It Really Is About The Revision

2014-10-21 09.46.15When I signed up for the workshop sessions I wanted to attend at the SCBWI WIK’14 conference, the first one I pounced on was “Revision Strategies For Your Rough Draft.”

Granted, I noticed that Courtney Miller-Callihan was leading that session and as agents go, she was one I’d been wanting to meet. BUT that was just an added bonus. Because I am always on the lookout for revision tips and strategies. Mostly because I am always in the throes of one revision or another.

I don’t think I’m that unusual, as writers go. I churn out words pretty quickly, whether it’s a blog post, an article, a story, or even a novel. (Okay, okay. The novels take a bit longer, but comparatively speaking, I get ‘er done in a mostly timely manner.) But the rewrites? The revisions?

It’s a lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng process. (Well, maybe not the blog posts…)

Anyway, for me, writing is really about the rewriting. So any technique I can find that might help in that department is golden in my book. And I heard one from Courtney that was quite sparkly so I shared it in my Muffin post today: Revision Strategies (You’ll Thank Me Later).

If you’re doing NaNo, you’re going to need revision.

Or maybe you’re still revising a NaNo manuscript from *cough, cough*.

The point is, you can never have enough great revision strategies. So if you have one, how about sharing?

Friday’s Fun Find: (Really Easy) Mexican Chicken Soup. Wheeee?

Mexican chicken soup for blog

Cooking is not usually my idea of fun, but y’all asked for the recipe of Mexican Chicken Soup, so…

A few notes first:

1. I just get a package of chicken tenders and throw them in the pot. I mean, there could be eight. Or there could be five. I don’t think it matters. And sometimes, I chop ‘em up first and then dump in the pot.

2. When we got all healthy around here, I started using brown rice. I don’t think that matters in the taste department…

3. Also, as part of the health kick ’round here, I don’t add that bouillon cube of salt. But full disclosure, we’ve cut way back on salt and don’t notice it at all. You might. (We use unsalted chicken broth, too. I know, right? But that can of tomato stuff adds plenty of flavor.)

4. I do, however, dump a TON of Monterey Jack cheese into my soup. The salt in cheese doesn’t count ’cause cheese has calcium to make your bones good and strong.

You know, it occurs to me that by the time I finish making the soup, it’s nothing like the recipe. But it is¬†easy and edible. Pretty much all I ask for in the cooking department. And remember, you asked for it, too.

Now y’all go knock yourselves out with cooking fun. (Click on the pic to read the recipe. Or don’t click and go to your favorite Mexican restaurant and order the chicken soup.)

What Trumps Writing?

2014-10-10 19.03.18You know how you return from an energizing (and dessert-filled) writer’s conference and you’re all jazzed up and rarin’ to go? You want to write–and if you have a blog, like me, you want to share some of the amazing stuff you’ve learned. And really, that was exactly my intent. I returned from WIK’14, the Southern Breeze SCBWI conference in Birmingham late Sunday afternoon, itching to tell you all about it! Itching to get fingertips on keyboard!

But I hadn’t really slept in four days so I needed rest. No worries, I thought. I’ll just get up Monday morning, all refreshed and get ‘er done!

But first, I had to wash clothes because I promised my dad I’d come for a visit this week. And then I had to take care of all the SCBWI business because I promised all those Breezers that I’d send out handouts and such. And then Junior Hallette called.

“I’m sick,” she said.

“Plenty of fluids, cough medicine, and chicken soup,” I said whilst sitting at my laptop, fingers poised. “Mexican Chicken Soup is perfect and I know you have the recipe because I very carefully wrote it down and gave it to you.”

“But I don’t have the stuff for it…maybe you could make it?”

“But then you’d have to come all the way out here…” Notice how I’m very concerned yet noncommittal. (It’s a Mom trick.)

“Oh, I’ll be in that area anyway! I could be there around 5:00.” Notice how that backfired on me?

So then I had to go to the grocery store because I didn’t have the stuff for Mexican Chicken Soup, either. And then I had to actually fix the Mexican Chicken Soup and lend a sympathetic ear to daughter because, in her words, she hadn’t talked to me in forever (It had been a week.).

Okay, not a problem. I pushed helped her out the door following a delicious repast and still had time to get some exciting work in–right after I called my dad and then Juniorest Hall because he was coming along with me. But then Gotham was just about to start–and oh. My. Gazooks. Have you watched that show yet? And then came Blacklist, and the Beneficent Mr. Hall and I have to watch these shows together so that we can explain what’s going on to each other.


I would just bring all my notes with me, I decided, and then I could share the wonderful stuff I learned at WIK’14, and while my dad and youngest played golf today, I’d get some writing in. Still rarin’ to go, I was!

But I forgot the notes.

I forgot the notes from all those wonderful speakers and I forgot the notes from my wonderful critique re: the new and sparkly manuscript I was itching to hit. So this post is my writing for today. Because in just a bit, my dad will be back and he’ll want to talk, and we’ll need to eat, and tomorrow morning, I’ll be in the car all day, driving home.

But the least I can do is share the link to Kirsten BakisNine Exercises to Help You Draft a New Story. She wasn’t at the conference, but still, these are excellent exercises for those of you who actually…well…carve out a couple hours to write.

As for me…I guess sometimes, people you love trump what you love doing. And you know what? I’m fine with that.

Are You Phoning In Your Tweets?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Twitter lately.

Unfortunately, thinking about Twitter doesn’t quite cut it. So I add a note every day to my Things To Do List: MM. And no, it’s not a reference to that delicious chocolate-y treat AKA my reward for working hard.

So, MM. It’s Mindful Marketing, and it forces me to think not so much about Twitter as to what I’m putting out there on Twitter. It reminds me that Twitter can be a powerful force for engaging readers, writers, and friends.

The key word being engaging. You can read more about how I engage on Twitter–and what drives me crazy on Twitter–over at The Muffin with my post, “Making the Most of Your Mini-Marketing (Or a Tweet is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”

And I hope you’ll share your best mini-marketing advice here or there. Because you have to do more than phone in your tweets if you want to make connections on Twitter (or get a delicious chocolate-y treat).

Tooting My Horn Tuesday: A Once Upon A Potty Story!

MSPlogotall250If there’s one thing I have a buttload of, it’s potty stories. And though I have three kidders, ALL the potty stories come from the same child. Namely, John, who was, if I may say so, not only aptly named but also quite imaginative in the bathroom arena.

Anyway, the bottom line to this endless stream of puns is that one of my potty stories was accepted for Monkey Star Press‘ upcoming potty anthology. And this particular anthology has been pushed to the top of the pile, so it will be published soon!


And according to Lisa Nolan, who’s the force behind Monkey Star Press, she will be looking for other stories very soon. Like next week soon. So keep your eyes pee-led for the next call out.

(So I’m gonna go now. And when I say “go” I mean…yeah, never mind.)