Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm a Winner!

Mother Reader randomly selected me as a winner in the participation category of the recent Book Challenge!
I'm one lucky gal as there were many committed book reader/reviewers/bloggers out there. Check out Mother Reader's Blog to get a sense for how committed these readers were.
Also, click on some of the participants entries for some fantastic reviews of new kid books out there. In particular, I love Jen Robinson's Book Page. She has a great book review format making it easy to search for great titles and I love her review style. I use her site often when deciding what to read next.

The 6th grade mural that I have been working on is finished! Note: Not to be confused with the fundraising mural that has also consumed much of my free time lately. This one will be installed over the summer.
I'm very proud of the kids (especially my son, Tate!) and their enthusiasm. Check out pictures over at Deep Space Sparkle.

Summer Writing Program: I'm pleased to say that so far I have logged over 8 hours of writing time in the last two days. Although in word count, let's just say I'm losing words fast.
I've decided to reboot my manuscript, start from scratch and spend as much time as necessary to get a handle on the story I want to tell.
To do this, I referred back to a fabulous Saturday afternoon, when I was lucky enough to drive twenty minutes to be in the presence of Robin LaFevers. She was giving a Plot Workshop for our Santa Barbara/Ventura SCBWI group. She took us through a detailed explanation and exercises of creating and evaluating your protagonist's goals, motivations and conflicts. And she didn't just let us think about it, she made us write it down and read it out loud so she could help us.
So the group got busy and tried to answer in one simple sentence:
  1. What does your protagonist want?
  2. Why does she want it?
  3. Who or what is getting in her way?
Sounds simple, but it's not. Go ahead, try it. The writers got busy and started belting out their sentences. Robin said so what a lot.
I realized after I read mine that I had a goal and a motivation but no conflict. Sounds familiar.
So this is what I've been hammering out. Testing out different inciting incidents, thinking about who can do my character wrong, plotting via The Hero's Journey ( of which Robin had us do) and basically getting my characters goals, motivations and conflicts down...both internal and external.
This takes mucho concentration for me. It's hard mental work. But fun!

Call my dad in Prince Edward Island last night. He told me that he just got WIRELESS HI-SPEED INTERNET!!! I know, it's hard to imagine not having it, but now he does. Now, I'll be able to keep up with emails, my blog, my critique group...wait a minute. This might interfere with cocktails and golf. I'll have to think about this one....


  1. Thanks so much, Patty! You brightened my day. And congratulations on winning a prize in the book challenge! I won a prize the firsts year, and the knowledge still pleases me. And congrats on your Dad getting high-speed internet, too. We have family that we stay with quite a bit, and them getting high-speed was a big quality of life improvement for me (I hastened out to get a wireless router, which they didn't need, but which is lovely for us when we're there). Of course, they don't live in a place where it's as inviting as PEI to be away from the computer...

  2. Those three questions are huge! And when you really stop to think about them, it's amazing how much you actually find yourself asking "so what".
    Have fun with the great writing start you've made! I'll look forward to seeing it!

  3. Congrats on MR's reading challenge! The mural is beautiful! And the workshop must have been great. Thanks for sharing it. Can't wait to read what happens next.

    And yay! for internet connection! Though the cocktails and golf will go a long way towards a relaxing summer...

  4. Miss P--the mural looks wonderful--can't wait to check it out in person tomorrow! Your reading and writing program sounds ambitious and exciting--glad everything is going well. Would love to have a rendezvous soon--Maggie

  5. Jen: Thanks! I love your blog. Now, with Dad's internet connection, I'll be able to visit over the summer.

    PJ: Yeah, those three questions haunt me. It's my way of testing whether or not I know my character and what her story will be. Lately, I haven't been able to answer it. Thus the complete novel overhaul.

    Vivian: You seem to have the answer to this question down pat.That's a very good thing!

    Welcome back, Maggie! Yes, my writing program is ambitious but it's only a drop in the bucket compare to the time I expect to put in when I'm a published writer! Gotta keep focused on the goal!


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