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GANDALF HATES EVERYTHING

Dear Megatron-

I can’t write.

I can’t think.

I feel like I’ve fallen into a hole that I can’t claw my way out of.

I was excited to finish the manuscript, and now that I have I don’t even want to look at it.

There’s something wrong with me.

I look forward to advice.

GANDALF

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HAS GANDALF BECOME A WRITING SNOB?

Mighty Megatron,

Hello friend! It seems it’s been a while since I’ve written in the diaries. How I’ve missed the general peculiarity I apply to the diaries. You know, speaking in third person, using my wizard abilities, and such. Things have been crazy-busy lately with all the editing and writing going on. It’s summer after all, which apparently means I have MORE work to do. On the writing front, things are slogging along like usual. My word count for the week would have you believing that I’m doing better than I am. Sadly, a vast amount of those words have no home. Maybe one day, they will find their rightful place in the last stretch of my manuscript. If not, I guess they’ll join the abyss of unused scenes on my hard drive. Sigh- seems like such a waste of literary genius (or literary bullshit, hard to say at this point). Oh, and that word count? 14,793. At least I’m writing.

I believe you posted about this earlier, that you read things as a writer now, instead of just a reader. I’m guilty of this as well. I find myself dissecting the hell out of PUBLISHED work. Granted, I dissected it before, but now errors jump off the page at me like they were shot from a cannon. HEY! HEY YOU! MY EDITOR MISSED THIS!! LOOK! LOOK! POINT AND LAUGH!!! And I’m like- shit. Now I’m so distracted by the fact that this person’s editor had no idea how to USE DIALOGUE SUCCESSFULLY, not to mention CORRECTLY.

GAH! It makes me want to go all Gavyn on their ass.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m far from perfect, but that’s what my editor is for. She takes my crap and turns it into gold. Apparently, all editors are not created equal. It just makes me so sad that good writing is lost from ever becoming great writing because the editor didn’t understand grammar, punctuation, and the proper application of these things.

So I ask, have I become a writing snob? I DEMAND great fiction, edited with precision and care. I mean, really, is it that hard? (Maybe it is. What do I know? I’d never make it as an editor.)

Alas, Megatron, I’m impressed with the amount of time I can waste online doing nothing of importance. I must get back to writing my bullshit in the hopes that I’ll somehow Midas it into gold.

Your very own wizard,

GANDALF THE WHITE

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MEGATRON IS SO PROUD

Dear Gandalf,

You know I have been incredibly proud of you and your new white status don’t you? Of course you do! We have become quite the texting fiends. And I gotta tell people… the WIP our dear Gandalf is currently working on is MAGIC! You are a constant inspiration to me, my dear wizard. I never doubted that phone call (err…email?) would come. And I absolutely cannot wait to see what that cover art is going to look like! I love the Gavyn we picked!

You have seen some of Resident Weird Girl and your reaction blew me away. But alas… I’ve fallen into a writing slump, however the creative brainstorming is on fire for my Eastwick series. I’ve been reading a ton and about 40% of my mind is on style and technique rather than the story–which is frustrating and enlightening at the same time.

I’ve pulled an RLL  (and yes, he’ll probably read this). I’m having existential thoughts on my blog. What’s the point? Should I kill it? I used to really enjoy blogging, but that was when I felt I actually had interesting and weird things to say. Mostly they were derived from some third thought inspired by something I watched on TV. And since I’m no longer watching television…WHAT AM I WITHOUT THE WALKING DEAD TO RANT ABOUT? Nothing I say! Nothing! Ok, that’s a bit dramatic but my blog now bores me. It probably bores my readers too. If I’m not interested in it enough to make it entertaining than it’s lost its purpose. I’m just going throught the motions. After all authors building a platform MUST BLOG. At this point I think it is doing more damage than good.

What ever do you mean Megatron????

  1. It’s a time suck.
  2. Fiction should be my focus
  3. Potential readers see that blog and probably judge my fiction writing skill by it. (Which wouldn’t be a bad thing 3 or 4 months ago.)

So I think it should die. But not this. The Stranger Diaries must live on…

—MEGATRON

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Yes, you’re having double vision. Observe Gandalf, in her natural habitat, clutching a publishing contract.

Kacey Vanderkarr

The unthinkable, unbelievable, un–well, you get the idea. My novel, Antithesis, was picked up by Inkspell Publishing. I’m really excited to join the Inkspell team, they are forward thinkers and people that have as much backbone as they do knowledge. Antithesis, which is my Young Adult Sci-Fi novel, will be available in both print and digital format with a tentative release date of November/December 2012.

I. Am. So. Excited.

When I started writing, did I expect to get published? Heck yeah, I did. 🙂 Not because I want to make millions of dollars (though that would be excellent), but because I want to share my characters with all of you fine people. I truly believe that all the magic is in the details of the story, the little things, the relationships, the character’s struggle. I just want to know that someone reads my story and gets into it, excited over…

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GANDALF GOES WHITE (AND NEVER LOOKS BACK)

My Dear, Dear, Megatron-

Where has life taken us lately, my friend? It seems I’m always rushing here and there to get things done. Yes, rushing. ALWAYS rushing. I’m writing mostly to document that the BIG EVENT has occurred.

AND I SHALL NOW BE KNOWN AS GANDALF THE WHITE.

This BIG EVENT, which will also be known as, THE EVENT, THE BIG THING, THE GIANT-OMG-I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-THIS-IS-HAPPENING-THING, HOLY F, and GEORGE, is a life changer, as you know. The shock and adrenaline have worn off, reality has set in. Isn’t it sad when you can lose your outright hyperactive enthusiasm for something so quickly? Oh life, you’re so delightfully cruel.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited, but I’m also afraid, nervous, worried, and terrified that I’m going to somehow screw it up. But, isn’t this what we’ve been working towards? It is, it is. Doesn’t stop that nagging dread that always looms just over my shoulder. Life is full of WHAT IF’S, and that freaks Gandalf out. Big time.

THE GIANT-OMG-I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-THIS-IS-HAPPENING-THING has left me some tidbits to ponder. It may be early in the game for this level of introspection, but I can’t help it. I keep asking myself: Where do I go from here. Ok. Step One is done, now what?

We’re all very excited about the faerie story. So excited, in fact, that just thinking about the possibilities makes me giddy. Good old RLL sent me over some text on the subject. He’s always so helpful. But after the faerie story is written and edited, where is it going to go? Usually I’m such a pantster, and here I am, flailing about because I don’t have a concrete plan. For heaven’s sake, I’ve started using OneNote to keep my shit together. What is happening to this old wizard? It’s like I’m taking giant leaps towards becoming professional, and frankly, it scares the hell out of me.

It’s some comfort to know that people are usually offered more than one chance. And if you don’t put yourself out there, then you’re nothing more than a scribbler hiding behind her computer and scoffing a life of possibilities. Like I said, Step One is done. Holy cow. Step One.

I’m afraid our readers are going to be thoroughly perplexed by this entry. Alas, ’tis wizard speak.

I would also like to document the fact that two strangers, who met on Twitter, became friends and accountability buddies, have finally done something marginally successful. And this success warranted a 2 hour phone call between said friends. I did so enjoy hearing your voice, Megatron. It’s not nearly as annoying as you let on.

And I shall leave you with this thought, for you to mull over at your earliest convenience:

AWKWARD TURTLE (with hand motions)

Your Delightful Wizard,

GANDALF THE WHITE

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MEGATRON LOSES BEER PONG

Dear Gandalf,

HOLYSHITBUCKET A FLOOD! I’m so glad you are ok. But in your resume you can now say you are a flash flood survivor AKA  a badass. At least you got something fantastic out of the ordeal. I’ll leave it to you to unveil the surprise! And pictures are a must.

I finished your latest chapters of Reflection Pond and am salivating for more. I’m so proud of you. Keep up the good work. I might send you what I have on Resident Weird Girl just to see your thoughts. But I do have some unfortunate news…

In the wake of a beer pong extravaganza, I have officially lost my undefeated title. My record is 4-1…I think? It’s a sad day indeed. But at least I don’t have a hangover.

—MEGATRON

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GANDALF SURVIVES A FLASH FLOOD

Dear Megatron,

It’s been far too long since we’ve conversed. I know we’ve both tried to swear off social media, you being far more successful than me. It seems that whenever I try to do something like that, something really exciting happens and lots of people want to talk to me. My Twitter has been hopping as of late, and I’ve been engaging in conversation with strangers on Facebook. I figure all these high schoolers I’m talking to will buy my book when it comes out 🙂

Not that there’s any word on that front. Not yet. I’m getting a little antsy, wondering and waiting. I’ve done pretty well being patient and keeping busy. But everyone who knows me knows that I’m waiting, and they like to ask me every five seconds whether I’ve heard anything. It reminds me of when I was 9 months pregnant, and people no longer cared about me, only whether I’ve had that baby yet. I almost bit their heads off. I’m doing better this time, seeing as I’m not hugely pregnant and cranky. 🙂

Now- on to the exciting thing I promised everyone in my blog.

Gandalf nearly died on Thursday night. *gasp!* I know!

As you know, I work afternoons and generally don’t get home until 2:30-3 in the morning. Thursday night we had some terrible storms here, with wind, tons of rain, and crazy lightening. I commute to work, so that hour and half drive took even longer because I had to drive through rain so heavy that I couldn’t see the lines on the road and lightening so close that it blinded me. I must’ve passed through 6 separate storms. But then I finally pulled into my subdivision, relieved to be alive and home.

But- I wasn’t home yet.

As I made my way down the main road, I realized that it was flooded. Nothing major, probably 8 inches of water or so. It was still storming pretty hard so I tried to drive through the water. It didn’t take long for me to realize that wasn’t happening. I turned off my engine and started calling my husband. I figured we could push the car and save the engine, after all I was only a few hundred feet from my driveway. Hubby, while I love him to death, is a heavy sleeper and his phone rings all night long with calls from work. So, even though I called him 7 times in a row, he didn’t answer. By this time the water had risen over the bottom of the doors, and I couldn’t open them without water rushing in. More worried now, I called my parent’s house phone, which was out due to the storm. I called my Dad’s cellphone, then my Mom’s. No answer. I called hubby a few more times. No answer. By this point the water was seeping in through my floorboards. I called the one person I knew would answer, my sister. The water was now up to the middle of my door and rising fast. She tells me to open the window and climb out Dukes of Hazzard style- all I can do is laugh. This is utterly ridiculous, how the hell do these things happen to me?

Sadly- I can’t just climb out the window. The water was up to my waist and getting higher, my floorboards were full and soon it’d be over my console, which was what I’d perched on like a duck out of water. Why couldn’t you climb out, you ask. Well, I had my laptop. I’m quite attached to it, you know, seeing as it has all my manuscripts on it and I just purchased in in January. If I got out, it’d get wet. Keep it mind it was still storming like a mother outside, complete with lightening and crazy wind. Then the water reached my butt and I was as high in the car as I could go without squishing myself on the dash.

I hung up with my sister. It was go time! At first I tried to climb out the window, but then I realized that water was just as high in the car as it was outside the car. So I just opened the door, held my laptop and purse over my head and made a wade for it. I’m pretty tall, mind you, Gandalf is no short wizard at 6’1″. The water was higher than my belly button, right between that and my boobs. And freezing. And from the sewer. These are the things I was thinking as I sloshed to my house and stood in the doorway, completely soaked.

I yelled to hubby, who finally woke up. I told him my story in short bursts, out of breath and a little shaky. Holy hell, my car just filled with water, can you blame me? His genius response: “What?” Shocked stare. “What?”

Ohh…classic moment it was.

And so, my friend, this is how Gandalf survived a flash flood. Good news is that I have a scene just like this in one of my books- how awesome is it that I have firsthand knowledge to draw from now?

The only not awesome thing, my car may very well be totaled, the insurance adjustor won’t come until tomorrow. Even better? This is the second time this car has been in a flood in the exact same spot, only last time the water wasn’t nearly as deep. We measured- 41 inches. What if dear Gandalf had drowned? The writing world would never be the same!

This is my car, after the water had gone down about a foot, several hours later. The water at one point was completely covering the hood. Crazy, right?Image

Well, I must go, Megatron!

GANDALF OUT

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GANDALF GIVES IN TO TEMPTATION

Greetings, Megatron!

I come to you a shamed wizard, or something like one anyway. First order of business- there’s still no news on the publishing front. I’ve been constantly keeping myself busy so that I don’t think about it. As you know, I’m rewriting my first manuscript. However, this week did not go so well for me. I just couldn’t write something solid in it to save my life. My measly 3,000 words made me feel terrible. So last night, after three hours of attempting to say something of importance in Stepping Stones, I gave up. Yep, you read correctly, Gandalf is a quitter. Then I did the unthinkable. I opened a blank word document. I wrote 2,500 words of a new story. It’s amazing how easy the words flow when you’re really excited about something.

So this is my new, er, revised plan. I will write both manuscripts at once. That’s acceptable, right? I figure when I get bored with one I will switch over to the other for a while. Though I fear this new manuscript will be so enticing that I won’t want to stop writing it. And it’s a planned series. Soo… Yeah. On the upside, I’m going to send you what I have finished of Stepping Stones in hopes that a critique will spur my excitement to continue writing it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me- other than I already know exactly what will happen with Stepping Stones, which kills the pantster in me. I like the thrill of possibilities. It’s like the call of an open road. Endless.

So Megatron, now you know my big secret. I’m a manuscript whore.

Talk soon!

GANDALF

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MEGATRON GETS A RAMSHACKLE WRITING OFFICE

Gandalf! How exciting! A critique group is essential and I’m so glad you’ve got this new opportunity. I’ve got random critique groups assigned in my creative writing class, but there is also another opportunity to join the Literally Army which is a group of 10 or so writers who do their own thing outside of the class. I’ve gone out to eat with them a few times.

I really like most of the people, it’s just I don’t know if I’m a good fit in the group. But what I’m trying to say is: critique groups are great; they can really take your writing to the next level. Fresh eyes and ideas to build on are always a good thing.

So the pool house is still in shambles thanks to the bridal shower that took place in it. I’m going to get the place back into order by Sunday. I’ve actually taken advantage of my situation and built myself a little writing office. I use a drafting table as my “writing desk” in the corner of the room. There is a real desk, behind me, jutting off the wall to my left acting as a cubicle wall and the holder of my desktop computer. That old dinosaur doesn’t connect to the internet but it does have Photoshop on it, which is the only reason why it’s in use. That, and to charge my ipod…

Oh and the best part is the ping pong table folded up, 6 feet tall. It has this cool dimply metal on the underside so it’s actually a cute barrier that I can duct tape butcher paper on. Why would I cover the cool metallic surface with paper? Simple, my dear! I storyboard/outline on it. I’m really excited that it has wheels so I can turn it to catch the light from the bay doors.

I know you would have texted me right away if you got any news, but I had to ask: have you heard from the publisher yet? Also I have not had the chance to check out the excerpt of Stepping stones you sent me. I’ve actually only accessed the internet through my phone these last few days… I think I might be pulling away from virtual reality and focusing more on The Plastic Divide.

I’m scrapping the initial concept with the suicide note. The entire story is going to be 3rd person with the exception of a more succinct letter. I think this new version I’m working on is stronger. I also think it’s more badass and the readers will like the main character more. I’ve actually plotted a sequel.

I know! I’m so lame! Who the hell comes up with a sequel for a short story? Might as well slap together the two and call it a novella. But I can’t let the reason why I’m even writing TPD escape me. I’m doing it to get something out there. But the first version simply wasn’t cutting it. So I’m going to get it as good as it can be without going overboard and then I need to get back to Beastling, because that story is really something.

It’s been really great hearing from you, Gandy. For whatever reason, I really needed to hear some good news from you 🙂

—MEGATRON OUT BITCHES

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GANDALF MAKES A SHINY NEW FRIEND

MA-MA-MA-MEGATRON,

Whew. Had myself a Lady Gaga moment there.

SO! This morning, I went to the bookstore. Yes, I know you’re excited, as I frequent the bookstore and return with loads of goodies. This morning I was on a very specific mission at Barnes and Noble. I am researching a sort of obscure form of folk lore, fairytale, whatever you want to call it. So of course they don’t have anything that I need. I mean, when the best I can find online is that it may be of Celtic or Portuguese background, and Wikipedia is my best friend, you know it’s a hard find. So they direct me to their shelf of folk lore and mythology, which is only 2 shelves on one book shelf. Seriously? This is a HUGE genre, why isn’t there more information? Is it because it’s all speculation? Who knows. So I peruse, consider buying the Grimm books, but they don’t apply to what I’m searching for. I flip through a few Celtic books but don’t find a single reference to what I’m looking for. Great. The store associate goes to her computer and searches it. Comes back and says anything I might find would have to be special ordered and will likely not be in English. Awesome! Because I totally know how to translate Portuguese.*eye roll*

I’m bummed, but not defeated, so I head over to the YA section, pick out a million books I want to buy, but leave empty handed. As I’m making my walk of shame back to the door, another woman who works there is like “Hey, are you the girl that was asking about mythology?” Uhh…yeah. That’s me. We get talking, she’s a writer. (And she works in a bookstore. Jealous.) I tell her that I’m beginning research for a book series that I want to write and need information for world building. One thing leads to another and it’s “Oh, well if you’re looking for a critique group, I’m a part of one that meets every other Friday.”

Inside my head I was like: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES.

“Oh yeah?”

She invites me to come check it out. I add her on Facebook. I leave the store a cool, calm, collected version of myself. I had to resist the urge to text you right that second. A critique group? Really truly? All of my own?

Moral of the story: You never leave the bookstore empty handed. Sometimes you make a writerly contact that may take you farther than you ever imagined. She also recommended a website that may help with my research.

So now I suppose you want to know all about this story idea of mine? Oh no, Megatron. That’s for me to know and you to dot, dot, dot. (That’s a Vampire Diaries reference. Couldn’t resist.) Let’s say that it’s going to be a challenge. A fun, interesting challenge. But hey, I’m all about branching out.

And now I’m off to write some more in Stepping Stones. So much to do and so little time!

GANDALF