Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolutions Parents Need To Make For 2010

According to my Swedish parenting magazine source, "Allt om barn", there are eight New Year's resolutions we need to make for next year.

1. Accept that you don't have to be a perfect parent.
Good one! I hate having to be perfect, but it's easier said than done, especially when the guilt factor kicks in. "Mom! All my friends have a/get to ____" (fill in the blank).

2. Spend time with your kids.
Quality time, not quantity time! My daughter and I are together a lot, but I am bad at listening and being present. I will try to improve next year.

3. Take care of your body.

Fitness is important, and it's important to be a fitness role model. I am good at staying in shape, but there are few sports my daughter and I enjoy doing together. Our sport personalities don't mesh well. This was true until a couple of weeks ago when my neighbor knocked on our door and handed over two tennis rackets and a ball. It turns out, we like learning to play tennis together!

4. Learn to love chaos.
Wow! No can do. I have control issues.

5. Have dinner together everyday.
My husband works evenings, but my daughter and I sit down to dinner every night. And on weekends, all three of us are there.

6. Find time to be together with your spouse.
This year, we have had a lot of alone-time. I work between 4:30 and 7:30 in the morning, and my husband leaves for work 2:30 in the afternoon. It has been a real luxury. Next year, when I am in school full-time, I will look back at this year with envy.

7. Keep in touch with friends.
And work on making new friends! I know lots of people who are too content with their circle of friends and close themselves up to new contacts.

8. Be grateful for the time you spend with your kids.
Sometimes, I forget this, especially when my daughter doesn't want to get out of bed and takes an hour to eat her cereal. But conflicts are part of life, we can't just go around and be grateful all the time. If we don't fight, we miss out on making up!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Rookie Blogging Tips!

By accident, or more honestly by getting angry (I'm losing all my hair!), I learned a hyperlink shortcut today.

I was messing with my yahoo mail signature and figured out that I could super-easily hyperlink my name to my blog's URL by marking it and pushing the hyperlink button.

WOW! I'm such a tech-idiot.

Anyway, if there isn't a hyperlink button, and you find yourself in a hyperlink emergency, it's good to know the Html code too.

Friday, December 25, 2009

How To Make A Word Into A Link

Being a newbie blogger is frustrating. I want to learn everything quickly, create a buzz around my blog, and become a respectable member of the blogging community --but as with everything else that involves human interaction-- it's a slow and trust-gaining process, as it should be. I just have to be patient, work hard, and contribute. Yes, because that's what you do to be part of the blogger-gang. Share what you know and make friends!

So today, on this lovely Christmas Day, to all you blogging rookies out there, I will share how to make a word into a hyperlink.

A couple of nights ago, I sat up half the evening pulling my hair over this one. Geez! Until I figured out that it was called HYPERLINK!, I was shouting and swearing at all the NOT useful hits that came up on my Google searches.

As I am not smart enough to write the instructions to you without hyperlinking this whole post, I will hook you up with a helpful post on eHow .

Having problems using the Htlm code? I found that Odessa had left out the last /a> that goes at the end. Try to add those last three symbols, then it should work.

Try not to be too frustrated. Take your time and play around with it. Then, once it's working, be proud! Brag to your friends that you now know how to write computer programming codes. You have joined the Internet Geek Society. Welcome aboard!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do You Have A Tweenie At Home?


In the past year, my daughter has changed from being my little Tom-girl to a fourteen-year-old, except --she is only ten! What happened? I didn't expect to see these changes in her behavior for at least another two years.

It's hard to say when I first started noticing that she was different. I blame those darn Twilight books. No, kidding aside, my daughter has always been a strong reader, and last summer she read all four Twilight books. I was so proud of her. But since then, that is all she wants to read!

The Twilight books obsession ballooned into exchanging posters on the walls in her room. Yes, the cute puppy posters were torn down and up went Edward Cullen and Jacob.

Then the I-want-a-cell-phone nagging started. When I told her that she could call her friends, all she wants, on our regular phone, her response was: "I want to text them, moooom." (Her head tilted to one side and her mouth poking out.)

This naturally leads me to the next change in her behavior. Her attitude. Whateeeevers are now heard on a regular basis in our home, and the classic eye-roll has showed up along with mouth-offs like tisks, huff, b-ah and buts.

Where did my little girl go? I got my answer today when I read the morning paper. The heading read: "Do you have a tweenie at home?"

Here is the scoop:
Tweenies are kids between 9 and 11. They are too young to be teenagers, but no longer little kids. In other words: "Too young for boys and too old for toys." They are teenager wannabes, and imitates them with clothes, accessories, and behavior.

Unlike teenagers that suffer from apathy and lack of energy (can be recognized by their semi-deaf-couch-potato behavior), tweenies have their child-like excitement, and willingness to do things, still intact. But they have reached a more mature mental stage than 6-8 year-olds, they are starting to grasp adult jokes and contexts.

Tweenies are fun to be around, so enjoy this rare and short period in their lives. Soon enough the real teens will start! No longer too young for boy, and many new and interesting toys!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Want To Run Comfortably?


As a runner, I am fortunate to live in Florida. I grew up in Sweden, and over there we didn't always have weather that made running possible, especially this time of year. It could be quite icy and slippery outside during the winter months, or in other words, bone-breaking-weather!

Besides the weather, another crucial factor that I have learned has a major impact on my running comfort is the time of day. Somehow my body-system doesn't lend itself to running during the first half of the day. Mornings is the least comfortable time for me to run. Maybe this has something to do with my digestive system. I don't know. But if I run in the mornings, I often experience cramps and my belly is bubbly. (I know, more than you want to know!)

I believe that running is much like anything else in our character, we do things better at different times of day. I am creative and learn best in the am, but run best in the pm. So if you been having difficulties, try to run at a different hour of the day.

Previous post: "Why I Run"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Great News! My Poem Was Published

My poem "Unwanted Gift" can now be read at Every Day Poets.

I've been waiting patiently for almost two months. It was posted today.

I couldn't have received a better Christmas gift --a much wanted gift, indeed!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Should I Do With My Life?

I'm a self-help book junkie. When I go to a book store or a library, I usually end up in the non-fiction section. My favorite subjects, besides books on writing, are health, fitness, dogs, parenting, money, psychology, any book that fits into the personal growth category, and biographies. I love to learn about interesting people.

During times of personal crisis, small and large, I find help and comfort in reading books. It's kind of funny how we often think that we're alone with a problem, but so far, I have not had a single problem that has not been addressed in a book.

A couple of years ago, I was going through a rough spot in my career. I had only been teaching for four years, but I was unhappy and wanted to quit. My window of opportunity for a change came when I found myself unemployed. Had it not been for our recent economic recession, I probably still be an unhappy teacher.

It takes special circumstances to find the courage to quit and start over. Personally, I have 40,000 dollars in student loans. And before my unemployment, I didn't feel I could rightly justify to my husband that I wanted to do something else, and maybe go back to school again. It felt impossible!

Po Bronson has written a wonderful book called "What should I Do with My Life? The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question."

As I read this book when I was unemployed, it felt like I had come home.

Bronson spoke to nine hundred people who told him their stories, and fifty of those stories are presented in his book.

Here is a snippet from the introduction on his homepage .

"I learned that it was in hard times that people usually changed the course of their life; in good times, they frequently only talked about change. Hard times forced them to overcome the doubts that normally gave them pause. It surprised me how often we hold ourselves back until we have no choice. So the people herein suffered layoffs, bankruptcies, divorces, illnesses, and deaths of loved ones, and as a result they were as likely to stumble into a better life as they were to arrive there by reasoned planning. They made mistakes before summoning the courage to get it right. Their path called into question the notion that a calling is something you inherently know when you're young. Far from it. These people discovered in themselves gifts they rarely realized they had."

So what happens? How come we don't know when we're eighteen which path is the "right" one?
Bronson says:

"Most people jump through life, asking what's next, and choosing based on where can they make the most money, what offers the most upside or opportunity. A conventional "success" story is one where, with each next, the protagonist has more money, more respect, and more possessions (Bronson, What Should...p.222)."

Sounds familiar? When we're young we are often looking for what can make us the most money, and our parents are happy to see us land a high status job. (Not me of course, I chose teaching!)But this is an oversimplified answer, which you also learn by reading the book, because unfortunately, for some of us, it takes half a life time to figure out who we are, and where our hearts are.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why I Run

I broke a personal record today and ran 4,5 miles. Yeah, maybe it's not a super accomplishment for an athlete, but for me it's awesome!

I've been a runner off and on for about four years. Though I'm not a dieter, I have a similar relationship to running, committed in periods, and then I get lazier and lazier, and eventually I stop.

Now, I hope to stick with it. My priorities have changed. Last summer I had some semi-serious heart and lung symptoms which really freaked me out. It's sad that it takes a good scare to figure out what is important in life. Today I am running to stay healthy and not out of vanity.

The hardest part with starting a running program is to get over the first painful hump. The untrained body doesn't want to exercise. My body has resisted my running work-outs until just recently. If you have tried running, you know what I'm talking about, the cramps under the ribs and the breathing difficulties --but it gets easier, I promise! After a few weeks the cramps and breathing improve, and you can run longer and longer distances.

In the beginning, I ran (slow-jogged!) five minutes, walked five minutes for thirty minutes each work-out, every other day. After about three weeks, I started running the whole thirty minutes. Back then, I covered about two miles, and it was though. Today, I ran 4,5 miles and could have continued longer.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Searching For Helpful Blogs Or EZines On Writing?


I am always looking for free writing tips through blogs, e-zines and online writing communities. But the problem with the Internet, versus going to a bookstore, is that it takes a lot longer to search and sort through its vast depot of material.

It's kind of like shopping at a discount store, or a thrift shop. To find your style and size, you have to spend some time digging, lifting, moving, and trying on.

Here are some new and old treasures.

http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com/
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html
http://institutechildrenslit.net/Writers-First-Aid-blog/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Foods I No Longer Eat

When I go to the grocery store I read labels and look at price tags. There are some foods that I don't buy because they contain MSG or hydrogenated fats, but I am far from consistent in my shopping. Some foods slip into my cart even though I know they are bad for me. Why? Mostly because I like to eat them. They are candy, fruits, lunch meat, beef, frozen pizzas, cookies...

It's really hard to go into a grocery store and choose only healthy environmental products. Most of the stuff on the shelves contain chemicals that will give me cancer, unless I buy all organic products which I can't afford. An alternative is to not eat fast food and snacks. Or make my own snacks with organic ingredients, but that takes time (and effort).

This week I was reminded to become a better consumer. I watched a documentary called "Food, Inc." Please watch this movie, I highly recommend it. It shows how five (mega-) meat companies in the U.S. control the beef market, and how the cattle are standing around on crowded fields, knee high in their own manure. They are feed corn, soybean and chicken manure (!). Some, or a lot, of the manure end up in our food. And this is the beef that is found in the grocery stores and fast food restaurants, actually, all restaurants, unless they specialize in preparing organic meals.

Then there are the chickens and turkeys, they are kept in small houses without any daylight, and speed raised. Many of them die from complications before they even reach the slaughter houses. And of course, they are feed corn and soybeans.

So why do we produce food in this way? Yes, price! But the food is poor in nutrition, and causes cancer, obesity, and food poisoning. The corn feed cows produce a deadly E. Coli bacteria! If the E. Coli in the cow manure contaminates the beef, which happens on occasion (on the killing floor in the slaughterhouses), the bacteria end up in our food.

Have you read enough? Okay. I will stop. I won't tell you about the farmed salmon that is feed soybean and chicken manure, or about the milk cows which are given growth hormone that causes udder infections and pus in the milk....

Before you buy your next turkey, read here!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My New Career

January 19th will be my first day of PTA school. PTA stands for physical therapist assistant. It's a two year college program. This past year, I've been working on finishing my general prerequisites like English, psychology, anatomy and physiology and a few more.

This next year and a half are going to be really though, not just studying wise, but also with finding time for writing, parenting, housekeeping, running...,[big sigh]; I'm sure it will all work out.

After giving up on my teaching career, PTA school felt like the right path for me. It has many of my favorite subjects: holistic medicine, science, education, and fitness. And when I graduate, there are a multitude of areas that I can work in: hospital, private clinic, home health care, nursing home, school.

Something else, I like how physical therapy is a fairly unisex occupation. It's a field with many women, but it also attracts a lot of men. Too many occupations are either "men-jobs" or "women-jobs".

Last, but not least, the pay is good (especially for a two year college degree!), and there are jobs.

So for now, until January 19, I have a bunch of anatomy to review: all the bones and the nervous system, [another big sigh]; it's a good thing I recently took those courses.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What I Didn't Know About J.R.R Tolkien.

I missed out on a lot of reading as a child. It didn't interest me. Luckily, my mother read to me at bedtime, but it was usually mysteries from the Christian youth book club she subscribed to, and works from Swedish (I'm Swedish!) contemporary children's authors. The only classic, except for the Bible, I remember her reading to me was by Frank Baum --The Land of Oz--books, and which we both loved.

Needless to say, I have a lot of reading to do to catch up. My list of classics that I want to read, or think I should read, is long, and right now it's time for The Hobbit.

Having grown up in a fine-arts-vacuum, I had to Google J.R.R Tolkien to get the scoop on the guy. Yes, I know! I should know who he was. Be gentle with me. I'm trying here!

Anyway, so for those of you, like myself, who don't know --he grew up and died in England (1892-1973). He was this dry Oxford professor who was interested in languages. According to the article I read (see source below), he even studied Finish! Why? Beats me!

He became rich and famous in the 1960s when American hippies discovered that reading Lord of the Rings and simultaneously getting high on LSD was an excellent combination. Tolkien had to change to an unlisted phone number because crazy Californians called him in the middle of the night (7 pm USA time) asking him "---whether Frodo had succeeded or failed in the Quest---"
(http://www.tolkiensociety.org/).

So far, I'm only twenty pages into The Hobbit, but I am already appreciating the wonderful and creative language. How about those names: Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Balin and Dwalin --to just name a few. I love it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Intolerance --A Seldom Talked About Syndrom

Christmas is only three weeks away. It's my least favorite holiday of the year. My body grows spikes like a hedgehog, and I curl up into a ball every time anyone mentions words like: shopping, gifts, decorations, lights, trees, parties and dinners.

It's a rather annoying condition. When my near and dear try to involve me in their holiday plans, I have to apply superman strength to control myself from lashing out, spitting and hissing at them. Yes, I know; I need help!

There are mainly two ingredients in Christmas that don't seem to agree with me; its emotional importance, and the gifts. Why do people, my relatives, care so much about this holiday? And why do they lie about not wanting gifts?

For my daughter's sake, who has not yet developed this rare disorder, I have to control my desire to run away (alternative: lock myself in a closet) and hibernate until January 2.

My family is well aware of my rare condition, but they have, as of yet, shown little empathy and consideration for my problem. So, if you have someone like me in your family, who shows symptoms of Christmas intolerance, see above description of hedgehog/angry cat-like behavior, go easy on them! Remember that they are suffering and can't help themselves.

As of today, Christmas intolerance sufferers don't have an official organization, and there is no research being conducted in this area.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Passed The Finish Line!

I won! No, you don't get a special price when you finish a NaNoWriMo novel. "Winner" pops up on the screen after you paste in your novel and the word calculator verifies that you have indeed written 50,000 words.

My novel about Sam and Stella is done, as a rough draft. I am proud of myself! It was hard work to write a story from beginning to end and flesh it out to 1,700 words every day for a month.

Now I know what it means to have writers block. It hit me hard this last week. I couldn't move the story forward. It was just not cooperating. I was bored and my head was blank. And it didn't help that I was distracted with Thanksgiving. Last Wednesday and Thursday, very few words got typed on the novel. I felt the novel slipping away from me; all of a sudden I had to make up some 3,000 words over the weekend, and in the brain-jammed state I was in, I didn't think it was going to happen.

Fortunately, my daughter came to my rescue. She too has been part of NaNoWriMo, but in the youth writing group. Her goal was 4,000 words, which she past with ease --it was though to be supportive with such a rocket writer living under the same roof! No, just kidding! --I'm very proud and happy that she likes to write. Her finish motivated me to finish my novel.
Whatever it takes, I thought to myself. I can't tell Matilda that I gave up. What kind of role model would I be?
It was just to bite down and start the long road to the finish line.

Finishing is important. If nothing else, it builds endurance to stick something out even when it hurts. My novel about Sam and Stella was just practise for the future. Now I know what it takes and that I can do it. My writing will get better and someday all my skills will converge into a masterpiece. Until then, remember my name!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

To Eat Thanksgiving Turkey, Or Not To Eat...

The radio is always on in my car, and yesterday when I was driving home from work, they were talking about turkeys.
"Did you know that the turkeys we buy in the grocery stores are female?" the radio host said.
I didn't know that, I thought.
"Turkeys are breed to have huge breasts because Americans like white meat. And because of their gi-normous boobs, they can't reproduce normally and have to be artificially inseminated."

Okay, needless to say, I felt less excited about eating Thanksgiving turkey. Why do we have to do weird things to animals? Why can't we just accept them as they are? Market economy is the devil; it must be; why else do agricultural scientists create these freak animals? We should eat brown and white meat! But that's just my opinion. We're a nation of spoiled brats.

The radio host moved on to talk about turkey anatomy.
"Did you know that the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey's beak is called a snood?"
No, I didn't. That's a funny term. And it's a funny looking bird, I thought.
"And the red growths on the throat are called caruncle. When the turkey is upset [??!], or excited during courtship, it turns bright red," the radio voice said.
Once at a zoo, I think I saw lady chimps advertise sexual interest by flashing their red fannies to the male chimps. But I'm probably wrong. I should probably check my facts before I post them here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Have To Stop Trying To Write Perfect


What can I say? I'm just going to admit it. I am the ambitious type. Okay, that was a lie. I'm the overachiever type.

Productivity is important to me. I want to see progress, ideally right away. If I can make a list and check off things I have accomplished, I'm in heaven. A list with check marks gives me concrete proof of my productivity.

This month I haven't felt productive. Even though, it looks like I am going to finish my NaNoWriMo novel: 50,000 words! I wanted more produced. For example, I wanted to write more blog posts. But I didn't find time to do it. Okay, that was a lie. Because, if I wasn't so darn concerned about writing perfect posts, I probably would have had time. I wrote this post in less than fifteen minutes.

My problem isn't time. My problem is perfection. Being a perfectionist and an overachiever is stressful. The bottom line is: I have to give up one or the other. I have to stop beating myself up over less than perfect writing. I have to put this goal at the top of my list! I can't wait for the day when I will be able to cross it off. That day will be worth a big celebration.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo Week Two Update

Slow and steady wins the race. This is my mantra right now as I am moving towards the mid-point of my NaNoWriMo novel: 25,000 words.

So how does it feel to be a writer? Frustrating. Every day I ask myself: "How do I move this story forward?" I keep getting stuck. My internal editor is constantly there whispering in my ear: "This story isn't going anywhere. It's boring. You can't write. Just give it up." But I'm determined to finish my first bad novel. And then I have to write a second bad novel, a third, and a fourth, and a few more.

A writing guru, I read a while back, wrote that it takes 1 million words to become a good writer. If he's right, I have many more words to go.

Here is an excerpt from Sam and Stella:

“The letter was signed Stella Walker. Do you know anything about this woman?”
Miss Emily stirred her coffee.
“No, not much. She was a young pregnant girl from down south somewhere.” She took a sip. “I believe it was Florida. You're parents were next on the list.”
“Next on the list?”
“Yes. Back then, my church helped a Christian adoption network called The Good Samaritans. There was a waiting list with couples who were interested in adoption. Most of the mothers were teenagers, but some were convicts with long prison sentences.”
“Did they save the records of these adoptions? I mean; is it possible to find my mother?”
“Sure. And all the adoptions were suppose to be open. Unfortunately, you're mom broke her end of that contract. But you have found the picture and the letter. They weren't destroyed. So in a way, you have been informed, just a little late in life.”
“And my birth father?”
“I don't know who he was. It was always trickier with the fathers. The women didn't know, or they lied that they didn't know. There were few names of fathers, as far as I can remember.”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNoWriMo Week One Update

What have I learned after one week of NaNoWriMo? That I have mind ghosts. Before this week, I didn't think I could write 1667 words per day. Yes, really! The first couple of days were though. I sat for three or four hours. My butt was sore. I had to take breaks because my legs were falling asleep. But now, at the end of week one, my writing speed has increased. This morning I finished in two hours.

Before this week, I really didn't think I would be so concerned with speed and volume. But when you have to write a lot, there is no time to be concerned with quality. And this is suppose to be a good thing. The NaNo-experts say that quality is put on the back burner during the first draft. I am still struggling with this concept. But then, I have never written a novel. I have to trust the experts.

What else is hard? Not getting stuck! I am happy with my story idea, but it's hard to flesh it out. The first day I wrote like crazy. My fingers were flying on the keyboard. And then the next day, I just sat there. I was completely out of words. But this is normal. That's what I read on the NaNo-forums. They write advice like: "Don't edit! Just keep on writing, even if it's crap."

Also, plot is an issue. Lots of NaNo-writers share on the forum that they're concerned about not having one. But after one week of writing like a maniac and producing crap, it's premature to say. This concern is most likely stirred up but our own internal perfectionist. The one who likes to remind us that we can't spell, and that we have nothing important to say, or that we suck.

One week into NaNoWriMo, I have produces 13,657 words, a quarter novel about Sam and Stella.

Having TroubleTransferring Ideas To Paper?

There are many truths about the writing process that I either discover myself as I struggle with my own writing, or learn about by reading articles, blogs, and books on writing.

Here is one that hit home for me today:
"---Ideas are different than words on paper. The story that is possible for me to tell may be very different from the one I want to tell."

I found this little pearl on Gail Carson Levine's blog.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Looking For A Free Writing Software?

A friend from NaNoWriMo told me about a free writer's software program for writing novels. It was called yWriter5.

I downloaded it and tried it out on my NaNoWriMo novel. It has a lot of cool functions. Little boxes where you write down character descriptions, special places to write chapters and scenes descriptions, other places for notes and so on. In short, the program helps a writer organize his or her novel material, to make it easy to overview, and also to find details without having to seek through pages and pages of writing. Many writers use handwritten index cards, or create a story poster boards. This program replaces these. And keeps track of word count!

yWriter5 is a really cool program. And free. And totally up my alley. But after experimenting with it for an afternoon, I went back to writing in my Open Office Writer instead. It's something to be said for simplicity and comfort, a place where I know what I am doing. This doesn't mean I am turning my back on ywriter5. But for now, I'm giving it a rest.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

National Novel Writing Month 2009


It has begun! NaNoWriMo. I am committed to write 50,000 words in a month. This madness started last Sunday, on November 1, and I have already written 5020 words on my novel about Sam and Stella.
Here is my synopsis:
Sam is forty-two years old. His parents just died. While going through their belongings he opens a shoe box and finds a picture inside of a pregnant young woman. Her eyes and smile gives him goose pumps. He sees himself.There is a letter in the box. It has his birth date at the top. A short poem is written on a hospital stationary. At the bottom, it's signed with a name. Stella Walker
Here is an excerpt from Nov. 2:
She [Stella] picked up the letter and felt the texture. It was thin. There could only be one sheet of paper inside. Nothing on the outside reveled why it was sent. Not even a return address. So why did her hands shake? And why did she feel as if she needed to sit down?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rejection Bites!

Last Thursday, The Daytona Beach News-Journal announced the winners of their annual scary story competition. Out of 380 entries, I was not the winner, or the honorable mention for my age group. That's life.

My story was called "Puppies and Candy". It was about a serial killer who was calling to introduce himself, or scare, one of his future victims, a fourteen year old girl. The twist: instead of getting scared, she is happy to get a phone call and begs him to call her again.

At some point, I will polish it some more and send it off to another magazine. This month I am too busy with NaNoWriMo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Learn To Write A Novel With The Snowflake Method

A writing friend from NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) suggested that I check out "The Snowflake Method". This is her fourth year, or perhaps it was her fifth year, entering NaNoWriMo. All her years have not been a success, but last year's novel got sent off to a publisher.

As I am always eager to learn how to improve my writing skills, I quickly pulled up Google and typed in "Snowflake Method". On a website named: AdvancedFictionWriting.com, I learned that Randy Ingermanson, a doctor of physics, had fathered this promising novel writing method.

Being a commercial site, I feared that I had to purchase an expensive book, but although he sells a lot of his material through this site, his famous Snowflake Method was posted there as an article that I could read for free.

In short, The Snowflake Method consists of ten steps in how to structure, or "design", as Ingermanson likes to call it, the process of writing a novel. The novelist begins with creating a one sentence summary of his or her novel, and then moves on to flesh it out into a paragraph which describes: backdrop, story set-up, conflicts and ending. From there, I will not paraphrase it all, the novel grows increasingly more complex in structure.

The Snowflake method is an interesting approach, a manageable way to finish a novel, which I am eager to try out. In contrast to the organic method where the novelist writes blindly, or "discovers" his or her novel, this method is for writers that prefer organization and structure. In other words, it's a scientist's approach to fiction writing! And as I was a science major in college, it appeals to my way of thinking.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Am Getting Published!

Every Day Poets, an online fiction and poetry magazine, e-mailed me today. They are going to publish my poem Unwanted Gift. A publishing date has not been set yet, but this is exciting news for me.
Unwanted Gift is a small poem, 70 words, that I wrote last December during my annual Christmas blues. This means that I can channel my pessimism into something constructive, and perhaps I will be able to write another one, or maybe even a few new good ones, this year. There is hope, and the season to be jolly is almost here.