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Cathy: Moving along

I have committed significant time each day to work on my young reader novel. Thank you for many of your posts and conversations to motivate me to do such a thing for myself and my book. A very real sacrifice is involved for our family, the fact that I have no steady income. So, I’m dropping a big networking hint: any of you with connections to a youth-focused publisher or agent, please float hints of my progress their way, or their info my way! When the manuscript is nearly complete, I will need to shop it, fairly desperately. I am lousy at marketing. Let me sit in a corner and write all day long, but show it to someone who might put it in production? Yikes! I’m a little over a third into what I hope to accomplish in page count. It is a fun (I hope) nerd overcoming bully story with a science twist a la astronomy with some sub-focus on family and friendships. How’s that for a synopsis without giving anything away?

Last week, I got through some dialogue. Dialogue is easier for me to imagine than to actually write. I hear it well in my head, but how do the characters sound on the page? All like me or the narrator? I hope not. So, it’s slow going, besides all the interruptions. But the good news for this week is, knock on wood, neither of the boys are sick — each stayed home from school a day last week, two different ones, of course. I have no appointments for any of us. The cat and dog have both been deflea-ed, finally, at the vet. Bad news is I planned a picnic at my house on Saturday for my Asperger’s group that I don’t foresee doing much prep for as it is a potluck, but I do need to move a dirt pile, reorganize the desk again, hopefully get through some of my albatross box of papers to be filed, and flea bomb the backyard. That’s right, nature girl is going to intentionally poison the planet. Good news is I am going to write THE SCENE this week. If I’m lucky, THE OTHER SCENE, too. These two scenes are at the heart of the book, upon what everything after depends. They should also advance me to the halfway point. Woo-hoo!

I just finished re-reading an old favorite book that didn’t help my frame of mind for writing a youth novel, but I enjoyed it anyway — Alice Walker’s In the Temple of My Familiar. My next step to move my writing along in the vein of a youth novel is to re-read some Jerry Spinelli, Sharon Creech, and other authors for the age group, whose work I love and whose style is very conversational and very much from the point of view of an eleven- or twelve-year-old. I think that will help my dialogue problem a lot. I should grab some Carl Hiaasen and Gary Paulson, too. A dog figures prominently in the story, and Paulson writes Dog really well. I mention these authors because I believe a lot of the best writing out there now by contemporaries is for the youth market. Go check out the Newbery Medal winners. They are a great lot.

Enjoy! I didn’t know what I was missing until a few years ago, so I really do recommend a trip to your local library youth room. The reads are so quick, too! If you want a really good cry, you must check out Sharon Creech’s The Wanderer or Love That Dog. I’m no crier and I absolutely blubbered my way through those, out loud, in front of a class of fifth graders. If you like disturbing (Lisa D and Christa), check out Spinelli’s The Wringer. I read that four years ago and it still haunts me.

Happy writing, painting, puzzling, knitting, etc this week!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sounds like your book is really coming along. I’m in the same boat you are… only one income, would really like to contribute money to the household, book is finished, have very few, if any, leads.

    My novel is about a newlywed couple who become the not-so-proud owners of a neglected 1972 tri-level in the Cincinnati suburbs. They try to repair the house without damaging their marriage. It’s like The War of the Roses meets The Money Pit. πŸ˜›

    I have my big writer’s conference the last weekend of October and when I come back, I will be 1) throwing myself whole hog into shopping-book-out mode and 2) writing its sequel. NANOWRIMO here I come!

    I’m wishing us both luck!

    September 18, 2008
  2. Cathy #

    thanks! and good luck shopping your book, it sounds fun. i would love to attend a conference.

    i’m still new too all the text lingo, so what’s NANOWRIMO?

    i’m old, need a translator.

    September 18, 2008
  3. Hahaha. I’m too old for text lingo too. πŸ™‚

    November is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth (NANOWRIMO). Thousands of people compete (the competition is only with yourself) to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I did it in Nov ’05 and that is how the first draft of How Home Improvement Saved My Marriage was written. It was a baaaaaaaaad first draft, but I did get my 50,000 words written and it was a starting point.

    I figure I need a nice kick in the pants to get this second novel started, and a month-long deadline will do it.

    September 18, 2008
  4. Cathy #

    wow! i think someone, maybe you, mentioned that before. sounds like something i need. , hell i know i can speak 50k words in a matter of seconds, but to write them in a month? yikes! how does that translate in page count…math is not my forte…

    September 18, 2008
  5. Assume 250 words per page. So 200 pages. Easy peazy. (Yeah, right.) πŸ˜›

    September 18, 2008
  6. easy peazy, yeah right! πŸ™‚

    congrats on getting to THE SCENE and the OTHER SCENE cathy! im still in awe of all of you writing novels. i’ll stick to the short blog posts, thank you!

    cathy, just how heavily does astronomy figure in to your book? i may have a connection for you.

    September 18, 2008
  7. Cathy #

    hmmm a little more than 6.5 per day, 7 days a week. maybe. i’ve got about 6 weeks how much can i do to finish this ms up til then. maybe i can hit another old project hard in november….

    September 18, 2008
  8. Cathy #

    ooo, kelly, that would be awesome! i started off doing a bunch of research on it for accuracy, but i’m now moving it back into fictional arena.

    i don’t want to give too much away in public forum. i lost an excellent title to another project from talking about it too much. it was called big love. had nothing to do with polygamy, or another book that came out a few years back. you have my email, right?

    September 18, 2008
  9. Kristine #

    Congratulations on your progress so far, Cathy. Keep up the good work.

    I’ve heard of NANOWRIMO but never had the guts to actually start it. I’d love to try it, though.

    September 18, 2008
  10. Cathy #

    thx, kristine!

    September 18, 2008

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