Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare First and foremost – HALLELUJAH, it is Friday!  And secondly – IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!  Winter wasn’t as bad as it could be in the hinterlands of Minnesota, but when you’re the mom of two toddlers – any extended periods of time spent indoors is just cruel to all involved.

Without further ado – here’s the articles that piqued my interest this week:

What common editing mistakes are you making?  Lourdes Venard is a member of the Sisters in Crime Guppies (Great Unpublished) online group that I am a part of.  Recently, she wrote a blog post that encapsulated some of the common mistakes that editors see when editing fiction.  Confession:  I know I’m guilty of a couple of these!

Wow – I haven’t read any of Adrian McKinty’s books, but need to start based on the soundtrack for his Detective Sean Duffy’s books alone.

I do a decent amount of research for some of my stories – I’m nowhere near as detailed as someone like Diana Gabaldon is, but some of the things that I write prompt me to consult subject matter experts or look up articles / various sources to find out random things like the history of embalming (don’t ask.)  Sometimes, I’m simply bookmarking articles for future information – storing little nuggets of information in my head that could be relevant in future stories.  Like this article about a super-secret policing gadget that can listen in on cell conversations.  Hel-lo big brother.

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Listening to:  As I finalize this post today, I have Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park playing.  My parents had this album on cassette when I was a kid and I wore it out.  If I ever had to exist on a desert island, this is probably one of the albums that I’d bring with me.  This one and Paul Simon’s “Negotiations and Love Songs.”

Reading:  I have a couple of books that I picked up from the library – Sanctum by Sarah Fine and The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (see the link above that got me interested in reading Mr. McKinty’s books).  I am 99% sure that I’ve read Sanctum, but need to page through it to see if that is the case.  If so, I’ll do a quick re-read since this is part of a larger series of Young Adult (YA) fiction.

Fiction update:  Edits, edits, edits.  I’m still on my April 1st deadline.  Just got to keep plugging away to that goal line and not let life derail me.

Also – I’m getting ready to go to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference next month in Minneapolis.  I had been on the fence regarding my attendance, but they have a Saturday pass for $40.  With my work schedule and with my family, that’s going to be the best option for me.  I’ll be writing more soon regarding what I hope to get from the conference, but honestly – I’m just looking forward to rubbing elbows with some of the Minnesota writers that I’ve befriended over the past few years and drinking with my Writer’s Guild at the conclusion of Saturday’s festivities. 🙂

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My baby turns a year old today. *Collective sigh*
My baby turns a year old today. *Collective sigh*

So, here’s the thing – I try really hard not to be “that mom.”  I don’t think that my kids’ poop smells like roses.  I don’t let them climb on strangers’ furniture and then praise their precociousness.  I try really hard not to dominate conversations with how stinking cute they are.  And while I think my oldest shows signs of being a burgeoning genius (he can count to 14! he knows colors! he knows letters! but he sucks with a fork! and he just turned two!), I keep most of those revelations to myself and only discuss them in whispers with my husband and the kids’ nanny.

Here’s a cliche for you:  Becoming a mom did something to me.  Yes, something beyond ensuring that my favorite jeans would never settle on my hips properly again.  Something beyond the obligatory “when I see them walking around, my heart is gallivanting outside of my body.”

Becoming a mom has changed my focus on writing.  Notice: I will never say that becoming a mom has made me a better writer. I came too close to not being able to bear children to be that kind of a twee asshole.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that motherhood changed things.  First off – reading books that “fill the well” and inspire me?  Sandra Boynton may not have the same allure as the latest Diana Gabaldon, but it’s what I’ve been reading.  Over and over and over again.  And running off to the coffee shop to sit for hours noodling on prose?  It still happens, but it’s usually a once a week thing that’s planned around bedtimes and my husband’s standing game night.

Having my eldest son paved the way for change, but Number Two pictured above was the game changer.  I was working on my manuscript for “Afterlife” up until the night before we went in for our scheduled C-section.  And then I finished the first draft of AL on the last day of my maternity leave (thanks to an amazing spouse and three mornings a week that our babysitter came to acclimate herself to two hooligans versus one).  Having my youngest son – who turns a year old today (eeek!) – ushered in the era of “getting shit done.”

Lev Grossman wrote an engaging piece on how his daughter helped him find his voice.  And talked about the challenges and frustration of trying to write in fits and spurts, but more importantly – how prior to the birth of his daughter, there were writing days where he let himself down, but with the arrival of Lily, he’d be damned if he’d let her down.  (I love this:  “Any time I wrote a sentence that was less than true I could feel her looking over my shoulder and shaking her head, slowly and sadly: Come on, Daddy. We both know that’s crap.”)

Although I spend time on Facebook narrating what I think my sons are saying with their expressions, I don’t have this image of them on my shoulders chiming in every time I make an editorial misstep.  But what I do have are two really adorable and engaging little boys that have helped me prioritize.

So – happy birthday to my youngest and last baby, my littlest bear.  And if you or your brother ever decide that you want to spend your lives stringing words together – do not let fear limit you.  Live authentically.  And the quickest way to write a novel is to park your ass in a chair and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, and write.

You both are my greatest inventions.