I Made Glue

Have you ever made mashed potatoes?

I'm from Idaho, so I know a thing about cooking a good potato. (Except for baked potatoes, for some reason? Fail every time.) And my mashed potatoes, guys, are so good that you don't even need gravy on them. For reals. If you don't believe me, come over on Thanksgiving. (This is your official invitation. Please don't lose it.)

But I learned something early on in my potato career: if you mash potatoes for too long, the starch breaks down into a very gummy substance and your potatoes turn into glue. This makes for a VERY unhappy mother when you drop the pot into the sink and don't rinse it for hours.

So, question for you: is it possible to overwork a story?

Yes. Yes it is.

I know, because I've done it.

GIANT DISCLAIMER: Since my last [embarrassingly hyper] post was all about how I got into Pitch Wars and ahkadsfajg kljfkdla and ohmygosh I'm going to learn so much, I want to mention that this isn't a post bashing Pitch Wars, or my mentors, or anything like that. They didn't contribute to this problem. This is all on me.

Here's the thing: I started writing this story six years ago. The idea hit me like lightning. I stayed up until six in the morning writing down scenes that played through my head like a movie. I finished the first draft in six months--very fast, for me--and clutched the story to my bosom like a precious babything. It was ready to face the world.

And then...

I learned a little something about writing craft, and began to see how my story needed to be improved. I got critique partners. I joined the writing community. I participated in contests and Put Myself Out There and took criticism like a champ.

And I revised. And revised. And rewrote. Revised. Rewrote. Rewrote. Revised.

Mashed and mashed and mashed and mashed and mashedandmashedandmashedandmashed.

Every pot of mashed potatoes must be squished and broken down. Every story needs revision. But there comes this moment...if you stir those potatoes one more time, they will be sticky and messy and hard to digest.

The same can happen with a story.

I'm not writing this for the pity vote. If anyone reads this, I would be surprised, honestly, because who does blogs anymore? Anyone? But I want to put it out there to the universe. Something about blogging again makes me feel the way I used to about writing. In a word, EXCITED. It's been a long time, and I want it back.

But I need to pull out some new potatoes and a clean pot and remember how to make mashed potatoes that taste amazing. Because when done right? That stuff is irresistible. Just wait until Thanksgiving.


Exciting News!!!!!



And probably I shouldn't write this blog post in all caps, but on the inside I'm all AEKORJIRFANBJERHJFDAJRHEG


So you can see that inside and outside I'm incomprehensibly excited.


Thanks to the awesome and very wise Alexandra Alessandri and Dannie Morin for taking me under their collective wings. We have a lot of work to do in the next two months! They've been relatively quiet so far, but it's the kind of quiet a lady lion does right before she pounces, only when they pounce on my manuscript, yeah it will get bloody and torn up, but instead of then rotting and stinking and turning to dust it will emerge from the tatters better and brighter. Like a Phoenix!

Huh. I should write a book about that.


Anyway, on a more serious note, I'll be blogging about my experience, including the buckets of knowledge I'll gain, so tune in for more of these shenanigans.

May your Red Vines ever be soft!


Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

Hello, Pitch Wars enthusiasts, Mentors and Mentees alike!

*straightens tiara* *smooths wrinkles from prom dress* *shuffles notecards*

I'm totally late to the game (yay, strep throat!) and there are a lot of mentee bios to read through, so I'm going to make this short.

First, a little about me:

  • I'm a small town Idaho girl.
  • I'm married with five kids. (So I've gotten reeeeallly good at tuning high, whiny noises out while I write or read.)
  • I have a blue Great Dane named Hydra. She's bigger than me, but too lazy to do anything about it.

  • I love corn in (almost) all its varieties: popped, cobbed, uncobbed. But give it to me canned, and you're on my Black List.
  • I love to ride my bike.
  • I'm dying to be on Survivor. I've seen every episode at least once. I have a killer strategy. And I attended an open casting call just last week, where I formed an airtight alliance.

A little about my MS:

  • It's called RESONANT.
  • It's YA Fantasy.
  • It's about a girl named Tenny who has synesthesia, which causes her to taste music. (It's a real thing, guys!)
  • It has phoenixes from Japan, China, Russia, Greece, and New Zealand who help mankind progress through magical (and tasty) songs that inspire epiphanies and strokes of genius.
  • It has a fox witch.
  • My characters can manipulate things by singing their resonant frequencies.
  • Oh, and there's a best-friend-becomes-more-than-a-friend romance. 

Choose me as a mentee! Because:

  • My story is awesome!
  • But it could be even awesomer!
  • I'm well-experienced with taking hard critiques and using them to make my writing even better.
  • On a related note, I've very good at self-medicating with chocolate.
  • I love making new writer friends.
  • AND I'm ready to get this story out into the world!
Thanks for stopping by! Good luck to all the mentees, and many thanks to all the mentors!

*especially Brenda Drake, for putting this all together. Check out her blog here.

**and thanks to Christopher Keelty for the Pimp My Bio fun. Check out the other mentees bios here.


Hello There!


*sprinkles food over computer*

*peers at screen*

Are you alive, old girl?

I came to check on the state of my blog only to discover that something has happened to all my pictures! That stinks. Anyone know how to fix that?

Anyone still out there in the blogiverse?


Perfect. More popcorn for me.

If you are out there, leave me a comment!

(Unless you're a spambot. Move along, spambots. No need for your spammification here.)


Huge Revelation that Shouldn't Have Been Huge that was Super Huge

I've been avoiding writing for a long time. Perhaps you've noticed. It's spilled into my blogging. Slightly.

But the other day, I had a revelation that freed me from the shackles of avoidyness that I was kind of confused by, since I wanted to write, and I had things to write, but for some reason, was not writing.

I read a book. It was the third in a trilogy. It was good. It was just fine and I didn't have any problem with it. My thought was, "That was a good ending." It didn't blow my mind, but it didn't disappoint.

And then, I got hooked on that word: Good. It was good. This author is one I consider to be quite talented. I figure this author will continue to be successful, as well they should be. Because they are a good writer. They write good books.

(Are we sick of the word good yet? Is it starting to look like a fake word? Good good good good good good good good whoa I have to stop.)

So, here's what hit me. The book was good. I'll even shake things up and say it was great.

But it wasn't perfect.

And for some reason, when I thought of that, I also thought, The person who wrote it, was just a person.

And I was struck by this notion that I had burdened myself with, that I couldn't write this story that I love so much, I couldn't do it justice, because I'm not perfect. And therefore, I can't get the story perfect.

But guess what? I can make it good. And I can be a good writer. And I can get better every day.

So, once again, time to take off my self-inflicted pressure suit and remember that I might not be perfect, but I can be good. And that's something I can control.


Book-Tube-A-Thon Giveaway!!

My bestie, Christine (WHOSE HAIR I COVET ON A DAILY BASIS) has a fantastic vlog. If you haven't seen it yet, you should check it out. Every time I watch a new episode, I think two things: 1) I should start vlogging. 2) I should cut my hair like hers. And then I remember that I don't know how to vlog, and that my hair--thin and straight vs. her thick and curly--would hang limply by my ears, instead of being fantastic like hers.

I should stop talking about her hair, because I think it makes her slightly uneasy how obsessive I am about it.

But guys, it's AMAZING. Like, rivaled only by Ewan McGregor's hair in Jack the Giant Slayer.
This hair was my favorite part of the movie.

Christine has a vlog. And on that vlog she's having a giveaway, one that you want to enter and win, because oh man.

The pretty! The books! The pretty books!

But I'm not going to tell you what books, because you should really hop over there and check it out for yourself. But you want them. So go check it out.

And leave a comment about her amazing hair. She loves those.


Adverbs: I Finally Get It.

I wrote the first draft of my very first story in complete, blissful ignorance. I'm telling you guys, this is the way to write. I thought I was the best. writer. ever.

Luckily, when I started researching agents online--the day after I finished my draft--I also came across a lot of valuable information on writing and realized I was far from ready to send my baby out into the wild.

One of the things I kept reading was the evil of adverbs. I didn't get it.

Then, I came across a blog post explaining it. I wish I could remember the blog I read it on, because they explain it better than I can, but pretty much they said that adverbs are a stand-in for weak writing. When you use an adverb, you spare yourself the need to show the emotion or action you're trying to portray, but you also spare your reader the need to care or imagine.

I read my first draft to my kids with this advice in mind, and it mostly made sense. Plus, have you ever tried to read something out loud when it's riddled with adverbs? Those suckers are hard to spit out!

I was still a bit confused, though. I mean, I like the occasional adverb myself, but some people shun them entirely. It all made sense, though, when I read a certain book (which will remain unnamed) the other day.

You guys. The adverbs in this thing. Not only were there over 1000 (yay, Kindle search feature!) but some of them were really weird. Understandingly. Scoldingly. Exasperatedly. Defeatedly. I understand these are real words, but they're kind of like the tweens of the English language: so awkward. And distracting all lined up in a row like that.

I was so entertained by this blatant use of adverbs, though, that I started reading the story out loud to my husband. He could only take about one page, after we counted eight adverbs in one paragraph and three in one sentence. He asked me how I would change the sentence structure to get rid of the adverb but keep the same meaning. In almost every instance, the solution was to just drop the adverb and let the context do the talking. If the showing-not-telling is in good shape (which is was in this story, I should point out), the adverbs aren't needed. It's like the Hulk saying, "I'm ridiculously, unequivocally, resoundingly, unabashedly ANGRY!" And we're like, "Yeah, Hulk, we know. You're green." See? No adverbs needed.