Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

Hi there! I'm thrilled to be helping Deana Barnhart out for the 2012 version of GUTGAA. In a few weeks, forty of you will have your query and first 150 words posted here on my blog. It's going to be great to cheer you on. Web contests have been good to me, I've made friends, had requests, and though didn't ultimately sign with any of the agents connected to the web contests, the ball started rolling because of one. If you're just beginning - what a great way to learn and get deeply involved in the on-line writers' community.

Chelsea Rose, me last winter, Druid Oak (aka Little Man)
But I thought I'd introduce myself by answering Deana's questions.


-Where do you write?
I took over my son’s room when he moved into my daughter’s room when she moved out. I have a lovely desk that belonged to my grandmother, hardwood floors, and nice light. An old barrister bookcase toppling with YA, MG, and horse training books. Eventually I’ll have curtains, a rug, a loveseat, and a ceiling fan. Oh, and a filing cabinet hidden in the closet behind a closed door.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

In the corner I have a cool metal table made by an artist. On it is an old Remington typewriter, a lithograph of a horse done by a fellow art teacher/horse lover, a black and white photograph of my great grandfather, Max Greenfield, on a gorgeous dapple grey horse in a part of old Atlanta (Washington Square) that is no longer in existence, and a lovely little turned wooden container. Oh and this neat old metal calendar I found at an antique store.

-Favorite time to write?

First thing in the morning. During the school year I write from 5am to about 6am - I prefer weekends and snow days when it’s more like 7-11am. Revisions I can handle in the evening but I need a blank brain to first draft. However, this summer when I was off and finishing a novel that I had grown to know well, the time of day really didn’t seem to matter.

-Drink of choice while writing?

Coffee with cream, Earl Grey tea with a touch of honey, or water.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

Silence, must have silence.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

The manuscript I just completed was inspired one morning driving in to work. I heard Amber’s voice. Knew she was hanging out at a hiker barn getting into trouble, and that she wanted to get the hell out of small town Appalachia. As I got further into it, some of the music was inspired by this great little movie called Songcatcher that was filmed in this area. My current WIP was actually inspired, very loosely, by a date with an old boyfriend.

-What's your most valuable writing tip?

All characters (with the exception of brief walk-ons) need an arc or the promise of an arc - especially in contemporary YA. If they’re taking up page space, what is different for them at the end of the book than when it started. If nothing, then why are they there, how has your MC altered their lives with her/his story? This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately. I prefer layered, woven plots, and if each character doesn’t have a “reason to be” it starts not to work.

52 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, your writing room sounds amazing!

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  2. Love your writing tip! Am going now to check out this contest -
    Happy Labor Day!

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  3. I would give my eyeteeth for a writing room like that. And that last tip is a very good one.

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  4. That is a great writing tip and one I am going to apply!

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  5. Love your intro and answers to these fun questions! I'm gearing up to get an agent at the moment too, but hoping to have the luck o' the slush this month, so I won't be participating in the contest. Sounds like a lot of fun though, and hope you enjoy it from the hosting side!

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  6. Hey there!
    I love your horses! And thank you for the writing tip, awesome advice!

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  7. That's a great tip Jaye, and a very important one that I still have to remind myself of.

    It's good to see someone else needs silence to write - apparently we're a rare breed...

    Very nice to meet you my dear, and thanks for stopping by my blog! I can't wait to see the forty works that get chosen!

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  8. Coffee with cream, eh? Sounds legit.

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  9. Your office sounds gorgeous! Great to learn more about you. Your tip is one new writers tend to forget, but is so important!

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  10. Your writing room sounds wonderful--and a lot cleaner than mine ;)

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  11. Nice to meet you, Jaye. And I thought I wrote early in the morning!

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  12. Love how you've acquired your writing room. My days are short for my first to move out. She's nearly 20, and going to college. Soon, I'm sure, we'll have an empty room upstairs. Maybe then, my husband will move his bikey things out of here. Looking forward to GUTGAA, and polishing my newest (completely drafted, woot!) ms!

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  13. Nice to "meet & greet" ya! It's so interesting to see how other writers work, and your workspace and writing time are completely different from mine! I don't even stir at 5-6 a.m. unless I absolutely have to! ;)

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  14. What is it with Robins who write in the morning? You and Robin Hall, I swear. Guess I'm the late bird who misses the worm. I'm okay with that. :)

    I'm also so exited to help out! Can't wait!

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  15. Thanks for helping with GUTGAA - so generous of you to share your time!!

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  16. Your writing space sounds perfect! I wish I could get up early and write...it would be so peaceful (just me and my dog)...but I cannot do it.

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  17. Seeing you with your horses makes me very happy.

    Great advice!

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  18. I love your workspace! Is the Remington by any chance one of the colored Remington portables? I'd love to have one of those in purple or blue-green.

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    1. Nope it's black and metal and old. The portable sounds cool.

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  19. Beautiful horses! It's so awesome of you to help host the blogfest :)

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  20. Your writing space sound like a dream I have. Someday:-) Thanks for sharing about yourself.

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  21. Pleased to meet you! Let me just say that WOW, your writing space sounds gorgeous. Much better than my couch, haha. :) Best of luck in #GUTGAA!

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  22. GUTGAA sounds really exciting! Wish you the best with it!

    I agree with you about all characters needing an arc. ;)

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    1. Thanks Vero! I'm just helping Deana Barnhart out, she's the master mind.

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  23. Story arcs for each character. I don't usually hear much about that aspect of writing, and it's a good thing to remember.

    Yet another teacher. Aren't summers the best time for writing?

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    1. Yes, I'm desperately missing summer already and so thankful I had an extra day this weekend.

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  24. J.Ro I completely want to know about that date your MS is loosely based off of :)

    I love your advice. It's hard for me to remember to include that, especially in the first draft.

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    1. Maybe over a martini at a conference some time ;0)

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  25. Great to meet you Jaye. I love your tip about minor characters having an arc that's affected by the MC. That's something I'll have to remember when I'm revising.

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  26. Great tips, my friend, and I love the fact that you actually have a typewriter in your work space. I also can't wait to read this WIP some day!

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  27. 7-11 would be a lot easier to deal with than 5-6. Ouch!that's early. And I'm with you, it's really hard to write if it's not silent.

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  28. Hi Jaye
    Great to meet you, hooray for Middle Grade. Looking forward to reading the queries on your blog. I write pretty early in the morning too, but my little girl is awake with me, so its vegemite toast, high chair and peppa pig for her and that keeps her quiet while I mull over my MS.
    You can find me over at blog 152 When i grow up I wanna write a kids book, many thanks for helping to host. cheers Julie

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  29. Great advice! I usually end up having to cut a few characters or combining some because their reason to be is lacking. Welcome to GUTGAA!

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  30. Hi! *waves* nice to meet you!

    Your horses are beautiful!

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  31. Great advice, Jaye! We have a lot of writerly routine in common. ^_^

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  32. Hi, Jaye! I admire the early bird in you, and the Earl Grey sounds yummy :)

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  33. Thanks for reaching out. I know nothing about MG, so I look forward to learning from you!

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  34. Your writing room sounds fabulous! Jealous!!! ;)

    Thanks so much for helping out! :)

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  35. Nice to meet you! I love your writerly advice, though I wish I read it a few months ago. There was something my story was missing, and then I realized it was a clear character arc. One hefty rewrite later and all of my characters have a full journey (though not necessarily a happy one). Good advice for sure, because my book is much better for it. :)

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  36. I love the sound of your writing space! I can see how you could be very creative there :)

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  37. Great tip about named characters needing their own story arc. I've been working on that during edits. Good luck with GUTGAA!

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  38. Your writing space sounds great. It's great to meet you and I'll see you around the bloghop.

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  39. Saying hello from GUTGAA! I see you were also in A to Z this year...somehow we missed each other. Hope to read more from you.

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  40. Thanks for helping with GUTGAA - it's awesome. I write YA also and I thought your advice was brilliant. Used to have a horse, still love them but haven't ridden in ages. Come say "hi" if you get the chance.
    http://rhiannwynnnolet.blogspot.com/

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  41. Great to meet you! Sounds like you have such a cool writing space and I'm surprised by how many writers agree about silence while writing. Looking forward to this month's activities!

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  42. I like your tip about all characters needing an arch--needing to grow and change.

    http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2012/09/deana-barnharts-gearing-up-to-get-agent.html

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  43. Oh wow, you write early! I am not that much into morning. I need to have silence too, though.

    Thanks for helping host GUTGAA!

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  44. Beautiful horses. Also, thanks for helping with GUTGAA.

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  45. Sorry, I think you wrote something past the horse picture. BRB. Ah, sorry :)

    Popping over to say "Hiya!" from GUTGAA!

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  47. ...Ahhh... my beeper went off there....



    Dr Margaret Aranda

    www.girlpowerinamm.blogspot.com
    drmargaretaranda.blogspot.com
    Thank you for being a Host! Wow! I'm a first-time Author and meeting so many people is simply divine! The Authors actually like one another! Best to you and the family and the horses! My daughter has been riding for 8 years and she is only 10! I put her on her first horse and she would not get off! Muaaah!

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  48. Wow. Don't think I could get up at 5am to write. 6:30 is okay though. Kids get up at seven, so I'm not writing then, but now they're both in school, so I have my day. Getting used to that new schedule now.

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Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'