Friday, October 29, 2010

Let the Revisions Begin!

OMG. My first draft is DONE. COMPLETE. FINISHED. What a bittersweet feeling, for reals.

I can't believe how close I actually ended up to my original word count goal. As of right now, before I rework the beginning and do the other 972 revisions that will undoubtably be needed, I am at 376 double-spaced pages set in Courier New font, and a total of 79,630 words. My goal was 80,000 words sooo...yea, scarily close.

I know it needs work. I know it. And I can't wait to redo the beginning and let my "editors" take it from there after that's fixed. Of course, I'll be starting the revision process myself on the rest of it, but I'm so very curious to get feedback on it. I've been thinking about posting my query letter here too, and get some feedback on that from, well, whoever wants to give it. My next goal is to start querying process in January 2011. Let's start the new year off with a book deal, right? RIGHT?

So, it's Friday night, I'm sitting on the couch with a cat curled up next to me, catching up on Days of our Lives (oh, how I giggle at this show) until it's time for the season premiere of What Not to Wear. Since I've been battling a sore throat all week, I'm being lame tonight in order to try to rest up for the big Halloween bash tomorrow night. Ok really, I enjoy a lame Friday night here and there. Have I mentioned I'm old?

OH- and before I go, I just wanted to share my new favorite website in the WHOLE FREAKING WORLD. The girls that write for this site are nothing short of pure comedic genuises. If you're a fan of the young adult book/tv world, you MUST CHECK THIS OUT. Now, right now! Even if you're not, just read some of their reviews- they'll make you want to go out and buy all these books ASAP. My Goodreads list is out of control thanks to them. I promise if nothing else, the hilarious recaps of Sweet Valley High will have you spitting out whatever food or drink you might be consuming.

Forever Young Adult

Happy Friday & Halloween! Hope everyone has a spooktacular weekend!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The costume catastrophe

So, we have a big Halloween party coming up this weekend, and Dan and I finally had some time to go out looking for costumes this past Saturday. Hoooo boy, you guys. I struck out big time.

I've always had pretty good costumes. Ok, well, the years I've had parties to go to, I usually have no problem coming up with something somewhat original and/or creative. Until last year, I had never gotten a store-bought costume (and that one I actually borrowed from a friend- a super cute "beer girl" outfit, thanks Shell!). One year I was the Britney Spears circa "Baby One More Time" (it was the year this video came out, mind you...doing Britney now is just a little, well, sad). I had that entire costume DOWN- from the fuzzy pink hair ties to the black suede loafers. It was perfection. Another year I was an 80s prom queen. Picture a lovely baby pink satin & white lace assymetrical dress, complete with blue eye shadow, big hair, and lacy fingerless gloves. There was my 50s housewife costume, an adorable blue poofy dress I wore one of my gram's aprons with and carried around a martini glass and a feather duster. My last "good" costume, in which I won Most Original Costume at our work party, was my "cast-off bachelorette" costume. I wore a fancy black dress, taped bloody gauze around my wrists, smeared my eye makeup and carried around a dead rose. Again, perfection.

Where has my creativity gone?? This past weekend we went to three different Halloween stores to look at costumes, and absolutely nothing struck me as something I'd want to wear. Everything for girls is soooo ridiculously slutty. And I realize that Halloween is one of the days where girls get an excuse to show some skin, but come on. Slutty Big Bird?? Really?? Not to mention the costumes I tried on, which all cost between $40-60, were all complete pieces of trash. They fit awful, were see-through, scratchy, uncomfortable, etc. I was finally able to pick up the costume I originally saw at Target, which is cute but nothing spectacular. At least it seems somewhat well-made.

Next year, I am vowing to do something on my own again. Which means I'll have to start brainstorming in like August, apparently. Sigh.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'll be chasing that starlight...

Ok. So. I've been meaning to write a recap of the Muse show all week, but it's been a little crazy. Um, yea, that's a lie actually. I could've written it on Wednesday when I was off work, but I had more important things to do, like lay on the couch and get caught up on my DVR'ed Days of Our Lives. And nap.

Anyway, so Debbie and I made it down to Columbus with no problems at all. We didn't even hit any rush hour traffic. We drove up and down High Street for a few minutes before finding a parking spot on a side street in the Short North. We had dinner at a little Irish pub-type place called Mac's where I stuffed myself full of tater tots. Delicious. We left Mac's around 7 to head over to the Schottenstein Center, which was about 5 minutes or so down the road. To our absolute amazement, they had free parking for the concert. I was totally shocked by that- I'm so used to paying Cleveland's $20 "event parking" fees downtown. We got in and found our seats with no problem. Of course they were nosebleed seats, but at least we had a good view of everything. Next time though, I will absolutely pay the extra money to be closer. Please, Muse...come back and let there be a next time. I am begging you.

Anyway, Metric went on right at 7:30 on the nose. They sounded great, and I was a little surprised that people didn't seem more into them. I mean, I know they were just the opener, but I think they're fantastic. The arena probably wasn't even half full by the time they were finishing up their set, which ended exactly at 8:10.

So. Right before 9 pm, the lights went down. Pandemonium ensued. Ok, not really, but the crowd was definitely super psyched for Muse for sure. Let me back up for a second to describe the stage though. While Metric was playing, there were these giant skyscraper looking things behind them. I think Debbie called them Spiderman buildings. So after all Metric's equipment was cleared away, the big building things were all that was left onstage. When the lights went down for Muse, the windows in the buildings started lighting up, one by one. Then it looked like people were climbing the stairs inside the buildings. Then it looked like people were falling off the top of the buildings. Then all of a sudden Muse started playing "Uprising", the middle section of the buildings rose up (or went down, I'm not sure because I was trying to figure out where the hell they were playing) and each member of Muse was each of the pillars. Like so:

That's singer/guitarist Matthew Bellamy in his cute red pants on the left, drummer Dominic Howard in the middle, and bassist Chris Wolstenholme on the right. If you squint real hard you can see them.

I have been to many, many concerts/shows in my day, kids. And I have never, ever, seen anything like this one. Not only did Muse sound completely amazing- the singer did not miss a single note (even the high ones!), and his guitar playing is just ridiculous- but their entire stage show totally blew me away. The lights, the video, the set up with the pillars going up and down out of the floor...good god. Let's just say it's been kind of a long time since at the end of a show, I really, REALLY didn't want it to end. Usually by the second encore I'm like, ok, this was great and all, but I'm ready to head out and get some Taco Bell and hit the hay. Not with Muse. I could've watched them play for another 4 hours.

I'm actually kicking myself for not getting into their music sooner. They've been around since like 1999...where have I been?? Seriously. Thanks to Sirius/XM radio and to Debbie for burning me their CDs, and then to Stephenie Meyer for putting them on the Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse soundtracks, I've finally discovered what is surely one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time. I cannot stop listening to the 4 CDs of theirs I have in my car's CD changer. It's like other music just can't compare to them right now. Ok, maybe the new Arcade Fire can (and their show 3 years ago was my #1 top show of all time until now, too).

So thank you, Muse, for the best show I have ever been to. You guys are ridiculous. Thank you Dan, for getting me the tickets for our anniversary. And thanks to Debbie for making the trek down to Columbus with me! It was an experience I certainly will not forget anytime soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

birthday week!

This coming Sunday, I will officially turn 34 years old. Good lord, how did that happen? It's strange, because some days I still don't feel like an official "adult". Even though I'm finally married, own my own home, etc...maybe it's because we don't have kids?? Or is it because some days I just want to revel in being irresponsible and lazy? Maybe because I'm finally just now starting to realize my dream of wanting to write for a living?? Who knows. All I do know is that sometimes I still get carded for buying wine, so at least some people look at me and think I'm younger than I am. I'll take it.

Other days though, I feel like I'm about to turn 74, not 34. My knee has been giving out on me lately, probably from starting up ballet again at my old age. So that's fun. It takes me 3 days to recover from a fun weekend (I'm still dragging from going to the Browns game yesterday and will most likely be in bed again by 9 pm tonight- yes I said again).

But regardless, a fun week lies ahead! Tomorrow Debbie and I are going down to Columbus to see Muse- it's actually an anniversary gift from Dan, not a birthday gift, but since it's my birthday week I'm claiming it as part of the festivities anyway. I am so, so psyched for this show, you guys. I won't be able to talk for days (which some might say is a good thing- to them I say, shuddy). Wednesday is dinner out with Dan and my awesome mom in law. Friday is lunch at Red Robin for my free birthday burger! Woooot. That night I'm staying in to make food for the weekend, cuz Saturday we're hitting the wineries out on the eastside and Sunday is the big family September/October birthday extravaganza at my brother's. I always look forward to our winery trips, and at this time of year it's going to be gorgeous out there! And then I'm hoping next Monday to go to dinner with Dan at D'Agnese's, this delicious Italian place by us. So, a nice week's worth of fun! As it should be.

Friday, October 1, 2010

TGIF and stuff

I did it. I wrote the big bad scene I was dreading. Sigh. It really did hurt. But now that it's out of the way, I can move on with the rest. I can feel the story starting to come to a close. Well, almost. There are still a lot of things that need to happen. For the first time ever, I actually wrote out a timeline of events, just so I wouldn't forget how everything should unfold. Usually I just write as I go- and that sounds weird, but do you know what I mean? I just write what I feel should be happening as I move along with the story. But now that it's coming to the end (sorta), I felt like I had to stay on track. I'm right around 60,000 words now. 100,000 was my original goal, but I think 80-90,000 would be perfectly acceptable, especially for YA.

So, now that I'm getting closer to ending it (sob), I've been on the internets researching queries and agents and all that fun stuff. All I have to say is thank god for the internet. Seriously. I've learned SO many interesting things about writing queries. The query is almost as important as the story itself, since it's the first thing an agent sees, it's what makes them curious enough to ask for a partial or full manuscript. I have mine written already, for the most part, but I'm sure I'll be tweaking it as I get more information about how to write a good one. I found a site called Query Shark yesterday in which an agent takes submitted queries, and with the author's blessing, basically rips them apart. It may seem a little harsh, but she's just offering awesome information about what NOT to do (she also will look at each revised query the author sends in, and comment on those as well). I also read some stats about how many queries a typical agency will get in a month- the number was around 1200. Around 100 were thrown out without being read due to the author not following submission requirements (And, really? You're not going to read the directions??), and out of the remaining, only around 40 were offered requests for partials or full manuscripts. Those numbers are, um, kinda terrifying. But I believe in my work. I just hope someone else does too.

In other news, it's Friday and the weekend is almost here! Tonight I'll be enjoying some quality time with my seeester in law while the boys make noise in the basement. Tomorrow is Josie time. My husband has plans with a friend in the evening, so I'll be enjoying my couch, DVR and some vino. And of course, I'll be plugging away at In My Mind's Eye. Happy weekend everyone!