The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sioux... A Real Character

More than half a century ago, I was born. My birth mother named me Margaret. (I could see myself as Maggie.) My parents named me Susan. When I was 13, I took on the name Sioux... When I was in my 40s, I legally changed my name.

I was a real character. I shunned the popular fashion choices. I railed against authority. Of course, some of it was due to me being a teenager.

Recently a piece of mine was chosen to be published in NCTE's journal. My letter to a former teacher will appear in the 2019 fall edition of the National Council of Teachers of English journal.

If you'd like to read a little more about me as a teenager, along with finding out how my teacher reacted to the news, check out my blog on The Muffin. 

This is me as a high school senior.

Monday, January 21, 2019

What Goes On in a Writer's Head?

Do you ever wonder what's really going on in a writer's head?  If you're curious about what's in Sioux's brain (Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.) , check out this post.  

As writers, we play a hurry-up-and-wait game. Hurry up and finish the manuscript. Hurry up and edit it. Hurry up and get it revised. Hurry up and send it off to agents and publishers. Then it's wait and wait and wait, hoping to attract the attention of some literary agency or some publisher. 

It's hard being patient. It's hard keeping one's self confidence up when there's so much rejection and such long wait times.

How about you? How do you handle having to wait?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

How Sioux is Turning Into a Planner (Shudder!)

I'm a pantser. I fly by the seat of my pants. The WIP I'm most proud of is a middle grades novel and is being critiqued as we speak. Because of this manuscript, I'm wearing the I-didn't-do-any-outline-or-map-any-of-it-out badge of honor. (Of course, I wrote 27,000 words, had to scrap almost all of it, and then had to build it back up, through "channeling" the main character, until it's now at 50,000 words. Perhaps a dollop or two of planning might have made things easier for me.)

I've had many writing friends and colleagues try to use a taser encouragement to prod me into trying to plan out my writing. Sue Bradford Edwards writes about her story boards, and I envision a board the size of an art-gallery wall, covered with organized post-its and photos and illustrations and colorful yarn connecting the different parts. I don't know what her boards truly look like, but I do know she's a prolific and successful freelance writer. Planning obviously works for her.

An editor I hired tried to convince me to map out my story into 3 acts. Margo Dill gave me some specific suggestions for each act. I now have to admit: Margo, I did all my "planning" in my head as I went. I hope you'll agree that in this case, pantsing worked. (Margo has my manuscript and since we're snowed in today, perhaps she's reading it right now.)

However, it's a miracle! I'm embracing planning. Finally. I just finished Jessica Brody's book Save the Cat! Writes a Novel and it's transforming. I'm already thinking about how I can make my story map (with index cards and corkboard) portable, since I'll be going to a writing retreat in February.

If you check out my post at The Muffin you can find out some details about this book.

(A book that can change Sioux from a pantser into a planner? That book must have some powerful mojo...)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sioux's Confessions

I have many things I could confess as a parent (and now grandparent). I've bitten the ear off a chocolate Easter bunny (a solid one, which was slated for my daughter) and had to buy another one. (This happened before Easter.)

I've dug through my kids' Halloween candy in the middle of the night, while they were sleeping, looking for some delicious milk chocolate.

I've made my teenaged son wear a rented Speedo. I've worn white socks with hole-y Crocs just to embarrass my kids. I've fallen asleep (many, many times) when babysitting my granddaughter. I've gotten my son out of bed often by just saying the word "bacon." (Confession: I never made him bacon on a school day. Never.)

So many confessions... so little time.

Margo Dill is hosting a contest. All you need is a parental (or grandparental) confession of 500 words or less. Here is the link to the post:

But hurry. The deadline is January 5 at one minute to midnight.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Back on the Chain Gang

Well, yesterday afternoon I finished my manuscript. In the last two years it went from 25,000 words to almost 0 to 49,926 words.

Now I'm finished, right?


Now the real work begins.

I'm sending it off to an editor (Margo Dill) tomorrow. Then I have to wait while I bite my fingernails til they're bleeding patiently for her feedback.

Will she say it still sucks? Or will she say it's an improvement? I'm keeping my eyes and my toes crossed. (I can't cross my fingers because I'm too busy gnawing on my nails.)

Then, if she says it doesn't stink too badly, I can start re-examining the editors and publishers I listed as possibilities. And then submitting.


I'm back on the chain gang...

Monday, December 3, 2018

Dog Rescue Fundraising vs. Writing Work

This weekend was full of dog rescue fundraising work. Love a Golden had a booth at a craft fair on Saturday, and on Sunday we did Santa photos (with dogs and one really brave cat). Thinking back on the two days, I made some connections with the writing work I do. (Doesn't everything connect to writing?) Here they are:

  • At the craft fair we made our money a dollar at a time. Oh, we had baskets and dog blankets for sale, and we sold lots of them, but mostly we sold scoops of homemade dog biscuits for $1. Writing a short story or a novel is written one word at a time. When we were swamped with customers, it was hard to guess our progress. Had we made lots of money to put toward our vet bills, or had we made little headway? It's also sometimes difficult to determine how far we've progressed with our manuscript when we're in the middle of working on it. Don't lose your faith. Keep moving forward.
  •  Listening is key. I got the joy of listening to people's stories about their dogs. As a writer, we have to listen to our writer's intuition. What would be an authentic response for our character? What mementos would our character bring with them when they leave their home forever? Our writing ear will tell us if we're writing true or not.
  •  It's exhausting. Getting up early to set up a booth... spending all day on your feet as you wait on customers... socializing as you try to deftly prod them into spending money to help rescue more dogs--it's tiring. Writing is also exhausting. However, when a chapter is revised, when a manuscript's third draft is finally finished... Well, that's rewarding.

Here is Radar getting his picture taken with Santa. As usual,
his three-foot-long tongue is out and dribbling a river of slobber
onto the floor.

 How about you? What did you do over the weekend?