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#writemotivation Wrap-up


Well, I'm not sure how it happened, but August has now come and gone. My friends have all posted their kids' back-to-school pictures, the light outside has taken on that golden autumn hue, and my TV is bombarding me with commercials for the new fall shows. Since August is over, that means another #writemotivation month is now finished, and it also means my wrap-up is already five days late.
My only goal for the month was to FINALLY finish my WIP. Unfortunately, I didn't quite make it. When the month started, I thought it was mostly small-time stuff left: tweaking awkward phrasing, fixing logic issues, cleaning up sloppiness. Turns out I vastly underestimated the ripple effect of the major changes I made when I completely rewrote the first half. But even though I wasn't expecting it, it's not a bad thing. I've been layering in the deeper characterizations I established in the first half, and it's been pretty awesome watching the back half improve right before my eyes.
And while I didn't finish, with the push from #writemotivation, I rewrote more in August than I typically manage at my usual glacial pace. And if I can maintain the new pace, I should be completely done in two weeks. Whoo hoo! I didn’t officially sign up for #writemotivation for September, but I’ll be with everyone in spirit.
I will confess that I blew off the last three days of August. Instead of pushing toward my goal line, I left my computer at home for a family Labor Day weekend at the lake. The weather was perfect for swimming and we had lots of yummy food. And if nothing else, it was completely worth it for this picture:
Crazy Chloe
You know that in her head, Chloe thinks she looks like this:

It's All in the Timing

But to everyone else, she looks like this: 

great white breach

And for the next two weeks, I'm going to look like ferocious Chloe as I attack my goal and finally finish this rewrite!

Now I don’t want to end with everyone thinking Chloe is scary, so here’s a picture of her being her usual sweet self:

Chloe Kiss
Or maybe she’s just giving me a taste test before chomping off my face.
How did your goals go for August? What are your new goals for September? Chloe: graceful lady or scary beast? 
#writemotivation image courtesy of Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Water Chloe image courtesy of Joanna Rish
Hair flip image courtesy of Andy Beal
Shark image courtesy of Mike Davison
Kissing Chloe image courtesy of Joanna Rish

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 84 + #writemotivation

#writemotivationIt’s time for another #writemotivation check-in – I can’t believe it’s already the last week of August! This week I managed to revise three chapters, and since that’s more than the previous weeks, I’m gonna go ahead and give that a whoo hoo!! Although with only four and a half days left in the month and nine more chapters to go, it doesn’t look good for meeting my ultimate goal of completely finishing the rewrite. But I’m so happy with the quality of what I’ve gotten done that I’m not going to sweat it. Good luck to all the other #writemotivation folks in this last push to the end of the month.
15 Minute Tweet TalesAs for the 15 Minute Tweet Tales this week, we definitely had some interesting words, including another repeat. On 8/23 the word was supposed to be fulsome, but we’d already had it almost exactly a year ago on 8/29/12. Weird. Anyway, here they are:
8/21 - As he emerges from the darkness, his eyes fulgurate; she prays it's a trick of the light, but the god before her laughs at such prayers.
8/22 - A serious crisis arises, so the men gather for maieutic prodding: how are they going to get more beer if they're all too drunk to drive?
8/23 - The dog's lusory tail wags lure Timmy into a game of chase; he falls down a well. She prances away: no more fake ball throwing from you.
8/24 - She steps on stage and shudders at the canaille leering at her. As she swings around the pole, she chants 'It's paying for med school.'
8/25 - The death squads march. The twins separate, each taking half of the parure. The power in the rubies will lead them back when it's safe.
8/26 - For years she heaped his plate with fried veggies and meats plus extra butter. It took awhile, but her stenotic homicide went undetected.
8/27 - He bought paint with antimony to capture the luster of her skin. When she torched his studio, his portrait of her was all that survived.
How did you do with your #writemotivation goals this week? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?
#writemotivation image courtesy of Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 83 + Other Stuff

#writemotivationI can’t believe it’s already time for another #writemotivation update – it seems like this past week FLEW by. As I predicted in last week’s update, I spent much of the week completely immersed in WriteOnCon. They do a truly excellent job putting it together, so there were a ton of wonderful posts and vlogs, and now my brain is pretty much mush. And since I put my query and writing samples out on the forums for feedback, I spent a lot of time paying it forward by critiquing others. If you missed WriteOnCon, they keep the information up all year, so you can browse at your leisure rather than gorging like I did.
So with all that happening, did I actually accomplish anything on my WIP? Fortunately, the answer is yes! I revised two more chapters. I'm still not setting the world on fire with my speed, but since one of the chapters ended up needing to be almost completely rewritten, I’m pleased with my progress. I hope all the other #writemotivation folks are making steady progress!
15 Minute Tweet TalesAnd that brings us to my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for this past week. On the first two days, I unintentionally mentioned Facebook in both stories, so I decided to incorporate Facebook in all my tales this week. I remembered on the third day, but then completely spaced on the fourth day, so that idea pretty much fizzled out. Hope you enjoy them anyway! 
8/14 - She gives Tim detention for his rabelaisian test answers, but she's eager to post it on Facebook: it's so funny it'll surely go viral.
8/15 - Chocolate, ice cream, hot bath - nothing breaks the anhedonia gripping Amy since the pic of her boyfriend kissing Max popped up on FB.
8/16 - Posting pics of his abs from 20 years ago, telling plain high school girls they're beautiful: Facebook's the perfect place for his venery.
8/17 - He cries every day because classmates torment him. His mom gives him cookies as a roborant, not realizing they tease him for being fat.
8/18 - Searching the pockets of plague victims, he hopes his periapt works: the stench from a pouch of his own filth should chase away disease.
8/19 - The jongleur wasn't afraid to sing about the king's love of playing with dolls, but now his jester bells are jingling from balls.
8/20 - He thinks the symbols on the vase are enchorial to Egypt, but the linguist expert says they're fake - she then sells it for a fortune.
How did you do with your #writemotivation goals this week? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?
#writemotivation image courtesy of Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 82 + Other Stuff

I’ve got a lot to jam into one post, so let’s get right to it!
WriteOnConFirst, WriteOnCon is happening today and tomorrow. This is the fourth year for the online conference for kidlit writers. It’s always packed with amazingly helpful information, and there are forums where you can post your query and writing samples for feedback. Make sure you check it out, and if you’re too busy this week, the best part is the info stays up all year.
#writemotivationSecond, it’s time for my #writemotivation update. I rewrote two chapters this week. So how am I feeling about that? Well, that pace doesn’t put me on track to finish the whole thing by the end of August, since I have fourteen more chapters to go. But honestly, that’s much faster progress than usual, so I’m happy about it. I made an aggressive deadline to push myself, so even if I don’t meet it, I’ll have gotten a lot more done than my usual glacial pace. 
I’m going to push even harder this week, but I imagine with WriteOnCon deliciousness distracting me this week it’s going to be tough. I hope everyone who is participating in #writemotivation has a great week meeting your goals!
15 Minute Tweet TalesAnd now for my 15 Minute Tweet Tales. We actually had another repeat word: on 8/7 the word was supposed to be traduce, which we already had last June. I think lumpen was a fun-to-say replacement. Here are my tales for the week:
8/7 - He sits in front of the TV every night, eating junk and mocking the lumpen 'stars' of trashy reality shows, never grasping the irony.
8/8 - A doctor's son is gunned down. Police grab the weeping suspect and she claims it was talionic: "That quack killed my son; I killed his."
8/9 - Most demons masquerade as sexy women, but Akem makes his best orectic bargains lounging in coffee shops disguised as a famous agent.
8/10 - He designed a privative captivity to awaken her consciousness. She used the time to imagine creative ways to kill him. Then she did.
8/11 - Mya wears anidian dresses to hide her pregnancy. It would crush her mom to know her stepfather did this to her. Plus she'd blame Mya.
8/12 - Championship game tied with 3 seconds left. He chucks ball from half court. Swish! Team tackles him, luxates his shoulder. Totally worth it.
8/13 - She cringes as his agrestic hands reach for her, but he'd paid her way to this country, so she'll do her wifely duty and try to smile. #15tt
Are you ‘attending’ WriteOnCon? How did your #writemotivation goals go this week? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?
#writemotivation image courtesy of Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Jumping Back on the #writemotivation Train

#writemotivationI was around for the early days of #writemotivation and met so many wonderful people through it, but I eventually drifted away because of my own failings. Month after month I set the same goal: finish rewriting my WIP. And then month after month I spent more time making excuses about why I wasn’t getting it done than, you know, actually doing it. 
Here were all these kind and generous people cheering me on and instead of employing some self-discipline, I was constantly distracted by new and shiny things. It made me feel guilty that they were wasting their enthusiasm on me, so I slunk away like a coward so I wouldn’t have to ‘look them in the eyes’ and admit that procrastination was getting the better of me. 
But I’m back!!!!
In that time away, I’ve actually made some really solid progress on my WIP. It’s been super slow, but I’m really happy with the changes I’ve made to my novel. This week I passed the halfway point, and even though it’s taken me almost a year to reach it, I’m going to be super bold and make just one goal for this month:
Really and truly, no take backs this time, finally finish the rewrite of The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf.
Considering my progress up until now, that might seem a bit crazy, but I have two reasons I think I can really push myself this August.
1. The first half was the part that really needed help, as in ‘completely sliced and diced it and wrote a bunch of new chapters from scratch’ help. The second half only needs some tweaking and tightening, so the going should be much faster. 
2. If you didn’t see my announcement last week, I just won the SCBWI WIP grant for contemporary novel (Whoo hoo! And, yes, I will be looking for a way to fit that exciting news into all my posts for the rest of the year!). This is the type of honor that can open doors, but only if I’m ready to walk through them, and unfortunately I’m still standing on the sidewalk. So I have more drive than ever to finish the rewrite ASAP so I don’t miss any potential opportunities. 
It’s going to be a tough month for me as I force my nose to the grindstone even when the TV or video games or twitter or my doggies beckon me. But it feels different this time – I really believe I can do it. And I’m looking forward to cheering everyone on knowing we’re all on this crazy ride together.
Are you participating in #writemotivation this time? Have you participated in the past? What methods do you use to keep your butt in the chair when distractions call your name?
Also, I’m giving away a signed copy of Megan Shepherd’s gothic thriller The Madman’s Daughter, so make sure to enter here.
Image courtesy of Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 38 + #writemotivation

#writemotivationThe September #writemotivation goal check month has zipped by faster than I ever imagined.  So how did I do on my goals? Well, it wasn’t a complete disaster this time:  

1. Revise at least three pages a day in my WIP.
OK, so this one was a complete disaster. Another month with no progress on my WIP.  I’d be depressed if it weren’t so funny. I really want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but I feel like I shouldn’t unless I finish these revisions, so I’m really going to push myself to finish this month. Yeah, I know I say that every month, but one of these months I have to be right, right? Isn’t that the law of averages or something?
2. Post two blog posts a week.
DONE! I feel really good about this one. I was a total slacker for most of the summer with only posting once a week (my 15 Minute Tweet Tale roundup on Tuesdays), so I’m going to try to keep up with posting twice a week.
3. Spruce up at least one of my short stories and submit it for publication.
DONE! I’m really happy with the changes I made to the story, although I now have to wait six months before I hear back. *bites fingernails to nubs*  But this was a great exercise, and I hope to keep up the momentum by dusting off more of my short stories and getting them into circulation.
4. Finish reviewing critique partner’s novel.
DONE! Novel reviewed and notes organized into coherent feedback and sent off to critique partner.
So even though I didn’t make any progress on the BIGGIE goal, I was more productive than I have been in a while. Plus I accomplished a lot with both of my short films, and I’ve been working on putting together an optimal writing space to hopefully fan the flames of productivity.  I hope all the other #writemotivation folks made solid progress on your goals!
And now here are the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
9/26 - "Son, if you show a modicum of courage, the bullies will leave you alone," Tom said mockingly to his dad through his split lip.
9/27 - Her grandson says it's the new fourth estate, so she tries that tweeter thing. The streaming nonsense makes her wish Death would hurry.
9/28 - The king gave a rousing speech, but the salient point was most of them would fall. The pawns refused to take their place on the board.
9/29 - I started to sit. Noticed my brother's espiègle grin. Changed seats. Grandma triggered the whoopee cushion. Mercy! Ambulance required.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

9/30 - Her symptoms ran the gamut from aches to zero energy. She said she was dying. Her doctor said she was a hypochondriac. She was right.
10/1 - She thinks the reticulate pattern in her hose makes a bold fashion statement. Too bold, since her blind date mistakes her for a pro.
10/2 - Sue, the 3x spelling champ, heads to the mic with aplomb. The judge says CHARLATAN. Thinking they uncovered her scheme, she confesses.
How did you do with your #writemotivation goals? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?
#writemotivation photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Ask Doctor Jo + #writemotivation

#writemotivationWith only a week left in September, how am I doing with my #writemotivation goals? Making progress on most, really terrible on the most important one. Here’s the rundown:

1. Revise at least three pages a day in my WIP.
Yeah… still sitting at an astoundingly impressive zip, nada, zero for the month.
2. Post two blog posts a week.
My one shining beacon of hope this #writemotivation cycle, since I’ve met this goal every week. It’s probably pathetic how happy that makes me.
3. Spruce up at least one of my short stories and submit it for publication.
I decided which story I want to revise and researched potential publishers before narrowing it down to three magazines – this way I can tailor the revision to their guidelines.
4. Finish reviewing critique partner’s novel.
I finished reading it, and now I need to organize my notes into something resembling the English language. 
So I think I’m on track to actually meet three of my four goals by the end of the month. Maybe I should change that first goal to revise three pages in my WIP, period. Hey, any forward progress at this point would be a cause for celebration.
Feeling Achy?
With so many writers bent over their computers feverishly working on their goals this month, I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce you to Doctor Jo. I regularly talk about my younger brother Brian on this blog because we worked together to make two short films, but I also have a younger sister – Joanna. She’s a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy (yes, it kinda kills me that my baby sis is a DOCTOR!), and she and Brian teamed up to make some shorts, too. But instead of death-predicting cats and hoodoo practitioners, these shorts feature my sister doing what she does best: helping people and acting silly.
Joanna wanted to help more people than just the patients she could fit in during the day, so she started a website called AskDoctorJo.com, where people can find exercises to relieve their aches and pains. She walks you through the exercises with clear, easy-to-follow instructions and adds humor to keep them entertaining. And if you can’t find what you need, send her a question and she’ll answer it for you.
I asked her to recommend videos for the ailments most likely to plague a writer, and she said these are the ones most helpful to people hunched over a computer all day.
The one for carpal tunnel syndrome features Joanna in all her goofy glory, so I’ll embed that one here:

The others are more straightforward, where you can see that, yes, she is a professional . . . at least some of the time:
In addition to her website (where she has lots of other vidoes), Joanna also has a facebook page and a twitter account @AskDoctorJo where you can ask questions and get the latest updates, so go check her out!
I’m so proud of what my sister has accomplished in following her dream to become a physical therapist, and I think it’s awesome how she’s sharing her knowledge to help people. I hope these exercises help my fellow writers feel better as you create your brilliant stories.
How are you doing with your #writemotivation goals? Have you ever had to visit a “physical terrorist” (as Joanna calls herself)? Do you have writerly aches and pains that might be eased by these exercises?
#writemotivation photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Just Another Manic Monday

This Monday is actually more manic than usual, since there's a lot to report in this post, so pull up a Barcalounger and get comfy.

First of all, I’m honored to be interviewed today over at Nerdy Chicks Rule. I met head nerdy chick Kami Kinard a few years ago at a SCBWI writers conference, and I love that she’s celebrating the characteristics that made us nerdy gals feel different and awkward while growing up. The Nerdy Chicks are giving away a DVD copy of my short film Saying Goodbye, so click here for a chance to win.

Second, we’ve finally got the post up about the Rish sibling adventures at the DC Shorts Film Festival last weekend, so pop over to our High Heels & Hoodoo website for the scoop, including pictures of us with our bright pink high heel.  



And since it’s Monday, that means it’s time for a #writemotivation update. I did manage two posts for the week *yay*, I made solid progress reviewing my critique partner’s novel *whoo hoo*, but as for my own WIP . . . *hangs head in shame*. At least I still have two more weeks to make some significant headway before September comes to an all-to-quick end.  


Genre Favorites BlogfestFinally, I signed up for Alex Cavanaugh’s Genre Favorites Blogfest where we’re supposed to list of our favorite genre of Movie, Music, Books, and a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories, so here we go:

Favorite movie genre – Horror  This is the easiest of the bunch. I’ve loved horror movies since I was too young to be watching horror movies. It's a total rush to feel scared - adrenaline flowing, heart pumping, stomach churning - while sitting perfectly safe and sound on the couch. I especially love the horror flicks that skillfully create tension and suspense, while also providing a few laughs. Luckily my brother has been my partner in horror – we’ve watched a (probably alarming) number of really terrible horror movies to find the hidden gems. We’re now working on several feature-length scripts so we can make our own horror movie. High Heels & Hoodoo was our attempt to explore filming at night and creating a spooky atmosphere in short form.

Favorite music genre – Varies  I listen to and enjoy so many different genres of music: pop, rock, soul, country, 80s, 50s, classical, showtunes, etc. It really just depends on my mood and what I'm doing. Right now I’m listening to my Pandora station of angsty British chicks – Adele, Florence + The Machine, Duffy, etc.

Favorite book genre – YA Thriller  I know YA is sometimes considered to be a genre of its own, but I think it’s more like a category that then has all the same genres as “big people books.”  So I’m a fan of thrillers in general, but especially YA thrillers. Emotions are already so heightened in teens and putting them in dangerous situations sends the vicarious thrills through the roof.

Guilty pleasure genre – Urban Fantasy books  Vampires, werewolves, fairies, and other supernatural creatures wielding magic in a world that appears to be like ours? Awesome! And even better if there are sexy times. Lots and lots of sexy times.

Whew, I think that’s enough random information from me for one day. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking with me. And extra special thanks to Alex for the fun blogfest!

How are you doing with your #writemotivation goals? Are you participating in Alex’s Genre Favorites Blogfest?  If yes, I’ll be visiting your blog soon to see your picks; and if not, feel free to share your favorite genres in the comments.

#writemotivation photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 35 + #writemotivation

#writemotivationAs I suspected, I didn’t make much progress on my #writemotivation goals last week because of my trip to DC. I did manage two blog posts, which was a nice improvement; but no progress on the WIP, which is a bummer. The good news is I had a fabulous time on the trip with my siblings, the DC Shorts Film Festival was a wonderful experience, and we had a great reception to our film at its screening (I’ll be posting pictures and more details about that at the High Heels & Hoodoo blog later this week).

Since I wasn’t sure what my internet access was going to be while I was gone, I scheduled all the 15 Minute Tweet Tales words and my tales for last week in advance. I was a little nervous about it, but the scheduler worked, and the rest of the #15tt crew carried on without me, creating some fantastic tales. Even though mine were technically all written in one night, here they are for the week:

9/5 - How was she going to explain the grass stains from the links to her mom? As his lips touched hers under the stars, she didn't care.
9/6 - Annie was bursting with patriotic pride when she joined the CIA, but the drudgery of questionable assignments has case-hardened her.
9/7 - A mermaid explores the flotsam of a naval battle. A sailor calls for help. Instantly smitten, she drags him down in a watery embrace.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

9/8 - When she asks what he wants to eat, he always says: I don't care. She soon realizes it's tantamount to saying: I don't care about you.

9/9 - Frank was obtuse about most things, but he knew when a woman liked him; so he'd keep her chained in the basement 'til she admitted it.
9/10 - Bob the bluebird did not let his severe alopecia stop him from happily singing, though the other birds tittered at his naked wings.
9/11 - Kim's crush got on the elevator, 5 seconds later it got stuck. She sang a mental paean to the goddess of love for her perfect timing. 
How did you do with your #writemotivation goals this week? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales? 
Photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 34

15 Minute Tweet TalesWow, two posts in one week – it’s been a while since that’s happened, so hooray for #writemotivation! If I weren’t so busy getting ready for my trip to DC, I might really try to shake things up by going for three posts. Maybe next week. And now here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:

8/29 – Kim’s fulsome praise of my fashion sense before the board meeting should’ve alerted me to the toilet paper bumming a ride on my shoe.
8/30 – He bled every word, but critics labeled his novel a potboiler; he leapt off a cliff knowing a dramatic death elevates an artist’s work.
8/31 - He thought his air of ennui made him seem sophisticated; everyone else thought he was an ungrateful jerk who needed a dose of reality.
9/1 – Like kudzu smothering the autochthonous flora, hiring dour Jim overwhelms the upbeat office turning it into a pessimistic wasteland.
9/2 – Her husband thinks she’s doing eleemosynary work: technically true since she bestows lush food, clothing, & “life lessons” on the lad.
9/3 – The city slicker thought it macho to rowel his mount into a gallop with his spurs. The horse thought it funny to screech to a halt.
9/4 – Nana’s reaching stick helps with the prehension of items from her chair, though she prefers using it to pinch the doctor’s posterior.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words.  If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them.  Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?