happens to me…okay, fine, it does. But it’s usually limited to conversations between the characters within a single book. Awhile ago I got to wondering what would happen if my various main characters met each other and compared notes on how I’m treating them.

This probably won’t be funny to anyone except me. And that’s okay. If I can’t entertain myself, what’s the point of doing this anymore?

July 2012

INT. A TRAVELING PET SPA

Amalia, a privileged witch, smiles smugly at Ari, a teen entrepreneur from a working-class background.

AMALIA

I suppose you’ll have to wait a little while longer for your story to be revised.

ARI

What? But…but she promised.

AMALIA

Well, my story’s further along. It takes priority.

ARI

You sanctimonious little b–

August 2012

EXT. FLOODED WAR ZONE OUTSIDE STONE CITY WALLS

Amalia skips past, wielding a flaming ball of magicky something-or-other.

AMALIA

Never mind. My book’s done now!

ARI

FINALLY. It’s my turn!

January 2013

EXT. SMALL-TOWN CITY HALL

Ari’s shaking her fist at the miniature dog fountain when Annie shows up with a surfboard. Annie leans her surfboard against the dog fountain, which promptly tips over.

ANNIE

Hi!

ARI

Who are you?

ANNIE

I’m Annie. I’m in the next project.

ARI

What is it with the A names?

ANNIE

I don’t know about you, but my name totally fits me and my time period. I’m historical.

ARI

Actually you’re a little too present, cutting in to my time. I should be completely revised at this point.

ANNIE

It’s not my fault your story’s unmarketable and weird.

ARI

Unmarketable? Unmarketable? Oh, I guess you’d know all about that, Miss Historical-Novel-In-Verse.

ANNIE

At least I’m not completely wackadoodle. And I don’t hit people.

ARI

I don’t hit people. Much. Besides, you hit someone!

ANNIE

Yes, but my reasoning was dark and dramatic. Yours is because you feel like it.

ARI

I kinda feel like it now. Come a little closer.

October 2013

EXT. BALMY HAWAIIAN BEACH, MONSTER WAVES IN BACKGROUND

ANNIE

I’m nearly in draft 3 and she’s still going strong!

ARI

(sobs) I’m in Draft 480 and she still isn’t done with me!

END

Friday Five

1. I made my first green smoothie yesterday, thanks to advice from my BFF K-Joy! It was a beginner’s green smoothie, with spinach, banana, and lots of blueberries. Actually quite tasty. Maverick loved it. Z loved it until she heard that I put spinach in there. I’ll make another one tomorrow. Wonder if Z will believe me when I say the green color comes from candy?

2. The YA Muses recently gave their website a “mindblowing” overhaul with a gorgeous redesign by Lia Keyes. They also expanded their ranks to include six New Muses, and I’m thrilled to be one of them. My first post went up last week. It was fairly straightforward to write a post talking about myself (although, yes, terrifying). But even worse is next week, when I’m supposed to write something about character. I think I’ve mentioned here before that I shy away from giving advice on craft because I am hardly an expert and have no street cred whatsoever. But I have to figure out something, and soon. It’s probably bad form to find a guest-poster for my first craft post…but I’m tempted.

3. What is it about kids and how no matter what one kid has, the other one wants it?

Never mind. I don’t think it’s just kids who do this.

4. Last week we had four excellent entries in Colonel Shifty’s Haiku Made Easy query critique/poem giveaway! I’ve decided to select more than one winner. In fact, we’ve got four winners. PB Rippey, Randi (AKA my mom), Myrna Foster, and Jamie Weil! Congratulations! I’ll be in touch to find out if you want a query critique or a poem.

5. A Shiny New Idea came to me the other day, giving me some energy & extra motivation to finish up the books I’m working on now. Once again, my Shiny New Idea is about something I know laughably little about. I think that’s part of the fun, though – exploring something so new that I start by borrowing children’s books on the topic. (Apologies to any local kids who need to do book reports on that subject anytime soon. I just cleared a shelf out of the library.)

Colonel Shifty’s Haiku Made Easy – Query Critique or Poem Giveaway

Okay, so I actually used to do this when I worked in a restaurant. On my close-out envelope, I’d write a few 5- and 7-syllable options and ask a coworker to choose and voila, a ready-made haiku. Indulge me?

1st Lines
sweet peppers pungent
giraffes wear lipstick
television light
traveling rat spa
little mermaid fin

2nd Lines
winter elephant in bloom
LEGO music Clair de Lune
ice cream melts antagonist
Wichita parades at noon
lavender shoe fetishist

3rd Lines
ickle ockle blue
scented miracle
Areola’s smile
superstar panda
jealous macaroon

Post your haiku in the comments! One entry per person, but feel free to create as many as you like. And feel free to switch things up a bit (substitute words or lines of your own or whatever). Winning haiku will be chosen by Colonel Shifty on Thursday, August 29th at 1:36 pm Pacific time. (Colonel Shifty is actually a gopher, so I will help him by drawing a name out of a hat or using some kind of number generator thingie.) The prize…the prize…um. (Can you tell I’m winging this whole thing?) I’ll critique your query letter. If you don’t have a query letter, or don’t want me to critique it, I will write you a poem. A personalized poem! By me! Yay!