Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whatcha Know About Me, Whatcha Whatcha Know (my lipgloss be poppin')



Husband took this picture last weekend at the Pa. Ren Faire




love ♡ (random order and not a complete list):

My husband and daughter
lush prose
rope swings
cobblestone streets
secret courtyard gardens
twinkle lights
live oaks draped in spanish moss
oyster roasts on the beach
lipgloss
handwritten letters
seaside cottages
libraries
street cafes
books
reading in the bathtub
tree houses
writing
music
sincerity 
dark chocolate
bookstores
coffee (cream and sugar please)
chocolate coke-cola cake
flower-boxes spilling with flowers
Anthropologie (the store)
my love-puppy
Bitty Kitteh
a good cut, color and blowout
the Big box o' Crayola crayons...love the smell, the names of the colors
vintage typewriters
vintage cameras
arched bridges
vinyl records
my MacBook
weeping willow trees
floating on the water
driving fast
gratitude
the sound of laughter
kindness
adventure
passion
optimism
life
I LOVE: My daughter at Ren Faire last weekend


I hate:

greed and corruption
selfish people
dirty bathrooms...ewwww
when people drive slow in the fast lane and stay there
my lack of patience
my lack of computer skills
when my pillow gets hot
war
animal cruelty
rude people
socks in bed...ewww!
negativity
when people talk (loudly) on their cellphones in bookstores/restaurants/almost anywhere in public...or use them while driving.



What do YOU love...hate?


Love,
Lola
Thursday, August 26, 2010

I ♡ Fridays and Books and Words and YOU


Friends, I am in love!


It's true, I don't read a lot of YA, because, well, I'm old(ish) for one thing. I lived through my teen years and I'm raising a teen daughter (14; plenty o'drama there), I don't need to read about teens too. 
I'm an adult. I generally prefer writing and reading books for adults, with complex adult themes. (Books like The Gargoyle or The English Patient or Gravity's Rainbow) 


But, being the omnivorous, hungry reader that I am, I will occasionally snag a book from my daughter's bookcase(s), especially if there's a lot of hype/buzz about a particular book. And, don't get me wrong, I enjoy some of them very much. (I loved Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver; adore her writing style.) 


Well today I read a YA book and fell flat on my face in love, enamored, smitten, enchanted, over the moon. 


The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson charmed me from page one. 









Jandy Nelson's writing is stellar, imaginative, quirky, smart...beautiful. I LOVE this book! 


(Okay, I've used up all my adjectives quota for the rest of August.)


I hope you will put The Sky is Everywhere on the top of your TBR stack. It is beyond worthy.


By the way, I am also loving this:
Source: Merit Badger


Because I just can't get enough zombies...eating brains. It's true. I'd actually go see this movie!


Also, be sure to enter Alexandra's ARC contest! (I want to win Matched! Bad.)





My Weekend Frolicking will consist of:


-Pa. Renaissance Faire (always a fun freak show) with the family - Huzzah!
-Working on revisions...slog, trudge.
-Critiquing a few chapters for a couple of my CPs
- Brunch (mimosas!) and shopping @ Rittenhouse Square 
-MAYBE a trip to Ikea
-Dinner with in-laws at Cheesecake Factory (yum...cake! And it always makes me think of Big Bang Theory. Bonus.)
-Float in our pool. 


What's on YOUR Weekend Frolicking list?
What books have blown YOU away lately?


Thanks for being here. Have a delightful weekend!
Love,
Lola


Monday, August 23, 2010

Revisions...and a WINNER!

No one should ever have to read a sentence twice because of the way it is put together. 
— Wilson Follett


No matter how clean I think my manuscript is after a round of revisions, I am almost certain to find some dirty little dust bunnies hiding in there just by doing this one thing: 



Reading it aloud. 

It works every time. 


Better still, read it aloud TO someone. 



And have someone else read it to you.


Have your red ink pen handy.

Yeah, it takes a long time; it's grueling.  But it amazes me how many silly errors I find this way, when I was so sure I had them all culled. 



More importantly, I find that a sentence or passage of which I was once enamored is ill-fitting on my tongue; perhaps unintended alliteration or an echo is the culprit. Reading it aloud is my writing dirt devil.


Emphasis on devil. I don't call it Revision Hell for nothin'.
 Revision Hell equates to a lot of time rewriting, hunched over the laptop, looking at the damn WIP again, cursing myself for not being brilliant enough to get it right before my thighs spread to Kentucky and I'm shaped into something that should reside perched atop the Notre Dame. 


It also leads to plenty of other mind and procrastination games. My brain starts wandering a crooked path after a couple of hours, thinking of 'genius' things like:  I wonder if I could convince Apple to make a waterproof MacBook, then I could swim in the pool or take a bubble bath and type, that would be way more fun.  Or I really need to trim my toenails/clean my computer screen/scoop the cat box.
And so it goes, until suddenly scrubbing the kitchen sink seems like a most important task that needs my prompt attention. And, gee, now that I'm in the kitchen, I am a teensy bit hungry.


Then I chastise myself for being a slacker and a hack, and pour another cup of coffee and get back to my WiP. 
 The next time I look up four hours flew by and several sets of hungry eyes are on me asking me if they should just order pizza (again).


When I'm feeling knee deep in feces during my revisions, this always cheers me up:


"I write one page of masterpiece to ninetyone
 pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F.
Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”


Hemingway rewrote the ending of A Farewell to Arms 39 times. Dude. That's hardcore.

When all else fails I crank the tunes, eat some Doritos and drink more coffee. 



How do YOU slog through Revision Hell? 






Oh, and I bet a few of you are wondering the results of my 
Whatever Lola Wants (aka 'Back From Maine') GIVEAWAY! 


The WINNER is...


*drumroll*




Lisa Golden from That's Why




*tosses confetti*


*blows horn*


CONGRATS! I know you wanted that creeptastic magnet. :)


Love,
Lola
Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Friday, I'm in Love...








Happy Friday!






First, a quick reminder...




Today is the LAST DAY to enter my weird and wonderful


 Whatever Lola Wants (aka 'Back From Maine') GIVEAWAY! 




(Go enter. Winner announced Monday.)




Moving on to other news...


I think I am the only writer/bibliophile in the entire world without a cat. 


I admit it, I'm a dog person.  


Wanna see the love of my life (husband and kid aside)? She has my heart. 




She's a Bichon and she is the sweetest, happiest, cuddliest dog.




So, anyway... 


THIS accidentally came home with the Kid a couple days ago:




The Kid named her Pumpkin or Punkin...I call her Itty Bitty Kitteh.  She is TINY. 


And I am smitten with her. 


EXCEPT...the whole cat box thing is vile. 


For such a little creature, she makes a BIG STINK.  Is there a magical cat litter I should be using, 'cause the stuff I bought ain't cutting it??


It appears I'm now a writer with a cat. 


(I'm now a cliche)




Hmmm, what else?


I read I AM NUMBER FOUR by James Frey Pittacus Lore yesterday. 






Don't believe the hype. It is meh. 
The plot idea is good. 
I don't mind present tense, in fact, when done well, I rather love the change of pace.
The writing just wasn't there. It's cliche and adverb riddled. *sigh*




I am still drowning in Revision Hell. 


In my defense, I was away on a long vacation and have since been very busy... plus I managed to critique 30+ chapters for CPs in the last month. 
As of yesterday, I am focusing on my revisions.  I'd like to get this book cleaned up/finished and off to my CP's before Nano, so I can start my Shiny New Idea in November.


Which brings me to this year's Nano...


Who's doing it this year? (I am) 


I'd like to put together a Nano-group so we can all keep tabs on each other. So, if you're doing  Nano this year and want to be part of my group, please put your Nano user name in my comments section, add some info if you'd like (genre, etc.) and I'll compile them and post it as we get closer to November. 
My user name is: the-sharp-pen 
Feel free to Buddy me, if you're already registered.




Back to Revision Hell. Yeah. 
I write to music, as most of you well know.


Here's what I've been listening to:









Happy Weekend!


Love,
Lola
Monday, August 16, 2010

Writing Mechanics Monday: Show vs. Tell

We've all heard it before (and I've discussed this before):

  
Show, don't tell.

But what does that really mean? Why is it so important? And is it ever okay to 'tell'?

A lot of writers believe they are showing, when they're really just doing what I call 'fancy telling'. (Lots of details doesn't equate showing. It equates boring.)

Telling states facts. 

Showing engages the reader by allowing the reader to use all their senses and make their own judgement.

Don't tell me your main character is angry (because I won't care), show me what he DOES and says, SHOW me he's angry, let me (the reader) decide if I relate, and feel his anger.  Readers want to feel engaged, to see, hear, smell, taste, touch and feel what the characters are experiencing.
 
Okay, I've done enough telling, now let me show you.

Telling: When Gary broke up with me I was devastated. I'll never forget that pain.

Fancy Telling: I could live to be 100, and I'll never feel the agony and rejection I felt after Gary broke up with me in a letter. I was so devastated that I thought I would cry myself to death. I don't think I'll ever get over him. 

Showing: Even after Gary stopped doing the little things like calling me from work during the day "just to say hi", and letting me have the last slice of pizza, I still convinced myself it was the natural progression of a relationship settling into its second year. 
That soupy Monday morning, the air conditioner chugging away, I reached down to pick up the white envelope sticking out under my front door. I could smell him on the paper as I unfolded his letter.  The words blurred as I read the first sentence, my heart thumped in my throat, gagging me. I barely made it to the bathroom, where I curled my body around the cold porcelain for the better part of a week.
It's been 6 months since he dumped me in that damn letter and I still get sick at the smell of pizza or men's cologne.


(Obviously I just wrote these samples quick for this post. Please feel free to write better examples in my comments :)

Often writers think that adding more adjectives to the details is showing, but they're merely doing some fancy telling. Telling on steroids, if you will. The reader still can't SEE and FEEL the actions/behavior, they still can't judge and feel it for themselves.
Instead of just saying that a thing is "awful" or "funny" or "the most beautiful thing you can possibly imagine" and expecting your reader to believe you, a good writer should show actions, behaviors, senses with words (not lots of adjectives) that lead the reader to conclude for themselves that this thing is indeed scary or hilarious, etc.

Dialogue is a a tricky area. A lot of great showing can be done in dialogue, as can a lot of sloppy telling. My biggest telling pet peeve is: adverbs in dialogue tags

Don't: "You think you're so smart," she retorted dryly (or wryly...), "then you do it." 

Ack. This kind of telling/writing makes me want to pull my hair out. 

Do: "You think you're so smart," she cocked a brow and tossed the directions at me, "then you do it." 


TIP: During revisions, do a search for the word "was" in your document (for directions how, go here). You'll often find "was" used in telling.

When to tell, NOT show:

All showing and no telling makes a wordy, high-word-count, dull story.
Readers don't want to see/smell/hear every single detail of the 2-block taxi ride, or the sidewalk the MC walked upon, if it is of no real importance to the story. 
For pacing purposes, telling can sometimes be a good thing.

What an author must strive for is balance between showing and telling.

But how do you know when to tell and when to show?

-If you want to convey emotion and/or allow you reader to feel, you must show them. 

-Go ahead and tell the things that are of minor importance, but needed to  move the story forward:

Jane climbed out of bed, used the bathroom and headed to the kitchen to start the coffee.

We don't need to know anything more about this part of the story, so for pacing purposes, this bit of telling is fine, and quickly moves the story forward.

I hope this helps clarify the difference between showing and telling and when to do either.

By the way, I commit plenty of telling sins during my rough drafts, and that's okay. I'm just trying to get the bones of my story on the screen during that first pass. I spend a lot of time in revision turning the telling into showing (and sometimes the other way around.)

Love,
Lola

May your pen be mighty

May your pen be mighty

About Me

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Lola Sharp
My name is Lola. (I'm not a showgirl) Yes, L-O-L-A Lola. It's the least of my worries. Let's move on, shall we? This blog is mostly about my misadventures on the journey to publication and beyond. My passion for lush prose, quirky characters, art, music, literature, performing arts and anything creative will be a major theme here. This journey of mine will not always be pretty. Much like rubbernecking a train wreck, I know sometimes you just can't help but look at the carnage that is often my life. So strap on your neck brace, helmet and 5-point harness and come along for the ride! Licentia poetica.
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"Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth."

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not all who wander are lost

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I write therefore I am

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