Unsure

Starting routine hasn't don't much to my organizational skills.
I thought when kid goes to school, we start routine, she goes to bed early and has to do some homework... I'll have some more time to write, and for myself.
But I was wrong.
Yes, kid has started school. And it's wonderful to have a nice timetable hanging in her bedroom wall. But I wasn't counting on day job. This year money is short in every company, and town halls are not an exception. So I have more work to do and no help to do it. I had to take two groups, so I'm teaching two workshops to disabled people most of them with some mental issues. First one on how to use computers and the internet on their daily life. And second one a bit more open, on Creativity. We will work a theme each week, and they will create whatever they feel like it (writing, drawing, painting, sculpting...). And preparing these classes is sucking me time.
And then, November is around the corner. It's been two years now since my first NaNoWriMo, and I can't think of a November without the craziness, the urge to write, the sharing in the forums, and on Twitter, and on Facebook... and everywhere. But I'm in the middle of revising my YA, the one I started last NaNo, and it's not finished by far. I'm on a third draft, more or less. And now that's when I get unsure. What do I do? Forget about NaNo and go on with my edits and finish the ONE novel I think I may be able to send away (when it's finished, of course) and be picked to get published or forget about it for one month and write a hasted first draft for another thing I'll have to work for another year?
I've got a notebook full of different ideas, but I've read it, and none really gets my attention right now. None of them makes my fingers tickle and gets me into writing.
So disappointing to be unsure. But still got a few days to make my mind... :)
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Mockingjay

As promised in the coming back post this September I will post some thoughts on Mockingjay. I'll try not to spoil anyone because I wouldn't have wanted to be spoilored either. In fact, I was one who rushed to the shop the same day it came out just to have one of the first copies and read it in a couple of days just in case someone told me a word or two of what happened at the end of Mockingjay.

At this point, I've read some reviews already. Some are good, some are not that good. It was, of course, impossible for Collins to write a book that satisfied the enormous amount of fans the trilogy had already gained before Mockingjay was published. Anyway, for an attentive reader it was so clear this installment was about war, no one should be surprised about the outcome.

But let's talk about how she's done it, and not about what happens:

Collins used the same pattern in books 1 and 2 (tributes, TV show-bussiness, make-up and attrezo, and a violent outcome where kids/people had to defend themselves against aggression of the government). Twisting it a bit, because Katnis is no longer in the hands of the Capitol but she's with the rebels who act the same way, the pattern is almost complete. This brings like a sense of comming home, of knowing something will happen. And then, she twists it a bit farther.

Collins used a wonderful reluctant heroine, Katnis, who embodies perfectly the awkwardness of being a teen confronting adult society and norms. To teens, norms seem absurd. To Katnis, Capitol norms are to be defeated. But even adults relate to Katnis's fight for freedom. Because her struggle may seem what we all want for ourselves.

And finally the end. Won't tell anything about it, I just will tell it's a perfect ending to the series and it will force you to think about it for a while, not for a day or two. I've read it a week ago and I'm still rereading some parts and thinking about it. She made a clear point: Wars are useless, it's up to humanity to take her word and go on from here.

I'm sure there are more things, but will have to think about them. Just wanted to make sure you knew I've been reading... and thinking. A lot :).
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New season, new layout

It's been a while since I started to blog. I've been mostly lurking around LJ and commenting on other posts. And this summer I've almost forgot about it.
I know I'm not yet consistent but I want to become more active in my blogging as one of next season goals. But I'm not yet sure of what will I be talking. My first intention was to talk about what I read, and what I wrote. But then months later I discovered Goodreads, which happens to be a really good place to share what you read. I could still post reviews on both places but seems kind of pointless.
There's the writing yet. And I've been working hard on that, by the way. So maybe I'd talk more about writing or may talk about reading but not reviewing, just talking about what stuck me.

Anyway, what I wanted to say was, I'd try to be more active, and try to change layout to show a bit who am I, what I do and how I do it. But I'm finding it hard to add things like the Goodreads applet or even a list of links to other blogs I follow. Will keep investigating so layouts may change a bit during these days.

Next post will be about Mockingjay. Read it and still touched by it. Soon. Promise :).
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WriteOnCon starts tomorrow!

Time flies, at least when things related to writing happen to me.
Been working hard and trying to get my 500 words a day, 1000 on weekends and achieving it. It's kind of hard to get home and hurry to computer just after you've been all morning messing up with reports and hand paint and sewing t-shirts and going to the beach with 4 wheelchairs and other people with different disabilities.

But this week will be a lot harder because my already limited time will be divided between my writing and WriteOnCon.Yes, I'll be attending a conference and without moving from home! Can't believe this day has come.

So, what's all this about? What's WriteOnCon?
Something poor peeps in Europe and other sides of the world appreciate a lot. Online conference that will gather great authors, agents and publishers alike who will share their knowledge for free with all the people attending the forums and live events.
Everyone interested in writing for children should at least take a peak, read some of the forums and enjoy the great work of putting so much information together.

You can learn more in their page, and have a look at the Schedule.

Founders of this awesome idea are: Jamie Harrington, Elana Johnson, Cassey McCormick, Shannon Messenger, Linda and Laura Roecker, and Jennifer Stayrook.

Thank you ladies, for all the hard work!

#AugWriMo as a way to kick my lazy bone

July was kind of slow. At least slow on my writing.
In theory I am revising (but I'm really changing everything from plot line to characters) a young adult fantasy I started last NaNoWriMo. But after reading Donald Maass Writing the Breakout Novel I was sure my story lacked tension, conflict and it was too small to attract readers. So now I'm adding more heroic qualities and more conflict and making my characters suffer a bit more.
So in July I got stuck in the first 3 chapters. Polishing them, making them shine. I moved them, first one, second two, third three. Then first three, second one and third two. Been trying how it works each way and still not sure.
But August 1 came in and I saw on Twitter someone talking about #AugWriMo as a way to start writing again. And I thought, "hey, I wrote 3k each day during November! This could really help".
As it's summer, we go out more, kid stays up late and she needs more mom time, I started by setting a 500 words a day goal. But kid was out for two days at a friend's house and my goal just raised from 500 to 1000 words a day and still working on raising even the days kid's at home.
Even though yesterday I cheated and just used a scene I wrote for the November NaNoWriMo, I'm so pleased to have more than 21k and 6 chapters written down. And guess at the end of August I'll have some more words to polish and anguish over them for a long while.

About Rejection Land and getting over it

Yeah, I know. It's been a while.
I got the rejection a while back but first I had to swallow it all by myself, now I feel prepared to share it. I lived the first few days shocked. I felt everything I was writing was meaningless, had no quality, mattered to no one.
I also managed to read a few books during these days, feeling more depressed as I thought I'd never write like that.
I'm lucky though. I've been around the internet enough, and read enough writers blogs and twitters to know all of them suffered one or endless rejections. All of them endured and kept on going. Just went through some of this stories, read them over and over and then moved on.
So, depression didn't last long. I love my story so much, I love my characters so much. And I can't let them down. They deserve to be alive, to reach someone else who enjoys them. So I started over. Not the small chapter book I sent away. This one will have to wait and maybe it never finds its place in publishing world. 
But I'm still working on my YA, I'm between second and third draft and going real slow. But no longer I'm paralyzed so I keep on, small amount of words but lots of ideas, world building and relationships. And I think this is the first novel I'm writing that stands up for the high stakes Donald Mass asks for in his Writing the Break Out Novel.
I'm working on my hero character arc, on his goals and motivations. I'm working on some back story maybe it never finds its place on paper. But it's important for me to know.
I'm working on my villain too, and trying to get a complex arc, and some internal motivations. So far, the sentence that's at the beginning of her dossier is "Love is a wonderful, terrible thing". Just hoping I find enough strong words to convey this for her.
So my novel is having a massive deconstruction, I'm starting over. I will be merciless. But I will only keep what really pumps story up and high. And will work to make each scene unforgettable. At least for me.
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I finally dared

Been out for most of the month and part of the other. Writing of course. I'm working on the huge YA that will take me an awful lot of time. I don't count on finishing soon. But it's big, it's magic and I'm enjoying the whole process.

On the other hand I had some writen work that was sleeping in my computer. Finished chapter books, some picture books... I'm not sending all of them but FINALLY, FINALLY, I dared to write a query and send it out. I've been fighting with myself, and my fears but I won. I son't know if this is good or bad. I don't know if a rejection will send me to the pond again. But at least, my small and precious chapter book is out to the world. Just wanted to thank all of you who conrributed cheering and supporting my fears.

Soon I'll be a rejected author :).

Sant Jordi - Books' Day

This is my favorite holidays. Well, not exactly a holidays, it's a labor day because most bookshops claim they sell more books during labor days but anyway, every 23 April I take a day off from my job. I've always done. While I was at University I took the day off and just walked Barcelona's Ramblas up and down, looking at people, at books, at everything.

But it's not only in Barcelona, it happens in every town and city around my place. It's a magical day. You can smell the magic from early morning. Lots of flowers, roses, on the streets. For we do celebrate Saint George as a Saint Valentine's. So by tradition girls get roses, boys get books.

As a kid I couldn't agree with this. I was very disappointed. I wanted the rose, of course, but I wanted the books too! Not one, but many. And our family tradition was changed all through my childhood and now it's passed to my kid: girl gets rose AND book. Boy gets book, and sometimes even a rose :).

Sitges, Sant Jordi

This year I haven't been able to find my camera, can't find it where kid put it last time she grabbed it for a class project so I'll have to use pics I found around, but I hope you can at least sense part of the magic of a day where everyone walks through books, looks at them, buys them.... This pic up is my town, the fair is set just by the sea and it's not very crowded, but Barcelona, ah that's a craziness I love even though sometimes I feel too squeezed.

You can find authors signing, piles and piles of books just beside roses and everyone smiles with a rose on their hands. I just can hope one day one of these books they sell will have my name on its cover. But I'll take day off and walk and buy books as any other person around.

Ah, forgot to tell this day, books are 10% cheaper but roses are pricey :).

Second draft

Second drafts are way easier than the first ones, right? You know your story, you got a sense of your characters, of setting...
It should be easier, but it isn't. At least for me.
A week ago I received one of the most beloved presents from my mom: a box of books right from the States. No novels this time, just how-tos.
I started Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass and haven't yet finished it but been pondering on my story since then.
And now I'm stuck. Right between second and third chapter, between the premise and the stakes.
So like a good girl, I've opened a new document, and just started the thing all over: A page for themes (is it bad that I have 3 major themes for one novel?), a page for premises (again, at least I got 3 premises, and if I think of other characters I'd come up with others as well, each character has an arch of its own) and I'm working on the escalating of stakes. I need to raise things and put my characters in danger and suffering. But I love them so dearly... that's proving a bit difficult.
I will achieve a considerable amount of stakes, and then will proceed.

And I haven't opened all the other books my mom sent me! This second draft will be difficult, I know :)
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Comming back

It’s been a while since I wrote something in here.
Been writing a lot though. I’ve worked on a freelance project that it’s now finished and waiting for some cash (grin). And I’ve also worked on the rewrites for my own WIP. It’s a slow process, I’m trying to decide a lot of things and building so much backstory taht won’t make to this book. But... if the story finally ends up as a series, will be great to have this info.
But what I’ve been doing mostly is reading. So there are some comments I’d like to share about the books. Mostly one, that has grabbed me and compelled me to read until 3 or 4am even if I had to wake up early to go to evil day job.
Of course, that’s “The Hunger Games”.
Hunger GamesBefore picking it up, I didn’t like the topic. I’m not really a big fan of distopian’s. But everyone was saying how awesome it was, how wonderful Suzanne Collins writes and how they were pulled from begining to the end and how they even longed for second and third instalments.
So, I grabbed a copy at the library. I started reading on my way home. And I couldn’t stop. Literally.
Suzanne Collins is the queen of twists and cliff hungers. I loved the story, the characters, even the world... though I long for a great revolution at the end!
Read other books, but I really don’t like to talk about the ones I didn’t like that much. Now I’m reading Graceling and loving it (just on my first part though). Will talk about it in a next post.