Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alphabet Game (Plus, Another Shot of Happy)

I have to blog about this today (wait...'have to' is the wrong sentiment. I want to blog about this; I just need to do it today) because my blogs for the next couple of days are already spoken for as I gear up for my latest and perhaps toughest blogging challenge yet.

The A to Z Challenge.

This blogfest comes from the mind of Arlee Bird and is grown so large this year that it is being co-hosted by a number of other blogs. Last I knew, the number of participants for this blogfest had surpassed the 700 mark. That is a lot of blogs. I'm number 74 on the list.

The point of the blogfest as I understand it, is this (and BOY, I hope I have this right): Every day, well most every day (we get Sundays off for good behavior), we write a blog which corresponds with a letter of the alphabet. April 1st (otherwise known as this coming Friday) is for A and April 30th will be reserved for the letter Z. I'll either be blogging about Zelda or Zumba that day. I haven't settled on which yet but as blogging about Zumba will require me to actually experience Zumba, it'll most likely be all about Zelda.

I'm really looking forward to this blogging experience. I'm going to take the opportunity to post a few excerpts from the WIPs I've been taking about all the time (even if the idea scares the living daylights out of me). The first excerpt post will be on April 4th. My wildly creative brother as well as my young padawan, Omar, helped me brainstorm some topics for a couple of letters that had been giving me a tough time (X, Y and Z, I'm looking at you) and I think the whole thing will be a rousing success. Or, at least a success. Or, at the very least, not a failure. Or just maybe not a complete failure...

Only one way to be sure. And that's just to jump right in. So please, follow me blindly into this blogfest and let's see what shakes out...

And now for something completely different...

Today Jolene Perry's Week of Happy is focusing on Happy Writing. As in "What is your favorite part of writing?"

So what is my favorite part of writing? I love it all. If I'm creating, if I'm being productive, I'm incredibly happy. Two or three days without sleep? If it was spent typing furiously, scribbling ideas into a notebook or even on the shower wall (thank you bathtub markers!), then I'm good. Who needs sleep? Sure as hell not me.

I love writing dialogue. I have two characters in my current WIP, Second Nature, for whom I love writing dialogue. They have a great rhythm when they argue banter that's snarky and maybe a little flirty and just all around fun. I also like writing for the villain of the piece because although he's the bad guy, he doesn't think he's the bad guy (and truth be told, he really isn't. Oh wait...that's kind of a spoiler, isn't it?) and I want to avoid all those black hat wearing, mustache twirling bad guy clichés.

And I like reading what I've written. One of the commenters on Jolene's blog talked about how she loves the part during the first read through when she realizes she's a better writer than she thought she was. I have those moments too and I really do love them (even though I find it a little embarrassing to admit it).

But more than that, I love it when I hear good things back from my readers. You know, all three of them... I love it when I get an email that says "YOU CAN'T END IT THERE!!! YOU ARE NOT TO GET UP FROM THAT COMPUTER UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED THE NEXT CHAPTER AND SENT IT TO ME!!" (Mike) or a message on my answering machine (back in the days before VoiceMail) that says "OH MY GOD! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! THEY KISSED! OH MY GOD! THAT IS SO AWESOME!" (The one and only Heather) or a note scribbled in the margins at the end of a scene that exclaims "THAT IS FUCKING AWESOME!"

That last one made me grin for quite some time.

So I write because it makes me happy. And occasionally, it makes others happy too. Which is most definitely equally awesome.

So, if you're a writer, what's your favorite part about it? And if you're participating in the A or Z Challenge, do you have all 26 topics worked out? And if neither of those questions appeal to you, how about this: what makes you happy?



    Okay - my husband is Mike - I read to him first. THEN it goes my friend Heather who sends me texts. Funny.

    Was just thinking about Shakespeare in Love the other day. He's really hot, so thanks for that first thing in the morning.

    I love writing dialogue. My first book kind of sucked from a writing perspective, I think almost everything BUT the dialogue is different now. Sometimes, when I'm lost in a scene, I'll pull out JUST the dialogue and re-build around it.

    Thanks for the awesome post. Despite my earlier protests, I too, will be doing A to Z - but let me warn ya. My posts are SHORT :D

    And seriously, don't be embarrassed to say you like what you wrote! I mean, I kind of am, but I'm slowly getting over it.

  2. When the words flow from my fingers onto the screen, that's my favorite part. Or when I go back to read the manuscript and come across things I don't remember even writing - and they're soooo good. That makes me happy.

  3. I have about 19 prompts for the A to Z challenge, and 7 letters that I have yet to come up with. Of those 19, I have about 6 where it's only a general idea of what I want to write and could potentially toss out the idea at any given moment.

    However, considering I am number 643 on the list and only signed up on Sunday, I'd say I'm in pretty good shape.

  4. As far as the Challenge, you got it! Remember, short posts for April.

  5. Would it be possible for you to experience Zumba before we get to the letter Z then give us a heads up on what its all about? That way I can blog on day z all about Zumba from another persons perspective :) Thanks in advance :)

    John - Fellow A-Z blogger

  6. I'm not doing the challenge. Instead I'll be shooting music videos and planning a BIG fundraising dinner. WHEW! I look forward to reading your exuberant entries though.

    My favorite part about writing is how it surprises me. Those, "Where did that come from?" moments. You know, when the character hi-jacks the story and and you realize it has a life of its own.

  7. I love editing. Taking something and finessing it and making it better. I'm sick, I know.

    I love ironing too, so take the above with that in mind.

    I'm not participating in the A-Z, but I am being interviewed by another blogger who is - as her Q installment. And not for Quinn. For Queen. 'Possum Queen, that is.

    As for one thing that makes me happy? Reading The Monster At The End Of This Book while doing my best Grover impersonation.

  8. I'd forgotten all about the "where did that come from" moments. It's been a while since I've had one but the last one I did have changed everything in the very best way. It's one of my favorite writing themed stories to tell my students when I'm doing the teaching thing.

  9. I'm from the A to Z Challenge and I'm a writer, as well - so I really enjoyed your post today. The things I find most amusing about myself are the fidgeting and head holding and sounds of distress I make while writing fiction. And I want to do this as a full-time thing...?!?

  10. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the AtoZ Challenge, while struggling with it, myself. I just read what Alex J. Cavanaugh wrote about short posts up there, though, and I'm thinking I'm in trouble. Ruh-roh! Good luck!

  11. Shannon- I know I'm in trouble as far as length goes. I'm going to try and be mindful of it but I also don't want to sacrifice any (possible) quality. Or, you know, something lofty sounding like that.