Thursday, February 27, 2014

San Francisco

For President's Day weekend we went to San Francisco.  Jamie's always complained that - even though she's lived in Southern California for most of her life - she's never been there.  So, we fixed that.  And had a great time!

Since we had to drive through Oakland, I talked everyone into stopping to see the temple.
The temple has the best view of the Bay area, even on a gloomy day.  After checking in we had a nice late lunch at a bbq place in Ghiradelli Square, which I thought was really good.  But the most overrated food of all we had was the Ghiradelli ice cream - skip it unless you like melted and salty ice cream.
But we woke up to a beautiful day and a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge from our hotel.  The hotel was right near Lombard Street, the "crookedest street in the world."
We spent a little time on Hyde Street Pier and got to tour some of the old ships.
A big anchor, a beautiful girl, and Ghiradelli Square in the background.
We took a trolley to Union Station, then walked through China Town to Little Italy, where we had a delicious lunch.
We had forgotten to buy Alcatraz tickets in advance, but by a miracle we were able to get tickets - for the last trip of the day, too (which was what we wanted in the first place).
The next morning, before leaving, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, then walked out on it from the Sausalito side.
And last of all, before we drove back home, Kate wanted to see this tiled staircase - very cool.
Now I think Jamie and I need to go back sometime, and leave the kids at home.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

LDStorymakers 2014

I've gotten a little lazy about posting here lately, but I've been kind of busy.  Honest!  

My reading - and more especially writing about my reading - has had to take a back seat to my real writing.  The LDStorymakers Conference is coming up at the end of April and I'm attending.  I've never been to a writers conference before, but I'm actually really excited.  I was even able to get into the class being taught by Orson Scott Card (I've only read one of his books, but I hope he won't hold it against me).  Plus, I think my novel is almost ready and I even went out on a limb and signed up to pitch it to an agent at the conference.  Thanks to some helpful criticism and comments from S. M. (Sarah) Anderson and Ashley Benning (and Jamie, Kate, and Poppy), I've revised a few things to make it flow better and am almost done with the latest rewrite.

Some things I've learned?
  • Working from an outline - even if it's general and changes - can save a LOT of time.  I wish I'd done that from the beginning, but I really didn't know what I was doing and had to figure it out the hard way.
  • Go with what feels right.  I rarely read "grown-up" fiction, so why did I think I could write it?  No, I should have just written the story as YA from the beginning and saved myself a lot of time and effort.
  • Just write, and revise later.  I once read that the business of writing is all about RE-writing.  But you can't RE-write if you don't have stuff to RE-write.
  • Writing is hard work.  Sure, you might think, you're just making stuff up - what's so hard about that?  Yeah, I say, go ahead and try it!
  • It's very hard to let someone else read what you've written.  When you put your thoughts (and let's face it: thoughts are intimate) on paper and hand it to someone else, it feels like being naked - which is a very uncomfortable feeling (for most of us, anyway).  But... am I not writing to be read?  (This blog kinda started as an effort to get over that.)
  • A writer's group is an invaluable asset.  My family would love to read what I've written and help, but they struggle to provide feedback.  Getting feedback from other writers is much more useful.  They've faced the same challenges and can see your mistakes a lot easier.  (And, going forward, I intend to try to find or make a group of my own.)
  • And finally - don't quit.  You'll never write a novel if you don't keep at it.
So hopefully I'm ready to move on to the next part of writing: publishing.  And if I neglect my blog reviews, that's why.