Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Best Skating Day EVER

Skating, like writing, is an emotional creature. We go so far as to entwine our self worth to it. It's not healthy and it can be down right irrational, but it is what it is. And just as in writing, in skating, I have goals. I'll be skating twenty-two years this May and more than anything I want to finish all my United States Figure Skating (USFS) freestyle tests. I have two left: Junior and Senior.

But then I tore my ACL back in 2010 and I honestly thought I there was no way I could possibly, realistically, even imagine of taking the Junior Freestyle test. EVER.

The reason: The test has a double flip in it.

It's not that I'm scared of the jump. I don't have a love-hate relationship (yes, jumps are like people) with it. It's nothing like that. It's just that doing a double flip on a reconstructed knee just plain hurts.

Until recently.

I don't know if I've just gotten stronger from working out at PURmotion, or if it was changing my technique, or if my coach got extra awesome, or God, or what, but I was able to start working on them the past few months--pain free. But even though the pain was gone, I still had to battle the demons surrounding the jump, because it was on the entry to this jump that I tore my ACL. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit to the fact that I sometimes still freak out over it, which means I've been two footing the landing on the double flip--ALOT.

Now that you know the back story, let me describe the best skating day EVER.

I ran my Junior Free Test program this morning for my coach and best friend Danny. I landed every jump, did every spin, even hit the illusion in my footwork. But, I, of course, did a single flip. But it was the first time since I had surgery 2 years 11 months and 3 days ago that I skated a pretty much clean (except for the flip) Junior Free Test Program. I was so happy. After I caught my breath, retied my skates, and stuck my crash pads in my pants, I decided that I wanted to work on the double flip. And look what happened...

The first one I actually landed wasn't as squirrely, but of course that wasn't on camera. And then when the double flip knew it was being filmed it became a little shy. But I coaxed it out of hiding and Danny caught the second one on camera.

Junior Free Test here I come!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

When Do You Write Your Log line?

If you've been writing a while then you know what a log line is. But if you're just entering the self-inflicted neurosis that is writing...I mean, wonderful life in which you find joy in writing things that aren't real, then I will explain what a log line is.

In the world of screen writing a log line is a one sentence pitch that describes your movie. In the world of novels it seems you can get by with an extra sentence or two, but the shorter the better.

When I first started writing back in 2004 I didn't know what a log line was and if I had to describe my novel to a stranger on an elevator there would be a lot of "umms," followed by a couple "and then," interjected with an "oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about the," closing five minutes later with with "Well, it's pretty complex. You'll just have to read it to get what it's about."

The first novel I ever wrote I didn't even write a log line for it, primarily because I didn't know what one was. Novel two didn't have one because I didn't think it was worthy enough for any type of summarization. Novel three didn't have a log line because the notion of trying to describe my entire novel in less that sixty words was just too daunting. Around Novel four I started spending some time at Miss Snark's First Victim and reading Blake Snyder's SAVE THE CAT (which if you haven't read I highly suggest). I wrote a log line for novel four to enter it in a contest. Novel Five (which was just a massive over haul of Novel Four) had a succinctly designed one sentence pitch, three sentence pitch, and one paragraph pitch (as advised per the awesome former-agent-now-author Nathan Bransford). Having these three different type of pitches really helped out when trying to write my query letter.

But, here's the thing, when I wrote the log line for Novel Four and Novel Five I did it after the novels were completed.

But this time around I'm doing things quite differently. I'm actually working on two novels at the same time, an MG fantasy and a YA contemporary. At first I thought I'd feel like I was cheating on one novel with the other, but it hasn't felt like that--primarily because I told myself if Shannon Messenger can do it then I can too!

I've been struggling with both novels (maybe because I'm working on two...eek!) so I thought I'd re-read Blake Snyder's SAVE THE CAT. And Mr. Snyder said something that made me completely stop in my tracks. He says that you should write the log line before you do anything else. Write the log line before you even start plotting and definitely write the log line before you even start writing.

I think I'm going to give it a try, but just wanted to see how many others out there actually write the log line before they do anything else.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I Am So Inspired by Liz Arroyo

It would have been more appropriate had I posted this yesterday, but real life got in the way of my desired blogging schedule.

Elizabeth Arroyo's novel THE SECOND SIGN published by Sapphire Star Publishing debuted February 7, 2013 and I couldn't be happier for her.

Liz and I met way back on April 10, 2011 through Natalie Whipple's Critique Partner Classified. It started out with an email. She wanted me to look at her contemporary YA and I needed someone to give me big picture comments on plot, pacing, and character for a YA Fantasy.

After reading the first three chapters of Liz's contemporary novel, I wrote back: "Girl, you can write." From that point I knew I wanted Liz in my corner. She has been an awesome critique partner because she keeps it real. She doesn't just read my writing and pour compliments down my throat. She tells me what works and what doesn't. She knows how to combine the right amount of encouragement with criticism. And sometimes I don't like what she has to tell me, but if I let myself stew over it for a few weeks or months (LOL) I almost always come to the realization that she's right.

Liz is also such an inspiration to me. Not only is she a Mom of more than one child (she must have the patience of a saint), she works, and writes consistently every day. This woman is always cooking up stories. She doesn't give up. There are so many times when I want to burn my notebooks and wipe my hard drives, but watching Liz persevere not only with her writing, but by putting herself out there through queries and submissions, and social networking--it encourages me to keep going. The publishing world can be a lonely place with your only friend being a grumpy old man named Mr. Rejection. So it's nice when you can surround yourself with people like Liz who can help you kick that old man Rejection in the butt.

And over the years Liz has become a friend. I haven't been the most dedicated writer the past few months. But Liz cares about things other than my writing. She watches my skating videos and gives me advice to keep me sane as I plan my wedding to Sarcastically Delicious (aka fiance) in April.

Liz, I am so proud/happy/excited for you/inspired by what you have accomplished through the publication of THE SECOND SIGN. I can't wait to critique more of your writing, have you help me improve my own, and read all of your published works to come!