So I did it. Blogged every day for a full month.
What did I learn?
- I can really whip out some make-do stuff when necessary. Just like in high school.
- Blogging at night suits me better–want to save my best brain cells for my WIP.
- Challenges are fun.
- My choicest blog posts happen when I’m fired up about something.
- My blog traffic did indeed go up when I posted every day.
- I can’t commit to posting every day.
The truth is, I’ve got a life to live, people!
In May, I will post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week.
Let’s see how that puppy will fly.
I’ve started maybe a half-dozen posts since the beginning of the year, and haven’t finished any of them. The importance of what I had to say fizzled out in the face of walk-around-life ANGST and DRAMA.
Calm down. We are all healthy and free on bond.
Oh, fine. There were no incidents of any sort involving The Law. I was hyperboleing.
I’m in bed wrapped in blankets, with two space heaters chugging away. I’m trying to motivate myself to journey down two flights of stairs and out the door to lunch with my bestie.
But I am so EXHAUSTED by all the STUFF that’s been happening.
I couldn’t sleep last night so I played Pop Words and watched MST3K on YouTube into the wee hours of the morning.
I woke up 30 minutes ago.
And about 28 minutes ago, it soooo hit me. Why I write YA.
This is where I like to leave room for the reader to fill in the blanks.
…urge to throw empty inkjet cartridges at them and critique the hell out of their WIPs, without sandwiching in any praise.
Don’t think I won’t. A woman desperate enough to perform cosmetic dental surgery on dogs is desperate enough to do anything.
It was bad enough enduring tweets LIVE from the conference, but NOW, everybody is home. Blogging. Sharing their notes. Telling all of us every little detail of what they experienced at the LA SCBWI conference. The knowledge that they’re spilling all over us–the clarifications, recommendations, admonitions, hints, tips…
How dare they be so generous.
Way to ruin a righteous pout, guys.
It’s not that I don’t love you all.
I just have a hard time keeping a blog schedule.
Because if I have a kid with a résumé that needs tweaking or a speech that needs punching up, that’s going to come first. Broken heart? That comes first. Two-week visit from a kid I haven’t seen this year? I’m going to enjoy it.
I know. My priorities are all screwed up.
But things have calmed down now, so I should be back on track. I’m going to finish the week with a fifth Master Writer, which I’m itching to get to. (Hint: He’s British.) (Actually, that’s two hints. He’s a he.)
For now, back to the WIP. Because I find I’m kind of NUTSO when I have to go too long without writing. That’s not good for anybody.
I really don’t want to be on YouTube. At least, not this way.
Bottled Lightning is home.
Freckles McYoungest has finished her sophomore year.
I try desperately to stick to my writing schedule.
This is what happens.
It took me a while to find my voice. In writing, I mean. Let’s not go all melodramatic. People hate that.
I’m in the gooey middle of an experiment called Tweet Mystery of Death. It’s a 6-week “play” of sorts on Twitter. A critique buddy of mine identified the character I play without my telling her.
She recognized my “voice” in my tweets of in-character dialogue. Even though I’m playing a young, male go-fer for a movie star. With an unhealthy yen for bananas and a penchant for blackmail.
His voice is different from my WIP’s MC’s voice, an admirable teen who has had a lot of bad breaks. Yet you can still identify that author’s voice as mine, too. Just like my non-fiction pieces, @mermensing tweets, blogs, grocery lists…
So what is voice?
Part of it has to be sense of humor. While my sense of humor will change slightly for each character, in the end it still has to make me laugh too, so there will be similarities.
Syntax, sure. Whether a writer uses a lot of passive sentences, inverts the subject, “ing”s or “ly”s. Goes choppy. Or uses long, flowery, flowing discussions that seem to run on and on and describe every single detail until there’s nothing for the reader to imagine for him or herself because the writer has covered every stinking thing that could possibly occur to the reader to think about. I have a writer friend that likes to describe exactly what her characters look like, so a police sketch artist could draw a wanted poster. I like to throw in a few key details, and let the reader fill in what they think is good-looking, or ugly.
Word choice. Here ya go. This is probably the key way to figure me out. I admit that I have favorite words: detritus, flabbergast, bubble, jitter, harridan, smirk, boobs. (YA here, okay?) I always have to do that word search thing to make sure I haven’t put “detritus” in my MS 42 times. (This is a separate issue from “weasel words” like: well, just, started to, etc.)
I can hear all you Sweet Young Writers out there saying, “How do I get me some Voice?”
Well Grasshopper, snatch the pebble from my hand.
Or better yet, get a blog.
Because the only way to “get” voice is to write it out of you. The harder you try to get a voice, the less natural your voice is. Bad voice is formal, artificial, stilted. Good voice is–you. In the old days, you would fill 100 notebooks. But now getting a voice is more fun. Get a blog, and write.
Make your goal something just out of the range that you’re comfortable with. If you’re sure that you can do 100 words, make it 200. If you’re sure 200 words will be a snap, make it 300. DO IT EVERY DAY. Pick a subject and go. For a beginner, LiveJournal might be the best choice, because you can link easily with other writers, support each other, have a dialogue.
And hey! When you get started, come back and tell me about it–in your own voice!
SHAMELESS PLUG: HAVE A CHEAP THRILL AND FOLLOW ME AND A HALF-DOZEN OTHER KIDLIT WRITERS AS WE ADLIB OUR WAY THROUGH AN UNSCRIPTED MYSTERY/COMEDY: TWEET MYSTERY OF DEATH ON TWITTER. WE’VE JUST COMPLETED THE FIRST OF SIX WEEKS. WE’VE GOT A NING WITH SYNOPSES AND OUR BIOS HERE. THE BEST WAY TO WATCH US FALL APART UNFOLD IS FOLLOW @coffee_boy ON TWITTER AND FOLLOW ALL THE PEOPLE COFFEE BOY’S FOLLOWING. PUT THEM ALL IN ONE COLUMN ON TWEETDECK AND YOU WILL HAVE ALL THE TWEETS IN ONE PLACE LIKE A SCRIPT.
I wonder how many people recognize where the title of this post comes from. Does anyone read Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass anymore? Perhaps the craziness of real life has squelched the desire for the absurd in literature.
I am a children’s writer, primarily YA fantasy. I live in the imaginal realm four to six hours a day. It is a strangely familiar yet dangerous place, filled with our most profound fears and joy. I am lucky to work where myth and legend, imagination and creativity, and monsters and saints live.