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The Everyday Thoughts and Tidbits that catch my fancy - Look! A squirrel!

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Premiere Interview: Christy Raedeke!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you would do this interview with me, Christy (http://raedeke.blogspot.com). I LOVED you book, Prophesy of Days Book 1: The Daykeeper's Grimoire (www.prophesyofdays.com). It's packed full of amazing information in an entertaining story.



CS: Tell us about The Prophesy of Days. How was your story birthed? What was Your motivation?



Christy Raedeke: I really wanted to write the kind of story I would have loved as a kid. I was always into the odd books about the stuff like unsolved mysteries, The Bermuda Triangle, and bottomless sinkholes in the Yucatan. Once I read about the Mayan calendar I was hooked and knew that had to be the central focus of the book.



CS:What messages/life lessons did you wish to teach your readers in Prophesy of Days?



Christy Raedeke:I'm not sure I really have any life lessons to impart, but I do want kids to know that life is full of mystery and beauty. I hope they know how important they are - and how powerful. They have a hand in shaping the world they want to live in. I don't want my kids to inherit the world; I want them to create a better one.



CS: Looking back on the writing of Prophesy of Days, is there anything you would have done differently?



Christy Raedeke: Of course! I think my whole life is made up of things I look back on and wish I'd done differently. But living life looking in the rear view mirror makes you lose site of what's ahead. This is a first novel and it's full of flaws - but dwelling on them is useless. I can only impact my future, and work harder on my next books.



CS: Full of flaws? I never noticed any! What part of writing is easiest for you? And the hardest?



Christy Raedeke: The easiest part of writing is the first draft, about a third of the way in. By then I usually know the general direction I'm going, but I'm right in the middle of the discovery phase. At that point it seems like my fingers are writing, not my brain. The words just flow.



The hardest part is revising. That feels like straight-up work. Especially when you have to change a plot thread and scour the book for all instances that are touched by that thread. I know people who absolutely love the revision process, but I'm not one of them!



CS: What advice would you give aspiring writers about getting into the game? What do you know now that you wish you knew back when you started in the business?



Christy Raedeke: My biggest piece of advice would be to go to writer's conferences when you're ready to query agents. They are so much more receptive when they've met you in person at a conference. Plus, hearing them speak on panels or roundtables gives you good insight into who they are and what they like. I really don't know how people query blindly! A little-known fact: once you've been to a conference and met an agent or editor, you can write the name of the conference on your submission envelope and it will rise above the slush pile. So in addition to getting a great education at conferences, you are also paying for preferential treatment for your submission.



CS: What was the wisest thing about writing that was ever said to you?



Christy Raedeke: It's the old Hemmingway saying, "kill your darlings". In both of my books, I've had to chop off the first several chapters. Don't be afraid to cut work that you love if it makes the story better.



CS: And here you can do a loud and shameless plug for book #2! Would you like to tell us about it? (Sure you do!)



Christy Raedeke: Well, I'm deep in revisions of it right now, so it's on my mind! The title of it is Prophesy of Days, Book 2: The Serpent's Coil. I can't tell you too much without giving away spoilers, but I will say Caity gets deeper into the conspiracy, Justine accompanies her on most of the adventure, someone we love dies, and Mr. Papers discovers some scary new talents...



CS: Now I can't wait to get my hands on Book #2!

Thanks so much for this interview, Christy. Good luck with revisions, and let us know how it's coming along!

Monday, August 30, 2010

And My Very First Interviewee Is...

I have convinced the talented and oh, so sweet Christy Raedeke (raedeke.blogspot.com) to do an interview for Musings! Christy is the author of the exciting book Prophesy of Days Book 1: The Daykeeper's Grimoire (http://www.prophesyofdays.com).
She's a very busy lady, but has agreed to get her answers to my questions as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we all wait with baited breath...(Where exactly did that saying come from?)
Check out Christy's blog and website. Feel the excitement!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is Violence Appropriate in Young Adult Books?

There's a lot of talk about the Hunger Games (http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/) on how well written it is, but also about the violence in the story. I haven't yet read the series because my daughters have commandeered them, but from what I read on the book jacket, the whole series is based on children killing children for the entertainment of others.
The topic of violence in YA literature, which Nathan Brandsford addresses in his Friday morning blog, has raised a point; Violence in Children's Literature:Is There a Line? (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/). (I'm not very computer savvy, as you can tell. Give me time, I'll figure out how to do proper links!)
Is there a line? How about Lord of the Flies, or Animal Farm, both classics in children's literature? My daughters study them in school.
Violence is on the television (thank goodness my girls prefer to watch Family channel,) and in the movie theater at every turn, and not to mention on the streets and in the homes of countless children. I'm not saying it's a good thing; it just is.
Can we honestly protect our children from it? There was a time I wanted to home school my girls and hold them close to home at all times, but they are very gregarious, not allowing me to shelter them (we won't talk about finding out one of them would slip out her bedroom window after being told she couldn't go to said party and walked from our farm into the city).
Any opinions on the matter?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oops

I was right to check up on myself. The link to Larry Brooks' blog Storyfix.com works, but you'll have to go to the 'Categories' section on the right passbar to find the Story Structure Series. I'm working on my computer skills, honest!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gleaning Wisdom

Over the past weekend, I reviewed past posts from one of my favorite writer-ly websites Storyfix http://storyfix.com/.


Larry Brooks did a series of posts on story structure that helped me drop all the pieces of my novel into place. Okay, the pieces of my outline, since I haven't actually finished writing the entire story. But I digress. What I wanted to share with you are the links to the series, in case they may be of help to others. I am in awe of Mr. Brooks' wisdom. Also his no bullsh** approach.


I'm going to give you the first three, and if you like, you can find the rest. Truth be told, I'm not sure that these links will work. I'm not of computer-literate standing. Wish me luck. I'll check these links myself to be sure.


Story Structure - Just Possibly the Holy Grail of Storytelling


Story Structure Series: #1 - Introducing the Four Parts of Story


Story Structure Series: #2 - Milestones Along the 4 -Part Storytelling Road

Turning Over a New Leaf

I've decided. Writing needs to become top priority, not just something I do when I can find a spare minute. This is where I want to be, so why would I deprive myself of being in that groove just to get the house cleaned or the grass cut, or the garden weeded? That stuff will always be there, just waiting for me to do it AGAIN tomorrow, so what's the worry? Time to put living first, not appearances.
We held a fiction group writer's meeting last night, and it was awesome! Jill provided us with an insider's look into the romance genres; what's expected from publishers, the different categories, etc. Lots of good-to-know stuff if considering writing romance. Then Debbie got us all worked up over Internet presence and blogs. You know, that getting-known-before-the-book-deal stuff that unknowns like me need to consider in order to stand a chance out in those churning publishing waters. So we made a pact (such a junior high-ish word) to all start blogs and interview writers and writers-to-be, maybe do some book reviews, etc. All those professional writerly habits.
So, to recap my new goals:
Priority #1: Finish Witches Don't Wear Socks before the end of the year.
Priority #2: Update blog and it's gadgets. Blog entries weekly, minimum.
Priority #3: Keep a picture of my family next to my computer so I can remember what they look like.
Priority #4: Bathe monthly.

That's alot for me to handle. Let's see how things are going by the end of September...