Posts Tagged ‘The Opposite of Gravity’




NaNoWriMo or NaNoNoGo?

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Check-it-out, Community, SCBWI, The Opposite of Gravity, Touching the Surface, Wolf Pack, Writing, Writing Style

For years I’ve been hearing people talk about NaNoWriMo –National Novel Writing Month. From November 1st until November 30th, participants set a goal of writing a 50,000 word novel. I’ll admit it, part of this has always intrigued me, but it has also scared the crap out of me and because of that, I’ve never seriously toyed with the idea of participating. I’ve had a list as long as my arm of reasons I could not participate and this year the excuses have grown with TOUCHING THE SURFACE coming out on October 30th. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I’ll share the highlights from that list with you…


*I’m working on revisions for book #2

*My local dance recital (I teach and dance) takes place in November.


*I am a painfully slow writer who struggles through first drafts.

*I never get enough sleep.

*I’m still recovering from all the work we’ve done on the house.

*I have three boys ages 7,9 and 11 who participate in lots of activities and need help with their homework regularly.

*I like to run several times a week for a sanity break.

*I blog.

*I’m a procrastinator.


So, it’s obvious that I’m not going to be able to do NaNoWriMo this year…WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY I REGISTERED ON SATURDAY AND I’M SIGNING UP TODAY!!!!!

Ha! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. *grin* Yes, I know that I’m insane. Now let me tell you why I’m going to be giving this a shot…

*First of all–I’m going to be doing this because the SCBWI–particularly my Hudson Valley Shop Talk Members ROCK! Lisa Koosis, one of my local writer buds gave a guest presentation at my local Shop Talk and she got me sooooo excited to break out of my box and give this a try. She told me a million things to make me want to give it a go, but the three that stuck out the most were…

1. It’s just supposed to be fun.

2. Even if you don’t finish, you’ve probably done more than you would have without participating.

3. You can discover unexpected things about yourself.


As Lisa talked and I got a bunch of fluttery tingles in my belly–usually a sign that I’ve eaten something bad or I’m excited–I started to think about why I might want to participate in this event.

*I HAVE THE BOOK LAUNCH OF MY DEBUT NOVEL!!!!! And as exciting as this is–I’m scared. There I’ve said it. It’s exciting AND scary. (There will be a spin off blog post on this later) But I suddenly realized that it might be a really good thing for me to have a reason to step away from the madness. It’s a full circle thing–when a book is born, perhaps the best way to celebrate is to write something new. So…I think that it might be very healthy to have a reason to unglue my eyes from reviews and Amazon’s Author Central.

*I’m working on revisions for book #2. I love revision–it’s easily one of my favorite parts of the writing process. The story is there, it just has to be manipulated. I don’t know how long that process will take me, but I know that when it’s over, there will be the typical wave of fear and insecurity about having to write another first draft again. What if I can sneak in a part or all of a first draft while I’m revising? This idea intrigues me. I’ve been marinating ideas for book 3 for quite a while, but I don’t feel “ready” to tackle it yet. But what if I trick myself into thinking that NaNoWriMo is nothing more than hard-core stretching and training for the writer in me. What if I give myself permission to take a crack at this rough draft under the guise that it isn’t “real writing”–its an activity, an event, a journey.

*My local dance recital (I teach and dance) takes place in November. Yeah–and how many hours is that out of my life? Not enough to use it as an excuse. The truth is that I have days when I’m drafting, where I have six hours to sit and write and there are days when I squeeze in 45 minutes while the boys are at jujitsu. Not always, but often, I’ve managed to write the same amount of words on both of those days. Perhaps this is about FOCUS.

*Thanksgiving. I do not host Thanksgiving at my home. I spend the day eating and socializing. I watch the parade and I do kicks in my living room along with the Rockettes on TV. I can squeeze this in or I can double up on another day. Using this excuse makes me a turkey.

*I am a painfully slow writer who struggles through first drafts. At least this is how I think of myself. I have a system for writing and I like it–it works for me. The only time I really have trouble with it is when the other members of the Wolf Pack whip off manuscripts in sick amounts of time. It makes me queasy and insecure even though intellectually I know better. But what if I can do things a little differently. When I’m investing myself in a book I revert to wanting to attack it in a familiar method–one I’ve had success with. But this is a little like tricking myself into doing something different. What if shouldn’t be the gateway to potential failure–it should be a question that makes us want to try.

*I never get enough sleep. But I watch TV. I mean–not crazy amounts–but I make choices. It’s only for a month, right?

*I’m still recovering from all the work we’ve done on the house. But I still have a month to put things to rights and realistically, everything I clean is always going to get dirty again…dishes, laundry, kids. By the time I start, I’ll be much more organized than I have been in awhile. So I just have to make that effort to stay on top of daily chores so that I don’t go under physically or emotionally.

*I have three boys ages 7,9 and 11 who participate in lots of activities and need help with their homework regularly. I’m going to have three busy boys from now until forever. I started writing SURFACE when they were 2, 4 and 6 years old. I have no recollection of when I actually did that–but I must have. LOL! Besides, soccer ends mid-month, there is break after the recital and we do have a Thanksgiving break. Plus–they support me. And my lovely hubby has been traveling a lot which means I have no excuses.

*I like to run several times a week for a sanity break. No reason to stop. I write in my head when I run anyway. I let my subconscious take the lead when my feet are in a rhythm. No need to change that–it might help me get my words out faster when I sit down.

*I blog. Ha! I’m sure it’s going to give me lots to blog about.

*I’m a procrastinator. Sometimes, but not always…

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Completed it? Liked it? Loved it? Hated it? Have you been avoiding it like me? Secretly long to try? Have a great excuse for not playing? Tell how you NaNoWriMo or NaNoNoGo.

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Running Releases More Than Just Sweat

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Running, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing

Due to a wicked bout of the flu PLAGUE that hit the whole family, I went running on Monday for the first time in weeks. I knew my first run back would be a little on the slow side, but I was just anxious to get out there. Why? Because running releases more than just sweat. I love this picture because it’s actually how I visualize what’s happening to me when I run. Except, there is another component that I see in my mind’s eye. It isn’t always just what I leave out on the road that’s important–it’s also about what I find along the way.

On Monday I also finished the first draft of my second novel, THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY. *happy dance*  For me, drafting is a long and painful process. I can not adequately express the joy I feel right now to have a very functional draft to work off of. I LOVE revision and now I’m finally there–sort of. Because for me, writing has it’s own kind of heartbeat. It’s own rhythm. When one thing ends–another begins. The closer I draw to the end of one book, the more the next book starts to move, stretch and grow inside my head. So, as I run, I do this thing that I sort of think of as “unhinging my mind.” When I’m running, I turn off the logic setting and I let my mind travel at random. I allow it to move from one thought to another in the hopes that my subconscious will be the compass–leading me to my own truth.


The plot thread, that was missing from book #3 CHASING ADAPTATION, just appeared in my head along a number of other cool and interesting possibilities. And as my feet pounded the pavement, I had this insane feeling that as I was actually running through the collective conscious, with my mind open like a butterfly net, collecting ideas at the same rate as I was dropping “garbage” behind me. And it felt amazing.

Where do you look to find clarity and inspiration for your writing or your life? What sends your internal compass in the right direction?

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I Grow Slow

Filed under: Pondering, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Last Thursday I went for a run–a seven mile run to be exact. If you’re not a runner you’re probably wondering why the heck I would do such a thing. (I used to look at runners and roll my eyes too) But that changed. Now I like to pound the pavement for a lot of reasons–it allows me to eat lots of chocolate and still fit into my pants. I like the feeling of being physically spent after a workout. I enjoy the head space and the way my mind just wanders and explores things.  It’s also a big stress relief. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I mostly have fake stress. No one is dying in my family right now, my debut novel is being published in October, my kids are healthy and happy. I’m good. Real stress is the fear of losing your home, the inability to put food on the table, illness or death knocking on your door. I do not have that in my life right now–so I am not complaining.

But there is a certain reality that we all live in. We view the world through our own daily filters. So, while I try very hard to keep my life in perspective, there are days when the laundry piling up or a car needing to be serviced can just turn me into a hump head. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t growl when they purchase something new, only to get home and find it broken in the box. It is the reality of the life we live in–some days go better than others. Some moments have more stress. Lately I’ve had two things that tend to upset my apple cart. The one I’m going to talk about now is my work in progress. Writing the second book is hard. So I run.


In general, I run and “write.” I’m not a note taker or an outliner by nature. I’m a runner–a mental plotter. As move my feet–I manipulate the story in my head. I twist it and bend it. I ask it questions. I wonder what my characters are saying to me. I listen to music and marvel at the deep thoughts that other artists have presented to the world through their lyrics. I take all the individual ingredients that I use to make up a story and I simmer them and try to make good soup.

I also run because I’m afraid of how slow I grow. I try to outrun my nerves.

I write books in a way that is very organic to me. I actually like my process, now that I’ve grown to understand it and appreciate it. But my way of doing things takes time. I don’t just “write” a book for readers. I create what I need to grow my own soul–to navigate the landscape of my life. Some days it feels less like building something new and more like unraveling a giant, knotted ball of string. It’s me trying to make sense of something that might choke me if it’s left in that chaotic condition. To me, writing a book is a beautiful journey. But the catch is that I’m not just an observer to this process, I’m pulling all the same threads that my characters are tugging at too. I’m growing and changing right along with them. It has saved my life, but some days it is a slower process than I would like. It’s hard to admit that I grow slow.

Thursday I was running because my agent was reading part of my manuscript and I didn’t know if she would find me between the words. I wasn’t sure if their were more questions than answers entangled in the lines.  I believe in my stories. I know the OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY is what I need to be writing and it will be beautiful when it’s finished–but I worry that I grow too slow. Some days I think that the world might be willing to wait for what I have to say–if I take the time to get it right. Other days I think that’s hubris. Until I know for sure–I’ll have to keep running.

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TAG–I’m it–or so Patty Blount tells me.

Filed under: Check-it-out, Fun and Games

Claire Legrand, author of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls (August, 2012), started a game of author tag.  Patty Blount, with her debut novel SEND coming out August 1, 2012, has claimed to have tagged me. I’m skeptical. I ran seven miles on the morning of said “tag” and I’m pretty darn sure she didn’t even get close enough to touch me but–this sounds fun–so I’m going to play along anyway.

If you’re tagged, you have to do the following:

  1. Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next seven lines/sentences as they are – no cheating
  4. Tag 7 other authors

Here are my seven lines from page 77 from the first draft of THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY…


Today, keeping a low profile worked for me, although every time I looked up I’d catch Charlie staring at me. I pretended not to notice.

   When the bell rang I gave an audible sigh. I was relieved that from here on in I didn’t have class with Danny, Julia or Charlie. I wouldn’t have to make small talk or have them checking up on me every time I found myself drifting into space. I could feel free to focus on trying to anticipate exactly what Mr. G was going to say and what I was going to say back. 

                                                                                                *   *   *    

            I’m not going to lie.


And there you have it. And in case you’re interested–there will be lies.

Now I must tag seven writers. Here they are…

1. Jodi Moore

2.Mindy Weiss

3. Megan Gilpin

4. S.J. Pajones

5 Carli Bandeira

6. Jeni Bell

7. Linda Hanlon




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My Wish

Filed under: Pondering, The Opposite of Gravity

I’m a little lost in the ending of THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY right now–unable to even listen to audiobooks because I’m drowning in the songs that I associate with this WIP. I play them over and over and try to let my mind dance with the words and go to the place it needs to go in order to write it right. There are the songs that now remind me of the early chapters and there are the recent songs that have just helped the story take shape and now there are the songs that I’m running to get close  to–so they can whisper in my ear. Here’s one of them…

My wish? That I never stop being this vested in what I write. What are you chasing right now?

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So You Think You Can Dance with the Boys in the Basement and Gravity

Filed under: Dancing, Writing

My work in progress is never far from my mind, even on the days when I don’t get to sit down and officially put the words to paper. *like yesterday…grrrrrr*  But I try not to get frustrated because just like Stephen King–I have my “boys in the basement”– hard at work when I’m doing other things.  I love those “boys” because they’re  always working, listening, dreaming, imagining, wondering, deciding, cutting, searching and discovering what’s inside of me–even when Im sleeping. There is a price to keep them happy–they’re hungry little guys–and must be fed a diet of creative and stimulating things–like music and dance.  This was the very first song on THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY playlist and I can remember loving the fact that it showed up on the SYTYCD show. I was blown away by the performance–the movement–the expressions. The dance story isn’t a perfect match for the story in my head, but there’s something about the heart and soul of it that resonates with me and what I’m writing…


Plus…I’m really missing So You Think You Can Dance right now. *sighs and taps foot*

What about you? Anxiously awaiting SYTYCD? I have a ton of “favorite” performances from the show, but I’m curious to know which ones you love best. Come on…spill.

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The Judgement Police

Filed under: Writing, Writing Style

In general I’ve been writing up a storm lately. Of course I’ve had a day or two–here and there–where that thing called “life” has gotten in the way. But in general, I’m very excited to have the creative juices flowing.  In fact, I’m in that stage where I’m a little bit obsessed with the book. I only want to listen to music off of THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY PLAYLIST, I fall asleep thinking about the book and I wake up with the story running around inside my head. My activity of choice right now, if I could completely put life on hold, would be to just sit down some place cozy and get the thoughts out of my head and on the paper.

It wasn’t so long ago where this was the exact opposite. I spent most of my WIP writing time–well–not writing. I wrote other things like blogs, did revisions and edits etc… But, when it came to book two, I could only get small amounts onto the paper at a time. Some days it felt like swimming in mud. Technically, I guess I could have slowly and methodically kept writing and erasing all my dead ends, but that doesn’t work for me.  I’ve learned that I need to know my story and my characters really well to make the writing happen. Besides, the act of day dreaming on paper seems like such a slow way to work. My mind functions so much faster than my fingers.

I used to feel a little crappy about this. Pretty sure the judgement police were going to give me a BIC (butt in chair) Citation, but I’ve learned that perhaps I do better trusting my instincts and being me. I’ve even started to think of this period of my story building, as my “astral projection phase.”  I imagine it must feel glorious to travel without the weight of  your body holding you down, but the closest I can say I’ve come to this experience is a couple really great flying dreams–I love those.  Or maybe it’s the time spent in the in-between of a day dream–plotting a story. I know how other people work the best. And I’ve always compared my methods to theirs, but I’ve been wondering…

Option #1

Heavy and cumbersome–forcing thoughts out onto the page…


Option #2

Light and dreamy–where I let my mind go wherever it wants to take me.

Yes, I like the second choice much better.

***Insert public service announcement–AURACLE by Gina Rosati ROCKS!***

Here’s the thing, I wasn’t completely sure that this was true until the last couple weeks, when all my brain cells decided to get together and have a party. Finally, I know with certainty that there is a complete book here–not just tendrils of thought that I am trying to weave together. I know that the first book was not just a fluke. So, here’s what I want to tell you. Be educated. Know what “writers” need to do to make it in this business. Once you know that, you are loaded for bear. Then…look at what YOU need to do to be a writer. Pick the tools that make your magic happen. Don’t think of yourself as a screw-up. Think of yourself as innovative, gifted and trend setting. Trust yourself as much as you can and then give yourself a little more credit–even if you have to fake it. And of course–be sure to write the book. You can’t be unique and take the world by storm without the book!

So, what do I think about THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY now that it’s starting to live and breath on it’s own? Here are the questions I ask myself…

Will it be any good?

I sure hope so, but who the hell knows.

Was it what I should have written?

The truth–it’s the only thing I could have written–let the chips fall where they may.

Is it anywhere near done?

Not really–but that’s because I’m a weaver and I won’t be happy with it until those original tendrils of thought have come together to make a whole that is bigger than its parts.

And thinking ahead…

Now that I’ve gained all this enlightenment, will the 3rd book be any easier?

Not a chance–but that’s why we feel so proud and accomplished when we’ve finished.

Happy writing! Don’t forget to tell me what makes you unique as a writer? Or tell me what you would actually do if the judgement police weren’t watching. I promise not to tell a soul–maybe.



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Sneaky Monday

Filed under: The Class of 2k12, Touching the Surface

Sneaky, sneaky Monday. I was just ready to settle down for a long winter’s nap and BAM!!!! I realized tomorrow is Monday–aka blogpost day. *head thunk* And not that I don’t love my blog, but seriously I’m in a food coma right now and my lap top did that same thing it did a couple weeks ago and it just shut down Grrrrr. Yes, I’ll be hitting the Genius Bar at the Apple store ASAP! So why am I still in such a jolly mood? Well, I had a great Christmas and I’m still able to get this blog post out to you on my iPad!!!! Yeah, I’m in love. I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy this little baby. Think I’m going to have to name this little guy George. Unless you have a better name. :o)So, to celebrate sneaky Monday…tell me what was your favorite gift of the Holiday season.

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Into the Woods

Filed under: Touching the Surface, Writing

As you know, I turned in my first round of revisions on TOUCHING THE SURFACE and I’m not expecting to hear back from my made-of-awesome editor, Anica Rissi until mid-June.  While I’ve been waiting biting my nails, I’ve done some yard work and laundry, caught up on some assignments for my debut authors groups and peered into the woods.  Not the actual woods–the proverbial one.  I’ve been peeking down the path of the unknown and dancing around my work in progress THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY.  

Back in the good old days, before WICKED became my favorite Broadway play (rivaled by RENT, LE MIS, CHORUS LINE and MISS SAIGON) there was another favorite.  You can ask my college roommate because she’s probably still sick of hearing the soundtrack.  I was obsessed with INTO THE WOODS.

How are the two connected?  The play is about a fairy tale, which is exactly what getting your first book published feels like.  But it’s also about what happens after you get the fairy tail when you forget, in the glow of your debut novel, that you have to write a second book. 


I’m just kidding, I love my second book.  Even though I haven’t been “actively” working on it while I’ve been doing revisions, it’s ALWAYS in my thoughts.  I do a lot of my early writing in my head–that’s my process. So, on Monday I transferred what I’ve written into Scrivener.   Yesterday I read what had been in my “drawer” for so long.  Then I started adding new material.  Of course, I lost some time searching for the perfect song to drum into my head for this new chapter.  Without a doubt I erased what I’d written a dozen times and in the end, I had a whopping 350 new words.

*head thunk*

I know that my methods for drafting are way different from revision.  I’m also aware that I love things about both of these phases of the process.  I just need to remember to switch hats.  At the end of the day what matters is that I feel very deeply about this story, the way I always have about SURFACE.  This doesn’t stop me from wondering if it’s a piece of crap.  Yeah, that’s what I think about, if I allow myself into the dark corners of my mind.  But I also know, without a doubt, that it’s the right story for me to explore.  I’ve simply forgotten how much raw me went into my first book.  How scary it is to go to those unknown places.  I’ve traveled so far with SURFACE that like giving birth to a real child, I’ve forgotten how hard the labor is.  All I seem to remember is the pure, unadulterated joy of holding that baby.

But now it’s time to be brave again.  Because if I could give you one tip, it would be to write your truth.  To be afraid, but to do it anyway.  I’m never going to stop being frightened of my potential to fail.  NEVER.  But I also know that I’m more afraid of having no potential.  What’s the worst thing that can happen to me?  I could be a hypocrite.  SURFACE could hit the shelves and readers could take that journey with me–only to discover that I didn’t learn anything from my own writing.  I don’t want that.  Instead I’m packing up my heart and my cheese grater (so I have something to rub it against) and I’m heading off into the woods…

“Into the woods to find the thing that makes it worth the journeying…

…because children will look to you, for which way to turn–to learn what to be.  Careful before you say listen to me.  Children will listen…”


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