July 29, 2014

Never Say Never

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , at 8:06 AM by Dawne Webber

At one time or another I swore:

  • I would never ski. My husband finally wore me down. We lived in upstate New York at the time. How could I pass up the opportunity to ski down a real mountain? Actually, I didn’t ski. I rolled all the way down the bunny hill. Hubby was wrong. I didn’t love it.
briankennethswain.com

Not my idea of a good time.

  • I would not have five children. There were five siblings in my family growing up. I would not be crazy enough to repeat that. Granted, I was the only girl and the fact that I had four brothers may have had something to do with my attitude. When my husband mentioned early in our marriage that five kids might be nice, I hit the roof.  But Hubby was right this time; I love having five kids.
  • I would not wear shoes with anything higher than a four inch heel. Then it became difficult to find shoes with anything under a four and a half inch heel. I learned that four and half inch heels aren’t so bad.
I really wanted these but they're 5". That's over my limit.

I really wanted these but they’re 5″. That’s over my limit.

  • I would never have a blog. Enough said.

For years, I’ve sworn with fiery passion that I would NEVER tweet. I should have known it was only a matter of time. I admit, I was excited to get a Twitter account. That was before I realized I’d have to learn Twitter speak. It’s an entire language unto itself. My next venture may be classes in TSL  (Twitter as a Second Language).

I still swear with a fiery passion that I’ll never, ever sky-dive or wear five inch heels.

July 22, 2014

Puppy Love. Puppy Hate

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , at 12:15 PM by Dawne Webber

Puppy Wedding

Love is keeping the promise anyway.

I have five kids. I’ve become adept at ignoring the whine of youth. My brain tunes out the words and only hears the annoying drone. One day my youngest daughter followed me around whining about something. Finally, a word— divorce—penetrated my consciousness. I started to listen, although the droning whine made it difficult.

“He can’t divorce her. He just can’t.”

“Who?” I asked. I wasn’t aware of anyone we knew contemplating divorce.

*Leon wants to divorce *Lulu. But Lulu doesn’t want to get divorced. He promised they’d be married forever and now he’s changing his mind,” my daughter said, her whine changing to anger.

She and my youngest son had gotten stuffed dogs from Build-A-Bear-Workshop years ago. Leon and Lulu married soon after. They’d had a beautiful wedding.

My daughter faced my son with her hands on her hips. “You can’t get a divorce. You said they could stay married forever.”

“He can get divorced if he wants, and you can’t stop him.” My son remained icily calm.

While my daughter fumed, I asked  my son why Leon wanted to divorce Lulu. He shrugged. “She’s always all over him. He never gets any time to himself. She never leaves him alone.”

It’s true what they say about a woman (or stuffed puppy) scorned. My daughter and Lulu flew into a rage. “That’s not true. She does not. You just don’t want to be married anymore. She doesn’t want a divorce!”

stuffed animal, suitcase

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

The thing is, those are the exact words my kids used (I knew it was great blog post fodder so I wrote them down right away). They sounded bizarrely real. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was an argument they’d heard daily for years. But they hadn’t. I took Pscyh101 in college. I knew all about self-fulfilling prophecies. So my husband and I agreed that the word DIVORCE would be off-limits (spoken aloud, anyway).

So where did this come from? I think it must be something in the dogs from Build-A-Bear.

* Real names have been changed to protect their privacy.

July 21, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 7

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , at 7:52 AM by Dawne Webber

writing, writing group, support

If you’re wondering what Ready. Set. WRITE! is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Jaime Morrow. If you’d like more information or to participate in Ready. Set. WRITE click here.

Monday, July 21-Week 7

1.  How I did on last week’s goals- I had a good week. I finished revising A VOICE AMONG THE THORNS, and ended up at 72K words which I’m very happy with. I also sent out ten queries. I’ve spent the past few months researching agents and I already have quite a list.

2.  My goal(s) for this week-

  • Wait for responses to the query. If they’re not positive, I’ll rewrite it. Of course it will take a few weeks to get any feedback.
  • Begin a my new project which I’m really over-the-moon excited to jump into.
  • Do everything I put off last week in order to write such as laundry, weeding, cleaning bathrooms. I reserve the right to put it off another week if I get really into writing the new WIP ;)

3.  A one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised-  A good friend gave me an awesome idea for a novel. I’ve been moodling on it since Thursday and I’m ready to run with it.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)-Waiting for responses to the queries and the usual juggling life and writing.

5.  Something I love about my WiP-Can’t wait to get started.  

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.  Good luck to you on your goals!

 

 

July 14, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 6

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , at 7:20 AM by Dawne Webber

writing, writing group, support

If you’re wondering what Ready. Set. WRITE! is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Jaime Morrow. If you’d like more information or to participate in Ready. Set. WRITE click here.

Monday, July 14-Week 6

1.  How I did on last week’s goals- My goal was to revise A VOICE AMONG THE THORNS. I worked on revisions but life intruded and I didn’t finish them. This impacted my goal of querying agents because one should never query an unfinished manuscript (I have that rule down ;) )

But the delay allowed me to send the query to Query Drill which Karyne mentioned in a great post on her blog. I’m looking forward to their feedback.

2.  My goal(s) for this week- Finish revisions and give A VOICE AMONG THE THORNS a final polish. I’m going to be ambitious and say I’ll begin querying Friday. 

3.  A one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised-  Inserting scenes I’d cut in an attempt to get my word count down. The beta reader’s comments showed me where I cut out too much. It’s so hard to determine the YA sweet-spot. I’ve heard 70,000 words is the absolute ceiling then I read 80,000 is the norm for YA contemporary. It looks like I’m going to end up at 75,000 when I’ve finished revising.  For those of you writing YA, what are your thoughts on word count?

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)-Finding time to write and being motivated. My inspiration puttered out last week. I think the constant interruptions had something to do with it.

5.  Something I love about my WiP-I’m quite pleased with it. All the time, effort and perseverance were worth it.  

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.  Good luck to you on your goals!

writing, publishing, books

July 10, 2014

The Brief History Of A Book

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , at 8:29 AM by Dawne Webber

The birth of a novel, terrifying and exhilarating.

Snoopy, Peanuts, Charles Schultz

The growth of the novel, tedious and exhilarating.

Snoopy, Peanuts, Charles Schultz

The completion of a novel, tormenting and exhilarating.

Snoopy, Peanuts, Charles M. Schultz

July 7, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE 5!

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , at 7:16 AM by Dawne Webber

writing, writing group, support

If you’re wondering what Ready. Set. WRITE! is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. We will be sharing our goals on Mondays, keeping our posts BRIEF (2-3 lines per heading) so we can spend more time on writing and less time on blogging. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Jaime Morrow. If you’d like more information or to participate in Ready. Set. WRITE click here.

Monday, July 6-Week 5

I can’t believe it’s week 5 already. 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals-A few weeks ago I participated in an online workshop to prepare submission packets for querying. Feedback from the agent reviewing the material was due last week.  I received positive  feedback and great suggestions from Marisa Corvisiero  on my submission packet for A VOICE AMONG THE THORNS and the same from the beta readers on the manuscript.  Huge sigh of relief. No major overhauls, just a few minor revisions. 

2.  My goal(s) for this week- I already revised the query and synopsis based on Marisa’s suggestions. For the upcoming week I plan to make the necessary revisions to the manuscript, reread it and begin querying Friday. I’m really motivated to get this done. I read in an agent interview that summer is the best time to query because not as many writers query over the summer. 

3.  A one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised- The revised paragraph of my query. 

Seventeen-year-old Jersey Alexa (Jax) Mason is allergic to drama. Unfortunately, from the moment her boyfriend dumps her on a crowded dance floor, drama follows Jax like an unwanted stray. Amanda Rosenbaum’s reappearance and rumors of her time in the “looney bin” provide a welcome distraction. Jax doesn’t get that the real drama is just beginning.

 4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)-Getting everything done.

5.  Something I love about my WiP-It’s almost ready to submit to agents. It’s taken a long time and I’ve killed thousands of my babies to get to this point.

It’s been great connecting with so many other writers. Thanks everyone for your encouragement.  Good luck to you on your goals this week!

July 1, 2014

The Ordinary Conspiracy

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , at 8:26 AM by Dawne Webber

Dear Special,

I’m writing to warn you that Ordinary is conspiring against you. I think he is trying to take over the world. He knows once you are gone, the world will be his. He uses different guises (Comfortable, Relaxing, Equality) with the same intent–your demise. He’s scheming to get people to settle for the lowest common denominator instead of striving for excellence, or exerting any effort. He wants the world to believe that everything and everyone is and should be Ordinary.

Special, you are such a dear old friend. You were there when I was born and when my children were born. You attended my wedding. You’ve been to most of my family’s birthdays and holidays. I forgot to invite you a few times and always regretted it. You were with me every time I won an award, and in the quiet of the night when I finished my writing my book. If I’m paying attention, I see you when I look at my children, my friends, my husband, the sunset.

Ordinary will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of world domination. He’s stooped to going after children, as well as adults. He knows if he gets them when they’re young, chances are they will never know you. Ordinary misrepresents you brilliantly in his twisted play on “Self Esteem” (Success and praise at all costs) and “Equality” (Everyone is special in the same way and for the same reasons).

Do you remember when that basketball coach gave trophies to every player on the team and all the players’ siblings?  Or that graduating class that had twelve valedictorians? Where were you then, Special? Ordinary has even schemed to make excellence laughable and contemptible. Have you seen this bumper sticker: My kid can beat up your honor student? That’s a great motivation killer for anybody wanting to excel.

Oh Special, I know you remember the bride talking about her fiancé, the marine. The week before her wedding, she said to me (a complete stranger), Everyone doesn’t need to make such a big deal over him. He’s not that special.

Those words haunted you and me for days– He’s not that special. How could she marry someone she didn’t think was special. That poor man didn’t deserve to marry somebody who didn’t think he was special. Nobody deserves that. Ordinary was victorious that wedding day.

I know you’re going to tell me without Ordinary you couldn’t exist, and all the guises and aliases he has skewed are good in their own way. You’re right. I know the beauty of Ordinary. But given too much power, Ordinary can defeat you. And I’m afraid of losing you, Special. Without you, life is mundane and humdrum. You perk me up, give me something to look forward to and show me my value.

Special, let’s not despair. There is still much to be positive about. The pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding was proof of your importance.  Many churches cherish you. You are an honored guest at  proms, weddings and first birthday parties. You witness many happy occasions and achievements and you are present at every birth.

Even so, Special, for your own good, watch your back. Ordinary is out to get you.

Affectionately,
Dawne

 

Revised from a post from 5/2011

June 30, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE!

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , at 8:03 AM by Dawne Webber

writing, writing group, support

If you’re wondering what Ready. Set. WRITE! is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. We will be sharing our goals on Mondays, keeping our posts BRIEF (2-3 lines per heading) so we can spend more time on writing and less time on blogging. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Jaime Morrow. If you’d like more information or to participate in Ready. Set. WRITE click here.

Monday, June 30-Week 4

1.  How I did on last week’s goalsI waited, mostly patiently, for Marisa Corvisiero, the agent critiquing my submission package, and the betas reading A Voice Among the Thorns.

As for people watching, I learned something, but it wasn’t what I thought I’d learn. I’ve read about other writers people watching and listening and I’ve always imagined sitting on a bench at the mall with my peppermint mocha and a notebook, unobtrusively watching people and jotting things in a notebook.

But it wasn’t the romaticized vision I’d had in my head. First of all, I wasn’t sure what to write. Nobody was near me long enough to hear a conversation or get facial expressions without me coming across as a stalker. This is the kind of thing I noticed: Younger people tend to hang out in groups of three, some people lean sideways when they walk and look as if they’re about to topple over.  So I decided to hang out at Panera during lunch, thinking there’d be some great fodder there.  I ended up reading. My husband astutely pointed out that I do my people watching already when I get my hair cut, or go to the grocery store, etc. So I think my formal people stalking days are over.

2.  My goal(s) for this week- Marisa’s critique is due by Tuesday, as are the manuscripts and feedback from the betas. My goal for the week is to read them and synthesize everything and decide what I think will work to improve A Voice Among the Thorns. I’m also hoping not to cry ;)

3.  A one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised- The first paragraph of my query. Seventeen-year-old Jersey Alexa (Jax) Mason is allergic to drama. Unfortunately, it seems to have moved in with her for the summer. Amanda Rosenbaum’s reappearance provides a welcome distraction. Jax doesn’t get that the real drama is just beginning.

YA, novel, Dawne Webber

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)-Deciding how to incorporate all the feedback I get this week. And trying to remember to wear a thick skin!

5.  Something I love about my WiP-It’s almost ready to submit to agents.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.  Good luck to you on your goals!

June 26, 2014

On Writing

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , at 7:41 AM by Dawne Webber

On Writing.
Things Stephen King never told you.

word count, writing, humor

Errorists wisn

writing, frustration

June 23, 2014

Death: A Figment of My Imagination?

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , at 7:17 AM by Dawne Webber

One of the characters died in the book I’m writing. Not just a character, someone very close to me: a unique individual, a beloved friend.

I see the death, aftermath and funeral clearly in my mind at various (usually inconvenient) times or places throughout the day and tears may trickle down my cheeks or I may get sad and depressed. Is this one of the pros or cons of writing? I’m not sure.

Someone invariably asks me if anything is wrong. “A friend died recently,” I sniff.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“Yes, it’s sad, but don’t worry he wasn’t real.” (It’s no wonder I have a reputation.)

It doesn’t feel like a figment of my imagination.

My daughter saw me moping the other day. When she asked what was wrong, I told her my favorite character had died.

“What are you so sad for? You’re the one who killed him.”

AAAAHHH. It was like a knife in the heart. Ok that’s a little dramatic but you get the idea.

“I did not kill him. So and so killed him.” (I can’t name who did it. Who knows? You may read it someday, and this would spoil it.)

“Well you made them do it. It’s still your fault.”

It is not my fault.”

It’s amazing how adept we humans are at shifting the blame. I wanted to blame my muse for the death, after all she went on the lark and came back with lots of fodder for me to use. But I was afraid to blame her; I didn’t want her getting angry at me and running off again.

Romeo & Juliet: Who’s to blame for this tragedy?

I’m not the only writer faced with accusations of murder. It’s an occupational hazard.  Who’s to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?  Friar Laurence who orchestrated the deception? Romeo the impetuous? Juliet the romantic?

Or is Shakespeare the true culprit?

Or could it be that we humans are not to blame for anything? The serpent is the one who started it. I say we blame it all on the serpent.

This is a revised post from 8/2011

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