Tuesday, September 4, 2012

GUTGAA Blogfest- Miss it at Your PERIL!

Have you signed up for GUTGAA? No? Unless you are JK Rowling, Don De Lillo or Judy Bloom, why  in heaven's name not? Deana Barnhart has put together a blogfest/pitchfest that is so chock full of writerly goodness, it boggles the mind (granted, it's back to school week, so my mind is easily boggled!) I'm happy to say that I'm helping to judge part of the pitchfest. There are also amazing AGENT judges. I can't wait to read all the awesome entries you guys will submit. You can sign up here for the fest and here for the Meet & Greet. My M&G info is below. Happy GUTGAA-ing!

Where do you write?
Anywhere. I often compose in my head  in the shower or while driving. I usually need to "see" the movie of a scene in my head before I tackle it. As for where I sit down and tickle the keys, that can be almost anywhere. I have a shed in my garden that I write in, especially in Spring and Fall and I have a desk in a shared office with my husband. I write in Barnes & Noble fueled with Hot Cinnamon Spice tea and I write in Panera while eating orange scones. But mostly I write in the in-between minutes - when littlest daughter is watching Caillou or playing in the yard with a neighbor. That writing I do on the dining room table. Basically, no flat space is safe from my writing.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
1) Empty, crumby plate left over from breakfast
2) Crumpled up Justice receipt from eldest daughter's back to school outfit (much sequins.)
3) Nook a/c adaptor
4)Hairbrush, which is funny because my hair has yet to be brushed this morning. Sigh.

Favorite time to write?
Mornings. I am an unrepentant morning person. I will and have written in the wee hours of the night and in the afternoon and any other time - beggars can't be choosers, but if I can choose, it's morning, every time.

Drink of choice while writing?
Tea. Or coffee. The occasional Gin & Tonic, but not more than one. I need to keep a lot of plot strings straight.

When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
MUSIC is a must. I've said it before and I'll say it again, music is an engine for me, it actually keeps me (pardon the pun,) humming along. Some pavlovian quirk in my make up makes me feel ready to work when the music starts.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
I start every project with a What If? For FIND ME, I started with an idea from Sleeping Beauty. Not the sleeping part, or even the beauty part, but the idea of gifts. You remember when the little fairies give gifts to the baby princess? Then the bad fairy curses her? I was thinking about gifts and curses and I thought, what if a curse brought with it a gift? What if the curse of not being able to read came piggybacked with the ability to find anything? That was the start!

What's your most valuable writing tip?
When you are stuck - and by all that is holy, you will get stuck - go around the problem. Close your doc (SAVE FIRST!) then start something completely other. Something that might have nothing to do with the direction you thought you were going in. Draw a picture of your MC. Compose a dirty limerick about your villain. Make up a dating profile for one of your characters. Move the scene you are writing to Antarctica or to Secaucus, NJ. Because you are writing away from your WIP it will help you feel freer. And using other creative muscles (drawing, music, poetry) will help you shake off your stuck-y-ness. Hopefully it will reinvigorate your story too. It's worked for me!


  1. Greetings!

    I'm hopping over from GUTGAA and reading all the meet & greet questions. Nice to meet you! You have a lovely blog...good luck with the contest!

    Donna L Martin

  2. I agree about doing something else if you're stuck. If you're not feeling enough of a spark, the writing will suffer if you try to force yourself to just push through it.

  3. Hi Alex! Nice to meet you through this GUTGAA project!
    I like your inspiration. I too, always have a pile of side projects to dabble with, while I'm working out the big writing problems. It's amazing how much writing happens when you're not writing :)

  4. Write a dirty limerick -- I love it! Hilarious. I like that idea of moving on to something else, but still keeping it story focused. I find that cooking and letting my mind wander can bring up ways to tie loose ends.

    I really like your idea of a curse wrapped up with a gift. That's an angle of true conflict that can really work well in a story. I'm very intrigued! Good luck with GUTGAA, I hope your pitch makes the final cut. Here's my GUTGAA Meet & Greet post: A Girl and her Diary

  5. Hello! *waves* So nice to meet you!

    I'm a fellow judge! Totally pumped for GUTGAA! :)

  6. Nice to meet you! I'm nearing the end of visiting every blog, and am officially out of steam. Sorry. :( I DO like your story premise though! I can put an exclamation point beside that! :)

  7. Mmmm, I love a g&t myself, but I have never actually owned the ingredients myself. I need to change that.

    Love your writing tip by the way :)

  8. I like sparkly things, too! Great to meet you and check out your blog!

  9. Love your unsticky ideas! Another morning writer - there are many in our league.

  10. What if is a favorite game of mine. And I often go out without remembering to brush my hair (but I always brush my teeth--what gives?)

    Us unrepentant morning people must stick together. ^_^

  11. Hi there! We share the same love of morning hours. I feel like there's a different vibe in my house before everyone wakes. It's much nicer than late at night when I can still feel the energy from the day lingering around (a mother's form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, maybe? LOL).

    Thank you so much for donating your time to GUTGAA as a first round judge! See you there, I hope!

  12. It's fun to meet a fellow morning soul and good tip. I think everyone gets stuck sometimes. Thanks, and thanks for being a judge.

  13. Hi from GUTGAA!
    I also write a story with the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale as my back drop. I mashed it up with a Celtic myth and a new fantasy story was born.
    See you around GUTGAA!
    Talynn #28

  14. A fellow gin and tonic enthusiastic! I knew I liked you for a reason. :) *insert virtual glass clink*.


    1. oh jenny, i knew you'd be a G&T girl! and Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire or other? Good luck in GUTGAA!

  15. Alex, thanks so much for visiting my pitch! I can't believe you used to live in Montclair- I actually grew up there. I do happen to love Bucks County (that's if you're in PA). School starting has e a bit off my game this week, so I'm still trying to visit those who've visited me! Not enough hours in the day.

  16. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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