Archive for the ‘Chasing Adaptation’ Category





Filed under: #lifeofriley, Chasing Adaptation, Check-it-out, Critique, Drafting, Family, In the Wild, Pondering, Revision, Writing, Writing Style

On mornings when I’m not running or running errands, after I get the boys all off to school, I look forward to plowing through my emails and knocking out a blog post so I can spend the lion’s share of the day working on my WIP. Doesn’t that sound delightful? Yeah, yeah–I know it’s not that easy. After all it is Monday (I wrote this yesterday) and every person in the house managed to drag a laundry basket upstairs in retaliation for my subversive parenting techniques…no one eats chips or watches football until their clothes are put away, their rooms are clean and their bathroom isn’t gross. So, now I have chores to do in-between my projects. But that’s not my only problem, there is also this guy…


By rights, he should be in a snow coma at the moment. He’s been outside non-stop for two days playing in the snow with the kids or by himself if every other human was exhausted. I figured by today, his get-up-and-go would most likely be his got-up-and-went and he’d pass out quietly in the corner, providing me with a quiet writing day.

No such luck.

Why doesn’t the dog understand that I NEED this writing day!!!!  I’ve been a bad, bad writer and I’m in the middle of DRAFTVISION????

Wait, you don’t know what draftvision is? You do–your just blocking it out. It’s when you’ve drafted 75% of a manuscript and because you’ve struggled with some aspect of plowing forward to the end of the draft, you’ve started to revise the front end while still drafting the back end. Draftvision. It can be a cold mess. Ugly on the scale of the 2016 Blizzard Jonas.

I do have good news. Besides the fact that Jonas only dumped a mild 10 inches in my yard. (Thank you mother nature for the pass) I’m very pleased to announce that I’m no longer stuck on my work in progress, spinning my wheels on the big expanse of white page. I know what to write to get out of draftvision. But here’s the thing, even when you’ve finally been able to plot your escape–you’ve still got to shovel yourself out of that shit. There ain’t nobody coming along with a word plow who’s going to do it for you. Which ultimately leaves you with lots of work to do on your WIP, plus a blog post and mountains of laundry to climb and whether you want to be or not, you ARE outside with the frisky snow pup who just wants to play ball.

My compromise is to brainstorm my blog post while running the dog silly. Sometimes this means “mind-writing” a topic I’ve already been thinking about. And other times, like today, it means I’m hoping to be struck by inspiration while I’m hanging out in the good old outdoors.

Today my connections started firing when I tossed that first neon orange tennis ball across the field and into ten inches of snow. I hadn’t really thought it through. White snow. Orange ball. This was going to be easy. That’s what I thought until this happened…


Gone. I hadn’t expected snowball hide and seek. And it quickly became apparent (to me at least) that playing ball in the deep snow was a lot like struggling through draftvision. One minute your tossing your best stuff into the air and the next minute–BOOM! Ball is gone and you can’t find it anywhere. But you don’t panic because the snow is pretty pristine and there is a ball shaped space letting you know where to start digging to fix the problem.

But the dog isn’t close to being done yet and you realize you are still playing ball in the snow and the more you play, the more foot prints, dog paws and old ball holes there are lying around. Take your eye off that ball for a minute and you suddenly have to change your strategy for finding what you need. Now you have to begin looking for new clues to solve your problems. But eureka!  You realize that as the snow packs down, initially it’s harder to see where the ball went, but now it’s easier to search by color. You wander around until you spot what you need to throw the next ball.


But now your sweating. Deep snow is tiring to trod through and the whole yard is starting to look a bit off. It’s just when you’re on the edge of leaving that ball out there until the spring thaw that you have to dig deep. You must get in there and start poking around until you find what you need. You do not have time to let that manuscript sit for a few months and lose momentum. Start moving stuff around until you make some progress. If you stumble around long enough (trust me–i know) you’ll eventually find something you can toss around, under all that mess.


And incidentally, as if finding these disappearing balls isn’t hard enough, you should also know that the balls you’re throwing  aren’t traveling as far as they usually do. I’ve never been a major league pitcher, but momentum has always been my friend. I’ve relied on a little bounce, bump and roll to get some distance. But in draftvision, that ball stops where it lands, without getting a lot of milage or tiring out the dog and now you still have to go find it. Grrrr. After awhile, you may realize that even though you’re trying very hard, nothing seems to be working. In this case, you just might want a little help.

You NEED a critique or two to help you sort out what you’ve got going on. Sometimes that critiquer will tell you things you didn’t know, which is pretty freaking fabulous. Yay for new insights that solve old problems. But usually, the critiquer will do the same thing you are doing and tell you what you already know. Yup–it works like that sometimes. Believe it or not, you’re smarter than you know. But even though you’re a bright light, the black hole of draftvision has sucked the illumination out of your life. There’s no shame in it, some times it helps to have someone else flip your switch. It can help to see your process laid out from a different perspective…






Oh, that’s how you do it????

See–it isn’t magic. Do the work and you end up with a cold, orange ball at the end or a finished manuscript–whatever you prefer. Either way, you too, can get everything you’ve ever wanted. Be persistent. Believe in your story. Be willing to try different approaches as the rules for what your throwing on the page keep changing.

And so you’re aware (because tough things exist even if we don’t acknowledge them) none of this process guarantees you anything, other than the completion of your art to your satisfaction. No matter how hard you work at writing or how diligently you learn your craft–publishing is a wild card. No one can predict it. You can work hard to stack the odds in your favor like an arsenal of snow encrusted tennis balls and that’s a great thing to have in the fight to get published. But it’s important that your goal is always to write the best book you can write, regardless of where that takes you.


And there’s  another important reason to have your own measuring stick for your work. Sometimes we do not know when draftvision turns to revision, which then turns into TOO MUCH revision. It can be a slippery, ice encrusted, slope and once we are on it, we start moving ass-fast downhill and don’t know how to stop sliding and get off.

At the end of my blog post plotting, I pocketed both bright orange balls for another day, trading them for a large stick that I tossed up into the woods. Somewhere between the toss and the run to find said stick, the pup forgot what he was looking for and spent the next umpteen minutes looking for his ball in every conceivable place. He was completely unaware that the orange ball part of his story was already over.



It’s important to know that all good games of fetch and stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Looking back I’ve realized that sometimes draftvision is completely unavoidable–like snow. It’s one of mother natures challenges. But when we find ourselves walloped by the blizzard of draftvision, it’s great to have some tactics to help you shovel out of there as quickly as possible…

  1. Look carefully at what you already have for the clues you need to move forward.
  2. Be tolerant of where you are in your writing and forgiving of how you got there.
  3. Then be positive about where you are going.
  4. Don’t be afraid to go digging, no matter how big of a mess it makes–journeys are important.
  5. Keep your eye on the ball. But if you lose track of it, don’t be afraid to ask someone else to help you. Perspective is key.
  6. Know the real reason you are playing ball in the first place. Understand what is in your control and what is out of your control.
  7. Don’t keep playing when the game is clearly over. There is a time to stop or you end up chasing the wrong things. Send that work out when it feels done, not when you think it’s perfect. There is no such dog.
  8. Drink hot chocolate–it makes everything better.

Have you spent time in DRAFTVISION before? What are your tips for getting out? Do you have a dog that makes you throw balls in the snow? What other pets mess with your writing time? Aren’t you glad dogs don’t wear clothes and don’t add to the laundry pile?

Hang in there and keep tossing balls in the snow and words on the page.


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The Boys in the Basement Found Their Groove

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Drafting, Pondering, Stuff I Love, Touching the Surface, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

When I wrote my first book, TOUCHING THE SURFACE, I was obsessed with my musical playlist. I hardly ever wrote without it playing in the background. When I was brainstorming parts of the novel, I listened to certain songs over and over again. To this day, any of the songs on that list evoke very strong writing/book memories for me.

And then I stopped. Cold turkey.

I haven’t listened to a thing while writing since. And I’ve tried. I’ve made playlists for books I’ve worked on, but they never took on the life of that TTS playlist.

But… There’s always a BUT, isn’t there? Recently I found myself turning off my audiobooks while I’ve been running and listening to my workout music while giving the boys in the basement (my inner creative genius workhorses) time to day dream.


It’s been very helpful. I’ve had things I’ve been stuck on (for a thousand years) come bubbling to the surface. In excitement, I’ve done silly little dances of gratitude mid-run. Luckily I run on back mountain roads where there’s a limited amount of people witnessing my foolishness. Eek!

I’m not sure if these music fueled runs, or something else entirely, piqued my curiosity, but recently something possessed me to pull out the old, hardly been listened to playlist for my work in progress, CHASING ADAPTATION. Part of me wonders if it may have been morbid curiosity that caused me to dust it off. This novel has been written and rewritten so many times and with so many changes, I couldn’t even imagine the playlist being connected to my current scribbles.

But, as I listened, I found myself more than a little surprised at how perfect the songs were for the book I’m writing NOW. It seems a part of me has always known what I’ve been trying to say. The emotions, the questions, the feels and the wonder haven’t changed at all. Perhaps, the truly hard part is finding the RIGHT words to connect the dots between what’s always inside me and what gets printed on the page.

In honor of the boys in the basement, finally finding their groove, I thought I’d share one of the songs from the CHASING ADAPTATION playlist…


FIX YOU by Coldplay

When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you’re too in love to let it go
But if you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And I

Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Do you have a playlist for your writing or any of your creative ventures. How does it work for you? What ignites your bones?

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What You Give Up to Get NaNoWriMo Words on the Page

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Writing, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’ve passed the 30,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and although it’s still a ways away, I can see the light at the end of the 50,000 word long tunnel.



I know I’ve mentioned that this year, the challenge has been a lot easier for me than I expected, but that’s because I decided (after listening to LOTS of advice about NaNo) to do the things that weren’t necessarily comfortable for me, but are kind of essential for making November work. In no particular order, I’m going to highlight some of the things I don’t usually do, but decided I should do, in order to be successful.

* GIVE UP PERFECTION: I’ve always hated place markers. I don’t like to leave incomplete thoughts and information on the page. When I don’t know or remember something, I usually go back and look it up or work through it until I have the information I need to move on. This is a time suck! It’s word count repellent. Here’s an example of me using a place marker in my text…

I hadn’t seen her since I was blank years old and she…

I need to go back and look up how old I said the MC was when this happened in an earlier chapter, but I don’t remember which chapter I wrote it and I’m 24 chapters in. It would take me forever to find it, so I decided to let it go, save it for the read through after NaNoWriMo is over. NaNoWriMo is about flow. Letting your stream of thoughts come out organically. It shouldn’t be impeded by details. Of course I may have stopped drafting to write this blog post. *head thunk*  You don’t want to do that either LOL!

*GIVE UP YOUR DEPENDENCY ON YOUR LOGICAL MIND: Every night after I complete my words for the day, I go to sleep thinking about the chapter or scene I have to write next. I especially like to do this at night as I’m nodding off to sleep. Ironically, I get some of my best clarity when my vision is relaxed and a little fuzzy around the edges. Basically I give my subconscious some time in the spotlight and it really works for me. The next day I may not know all the words, but I know where I’m starting and for me that is usually half the battle.

* GIVE UP A COUPLE POCKETS, THE ZIPPER and MAYBE A CUFF OF YOUR PANSTER PANTS: In case you didn’t hear me, I’ll say it again…I am not an outliner. I’m never going to be that structured of a person. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants pantster. But you waste a lot of time when you do your creative thinking in front of the keyboard or with the pen in hand. Jot down some ideas ahead of time. Pre-planning doesn’t have to be an old school outline. It can look like a doodle as long as it helps you to organize your thoughts a little better, freeing you up to write with more ease.

* GIVE UP THE STUPID IDEA THAT PERFECTION ON THE PAGE IS GOING TO SAVE YOU TIME: It doesn’t. If you like to write slow and methodically, I say go for it. I do it all the time. But I’m no longer under the illusion that I’m saving myself later work. I think you have to pay the piper along the way, no matter how you structure the process.

* GIVE UP FEELING SO ALONE IN A VERY LONELY PROCESS: Every night when I post my NaNoWriMo Word count, I get at least a few people cheering me on. I also check to see how everyone else is doing. I’ve even made some new online friends along the way. But ultimately, I enjoy that festive, collaborative environment that November brings. It really helps me to stay motivated. I don’t run into so many moments where I can talk myself into stopping. Momentum is fueled by the community collective.

What have you had to give up for NaNoWriMo that’s been a gift in disguise?

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The Music of Your Words

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’ve always drafted my books with a musical playlist inspiring me. Sometimes I would play the same song over and over and over again as I wrote a scene. But all throughout NaNoWriMo I haven’t felt compelled to write with music. Nor have I even found anything that stood out and spoke to me. That is until now.

The first song on the CHASING ADAPTATION playlist.

Write on NaNoWriMoers. Find the music of your words.



Do you write to music? Is silence your thing? Does it change from project to project? Has there been a specific song that has had an impact on your writing?

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Don’t Let the Dementors Suck the NaNoWriMo Right Out of You!

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Check-it-out, Community, Drafting, Fun and Games, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Do you remember that time when I said I’d NEVER participate in NaNoWriMo? Ever. Yeah, I recall telling everyone how busy I was during the month of November. I also told them how I like to write with my internal editor sitting on my shoulder with her little red pen slashing and swiping at the words I’d just written–how that was good for me. It was my style. I think I may have even mentioned how participating in National Novel Writing Month would suck the joy and wonder of writing right out of me like a Dementor with his soul sucking kiss.

But even though I said that, last year, I tried it. My friends got me all excited and I wanted to be a part of what they were doing, even if it felt like I was wearing my shoes on the wrong feet. So I jumped in. I only managed to clock in just under 6,000 words. Blah, blah, blah… I stopped to revise another manuscript. And I got busy and I wrote slowly with my internal editor on my shoulder. The only thing I didn’t let my head do to my NaNo experience last year, was suck the fun out of writing. I had a blast–even for the minimal amount of commitment I exhibited. I had a fabulous time being part of the collective frenzy and excitement. And even though I didn’t win, t was happy to have almost 6,000 words that I never would have had if I allowed myself to putz around November making sad excuses for myself.

So, even though I wasn’t a winner last year, I think I got bit by the NaNoWriMo bug because I absolutely wanted to do it again this year, but with a few adjustments.



#1 Although I decided my first priority was to beat last year’s word count, I may have also decided that I’d like to win this year. So, I’m shooting for a minimum daily writing goal. If I exceed that–great. If I miss a day I’m going to have to make that up, but I’d like to slowly inch ahead to give myself a cushion if I can. (The good news is that by Day 4 I’m now ahead of last year’s word count!!!!!)

#2 This year I’m doing a re-write of the book I started last year. Why would I do this? Because it’s the book I MUST write. I’m just like that. And I’ve taken the last year and particularly the last several weeks to research, read, be inspired and think deeply about the strange and beautiful thought threads that I’d like to weave together in this story. Last year I was woefully short weaving material. My thoughts were thin. It made the writing hard. So while I AM advocating the joy of NaNo-ing and pushing yourself, I can already tell you that my increased success this year is in part because I gave myself and my book the time I needed to get my head wrapped around it. It’s all about balance.

#3 Having done all that deep thinking, I also did something I don’t usually do in my writing–I wrote an outliney-thingy. It’s just jumbled notes with a couple time lines and maybe a few scribbles here and there. But I went into this year’s NaNo with a bit of a plan. I had my main characters fleshed out a bit and I know the weird little beginning and ending that will either be awesome or a pretty hot mess. And either way, it doesn’t matter because by design, I’m not really supposed to know what “this” is until after I 1) finish and 2) put it away for a few weeks and then pull it back out again after the holidays and read it with fresh eyes and a clear head.

Well, I better make this short and sweet–I’ve got words to put on the page for today. And If you didn’t sign up and now you’re regretting it–GO DO IT! Who cares if you win this year? Or maybe you’ll win writing even faster than the rest of us. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s fun!!! If you’re looking for me–I’m Kimmiepoppins. Let’s be buddies. And if you’re not ready to take the plunge—>start planning for next year!!!!

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Do you want to? What’s stopping you? Are you sneaking Skittles out of your kid’s Halloween baskets while trying to make your word count? Oh, wait–that’s me. *grin*


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Sometimes Starting is More Important than Finishing–Blowing the Dust off of the Work-in-Progress

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Drafting, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Yesterday I FINALLY had my house relatively clean, a decent amount of laundry done, all three boys in school and the hubby back at work. There was no need to run because I had dance class in the evening and even the weather cooperated by being unseasonably cold and damp. It felt like a writing day. It also came to my attention that my fridge was empty and Panera would be a good place for lunch LOL! Without a doubt, all the stars were in alignment for me to pull out my newest work-in-progress called CHASING ADAPTATION.

Now, don’t get me wrong–I haven’t been neglecting this new manuscript. It has been in the research and mulling over phase while I did things like wash and put away snow pants and clean cat litter. I’ve been reading, making notes and participating in other forms of mental gymnastics. Lots of good things. But one of my writing resolutions this year is to move more quickly into the drafting phase after I’m finished with a project. (I say “finished” loosely, since we all know a novel is never done until it’s on the shelves.) Any-who, yesterday was the day to pull out the almost 6,000 words of CHASING ADAPTATION that I’d written during this year’s NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. And trust me, there was a lot of dust on that baby–I hadn’t read it since November.

Buried Computer

I am soooooo happy that I wrote those 6,000 words!!!  At the time I was disappointed that I couldn’t do more, but with the TOUCHING THE SURFACE book launch, Thanksgiving and a dance recital, almost 6,000 words was my best. This is a great reminder that sometimes it’s better to focus on starting than on finishing. Worry about finishing after you start LOL! It was so much easier to begin writing again, having a platform in place to jump off of. This experience has also cemented my desire to try NaNoWriMo again next year. I may not finish, but the writing I did do, turned out to be very helpful. Also, the NaNo draft  (to my surprise) ended up being a lot better than I remembered it. I fully anticipated having to trash a sizable chunk of what I’d thrown down on paper, but I don’t think I’m going to do that at this point. My original instincts may have been better than I thought they were. I believe I’m going to give this puppy a little room to grow and see what my subconscious mind has planned. Have I ever told you how much I enjoy the voices in my head? They are pretty cool company.

Anyway–for the record–I want to say something out loud. You know, before I get to that part in the manuscript where I suck and would rather cut my wrists open with a plastic butter knife than ever write again.


I’m so deliriously happy that I’m pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. Jumping into a new book right away feels brave and daring.

It also makes me feel good to know that I’m always growing and adapting. Recognizing my method while simultaneously learning to challenge myself.

Finding a new balance.

And I adore the potential and excitement that comes with a new idea.

The start of a book leaves me tingly as I filter my brain onto paper.


I can’t babble about this forever. I must finish writing this post so I can go back to Scrivener and write more words.

More words…

How long does it take you to start writing again after you finish a project? Can you juggle multiple projects? Are you able to “work” on a book in your head while you’re busy doing other things? What’s your view on starting and finishing? Does starting a book make you giddy?

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Revision is Awesome–Even When it Isn’t

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I wanted to talk to you a little bit about revision today. I’ve got some RANDOM thoughts that have been marinating and I thought I’d share them with you…


*Right now, revision is a blast because I’m in the slay-the-monster-zone. The only thing stopping me from having a kick-ass, completed, manuscript to send out to my agent, is the fact that I’m a rather slow monster slayer. LOL! Even so, it’s a fabulous feeling and I’m really enjoying it. I’m pulling out my laptop every chance I get. (Have revision fort, will travel.) Even though things are going great, I’m prone to self examination, so I’ve been wondering…Why is this section of the writing process one of my favorites?

I think it’s because it consists of 50% structure and 50% intuition. I’m not in a place where I’m just doing the brain-numbing task of fighting with my horrible spelling and grammar. I gleefully have more than the bones of the story down on paper. My rough drafts, riddled with their own issues, are a full story. This means I don’t have to work in the place where I have ALL the ideas in the world. That can be overwhelming. Right now I’m walking the line between being creative AND doing the nuts and bolts work. It’s a really good balance for me. Of course, it always helps that there’s a light at the end of my tunnel to guide me home.


*Lately I’ve heard a lot of words bandied around–procrastination, fear and writer’s block. These are words I’ve used from time to time. In fact I pull them out at at regularly scheduled intervals in my writing process LOL! We all do. But as I’ve been pondering the joy of revision, I’ve realized that there is something to be said for revising my process as well as my manuscripts. Sure, I can write volumes about how and why my second book has gotten away from me during the process of being a debut author. I can talk to you about my emotional writing style and why I approach writing the way I do. I’ve got a zillion fabulous posts in me about these topics. You’ll likely even get a few of them from time to time, but I’m a growing girl. (No, I’m not gonna get taller than 5 foot 4 inches–no matter what I write.) What I mean is, if I open myself up to it, I’ll learn to revise myself, the same way I do my words.

K.L. Going once said to can’t put a book on the shelf if you don’t put it on paper. It’s not a book if it is in your head–it’s an idea. That was a big turning point for me. But I’m also coming to realize that I need to expand upon that nugget of truth. What will I be doing the minute I put THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY in the hands of my agent? I’ll be working on CHASING ADAPTATION! It’s not just enough to get the book on paper, it’s important to understand what role procrastination, fear and writer’s block play in that process. They can be speed bumps or they can be excuses. They can be challenges to overcome or they can be blog posts that keep a writer from doing the real work. You know what I choose. I am discovering where and when to push myself to be the writer I want to be.


*This next thought is going to sound counter productive to my last one, but if you were paying attention you know that balance is important. I just suggested that it’s necessary for me to push myself harder through the parts of the writing and revising  that are naturally hard for me. It’s true. It resonates. I believe it. But I’m also suggesting that an important part of revision is what I think of as The Feel. It reminds me of my son at his music lessons. As he’s learning the guitar, his instructor doesn’t want him to look at his fingers while he’s playing. He needs to know where his fingers are supposed to go. Playing has a feel. I had a very similar experience when I learned how to type. I spent lots of time looking at my fingers in the beginning, not believing that I’d ever be able to stop doing that. Then one day I realized I could hit those keys without thinking about where they were. Writing and revision are like that. They have a feel. You DO have to push yourself to show up when the work is hard. You DO have to understand you won’t always be comfortable in the different phases of this process. But you also shouldn’t be trying to push a square peg into a round hole. No one benefits from that. Not the peg. Not the hole. Writing is art–there are parts that have to be felt to be done “right.”


*Agents and editors have special-super-hero-vision and can see a manuscript in ways that I can’t even begin to comprehend. They have a whole different skill set than I do, which means I want them to pull my manuscript apart. Their work is a pivotal step in the process of changing a manuscript (a solitary endeavor) into a book (a collaborative event.) BUT, even though I want my agent and my editor to pull my words apart, in order to get to an even better version of my story, I still need to bring my very best work to the table. Maybe it’s just me, but I liken the revision process to shopping for a very awesome birthday present for a friend. Sending out a completed manuscript is like giving a gift that is well thought out, nicely wrapped, usable, exciting and timeless. Sure, it’s about me too–a good book is going to benefit me as much as the agent and the editor, but when I’m working on the revision, I find myself having a sense of intimacy with my first new readers and that makes the process really wonderful for me.


*Or there are times when you’re revising and it feels like a you’re wrestling a giant octopus. Just ask my friend Amy. But hey, the cool part about that is you can wear those tentacle burns like a badge of honor when your done. *fist pump* So, what I guess I’m saying is that revision is awesome…even when it isn’t.


Any thoughts on revision? What do you love? What do you hate? Have you ever eaten octopus? I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m off to the revision fort!

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Do You Have Any Grapeths? Or Maybe You Want to Publish My Novel?

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Reading

This is a very popular song with my 7yo at the moment. The first time I heard him singing it I busted out laughing–this may have had something to do with the fact that he’s missing his two front teeth and he sort of sounds like this…

“Have you got and grapeths?”

 Sorry, we lost the second tooth eating a poppy bagel. LOL!

But as I’ve been listening (don’t judge me, it’s a catchy little diddy) I’ve realized that it does have some similarities to the publishing process. ROTFL! Let me know what you think.

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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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Waiting on Wednesday

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Pondering, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’m waiting to open the Word document for CHASING ADAPTATION but I can never do that until I have sprouts in my thought garden. Right now I have seeds–but I need sprouts to write. What do I feed my seeds so that they grow? I zillion creative things, but one very important one is a playlist. Think I’ve picked the first song for book three…

What part of your inspirational process are you waiting on?

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