Tag Archives: road

Arse in seat………..

Apparently, that is the way to get a book written.

Plant your arse in a seat and click away at the keyboard.

Arse in Seat

Just in case  you don’t remember every detail of the life that I chronicle here, I’ll take a sec to remind you that I am  writing a novel called The Alligator Purse. You can read chapter 1 here, if you like.

For the past three years, I have focused on non-fiction (aka this blog). And, then. Well, then I joined a writing group that encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. Now I am drinking the Kool-aid and have taken on a full-fledged novel.

That was brave, right? I know.

What was I thinking, right?

I know. Believe me, I know.

But now I am thinking, maybe some of you want the Kool-aid, too. Maybe some of you are writing a novel for the first time. Or maybe just an article or a short story – because maybe you are smarter than I am and maybe you don’t want to overwhelm yourself all at once – right before school gets out and the kids are home a.l.l. d.a.y.

I know, what was I thinking?

But maybe it would be fun not to write this novel all by my lonesome. I mean, sure, I will write the book with my own ideas and story ideas. But maybe, just maybe, we can skip down the yellow brick road together.

So, I will tell you what I am doing along the way and what works and what wasn’t so great.

Here are my first thoughts…

Arse in Seat Modus Operandi

The first thing I can tell you is that you must put your arse in a seat. And type. A lot. And then. A lot more.

That woman in the picture is not me – but she makes me want to highlight my hair again. Not all blond on the top like hers, but you know soft-subtle highlights.It’s summer after all…

Erghhhhh. See how easy it is for me to get distracted. Arse in Seat. Arse in Seat. Not Distracted. Arse in Seat.

Anyseat, I am starting my fourth chapter – I am at about 6,000 words. A typical novel runs about 75,000 words. Yes, I have a l.o.n.g. way to go.

My entire story is not completely plotted out, although I am pretty sure I know 5 or 6 major story events that must happen and how I would like the book to end. But the only way I am going to find out the details in between is to write them. (That, and drink more Kool-aid, possibly spiked with Vodka.)

Writers Groups

I will continue to go to my writers group mostly because I love them dearly and they serve yummy snacks. But also because they encourage me to write. And they tell me when I am not doing a great job – in a kind, loving way – but they let me know when something isn’t working. Plus, I am accountable to them. They expect me to submit chapters on a regular basis.

We meet once a week during the day when my kids are at school. That works well for me.

Take notes here – you want to be sure to find a writers group that has most of its members submitting work on a regular basis. You want to surround yourself with serious writers, who are writing.

If you are wondering how to find a writers group – try this:

1. Meetup – this site is great for all sorts of meetups (groups of people who like doing the same thing with other people) and there are tons of writing groups listed.

2. If your town has a university – call the English Department and see if have any writing groups.

3. Try your local library. They usually coordinate book clubs and might be willing to coordinate a writing group as well.

4. Take a writing class – many writing groups come from students who took a class together.

5. Simply ask around – I am amazed out how many aspiring authors are out in the world putting pen to paper. You might be surprised at who is interested in starting a group with you.

Beta Readers

My writing group is awesomesauce and it’s amazing that they are all writers. But that means they read a story differently than someone who is primarily a reader. Writers are more technical. They know the jargon and they will spew it out at you when necessary.

Beta readers are just people who like to read. They can tell you if your story is marketable because they will tell you if they would pass your book on to a friend when they are done with it.

The only thing you have to be careful of with beta readers is that they will tell you what they want to happen next. You have to remember that you are driving the story line. You determine the plot. They tell you if what you have already written works.

I asked my beta readers two things…

1. To promise not to share my chapters with anyone else. I told them if they know of someone who would like to be a beta reader, I would happily add her name to the distribution list. But I need to know who is getting what and when.

2. To be perfectly honest. I absolutely want to hear what works and what they like. But, more importantly, I want to hear where they get stuck – what doesn’t make sense. I want to know what piques their interest and makes them want to read more. And I absolutely want to know what questions they have – so I make sure to answer them all.

Writing Classes

I have signed up for two classes – both through Writers Digest.

The first one is this one that starts tomorrow. It’s called the Agent One-on-One Pitch Slam. During the course, I will work directly with Paula Munier on the first ten pages of The Alligator Purse.

The second class begins mid-June and is taught by Mark Spencer. It is an Advanced Novel Writing Course. You have to have 10,000 words written at the beginning of the course and the plan is to get you to 50,000 by the end of the 8-week session. Gulp.

My arse will need to be in a seat quite a bit.

Other Resources

Next week, I will also meet with Rachelle Gardner. She hosted this contest and, holy koolaid, I won. The prize is half an hour with her. Reviewing my work.

I won this contest because I took a chance and entered. There were tons of great entries and I just got lucky that my friends love me enough to vote for me.

Web Presence – aka Platform

This is a word that sends most novice writers right back under the blankets. I don’t know a lot about all of this but I do have a blog, another blog, a twitter, a facebook, and a pinterest account. I also reserved www.TheAlligatorPurse.com so that no one can take it before I become wildly successful and try to snag it too late. I also reserved my full name as a url so that I can start working on my name as my brand.

Luckily for us newbiews, there are lots of folks who know a lot about building a platform. You can read this post from Jeff Goins blog sharing information from platform guru Michael Hyatt.

Notebook

For Shakespeare’s sake, keep a notebook with you or at least something you can write down your ideas on. Trust me on this one. You are going to have a moment of sheer brilliance at the most unexpected time and you are going to be so confident that you couldn’t possibly forget it. Then you are going to start noticing other people’s hair color and “poof”, your idea will be gone. Lost 4-evah. So write it down the minute you have it.

I wrote about this in an article called Believing We Have a Story To Tell on Writer Unboxed because I have learned it the hard way. Too. Many. Times.

Own It

This is the most important thing – so it probably should have gone at the top – pretend it’s there okay?

You must own the fact that you are a writer. When you are at a cocktail party and someone asks you what you do, you must answer confidently, “I am a writer.” Do not explain that you are not published. Do not explain that your mother loves your work. Dear heavens, please do not explain that. Do not explain that it’s really more of a hobby.

YOU. ARE. A. WRITER. period. You Write. Therefore. YOU. ARE. A. WRITER. If you are not actually writing, remember the Arse in Seat axiom.

That is all for now. Because in a moment of extreme weakness, I signed up for a class and have 10,000 (quality) words due to a published author who will critique my work in two weeks.

I am going to keep my arse in this seat until I no longer feel like this…..

Disclaimer #1: It is important to note that the Arse in Seat Model does not work for all disciplines. For example, if you are hoping to compete in a marathon of more than mere words, you must get your arse out of the seat.

Disclaimer #2: This picture is also not me. I do not wear heels and I do not dress in all white – not even after Easter. And my floor is very honestly not that clean. Never will be.

My Ruby Slippers by Tracy Seeley…….

I know, where have I been?

Reading My Ruby Slippers…

and I reviewed it over here at A Reason To Read ……

No Appointment Needed…………

If you have a blog about India, at some point you are going to post some pictures like these….

All along the streets in Delhi, you will see these roadside barber shops. They are charming spots where men stop to get a shave or a haircut and they appear randomly along the way. It is one of the few things in Delhi that still surprises me. I am losing some of my awe at the things I see because now life in Delhi is becoming so normal – things are just the way they are – not so amazing any more – still interesting but no longer shocking. But these little stands still cause me to turn my head and wonder. I am not sure why, but I find them so fascinating. They absolutely capture my attention every time I see them.

Update: I went to a lovely lunch today and, while there,  met some fellow expats who also blog about India – I have added their links to my blogroll (Mezze Moments and Mrs. Expat). Some of the other ladies at the table had questions about blogs and we talked about this post I wrote today. It finally occurred to me why these barber stands fascinate me so. They are the perfect example of how simple life can really be in India. To be a barber, you really only need a mirror, a chair, a pair of scissors, and a customer. You don’t need chairs that raise up and down, an assistant, fancy lighting, a receptionist, a certificate, or  a wall to hang a certificate on. When and where don’t always matter so much. Anywhere and anytime can be the simple answer. Right here, right now. I can imagine a man walking down the street, scratching his neck, and thinking “I need a haircut.” He simply turns a corner and – wahlah – there is a barber. He spends a few minutes and even fewer rupees and he can be on his way. I can certainly learn to approach things more simply just from watching the barber on the corner.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas………

Singapore is a fascinating mix of several cultures – Chinese, Indian, Malays, Eurasians, and Arabs. English is the primary language – although each group uses their own language too – so there is also Chinese, Tamil, etc. English being the universal language makes getting around super easy. Singapore’s population is around 5 million and 80 percent of the people who reside there live in government flats. Our taxi driver told us that they are all the same – 3 bedrooms, kitchen, family room, balcony, and I think two bathrooms.

There is a slight “big brother” feel in Singapore – you are not allowed to bring gum into the country or to chew it (you can smoke however – I know, huh?).  Littering brings a $1,000 fine – your second offense is $2,000. Cameras line the roads and no one crosses the street until the pedestrian light says it is ok to do so. Getting a taxi is easy – you just get in a queue until it is your turn – single file, no cutting, and no bumping. All of that works together to make an organized, efficient, and very clean city.

If you come from Delhi, Singapore will seem like a little slice of very clean heaven. There is little pollution, the sun shines or dances behind a few clouds (don’t forget your sunscreen), and no one honks their horn. Cars even stay in their own lanes. And even though there is traffic, it is not bumper to bumper – it flows nicely.

Because Singapore has so many different cultures co-existing, they seem to celebrate everything. On Friday, a lot of stores were closed for the Muslim celebration of Hajj – the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. And Orchard Road (the famous shopping district) was decorated for Christmas –  Christmas music played in all the stores. It was all sorts of loverly to see all the trees and reindeer smiling along the way.

It was a little funny to be walking in shorts in the high temps and to see this snowman. He did make me smile though.

All in all, Orchard Road was a great place to visit. We found the prices to be pretty high but you could visit any store you might be missing. It’s all here.

I wonder if this would work in the U.S…….

I had seen this sign once before – but I did not have my camera – dang it. I was so hoping that I would see it again and that I would have camera in hand. Wah Lah!

I have to wonder if the threat of embarrassing yourself is really a deterrent against traffic crimes. If so, how lovely! In the U.S., I am afraid this sign might actually serve as encouragement…..

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