Friday, September 4, 2009

How Writing a Book is like a Hockey Season

As a lot of you know, I took the month of August off from heavy writing. I did do some editing and wrote my blog posts, but that’s about it in the writing department. Now I’m back in the game and it feels great.

I’m going to make a really bad analogy, just warning you...

Fall is just around the corner which also brings hockey season, my favorite time of the year, as well as the holidays and NaNoWrimo. I have the same excitement right now for my current WIPs as I do for the new hockey season. Here is how I’m going to spin this to compare hockey to writing…again, stick with me.

When I sit down to write each day, I don’t know what is around the corner, even if I have an outline or synopsis written. I always make sure to let the story flow and the characters to lead me down the right path. I personally think that if you try and stick with your outline/synopsis to the letter, your work can come out feeling stagnant and lifeless. So may not agree, but for me I never know exactly what my characters will say or do until I’m in the scene and literally writing their next moves. Writing a book is like an 82 game season of hockey, you have to take each game or chapter as it comes and not think about the daunting task of writing the whole book. Editing, you can compare to the playoffs. You get to see your hard work polished. If my “team” or the cast of characters in the stories take it all the way to the finals and Lord Stanley’s Cup, writing ‘The End’. Will I finish telling their story? Will it end in victory with an agent or a book deal? I guess I’ll never know unless I dive in and play each game, or in this case write each chapter the best I can. Not knowing how it will end (and maybe you DO know how your story will end, but can never predict how far or successful that book will become) is always the fun of it.

I hope that my favorite hockey team, the LA Kings will make the playoffs this upcoming season, but I won't know until they hit the ice and play the grueling 82 games. Maybe if I time it right, I can see them go all the way as I type my final words, The End.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Name is Tami and I'm Addicted to Buying Books

Just like a lot of you I'm sure, I have a huge list of TBR books at home. Buying books is my addiction. I feel like I have to run out and buy the ones I'm most excited about the first day they come out, even if it will sit on my shelf and wait to be read. I feel like I should be in some AA-type group for my problem, but there are definitely worse addictions in this world!

Anyway, I have a few books that I can't wait to dive into. If only I could find a job where I would get paid to read all day! Wouldn't that be awesome!? I thought I would share a few that are staring at me every day when I walk into my office at home saying, "READ ME!"

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

If you haven't read the first book in this amazing series, please stop reading this post and go to your local indie store and purchase The Hunger Games. You will not regret it. I think it was one of my top three books I read last year and I'm sure Catching Fire won't disappoint. Released yesterday (Sept 1), Catching Fire is probably one of the most anticipated books in the YA world to come out in 2009. Being the way I am, I went out at lunch time and bought it right away. The difference between this book and many others, it will never see my TBR list. I started it last night. :)

A little off topic, but I thought I would share a funny story. When I went into the store to purchase this book, I practically skipped to the counter to be rung up. The employee looked at the cover and said "That's a nice cover...Catching Fire." So of course, I couldn't help myself and went into how much I loved the first one, etc. She goes, "Yeah, the cover reminds me of you." I didn't know what she meant, and I'm sure my face showed my confusion. Then she did this weird thing with her hands and said, "You know, like, it reminds me of you." Again with the confused look from me. Then finally it was time to leave, with book in hand I said my parting words, "Umm, thanks I think." WHAT DID SHE MEAN? So bizarre.

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

When I bought this book last Tuesday, I was amazed at the cover. From the picture online, it looks a lot like the other Ellen Hopkins books but to me didn't have the appeal, but boy was I wrong. It's stunning in person.

About two months ago, I decided to give Ellen Hopkins' books a chance. I had shied away from them since I started reading YA because of the way her books are told, in literary prose. I thought I would have trouble sinking into the story, but again I was wrong. From the moment I opened the first book I read of hers, Crank, I was mesmerized and read it in one sitting. I couldn't get enough and bought Glass the very next day. Since then I've read Burned and can't wait to get Impulse, Identical and of course, now Tricks. Each story is captivating and my only complaint is that the stories have to end. I love all her characters and the fact that there isn't a topic she won't dive into. I may have to wait and read Tricks, only because I will be sad to see it not sitting on my TBR pile.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Just like the other two books I can't wait to read, I bought Rampant the first day it came out. I've been waiting for this book since I heard the premise. What's not to like about killer unicorns and a unicorn hunter? It takes a new spin on how we think of unicorns and it's nice to have a new mystical creature on the scene (not that I don't like fairies, zombies, vampires, etc.)

I have read all of Diana Peterfreund's books and if Rampant is as good as those, I can't wait. It will be a big fight between Tricks and this book for which to read after I finish Catching Fire.

What are a few books on your TBR list that you can't wait to jump into?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Long Way From Home….or is it?

A little over a year ago I put down my guitar, took up my pen and devoted myself to the goal of becoming an author. No more long rehearsal hours with the band after working at my full time job, no more saving for bigger and better gear, no fighting with venues to cut us the cheque – no fighting amongst ourselves.

I also stopped giving guitar lessons and recording songs for other musician friends. In a very short time I’d severed all ties to the life I’d been living since high school. Gear hauling. Setup. Tear down. Sound check. These words were removed from my vocabulary. I was no longer a working musician hosting open mics, playing funky coffee shops, pubs and small folk music festivals. I’d heard the call of another – writing fiction – and if I was going to be any good at it, fitting it into my already hectic schedule wasn’t an option. Something had to give.

Music and me were through. In order to write novels, instead of tunes, I had to completely alter my mindset. Quit music cold turkey. Ditch the rhyming dictionary and mode charts, sell the extra gear and keep only my “babies” – my Thunderbird bass, my Dot Studio guitar. It was time to let my calluses fade. I’d become just another music fan instead of a musician/singer/songwriter.

Or so I thought.

After months of telling myself (whenever I’d sit at the piano or pick up a guitar) - that’s not me anymore, I’m a writer now – I finally realized that music will always be with me. I love words, I love music. Even when I write I have tunage blaring. I may not commit to being in a band again, but I’ve been writing songs here and there, recording bed tracks and melodies. I’m finding a balance between my two loves.

I look back at this “home video” video we did for my last band, Rustic Charm – the tune is called “Long Way From Home” – and I can celebrate the time I had collaborating with my band members, my friends. The video is simple…it shows us in all our average glory. I came up with the idea, borrowed a camera and basically documented an average day for us. It’s a tribute to the dog days of band life:

I have different sorts of collaborative friendships now – with crit partners, my editor and publisher. It may not be face-to-face, but we email, Skype and chat. They get my jokes and yet can reel me in when I step over the line (which is more often than naught). We talk like my characters are the kids next door. I sit out on the deck, just Dot and me. I strum a few chords – hmmm….might be a new tune brewing. Life is good.

Here’s to charging after your dreams – the more, the merrier.