chasingthecrazies

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The Thumb Drive is Your Friend February 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chasingthecrazies @ 12:44 am

Considering I am working on my second manuscript, you’d think by now I’ve  gotten good at saving things, backing up important info etc. and for the most part I have and yesterday it really saved my buns.

After I made the mistake of not saving my first manuscript in several places, I got burned and lost half of it (about 100 pages or so…urgh) when a virus got hold of my hard drive.  Hackers really suck!

So now I’ve  learned my lesson and have my first and second manuscripts stored in various places – email, hard drive and portable drive.  Yesterday, all of this came in handy because my computer was really acting up – freezing, shutting down, restarting itself – real ghost in the machine type stuff.

I researched the error message I was getting and learned it could be repaired by following a few easy steps.  A few easy steps…I should have known then I was going down a treacherous path. I followed all the directions to the letter, screen went black, little, blue  cursor circled and then POOF – totally clean hard drive. No kidding.  In the little box in the corner of the screen where it says number of documents, it used to say 354 – now it reads 0 – big, fat goose egg. I panicked of course, tried to do a system restore, and the whole time I am struggling, I can almost feel the computer vibrating with laughter – Ha! Ha! Got you!

Thank goodness my best friend’s husband is a computer genius and he is restoring all my files as we speak.  I am working on a different computer now to write because my manuscript was stored in about a dozen different places but I’ve learned my lesson – don’t mess with the computer Gods and ALWAYS, ALWAYS save your work everywhere you can.  You never know when your computer may revolt and your thumb drive may be the only weapon that beats it back into submission.

Amy

 

Continuing Education February 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chasingthecrazies @ 12:43 am

I am in the midst of doing my fifth (or is it my sixth?) edit of my manuscript – you lose track after a while.  It’s part of the process I know but after some time, I can’t see the forest for the trees (to coin a bad cliché).  It’s at times like these, I need a little tune up of my skills and as such, I like to take a class to work on the craft itself.  You forget after doing this for a bit that this is REALLY supposed to be fun.

In just a few short weeks the class has really helped me find my love of writing again.  It is so invigorating to be among people who have such a love for the written word and are curious to read what you have to offer. It’s also a little humbling when the kid next to you, who is almost young enough to be your child, has a crack sense of humor and is able to convey that beautifully into the written word.

The other, I’ll admit, startling fact is that those around you help you to see your work for what it is.  They are able to point out when your characters need some work, when your setting is weak or contrived and when your plot is fading – all the things you can’t see because you’ve been living with the story too long.

I have a short story due in two weeks and I have no idea what I’m going to write about but what I do know is that my love for writing is back and of course I know if I get off track, my fellow writers/classmates will most definitely let me know.

Amy

 

The Dreaded “Critique” February 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chasingthecrazies @ 9:03 pm

One of the things you learn quickly when you begin to write is that it is a very solitary existence – just you, your thoughts, and a blank page.

As your story and your characters come alive, they become part of your being.  They live and breathe. Act and react all through your choices.  I’m not ashamed to admit it, it’s true, your characters become your children.  You love them fiercely but at times they frustrate you as well. But still, they are all yours.

So just like your children, you are loathe for anyone to criticize them. But in order for your stories to have any merit, they need to be reviewed, analyzed and at times, dare I say it – pulled apart, by others. Your opinion accounts for a lot, but you need other readers to give you perspective on your work.

I have been writing for some time but have rarely put my work out for others to judge (I don’t count family and friends as objective readers).  So this week, for the first time, I jumped into the dreaded “critique pool” so to speak. I was nauseated and exhilarated all at the same time as I waited for my peers to begin discussing my work.

I vacillated between “they hated it” and “they loved it” frame of mind for an entire hour before it was my turn in front of the firing squad. And, it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.  Yes, a couple of comments stung (admittedly a lot) but for the most part what the group had to say was right on target.  I have become way to close to my story, as is true of many writers, and I couldn’t see it for its flaws anymore.

As I have had more time to reflect on it, I wish I had dived into the critique process earlier.  It was like a breath of fresh air, opening my manuscript to many new possibilities and ideas – ones that I would have never have discovered on my own. So I take this experience as a positive one and realize as I open my work up to those, whose opinion I value, it can only get better with time.

Amy

 

Go with the flow February 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chasingthecrazies @ 12:59 am

As part of my regular life, when I’m not caught up in my insane cocoon of writing, I do freelance public relations for a non-profit project.

As part of this job, I have to talk to the media from time to time to promote the project.  I have been doing this off and on for five years and have gotten to know some of the local news anchors pretty well.

Today was one of the days when I was supposed to go “on-air” and talk about the project with an anchor I have met a couple of times.  When I arrived at the location, the anchor and the cameraman greeted me with grim looks on their faces.  I was sure they were going to tell me that I got up early for no reason because we were being bumped for “breaking news” – which has happened to me many times.

This was not the case.  It seems their grim faces were due to the fact that the news anchor had locked the keys in the car that had all the camera equiment.  To make matters worse, the car was still running.

How are you supposed to shoot a live television segment without a camera and microphone?  We were stumped for awhile and then someone remembered that the anchor had her iphone!

We shot the entire interview on her phone and then sent it via email to the station.

Not ten minutes later the spot was cut together and on the air. A first in the history of the local tv station!

What did I learn from this crazy adventure? Well, besides the fact that apple products are ingenious.  I learned that no matter what situation you are thrown into, somehow, somewhere, there is a solution.  And if you just go with the flow, things generally tend to work out.

I just hope I can remember this lesson the next time I am pulling my hair out and in a panic because I can’t figure out how to write my next scene.

Amy

 

Inspiration February 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chasingthecrazies @ 4:39 am

Whenever I tell anyone I am writing a book, the first question they ask me, after they wipe the “are you are nuts?” look off their face, is where did you get your idea(s) for your manuscript.

I’d love to respond by saying something poetic like “I was inspired by a Rodin sculpture or a Monet painting.”  Or something quirky such as, “I saw this guy in my local coffee shop and his face spoke volumes”.  Well that’s all good and well – but most of the time that’s not how it happens.

For me, inspiration strikes in odd places – like driving down the highway, with screaming kids in the car fighting over the DVD remote for the hundredth time.  Or in that crazy place right between being awake and asleep where your brain starts to fizzle out.

But if I am being honest, my true inspiration comes from reading stories by amazing authors.  The ones whose books you have read over and over and still can’t put down.  The pages dog-eared and the cover as ratty as the old college sweatshirt you should have tossed long ago.

Yes, those create true inspiration because every scene the authors have written has a subtle nuance you love.  Every bit of dialogue is so clever, you still laugh, even though you’ve read it a dozen times (thank you Cassandra Clare & Suzanne Collins)!

So I guess the next time someone asks about my inspiration, I might just quote a few book titles and then point them in the direction of their local bookstore.  I suppose it would be easier than making up another story about the wacky guy in the coffee shop.

Amy

 

 
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