Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Man Behind the Curtain--When Writers Read

So, we had a weird bout of sickness over the weekend which accounted for more reading hours than normal and I surpassed the amount of "titles" I read all of 2011... by March.  My goal is to read 366 titles this year. (Titles, not books, because I'll be reading a decent amount of novellas this year...and possibly a few could even be called short stories.) According to my Kindle, I've read 91 titles this year. (I keep a separate category on there for "books I've read in 2012.")  This doesn't take into account that some of them are three novellas in a compilation, but I might not count them separately anyway.


I reread a favorite series of books, the Mediator series by Meg Cabot, over the weekend and I haven't read them since I  really embraced writing.  It's very difficult to find books you can lose yourself in once you take up writing.  It's hard not to see the hand of the writer while reading. Then, there are the typos or continuity mistakes which seem so prevalent in both indie and traditionally published books.  In all six of this series, I only picked up on one typo and three continuity errors--which is extremely low in my experience.  (My daughter has decided it's her mission to find all the typos in the Harry Potter books--the literary Easter egg hunt--and there are several in each book.)  It's very rare for me to read books without typos. Out of those 91 titles--I think less than a dozen haven't had a single typo.

Then there is the style of writing...  The Mediator series has a great voice going for it.  It's in first person narration and the narrator has the perfect tone.  I had a bit of a love/hate with the way the author had hooks at the end of each chapter to con you into reading the next chapter... such as: "Little did I know this was the last time I'd see him...." It was effective, but manipulative.  In any other series, it might have annoyed me.

It's weird to read a series that you once enjoyed for the simple love of reading but now find yourself picking apart as you read it to see exactly "why it works."  I felt like a watchmaker opening up the back of their timepiece just to analyze the gears.

On the one hand, reading feels less like a hobby and more like an effective use of hours for research into the craft of writing.

On the other hand, sometimes I look longingly at books and imagine a time when I didn't know about the man behind the curtain.  Because, for certain, once you've been behind the curtain, you can't go back to believing the magic gets there without a whole lot of work.

Speaking of which, I got my editorial letter and notes for the novella due out this summer.  It's very thorough and will make for some deep-revision.  It'll be much better in the end, but it sure looks sticky on this side of it.  I wish I could time travel to the end of this month where it's all done. It's going to be a lot of work and, while I know I can do it, it'd sure be nice to see firsthand that I don't just jack it up to pieces while trying to fix it.

"Easy reading is damn hard writing." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

I also read the book "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman this weekend.  It made me want to tackle revision with a mighty roar even as I wondered, "Can I possibly get ALL this right?"  Le sigh.

Writing is hard.

Reading is hard.

*goes to take a nap*

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Prodigal Blog Owner Returns

I know. I know. It's terrible.

I didn't post a single update in February...which, ironically, is because there was so much to update on but there was also loads and loads of stress.

There was my son's birthday--which was a blast. We went to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma and they gave him a super awesome dragon goblet in recognition of him coming on his birthday. Then, we went to Journey 2, and then finally went to Chuck E. Cheese. We sucked the fun out of that day. The kids were all exhausted by the time we got back.

Then, just before Valentine's Day, my husband left for a business trip to Singapore and was gone for a week and a half. My son went bonkers without my husband here.  It was sooooo stressful.  Then, the husband came home and he and T rushed to get T's special school project on electricity done.  Then, my parents visited and we went to Great Wolf Lodge and played at the indoor waterpark for several days. Finally, we got back in time for T's Pinewood Derby.

But wait... that's not all... I also submitted to three different submission calls during February and the last few weeks.  I also signed a contract for a novella, but I'm not sure when I'm allowed to announce.

Also, on a less fun level, I had a migraine for two weeks straight which I ended up kicking by getting a massage.

February and March haven't been fun times.  I'm now on week 2 of insomnia.

I keep hoping March will go a little easier on me than February but... it just hasn't.  I feel like every day I start out behind. I just can't seem to keep up.

Anyway, I'm going to try to be better about updating.  I'm not sure how much I'll have to say, though. I'm sort of burnt out on life right now.  I feel a little adrift actually.  Every so often I remember that I never sent out my Christmas cards... not even late... that's how each day feels--like I've fallen a hundred projects behind.

On February 9th, we were talking to my son about being tested and getting the official diagnosis of Aspergers before it's dropped as a diagnosis. (The governing board over the diagnostic codes has decided to get rid of several diagnoses including Aspergers.)  T said that it won't change whether or not he has it so there's no point to it.  Then, B asked if she has Aspergers too.  It might seem unreal but we'd never had that talk with her.  We've spoken of Autism when she was around and we've never tried to hide it.  I mean we ate, drank, slept Autism until she turned seven.  I don't think I can convey how fragile a conversation that feels---the conversation where you tell your daughter she has Autism and discuss what that means.

While T identifies as an Aspie and is proud of it... we warned B that there are stigmas attached to the word Autism. We asked if she wanted people to know that she has it or not and she doesn't really want the label attached to her anymore. B doesn't like to stand out.  She doesn't like a lot of attention.  So, I've changed my bio and so on to reflect that.

I don't think you can understand this weird new world I'm in unless you've been there. I identify as a parent of an Autistic child. I mentor others on raising children with Autism.  I hold nothing back. That's who I am. For years I was so obsessed with it--that's all of what I was.  I was running on adrenalin.  It's weird to now think that I'll need to step back and not say, "I'm the mother of two Autistic children" to people I meet.  Who am I if I'm not that person?

I guess it's not so strange to redefine yourself as you pass on to a different stage of your life, but this just took me by surprise.  On the one hand, I'm excited that B is so high-functioning that we don't NEED to tell people anymore.  On the other hand, that was my goal, my focus, for nearly a decade.  On March 8th of 2003, we first were told she most likely had Autism.  Our lives changed forever.  Now, on February 9th of 2012, it changed again. This time it was her choice.

When I went in to get the massage, I listed "writer" as my occupation. It was the first time I've focused on who I am outside of my kids on forms like that.  Normally, I explain the stress and migraines as being related to OCD and raising two Autistic children.  This time, I didn't.

It's a weird world I'm entering in.  I'm just not sure what to think of a world where I talk about me... where I'm defined by my own success and not all the work and intervention I've done with the kids.  It's... frightening.

In other writing-related news, I've now been repped by Sarah for a year.  Cool, huh?